1 "At that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince who stands for the children of your 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 your people shall be delivered, everyone who shall be found written in the book. 2 Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. 3 Those who are wise shall shine as the brightness of the expanse; and those who turn many to righteousness as the stars forever and ever. 4 But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run back and forth, and knowledge shall be increased." 5 Then I, Daniel, looked, and behold, two others stood, one on the river bank on this side, and the other on the river bank on that side. 6 One said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, How long shall it be to the end of these wonders? 7 I heard the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand to heaven, and swore by him who lives forever that it shall be for a time, times, and a half; and when they have made an end of breaking in pieces the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished. 8 I heard, but I didn't understand: then I said, my lord, what shall be the issue of these things? 9 He said, Go your way, Daniel; for the words are shut up and sealed until the time of the end. 10 Many shall purify themselves, and make themselves white, and be refined; but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand; but those who are wise shall understand. 11 From the time that the continual (burnt offering) shall be taken away, and the abomination that makes desolate set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred ninety days. 12 Blessed is he who waits, and comes to the one thousand three hundred thirty-five days. 13 But go you your way until the end; for you shall rest, and shall stand in your lot, at the end of the days.
analysis of the chapter
There are several general remarks which may be made respecting this, the closing chapter of the book of Daniel.
I. It is a part, or a continuation of the general prophecy or vision which was commenced in Daniel. 10, and which embraces the whole of the eleventh chapter. Except for the length of the prophecy there should have been no division whatever, and it should be read as a continuous whole; or if a division were desirable, what was made by Cardinal Hugo in the 13th century, and which occurs in our translation of the Bible, is one of the most unhappy. On every account, and for every reason, the division should have been at the close of the fourth verse of this chapter, and the first four verses should have been attached to the previous portion. That the beginning of this chapter is a continuation of the address of the angel to Daniel, is plain from a mere glance. The address ends at Daniel 12:4; and then commences a colloquy between two angels who appear in the vision, designed to cast further light on what had been said. It will contribute to a right understanding of this chapter to remember, that it is a part of the one vision or prophecy which was commenced in Daniel. 10, and that the whole three chapters Daniel. 10; 11; Daniel 12:1-13 should be read together. If Daniel. 11, therefore, refers to the historical events connected with the reign of Antiochus, and the troubles under him, it would seem to be plain that this does also, and that the angel meant to designate the time when these troubles would close, and the indications by which it might be known that they were about to come to an end.
II. At the same time that this is true, it must also be admitted that the language which is used is such as is applicable to other events, and that it supposed that there was a belief in the doctrines to which that language would be naturally applied. It is not such language as would have been originally employed to describe the historical transactions respecting the persecutions under Antiochus, nor unless the doctrines which are obviously conveyed by that language were understood and believed. I refer here to the statements respecting the resurrection of the dead and of the future state. This language is found particularly in Daniel 12:2-3 : "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. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they thai turn many to righteousness, as the stars forever and ever." This language is appropriate to express such doctrines as the following:
(a) that of the resurrection of the dead - or a being raised up out of the dust of the earth;
(b) that of retribution after the resurrection: a part being raised to everlasting life, and a part to everlasting shame;
(c) that of the eternity of future retribution, or the eternity of rewards and punishments: awaking to everlasting life, and to everlasting shame;
(d) that of the high honors and rewards of those who would be engaged in doing good, or of that portion of mankind who would be instrumental in turning the wicked from the paths of sin: "they that turn many to righteousness, as the stars forever and ever."
It is impossible to conceive that this language would have been used unless these doctrines were known and believed, and unless it be supposed that they were so familiar that it would be readily understood. Whatever may have been the particular thing to which it was applied by the angel, it is such language as could have been intelligible only where there was a belief of these doctrines, and it may, therefore, be set down as an indication of a prevalent belief in the time of Daniel on these subjects. Such would be understood now if the same language were used by us, to whatever we might apply it, for it would not be employed unless there was a belief of the truth of the doctrines which it is naturally adapted to convey.
