The Book of Daniel Chapter Twelve
by Cooper P Abrams III
Israel in the Great Tribulation
God has definite future plans for the nation of Israel and the chastening that they will endure is to "try them, purge them and make them white" meaning pure. (Daniel 11:35) This last chapter of the Book of Daniel addresses Israel during the period of testing and purifying in the seven years before the coming of the Messiah. God is giving Israel the sure hope that in the end they would be saved and God's promises to them fulfilled. As Chapter 11 explains for a period their future would be dark because they refused to obey and put their trust in the Lord and accept the Messiah. Satan's counterfeit, the Antichrist, will deceive them and thus bring on them a terrible time of unprecedented persecution. God, however assures Daniel that in the end they would be restored and have peace in the kingdom set up by the Messiah.
The Lord explains to Daniel that "at that time," clearly meaning the events of Daniel 11:35-45, Israel's protector angel Michael, shall "stand up." This is God's appointed time to allow Michael, "the great prince which standeth for thy people, to begin to aggressively protect and defend Israel against the Devil. During the events of the preceding verses, the Antichrist will cause the greatest persecution that Israel has ever endured which includes 2000 years of oppression and the Holocaust of WWII under the Nazis. Jeremiah 30:7 refers to this terrible times as "Jacob's trouble." "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" ( Jer. 30:7). The events recorded in Chapter 12 begin after the Antichrist desecrates the Temple and seeks destroy Israel and wipe them from the face of the earth.
Jesus spoke of this period in Matthew 24:21-22 saying "For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened." This parallels the statement of Daniel 12:1, "there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation." Zechariah foretold this time warning that two thirds of the Jews would be killed, "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. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God" (Zechariah 13:8-9 ).
God will not allow His chosen people to be destroyed and He will keep His promises to them. Therefore, God sends Michael to protect Israel during this time when they are threaten with annihilation to preserve them. Michael preserves one third of the ruminant of the Jews, who will survive the Great Tribulation and go into the Millennium kingdom and repopulate the earth. Daniel 12:1 explains, "and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book." Revelation 12:6 also explains that Israel would be protected for 1260 days. (Also see Rev. 12:14, 13:5f) Note that this passage clearly teaches that only those who names are found written in the book are saved. The Jews are not assured of salvation based solely on their nationality, but like all men, their salvation is dependent on their belief and receiving Jesus as the Savior and Christ. It seems tragic that only one third of Israel is saved, but that means that for the first time in history millions of Jews will accept that Jesus is the Messiah and will in repentance turn to Him for their salvation. The Jewish Virtual Library estimates the world population to be 14,596,000 Jews. If the population remains the same when the Tribulation begins, that means an estimated five millions Jews would be saved. 1 These Jews living in the seven year Tribulation, along with probably millions of Gentiles, will understand the prophecies about the end time and will reject the Antichrist and refuse the "mark of the Beast." (See Rev. 13:17, 14:11, 16:2, 19:20, 20:4) Most of the world, however, will be deceived and under pressure receive the mark and worship the Antichrist and thus be condemned for all eternity.
When Christ returns there will be a second resurrection. The "first resurrection" was the Lord Jesus after His death, and burial in which on the third day He arose from the grave. (See 1 Cor. 15:20) The is the first resurrection of believers occurs just before the beginning of the Daniel's 70th Week (the Tribulation). In that resurrection believers who were saved during the Church Age will be resurrected, given their new bodies and will forever be with the Lord. (See 1 Thess. 4:16-17) They are referred to as the Bride of Christ or Body of Christ. (See Rev. 21:9, 22:17) Daniel 12:2 refers to the second half of the second resurrection occurs when believers in the Old Testament and Tribulation will be resurrected. The Body of Christ, which includes all believers saved in this dispensation and often referred to as "the church" is not part of the Old Testament and it will not be a part of Tribulation (Dan. 11:25). In this period God will be working to "test, purge and purity" the nation of Israel . It is a serious hermeneutical mistake to infer that believers in this the Church Age go into the seven year Tribulation or have any part in it. Believers in this present age are already cleansed from our sins as 1 John 1:7 "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." Nowhere in God's word is there any reference to God testing, purging and purifying "the church" with is a belief of those who teach a "Pre-Wrath Rapture". 2
For the unsaved there is only one resurrection which is described in Revelation 20:11-15 and it occurs at then end of the Millennium. Now all the lost, from both the Old and New Testament period, and ending with the Millennium are in a place the Bible calls "Hades." There they await their final judgment which is to "shame and everlasting contempt" (Dan. 12:2). God did not reveal to Daniel the one thousand year gap in time between the resurrection at the Second Coming and the final resurrection at the end of the Millennium. The time of this period was not revealed until the end of the First Century when Jesus showed it to John in Revelation 20. John clearly states there would be a thousand years between the Second Coming and the end of the Millennial Kingdom and the final judgment of the lost.
