In eternity before His incarnation the Messiah had been speaking personally to the prophet Daniel. Through several visions the Lord had revealed the future to Daniel, not only the future history of the world empires to come after Daniel’s time but also what would happen in the last days leading up to and including the Second Coming of the Messiah Himself.
Like all of the Hebrew prophets Daniel prophesied for three time frames. Firstly, for his own time, secondly for the first coming of the Messiah and thirdly for the last days including the Second Coming of the Messiah and in some prophecies also including the Millennial Messianic reign of the Messiah after He has come back to earth. In the Book of Daniel we see the Messiah Himself in his pre-incarnate form as the eternal Word of God before He took upon Himself a flesh and blood body, appearing to Daniel and revealing future events to him (Daniel 10:4-6). The description Daniel gives of the Messiah corresponds to the same description Ezekiel gave of the Messiah who also appeared in His pre-incarnate form to him (Ezekiel 1:25-28)
After the Messiah had risen physically and ascended to heaven He was a glorified man but arrayed in His former glory and splendour at the Father’s right hand. The Apostle John saw the living and eternal Word of God Himself and the description John gives of Him mirrors the descriptions given by the prophets Ezekiel and Daniel and John gives us a more comprehensive description of the Messiah our Lord Jesus (Revelation 1:9-18).
While God spoke to His prophets through dreams and visions He often appeared to them personally and spoke His Word to them. He would appear in human form but did not have a flesh and blood body until his incarnation in the womb of the Virgin Mary. It was at the time He was conceived supernaturally by the Holy Spirit that the eternal living Word of God Himself became flesh and tabernacled among us (John 1:1-2, 14). One might say that the womb of Mary symbolised the Ark of the Covenant wherein rested the Shekinah Glory of God fully manifested in the Messiah our Lord Jesus being fully divine and fully human. As we are told in the Book of Colossians that, “He is the (visible and exact) image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15).
In the Old Testament whenever we read that the Word of the Lord came to a prophet it was the pre-incarnate Son of God who personally appeared to them and spoke to them and opened their minds and hearts to receive what He told them. One example of this is in the case of the prophet Samuel when he was a little boy in the temple and God spoke to him. Three times the Lord spoke to little Samuel and he thought it was Eli the aged priest calling to him. The old priest recognised that it was the Lord calling to Samuel and instructed the boy what to do. The fourth time the Lord spoke to Samuel at the foot of Samuel’s bed. We read that “The Lord came and stood there, calling as at other times, “Samuel. Samuel.” (1 Samuel 2:10).
Now in Daniel Chapter 12 we have a continuation of the time of the end as described in the previous chapters of Daniel. In Chapter 11:36-45 we have a description of the military campaign of the Antichrist who calls himself God and magnifies himself above all that is called God (Daniel 11:36-38). It is the same one described in 2nd Thessalonians 2:3-4 who commits the abomination of desolation in the temple at Jerusalem (Matthew 24:15). The man of sin we are told in Daniel Chapter 11:36-45 will be a man of war and his god a god of fortresses which exactly describes Islam today with its ideology of the sword (Daniel 11:38). He will attack the mightiest of fortresses with the help of a foreign god which would be the ‘god’ of the Muslims (Daniel 11:39). We are also told that as the last king of the north he will fight against the last king of the south and invade many lands and especially the Holy land and set up his headquarters at Jerusalem where he will experience his demise (Daniel 11:40-45). It is at this time that the Messiah tells Daniel about the culmination of the time of the end. Now let’s begin.
Daniel Chapter 12 (Exposition)
(Vs.1-2) “Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued. Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.”
Michael is God’s Archangel of War. Here we are told that he is the great prince who stands guard over Israel and goes to bat for God’s people Israel in this time of great distress unequalled in past history and never to be equalled again in the future. In Daniel Chapter 10 from the prophetic perspective we see Michael assisting the Messiah in their battle against the Principality over Iran who was seeking to stop Daniel’s prayer from being answered because it was on behalf of Israel. This principality resisted the Messiah and Michael for 21 days before the breakthrough came and Daniel’s prayer was answered. This was happening in the unseen spiritual realm where time as we know it down here on earth does not exist (Daniel 10:12-13). The contest in the unseen spiritual realm was connected to the future and to the end times (Daniel 10; 14).
