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Daniel: Chapter 12

Setting

Remembering that this chapter is a continuation of the same vision that started in Daniel 10, it is useful to consider that each chapter focuses on a separate issue. Daniel 10 was upon Christ and the heavenly activities. Much of Daniel 11 focused on the prophetic events in the near future of Israel and the impact of the little horn in Daniel 8. The latter part of Daniel 11 was a prophetic view of the far future of Israel and the impact of the Antichrist upon Israel. It must also be stressed that the writings here concern Israel and not the church. The promise to the church is the coming rapture1 Corinthians 15:51-58.

At the rapture of the church, those who believed and called upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ will resurrected and given new bodies. However, for the old testament saints, their resurrection will occur after the tribulation period and join with those saints who survive through the seven years of tribulation. They will be present to see their Messiah, Jesus Christ, establish His reign on the throne of David and see Israel become the premier nation in the world that exceeds anything that the world has ever seen, Isaiah 60:1-5, Isaiah 60:15-22.

Daniel 12 can be sub-divided into three major sections.

  • The time of trouble and Michael standing up for the children of Israel
  • The resurrections
  • The final words and sealing up the book

Outline of this chapter

Verses Topic
1 Michael, the great prince who stands up for Israel
2-3 The resurrections of the Old Testament saints
4 Sealing the word of God
5-7 Times time and half a time
8-13 The end of the tribulation and the coming millennial reign of Christ

Michael, the great prince who stands up for Israel     Chapter Outline     Top

This verse, Daniel 12:1, along with Daniel 10, illustrates the role of angels in this world's affairs.  In context with Daniel 10, we see the heavenly hosts of God intervening on the behalf of the saints, in this case Israel.  Michael stands to watch over the children of Israel from the very beginning of the tribulation. This is the second time that Michael is called by name in the Old Testament.  The first time is found in Daniel 10:13, where he is called “one of the chief princes.”  The beginning of Daniel 12 describes a time of great world-wide distress, Psalms 2:1-5, Matthew 24:21-22.  Only those of Israel whose name is written in the book will be saved through this disaster, Revelation 12:13-17, Ezekiel 20:33-38.  The promise to the people of Israel, whose name are found written in the book, is that they will be delivered during the time of trouble that has never been witnessed since there was a nation,   Zechariah 13:8-9.  It is important to understand that the reference concerning Daniel and his people in this vision relates to the children of Israel, and not the church or tribulation saints.  As indicated in the last verses of Daniel 11, the events of the Antichrist are in the last half of the tribulation.  During this time, there will be a purging to separate out the rebels from the faithful among the children of Israel, Ezekiel 20:33-38.  As a result of this purging, there will be holiness and righteousness in Jerusalem, something that has never been experienced from the opening days of history through the beginning of the millennial reign of the Lord Jesus Christ, Zechariah 14:20-21.

The resurrections of the Old Testament saints     Chapter Outline     Top

Daniel 12:2-3 is concerned with the resurrection of the Old Testament saints. There are only two resurrections spoken of in scriptures, which are referenced here. The first resurrection is for the saints to receive their new eternal bodies, while the second resurrection is for the unrighteous who rejected the will of God.  They will appear before the great white throne judgment and bear the results of their own sins for eternity, Daniel 12:2-3, Revelation 20:1-5.  See the web pages on the rapture and the resurrection on this site for more information.

The first resurrection should not be confused with the rapture of the church where the dead in “CHRIST” will be risen, then those who are still alive will be taken up, 1 Corinthians 15:51-58, 1Thessalonians 4:13-18.  It is the church that is the bride of Christ.  A critical point to understand that there are at least four parts to the first resurrection, and the rapture of the church is just one of the four parts:

  • The resurrection of Jesus Christ
  • The rapture of the church, 1 Corinthians 15:51-58, 1Corinthians 3:10-15
  • The tribulation saints who appear before the throne of God in their eternal bodies as seen in Revelation 6:9-11
  • The rising of the Old Testament saints whose resurrection occurs after the seven years of tribulation as given to Daniel at the end of this chapter, Daniel 12:13.  

