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Go to Bible: Daniel 12
“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).(top)
“And many.” Daniel 12:2 is one of the clear statements in the Old Testament that there is a resurrection from the dead. However, the reference to “many” has been confusing for scholars because there are other verses that indicate that everyone is resurrected and judged by God. There are several ways this verse has been explained.
Some commentators note that there are times when “many” can be a type of tapeinosis (understatement) for “all.” However, that has not generally been an accepted explanation because the following preposition (the Hebrew min) is most naturally used in a partitive sense, meaning only some people will awake.
Some commentators see the verse as referring to two groups who awake to different fates. In that case, “many” (the NIV has “multitudes”) people awake from the dead; that is, there are multitudes who have died since Adam and Eve, and some of them have life while others have shame.
Other commentators see the verse as saying that “many” get up from the dead, while other people remain dead. That is a possibility. God is a righteous and just God, and there seems to be little point in raising someone from the dead who never had a chance to believe or be saved. For example, if the Nephilim were who many people believe they were, that is, genetically modified “humans” that were not able to believe, then there would be no point for God to raise them from the dead. They are already dead, so why raise them just so they could die again when they could not have believed and been saved in the first place? They are wicked and not saved, but not due to any freewill guilt of their own. In fact, that may be the meaning of Isaiah 26:14 (NIV84), “They are now dead, they live no more; those departed spirits [Hebrew is “rapha,” likely a progenitor of the Rephaim, a group of the Nephilim] do not rise. You punished them and brought them to ruin; you wiped out all memory of them.” Commentators such as E. W. Bullinger say that the statement that they “do not rise” indicates they will not be in the resurrection.
Despite some ambiguity in understanding the verse, the Bible is clear that in general every person who has ever lived will be raised and judged for their thoughts and actions.
“who sleep in the dust of the earth.” The people being referred to are not in heaven, they are sleeping in the dust of the earth. They are not alive in heaven awaiting the resurrection of their dead body, they are in the ground “sleeping,” that is, dead. The reference to “dust” is likely a deliberate allusion to Genesis 3:19, where God tells Adam that he is dust and will return to dust. [For more information on the dead being dead, see Appendix 4, “The Dead are Dead”].
“will awake.” The Old Testament has a number of verses about God raising the dead (cp. Deut. 32:39; Job. 19:25-27; Ps. 71:20; Isa. 26:19; 66:14; Ezek. 37:12-14; Dan. 12:2, 13; and Hos. 13:14).
“some to everlasting life.” Daniel 12:2 is one of the verses in the Bible that mentions the two future resurrections, the Resurrection of the Righteous and the Resurrection of the Unrighteous, as if they were occurring at the same time. However, we learn from the New Testament, from the Book of Revelation, that the two resurrections are separated by 1,000 years (Rev. 20:4-6). During the 1,000-year period that separates the two resurrections, Jesus Christ reigns on earth in his Millennial Kingdom. [For more about Christ’s reign on earth, see Appendix 3, “Christ’s Future Kingdom on Earth”].
“shame.” Most people who are raised in the Resurrection of the Unrighteous, the Second Resurrection, will be thrown into the Lake of Fire and eventually be completely consumed. However, before they die they will experience shame, and there will be “sobbing and gnashing of teeth.” [For more on the “sobbing and gnashing of teeth, see commentary on Matt. 8:12. For more on the resurrections, see commentary on Acts 24:15. For more about the unsaved being annihilated in the Lake of Fire and not burning forever, see Appendix 5: “Annihilation in the Lake of Fire.”].
“everlasting contempt.” This phrase does not prove that people burn forever in the Lake of Fire. For one thing, the Hebrew word translated “everlasting” does not have to mean “forever,” but can refer to a long time. However, that is not likely its meaning here because it is contrasted with “everlasting life,” which does go on forever. Although the unsaved do not burn forever, the “contempt” (abhorrence) that God, angels, and the righteous have for them does go on forever. They were wicked when alive, and that memory of wickedness is always associated with them.(top)
“wise will shine.” Wise people get saved and serve God, and in the future Kingdom of Christ on earth will shine and stand out from those who were barely saved but did not live a wise and obedient life. Part of what it means to be wise is to share the Good News of salvation and obedience with others, and that is highlighted in the second part of Daniel 12:3.(top)
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|Dan 12:5||- (top)|
|Dan 12:6||- (top)|
“a time, times, and half a time.” This is 3 ½ years (see commentary on Dan. 7:25).(top)
|Dan 12:8||- (top)|
|Dan 12:9||- (top)|
“And none of the wicked will understand.” One of the characteristics of the end times will be the marked division between the wicked and the wise. Of course, there have always been wicked people on earth. But in the end times the sheer numbers of the wicked, and their inability to see actual goodness and truth, and instead “call evil good and good evil,” and put “darkness for light and light for darkness” (Isa. 5:20), will make the end times exceeding difficult for those people who love God (which is an important reason for godly people to fellowship together for mutual support).
Jesus said that “the love of the many will grow cold” (Matt. 24:12), and that will be true. In the end times, and especially during the Tribulation itself, there will be a coldness and hatefulness on earth like the world has not seen before; but there will also be a deceiving blanket of false love bandied about—an acceptance of those things that God forbids and dislikes—and that will be called “love.” Jesus said the increase in hatefulness would be due to an increase in lawlessness. To be sure, an “increase in lawlessness” means an increase in crime, but more pointedly it refers to people turning away from God’s laws and commands and being “lawless” in His eyes. But since God is love, when a person turns away from God’s commands the only thing there is to turn to is less love; that is, less genuine love.(top)
“1,290 days.” This is 30 days longer than the 1,260 days that are the last half of the Tribulation. This 30 days is the period of time it will take to prepare the nations for Judgment after the Tribulation and the Battle of Armageddon.