In the future Michael will fight with the Lord Jesus against the same Principality over Persia (Iran today) when they take the fight to Israel. Following this, the principality over ‘Greece’ (Hebrew-Yavan / Ionia is Turkey today) will seek to destroy Israel (Daniel 10:20-21). In this time of the Great Trouble Michael will be fighting for Israel. There will be a final confrontation between Michael and his angels with Satan and his angels in the unseen spiritual realm during the time of Great Tribulation where Israel will be centre stage in which Satan and his angels will be cast down to earth (Revelation 12:7-9). While this battle rages in the atmosphere just above the surface of the earth Satan will be seeking to destroy Israel and her offspring New Covenant believers spiritually grafted into Israel (Revelation 12:1-6, 10-17). This will last for a time, times and half a time being the three and a half years of the time of Great Tribulation (Revelation 12:14). While Israel is to pass through this Time of Jacob’s Trouble the surviving remnant in Israel will be saved out of it and Israel completely restored nationally and spiritually and be under the kingship of the Messiah our Lord Jesus (Jeremiah 30:1-10).
This time of great distress in Daniel Chapter 12:1 is the same period of time spoken about by the Lord Jesus when He said; “For then there will be a great tribulation (thlipsis), such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short” (Matthew 24:21-22). This is the time of Great Tribulation lasting for three and a half years (42 months, 1,260 days, a time, times and half a time). It is also clear that “the elect” are in the middle of this time of Great Tribulation. The “elect” are the faithful remnant of New Covenant believers in Israel and the gentile believers spiritually grafted into Israel being one flock under one shepherd being one new man in the Messiah (John 10:16) (Romans 11:17-18) (Ephesians 2:11-22). The term “elect” cannot be restricted to only believing Jews but applies to all New Covenant believers in the New Testament (2 Timothy 2:10) (Titus 1:1) (1 Peter 1:1).
At this time of great distress Satan will be going all out to destroy Israel and by inclusion and extension the faithful body of the Messiah. The Dragon goes after the woman, being the faithful remnant in Israel chosen by God’s foreknowledge and grace, but he cannot destroy them because God protects them, and so the Dragon Satan, through the man of sin and his beast empire goes after Israel’s spiritual offspring among the Gentiles being “those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus” (Revelation 12:17). The faithful remnant of believing Jews and Gentiles goes into this time of Great Tribulation but they are rescued out of it at the end by the rapture and resurrection.
The Lord Jesus affirmed this when He said; “But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other” (Matthew 24:29-31).
It is clear that the rapture and resurrection of all faithful New Covenant believers will occur “immediately after the tribulation (thlipsis) of those days.” This time of Great tribulation or stress will suddenly come upon Israel, the Church and the whole world at large when the man of sin occupies the temple Mount, erects an image of himself and his empire in a rebuilt structure of the Temple. Spiritual survival will be the only option for believers at this time who will have to leave whatever attachments they have to this world’s material possessions and flee trusting the Lord to sustain and provide for them (Matthew 24:15-20). At this time most likely the mark of the beast system of government will come into effect throughout the empire of the man of sin.
This is why Spirit-filled fellowship and prayer around the word is vital for our spiritual survival in these last days (Acts 2:42-47; 4:23-35). If we cannot stand together we will never stand-alone unless special grace is given. In those days believers will need each other. We must stand together as they did in the Book of Acts because the believers knew that the destruction of Jerusalem would come as the Lord Jesus had predicted and they were preparing themselves ahead of time. They also knew that religious structures and the religious system would not save them in the end because the Temple itself would be destroyed.
During the siege of Jerusalem by the Romans there was a brief pause in the siege and Simeon the leading Bishop at that time in Jerusalem led the faithful believers through the enemy lines to safety undetected because they were supernaturally protected. I think Michael was doing his job at that time! Those who escaped knew the time would come when they would have to up and leave everything behind and get out of the city before it was destroyed. Once they were clear of the city the siege re-commenced until the city fell and the Temple was completely destroyed as the Lord Jesus had predicted some 40 years before it happened (Matthew 24:1-2).
One thing we must all keep before our eyes as New Covenant believers is that the rescue is coming. While as New Covenant believers we are destined for tribulation (thlipsis) we are not destined for wrath (orge/thumos) (1 Thessalonians 1:10; 3:3; 5:9). Tribulation is not wrath. There are different words used in the Greek text to distinguish tribulation from wrath. Israel and by extension and inclusion the faithful Body of the Messiah, will go into the time of Great Tribulation but be rescued out of it at the end. (Jeremiah 30:1-10). If your name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life you will have tribulation in this world as our Lord Jesus had experienced and said we would also have the same experience as His bond slaves (John 15:18-21).