The "end of the days" follows the tribulation period, which is the subject of this chapter. All of those who are part of the first resurrection have a promise of great and wonderful things for eternity, Revelation 20:6

The second resurrection concerns the unrighteous.  They be raised from the dead to appear before the great white throne judgment of God. Their lot is eternal suffering, darkness, and separation from God, Revelation 20:11-15.   Jesus spoke of this as well, as recorded by, Matthew 25:37-46.

Sealing the word of God     Chapter Outline     Top

In Daniel 12:4, he is told by the angel to seal up the book.  Sealing the document was a formal and legal process as shown in Jeremiah 32:8-12,  It was a process to preserve the record of an event.  A great deal of time, millennia, will elapse from Daniel's day until the end of times arrives.  In fact, over two millennia have elapsed between then and now.  It is interesting to note that from the time Daniel wrote this book until the writing of the book of Revelation was a span of time of about 650 years.  At the time when the Apostle John wrote the Revelation of Jesus Christ, he was instructed to not seal up the prophecies he was given for the time was at hand. Revelation 22:10-13.  In general, the event of the Lord's ascension to be with the Father is the dividing point that marks when the end of times begins.  Prior to that time, the major event being looked for was the fulfillment of the Lord's death on the cross according to scripture, His burial, and on the third day being raised from the dead according to scripture, 1Corinthians 15:1-4.

As seen up to this point, there are many segments of time that reveal significant events that will occur upon Israel and the world.  So the additional comment that the book is to be sealed, even to the time of the end, indicates that a long period of time will elapse before the fulfillment of the words in this book; this includes beyond the church age, to the last judgment before God on his great white throne, and then on into the future eternity.  This book is not written solely for those in Israel who suffered greatly under Antiochus IV Epiphanes, but for all mankind to understand when the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, would first appear in the world, and all of the succeeding events before His return.  The final characterization of the end time is the two-fold attributes of life that will exist then.  There will be a great deal of extended travel among the general populace, and knowledge will greatly increase.  Certainly, one can argue that throughout the history of man, that the past and beginning of this new century have witnessed an explosion of the ability to mass transport people and supplies worldwide, and the breadth of knowledge in general has and continues to expand at dizzying rates of change.  

Times time and half a time     Chapter Outline     Top

In Daniel 12:5-6, he observes two other beings, each on the opposite sides of the bank of the river.  This is still a continuation of the vision that Daniel had beginning with Daniel 10 concerning his people, Israel.  The person over the water is arguably the pre-incarnate Christ.  One person on the bank helps clarify the prophesy given to Daniel in Daniel 11 by asking the person over the water “how long will before these things are fulfilled?”  

In Daniel 12:7, it is the pre-incarnate Christ who answers the angel, that it will be a time, times, and half a time, which is the same as 3 ˝ years.  This is the last half of the tribulation.  When the pre-incarnate Christ lifts His hand toward heaven, there are at least two things being addressed.  First is the realization of the Lord's deity, being the same as God, John 14:8-12, John 17:20-26, and therefore He can swear by no other name than His own, Hebrews 6:13.  Second, is the relationship between the Father and the Son, where the Father reveals all things to the Son, Acts 1:7, Revelation 1:1.  Since the pre-incarnate Christ is over the water, it may represent the nation of Israel, since the rest of the statement concerning the summation of the 3 ˝ years includes the scattering of the tribulation saint's power, Daniel 7:20-22.  Then the Lord will return to establish His millennial reign.  In the page discussing in Daniel 9 and the reason for the 70 weeks,  the second three reasons dealt with the Lord's return and the establishment of His millennial reign.  This will follow only after the rebellion of the children of Israel is dealt with during the last 3 ˝ years of the tribulation.  This is when the Lord will circumcise the heart of His people to love the Lord their God and live, Deuteronomy 30:6.  There is more discussed on this subject describing the flight of the remnant of Israel into the wilderness during the last half of the tribulation on this web site on the page discussing Revelation 13, the fleeing woman.  This is further clarified by Daniel 12:10 where many will be purified, made spotless and refined.

