Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - UnabridgedCommentary Critical Unabridged

Daniel 12

Verse 1

And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.

Compare Daniel 12:4; Daniel 12:13. As Daniel 12:6-7 refer to Daniel 8:25; - i:e., to the time of Antichrist-so the subsequent verses, Daniel 12:8-12, treat of the time of Antiochus (cf. Daniel 12:11 with Daniel 11:31): thus are put together in one summary view the two great periods of distress-the typical period of Antiochus, and the antitypical one of Antichrist. 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.

At that time - typically, toward the close of Antiochus' reign; antitypically, the time when Antichrist is to be destroyed at Christ's coming.

Shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people - 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 ascendancy of Christianity (Revelation 12:7-10). An archangel, not the Lord Jesus; because he is distinguished from "the Lord" in Jude 1:9.

There shall be - rather, 'it shall be.'

A time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time - 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 previously 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 26:20-21, "the indignation;" Jeremiah 30:7; Matthew 24:21: cf. Daniel 8:24-25; Daniel 11:36). And at that time thy people shall be delivered - (Romans 11:26). The same deliverance of Israel as in Zechariah 13:8-9, "I will bring the third part ... through the fire, and will refine them as silver." The remnant in Israel shall be spared, as not having joined in the anti-Christian blasphemy of worshipping the beast and his image, and of receiving his mark in the forehead or in the hand (Revelation 14:9-10). This remnant is not to be confounded with those who have confessed Christ before His second coming, "the remnant according to the election of grace" (Romans 11:5), who form part of the church of the first-born, and who will share HIS millennial reign in glorified bodies; but the spared remnant of Israel in the flesh (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).

Every one that shall be found written in the book - namely, of God's secret purpose, as destined for deliverance (Psalms 56:8; Psalms 69:28; Luke 10:20; Revelation 20:15; Revelation 21:27). Metaphor from a muster-roll of citizens, or register of genealogy in which whosoever is not found written is removed from participation in civic rights (Nehemiah 7:5).

Verse 2

And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.

Many of them that sleep - translate as the Hebrew, 'many from among the sleepers [ miyªsheeneey (H3463)]

... 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 until the end of the thousand years (Revelation 20:3; Revelation 20:5-6: cf. 1 Corinthians 15:23; 1 Thessalonians 4:16). Those who shall have died before the first resurrection, and who nevertheless partake not in it, shall at the final general resurrection, which shall include those who die after the first resurrection, awake to shame and everlasting contempt. 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; Isaiah 27:6. Compare Isaiah 25:6-9.

The Jewish commentators support Tregelles. Auberlen thinks the sole purpose lot 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 12:2-3. 2Ma 7:9 ; 2Ma 7:14 ; 2Ma 7:23 shows the fruit of this prophecy of the resurrection unto everlasting life, 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; because Romans 5:15; Romans 5:19, which he quotes, is not in point, since the Greek is 'the many;' i:e., all (literally, 'If through the offence of the One the many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift which is by the grace of the One man Jesus Christ, abounded unto the many'); but there is no article in the Hebrew here. Here only in the Old Testament is "everlasting life" mentioned.

Verse 3

And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.

And they that be wise - (Proverbs 11:30). Answering to "they that understand" (Daniel 11:33; Daniel 11:35), the same Hebrew [ hamaskiliym (H7919)]; Israelites who, though in Jerusalem when wickedness is coming to an head, are found intelligent witnesses against it, and "instruct many" in the right way.

Shall shine as the brightness of the firmament. 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 assign of past afflictions here appears "to make them white" (Matthew 13:43; Revelation 7:9; Revelation 7:14).

And they that turn many to righteousness - literally, justify, i:e., convert many to justification through Christ (James 5:20).

As the stars forever and ever - (1 Corinthians 15:41-42).

Verse 4

But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.

But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book. John, on the contrary, is told (Revelation 22:10) not to seal his visions: because 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; Revelation 22:6). Israel, to whom Daniel prophesied after the captivity, with premature zeal sought after signs of the predicted period, as though it were then immediately coming. Compare the disciples' question, "Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?" Daniel's prophecy was design 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 nearness of the coming of the Lord (cf. Matthew 25:13; Matthew 25:19; Mark 13:32-37; 2 Peter 3:8; 2 Peter 3:12; Revelation 22:20).

Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased - 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 by thee, Daniel, "at the time of the end" - i:e., near its fulfillment - "many shall run to and fro;" i:e., scrutinize it, running through every page. Compare Habakkuk 2:2, my note; Amos 8:12, "They shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord" (Calvin); or, "run to and fro," announcing to all who come in their way the explanation of the prophecy which shall then be unsealed: it is thereby that 'the knowledge (so the Hebrew is [ hadaa`at (H1847)]) (namely, of God's purposes as revealed in prophecy) shall be increased.' "Running" is the characteristic mark of one who professes to have a divine communication to announce (Jeremiah 23:21, "I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran"). This is probably be ing now fulfilled. God's prescience and His providence are becoming better known by the diligent investigation of the prophecies, of Daniel. It, is not knowledge in general, but 'the knowledge of prophecy which the Hebrew and the context show to be what is meant here.

Verse 5

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.

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. 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)

Verse 6

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 one - namely, of the two (Daniel 12:5).

Said to the man clothed in linen - who had spoken up to this point. God impelled the angel to ask, in order to awaken 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, "To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God").

Which was upon the waters - rather, 'which was over the waters from above' [ mima`al (H4605), as in Isaiah 6:2 ].

How long shall it be 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, "What shall be the end of these things?") refers to the more immediate future of his nation (Auberlen).

Verse 7

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.

I heard the man clothed in linen ... when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven. Usually the right hand was held up in affirmation as an appeal to heaven to attest the truth (Deuteronomy 32:40; Revelation 10:5-6). Here both hands are lifted up for the fuller confirmation.

And aware by him that liveth forever, that it shall be for a time, times, and an half - (see note, Daniel 7:25). Newton, referring this prophecy to the Eastern apostasy, Mohammedanism, remarks that the same period of three and a half years, or 1,260 prophetic days, is assigned to it as is assigned to the Western apostasy of the little horn (Daniel 7:25); and so, says Prideaux, Mohammed began to forge his imposture, retiring to his cave 606 AD, 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 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 42 months (Revelation 11:2); so the exercise of the power of the beast (Revelation 13:5) was limited to "forty and two months." The two witnesses preach in sackcloth 1,260 days, and remain unburied three days and a half; so the woman in the wilderness "hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days," and also that she should be there "nourished for a time, times, and half a time" (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 42 (Numbers 33:1-50). The famine and drought on Israel in Elijah's days were for "three years and six months" (Luke 4:25; James 5:17); the same period as Antiochus' persecution (note, Daniel 8:4); so the ministry of Christ, the Man of Sorrows (made "sin" for us) which ceased "in the midst of the week" (Daniel 9:27). (Wordsworth, 'Apocalypses') Accordingly, the duration of Antichrist, "the man of sin," is to be three and a half years.

And when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished. "Accomplished" here answers to "even until 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).

Verse 8

And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things?

I heard, but I 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 foretells "the suffering of Christ, and the glory that should follow;" it is he who prophesies "not unto himself, but unto us;" it is he who "inquired and searched diligently, searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ in him did signify."

Verse 9

And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.

And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end.

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 (note, Daniel 12:4, and Daniel 8:26).

Verse 10

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.

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. 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 their own ruin (Daniel 11:33-35). (Maurer.) The "end" is primarily that of Antiochus' persecution; antitypically, the end of Antichrist's. It is the very clearness in the main which renders necessary the partial obscurity. The fulfillment of God's decree is not a mere arithmetical problem, which the profane may understand by arithmetical calculation; 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, "When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place (whoso readeth, let him understand)."

Verse 11

And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.

From the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days - (Daniel 11:31, (the willful king, or the king of the north) "shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate"). As to this epoch, which probably is prophetically germinant and manifold, the profanation of the temple by Antiochus, continuing from the month Ijar of the year 145 BC until the restoration of the worship by Judas Maccabeus on the 25th day of the ninth month (Chisleu) of 143 BC, according to the Seleucid era, occupies 1,290 days; forty-five days more elapsed before Antiochus' death in the month Shebas of 148 BC, so ending the Jews' calamities.

