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“At that time
Michael, the great leader
who stands watch over your people, will rise up,
and there will be a time of trouble such as never has occurred
since there was a nation even until that time;
and at that time your people will be delivered,
that is, everyone who is found written in the book. Bible

“over your people.” The Hebrew is literally, “over the children of your people,” but in this context, that idiomatic wording can be confusing.

“there will be a time of trouble.” This time of trouble is often called the “Great Tribulation” by Christians, because Jesus called it a time of great tribulation: “for at that time there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and it will never ever happen again” (Matt. 24:21). The Great Tribulation will be so terrible for humans that Jesus said, “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive” (Matt. 24:22 NIV; cp. Mark 13:20). Although Jesus described some of the events of the Great Tribulation (cp. Matt. 24; Mark 13; Luke 21), this time of tribulation is most clearly set forth in the Book of Revelation, which reveals terrible events associated with 7 seals (Rev. 6:1-17; 8:1), 7 trumpets (Rev. 8:6-9:21; 10:7), 7 thunders (Rev. 10:3-4), and 7 bowls of judgment (Rev. 16:1-21). but Jesus was not the first person to speak of the tribulation in the end times. The time of great trouble had also been foretold by many of the Old Testament prophets centuries before Jesus spoke of them.

The Bible also refers to this time of great tribulation as “the Day of Yahweh” (“the Day of the LORD” in most English versions). But the phrase “Day of Yahweh” can refer to the end times as a whole or to only part of the end times; each occurrence must be interpreted in its own context. By far the majority of the times “the Day of the Lord” is used, it is associated with wrath and destruction, and thus refers to the Great Tribulation (cp. Ezek. 30:3, Joel 1:15; 2:1; Amos 5:20; Zephaniah 1:7ff; 1:14ff; Malachi 4:1-5). Also, quite often instead of using the whole phrase, “the Day of Yahweh” or “the Day of Judgment,” the end times are simply referred to as “the Day,” “that Day,” etc., (cp. Isa. 11:10; Jer. 3:16; 46:10; Amos 8:9; 9:11; Mal. 4:1). The Great Tribulation is also called “the day of vengeance of our God” (Isa. 61:2; cp. Isa. 63:4).

According to the prophets, the Day of Yahweh, the Great Tribulation, will be a cruel day, with people becoming scarce as gold (Isa. 13:9-13). The earth will be laid waste with very few people left (Isa. 24:1-23). The slain will lie like refuse on the ground, and the leaders will not escape (Jer. 25:29-38). It will be “Jacob’s trouble” (Jer. 30:7), and a time of doom for the nations (Ezek. 30:1-19), and a time of distress such as has never been seen before on earth (Dan. 12:1). Believers will have an especially difficult time because the Antichrist will make war against them and prevail against them (Dan. 7:21, 25). The Great Tribulation will be a time of darkness and gloom (Joel 1:15; 2:1-11). Woe to people who think they are righteous and long for the Day of the Lord as if it would vindicate them because it will not (Amos 5:18-20). People’s evil deeds will return on themselves (Obad. 1:15-16). God, in anger and wrath, will take vengeance on the land and on nations, and destroy witchcraft and idols to the end that there will be no more idolatry (Micah 5:10-15). It will be a day of wrath, distress and anguish; a day of trouble, ruin, gloom and darkness. No one’s wealth will be able to deliver them. God will make a terrible end to the people who dwell in the land. God will sweep away humans, animals, fish, and birds—everything—from the face of the earth (Zeph. 1:2-18). God will shake both the heavens and the earth (Haggai 2:6-7), and that Day will burn like a furnace (Mal. 4:1).

The “time of trouble” will be 7 years, and will start when the Antichrist makes a covenant with Israel, which he will then break after 3½ years (Dan. 9:27), and it will end with the Battle of Armageddon when Jesus Christ and his armies come down from heaven and conquer the earth and Satan is imprisoned so he cannot be active on earth (Rev. 19:11-20:4). Then Christ will set up his kingdom on earth and reign 1000 years (Rev. 20:2-8). During that time there will be unprecedented peace, prosperity, and health on earth. The scriptural evidence points to the fact that the Rapture will be just prior to those 7 years of tribulation.

[For more on the Rapture, see commentary on 1 Thess. 4:17. For more on Christ’s wonderful future kingdom on earth, see Appendix 3, “Christ’s Future Kingdom on Earth”].

“will be delivered.” This does not mean that the people who believe will be saved from the persecution and wrath of the Tribulation period. Jesus made it clear that many believers would be killed (Matt. 24:8; Luke 21:16). But the believers who endure to the end will be saved, delivered from everlasting death and granted everlasting life (see commentary on Luke 21:18).

“the book.” This is a reference to “the Book of Life,” the book that has the names of all those who will be granted everlasting life (cp. Exod. 32:32; Ps. 69:28 (some versions have it as 69:29); Phil 4:3; Rev. 3:5; 13:8; 17:8; 20:12, 15; 21:27).


Commentary for: Daniel 12:1