Daniel 12

This is a manuscript that I wrote for preaching school earlier this year. I hope you enjoy.
             Please open your Bibles to Daniel 10:14. It is an honor
to assemble with you today in order to partake in the Lord’s Supper, to pray
for one another, to give back to God, to teach and admonish one another in
song, and to eat a biblical feast that God has laid out before us in His word.
If you are listening to us on WPID Piedmont, we are glad that you are, but we
would much rather you come in and join us in person. As always, if anything
that we say or do raises any questions in your mind, please ask us, and we will
be sure to answer any Bible question with a Bible answer. With that being said,
allow me to introduce our subject for today.

The
purpose of our lesson this morning is to correctly interpret a highly
misunderstood portion of God’s word found in Daniel. In all actuality, most of
Daniel is misunderstood, but hopefully, after today’s lesson, it will be
apparent to you that some perspectives and interpretations simply cannot be the
case. The passage that we will be focusing in on is none other than Daniel 12.
Though we won’t cover each passage in detail, we will do our very best to
provide the framework which will allow you to fill in the gaps quite
easily.  Throughout this presentation, I
will not be referring to scholars such as Turner, Wallace, or Coffman, but I
will be referencing others such as Jesus, John, and Paul. In order to not leave
you in the dark concerning where we are going, my proposition is that the book
of Daniel, and in our case chapter 12, was fulfilled sometime between the reign
on Nebuchadnezzar and the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70. I will show that the
events found within Daniel 12 find their fulfillment in the years 66-70 AD.
With this being said, let us begin in Daniel 10:14.
Now I am come to make thee understand what
shall befall thy people in the latter days: for yet the vision is for many days

(Daniel 10:14). The one speaking in this text is an angel of God who was sent
to reveal to Daniel a vision of things concerning the future of his people
Israel that would befall them in their latter days. The prophecy that the angel
gave begins in chapter 11 with the Medo-Persian empire and then it traces the
Medes, the Greeks, and, finally Rome. The same prophecy continues into chapter
12 where the angel deals with events that would take place within the timespan
of that last kingdom. That is to say, the things occurring in Daniel chapter 12
are things pertaining to the last days of Israel. “When might those days come?”
you ask. Though there is disagreement, the New Testament writers leave no room
for misunderstanding about this time period.
John
the Immerser said in Matthew 3:10, “And
now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which
bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire

(Matthew 3:10). 
Peter
said on the day of Pentecost, “But this
is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; 
(17)  And it shall come to pass in
the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your
sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams
” (Acts 2:16-17).
The
Hebrews writer said in no uncertain terms, “Hath
in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of
all things, by whom also he made the worlds
” (Hebrews 1:2).
These
latter days would begin with the teachings of John the Baptist, and that tree
would come tumbling down when God avenged the blood of His son, His apostles,
His prophets, and all other faithful persons whose blood was spilt upon the
earth in the overthrow of Judaism and the desolation of Israel in the
destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. Jesus warns about the vengeance that would
come upon His generation in Matthew 21, 22, and 23.
Having
the groundwork laid, let us move into Daniel 12:1 and continue our study with
these things in mind. As we begin looking at the verses, the time outline of
the fulfillment of these things will be further established.
In
Daniel 12:1, Daniel writes, “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
” (Daniel
12:1).
There
are two major points in this passage that scream out to me from the page. The
first is the obvious reference to the great tribulation. In Matthew 24:21 Jesus
said, “For then shall be great
tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no,
nor ever shall be
” (Matthew 24:21). If we keep in mind that Jesus said
those things He spoke of would come to pass within the generation of His listeners,
then the interpretation is simple: Jesus was discussing the fall of Jerusalem.
Questions may arise concerning the validity of this comparison, but those
questions will be answered towards the end of the chapter in Daniel.
Second,
the mention of “the book” gives us further hints as to who these people are
that the angel is talking about. Notice with me Hebrews 12:23. “To the general assembly and church of the
firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the
spirits of just men made perfect
” (Hebrews 12:23). Who was it that was
written in Heaven? The church of the firstborn. Compare that to Revelation
20:15. “And whosoever was not found
written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire
” (Revelation
20:15). What do we have here, then? The only ones that would be delivered were
those written in the book, but one is written in the book by being a member of
the church, so those in Daniel 12:1 that would be delivered must have been
members of the church.
Here’s
a question for you: when would these books be opened, and why would they be
opened? Daniel 7:9-12 give us the answer. “I
beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose
garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his
throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.  (10)  A
fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands
ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the
judgment was set, and the books were opened. 
(11)  I beheld then because of the
voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was
slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame.  (12) 
As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken
away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time
” (Daniel
7:9-12). We see then that they would be opened to judge between those that
bowed to the little horn and those that did not. Regardless of one’s
interpretation of who the little horn was towards the end of the first century,
one thing is sure: God’s kingdom did and always will prevail.
Next,
we will turn our attention to Daniel 12:2-3. “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.  (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

