Chapter 12 Israel's Final Deliverance

The chapter opens with the words “at that time,” calling attention to the events at the close of chapter 11. We have seen the judgment upon Israel’s enemies; now we take a look at Israel’s conversion and blessing. Once again their coming great tribulation is referred to—a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time (v. 1). But then, “thy people” (Daniel’s people, the Jews) shall be delivered. Not every Jew, but every one found written in the book (in other words, those who are saved, whose names are in the book of life). We read of the same double truth in Jeremiah 30:7 as here in Daniel 12:1. It will be the time of Jacob’s trouble (the tribulation) but he shall be saved out of it, as those here found written in the book. Our Lord speaks of this tribulation in a similar strain when He says, “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matt. 24:21). We know from our Lord’s words that the setting up of the “abomination of desolation,” prophesied by Daniel (12:11), is that which triggers the breaking out of this fearful time of persecution (Matt. 24:15). It begins in the middle of the seven-year treaty made with Israel, and lasts for three and a half years (Dan. 9:27). The Lord warns Israel to flee in that day, and in Revelation 12:6 the woman (Israel) does that very thing for this period of 1260 days, which is three and a half years. All of these and many more scriptures could be quoted which dovetail in perfect harmony. To the believer, the thrilling fact is that all of this was revealed to Daniel, and told by him some 2500 years before it is to happen. Some have said that the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel in this chapter had its fulfillment in the deed of Antiochus Epiphanes, but this is impossible, for our Lord Himself, in Matthew 24, spoke of it as still future then, long after Antiochus’ death. He quotes this very verse (Dan. 12:11) as divine authority. It is still future, for no persecution affecting the whole world has ever been known as yet.

Michael is mentioned in verse 1 in connection with the coming tribulation, and from Revelation 12 we learn that it is he who overthrows Satan and casts him out of heaven; that very fact initiates the following three and a half years of Israel’s suffering. But we know that God has chosen Israel, and, when the fullness of the Gentiles has come, He will again take up His ancient people Israel in a special way, and many of them shall be saved. The opening two verses of chapter 12 are in full agreement with this. All those written in the book shall be delivered. In order for God to deal with them, they must get back to their land, from whence they were scattered to the utmost bounds of the earth in A.D. 70 and after. Luke 21:24 tells us that they were to be carried captive into all nations.

The Jews are to have a national resurrection, and certainly today we have seen much of that already. They are back in their own land as a fully established and recognized nation. We surely see at least a considerable fulfillment of their national resurrection.

Some claim that the resurrection (v. 2) is a physical resurrection from physical death, but this is quite impossible under several considerations: (1) Since some of these were saved people, it is unthinkable that they would be brought back from heaven to go through this fearful time of great tribulation, and then perhaps die again; or if not to die, to live on earth and thus to forfeit the greater blessedness of heavenly glory which they had before. (2) These are Jews (Daniel’s people) who are raised, and therefore it could not refer to physical resurrection, for there is not a shred of evidence in Scripture anywhere of a physical resurrection of Jews only. Physical resurrection does not differentiate between Jews and Gentiles, but between believers and unbelievers. (3) Saved and lost are raised together here (if this were physical resurrection) and there is no record of saved and lost being raised together. The saved are raised at Christ’s coming, the sinners not until a thousand years later. (4) If these were raised physically, it would mean that they would die again; the Bible says it is appointed unto men once to die, not twice.

