1. Who stood up “at that time”?
“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” (Daniel 12:1).
- At that time ties back to chapter eleven. That was the fall of a Grecian ruler. Like we studied historically, that would likely be Antiochus IV Epiphanes.
- Michael, the great prince [one of the chief princes] (Daniel 10:13; 10:21), stands up (Acts 27:23).
- Michael is the archangel (Jude 1:9).
- The children of thy people is in reference to the children of Israel (Ezekiel 3:7-11 and Ezekiel 33:10-12).
- We will discuss the time of trouble and the book in the next two questions.
2. Is this prophesy starting off by discussing a time of carnal peace?
No, a time of trouble: “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” (Daniel 12:1).
- When we studied chapter nine, we learned that troublesome times and “desolations” where determined (Daniel 9:25-26). At this point, the Jews had a peaceful beginning in Jerusalem under the Medo-Persian Empire that would be brought to an end of peace under Grecian rule. They had seen terrible times up to and in Babylon (Jeremiah 14:12, Jeremiah 21:9, Lamentations 4:1-11, etc.).
- Now Daniel was seeing through this vision that the worse was yet to come upon his people. Since times prior were so bad that those who heard it both their ears would tingle (II Kings 21:12 and Jeremiah 19:3), think about what trouble unlike any time before means here.
- Is it any wonder why Daniel was so troubled by his visions (Daniel 7:28, Daniel 8:27, and Daniel 10:8)?
- This makes Daniel 2:31-45 and Daniel 7:13-14 of great importance for the hope of Israel. Greece was bad. Worse is yet to come. What hope they had was no in the physical, but the everlasting kingdom God had promised in the time of a fourth Empire. The coming of the Roman Empire was promising for them.
- Thy people being delivered and what to make of that language is going to be discussed in the next question.
3. Who was going to be delivered?
The people of Daniel, those written “in the book”: “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” (Daniel 12:1).
- It is recorded in history (I Maccabees) that there was apostasy, war, etc. during these times in Jerusalem. What we do know is that there was always and will always be a remnant of the faithful (II Kings 19:20-34, Isaiah 1:9, Isaiah 10:20-22, Jeremiah 23:3, Joel 2:18-32, and Romans 11:1-5).
- Those “written in the book” (Exodus 32:26-34, Psalms 69:18-28, Philippians 4:3, Revelation 3:1-5, Revelation 20:15, and Revelation 22:18-19).
- The faithful remnant needed to know deliverance was coming (Psalms 18:49-50).
4. What was going to happen to the dead and to the wise?
I really don’t know for sure, the text says this and could mean multiple things: “(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. (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” (Daniel 12:2-3).
- Verse one started with “at that time”. This is important. This is one reason how we can KNOW for sure that this is not a prophesy about the final resurrection and the Day of Judgment. No one, even if one were to contend Christ is talking, would be able to say when the Judgment was going to occur. For there is not a time wherein anyone could know, including the angels and Christ, when THE END is coming (Matthew 24:35-36, Matthew 24:44, Matthew 25:13, and II Peter 3:1-14).
- The prophet Daniel or an angel is not revealing some “end time” prophesy here (I Peter 1:3-12).
- Furthermore, as we note often when discussing prophesies, this would have been fulfilled before the New Law came fully into effect (Matthew 5:17-18).
- Think about what this could signify and absolutely be consistent with. This could signify the blood of Christ cleansing those under the Old Law (Hebrews 9:15-17) and what Jesus did while He was in Hades (I Peter 3:18-22 and I Peter 4:6).
- Lest we get confused about a resurrection language, this could be figurative of spiritual rising from the dead (Romans 6:1-13).
- If this resurrection is taken to be literal, consider what happened at the death of Christ (Matthew 27:50-53).
- However, another possible and easy explanation could be as simple as the history of Jewish persecution in Jerusalem under Grecian rule (I Maccabees chapters 1-2). *Note 1:41-2:26; 49-70. Considering, as we have discussed, there was always a remnant (Romans 11:1-5) and those uncompromising Jews could have died and simply went on to Paradise (Luke 16:19-31). Paul referred to death as going to be with the Lord showing figures of speech are used in reference to Paradise (Philippians 1:12-24).
- Since there are multiple possible conclusions that would be consistent with other Scriptures, I am concluding that this is a mystery to Daniel and to us. Daniel doesn’t interpret this vision and neither should we (II Peter 1:20-21). The information I have provided is simply to show testing of possible conclusions (I Thessalonians 5:21) and the impossibility of reaching a sure one.
- The shining as the lights above could be as easily understood as living or having lived as lights in this world (Proverb 4:14-18, Matthew 5:14-16, and Philippians 2:14-16).
5. As Daniel was told to shut up the words; what did he see and hear?
“(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. (5) Then I Daniel looked, and, behold, there stood other two, the one on this side of the bank of the river, and the other on that side of the bank of the river. (6) And one said to the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, How long shall it be to the end of these wonders? (7) And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished” (Daniel 12:4-7).
- Daniel is told to shut up the vision (Daniel 8:26). Daniel will be dead before these things come to pass (Daniel 12:9-13).
- Running to and fro as it relates to language of battle (Joel 2:1-11).
- There were times when teaching ceased (Ezekiel 7:26 and Amos 8:11) and so did knowledge (Jeremiah 4:22). Therefore, this is promising.
- The increase of knowledge infers some good things going on (Proverbs 12:1, Proverbs 15:14, Proverbs 18:15, and Proverbs 24:5).
- That doesn’t mean increasing knowledge is always pleasant (Ecclesiastes 1:18).
- Daniel is having a vision by a great river wherein there is a man clothed in linen and others (Daniel 10:4ff.).
- The inquiry was how long it would be to the end of these wonders. The answer given is vague (a time, times, and an half). This is like language in Daniel 7:25 wherein was a kingdom prophesy. That would fit the possibility of this end being what Christ brought about. I would not stake my salvation on it though and thus I will remain cautious in saying I am not sure (James 3:1).
6. Did Daniel understand what he heard?
No: “And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things” (Daniel 12:8)?
- This is a mystery to Daniel and we have discussed such before (I Peter 1:3-12).
7. As Daniel is told again to seal up the words, was he given a clear understanding or even told that he would see it come to pass?
No, he wasn’t given clear information and he would not see it come to pass: “(9) And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. (10) Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand. (11) And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. (12) Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days. (13) But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days” (Daniel 12:9-13).
- Whatever this is (the kingdom coming or even the end of a time of persecution), it is a time of blessing that Daniel will not live to see. The blessed will be the faithful (Psalms 106:3 and Revelation 22:14).
- Remember, verse 11 keeps us in the context of Greece (Daniel 8:11-13; 8:21-25 and Daniel 11:28-36).
© 2020 This study was prepared for a Bible class with the Sunrise Acres church of Christ in El Paso, TX by Brian A. Yeager.