Brief Idea: Daniel 12 is a treasure-house full of gems for the Bible student. Rarely have 13 verses been so full of meaning. And rarely has a prophecy suffered so much from “private interpretation” and speculative hermeneutics.
Observations from the Text
1 And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.
Here is the evidence that at least the last portion of Daniel 11 should be understood as symbolic prophecy. Daniel speaks about Christians in general has “my people.” As a corollary to this evidence we should notice that the “abomination” and the “daily” both show up in Daniel 11 as they do in the symbols of Daniel 8.
Another document on Michael shows that He is our Savior Jesus.
This time of trouble corresponds to the seven last plagues of Revelation 16. It does not, however, correspond to the similar statement in Matthew 24:21.
Mt 24:21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
Though these periods are not the same, there is a relation between them. The Time of Trouble is the greatest judgment heaven has ever given on earth, like none other before it. (And as it is the last, there is no need to say “no, nor ever shall be.”) Why is the final judgment so superlative?
Re 18:24 And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.
Re 16:5 And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus. 6 For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy.
So the relation between the greatest “trouble” and the greatest “tribulation” is that the former is the punishment for the latter. And a “greatest” persecution merits, of course, a “greatest” punishment.
Who is delivered from the trouble? Those that “are written in the book.” And in Revelation 7 this is the same class that have the “seal of God.” That the book contains only the names of the saved is evidence that the judgment is concluded. (For in the judgment names are removed. See the previous study on the “Judgment and the Books.”)
The Special Resurrection
Daniel 12 introduces the idea of a special resurrection of “many” persons that include both the saved and the loss. This does not sound like the general resurrections of Revelation that are separated by 1000 years. Rather, it sounds like two classes that, for one reason or for another, are raised in connection with the last scenes of the time of trouble.
2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
What two classes are these? Those mentioned in Mark 16:42 and Revelation 1:7 and Revelation 14:13. The special enemies of God are raised to see Him Whom they have defied. And those who have lived their lives to hasten Christ’s Coming are raised to see that glorious event.
The Wise are Soul Winners and Soul Winners are Wise
If the work of education is to cultivate wisdom, then schools of evangelism have the edge on their competition.
3 And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.
But this is the same chapter that teaches that only the wise understand the unsealed prophecies. Then who, we should ask, are to be gifted to understand? It would be those who are giving the Three Angels’ Messages to the world. The class that are turning many to “righteousness” would be the same class that have the “faith of Jesus” and are promoting that message that will swallow up all others, the message of Christ and His Righteousness.
The marginal reading for “wise” is “teachers.” This is a special class. To be part of them is to reap a rich reward if faithful and a solemn judgment if unfaithful. So James wrote:
James 3:1 My brethren, be not many masters [that is, teachers], knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.
Still, in our day, those willing to be faithful to the end are invited to take up the work of turning men to righteousness.
Knowledge Will Be Increased
The ancients were more intelligent than us. But they did not have fossil fuels. And it is the power of fossil fuels that has enabled us to tap other power resources. And power has enabled research that the ancients could never have dreamed of.
Another fact is that the ancients might have been too bright to pollute their world the way we did in the industrial revolution. And they might have been too wise to allow their lives to be spoiled by such a round of business as we have.
So I am doubtful that they had any level of what we call technology.
Yet I am also doubtful that Daniel 12:4 refers largely to the increase in technological fields.
4 But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.
Habakkuk connects the reading of this prophecy with the running.
Habakkuk 2:2 And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.
Today we “flip” or “turn” pages of books to compare one portion with another. But in olden days this was done by scrolling. That was not a fast process for getting from Daniel 2 to Daniel 11. If you really wanted to make progress, you could unroll the scroll and run back and forth to read it as an open book.
So if the question is “how is knowledge increased” the answer would be “by zealous efforts to read it.” And if the question is “when will knowledge be increased?” the answer would be “when it is unsealed at the time of the end.” And if the question was, “what will be the content categories for this knowledge?” the answer would be “it will be knowledge regarding what was preciously not understood in the book of Daniel.”
Miller understood the 1260 of Daniel 12 to be a different time period from the 1260 in Daniel 7:25 and in Revelation 12 and 13. But in this he was mistaken. He connected the 1260 of Daniel 12:7 with the “Time of the Gentiles.” Lu 21:24. In this he was correct. And this can be seen by comparing Revelation 11 with Luke 21.
Why does Christ swear in Daniel 12:7? First, this looks like a judicial oath and is evidence that such an oath is no sin. But there is more to it:
Hebrews 6:13 For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself…17 Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath:
And so we find that there is nothing in Daniel that is more certainly something that Jesus wants us to know than that the trouble of the middle ages was to be certainly and absolutely limited. He does not treat as inconsequential the suffering of his “holy people” who are “heirs of promise.”
Much of the rest of Daniel 12 is discussed in the article on the 1290 and the 1335. But note in verse 7 that one of God’s distinguishing features is that he “lives for ever.” This, itself, is an argument against the immortality of the soul.
And neglect not to notice the main moral point of the chapter. We want to be in that class that are purified and made white, the class that understand, the class that turn many to righteousness, the class that was formerly scattered and that is currently found written in the book of life. We want to be Michael’s people. Then, we can be sure, we will be delivered in the time of trouble.
for the Word Doc, click here: Dan_12_-_General_Observations