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At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people -- everyone whose name is found written in the book -- will be delivered. Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. But you, Daniel, close up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. Many will go here and there to increase knowledge.
Up to now, we have seen a good deal of darkness prophesied in the book of Daniel. Here in chapter 12, however, we're going to get a whole lot of Son-shine, if you'll pardon the pun.
The first ray of Son-shine is this statement ... At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. This will be Heaven's counterpunch to turn the tide on Satan and his Antichrist and their confederates. The phrase, at that time, refers us back to the last words in chapter 11. Remember ... chapter and verse divisions were organized in our modern times so we could easily find our way around the Bible. The actual Hebrew text, however, has no such breaks. So, when chapter 12 opens with at that time it's just the continuing text following the last words of chapter 11.
Chapter 11 was prophesying Antichrist's future invasion of Jerusalem during the opening days of the Great Tribulation (the last 3 1/2 years of the Tribulation) ... at that time ... Michael the archangel will be dispatched ... (stand up) ... from Heaven to earth to rescue God's covenant Jewish people from the hands of Antichrist. More specifically ... the Jews who will be fleeing out of Jerusalem with Antichrist's invading forces hot on their heels. Revelation 12:7-12 and 13-17 gives us the bigger picture, beginning with what had also just taken place in Heaven above. It reads,
And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, "Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.
But the woman (Israel) was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, (Hebrew idiom for three and a half years) from the presence of the serpent (Satan). So the serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood. But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon had spewed out of his mouth. And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus.
Satan has access to Heaven today, just as he has had throughout history. Job's story witnesses to that fact. We learn from Revelation 12:9-10, however, that there is a day coming when our God will no longer tolerate his presence and his scurrilous accusations there. Then, he and his, are going to be tossed bodily out of Heaven! When the Judean Jews are fleeing Satan's man down on Earth, Satan will suddenly find himself in hand-to-hand combat with God's archangel, Michael, in Heaven. The text above says that this will precipitate war in Heaven. Can you imagine such a thing?
I picture this unfolding something like this. God, having observed his people fleeing from Antichrist's invasion of Jerusalem down on the Earth, suddenly says to Michael, Throw Satan out. Satan says, What?! God says, Michael, throw him out, and all his demons with him. Satan replies, Michael?? ... you must be kidding! Why, I'm so much greater than Michael that he didn't dare make an accusation against me when we disputed over Moses' body, remember that?! (Jude 9). He will never see the day he can take me! I was above him from the beginning. I am Lucifer, Son of the Morning!
What a scene, aye? And you and I will be there to witness it! Again, it says that war broke out in Heaven. Hot battle raged for every inch ... but, Michael ... whose name means, who is like God, will more than live up to his name on that day. He will prove to be more of a match than Satan had bargained for. The Revelation text says that the war continued until no place was found for them in Heaven any longer. Apparently, Satan and his demons will seek to retain a foothold in every nook and cranny.
So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil, and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth and his angels were cast out with him. Satan has always thought of himself as greater than all the angelic beings and even above God himself. It is going to be quite a shock when he discovers that he's not even Michael's equal when, at that great Archangel's hand, he and his are unceremoniously tossed bodily out of Heaven. The prophet, Isaiah, called it right when he prophesied,
How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: 'I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.' Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit. Isaiah 14:12-15
Michael will insure the preservation of the people of God all the rest of the way through the Great Tribulation. At that time, it will be his job to stand up for God's people, the Jews. And, doubtless, this will turn the tide against Satan, his Antichrist and all their dark kingdom followers on Earth.
The second ray of Son-shine in these opening words of Daniel 12, is the statement, at that time your people -- everyone whose name is found written in the book -- will be delivered. That's certainly a breath of fresh air, is it not? The deliverance and restoration of Israel is one of the great themes of both the Old and New Testaments. How often it is repeated in the Word of God! Here are a few samples.
I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: 'The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins. Romans 11:25-27
I will accept you as fragrant incense when I bring you out from the nations and gather you from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will show myself holy among you in the sight of the nations. Then you will know that I am the LORD, when I bring you into the land of Israel, the land I had sworn with uplifted hand to give to your fathers. There you will remember your conduct and all the actions by which you have defiled yourselves, and you will loathe yourselves for all the evil you have done. You will know that I am the LORD, when I deal with you for my name's sake and not according to your evil ways and your corrupt practices, O house of Israel, declares the Sovereign LORD' Ezekiel 20:41-44
Yet in spite of this, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them or abhor them so as to destroy them completely, breaking my covenant with them. I am the LORD their God. But for their sake I will remember the covenant with their ancestors whom I brought out of Egypt in the sight of the nations to be their God. I am the LORD. Leviticus 26:44-45
As the Apostle Paul so clearly states above, The Deliverer (Christ Jesus) will come from Zion (Heaven). He himself will come to earth to save his covenant people, the Jews.