Daniel is told that the wise "shall shine as the brightness of the firmament and they that turn many to righteousness as the star for ever and ever" (Dan. 12:3). During the Tribulation period an unnumerable number of people, both Jew and Gentile, will believe in Jesus Christ and be saved. ( See Rev. 7:9-10) These are the wise. They heard the truth as revealed by the Word of God and they believed saving their souls. The unwise or the foolish are those that reject God's truth and remain in their sins lost and condemned to spend eternity in the Lake of Fire. (See Rev. 20:11-15)
It appears the reference to "shining as the brightness of the firmament" refers to the rewards these saints of God receive. It seems those that obeyed the Lord and served Him faithfully will be a testimony to God's greatness and glory. Ephesians 1:12 states this truth, "That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ." Each believer will reflect the glory of God in the degree that he or she was faithful to the Lord. Many will brightly shine as the brightest stars in the heavens and others, because of their unfaithfulness will only dimly show God's glory.
The greatest reward will be to those who witnessed to others and sought to win them to the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus the soul winner will bring much glory to God in allowing the Lord to use Him to bring others to salvation. A part of this number will be the 144,000 Jews mentioned in Revelation 7:4. Many believe that these Jews who are sealed by the Lord and protected from death in the beginning of the Tribulation will be Jewish evangelists who preach the Gospel throughout the world. This is what Jesus was referring to in Matthew 24:14. "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come." In the past many ignored the context of Jesus' statement and concluded falsely that "the church" would reach the whole world for the Lord Jesus and thus usher in the Kingdom of the Savior. However, the context of Jesus' statement in within the Tribulation period and seems to refer to the 144,000 Jewish evangelist who will indeed take the Gospel to every nation on the earth and reap much fruit as millions turn to Christ.
Daniel is told to shut up the words and seal the book until the time of the end. It does not mean we today cannot understand what will happen generally in Daniel's 70th Week. We can study the many biblical references to the end times and know a great deal about it. For example we can study Matthew 24-25 and Luke 21 and have a good understanding of the signs that Jesus said would come before the Tribulation and the events that occur in that period. However, the fullest understanding of the period will be to those who will live during that time. The Bible clearly tells us the number of the Antichrist, called the beast will be 666. However, we today do not understand how that number will apply and identify the Antichrist. Many speculate that is will refer in some way to computers, but in reality we just do not know. But when the Antichrist comes, those living then will be able to clearly identify him because of this prophecy of this number being 666. In other words, as the Lord says, "knowledge will be increased." (Dan. 13:4) Believers who study the Bible will be able to discern the times. (Dan. 12:10) Likewise, God is telling Daniel that he cannot understand fully what is being revealed to him. Jesus rebuked the Jews when He was on earth because they could not "discern the times." (Matt. 16:3) These Jews had the Old Testament prophecies on the Lord coming, of the miracles he preformed, and the many details about the coming Messiah. Yet, because they were disobedient and would not believe God's word, they were blind and did not understand and accept that Jesus was the Messiah. During the Tribulation, because of the great destruction caused by the judgments of God, many people will be "running to and fro" seeking to understand why things are happening as they are. It is the same when misfortune strikes. People try to understand why things happen, but sadly they are not often changed by such things. During the Tribulation, people will seek to understand what God is doing and many will believe. (Daniel 12:4)
Daniel next sees three individuals at the Tigris River who obviously are angels. The two angels are standing on each bank of the river and there is One individual standing on the waters in the middle of the river. One of the angels speaks to the One standing in the midst of the river who is dressed in linen. Evidently this is the Lord Jesus Christ. He is standing on the water amid the river, is dressed in linen and He is the one the others are directing their question. The question is "How long shall it be to the end of these wonders?" They wanted to know how long the Antichrist would be allowed to persecution Israel. (Dan. 12:5-6)