III. If the angel intended, therefore, primarily to refer to events that would occur in the time of Antiochus - to the arousing of many to defend their country, as if called from the dust of the earth, or to their being summoned by Judas Maccabeus from caves and fastnesses, and to the honor to which many of them might be raised, and the shame and contempt which would await others, it seems difficult to doubt that the mind of the speaker, at the same time, glanced onward to higher doctrines, and that it was the intention of the angel to bring into view far-distant events, of which these occurrences might be regarded as an emblem, and that he meant to advert to what would literally occur in the time of the Maccabees as a beautiful and striking illustration of more momentous and glorious scenes when the earth should give up its dead, and when the final judgment should occur. On these scenes, perhaps, the mind of the angel ultimately rested, and a prominent. part of the design of the entire vision may have been to bring them into view, and to direct the thoughts of the pious onward, far beyond the troubles and the triumphs in the days of the Maccabees, to the time when the dead should arise, and when the retributions of eternity should occur. It was no uncommon thing among the prophets to allow the eye to glance from one object to another lying in the same range of vision, or having such points of resemblance that the one would suggest the other; and it often happened, that a description which commenced with some natural event terminated in some more important spiritual truth, to which that event had a resemblance, and which it was adapted to suggest. Compare Introduction to Isaiah, Section 7. Three things occur often in such a case:
(1) language is employed in speaking of what is to take place, which is derived from the secondary and remote event, and which naturally suggests that;
(2) ideas are intermingled in the description which are appropriate to the secondary event only, and which should be understood as applicable to that; and
(3) the description which was commenced with reference to one event or class of events, often passes over entirely, and terminates on the secondary and ultimate events. This point will be more particularly examined on the note at the chapter.
IV. The contents of the chapter are as follows:
(1) The concluding statement of what would occur at the time referred to Daniel 11:1-3. This statement embraces many particulars: that Michael, the guardian angel, would stand up in behalf of the people; that there would be great trouble, such as there had not been since the time when the nation began to exist; that there would be deliverance for all whose names were recorded in the book; that there would be an awakening of those who slept in the dust - some coming to life and honor, and some to shame and dishonor; and that distinguished glory would await those who turned many to righteousness.
(2) At this stage of the matter, all having been disclosed that the angel purposed to reveal, Daniel is commanded to shut and seal the book; yet with the encouragement held out that more would yet be known on the subject, Daniel 12:4. The matter was evidently involved still in mystery, and there were many points on which it could not but be desired that there should be fuller information - points relating to the time when these things would happen, and a more particular account of the full meaning of what had been predicted, etc. On these points it is clear that many questions might be asked, and it is probable that the mind of Daniel would be left still in perplexity in regard to them. To meet this state of mind, the angel says to Daniel that "many would run to and fro, and that knowledge would be increased;" that is, that by intercourse with one another in future times; by spreading abroad the knowledge already obtained; by diffusing information, and by careful inquiry, those of coming ages would obtain much clearer views on these points; or, in other words, that time, and the intercourse of individuals and nations, would clear up the obscurities of prophecy.
(3) In this state of perplexity, Daniel looked and saw two other personages standing on the two sides of the river, and between them and the angel who had conversed with Daniel a colloquy or conversation ensues, respecting the time necessary to accomplish these things, Daniel 12:5-7. They are introduced as interested in the inquiry as to the time of the continuance of these things - that is, how long it would be to the end of these wonders. These were evidently angels also, and they are represented
(a) as ignorant of the future - a circumstance which we must suppose to exist among the angels; and
(b) as feeling a deep interest in the transactions which were to occur, and the period when it might be expected they would have their completion.
To this natural inquiry, the angel who had conversed withe Daniel gives a solemn answer Daniel 12:7, that the period would be "a time, and times, and an half;" and that all these things would be accomplished, when he to whom reference was made had finished his purpose of scattering the holy people.
