Daniel 12:1-13

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At that “time” (which, according to 11:40, would be the “time [or hour (LXX)] of the end”), “Michael the great prince” would “stand up” or “arise.” The Septuagint refers to Michael as the “great angel,” and the Greek version of Theodotion contains the expression “great ruler” or “great leader.” This prominent angel is identified as “standing” over Daniel’s people (literally, the “sons of your people”), suggesting that he is their defender and helper. His “standing up” or “arising” appears to relate to his taking an active role in coming to the aid of God’s devoted people. In the Septuagint, Michael is portrayed as “passing by,” probably as one arriving as the angel who looks after the interests of the people whom God recognizes as his very own. (12:1)

The “time of the end” would be a period marked by such great distress as had never occurred since a nation came into existence up until that time. According to the Septuagint, this time would be a “day of distress” like no other days came to be until that day. Apparently on account of having Michael the mighty angel as their defender, Daniel’s people (representative of all whom God regards as belonging to him) would be delivered. That they are divinely approved persons is revealed by their “name” being found written in the book. They are thus identified as being in the registry of those who are approved and under God’s special care and guidance. Instead of referring to the divinely approved people as being saved, the Septuagint says that “all the people will be exalted.” From the standpoint of being delivered whereas others will not be saved, the people would be revealed as having been exalted. (12:1)

Many of those asleep in the “dust of the earth” would awake. Some of these would awake to “everlasting life,” and some to “reproach” or “shame” and “everlasting abhorrence.” Those asleep in the “dust of the earth” would be the dead, and their awaking would refer to their being resurrected. The language parallels that of Jesus Christ when he identified himself as the one whom his Father had granted the authority to restore the dead to life. Speaking about himself in the third person, Jesus said, “The hour is coming when all in the tombs will hear his voice and come out.” Those who revealed themselves to be doers of good during their lifetime would then experience the “resurrection of life,” from then onward enjoying life eternally as persons having an approved relationship with the Father and his Son. Those who have done vile deeds, setting themselves in opposition to God’s ways, would face a “resurrection of judgment,” a condemnatory judgment commensurate with the life they had lived. A condemnatory judgment would indeed be one resulting in shame and lasting abhorrence. (12:2; John 5:28, 29)

In Isaiah 66:24, the abhorrent state is represented as being like that of corpses that have been cast into a garbage dump where fires burn continually and maggots feed on the dead bodies that the flames do not reach. This abhorrent state of condemnation does not end. The transgressors would forever be deprived of any possibility of the eternal life enjoyed by those whom God approves. In the Septuagint rendering of the passage in Daniel, a distinction is drawn between those who arise to “reproach” and others who arise to “dispersion and eternal shame.” This rendering could be understood to indicate that the judgment resulting in “reproach” would be less severe than the one leading to “dispersion and eternal shame” (comparable to being cast out and remaining in a state of perpetual shame or contempt). The Hebrew text may also refer to two outcomes, but it is more likely that “reproach” and “everlasting abhorrence” apply to the same condemnatory judgment. (12:2)

The ones proving themselves to be wise or possessing insight would be those who conduct themselves in a divinely approved manner, adhering faithfully to God’s commands. As their reward upon being raised from the dead, they would “shine like the brightness of the firmament,” appearing in their approved state as does the celestial dome when illuminated by sunlight. As for those who turn many to righteousness, they will shine like the stars for limitless time to come (“into the age of the age” [LXX]). Their turning many to righteousness indicates that they would be diligent in teaching others the right course to take, motivating them to live uprightly. Their reward would be comparable to coming to be like stars shining brilliantly in the night sky. This suggests that, besides being raised to life, there would be additional privileges and blessings for those who aided others to abandon a wayward course and then to pursue a divinely approved way of life. (12:3; see the Notes section regarding the Septuagint rendering and that of the Greek version of Theodotion.)

It is possible that the thought about shining brilliantly somewhat parallels the words in 2 Peter 1:11, which refer to the entry into the kingdom as being “richly provided.” This could designate a glorious entry, being welcomed into the heavenly realm as persons acknowledged to have been exemplary devoted servants of God and Christ. It could also signify the high degree of blessedness they would come to enjoy for having exerted themselves in advancing Christ’s cause in attitude, word, and action. They would not be like believers whose works Christ’s judgment would expose as having been worthless but who, because of having him as their foundation, would not lose out on life despite their failings. The deliverance of those whose works would not prove to be praiseworthy would be like that of persons who would lose everything in a fire but would themselves be snatched from the flames. Their entry into the kingdom then would not be “richly provided.” (12:3; compare 1 Corinthians 3:15.)

