Daniel 12
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
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.

Da 12:1-13. Conclusion of the Vision (Tenth through Twelfth Chapters) AND Epilogue to the Book.

Compare Da 12:4, 13; as Da 12:6, 7 refer to Da 7:25, that is, to the time of Antichrist, so the subsequent Da 12:8-12 treat of the time of Antiochus (compare Da 12:11 with Da 11:31), thus putting together in one summary view the two great periods of distress. The political resurrection of the Jews under the Maccabees is the starting-point of transition to the literal resurrection about to follow the destruction of Antichrist by Christ's coming in glory. The language passes here from the nearer to the more remote event, to which alone it is fully applicable.

1. at that time—typically, towards the close of Antiochus' reign; antitypically, the time when Antichrist is to be destroyed at Christ's coming.

Michael—the guardian angel of Israel ("thy people"), (Da 10:13). The transactions on earth affecting God's people have their correspondences in heaven, in the conflict between good and bad angels; so at the last great contest on earth which shall decide the ascendency of Christianity (Re 12:7-10). An archangel, not the Lord Jesus; for he is distinguished from "the Lord" in Jude 9.

there shall be—rather, "it shall be."

time of trouble, such as never was—partially applicable to the time of Antiochus, who was the first subverter of the Jews' religion, and persecutor of its professors, which no other world power had done. Fully applicable to the last times of Antichrist, and his persecutions of Israel restored to Palestine. Satan will be allowed to exercise an unhindered, unparalleled energy (Isa 26:20, 21; Jer 30:7; Mt 24:21; compare Da 8:24, 25; 11:36).

thy people shall be delivered—(Ro 11:26). The same deliverance of Israel as in Zec 13:8, 9, "the third part … brought through the fire … refined as silver." The remnant in Israel spared, as not having joined in the Antichristian blasphemy (Re 14:9, 10); not to be confounded with those who have confessed Christ before His coming, "the remnant according to the election of grace" (Ro 11:5), part of the Church of the first-born who will share His millennial reign in glorified bodies; the spared remnant (Isa 10:21) will only know the Lord Jesus when they see Him, and when the spirit of grace and supplication is poured out on them [Tregelles].

written in the book—namely, of God's secret purpose, as destined for deliverance (Ps 56:8; 69:28; Lu 10:20; Re 20:15; 21:27). Metaphor from a muster-roll of citizens (Ne 7:5).

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.
2. many … that sleep—"many from among the sleepers … these shall be unto everlasting life; but those (the rest of the sleepers who do not awake at this time) shall be unto shame" [Tregelles]. Not the general resurrection, but that of those who share in the first resurrection; the rest of the dead being not to rise till the end of the thousand years (Re 20:3, 5, 6; compare 1Co 15:23; 1Th 4:16). Israel's national resurrection, and the first resurrection of the elect Church, are similarly connected with the Lord's coming forth out of His place to punish the earth in Isa 26:19, 21; 27:6. Compare Isa 25:6-9. The Jewish commentators support Tregelles. Auberlen thinks the sole purpose for which the resurrection is introduced in this verse is an incitement to faithful perseverance in the persecutions of Antiochus; and that there is no chronological connection between the time of trouble in Da 12:1 and the resurrection in Da 12:2; whence the phrase, "at that time," twice occurs in Da 12:1, but no fixing of time in Da 12:2, 3; 2 Maccabees 7:9, 14, 23, shows the fruit of this prophecy in animating the Maccabean mother and her sons to brave death, while confessing the resurrection in words like those here. Compare Heb 11:35. Newton's view that "many" means all, is not so probable; for Ro 5:15, 19, which he quotes, is not in point, since the Greek is "the many," that is, all, but there is no article in the Hebrew here. Here only in the Old Testament is "everlasting life" mentioned.
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.
3. wise—(Pr 11:30). Answering to "they that understand" (Da 11:33, 35), the same Hebrew, Maskilim; Israelites who, though in Jerusalem when wickedness is coming to a head, are found intelligent witnesses against it. As then they appeared worn out with persecutions (typically, of Antiochus; antitypically, of Antichrist); so now in the resurrection they "shine as the brightness of the firmament." The design of past afflictions here appears "to make them white" (Mt 13:43; Re 7:9, 14).

turn … to righteousness—literally, "justify," that is, convert many to justification through Christ (Jas 5:20).

stars—(1Co 15:41, 42).

