Scripture reading – Daniel 12

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Our study of the Book of Daniel ends with an event yet to be: The Tribulation. Four prophetic visions were recorded in Daniel 7-12, and the fourth and final vision began in Daniel 10 and concluded in Daniel 12. The Tribulation is described in Daniel 12:1 as “a time of trouble.” That same period is foretold in the Scriptures, and various terms describe it as The End of Times, The End of the Ages, The Times of the Gentiles, The Latter Days(Daniel 10:14), and The Time of Jacob’s Trouble (Jeremiah 30:7).

Daniel 11 concluded with the rise of great wickedness in the world and the Antichrist (“the little horn” of Daniel 7) magnifying and exalting himself above the nations of the world (Daniel 11:36a). He will do as he pleases and curse “the God of gods” (Daniel 11:36b; Revelation 13:5-6), will “magnify himself above all” (Daniel 11:37).

Daniel foretold that “at the time of the end,” the Antichrist would invade “the glorious land” (Israel) and, either by treaty or force, conquer other nations that stand in his way of world dominion (Daniel 11:39-43). Then, nations east of Israel and north (especially Russia) will move to defeat the Antichrist. He will mobilize his forces for the great battle of Armageddon in the valley of Megiddo (Daniel 11:44; Joel 3:1-2, 12-14; Zechariah 14:3).  The LORD Himself will rush upon the Antichrist (Matthew 24:29-30) and the armies of the nations gathered for battle (Revelation 19:11-21; Ezekiel 12:1-9; 14:1-21).

A Time of Trouble

Daniel 12

A Time of Trouble (Daniel 12:1-4)

Michael the Archangel will appear again “at that time” to save Israel, even as the Antichrist mounts his final assault on Israel. It is “a time of trouble” and The Great Tribulation (the last three and a half years of the Tribulation Period; Daniel 11:36-12:13; Matthew 24:21). It will be a time of wickedness and trouble like the world has never seen (Daniel 12:1a). Christ described it as the “abomination of desolation” and “great tribulation” (Matthew 24:15, 21). Jeremiah portrayed it as “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7). It is “the latter days” (Daniel 2:28; 10:14) and the “time of the end” (Daniel 11:35, 40; Daniel 12:4, 9).

The prophet Isaiah foretold the coming of the LORD and His reign on the earth (Isaiah 2:1-5). Believers, “every one that shall be found written in the book” (Daniel 12:1) will be bodily resurrected from the dead to eternal life (Daniel 12:2a). Those who rejected the LORD are promised they will come “to shame, and everlasting contempt (Daniel 12:2b; consummated at the judgment of the Great White Throne, Revelation 20:11-15). Believers will then share in the brightness of Christ’s heavenly glory (Daniel 12:3).

Details of the Great Tribulation Sealed (Daniel 12:4-7)

Daniel was commanded to seal the scroll upon which he was recording the future events of the Tribulation. Many would seek to understand Daniel’s vision; however, not even the prophet fully understood what he had written (Daniel 12:4, 8).

Two angels appeared in the vision, and one questioned: “The man clothed in linen” (whom I believe was the pre-incarnate Christ, Daniel 10:5-6), “How long shall it be to the end of these wonders?” (Daniel 12:6).

The “man in linen” answered and said, “It shall be for a time, times, and an half” [a “time” being one year; “times” being two years; and “an half” being a half year]. The Great Tribulation, which will be the second half of the Tribulation period, will last 3.5 years and conclude with Israel finding no place to turn but to the LORD, for the Antichrist will “scatter [crush; smash] the power of the holy people” (Daniel 12:7b; Zechariah 14:2-3).

Daniel’s Confusion (Daniel 12:8-9) 

Daniel desired an explanation of what he had seen and heard (Daniel 12:8). However, he was commanded, “Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end” (Daniel 12:9). In other words, the prophecies preserved and would only be understood by those living at “the time of the end.”

The Answer to Daniel’s Inquiry

The Answer to Daniel’s Inquiry (Daniel 12:10-13)

In the last days, we read that believers will “be purified, and made white, and tried,” but wickedness will abound (Daniel 12:10). Daniel foretold that the wicked “shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand” (Daniel 12:10b). Yet, believers, described as “the wise,” will understand what is coming (12:10c). 

The Great Tribulation will begin when the Antichrist abolishes worship in the Temple (Daniel 9:27) and sets up within the sanctuary the “abomination of desolation” (Matthew 24:15; Daniel 12:11). The original length of the Great Tribulation was 1260 days, but Daniel 12:11 adds 30 days to the number of days. There are various opinions about the difference in the days. Still, the most plausible explanation (in my opinion) is that the 30 additional days are for when the nations will be judged (Matthew 25:31-46). Daniel 12:12 added another 45 days to the total of days at the close of the Tribulation. Some suggest it is this time when Christ sets up His Millennial Kingdom. Again, these are inadequate explanations, for, like Daniel, I cannot know or prove (Daniel 12:9).


Closing thoughts –

Our study of Daniel concludes with the old prophet (now more than 90 years old) being told, “Blessed is he that waiteth [patient; tarries] …Go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days” (Daniel 12:12a, 13). May we do the same: 

Be patient…Live out our days…Rest…and Stand till the end.

Copyright © 2024 – Travis D. Smith 

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