Daniel 12

DateVersionReading Plan
@October 21, 2023ESV (2016)ESV Prophets Plan 2023


  • The Time of the End


The final chapter of Daniel opens in continuation from the previous chapter that Michael will arise, “the great prince who has charge” of the Israelite people. The archangel Michael who stands watch over the Jewish people will rise to their defense to preserve them (cp. Rev. 12:7). This will be necessary because the great tribulation (the second half of Daniel’s seventieth week; Dan. 9:27) will be a time of unprecedented distress. Despite the horrific nature of the persecution of Israel, the result will be that the surviving remnant of the Jewish nation will turn in faith to their Messiah Jesus (Zech. 12:10; Rom. 11:25–27) and he will deliver them. Everyone “whose name shall be found written in the book” will be delivered (Dan. 12:2). The “book” refers to the heavenly Book of Life in which the names of the elect are listed (Ps. 69:28; Philippians 4:3; Rev. 13:8; Rev. 17:8; Rev. 20:15).

Dan. 12:2-5 is of how everyone will arise to an everlasting outcome; some to “everlasting life” and some to “shame and everlasting contempt”. (Dan. 12:2). Those “who are wise”—those who have insight to turn in faith to the Messiah Jesus—will lead others to faith and righteousness (Dan. 12:4). Daniel is then told to shut up the words “until the time of the end” (Dan. 12:4). Knowledge “shall increase”, possibly referring to to the understanding of Daniel’s prophecies as informed observers recognize the fulfillment of his predictions.

Dan. 12:5-7 describes “two others” standing on the banks of the stream and one “clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the stream” (Dan. 12:5). The two others were angels who served as witnesses for the oath of the linen-dressed angel (Dan. 10:5). Two was the minimum number of witnesses necessary for an oath (Deut. 19:15). One of the witnessing angels asked how long until the end of the predicted time of distress. The angel dressed in linen answered that the time of the great tribulation (the second half of Daniel’s seventieth week) would be for a time, times, and half a time, or three and one-half years (Dan. 7:25; Rev. 12:7). By the end of the great tribulation, the power of the holy people Israel will be shattered, causing them to turn in faith to their long-rejected Messiah Jesus (Zech. 12:10). At that time, he will return and deliver them (Zech. 14:1–21) and all these things will be completed.

The remaining verses (Dan. 12:8-13) is of Daniel’s asking for the “outcome of these things” and response from the man clothed in linen. Daniel is told to go his own way and of what will come of the wicked and the wise. Many will “purify themselves” and “be refined”, but “the wicked shall act wickedly.” (Dan. 12:10). Two time periods are then revealed to Daniel. First, from the middle of the tribulation when the antichrist stops daily sacrifice and commits the abomination of desolation until the end, there will be 1,290 days. The great tribulation is said to be three and one-half years (Dan. 12:7) or 1,260 days (Rev. 12:6; Rev. 13:5). Here it is thirty days longer, probably to include time for the judgment of the nations (Matt. 25:31–46). Second, a blessing awaits the one who reaches 1,335 days, a period that includes not only the thirty days for judging the nations but an additional forty-five days, perhaps to establish the government of the messianic kingdom. Those who enter that kingdom are said to be happy because they will be part of the most glorious world, governed by its greatest King, the Lord Jesus himself. In the final verse, Daniel is told to go his way “till the end” and that he “shall rest and shall stand” in his allotted place until “the end of days.” (Dan. 12:13). This is a promise that Daniel will rise from the dead at the end of time (Dan. 12:2).


In the final chapter of Daniel, there is a promise of deliverance for the people of Israel whose names are “written in the book” (Dan. 12:1) (the Book of Life). In the time of the end, there will be many who are refined and obtain understanding (the wise) and those who will continue in wickedness. An everlasting outcome awaits both the wise and the wicked; one to everlasting life and the other to shame and everlasting death. Daniel is told to go his own way and promised that he shall stand in his allotted place, that his inheritance will be millennial blessings with his Messiah.

There are many things to pull from this short chapter, but the one that seemed to surface was that there will be an everlasting outcome for both the wise and the wicked. Humans are eternal creatures and have been since original creation. We were designed to spend forever with our Creator but this was marred by sin. However, the this did not change our eternal nature. Included with the many effects of the Fall was the introduction of an alternate path, one of eternal separation from God. This became the default path for all of Adam’s progeny and is ours today by inheritance. It is only through Christ’s propitiatory work and our full surrender to it that plucks us from this path of death and onto one that leads to righteousness.

There is no question we will spend forever somewhere. The only question is with whom it will be; with ourselves in eternal torment or with God in eternal blessing.

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