Study Notes

Daniel 12:5-13


As Daniel stood by the edge of the Tigris River, he saw an angel. He was described as,

Dan. 10:5-6 ...a certain man dressed in linen, whose waist was girded with {a belt of} pure gold of Uphaz. His body also was like beryl, his face had the appearance of lightning, his eyes were like flaming torches, his arms and feet like the gleam of polished bronze, and the sound of his words like the sound of a tumult.

The angel explained to Daniel why he had not arrived sooner, then began to relate a prophecy which covered the Jews' entire future up to the Millennial Reign of the Messiah.

We are now at the point in chapter twelve where the angel has finished his message. Immediately after the prophecy ends, Daniel sees something:

12:5-6 How Long?

On either side of the Tigris River, Daniel sees two more people, whom we presume to be angels. Interestingly, the angel that gave the prophecy is not on one bank or another, but actually hovering over the waters of the river!

One of these two asks the angel that gave the prophecy, "How long will it be before all of this ends?"

This is a natural question which anyone who hears of the end times wants to know. Even Jesus' disciples asked,

Matt. 24:3 ..."Tell us, when will these things be, and what {will be} the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?"

Angels are no different - they want to know the details of how and when the end-times scenario works out. Peter said that angels long to look into things that have been announced to us (1Peter 1:12). They are no less curious than we are!

12:7 Three And A Half Years

The angel that had revealed the prophecy, who was hovering over the waters of the river, gave the answer: "a time, times, and half a time."

Now for you who have studied with us through Daniel and Revelation, the meaning of this will be immediately obvious. These times represent years, and the time, times, and half a time equal three and a half years.

This three and a half year period has been mentioned many times in our studies. It is the second half of the final seven years of man's reign on earth.

It begins when the antichrist, having been given authority on earth for this time period (Rev. 13:5), breaks the covenant he has made and commits the abomination of desolation (Dan. 9:27). The Israelites will hide in the wilderness, miraculously protected by God (Rev. 12:6), and the antichrist will be victorious over the saints (Dan. 7:25). This is what is referred to here as "shattering the power of the holy people."

All pride will be erased from the Jews. They will come to a point of humility, knowing that it is the Lord Who has protected and preserved them. But Daniel doesn't know this - he only knows that their power will be shattered.

12:8 What Will Be The Outcome?

Daniel heard what was said, but couldn't understand it. If the power of the Jews was shattered, was this the end of the Jews? Had the angel given him all of these details only to climax the story with his peoples' obliteration? He didn't know what we know now.

12:9 Go Your Way

Daniel's question was not answered. He was told to go his way, and that the words were sealed and concealed.

In a way, Daniel is being told to mind his own business. Not in a spiteful way, but much like Jesus did with Simon Peter. You remember when Jesus told Peter, "Follow Me," Peter's response was to look over at John.

John 21:21-22 Peter therefore seeing him said to Jesus, "Lord, and what about this man?" Jesus said to him, "If I want him to remain until I come, what {is that} to you? You follow Me!"

Many times, we want to talk to God about what's happening with other people. Lord, I pray for Joe, because he's really messed up. God, please do something about Betty at work, because she's driving everybody crazy. But all the while, God is saying, "Hey, what about you? You can't do anything about Joe or Betty, but you can repent. You can grow. You can pray. You can do something about your own situation."

Sealed Until The End Time

As we saw in verse four last week, Daniel was told,

Dan. 12:4 "But as for you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time..."

We talked about how these things have only recently begun to be understood, which indicates to us that we are in the last days.

One more thing I'd like to bring up on this subject is that many refutations made by certain denominational Bible teachers is to say, "That view wasn't even adopted by the church until the 1600's. That doctrine didn't become common until the turn of the century. The early church fathers believed that this meant something different."

There are lots of views on the second coming of Christ, the Millennium, the Rapture of the Church, spiritual gifts, etc., that are completely Biblical, yet were not formulated until relatively recently. Does this mean that they are not true? Of course not. That would be to make the assumption that the early church knew everything about the Scriptures, and that over the course of the last 2,000 years, we have progressively forgotten or degenerated the doctrines. I don't believe that to be true.

We need to remember that books like Daniel and Revelation are coming into focus now like at no time in church history. Why? "The primary purpose of the revelation... was to inform those who would live in the time of the end" (Walvoord). These books will be the most valuable to those who read them during the time of the end.