(4) Daniel, perplexed and overwhelmed with these strange predictions, hearing what was said about the time, but not understanding it, asks with intense interest when the end of these things should be, Daniel 12:8. He had heard the reply of the angel, but it conveyed no idea to his mind. He was deeply solicitous to look into the future, and to ascertain when these events would end, and what would be their termination. The answer to his anxious, earnest inquiry, is contained in Daniel 12:9-13, and embraces several points - giving sonic further information, but still evidently designed to leave the matter obscure in many respects.
(a) The matter was sealed up, and his question could not be definitely answered, Daniel 12:9. When the time of the end should come, it is implied the matter would be clearer, and might be understood, but that all had been communicated substantially that could be.
(b) A statement is made Daniel 12:10 of the general result of the trials on two classes of persons: the things that would occur would tend to make the righteous more holy, but the wicked would continue to do wickedly, notwithstanding all these heavy judgments. The latter too would, when these events took place, fail to understand their design; but the former would obtain a just view of them, and would be made wiser by them. Time, to the one class, would disclose the meaning of the Divine dealings, and they would comprehend them; to the other they would still be dark and unintelligible.
(c) A statement is, however, made as to the time when these things would be accomplished, but still so obscure as to induce the angel himself to say to Daniel that he must go his way until the end should be, Daniel 12:11-13. Two periods of time are mentioned, both different from the one in Daniel 12:7. In one of them Daniel 12:11 it is said that from the time when the daily sacrifice should be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate should be set up, would be thousand two hundred and ninety days. In the other Daniel 12:12 it is said that he would be blessed or happy who should reach a certain period mentioned - a thousand three hundred and thirty-five days. What these different periods of time refer to will of course be the subject of inquiry in the note at the chapter.
(d) The whole closes, therefore Daniel 12:13, with a direction to Daniel that, for the present, he should go his way. Nothing additional would be disclosed. Time would reveal more; time would explain all. Meanwhile there is an assurance given that, as for himself, he would have "rest," and would "stand in his lot at the end of the days." This seems to be a gracious assurance to him that he had nothing to fear from these troubles personally, and that whatever should come, he would have peace, and would occupy the position in future times which was due to him. His lot would be happy and peaceful; his name would be honored; his salvation would be secured. It seems to be implied that, with this pledge, he ought to allow his mind to be calm, and not suffer himself to be distressed because he could not penetrate the future, and foresee all that was to occur; and the truth, therefore, with which the book closes is, that, having security about our own personal salvation - or having no ground of solicitude respecting that - or having that matter made safe - we should calmly commit all events to God, with the firm conviction that in his own time his purposes will be accomplished, and that being then understood, he will be seen to be worthy of confidence and praise.
The proper conclusion to the great revolutions predicted in this and the following chapters is the general resurrection, of which the beginning of this chapter (to be literally understood) gives some intimation, Daniel 12:1-3. Daniel is then commanded to shut up the words and to seal the book to the time of the end, Daniel 12:4; and is informed of the three grand symbolical periods of a time, times, and a half, twelve hundred and ninety days and thirteen hundred and thirty-five days, Daniel 12:4-12; at the end of the last of which Daniel shall rest and stand in his lot, Daniel 12:13. It is generally thought by commentators that the termination of the last period is the epoch of the First resurrection. See Revelation 20:4, Revelation 20:5.
INTRODUCTION TO DANIEL 12
This chapter begins with an account of a time of exceeding great trouble to the people of God, who are comforted with the consideration of Michael the great Prince being on their side, and with a promise of deliverance, with the resurrection of the dead, and the glorious state of wise and good men upon that, Daniel 12:1, and Daniel is ordered to shut up and seal the book of the prophecy, until a time when it should be better understood, Daniel 12:4, next follows a question put by an angel to Christ, and his answer to it, with respect to the time of the fulfilment of those wonderful events, Daniel 12:5. Daniel, not understanding what he heard, asks what would be the end of those things, Daniel 12:8 in answer to which he is bid to be content with what he knew; no alteration would be among men; things would be neither better nor worse with them, Daniel 12:9, a time is fixed for the accomplishment of all, Daniel 12:11, and it is promised him that he should have rest after death, and rise again, and have his lot and share with the blessed, Daniel 12:13.
*More commentary available by clicking individual verses.