The Book of DANIEL
James J. Barker
WHAT SHALL BE THE END OF THESE THINGS?
- In our study in the book of Daniel, we have come to the final chapter, and it should be noted that chapter 12 is closely connected to chapter 11 (cf. 11:45; 12:1).
- In Daniel 11 we have an account of the rise and fall of the coming antichrist. "Yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him" (11:45b).
- Daniel gives a brief summary of his battles and military exploits, and finally his defeat at the second coming of Christ.
- Daniel 12 begins with, "And at that time (when antichrist is defeated) shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people (that is, for the children of Israel)" (12:1).
- In Bible prophecy (Olivet Discourse, II Thessalonians 2, the book of Revelation, etc.) the focus is always on Israel.
- As early as Deuteronomy 4:30, it was predicted that “in the latter days” the children of Israel would be “in tribulation" because of their sin and unbelief.
- The coming tribulation will be worldwide, but Israel will be in the middle of everything. Jeremiah 30:7 refers to the tribulation period as "the time of Jacob's trouble" (cf. Daniel 12:1).
- Therefore, the prophecies in the book of Daniel apply primarily to Israel, not to the church. Before these events in Daniel 12 come to pass, the church will have been raptured away as described in I Thessalonians 4:13-18.
- Daniel mentions various nations such as Babylon, Media-Persia, Greece, Rome, Syria, and Egypt, only because of their impact on Israel.
- The events outlined in Daniel 12 will not take place until during the tribulation period when the antichrist will go "forth conquering, and to conquer" (Rev. 6:2; cf. Daniel 11:40-45).
- He will trespass upon the holy land by planting the tabernacles of his palace between the Mediterranean Sea and the Dead Sea in the glorious holy mountain, i.e., Mount Zion.
- And at that time shall Michael stand up... (12:1). He is referred to in Jude 9 as "Michael the archangel" (cf. Daniel 10:13, 21).
THE GREAT TRIBULATION (12:1-3)
- The Bible speaks of the tribulation, and "the great tribulation." They are not synonymous terms.
- It is clear from Daniel 12:1 that the tribulation is such as has never taken place here on the earth. It will be a time of distress such has never occurred since there was a nation (Israel) until that time. Therefore it will be far worse than the Nazi Holocaust.
- According to Zechariah 13:8, two thirds of the Jews in Israel will die. "And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein."
- According to Daniel 9:24-27, the length of the tribulation will be seven years (Daniel seventieth "week").
- The Great Tribulation will be the second half of the tribulation period, three and one-half years in length, after the antichrist abominates the temple (cf. 12:11; 9:27).
- In His Olivet Discourse, our Lord referred to the abomination of desolation in the holy place, spoken of by Daniel the prophet (Matthew 24:15).
- He went on to say, "For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be" (Matt. 24:21).
- And then in Matthew 24:29 and 30, our Lord said, "Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory."
- Referring to the antichrist, Revelation 13:5 says, "And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months."
- The "forty and two months" refer to the second half of the seven-year tribulation period, that is, "the Great Tribulation" (cf. Rev. 12:6).
- There will be greater persecution during the latter part of the tribulation period (cf. Rev. 7:13, 14).
- Revelation 13:7 says the antichrist will "make war with the saints," and "overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations."
- Daniel 12:1 says, "and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book" (the book of life).
- The book of life is referred to many times in both the Old and the New Testament (Exodus 32:32, 33; Psalm 69:28; Luke 10:20; Revelation 13:8; 17:8; 20:15; 21:27).
- Jeremiah 30:7 says, "Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble, but he shall be saved out of it”
- A remnant of believing Jews will repent and "be delivered" (12:1).
THE RESURRECTIONS (12:2).
- Those who believe the Bible is the Word of God understand the importance of the resurrection from the dead.
- Daniel 12:2 says some shall awake to "everlasting life," and "some to shame and everlasting contempt."
- The term "everlasting life" is found many times in the New Testament, seven times in the Gospel of John, but this is the only time we see the words in the Old Testament.
- This is the only time we see term "everlasting contempt" in the Bible, but many similar terms are used, such as "everlasting fire," "everlasting punishment," "everlasting destruction," "eternal damnation," and "eternal judgment."
- In John 5:29, our Lord referred to two resurrections -- the resurrection of life and the resurrection of damnation. This is what we see here in Daniel 12:2. The saved go to heaven, and the wicked go to hell.
- The doctrine of the resurrection is taught all throughout Scripture. Job, who probably lived around the same time as Abraham, said, “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God” (Job 19:25, 26).