Jesus who is standing above the waters of the river raises both his hand toward the sky and affirms an oath by God the Father that the time will be for a "time, times and an half" meaning three and one half years. (See Dan. 7:25) By raising His hands Jesus shows the importance of the His oath. It is like today in our courts when a person places their hand on the Bible, raises their right hand and swears to tell the truth. Jesus' answer is twofold. He affirms that the persecution of the Antichrist would be allowed to continue for three and a half years. Second, He says that it will continue no longer than the time it takes to finish the rebellion of Israel against God. The phrase "when he has accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people" means when the Jews repent and turn to the Lord under the terrible oppression of the Antichrist. Jesus was giving assurance the chastening of Israel by the Lord would carry out God's purposes.
Daniel responses saying he clearly heard what was said, but he did not understand what it meant. He expresses his frustration to the Lord Jesus and he asks "What shall be the end of these things?" Daniel asked "what" not "how long" as the angel had asked and what would be the end or outcome of these events. He was asking what will occur in the end to deliver Israel? (Dan. 12:8)
It is interesting that Jesus refuses to answer Daniel and tells him to go his way, and there would be now no further revelation. It may seem like a rebuke, but it can also be understood as giving Daniel comfort. Daniel was a man who loved and trusted God. He did not have to be convinced of God benevolence and faithfulness to Israel. Thus, Jesus' statement seems to be intended to comfort Daniel by assuring him that all this was in God capable hands and he should not worry. Like Daniel today we do not need to understand every detail of prophecy. There are many things we do not know and there is a reason we do not understand. Within God's plan and purposes we do not need to know. We read God's word and know that whatever the prophecy ultimately means, it is God's word and truth. Thus, the believer in faith trusts God and is takes comfort in that fact that God is truth and He is immutable (unchanging).
The Lord sums up the result of these events saying many will be saved, thus being purified and made white by their trials. Others who are wicked shall continue in their sins and do wickedly and willingly not understand being blinded by their sin. However, the wise will understand to saving their souls. (Dan. 12:9-10)
Jesus then states that from the time the daily sacrifice will be stopped by the Antichrist and the "abomination that maketh desolate set up" shall be 1290 days. The "abomination" refers to when the Antichrist will defile the Temple which is going to be built in the first half of the seven year Tribulation. The Antichrist signs a peace treaty promising to protect Israel from their enemies. Appears this treaty will allow the Jews to built a new Temple on the Temple Mount. However, in the middle of the Tribulation the Antichrist turns on Israel and will pollute the Temple by sacrificing a pig on the altar as did Antiochus Epiphanes, the prototype of the Antichrist. He further will set up an image of himself to be worshiped. (See Dan. 9:27, 11:31, Matt. 24:15, Mark 13:14) This happens in the middle of the Tribulation when Satan is cast to earth and possesses the Antichrist. We must understand what is going on is further spiritual warfare between Satan and God. Paul explains this in Ephesians 6:11-12: ‘"Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." The warfare against God's people is directed by Satan and is an attack on God Himself. It will be the worse time the world has ever seen, yet when it ends it will be followed by the Christ's return and Millennial Kingdom. During the Millennium the earth will see the most wonderful period in its history. (Dan. 12:11)
After the end of the Tribulation and the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus there will be an additional forty five days (1335 minus 1290 = 45). It seem this will be the time required to establish the Millennial Kingdom. Jesus explains that those that patiently wait for the Kingdom will be amply blessed. These blessings are described in a number of passages in God's word. God tells us:
Daniel is told to "go thy way till the end" meaning to continue to be faithful to the Lord. In Luke 19:13, Jesus called His disciples together and told them to "occupy till I come" commending them to be faithful because it would be a period of time before He returned and the established the Kingdom. We are not told when the end will come, but we know that the time of the end will begin with the Rapture of the body of Christ. The Rapture is always presented in the New Testament as being imminent meaning it could happen at any moment and be followed by the beginning of the seven year Tribulation.