Also notice in Daniel 12:2 that there is a resurrection of both the saved and the unsaved. The saved physically rise to everlasting immortality and life while the unsaved physically rise to inherit disgrace and everlasting contempt. At the end of this age every human being will either end up co-reigning with the Messiah on earth and ultimately entering the final and perfect state or end up in hell. When the Lord Jesus comes back every New Covenant believer will be raptured and resurrected to inherit God’s kingdom on earth and for all of eternity. Believers will stand before the judgment seat of the Messiah to be judged for their works but will never be judged for their sins because they were judged and atoned for at the cross by the pure untainted blood of the Messiah (2 Corinthians 5:10).
A thousand years later after the Messianic Age on earth every unbeliever will be bodily resurrected out of Hades (Hell) to be sentenced for their rejection of the salvation found only in the Lord Jesus and consigned to the lake of fire from which there is no reprieve (Revelation 20:11-15). This is why we must be saved through repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus to save us, be baptised, receive forgiveness for our sin, be washed from our sins in His atoning blood and receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:37-39) (1 John 1:7-9) (Romans 3:21-26) (Romans 5:9) (Ephesians 1:7). Now let’s continue with the text
(Vs.3-4) “Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. But as for you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time; many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase.”
When Antiochus Epiphanes the Seleucid Greek tyrant came to Israel, seemingly at first bringing an offering of peace and that with flattery which spiritually seduced many of the Jewish leaders, there were a small group of patriots and Godly Jews who knew their God and firmly resisted Antiochus and who knew what Antiochus’ real agenda was and they sought to warn their fellow Jews. Many were betrayed by their fellow Jews who themselves had apostatised and consequently turned them into the Greek authorities who had them killed. Many faithful Jewish believers fell by the sword, were burned, were captured or plundered. Many of the wise who had insight were purified spiritually through persecution. Once Antiochus showed his real intent a resistance movement started in Israel headed up by the Maccabees who after several years of warfare managed to overthrow the Seleucid Greeks and drive them out of Israel and then re-consecrate the Temple. The Jewish people remember this great victory with the celebration of Hanukkah (Daniel 11:31-35).
Now we are told here in Daniel Chapter 12 that those who have insight (wisdom from God) and seek to warn their fellow believers will shine as bright as the expanse of the heavens lit up by the full radiance of the sun and that those who lead many into the paths of righteousness will shine like the stars and that forever and ever! In the Last Days righteousness, evangelism and discipleship will be the conspicuous mark of God’s elect people. As the Apostle Paul writes; “Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as luminous stars in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of the Anointed Messiah I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain” (Philippians 2:14-16).
Then we are told that Daniel was to conceal the words of the Book and that it would stay sealed until the end of this present age when it will be unsealed. This unsealing would start to occur in a time when people moved very swiftly across the face of the earth which would describe the times in which we live with air travel between countries and could also be applied even more so to advancing technology racing ahead in leaps and bounds. Since 1948, when Israel was reborn, and then in 1967 when the IDF captured east Jerusalem including the Temple Mount, God’s prophetic timeclock had started ticking again. Israel is God’s prophetic timeclock for the nations and in 70AD it temporarily broke down. However, after almost 2,000 years of exile the clock, having been repaired by the Lord, started ticking again in 1948. It was a nation reborn in a day in a time of great trouble for the Jewish people (Isaiah 66:7-9). Today God’s prophetic timeclock for the nations is nearing the stroke of midnight when everything will change in Israel, in wider Christendom and in the world at large! Now let’s continue.
(Vs.5-7) “Then I, Daniel, looked and behold, two others were standing, one on this bank of the river and the other on that bank of the river. And one said to the man dressed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, “How long will it be until the end of these wonders?” I heard the man dressed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, as he raised his right hand and his left toward heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever that it would be for a time, times, and half a time; and as soon as they finish shattering the power of the holy people, all these events will be completed.”
The man dressed in Linen was the Messiah and the other two were heavenly beings. One of these beings asked the Messiah how long it would be until the end occurred concerning the wonders that had been revealed to Daniel. The Messiah raised His right hand and His left towards heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever being God the Father, that this final end-time conflict would be for a time, times and half a time, in other words for three and a half years or 42 months. During this time the man of sin will wear down the saints of the Most High and they will be greatly decimated in Israel and in the wider Body of the Messiah throughout the empire of the man of sin (Daniel 7:25) (Revelation 13:5-7).