(Daniel 12:2-3). In order to properly understand this text we need to keep in
mind several facts: 1) this verse is found in a book of prophecy, and prophetic
language needs to be surveyed closely to determine the nature, 2) the timing of
the fulfillment of this text does not allow for a resurrection of the physical
variety, and 3) other language used in the immediate context will show that
this text does not demand a physical fulfillment.
For
example, notice verse three once more: “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
” (Daniel 12:3).
Should we expect a physical interpretation of this passage? After all, this is
the result of the preceding passage. Could we expect to look back through
history to the time of this prophecy’s fulfillment and see the church’s skin
turn bright white and shine with the glory of the sun? Of course not! Nobody
would expect that, so we can understand that the language used in Daniel 12:2
is akin to the language used in Daniel 12:3. As to what Daniel 12:2-3 is
referring to, we do not have the time to discuss this morning, but we do know
that whatever interpretation we take, it must fit within the plain time
indicators in the passage.
Look
now with me at Daniel 12:4. “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
” (Daniel 12:4).  This book would be sealed until the time of
the end. What exactly is the time of the end? Well, let’s notice what Jesus has
to say about the matter. In Matthew 24, the disciples wanted to know about the
time of the end. Jesus then proceeded to give them signs concerning the time.
We will notice a few of those now. “And
ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all
these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet
” (Matthew 24:6). “But he that shall endure unto the end, the
same shall be saved
” (Matthew 24:13). First, we saw that Jesus foretold
that there would be wars and rumors of wars. Those, according to Him, did not
necessarily mean that the end was upon them. Second, Jesus warned them to
endure to the end. The text tells us that they would have to endure persecution
and false teachers. None of these, however, answered our question concerning
the time of the end. Let’s read on.
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.  (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
:)” (Matthew 24:14-15). We see that the end
would come whenever the gospel was preached to the whole world. The Christians
preached to the whole world relatively quickly: Colossians 2:23. We also see
that this would be followed by the abomination of desolation spoken by Daniel!
Guess what! The passage that we are studying in Daniel is the very passage that
mentions the abomination of desolation!
Finally,
notice how the idea of some running to and fro in order to increase knowledge
fits perfectly with the requirement that the apostles would have to preach to
the entire world before the end would come! Now, let’s read Daniel 12:5-7.
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. 
(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?  (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
” (Daniel
12:5-7).
A
question that should be on everyone’s mind who reads this text is: “when shall
these things be?” Now, we have already illustrated when these things would be,
but the man standing over the waters further proves our interpretation. He,
holding up both hands and calling on God to illustrate the truthfulness of the
statement, said that beginning with the great tribulation and going to the end
would take 3 and one-half years. The end of the period would be marked, as the
New King James says, by the shattering of the power of the holy people. Keeping
in mind that this passage is a discussion of Israel’s last days as we saw in
Daniel 10:14, then the identity and the power of the holy people is not
difficult to figure out. The holy people is Israel and her power is the temple,
Jerusalem, the law, the priesthood, and everything else that caused her to be
unique. Though Jesus rendered the animal sacrifices useless through the redeeming
power of His blood, their continual offering throughout the forty-year period
before the desolation of the temple was the cause of some strife between the
Jew and Gentile.  “For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very
image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by
year continually make the comers thereunto perfect
” (Hebrews 10:1).
Speaking of the Old Covenant, the Hebrews writer says, “In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that
which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away
” (Hebrews 8:13).
Though
these matters are crystal clear to us because we are looking through the eyes
of the New Testament, these things were not so clear to the man Daniel, for he
recorded, “And I heard, but I understood
not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things
?”
(Daniel 12:8). How true were Peter’s words when he said that the Old Testament
prophets did not understand the time or the manner of fulfillment concerning
the things which they spoke (I Peter 1:11)! Unfortunately for him, his question
was not one that was to be answered specifically because, as Zechariah said in
Zechariah 14:7, it was a day known only to the Lord. However, there was a
response given to the faithful, pure prophet. He was told, “Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed
up and sealed till the time of the end. 
(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.  (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.  (12)  Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the
thousand three hundred and five and thirty days
” (Daniel 12:9-12).
Again
we have the mention of the sealing of the book and the time of the end. I think
that it is rather interesting that John receives the opposite command. “And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings
of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand
” (Revelation 22:10).
Does this not meant that the things prophesied in Daniel, that were restated in
the Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24, were also, at least in part, some of these
same things that Jesus revealed to John in Revelation? I believe so, and there
are many good brethren who think so as well, but that is not an issue we can
pursue at this time.
I
think it is revealing that we are told that only the wise would understand
these things. Does that not indicate further that the events found within the
book of Daniel, and specifically chapter 12, are heavenly things? Who could
misunderstand a world-wide government with a physical headquarters, who could
misunderstand the kingdoms of the world being annihilated, and who could
misunderstand someone’s skin turning bright white like the sun and stars? To
the outside world, these things were just wars, another “sect” of the Jews, and
drunks speaking gibberish, but to the spiritual minded individual, these things
meant the remission of sins, the vengeance of God, miraculous gifts of tongues,
and the establishment of the eternal kingdom!
 Finally, notice the idea of three and one-half
years. Now, there are two different numbers of days here. One is 1,290 and the
other is 1,335. The 1,290 days is the time it would take from the removing of
the daily sacrifice to the time when the armies would begin to be made ready to
descend upon Jerusalem. The abomination of desolation can be defined by looking
at two parallel passages. “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:)  (16) 
Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains
” (Matthew
24:15-16). “And when ye shall see
Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is
nigh.  (21)  Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the
mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not
them that are in the countries enter thereinto
” (Luke 21:20-21). The 1,335
days would be the time from the taking away of the sacrifice to the time it
would take from the troops to reach Jerusalem and to destroy it. Again, however
one decides to count these dates is irrelevant to the fact that it has to reach
its end three and one-half years after the great tribulation.
Daniel
is then given a wonderful promise: “But
go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at
the end of the days
” (Daniel 12:13). There is no room to speculate about
this passage when we consider all of the evidence that lies before us. Perhaps
the easiest way to explain what this means is by turning to an explanatory
passage in God’s word.
And there was given me a reed like unto a
rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the
altar, and them that worship therein. 
(2)  But the court which is
without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the
Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two
months.  (3)  And I will give power unto my two witnesses,
and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in
sackcloth.  …  (7) 
And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that
ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall
overcome them, and kill them.  (8)  And their dead bodies shall lie in the street
of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our
Lord was crucified.  … (13)  And the same hour was there a great
earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were
slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to
the God of heaven.  (14)  The second woe is past; and, behold, the
third woe cometh quickly.  (15)  And the seventh angel sounded; and there were
great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the
kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and
ever.  … (18)  And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is
come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou
shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and
them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which
destroy the earth
” (Revelation 11:1-19).
Not
much effort is needed in explaining the correlation between the two passages.
They both have to do with desolation of the temple, they both deal with
Jerusalem, they both take three and one-half years, and they both deal with the
prophets being rewarded. I understand that this is a lot of material, but if
you read these passages together, it will be awfully hard for you to miss the
connections between them. Keep in mind that the Bible is its own best commentary.  I’ll be willing to accept a divine
application of the text over what a fallible man has to say any day! That is
true for prophecy, but is also true when considering what one must do in order
to become a Christian. The only place where one can have salvation is in
Christ, and the only way to get into Christ is baptism. Allow me to show you
what I mean.

There is one body, and one Spirit, even as
ye are called in one hope of your calling
” (Ephesians 4:4). How many bodies
are there? Just one. Well, what is the body? “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head
over all things to the church,  (23)  Which is his body, the fulness of him that
filleth all in all
” (Ephesians 1:22-23). So if there is one body, and the
body is the church, how many churches are there? Just one. Well can we be saved
outside of the church? Well, no. We learned today that the only ones written in
the book are those who are members of the one church. So how do we get into the
body which is the church? ”For by one Spirit
are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we
be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit
” (I
Corinthians 12:13). Well if baptism puts us into the church, and one can’t be
saved without being in the church, then baptism is necessary! Have you done
that? Maybe you have but you’ve fallen away. You can have your sins forgiven
too. 

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