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.
4. shut up … seal the book—John, on the contrary, is told (Re 22:10) not to seal his visions. Daniel's prophecy refers to a distant time, and is therefore obscure for the immediate future, whereas John's was to be speedily fulfilled (Re 1:1, 3; 22:6). Israel, to whom Daniel prophesied after the captivity, with premature zeal sought after signs of the predicted period: Daniel's prophecy was designed to restrain this. The Gentile Church, on the contrary, for whom John wrote, needs to be impressed with the shortness of the period, as it is, owing to its Gentile origin, apt to conform to the world, and to forget the coming of the Lord (compare Mt 25:13, 19; Mr 13:32-37; 2Pe 3:8, 12; Re 22:20).

run to and fro—not referring to the modern rapidity of locomotion, as some think, nor to Christian missionaries going about to preach the Gospel to the world at large [Barnes], which the context scarcely admits; but, whereas now but few care for this prophecy of God, "at the time of the end," that is, near its fulfilment, "many shall run to and fro," that is, scrutinize it, running through every page. Compare Hab 2:2 [Calvin]: it is thereby that "the knowledge (namely, of God's purposes as revealed in prophecy) shall be increased." This is probably being now fulfilled.

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.
5. A vision of two other angels, one on one side of the Hiddekel or Tigris, the other on the other side, implying that on all sides angels attend to execute God's commands. The angel addressing Daniel had been over the river "from above" (Da 12:6, Margin).
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?
6. one—namely, of the two (Da 12:5).

man … in linen—who had spoken up to this point. God impelled the angel to ask in order to waken us out of our torpor, seeing that the very "angels desire to look into" the things affecting man's redemption (1Pe 1:12), as setting forth the glory of their Lord and ours (Eph 3:10).

How long … to the end of these wonders—This question of the angel refers to the final dealings of God in general, Antichrist's overthrow, and the resurrection. Daniel's question (Da 12:8) refers to the more immediate future of his nation [Auberlen].

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.
7. held up … right … and … left hand—Usually the right hand was held up in affirmation as an appeal to heaven to attest the truth (De 32:40; Re 10:5, 6). Here both hands are lifted up for the fuller confirmation.

time, times, and a half—(See on [1111]Da 7:25). Newton, referring this prophecy to the Eastern apostasy, Mohammedanism, remarks that the same period of three and a half years, or 1260 prophetic days, is assigned to it as the Western apostasy of the little horn (Da 7:25); and so, says Prideaux, Mohammed began to forge his imposture, retiring to his cave, A.D. 606, the very year that Phocas made the grant to the bishop of Rome, whence he assumed the title, The Universal Pastor; Antichrist thus setting both his feet on Christendom together, the one in the East, and the other in the West. Three and a half is the time of the world power, in which the earthly kingdoms rule over the heavenly [Auberlen]. "Three and a half" represents the idea of spiritual trial; (besides this certain symbolical meaning, there is doubtless an accurate chronological meaning, which is as yet to us uncertain): it is half of "seven," the complete number, so a semi-perfect state, one of probation. The holy city is trodden by the Gentiles forty-two months (Re 11:2), so the exercise of the power of the beast (Re 13:5). The two witnesses preach in sackcloth 1260 days, and remained unburied three days and a half: so the woman in the wilderness: also the same for a "time, times, and a half" (Re 11:3, 9, 11; 12:6, 14). Forty-two connects the Church with Israel, whose haltings in the wilderness were forty-two (Nu 33:1-50). The famine and drought on Israel in Elijah's days were for "three years and six months" (Lu 4:25; Jas 5:17); there same period as Antiochus' persecution: so the ministry of the Man of Sorrows, which ceased in the midst of a week (Da 9:27) [Wordsworth, Apocalypse].

scatter … holy people—"accomplished" here answers to "the consummation" (Da 9:27), namely, the "pouring out" of the last dregs of the curse on the "desolated holy people." Israel's lowest humiliation (the utter "scattering of her power") is the precursor of her exaltation, as it leads her to seek her God and Messiah (Mt 23:39).