Thus the sum in all will be a "thousand three hundred and five and thirty days" (Daniel 12:12). (Maurer.) The second epoch from which the 1,290 days may be counted is the profanation of the temple by pagan Rome under Titus (Daniel 9:26), after Christ's death. The third epoch from which the 1,290 days may be counted is the profanation of the temple by Mohammed. The last epoch from which to count the 1,290 days is the profanation of the temple by Antichrist, the culmination of apostate Rome. The "abomination" must reach its climax (see Auberlen's translation of Daniel 9:27, 'the desolating summit of abominations'), and the measure of iniquity be full, before Messiah comes.

A 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 1,335 days. Tregelles thinks Jesus at his coming will deliver the Jews. An interval elapses (answering to the thirty days by which 1,290 exceeds the 1,260 of the time, times, and a half) during which their consciences are awakened to repentance and faith in Him. A second interval elapses (answering to the additional 45 days by which the 1,335 exceed the 1,290) in which Israel's outcasts are gathered, and then the united blessing takes place. These stages are marked by the 1,260, 1,290, and 1,335 days. Cumming thinks the 1,260 years begin when Justinian in 533 AD subjected the Eastern churches to John II, Bishop of Rome; ending in 1792, when the code Napoleon was established and the Pope was dishonoured. 1,290 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, "I will punish you yet seven times for your sins" - "seven times," i:e., 7 X 360, or 2,520 years. 652 BC is the date of Judah's captivity beginning under Manasses; 2,520 from this date end in 1868, thus nearly harmonizing with the previous date,

1867. See note, also, Daniel 8:14, "Unto two thousand and three hundred days." The seventh millennary of the world (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 (cf. Matthew 24:36, "But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only;" Acts 1:7; 1 Thessalonians 5:2; 2 Peter 3:10); the event alone can tell whether the chronological coincidences of such theories are fortuitous, or solid data on which to fix the future times. Hailes makes the periods, 1,260, 1,290, 1,335, begin with the Roman destruction of Jerusalem, and end with the precursory dawn of the reformation, the preaching of Wycliffe and Huss.

Verse 12

Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.

Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days. See note on Daniel 12:11; cf. "Blessed are they which are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb," Revelation 19:9; also Revelation 20:6, "Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection," etc.

Verse 13

But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy

Go thou thy way until the end be: for thou shalt rest - in the grave (Job 3:17; Isaiah 57:2, "He (the righteous) shall enter into peace: they shall rest in their beds"): He, like his people Israel, was to wait patiently and confidently for the blessing until 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, "God having provided some better thing for us," that he and the other Old Testament saints "without us should not be made perfect" (Hebrews 11:40).

And stand in thy lot at the end of the days - implying justification unto life, as opposed to condemnation (Psalms 1:5, "The ungodly shall not stand in the judgment").

Thy lot - image from the allotment of the earthly Canaan.


(1) Israel's national resurrection, and the first or the literal resurrection of the elect saints, shall he about the same time. Shame and everlasting contempt shall be the portion at last of those dead who shall not share in the first resurrection. But "blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power; but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him" (Revelation 20:6). Here is an incentive to faith, hope, and love, that we may be counted worthy to obtain the resurrection from the dead (Luke 20:35-36; Philippians 3:4).

(2) In that coming day they alone shall be counted "wise" (Daniel 12:3) who have been wise for their own souls and for eternity, and wise in winning other souls also to salvation. Once the great men of the world seemed wise, and believers, who denied worldly lusts, seemed fools; but at the resurrection all unrealities shall be unmasked, and realities shall be seen in their true light. The Israelites who shall have protested with true spiritual wisdom against the blasphemous falsehoods of Antiochus and of his antitype, Antichrist, though in the day of the world's triumph they seemed to be almost cast down and prostrated, shall in the great day of the Lord shine as the brightness of the firmament: they who shall have turned many to righteousness, so as to be justified through faith, shall shine, not only with their own glory, but also with the reflected glory of those whom they have led to Christ, the sun of righteousness. They shall shine as the stars forever and ever. What a stimulus is given us wherein, not only to seek our own salvation, but to labour for that of others-not only to work for the Lord, but to "abound in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as we know that our labour is not in vain in the Lord" (1 Corinthians 15:58).