The third ray of Son-shine here in the opening words of Daniel 12 is the statement, Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. The ramifications of this prophesied event are tremendous. It is speaking of the resurrection of Israel. It is the day when every Jew who has ever lived will be called forth from their graves to find themselves looking upon the face of their Messiah and Lord and God ... Christ Jesus. As Jesus himself put in John 5:25-29,
I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man. Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out -- those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.
Keep in mind that there is more than one resurrection predicted in the Bible. And, it is important to realize that they do not all take place at the same time or at the same place. For a more complete discussion of this, it can be found in my commentary on Revelation 20. Once there, scroll down to verse 4 ... Revelation.
The resurrection here in Daniel 12, is exclusively Jewish. It is the resurrection of every Jew who has ever lived ... from Abraham, all the way down to the last Jew who died during the Great Tribulation. They will all hear the solo trumpet-like voice of the Son of God and be raised from the dead. They will all experience what Lazarus experienced. Let's look at it in John 11:41-45,
So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, 'Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.' When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, 'Lazarus, come out!' The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, 'Take off the grave clothes and let him go.' Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, put their faith in him.
When Jesus said the day would come when all who are in the graves would hear his voice and come forth (John 5:25-27), I'm sure that many who heard him that day said or thought, Yeah, right. Talk is cheap! But our Lord's actual raising Lazarus brought everyone up short. Jesus demonstrated that his words were not empty words. He did, in fact, have power over the dead. Doubtless, had Jesus not called for Lazarus by name ... but simply cried out the words, Come forth, every soul who had ever lived ... from Adam all the way down to the last person who had died that very day ... would have come out of their graves!
Returning to Daniel 12, here ... we see that the resurrection of Israel will involve judgment. Its outcome will be everlasting life for some ... but everlasting contempt for others. What do you suppose the criterion for that will be? May I suggest to you that it will be exactly the same as it will be for you and me at our resurrection? The gift of salvation and everlasting life has always been bestowed on the basis of faith. Always. As we have it in Ephesians 2:8-9,
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith -- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God -- not by works, so that no one can boast.
The popular notion, If my good deeds outweigh my bad deeds, I will get to go to Heaven. That is just sad. What will determine the eternal destiny of every human being who has ever lived, Jew or Gentile, will exclusively be whether or not they responded to what God told them in faith toward God. The majority of the book of Romans takes up this very question. There, in chapter 4, we are told how Abraham got saved. We read,
Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead -- since he was about a hundred years old -- and that Sarah's womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. This is why 'it was credited to him as righteousness.' The words 'it was credited to him' were written not for him alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness -- for us who believe in him (correct translation: "believe him") who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. Romans 4:19-25
The only difference between Abraham's salvation and your salvation and mine, way down here in the 21st century, is that you and I have more content to believe than Abraham had. For Abraham, he was simply asked to believe God that he and his wife were going to have a baby ... even though they were nearly a hundred years old. But Abraham didn't stumble at that. He believed God and, as a result, was declared righteous. You and I have been told, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. That's God's Word today. Those who believe and receive him are declared righteous ... by faith ... just as Abraham was.
From our text, it is apparent that the resurrection of Israel will occur right at the end of the Great Tribulation. I argue that point from the context. When it will occur, must come after the Jewish people have been saved from Antichrist's hand. Then, we read ...your people -- will be delivered. The purpose for Israel's resurrection at that point in time is so that all the godly Jews, from all time, can enter the Kingdom of their Christ which has been promised to them. The hope of Israel has always been an earthly hope and an earthly kingdom as so clearly promised in the Old Testament scriptures. The righteous Jew, then, will leave their resurrection and enter the promised kingdom on earth along with their Christ. The unrighteous Jew, however, will be cast into outer darkness.
Finally, Daniel is told to close up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. That sounds a bit odd, at first glance. However, it is apparent that the time of the end, which the angel was referring to was the last days, the period of time that began at the cross and extends on to where you and I are living today. This is why we are studying Daniel right now and can understand it, by the way!