And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things?
8. understood not—Daniel "understood" the main features of the vision as to Antiochus (Da 10:1, 14), but not as to the times. 1Pe 1:10-12 refers mainly to Daniel: for it is he who foretells "the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow"; it is he who prophesies "not unto himself, but unto us"; it is he who "searched what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ in him did signify."
And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.
9. Daniel's desire of knowing more is thus deferred "till the time of the end." John's Revelation in part reveals what here is veiled (see on [1112]Da 12:4; [1113]Da 8:26).
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.
10. There is no need of a fuller explanation as to the time; for when the predictions so far given shall have come to pass, the godly shall be "purified" by the foretold trials and shall understand that the end is at hand; but the wicked shall not understand, and so shall rush on to their own ruin (Da 11:33-35) [Maurer]. The "end" is primarily, of Antiochus' persuasion; antitypically, the end of Antichrist's. It is the very clearness in the main which renders necessary the obscurity. The fulfilment of God's decree is not a mere arithmetical problem which the profane may understand by arithmetical calculations, but a holy enigma to stimulate to a faithful observance of God's ways, and to a diligent study of the history of God's people [Auberlen]. To this Christ refers (Mt 24:15), "Whose readeth, let him understand."
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.
11. from … sacrifice … taken way … abomination—(Da 11:31). As to this epoch, which probably is prophetically germinant and manifold; the profanation of the temple by Antiochus (in the month Ijar of the year 145 B.C., till the restoration of the worship by Judas Maccabeus on the twenty-fifth day of the ninth month [Chisleu] of 148 B.C., according to the Seleucid era, 1290 days; forty-five days more elapsed before Antiochus' death in the month Shebat of 148 B.C., so ending the Jews' calamities [Maurer]); by pagan Rome, after Christ's death; by Mohammed; by Antichrist, the culmination of apostate Rome. The "abomination" must reach its climax (see Auberlen's translation, "summit," Da 9:27), and the measure of iniquity be full, before Messiah comes.

thousand two hundred and ninety days—a month beyond the "time, times, and a half" (Da 12:7). In Da 12:12, forty-five days more are added, in all 1335 days. Tregelles thinks Jesus at His coming will deliver the Jews. An interval elapses, during which their consciences are awakened to repentance and faith in Him. A second interval elapses in which Israel's outcasts are gathered, and then the united blessing takes place. These stages are marked by the 1260, 1290, and 1335 days. Cumming thinks the 1260 years begin when Justinian in A. D. 533 subjected the Eastern churches to John II, bishop of Rome; ending in 1792, when the Code Napoleon was established and the Pope was dishonored. 1290 reach to 1822, about the time of the waning of the Turkish power, the successor to Greece in the empire of the East. Forty-five years more end in 1867, the end of "the times of the Gentiles." See Le 26:24, "seven times," that is, 7 X 360, or 2520 years: 652 B.C. is the date of Judah's captivity, beginning under Manasseh; 2520 from this date end in 1868, thus nearly harmonizing with the previous date, 1867. See on [1114]Da 8:14. The seventh millenary of the world [Clinton] begins in 1862. Seven years to 1869 (the date of the second advent) constitute the reign of the personal Antichrist; in the last three and a half, the period of final tribulation, Enoch (or else Moses) and Elijah, the two witnesses, prophesy in sackcloth. This theory is very dubious (compare Mt 24:36; Ac 1:7; 1Th 5:2; 2Pe 3:10); still the event alone can tell whether the chronological coincidences of such theories are fortuitous, or solid data on which to fix the future times. Hales makes the periods 1260, 1290, 1335, begin with the Roman destruction of Jerusalem and end with the precursory dawn of the Reformation, the preaching of Wycliffe and Huss.

Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.
But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.
13. rest—in the grave (Job 3:17; Isa 57:2). He, like his people Israel, was to wait patiently and confidently for the blessing till God's time. He "received not the promise," but had to wait until the Christian elect saints should be brought in, at the first resurrection, that he and the older Old Testament saints "without us should not be made perfect" (Heb 11:40).

stand—implying justification unto life, as opposed to condemnation (Ps 1:5).

thy lot—image from the allotment of the earthly Canaan.

A Commentary, Critical, Practical, and Explanatory on the Old and New Testaments by Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset and David Brown [1882]

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