12:10 Purged, Purified, And Refined

As for Daniel's question regarding the outcome of these events, the angel simply tells him that people will be who they will be. The wise will be purified by these tribulations. The wicked will be continue to be ignorant.

It is truly amazing to watch the two reactions that people have when God's judgment falls. Some people repent, while the others blaspheme. Some allow their hearts to be broken, while the others' hearts are hardened.

There is a reason that God's judgment is pictured in the Scripture as fire. Because fire does two things: it burns up that which is flammable, and purifies that which is precious. Throughout Scripture, we see the analogy of trials testing us, purifying us, being the Refiner's fire.

1Pet. 1:7 ...the proof of your faith, {being} more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

Zech. 13:9 "And I will bring the third part through the fire, refine them as silver is refined, and test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, And I will answer them; I will say, 'They are My people,' And they will say, 'The LORD is my God.'"

For the righteous, He is the Refiner's Fire. To the wicked, He is the Consuming Fire.

12:11-13 The 1,290 Days

This statement made by the angel really illuminates the fact that we do not have a complete understanding of the chronology of events at the end of the Great Tribulation.

We have seen that from the Abomination of Desolation, Christ will return after three and a half years. Remember that the prophetic calendar is a 360-day year, making that 1,260 days.

But here, the number mentioned is 1,290 days, which is 30 days longer. Even more confusing is the statement that some will wait and attain to a date which is even 45 days after this. What's going on?

Well, the first thing to understand is that the end of the Great Tribulation, the judgments, and the establishment of Christ's government on earth is not going to happen in an instant. It will take some time.

For example, there is the event after Christ's return that has been called "The Judgment of the Nations." This is described in Matthew 25.

Matt. 25:31-46 "But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. And all the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. ‘For I was hungry, and you gave Me {something} to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.' Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? And when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, {even} the least {of them,} you did it to Me.' Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me {nothing} to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.' Then they themselves also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?' Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.' And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."

Based on their deeds, the nations who remain on earth when Christ returns will be judged and cast into hell, or allowed to enter into the Millennial Kingdom because of their policies of kindness and charity.

During that 30 days, there is another thing that I believe needs to happen. That is the gathering together and judgment of the remaining Israelites from around the world.

This is described in Ezekiel 20.

Ezek. 20:34 "And I shall bring you out from the peoples and gather you from the lands where you are scattered, with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm and with wrath poured out; and I shall bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I shall enter into judgment with you face to face. As I entered into judgment with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will enter into judgment with you," declares the Lord GOD. And I shall make you pass under the rod, and I shall bring you into the bond of the covenant; and I shall purge from you the rebels and those who transgress against Me; I shall bring them out of the land where they sojourn, but they will not enter the land of Israel. Thus you will know that I am the LORD.

I believe that this will all be accomplished in the 30 days between the 1,260th day when Christ returns and the 1,290th.

The 1,335 Days

What then is the final 45 days for? I can only imagine that it is the time that Jesus takes to establish His government on earth, appointing us to our positions of authority.

Remember that Jesus taught that our faithfulness to invest what God had entrusted us with, producing a return, was going to be rewarded with the statement,

Luke 19:17 ...‘Well done, good slave, because you have been faithful in a very little thing, be in authority over ten cities.'

I believe that this is what will take up these 45 days. Now, I can't point out where that is spelled out in Scripture specifically, but I find it interesting that the number 45 is mentioned in the Bible only twice.

The first time is in Genesis 18, when Abraham and God are talking about the number of righteous people in the city (Gen. 18:28).

The second is when Caleb is talking about the number of years that it took for him to possess the land promised to him (Josh. 14:10).

It seems to me that the supernatural, typological, mystical signposts are there to point us to this 45 days being the time that the righteous are appointed to their cities, finally receiving the land of inheritance which had been promised them.

So those who are blessed are those who survive the Great Tribulation, make it through the judgment of the nations, and are allowed to live in the Millennial Kingdom!

God has shown us in the book of Daniel that He is in control, that He has a plan, and that we are to work to be a part of His plan. Next week, we shall begin our study of the book of Ezra, following the chronology of the Jews' release from the Babylonian Captivity and return to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple.

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