Then I, Daniel, looked, and there before me stood two others, one on this bank of the river and one on the opposite bank. One of them said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, 'How long will it be before these astonishing things are fulfilled?' The man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, lifted his right hand and his left hand toward heaven, and I heard him swear by him who lives forever, saying, 'It will be for a time, times and half a time. When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed.'
This is a striking scene, is it not? Two more angels joined the one who had been talking to Daniel since the beginning of chapter 10. One appears on one side of the Tigris river and another on the other side. One of the angels cried across to the angel on the other side saying, Until when is the end of these marvels? (literal translation). Then, the original angel that had been with Daniel all along answered by prefacing his words with an oath to God Almighty and saying, It will be 3 1/2 years ... adding ... When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed. I take these words to refer to the refining of the Jewish people that takes place during the Tribulation. After all the Jews on earth have been thoroughly purged (broken), as predicted in Zechariah 13:9, then it will be over.
I heard, but I did not understand. So I asked, 'My lord, what will the outcome of all this be?' He replied, 'Go your way, Daniel, because the words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end. Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand. From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1,335 days. As for you, go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance.'
1290 days is 3 1/2 years. The reference to 1335 days adds an extra 45 days. No doubt, this second figure is a reference to a particular "red letter day" that is going to take place in Christ's Kingdom on Earth following his return. We will have to wait and see it for ourselves on that future, blessed day. You will notice that Daniel is assured that he will not miss out on it. He will rise, the angel says. The obvious import is that Daniel will personally be there to take part in that glorious day and to receive his allotted inheritance. That's an exciting thought, is it not? You and I have an inheritance coming to us as well, beloved. As you have it in Colossians 1:12,
...giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.
Before we leave the book of Daniel, I would like for us to ask ourselves a couple of questions. If God is the sovereign of history, as he has so thoroughly demonstrated here in the book of Daniel, how do you and I fit in? What part do we play? Is there significance to our lives? Let me try and answer these questions.
1. We are a significant and intricate part of the plan of God. Otherwise, we wouldn't be here. Psalm 139:14-17, says,
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Isn't that wonderful? When you and I were conceived in our mothers' womb ... when there was nothing but two cells ... God knew us and could see us fully grown ... as well as where we would be a billion years into eternity. Before the world was, he had already planned to call us into the kingdom of his dear Son. As we have it in Ephesians 1:3-6,
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will -- to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.
Now, is that significance or what!? Thank you, Lord! Amen? Praise God!
2. We were made for the glory of God. You and I first glorified God when we received Christ Jesus as our Lord and Savior. This was a huge part of the purpose of God for our lives. As you have it in Ephesians 2:6-7,
And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
We will forever and ever, be trophies of the grace and mercy of God. What an amazing purpose! We will forever be glorifying our God before every created being in all of his wide universe. All they will have to do is ... look at us.
3. We display God's power to change lives. How? Let me count the ways!
a. By the gifts of the Spirit. As we have it in I Corinthians 12:7-11,
Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.
God's Spirit gifts each of his children so they can bless their other brothers and sisters in Christ. My, how that brings purpose to our lives, aye?
b. By the fruit of the Spirit. They are listed for us in Galatians 5:22-23,
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Every child of God projecting the fruit of God's Holy Spirit ... is a person whose life has real purpose ... expressed over and over again, in countless ways.
c. By the Gospel. This is God's prescribed way to help poor lost people find the Savior. Did you notice, back in verse 3, that immediately after it predicted the resurrection and judgment of Israel, it said, Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. What a purpose, aye!? The angel was referring to those godly Jews who, during their lifetime on Earth, pointed others to the Savior and thereby changed their eternal destinies. However, I believe that statement goes even further than just those Jews that it refers to in the passage. It is a general truth that is also true of you and me. In sharing the good news about Christ Jesus with others, we too will shine like the stars for ever and ever! Dear child of God, that is another one of the wonderful purposes that God has for your life and mine. As our Lord so succinctly put it in John 20:21,
Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.
Our great God is the sovereign of history. And, in his great design and purpose, you and I are miracles of his creation, love and purpose. Thank you for reading this commentary. My prayer is that it will be used of God in your life to further his purposes and his wonderful plan in and for you ... to glorify his name.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission.
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