The end of the tribulation and the coming millennial reign of Christ     Chapter Outline     Top

In Daniel 12:8-9, Daniel expresses his lack of understanding and his difficulty in grasping the enormity of what he had heard.  Daniel focused on the end of all these judgments, and was wondering when it will end.  The answer given to Daniel is similar to what the Lord Jesus Christ said to His disciples when they asked a similar question prior to the Lord's ascension, Acts 1:6-7.  In both cases, they were not given the answer they were looking for, but their question was answered.  Neither were to know the exact time of the end of all these things, and the establishment of the Lord's millennial reign.  They and we are only given the time relative to succession of other events once they occur.

In Daniel 12:10, the pre-incarnate Christ does provide more details to describe the end times.  The tribulation will sharply separate all peoples into two groups, the wicked and the wise.  And now we see a similar passage that occurs also in Revelation 22:11.  What separates these two groups is the Spirit of God working through the saints of God. The Apostle Paul wrote at length about this, and the revelation of the Spirit to make known to the Saint the things of God. 1Corinthians 2:6-14.  This also follows the above discussion on the time times and half a time.

In Daniel 12:11-12, there are references to two other time periods which exceed the original time, times, and half a time, or the equivalent of either that is the same as 1,260 days. The other two time periods given are 1,290 days and 1,335 days. All three time periods have the same approximate point of origin, which is the midtribulation period, but the three times giving in this chapter have differing purposes.  The two time periods given in these two verses have been the subject of great debates, and there is no real consensus on interpreting them.  The following is the viewpoint expressed for the web site.  The three time periods spoken of in this chapter are:

  • 1,260 days until when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered, all these things shall be finished (the end of the tribulation, and after the battle of Armageddon), Daniel 12:7
  • 1,290 days from when the daily sacrifice is taken away and the abomination of desolation is set up
  • 1,335 days, on that day there will be blessings for those who wait.

The first period of time, 1,260 days, or time times and half a time in Daniel 12:7, originates exactly at the midpoint of the seven years of the tribulation, and concludes at the battle of Armageddon.  

The other two dates are speculated to originate at the time when the Antichrist invades Israel, which is not necessarily the same time as the midtribulation.  At the time of the invasion the Antichrist establishes his center of government in Jerusalem, which may occur days or months prior to the exact midtribulation point.  However, in Revelation 11:1-2, the Apostle John is given a reed to measure the tribulation temple, but he is told not to measure the outside of the court for that was given to the Gentiles for 42 months, or 3 ˝ years. Therefore, this marks the midtribulation point when the worship of the image of the Antichrist is to begin.  Further, the end of the judgment is with the pouring out of the last bowl judgment, Revelation 16:17-21, in which an unimaginable cataclysmic event occurs within and throughout the entire world where everything is virtually destroyed, which would possibly include the tribulation temple in Jerusalem.  For this reason, first two dates, 1,260 days and 1,290 days,  are assumed to end simultaneously, at the battle of Armageddon, all judgment and evil in the world ceases.  Therefore, it is presumed that the extra 30 days in the 1,290 days in Daniel 12:11 precedes the midtribulation point, and is the time when the Antichrist has established his center of government in Jerusalem, Daniel 11:41 and Daniel 11:45.  It is then he causes the temple worshiping to the Lord to cease, and at the end of the 30 days, his false prophet completes the image of the Antichrist and erects it in the holy place.  From that time forward when the false prophet erects the image of the Antichrist in the holy place, he will cause the world to worship him and thereby cause the abomination that makes desolate to occur, Mathew 24:15-22, and Revelation 13:11-18.  

In Daniel 12:12, Daniel is told that blessed is he that waits for the 1,335th day.  No other information is given as to what that blessing will be, or what will be the trigger that will commence this period of time.  It is assumed that in context with the previous verse that the start time for both periods of time, 1,290 days and 1,335 days, will be the same.  The difference of 45 days has to be accounted for.  Since this endpoint is looking forward to a blessing rather than the end of judgment, it would not appear to do violence to the other prophecies to think that these are days that extend beyond the battle of Armageddon. In fact, what greater blessing will there be for the survivors of the seven years of tribulation than to wait an additional 45 days after the end of Armageddon, and witness the event when the glory of the Lord enters into the new Millennial temple, Ezekiel 43:1-5.  More is written on the associated timeline page that is found on web page on Ezekiel 43.


Copyright (c) 2001, 2005, 2008, 2014, J.E. Huntley.  All rights reserved.
last edited August 2014

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