(3) Daniel is told to "shut up the words and seal the book to the time of the end," whereby it is implied that the events foretold by him were in his day as yet distant, and his prophecy was therefore to be not so much scrutinized, as being then obscure. But though his words were then not understood by his countrymen, who prematurely sought an immediate fulfillment of the promises of Messiah, yet he is assured that toward the time of the fulfillment of the prophecy "many shall run to and fro," diligently searching into and eagerly announcing its truths, and so 'the knowledge' of those truths "shall be increased" (Daniel 12:4).

Moreover, the end, though distant, is appointed at a time fixed in the counsels, and confirmed with an oath "by Him that liveth forever." We may not be able to explain what is the exact period meant by the "time, times, and an half;" but it is our comfort to know that the time of Israel's and the Church's affliction is short, as compared with the everlasting times of blessedness which are to follow. There is a correspondence between the three and a half times of suffering of Christ's body, the Church, and the three and a half years of Christ's own suffering, in order that in all things He, the Head, and we, the members, should be assimilated. It is when the scattering of the Church's and of Israel's power shall have been accomplished (Daniel 12:7), that then their brief period of death (Revelation 11:7-11), as in their Lord's own case, shall be followed by resurrection, that of Israel nationally, that of the elect Church literally, by transfiguration at Christ's coming.

(4) Daniel "understood not" (Daniel 12:8) the full meaning in detail, and the exact times, meant by the Spirit, in his own prophecy. How utterly mistaken, then, they are who think that "prophecy came by the will of man" (2 Peter 1:21) - that is, was the mere prompting of the sacred writers' own will, imagination, genius, and modes of thought. Nothing proves more unanswerably that the Holy Spirit miraculously and extraordinarily inspired the sacred writers, than the fact that they themselves "searched diligently" (1 Peter 1:10-12) to discover what was the mind of the Spirit in the revelations imparted through them. Even Daniel must wait for the unfolding of his own prophecies "until the time of the end" (Daniel 12:9).

(5) During the period that is elapsing between the past profanation of the sanctuary and its future restoration in glory, our duty is, as also the duty of those who shall hereafter see it restored and profaned again prior to its final restoration, shall be, to be ever "waiting." "Blessed is he that waiteth and cometh" to the appointed end! (Daniel 12:12) Whether we shall be found alive, or asleep and at rest in the grave, when Christ shall come, if only we be found waiting and watching for His coming, we shall stand justified before God, and shall receive our allotted inheritance in the I heavenly Canaan (Daniel 12:13). Whatever be the lot of the saints in their earthly pilgrimage, their lot at the end of the days shall be supremely blessed. This thought may well reconcile us to the adversities of our present portion, whatever it may be. Let us make it our one care to please God, and walk by the faith of the Son of God here, and to wait for His personal coming again in glory.

interposing in their behoof could have prevented their nationality becoming fused into the several nationalities among whom they are scattered, according to the analogy of all other peoples so circumstanced. Israel is indeed, in her present and past state, an unanswerable witness for the truth of Scripture against the infidel and sceptic. Since a modern divine truly describes their state, 'Oppression has not extinguished them: favour has not bribed them. God has kept them from abandoning their mangled worship, or the Scriptures which they understand not, and whose true meaning they believe not: they have fed on the raisin husks of a barren ritual and unspiritual legalism, since the Holy Spirit they have grieved away' (Pusey).

(4) But the very peculiarity of their state, and of their nationality and worship of God, preserved under such anomalous circumstances, is the strongest pledge of assurance that, as the prophecy of their present and past isolation amidst dispersion has been so extraordinarily fulfilled, so also will the prophecy of their coming restoration to the Lord their God, and the Son of David their King, be fulfilled. It is for this end evidently that they are kept so distinct from all the peoples, waiting continually for Messiah to come and sit upon the throne of His father David, and reign over the house of Jacob forever (Luke 1:42-43). Then shall the goodness of the Lord toward them melt them into penitent love toward Him who has so marvelously covered over their past unfaithfulness, and into fear of ever more displeasing Him again and losing His favour (Hosea 3:5). The same holds good in the case of the spiritual Israel, the Church, and of every true believer. The marvelous way whereby the Lord, through chastening discipline, has led us to Himself, and His gratuitous goodness, notwithstanding all our past unfaithfulness, will form a constraining bond of love binding us to our God and our Saviour indissolubly. We shall ever be receiving fresh revelations of that goodness which rejoices to impart itself to His people, and this shall be the chief happiness of the true Israel of God forever.

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Daniel 12". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". 1871-8.