The follow is from my article "Is the Mid-Tribulation or Pre-Wrath Rapture the View Biblical?": 3
According to Daniel, the first three and a half years begin with the specific event of the signing of the of the covenant between Israel and the Gentile Antichrist.
This surely will be an international event that all will know of and therefore anyone could then easily calculate when the Rapture would take place. If the Rapture is at the middle of the Tribulation, then it is not imminent, but at least three and one half years away at any point in time prior to the beginning of the Tribulation. Christians would know that when the treaty with the Antichrist is signed it is three and a half years before Christ comes for them. Clearly this destroys the teaching of the imminent of the return of Christ.
B. However, the New Testament commands Christians to look for the imminent return of Christ, not the Antichrist.
1. Many signs were given to Israel which would precede the Second Coming. They would live in expectancy of the time of the Messiah's coming. They did not know the day or hour, but they are told the events leading to His coming so they might be prepared. Christians today are not given such signs to look for.
a. The churches are told to live in the light of the imminent coming of the Lord, the Rapture.
b. Following are passages which teach that believers are to always be ready, living godly lives and be looking for Christ to come. The teaching is that Christ could return at any time therefore we are to be ready. The tone of these verses is there is an urgent need in being ready now because Christ could come at any time.
Note the context of the chapter is dealing with the resurrection. It comes at the end of this letter cautioning the carnal Corinthians to put away sin and to live righteous lives. In to end his argument gives the reason which is because of the coming resurrection and judgment. V33-34. Note the last verse, because of the resurrection and judgment they are told to, "be ye stedfast unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain." The verse is teaching the need for consistent righteous living. This ties in with the overall picture of expectant living, though it does not directly address the imminency of Christ's return.
It is a reference to the Rapture. "We look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ." We are not told to look for signs, but only for Christ's return.
"When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory" (Col. 3:4). The context of the passage is Paul again referring to the Rapture, as a reason to be ready by living godly lives. Put sin to death (v4) "for which things sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience."(v6) Using the coming Rapture and judgment is used to stress the urgency of the matter of righteous living.
The verse specifically says "We are not appointed unto wrath" as even most Mid-Tribulationalists will agree.
He is saying always live righteous until Christ returns. If we are not to be looking for Christ's return the verse loses it appeal. The reason the verse says we are to live godly lives is that Christ could soon return.
James is speaking to the first Christians, in earliest church. They were told almost two thousand years ago the time drawing near to the coming of Christ. Christ still has not returned, so what is the point of this verse? The point is we are always live expecting Christ to return any moment. If it is not true that He could come at any moment the verse does make sense and is based trying to mislead believers in the living like Christ's return is imminent when in fact at any point in time it is still three and half year away. The verb "draweth nigh" is perfect tense, active voice and in the indicative mood which means this was to be a present action.
Some use this verse to teach the imminent return of Christ, but it is pressing the point as the passage is it saying Christ is near always to us.
The context or subject of these verses is found in verses 14-18, Peter us using the Flood, and final judgment of God, [New heavens and earth] as an warning to be watchful, (alert) and to live godly lives. If Christ comes in the middle of the Tribulation, the time of His coming is specific and limited to three and one half years to the day, from the signing of the peace treaty between the Antichrist and Israel. Therefore when the peace treaty with Israel is signed everyone would know the Rapture was at least three and a half years away. . . So why the urgency in Peter's words? If we accept that Pre-wrath or Mid-Tribulational Rapture then this verse has no meaning. "Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober" (1 Thessalonians 5:6).