- Abraham believed in the resurrection from the dead. When he was willing to offer up Isaac on Mount Moriah, Genesis 22:5 says, "And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and (we will) come again to you."
- Referring to Abraham's faith, Hebrews 11:19 says, "Accounting that God was able to raise him (Isaac) up, even from the dead..."
- Daniel 12:2 teaches that those "that sleep in the dust of the earth" (those who have died and are buried) will be raised from the dead to join those still alive after the great tribulation, when Christ returns.
- Romans 11:26 says, "And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written (in Isaiah 59:20), There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob."
- Israelites who survive the tribulation period "shall be saved" (Romans 11:26) and will be joined by the Old Testament saints who will be raised from the dead.
- The Old Testament saints will not be raised before the tribulation begins, when the church is raptured. The resurrection of the Old Testament believers will take place at the same time as the restoration of Israel at the second coming of Christ.
- Some people believe in a "general resurrection" and a "general judgment." But the Bible doesn't teach that.
- In John 11:24, Martha saith to our Lord, "I know that he (Lazarus) shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day."
- The book of Revelation fills in many of the details that are unclear. For example, Revelation 20:4-6 teaches that those believers who will have died in the tribulation period will also be raised after the tribulation.
- Revelation 20 teaches that the Great White Throne Judgment will take place after "the thousand years are expired." Since the resurrection and the judgment of the wicked will be at the close of the millennial kingdom, there cannot be a "general resurrection" where everyone is resurrected at the same time.
- Revelation 20:4 says the righteous will live and reign with Christ for a thousand years. Then Revelation 20:5 says, “But the rest of the dead live not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.”
- The resurrection of the wicked (the second resurrection) is described in Revelation 20:12, 13. Therefore, Daniel 12:2 cannot be describing a "general resurrection."
- A literal and normal interpretation of Revelation 20 "would indicate that the resurrection of the righteous occurred at the beginning of the thousand years and the resurrection of the wicked at the end of the thousand years (Rev 20:12-14)" (John Walvoord, Daniel, The Key to Prophetic Revelation).
- It is also true that Daniel 12:2 seems to indicate that the resurrection of the righteous and the resurrection of the wicked will occur at the same time, but it is not unusual for the Old Testament prophets to predict events separated by a considerable span of time as if they would take place at the same time.
- For example, it has been said that the Old Testament prophets saw the first coming of Christ and the second coming of Christ as two mountain peaks right next to each other. But there is a great big valley between these two peaks, and the entire church age — the period between the first and second coming of Christ is passed over.
- For example, Isaiah 61:1, 2 says, "The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God."
- "The day of vengeance of our God" refers to the second coming of Christ. It is interesting that when our Lord visited the synagogue in Nazareth, He stopped reading before He came to "the day of vengeance of our God" (Luke 4:16-19; cf. Scofield Bible, pg. 1077).
GOD WILL REWARD THE RIGHTEOUS (12:3)
- Following the resurrection of believers, God will reward their faithfulness (12:3).
- Daniel 12 does not refer here to the judgment of the wicked, because that will take place after the millennium.
- The resurrection and punishment of the wicked will take place "when the thousand years are expired" according to Revelation 20.
- Those who are part in the first resurrection ("shall awake...to everlasting life") are described as “wise” in that they were able to see through the unbelief and wickedness of their generation.
- Are you wise? (cf. Daniel 12:10)
- They that behave themselves wisely are obedient to God, and their reward is that they "shall shine as the brightness of the firmament."
- They are wise, and are described as having turned “many to righteousness.” Proverbs 11:30 says, "He that winneth souls is wise." Are you wise?
- Our Lord said in Matthew 13:43, "Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father."
- If you have never led anyone to the Lord, let me tell you it is one of the greatest experiences that anyone could possibly have.
- The Bible says, they that turn many to righteousness shall shine "as the stars for ever and ever" (Dan. 12:3).
- Who does the world consider "wise"? Scientists, educators, philosophers, poets, businessmen, military leaders, politicians, etc. These are considered the great men and women of the earth.
- But who does God call "wise"? (Daniel 12:3)
- In God’s sight, it is those who have trusted Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour that are wise.
- Are you wise?
- It is those who have trusted Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour that are in God’s Book of Life (Daniel 12:1b).
- Is your name in the Book of Life?
- When the rewards are handed out in heaven, will you be there?
- These "shining stars" are not just preachers and missionaries but soulwinners "that turn many to righteousness."