The conclusion of the vision of the Scriptures of truth. (1-4) The times of the continuance of these events. (5-13)
1-4. Michael signifies, "Who is like God," and his name, with the title of "the great Prince," points out the Divine Saviour. Christ stood for the children of our people in their stead as a sacrifice, bore the curse for them, to bear it from them. He stands for them in pleading for them at the throne of grace. And after the destruction of antichrist, the Lord Jesus shall stand at the latter day upon the earth; and He shall appear for the complete redemption of all his people. When God works deliverance from persecution for them, it is as life from the dead. When his gospel is preached, many who sleep in the dust, both Jews and Gentiles, shall be awakened by it out of their heathenism of Judaism. And in the end the multitude that sleep in the dust shall awake; many shall arise to life, and many to shame. There is glory reserved for all the saints in the future state, for all that are wise, wise for their souls and eternity. Those who turn many to righteousness, who turn sinners from the errors of their ways, and help to save their souls from death, ( James 5:20 ) , will share in the glory of those they have helped to heaven, which will add to their own glory.
Verses 5-13 One of the angels asking how long it should be to the end of these wonders, a solemn reply is made, that it would be for a time, times, and a half, the period mentioned ch. 7:25 , and in the Revelation. It signifies 1260 prophetic days or years, beginning from the time when the power of the holy people should be scattered. The imposture of Mohammed, and the papal usurpation, began about the same time; and these were a twofold attack upon the church of God. But all will end well at last. All opposing rule, principality, and power, shall be put down, and holiness and love will triumph, and be in honour, to eternity. The end, this end, shall come. What an amazing prophecy is this, of so many varied events, and extending through so many successive ages, even to the general resurrection! Daniel must comfort himself with the pleasing prospect of his own happiness in death, in judgment, and to eternity. It is good for us all to think much of going away from this world. That must be our way; but it is our comfort that we shall not go till God calls us to another world, and till he has done with us in this world; till he says, Go thou thy way, thou hast done thy work, therefore now, go thy way, and leave it to others to take thy place. It was a comfort to Daniel, and is a comfort to all the saints, that whatever their lot is in the days of their lives, they shall have a happy lot in the end of the days. And it ought to be the great care and concern of every one of us to secure this. Then we may well be content with our present lot, and welcome the will of God. Believers are happy at all times; they rest in God by faith now, and a rest is reserved for them in heaven at last.
Daniel 12:1-13 . CONCLUSION OF THE VISION (TENTH THROUGH TWELFTH CHAPTERS) AND EPILOGUE TO THE BOOK.
Compare Daniel 12:4 Daniel 12:13 ; as Daniel 12:6 Daniel 12:7 refer to Daniel 7:25 , that is, to the time of Antichrist, so the subsequent Daniel 12:8-12 treat of the time of Antiochus (compare Daniel 12:11 with Daniel 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"), ( Daniel 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 ( Revelation 12:7-10 ). An archangel, not the Lord Jesus; for he is distinguished from "the Lord" in Jude 1:9 .
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 ( Isaiah 26:20 Isaiah 26:21 , Jeremiah 30:7 , Matthew 24:21 ; compare Daniel 8:24 Daniel 8:25 , 11:36 ).
thy people shall be delivered--( Romans 11:26 ). The same deliverance of Israel as in Zechariah 13:8 Zechariah 13:9 , "the third part . . . brought through the fire . . . refined as silver." The remnant in Israel spared, as not having joined in the Antichristian blasphemy ( Revelation 14:9 Revelation 14:10 ); not to be confounded with those who have confessed Christ before His coming, "the remnant according to the election of grace" ( Romans 11:5 ), part of the Church of the first-born who will share His millennial reign in glorified bodies; the spared remnant ( Isaiah 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 ( Psalms 56:8 , 69:28 , Luke 10:20 , Revelation 20:15 , 21:27 ). Metaphor from a muster-roll of citizens ( Nehemiah 7:5 ).
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 ( Revelation 20:3 Revelation 20:5 Revelation 20:6 ; compare 1 Corinthians 15:23 , 1 Thessalonians 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 Isaiah 26:19 Isaiah 26:21 , 27:6 . Compare Isaiah 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 Daniel 12:1 and the resurrection in Daniel 12:2 ; whence the phrase, "at that time," twice occurs in Daniel 12:1 , but no fixing of time in Daniel 12:2 Daniel 12:3 ; II 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 Hebrews 11:35 . NEWTON'S view that "many" means all, is not so probable; for Romans 5:15 Romans 5:19 , 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.
3. wise--( Proverbs 11:30 ). Answering to "they that understand" ( Daniel 11:33 Daniel 11:35 ), 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" ( Matthew 13:43 , Revelation 7:9 Revelation 7:14 ).
turn . . . to righteousness--literally, "justify," that is, convert many to justification through Christ ( James 5:20 ).
stars--( 1 Corinthians 15:41 1 Corinthians 15:42 ).
4. shut up . . . seal the book--John, on the contrary, is told ( Revelation 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 ( Revelation 1:1 Revelation 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 Matthew 25:13 Matthew 25:19 , 13:32-37 , 2 Peter 3:8 2 Peter 3:12 , Revelation 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 Habakkuk 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.
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" ( Daniel 12:6 , Margin).
6. one--namely, of the two ( Daniel 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 ( 1 Peter 1:12 ), as setting forth the glory of their Lord and ours ( Ephesians 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 ( Daniel 12:8 ) refers to the more immediate future of his nation [AUBERLEN].
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 ( Deuteronomy 32:40 , Revelation 10:5 Revelation 10:6 ). Here both hands are lifted up for the fuller confirmation. 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 ( Daniel 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 ( Revelation 11:2 ), so the exercise of the power of the beast ( Revelation 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" ( Revelation 11:3 Revelation 11:9 Revelation 11:11 , Revelation 12:6 Revelation 12:14 ). Forty-two connects the Church with Israel, whose haltings in the wilderness were forty-two ( Numbers 33:1-50 ). The famine and drought on Israel in Elijah's days were for "three years and six months" ( Luke 4:25 , 5:17 ); there same period as Antiochus' persecution: so the ministry of the Man of Sorrows, which ceased in the midst of a week ( Daniel 9:27 ) [WORDSWORTH, Apocalypse].
scatter . . . holy people--"accomplished" here answers to "the consummation" ( Daniel 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 ( Matthew 23:39 ).
8. understood not--Daniel "understood" the main features of the vision as to Antiochus ( Daniel 10:1 Daniel 10:14 ), but not as to the times. 1 Peter 1:10-12 refers mainly to Daniel: for it is he who foret ells "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."
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
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 ( Daniel 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 ( Matthew 24:15 ), "Whose readeth, let him understand."
11. from . . . sacrifice . . . taken way . . . abomination--( Daniel 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," Daniel 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" ( Daniel 12:7 ). In Daniel 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 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 Leviticus 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. [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 Matthew 24:36 , Acts 1:7 , 1 Thessalonians 5:2 , 2 Peter 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.
13. rest--in the grave ( Job 3:17 , Isaiah 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" ( Hebrews 11:40 ).
stand--implying justification unto life, as opposed to condemnation ( Psalms 1:5 ).
thy lot--image from the allotment of the earthly Canaan.