Again Paul is saying be watching always. This verse follows Paul's revealing of the Rapture. The context clearly is saying Christians are to live godly lives, being alert because of Christ's imminent return. Note what verses 8-9 say:
The passage says that Christians are not appointed to wrath. In view here is more than just forgiveness of sins and the assurance of heaven. In context the passage's subject is the Rapture of the Body of Christ. and the coming "sudden destruction" of verse 3 is related to the Second Coming of Christ. Paul says we are not appointed to wrath, meaning the destruction associated with the Tribulation which precedes Christ's return. In verse 11, God says we are to comfort ourselves with this knowledge and assurance we will not be apart of the period of wrath to come. If believers today have to go through part of the Tribulation then this verse loses its point.
This verse is self-explanatory. Paul was writing this to Titus in the mid 60's AD. If Christ's return should not be viewed at imminent then what was the purpose of Paul telling Titus to be looking for Christ's "glorious appearing" when it would be a least 2000 years into the future! When Titus died he was immediately taken to be with the Lord.
The church at Sardis was told to be watchful, turn from sin. No signs are given to look for but they are to be watchful. . . ready for His coming. This was written to a church in Asia at the end of the first century. The Lord tells the Philadelphian church that "Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth" (Rev. 3:10). This church is representative of churches today that are living in the period of time before the Tribulation and are actively doing the work of the Lord through missions and being sound in doctrine. Christ tells this church it will not go through the "hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth." How could the Lord keep these faithful Christians from the time of trying of the world if they were still on the earth living in this time? Clearly the Lord is again saying this dispensation of believers will not go through the Tribulation.
Note also these passages of Scripture:
2. "That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand." (2 Thess. 2:2) Clearly, the tone of the verse is that Christ could come at any moment. The Thessalonians had been told that the Second Coming of the Lord had already taken place and Paul is writing them to correct this false teaching. Paul is telling them in 2 Thess. 2:2 the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ (v1) would come after the (1) apostasy and (2) the Antichrist (man of perdition) had been revealed (v3). He says in verse 2, "the day of Christ" is at hand or present now. In other words they are in the period before the Second Coming. The Rapture of the Body of Christ is a part of the Second Coming and Paul is saying the Second Coming, which includes the Rapture, had not occurred because the events of v3 had not come. In view here is the Second Coming at the end of Daniel's 70th week (Seven year Tribulation).
3. "But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer." (1 Peter 4:7) Again the same urgency is always being watchful.
4. "Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand" (Rev.1:3). The word "at hand" means something that is near. The Key to the Book of Revelation is Revelation 1:9 as John was told to write the things that were past, the things that were present and the things to come. I would make no sense to say the things of the past or present were "at hand" or near, but it makes perfect sense to say the future events the Book of Revelation reveals would be "near." Clearly the Lord is telling us to be expecting the Rapture at any moment and believers from the early church period until now have been looking for Christ to come for them."
The final phrase of the Book of Daniel is one of the strongest statements concerning the resurrection of those who believe God. The Lord assures Daniel that he will surely be resurrected "at the end of the days" referring to the end of the Tribulation and at the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Daniel is told he would die and not see it in his life time, but he would have his part in the coming resurrection.
The word "lot" refers to one's inheritance. Daniel is told that his faithfulness would be rewarded and his salvation was assured. The New Testament also speaks often of the believer's inheritance:
"Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son." (Colossians 1:12-13)
1 Peter 1:4-5, "To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time."
It is exciting and a great encouragement to read and study the promises that God gave to Daniel. It assures us that God's plans are perfectly on course and though we only dimly see the end now, in time we will experience the full blessings of our salvation and inheritance in Jesus Christ. If the Lord does not return and we physically die, we are assured that we will instantly be with the Lord in heaven as 2 Corinthians 5:8 promises us. Meanwhile we patiently wait being faithful to the Lord and always looking toward His return and our eventual redemption.
"Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure."(1 John 3:2-3)
2 The Pre-Wrath or Mid-Tribulational Rapture is a false view of the timing of the Rapure. It teaches that Christians in this the Church Age will go through the first half of the seven year Tribulation. God in Daniel's 70th Week called the Tribulation is dealing exclusively with Israel and Gentile nations left on earth after the Rapture..( See Dan. 12:13, Rev. 6:9-11)