At That Time: A Closer Look at Daniel 12:1

The New Testament writers stated time and time again that
their eschatological hopes were based off old covenant promises made to Old
Covenant Israel after the flesh. One of the major tenants of eschatology is the
doctrine of the resurrection of the just and the unjust. In John 5:28-29 and
Acts 24:14-15, Jesus and Paul both referenced Daniel 12:2 in support for their
teaching.

Daniel 12:2  And many of those who sleep in the dust of
the earth shall awake, Some to everlasting life, Some to shame and everlasting
contempt.

John 5:28-29  Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming
in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice  (29) 
and come forth – those who have done good, to the resurrection of life,
and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.

Acts 24:14-15  But this I confess to you, that according to
the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing
all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets.  (15)  I
have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will be a
resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust.

So, if we can determine the timing of the fulfillment of one
of these passages, then we will have a correct view of the timing of the
resurrection. Notice below:
John 5:28-29 and Acts 24:14-15 reference Daniel 12:2 as the time when
the just and the unjust would be raised. Daniel 12, however, was fulfilled in
AD70. Therefore, the resurrection of the just and the unjust in John 5:28-29
and Acts 24:14-15 was fulfilled in AD70.

For this argument to be valid, we must prove the middle
sentence. Notice this chart on Daniel 12 for your convenience.
1. Christ Brings Deliverance
Daniel 12:1
Matthew 24:30
2. The Great Tribulation
Daniel 12:1
Matthew 24:21
3. Resurrection
Daniel 12:2-3
Matthew 24:31
4. Judgement
Daniel 12:2-3
Matthew 24:37-44
5. The End
Daniel 12:4
Matthew 24:14
6. Knowledge Shall Increase
Daniel 12:4
Matthew 24:14
7. Shattering of the Power of the Holy People
Daniel 12:7
Matthew 24:49
8. Many Refined by Tribulation
Daniel 12:10
Matthew 24:12-13
9. The Wise vs. The Wicked Understanding
Daniel 12:10
Matthew 24:15
10. Abomination of Desolation
Daniel 12:11
Matthew 24:15
11. Inheritance Given
Daniel 12:13
Matthew 24:45; 25:34
The fulfillment of Daniel 12, then, corresponds to the
fulfillment of Matthew 24, but Matthew 24 would be fulfilled at the end of the
Mosaic age within the generation of the contemporaries of Jesus (Matthew 24:3,
14-15, 34). For more information please see my audios on Daniel 12 that can be
found at http://www.labornotinvain.com/p/podcast-archives.html.
Having this information, our argument stated above is proven, and everything
should be settled, but there is an issue that some bring up. The issue is not
trying to force Daniel 12:2 to be in our future. If it was in our future, then
Daniel 12:1 would directly contradict Matthew 24:21. The issue that some raise
is with verse one where Daniel records, “At that time…” You see, some want to
say that Daniel 12 refers to the time of the Maccabean revolt. Foy E. Wallace,
for instance, said, “The description is that of the persecutions of Antiochus
Epiphanes, after old testament prophecy was closed and during the period
between the testaments…” (God’s
Prophetic Word
, page 519). This, however, does not line up with Jesus’
divine commentary on this text in Matthew 24. The solution to this “issue”
comes in one of two ways: 1) This prophecy has dual fulfillment or 2) “At that
time” refers to the time of the end during the Roman empire – not Antiochus IV
Epiphanes. The second view is the one that we will set out to show; however,
regardless of how one cuts it, Daniel 12 is undoubtedly connected to the fall
of Jerusalem in AD70.
To begin, in Daniel two we are presented with a prophetic
framework concerning the last days in which God would set up His eternal
kingdom (Daniel 2:28). The four major world empires that would exist from the
time of the Babylonian captivity to the coming of the kingdom were Babylon,
Medes and the Persians, Greece, and Rome. This framework is used throughout
Daniel (2, 7, 8, 9, 10-12). During this time, God had six things planned for
Daniel’s people and his holy city (see Revelation 11:1-2): to finish the
transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to
bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint
the Most Holy (Daniel 9:24). These things pertain to the judgement, salvation, and
world of righteousness that would come with God’s eternal kingdom, and they
would be fulfilled at the abomination of desolation (Daniel 9:27). When we come
to Daniel 10-12, then, it is no surprise that we are presented with the same
timeline of the last days (Daniel 10:14). Again, this last-days period of time
refers to Daniel’s people – Old Covenant Israel (cf. Isaiah 2:1-2). The
following vision that can be found in Daniel eleven and twelve will fit into
the framework of the last days.
When we study Daniel eleven we find a very precise forecast
of the events following the death of Alexander the Great to the time of the end
(Daniel 11:40). I would recommend obtaining a copy of Dr. Dallas Burdette’s Commentary on Daniel: An Unraveling of God’s
Messianic Kingdom
for a thorough explanation of Daniel 11 as well as the
other passages in Daniel. Not only does he masterfully exegete the text, but he
also will help you to further appreciate what God has done for us. Now, going
back to the text, one of the last kings that we encounter in Daniel 11 is
Antiochus IV Epiphanes. He was a very cruel man that brought about much pain
for the Jews in the time of the Maccabean Revolt. He is identified in this
chapter by the description “king of the North.” In fact, every time the word
king is used in reference to the Grecian kings of the divided empire and their successors
in Daniel 11, it is qualified by either “of the North” or “of the South.” These
two descriptions represent the dynasties of the Seleucids and the Ptolemies and
their replacements. Notice this chart below:
King of the South
King of the North
5
6
6
7
8
9
9
11
11
13
14
15
16 (x2)
40
40
These qualifiers are used consistently throughout the text,
but when we come to verse 36 Daniel records, “Then the king shall do according
to his own will: he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, shall
speak blasphemies against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the wrath has
been accomplished; for what has been determined shall be done” (Daniel 11:36).
This same king is later attacked by the powers of the north and south: “At
the time of the end the king of the South shall attack him; and the king of the
North shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and
with many ships; and he shall enter the countries, overwhelm them, and pass
through” (Daniel 11:40). This king, therefore, cannot be either the king of the
North or the king of the South – i.e. he cannot be Antiochus IV Epiphanes. The
pronoun “him” and “he” in this text refers back to the unidentified king that
was introduced in verse 36. The Roman kings were the only kings in Daniel to
not be identified, so we can see once more how this fits into the prophetic
framework used consistently through the book.
This king – the Roman dynasty – would be instrumental in the
time of the end (Daniel 11:40-45). The text says, “And he shall plant the tents
of his palace between the seas and the glorious holy mountain [the valley of Jehoshaphat
– Joel 3:1ff]; yet he shall come to his end, and no one will help him” (Daniel
11:45). This is the “at that time” of Daniel 12:1: when the Roman king would prepare
to enter the land. It would be at this time that those written in the book
would be delivered because Jesus told them, “Therefore when you see the
‘ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the
holy place”  (whoever reads, let him
understand),  (16)  “then let those who are in Judea flee to
the mountains” (Matthew 24:15-16).
In conclusion, the time of the end in Daniel 12:1 corresponds
to the time of the Roman empire and their involvement in bringing about the end
of Old Covenant Israel at the appointed time (something that wouldn’t be
brought about by the will of man: Daniel 11:14, 27, 35). While Antiochus IV
Epiphanes may have helped to spark a reformation of sorts, it was not through
him that the time of the end would be brought about. That was reserved for the
appointed time, and that time was outlined by Jesus in Matthew 24 (cf. Matthew
24:15). This would be the time of the resurrection of the just and the unjust –
the time when Daniel would rise to receive his inheritance (Daniel 12:2, 13).
While some may wriggle and squirm at this conclusion, no amount of twisting
will change what Jesus firmly established in the Olivet Discourse of Matthew
24-25. 

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