The period of tribulation spoken of in Daniel 12:1 and Matthew 24:21 will be seven years, starting with the covenant made between the Antichrist and Israel, and ending with the Battle of Armageddon, when Jesus defeats the Antichrist (called “the beast” in Rev. 19:19-20). We learn about the seven years from Daniel 9:25-27, which speaks of a “week,” which in that context is a week of years, or seven years.
We also learn the duration of the seven-year time period of the Tribulation from the fact that half of the seven years is 3 ½ years, a figure that is stated several different ways. The Antichrist, also called the “beast,” and the “little horn,” makes a covenant with Israel for the “week,” (seven years), but in the middle of the seven years he breaks the covenant and comes to power. He is in power for “a time, times, and half a time,” that is, “a year, [two] years, and half a year” (Dan. 7:25; 12:7; Rev. 12:14). That same time period is also recorded as “42 months” (Rev. 11:2; 13:5) and 1,260 days (Rev. 12:6). All these time periods equal 3 ½ years.
At the end of the seven-year Tribulation, Jesus Christ fights and wins the Battle of Armageddon and conquers the earth. Then, he sends out his angels all over the earth to gather the survivors of the Tribulation and Armageddon (Matt. 24:30-31; 25:31-32). That would be no small task just by itself, but to complicate matters, at that same time the First Resurrection will occur (Rev. 20:4-6). The First Resurrection is also called the “Resurrection of the Righteous” (Luke 14:14; Acts 24:15), and the “Resurrection of Life” (John 5:29).
In the First Resurrection, all the righteous dead from Adam to Pentecost come to life. Millions of people will suddenly be raised from the dead (cp. Isa. 26:19; Ezek. 37:12-14; Dan. 12:2; Hos. 13:14). All these people will need to receive their rewards for their godly works on earth (Matt. 16:27), and they will need to be organized and shown what to do and where to go. Jesus does not do the judging alone, he will have help with the judging and rewarding of all these people. There are spirit being “elders” who have authority to judge who will be helping him, and those elders are associated with the First Resurrection (Rev. 20:4. Cp. Rev. 4:4, Dan. 7:10, 26).
We must also keep in mind that every person in the First Resurrection is saved. The unsaved are in the Second Resurrection (Rev. 20:12-15). The First Resurrection is to raise and reward people who are saved. After the judging and rewarding of the people in the First Resurrection, the Israelites will go back to the land of Israel (Ezek. 37:12, 14), while the Gentile nations will be disbursed to places around the earth, likely to where they came from (this explains how it is that during the Millennium, the nations come to Israel to worship).
It is easy to imagine that after the carnage of the Tribulation and Armageddon, and with the added activity of trying to organize, reward, and disperse all the righteous dead who have come to life, it will take 30 days to gather all the Tribulation survivors and prepare the Sheep and Goat Judgment (Matt. 25:31-46). The Sheep and Goat Judgment is different from the First Resurrection because it involves both saved people (the “sheep”) and unsaved people (the “goats”). The 1,260 days that are the last half of the Tribulation are extended by 30 days in part to gather all the survivors on earth and get the Sheep and Goat Judgment ready. This all becomes even clearer when we read Daniel 12:12, which says, “Blessed is the one who waits for, and reaches the 1,335 days.” Thus, Daniel 12:12 adds another 45 days to the 1,290 days of Daniel 12:11.
There is little doubt, given the context and scope of Scripture, that the 45 days after the 1,290 days are the 45 days of the Sheep and Goat Judgment of Matthew 25:31-46, and that anyone who was still alive and on earth after the 45 days was “blessed” because he or she was judged to be a “sheep” and allowed to enter the Millennial Kingdom of Jesus Christ, while those who did not make the 1,335 days were judged to be “goats” and were thrown into the Lake of Fire.(top)
|Dan 12:12||- (top)|
“go your way until the end.” The words “your way” are not in the Hebrew but are implied and thus properly supplied. “Go your way until the end” implies that Daniel would not get any more visions. By this time he was a very old man, and had accomplished much for Yahweh and stood righteous before Him his whole life. Now he would rest and await the Resurrection of the Righteous, when he would “stand” in his own allotted territory. The Old Testament has a number of verses about God raising the dead (cp. Deut. 32:39; Job. 19:25-27; Ps. 71:20; Isa. 26:19; 66:14; Ezek. 37:12-14; Dan. 12:2, 13; and Hos. 13:14). [For more on the two resurrections, see commentary on Acts 24:15].
“in your allotted place.” God had allotted territories for the twelve tribes of Israel in the Millennial Kingdom (Ezek. 47:13-48:29). Furthermore, God had said that in the resurrection of the Righteous, the first resurrection, that people would come up out of their graves and return to the land of Israel (Ezek. 37:11-14; cp. Isa. 26:19; Hos. 13:14; Dan. 12:2).
We learn from the scope of Scripture that people who have been faithful, like Daniel, will inherit a possession in the Millennial Kingdom, while those who were unfaithful to God but faithful just enough to get saved, will be in the Millennial Kingdom but will not have a land inheritance there but will be workers (cp. 1 Cor. 3:12-15). The importance of knowing about the Millennial Kingdom and rewards in the Kingdom cannot be overstated. The vague teaching that saved people “go to heaven” provides little incentive for people to make difficult choices for Christ. If people knew that they could be saved but do so little for the Lord they would have no land in the Kingdom but would just be workers there, that might motivate them to work harder to be Christlike and follow Christ.
[For more on the Millennial Kingdom of Christ, see Appendix 3, “Christ’s Future Kingdom on Earth.” For more on rewards in the coming Kingdom, see commentary on 2 Cor. 5:10, “good or worthless”].(top)