The angel who had been sent to Daniel (10:12) is the one who had revealed everything that has been recorded up to this point. Therefore, this is the angel who must have told him to “shut up” or to conceal the “words” and to “seal” the book “until the time of the end.” Accordingly, these “words” would be the ones the angel had made known to Daniel and which related to future developments. At the “time of the end,” none of the prophetic words would remain unfulfilled. Therefore, this would also be the time for these words no longer to be concealed and for the seal or seals to be broken, making it possible to read with understanding everything that had been recorded. (12:4)

“Many will roam” or “rove about, and knowledge will increase.” If this pertains to the time of unparalleled distress (12:1), it could mean that people would roam, desperately seeking answers for guidance while faced with mounting affliction. Among God’s devoted people (as one may conclude from verse 3), there will be those who would be turning many to righteousness or to conduct themselves aright during the time of trouble. So the kind of knowledge that would be essential during the difficult time would increase. (12:4)

The rendering of the Septuagint definitely applies to the culmination of the time of distress when the “words” or “ordinances” (LXX) would no longer be concealed and the written record would no longer be sealed. It would then be a time when many would be “going mad” and “wickedness” or “injustice” would “fill the earth.” In the Greek version of Theodotion, the positive aspect is mentioned, with the book being sealed “until many are taught and knowledge is increased.” (12:4)

Daniel saw “two others” or two other angels besides the one who had been speaking to him. One of these angels stood on one bank of the stream or the river, and the other one on the other bank. According to verse 4 of chapter 10, the river was the Hiddekel or Tigris (LXX). Possibly the two other angels served as witnesses respecting the truthfulness or reliability of what had been revealed to Daniel. (12:5)

The “man clothed in linen” or the one dressed with a linen garment is the angel who had been speaking to Daniel, for he is described in the same way in verse 5 of chapter 10. His being “above the waters of the stream” could mean that he was standing upstream at the location where he had been speaking to Daniel. The question one of the other angels raised pertained to how long it would be until the “end of these extraordinary things” or “wonders” (things that would cause astonishment). In the Greek version of Theodotion, the “wonders” are identified as those concerning which the angel had spoken. (12:6; regarding the Septuagint rendering, see the Notes section.)

Daniel saw the angel, “the man clothed in linen” who was “above the waters of the stream” (or upstream) raise his right hand and his left to the heavens and heard him swear by “God” (LXX), the One who lives forever. The angel declared that “all these things” would be accomplished at the termination of a time, two times, and half a time. This also would be when the “shattering of the power [literally, hand] of the holy people” would end. During the three and a half times, God’s people would be the objects of a vicious attack that is meant to destroy them. The earlier reference to a time of unparalleled distress seemingly places the event at the time of the end when the “antichrist” or the “man of lawlessness” appears on the scene. So the three and a half times may be understood to represent a period during which God’s people would experience violent oppression, comparable to that which the Israelites who endeavored to live according to the law experienced for some three years during the reign of Antiochus IV Epiphanes. (12:7; see the Notes section regarding the opening words of the Septuagint.)

Although Daniel heard what the angel said, he did not understand. The Masoretic Text and the Greek version of Theodotion do not identify what he did not understand, but the Septuagint adds, “concerning the time itself,” indicating that he did not comprehend just when these developments would take place and what was involved. Using a respectful manner of address, he said to the angel, “O my lord, what will be the issue of these things?” The oldest extant Greek text (P967) renders the question, “What [is] the interpretation of these words, and what [do] their parables [mean]?” In Rahlfs’ printed text, the singular “this word” appears. While the question in the extant Hebrew text and the Greek version of Theodotion focuses on the “end” or outcome of the things that the angel had mentioned, the question in the Septuagint relates to the meaning of the “words,” “word,” or message that the angel had made known to Daniel. The word rendered “parables,” may here apply to puzzling aspects of the message. (12:8)

It was then not the time for Daniel to understand what had been revealed to him. The imperative for him to “go” or “run away” (LXX) directed to Daniel may simply mean that he was to go on his way, not concerning himself about developments that would not be affecting him personally. The “words” were “shut up” or concealed and “sealed until the time of the end,” with their fulfillment being in the future. According to the Septuagint, the “ordinances” were “concealed and sealed until many are tested and sanctified.” This rendering indicates that the future time of distress would be a time of testing or refining and that those who remained faithful would be revealed as sanctified, holy, or purified by reason of the refining process. (12:9; see the Notes section.)