When the three and a half years have finished for the sake of God’s beleaguered and persecuted elect saints, and for the very survival of the whole world, God Himself will cut those days short and send His Son back to destroy all opposition, establish His reign and subdue the remaining nations and ruling over them with a Rod of Iron (Matthew 24:21-22) (Psalm 2:9). After the Lord Jesus has come back the saints will at that time inherit the Kingdom on earth (Daniel 7:21-22, 26-27). It will be a faithful remnant that will co-reign with the Messiah from His headquarters at Jerusalem (Revelation 2:26-27) (Revelation 5:10) (Isaiah 2:1-5) (Micah 4:1-5). Now let’s continue.
(Vs.8-9) “As for me, I heard but could not understand; so I said, “My lord, what will be the outcome of these events?” He said, “Go your way, Daniel, for these words are concealed and sealed up until the end time.”
In God’s Word we are told that, “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law (the Torah)” (Deuteronomy 29:29). The things God has hidden and has not as yet revealed will remain a secret no matter how they are probed by well- meaning men who love God and seek to know and to understand His Word. Only the blessed Holy Spirit can reveal the hidden depths of spiritual truth and insight and this also applies to Biblical prophecy (John 16:13). Since the rebirth of Israel in 1948, an event foretold in God’s word (Isaiah 66:7-9), God has started to unseal what has been sealed up for several thousand years. There is no doubt we are living in the last of the last days which started at Pentecost over 2,000 years ago (Acts 2:17-21) (Joel 2:28-32). This is why as New Covenant believers we need to have a basic understanding of Biblical Prophecy because it will be as to a light shining in a dark place.
Many brothers and sisters in the Messiah are confused and alarmed at what is happening in the world today because they have no basic knowledge of Bible prophecy and part of the problem is that their pastors by and large are not teaching on it and there are also many out there who are extreme when it comes to teaching on it. However, without the light of Biblical prophecy all will be darkness and confusion. On the other hand if we have a basic understanding of Biblical prophecy then we will have hope and light in a dark world that is getting darker every day (2 Peter 1:19-21). We must not ignore the prophecies of scripture! If we do it will be to our own peril! And then we read…
(Vs.10) “Many will be purged, purified and refined, but the wicked will act wickedly; and none of the wicked will understand, but those who have insight will understand.”
Purging, purifying and refining will be the lot of every faithful New Covenant believer in the last days because God wants us to be with Him forever and must deal with our fleshly nature and our attachment to the things of this world. We are told in the New Testament “that through much tribulation (thlipsis) we must enter the kingdom of God (Acts 14:22).” We are also told that, “All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness” (Hebrews 12:11-13). God disciplines His children and the method He uses varies according to each believer’s personality. With some He is quite gentle while with others He seems to be harsher, yet the end result will be the spiritual fruit of peace and righteousness for all who have been trained by it. He knows how best to discipline us.
As we seek to abide in Him moment by moment by faith and draw from His spiritual resources by the power of the Holy Spirit He will change us from within and do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. While we have our part to play in desiring and seeking to be obedient to His Word the blessed Holy Spirit will be at work deep down on the inside of us conforming us in ever increasing measure to the image of the Messiah our Lord Jesus. To this we have been predestined by the foreknowledge and calling of God and He uses all things to accomplish this sanctification deep within the spirit and the soul (Romans 8:28-30).
This spiritually purifying process will impart to us that holiness without which no one shall see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14). While God disciplines us for our good we are also encouraged by Him to keep on keeping on and not to give up. As we read in Hebrews 12:11-13 “Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed”
All of us as New Covenant believers are on a spiritual journey and many of us still feel we are weak spiritually and in need every day of God’s enabling power through the blessed Holy Spirit the best friend, counsellor, and guide we can ever have who always knows what should be done and said and in the way it should be done and said, not only in our lives, but in the lives of our brothers and sisters in the Messiah our Lord Jesus (Romans 8:26-27). In Hebrews 12:11-13 our hands have to do with our actions being the things we do and get ourselves involved in. Our knees relate to our prayers which at times are best answered on our knees in God’s presence. Our feet are the path we walk every day.
