Daniel 12 is the end of a vision which began in Daniel 10:1. Daniel had wanted a better understanding of the Antichrist and the events that surrounded him. This information was not found in the visions given in chapters 7 and 8, so Daniel had asked for an explanation of some missing details. In Daniel 10, we discovered that an angel had been sent to give these details. The angel had been delayed because a fallen angel or demon had tried to stop him and Michael the archangel had to help him escape. Daniel 10 was an exciting chapter because it was there that we were given an unusual glimpse into an invisible world that surrounds us every day, a world that our invisible God created. Then in Daniel 11 this unnamed angel started giving Daniel the additional information he had wanted. It was a long chapter with many details about the empires of Medo-Persia and Greece. The critics of the Bible agree that these details are true to history. Daniel 11 focused on the portions of history that would help all of us understand this future evil man whom scripture calls the Antichrist. At the end of our last study, the Antichrist was surrounded by armies and was defeated.
The End Times
As we come to the final chapter in the book of Daniel, we find that God’s angel is still explaining the future to Daniel, but now has jumped back in time.
At that time Michael shall stand up, The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; And there shall be a time of trouble, Such as never was since there was a nation, Even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, Every one who is found written in the book. Daniel 12:1 (NASB)
This happened before in Daniel 7. “At this time” refers to the middle of the Tribulation period (see Daniel 12:7) and is a jump backwards to Daniel 11:36. In Daniel 11:39 we discovered that the Antichrist will gain his great power from another god, and in our coming study of the book of Revelation we will discover that Satan is this “god.”
We also find in Revelation 12:7-8 that Michael will be active during the Tribulation.
And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. Revelation 12:7-8 (NASB)
So Daniel 12:1 is simply saying that Michael will come to the rescue of Daniel’s people, Israel, during the Tribulation. At the end of the Tribulation, there is a final war with evil between the Antichrist and world forces. God will allow His angels and every Christian to participate. But it is Jesus Christ who will come and defeat Satan, the fallen angels, the Antichrist, and the false prophet. It will be a terrible time in the visible and invisible worlds, but Jesus will have the victory in both when He returns again. Praise God!
Jesus’ return is called the Second Coming. It will be a victory for everyone who loves Jesus. Those Christians who are still alive at the end of the Tribulation will be delivered from evil and Christians of all time will enter into God’s kingdom.
Return To Life
Now the angel tells Daniel that after this event there will be a resurrection of everyone who has trusted in Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins.
And 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. Daniel 12:2 (NASB)
Have you ever wondered if some people will go to hell? There are some today who are hoping that God will let everyone into heaven, but this verse says that will not happen. Some will go to heaven and others to hell or “everlasting contempt.” Daniel 12:2 reveals that every Old Testament saint will be resurrected at the beginning of the millennial kingdom and enter the kingdom.
When the vision ends, Daniel sees all of the angels who were present. There had been a total of three. One of the angels is the one to whom he has been talking. Another angel appears to be the one clothed in linen in Daniel 10:5-9, and the last angel is not identified. Was it Michael?
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?” And 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. Daniel 12:5-7 (NASB)
Daniel had an experience that is not recorded anywhere else in scripture. He was able to listen to three angels talk to one another. The angels help us understand when the events of Daniel 11:36-12:1 will occur. The help comes when one angel asks how long these events will take. Then another angel answers with “time, times, and half a time.” That is, these events will occur during a 3.5 year period of time. Jesus called this the great Tribulation (Matthew 24:20-30). That means the events of Daniel 11:36-12:1 occur during the last part of the Tribulation.
Apparently some things are said that are not recorded, because Daniel says that he does not understand. The angel responds by telling him this information is secret and to not write it down.
As for me, I heard but could not understand; so I said, “My lord, what will be the outcome of these events?” And he said, “Go your way, Daniel, for these words are concealed and sealed up until the end time. 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. And from the time that the regular sacrifice is abolished, and the 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! Daniel 12:8-12 (NASB)
The angel then provides Daniel with more information. This means that Daniel heard more than he was allowed to write.
There are many different views about the meaning of these “days.” Now we are going to give our opinion as to the meaning of “1,290 days” and “1,335 days,” but they are only guesses. Since scripture never explains the meaning of these days, we can only guess. First, we need to remember that the tribulation lasts for 7 years or 1,260 days. This means the 1,290 days is a period of time that lasts 30 days beyond the Tribulation. Now for our first guess. We believe this extra 30 days allows time for the clean-up after the Tribulation war. Next, we believe that the 1,335 days allows time for the judgment of all those who came back to life in the first resurrection before the Tribulation starts.
The believers of all ages are resurrected and their works will be judged when Jesus comes again. This is not a judgment to determine if a person goes to heaven or hell. It is a judgment that determines which rewards they will receive.
And 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. Daniel 12:3 (NASB)
Scripture teaches that some Christians will receive greater rewards than others.
Now if any man builds upon the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it, because it is to be revealed with fire; and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built upon it remains, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as through fire. 1 Corinthians 3:12-15 (NASB)
God knows everything we have done, even things we do not know about. There will also be some things for which we may believe we will receive credit that God will reject.
God has told us that He will look for one key characteristic in our Christian life.
Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God. 1 Corinthians 4:5 (NASB)
He will look at our motives. I believe Daniel had a strong passion to please God, just as the apostle Paul did. They both wanted to “fight the good fight.” They were both willing to sacrifice themselves for they knew there was a day of reward ahead. God is not unjust. Hebrews 6:10 says, ” . . . so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name . . .” God calls us to sacrifice ourselves for Him just as Paul did.
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing. 2 Timothy 4:7-8 (NASB)
A three year old girl once asked her father who lived in a cemetery that they passed by almost every day. Her father told her that dead people lived there and their spirits went back to God. Some months later during a holiday, the family went on a bicycle ride and rode by the cemetery. Some people had stopped by to leave fresh flowers at the grave sites of their loved ones. This three year old girl saw these people and shouted, “They are alive. They are alive, Daddy. They are alive!”
The little girl was wrong but she was also right. All of us will some day be alive again. Non-Christians will go to hell. But for Christians, God ends this book with a promise that is true for all those who are depending on Jesus to forgive their sins. It is the same promise He gave to Daniel.
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. Daniel 12:13 (NASB)
It is the promise of a physical resurrection to life with God forever. What a wonderful promise God gave to Daniel, a promise to live with Him forever.
We too can live with God forever. But it comes only by believing in Jesus and depending on Him to forgive our sins. It means a willingness to turn our lives over to God. What happens when Christians receive their physical bodies after Jesus’ Second Coming? It is time to receive our rewards! But the best is that I can finally see my God face-to-face as a friend knows a friend. It is a time to know God more than I can now. Come, Jesus! Come quickly!
You can download an outline of the prophecies given in the book of Daniel. Lord willing, it will help you see how the chapters are connected and how they relate. May the Lord bless you richly. Please join us for our study in Revelation.