During the time Antiochus IV Epiphanes endeavored to stamp out the worship of YHWH, certain Israelites actively supported his objective. Many, out of fear, yielded to his official decree and engaged in idolatrous practices. Others among the Israelites were determined to follow God’s law even though it could lead to their being killed. Likewise in the time when the “antichrist” or the “man of lawlessness” exercises control, there will be ardent supporters, persons who will buckle under the pressure to conform, and those who will remain devoted to God and Christ or will choose to take the right course. When the words of Daniel are regarded as applying to the time of the “man of lawlessnes,” then persons who would be seeking to do God’s will are being described as the many who would “purify themselves and make themselves white and be refined.” According to the Greek version of Theodotion, the verse indicates that following the right course is a matter of choice, for the first word, when linked with “many,” may be rendered “let many choose.” The refining process could include affliction that is faithfully endured. (12:10)

Wicked ones, those who would be supporting or following the dictates of the “man of lawlessness,” would act wickedly. According to the Septuagint, “sinners” would “sin,” habitually following a course of lawlessness. None of them would “understand” or discern that disregarding God’s ways and submitting fully to the “man of lawlessness” would end disastrously for them. Wise persons, those who remained loyal to God, would understand how they should be conducting themselves during the distressing time and would also comprehend what the eventual outcome will be. (12:10)

The “continuity” (tamíd) can refer to the regular sacrifice that was offered at the temple in Jerusalem. In the Septuagint, the reference is to the “sacrifice.” Antiochus IV Ephiphanes did put a stop to the regular sacrifice at the temple. When an application is made to the action of the “man of lawlessness,” this could refer to a vicious attack to silence devoted servants of God and Christ from making expressions about their faith, thereby removing the kind of sacrifices with which God is pleased. (Compare Hebrews 13:15, 16.) From the time the “continuity” or the regular sacrifice is removed and the “abomination making desolate” is set up, 1,290 days would pass. (Regarding the “abomination” in the time of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, see 11:31.) According to 2 Thessalonians 2:4, the “man of lawlessness” would seat himself in the “temple of God” and represent himself as being a god. This would indeed be abominable or disgusting. Just how this will develop and what will be involved are not disclosed. The period of 1,290 days may be representative of a time like that which was experienced by faithful Israelites after the defilement of the temple in Jerusalem. That period will have a beginning and an end at God’s appointed time. (12:11)

During the time of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, Israelites who were determined to obey God’s law fought back under the leadership of the priest Mattathias and then, after his death, under that of his son Judas. In this part of the book of Daniel, however, there is no hint of any fighting. The implication is that faithful ones would wait patiently for divine help. Anyone who then “waits” or endures and comes to the end of 1,335 days is pronounced “blessed” or “happy,” suggesting that such a one would then experience the joys and blessings that would come to those who remain faithful during the period of great distress. The mention of specific days may indicate that everything will take place according to God’s appointed time. (12:12)

Daniel would not be affected by the time of great affliction but could go on his way until the end of his life. He would then rest in the realm of the dead, and thereafter “stand” or rise to receive his “lot” or inheritance at the “end of the days.” According to the Septuagint rendering, Daniel is directed to go and to take his rest, “for there are still days and hours until the fulfillment of the end.” After his resting in the realm of the dead, he would “rise” to his “glory at the end of the days.” (12:13; see John 11:24, where Martha is quoted as expressing her faith that her brother Lazarus would be raised from the dead “on the last day.”)


In verse 3, the Septuagint says of those having understanding — the intelligent or the wise — that they will “shine like the lights of the heaven” or like the luminaries in the sky. As for those who “strengthen” God’s word, which would include his commands and the message he conveyed through his prophets, they will shine eternally like the “stars of the heaven” or the stars in the night sky. The “strengthening” of the “word” could refer to making it clear to others and, by example and admonition, encouraging others to heed it. Two different meanings are possible for the Greek text in the version of Theodotion. (1) “Some of the many righteous ones” will shine “like the stars.” (2) “Some of the righteous deeds of the many” will shine “like the stars.”

The rendering of the Septuagint in verse 6 departs significantly from the reading of the extant Hebrew text and the Greek version of Theodotion. In the partially preserved text of this verse in the oldest Greek manuscript (P967), the opening words are, “And they said,” referring to the two angels as directing their question to the one clothed in linen. Rahlfs’ printed Greek text says, “And I said,” applying to Daniel as the speaker. The question is, “When then [is] the end of the wonders of which you spoke to me and the cleansing of these things?” This question appears to relate to the end of the astonishing developments and the cleansing or purification of the things that had been defiled. Additionally, in Rahlfs’ text, the one addressed is referred to as the “one above” (apparently meaning “above the water of the river” or the one upstream), but P967, reads, “O, O lord.”

In verse 7, the opening words of the Septuagint in answer to the question raised in verse 5 may be rendered, “until the time of the end” or “until the end of time.” Instead of mentioning the “shattering” of the “hand” or “power” of the “holy people,” the Septuagint says, “the end of the hands of the release of the holy people.” Possibly this is to be understood to refer to the end of the powers that prevented the release of God’s people from a captive state.

The words rendered “and sealed” are not included in the oldest extant Greek manuscript (P967). In Rahlfs’ printed Greek text, the phrase “until many are tested and sanctified” starts at the end of verse 9 and continues in verse 10.