No, the second verse speaks of Israel’s resurrection to national existence, and we see this right now. Ezekiel, in the re-awakening of the dry bones, tells exactly the same story; there the prophet is told that “these bones are the whole house of Israel” (Ezek. 37:11). They are said to sleep in the dust of the earth, which we stamp on as we walk, symbol of the downtrodden condition of the Jews in many lands through many centuries. Isaiah speaks of this national resurrection in the same manner as this, also referring to their state of lying in the dust, “Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead. Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast” (Isa. 26:19, 20). The reference here, too, is clearly to Israel’s suffering in the tribulation. In that coming period of horror some of Israel shall be saved to enjoy everlasting life here upon the earth; our Lord refers to the exact same thing when He says, “the righteous [shall enter] into life eternal” (Matt. 25:46). But many in Israel will become apostate, worshipping the beast and his image, and their doom will be shame and everlasting contempt. The “wise” (v. 3) shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and they that turn many to righteousness shall shine as the stars. Perhaps the wise who shine so brightly may refer to outstanding Jews in that day who will turn to the Lord and particularly stand out for Christ. Those who turn many to righteousness are doubtless the Jewish witnesses who will preach the gospel of the kingdom and instruct the converts in the truths they will preach. The “wise” shall understand (v. 10), gifted with a deep insight into the Word of God speaking of Christ’s imminent kingdom and the deliverance of Israel. Matthew 24:14 tells us that by these Jews the gospel of the kingdom shall be preached for a witness among all nations, and then shall the end come. This preaching to the Gentiles in the tribulation period is beautifully illustrated in the book of Jonah. Jonah was sent to preach to the Gentiles, but he ran away and was thrown overboard into the sea, type of how Israel was scattered among the gentile sea of nations in A.D. 70. But the fish brought Jonah back to land, even as Israel has already been brought back to her own land. Then Jonah was sent forth the second time (he had resigned his commission but re-signed it). Jonah went and multitudes repented. Even so shall it be during the tribulation. Converted Jews will become God’s preachers to the gentile nations that had not heard the gospel, and they will be used of the Lord to turn many to repentance and to faith in God. They will “teach” many. There are thirteen “maschil” psalms in the book of Psalms, and the word means “teaching.” Nearly all of those psalms refer to those last days—to Israel’s witness for God, as in verse 3 of our chapter.

Daniel is told (v. 4) to seal the book until the time of the end, meaning that in all the ages from then until now these truths are hidden from the eyes and the hearts of the people of Israel. As Romans 11:25 shows us, “blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.” In contrast, the beloved apostle John in the book of Revelation is told not to seal the book (Rev. 22:10), because he is writing for Christians whose eyes have been opened by the grace of God. In those “end” days many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased. This “running to and fro” has no reference to autos or planes, as some dream. A better translation of these words is, “many shall diligently investigate, and thus their knowledge is increased.” It simply means that in those last days the godly Jews will get their eyes opened, and they will increasingly pore over their sacred writings, to discover the truth we have been writing about in this book of Daniel.

Once more we are reminded that these things have to do with the great tribulation—the last three and a half years of Daniel 9:27 and which are mentioned again and again in the book of Revelation.

Then I Daniel looked, and, behold, there stood other two, the one on this side of the bank of the river, and the other on that side of the bank of the river. And one said to the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, How long shall it be to the end of these wonders? And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished. And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things?

And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand (vv. 5-10).

The above verses are clearly identical with those in Revelation 10:1-6. The man clothed with linen in Daniel and the one clothed with a cloud are evidently the same Person, none other than our Lord Jesus Christ. In both places He is seen holding up His hand to heaven; both passages tell of the hour of tribulation. Daniel mentions the three and a half years as such; in Revelation it is said that there should be no longer delay; in other words, the time for the outpouring of God’s judgment during the tribulation had arrived. There is much that is mysterious in these verses; the events do not apply to our time, and they will no doubt become quite clear to the godly remnant when they actually pass through these things. Once more (v. 8) Daniel wants to know what shall be the end of these things, but the reply he gets is very enigmatic. There is no definite statement; all must wait until that time arrives. These things are “closed up” till the time of the end (v. 9). Daniel (and Israel as represented in him) goes his way, for “he shall rest” (v. 13). Daniel and many godly Jews have entered into their rest, and the agony of those days, which Daniel was so anxious to understand, is not for him or for them, nor for us. With us, Daniel shall be raised from the dead when the Lord comes for us and shall be caught up to heaven, beyond this vale of tears.

The Jews will be of two classes in that day—the wicked and the godly (v. 10). The apostates who will side with the Antichrist, and the godly whose eyes will be opened to look on Him whom their fathers once pierced.

Once again is mentioned (v. 11) the great tribula- tion of three and a half years, the passage our Lord quotes in Matthew 24. There are additions here of thirty days and an additional forty-five days. It is impossible to say why these days are added to the 1260 days, the three and a half years. The simple answer is we don’t need to know; it will be quite clear when they actually have arrived. The suggestion is, it may take a month to clear up the debris from those fearful massacres we spoke of; and the other forty-five days it may take to set up and get in motion Christ’s millennial government under His supreme reign. But that is mere guesswork. God has told us some marvelous things in this book, and we bow humbly at His feet. We rejoice that this God is our God and our Savior.

We do praise God that these things have no direct bearing on us; we will be caught up to glory before they begin. We hear our Savior say, “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). We shall look down on these stirring events from the glory above; Praise His Name!