If we hunger and thirst after righteousness then we will be filled with it (Matthew 5:6). Sadly many today hunger and thirst for miracles, signs and wonders but very few hunger and thirst for the righteousness that God gives to all who put their faith in the Lord Jesus and desire to walk moment by moment in the Holy Spirit. As we submit our bodies to God He gets the contents as well and through the work of the blessed Holy Spirit enables us not to be conformed to this world or to its mould but to be transformed by the renewing of our mind through the Word of God (Romans 12:1-2). If we are conscious that we are weak and slow in what we do for the Lord then ask God for strength to do what pleases Him all of the time even though we will miss it at times. Make time to kneel before the Lord, for at His feet there will be power and strength to handle whatever Satan throws our way because we are in a spiritual battle and at times he will seek to wear us down to the point where we will give up.
Then we are to walk according to the light of God’s Word because it will prove to be a lamp unto our feet and a light to our path and will show us the spiritual potholes to avoid as we follow the light received from His Word (Psalm 119:105) (Psalm 19:11). In this way whatever is out of joint in us spiritually speaking will be healed. As for the wicked who persist in their wickedness they will not understand or have any insight into what is transpiring in the last days leading up to and including the Second Coming of the Messiah our Lord Jesus because the natural man without the Holy Spirit cannot discern spiritual truth and realities Biblically speaking. Only those who have the Holy Spirit on the inside of them will understand spiritual truth and the truth concerning the end times (1 Corinthians 2:12-16) (Daniel 11:33) (2 Peter 1:19-21).
And so we conclude:
(Vs.11-13) “From the time that the regular sacrifice is abolished and the horrible abomination of desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. How blessed is he who keeps waiting and attains to the 1,335 days! But as for you, go your way to the end; then you will enter into rest and rise again for your allotted portion at the end of the age.”
The time of Great Tribulation will commence with the abomination of desolation which will be the image of the man of sin and that also represents his empire installed in a rebuilt temple or structure in which the sacrifices and offerings have been offered and he will put an end to this just as Antiochus did in the Temple at Jerusalem (Daniel 7:23-25; 8:11-12; 11:31) (Matthew 24:15) (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4). Now prophetically speaking we also know that this time period that commences with the abomination will be for 1,260 days which is the equivalent of 42 months or three and a half years in duration (Daniel 7:25) (Revelation 11:2-3) (Revelation 12:6; 13:5-7).
Now we are also told in Daniel Chapter 12 that from the time of the abomination of desolation, being 1,260 days, that the days will be extended by 30 days which equals the 1,290 days because the Lord will have returned and started to establish His Messianic rule and government, having dealt with the man of sin and put down all opposition. We do know for seven years after the return of the Messiah that the Jews will be burning the weapons and using them for fuel. It is clear that the weapons will be somehow made of combustible material. We are also told that because of the huge number of the enemy corpses it will take a further seven months to finish cleansing the land of Israel by burying the armies of the man of sin which will see the cleansing of the land finally completed (Ezekiel 39:9-16).
Then we are told that those who persevere and wait another 45 days making up in total 1, 335 days will really be blessed as it may well refer to either the judgement of the sheep and goat nations (Matthew 25:31-46) or to the commencement of the rebuilding of the Millennial Temple on the original site of Mt Zion which will be something to behold (Ezekiel 40-42), or applies to both events happening simultaneously. We are not specifically told what will actually occur after the 1,290 and up to the 1,335 days. However we do know that after the Lord Jesus has been installed as King on God’s Holy Mountain all the surviving nations year by year will have to go up to the Mountain of the Lord to worship Him in His Millennial Temple on Mt Zion in the City of David and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles (Zechariah 14:6-11, 16-21).
As the prophet Isaiah writes; “In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills, and all nations will stream to it. Many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us His ways, so that we may walk in His paths.” The law (Torah) will go out from Zion, the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. Come, descendants of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the Lord” (Isaiah 2:1-5).
As Zechariah also prophesies; “And many peoples and strong nations will come to seek the LORD of Hosts in Jerusalem and to plead before the LORD.” This is what the LORD of Hosts says: “In those days ten men from the nations of every tongue will tightly grasp the robe of a Jew, saying, ‘Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you’” (Zechariah 8:22-23).
And so Daniel is told by His Messiah that at the end of the age after a long life serving his generation in the will of God that he would go to his eternal reward and receive his allotted inheritance in the Kingdom of God.