Chapter 12

At that time

Dan 12:1 "At that time Michael shall stand up, The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; And there shall be a time of trouble, Such as never was since there was a nation, Even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, Every one who is found written in the book.

At that time

This phrase connects us back to the events of the previous chapter. Namely a time when the Antichrist is making war on Egypt and the king of the North, as well as his arrival in Jerusalem. It may even be said that the following event occurs just after those events. Based on some other factors which we will soon see, it appears that “that time” might specifically refer to the mid-point of Daniel’s 70th week. The time of the “abomination of desolation” spoken of by Jesus in Matthew 24:15, and Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2:4.

Michael shall stand up, The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people

Michael the archangel, as he is called in Jude 9, seems to be in view here. God has apparently assigned Michael to watch over Israel.

Michael is an angel with great power In fact, he seems to be put opposite of Satan in a fight in a number of instances in scripture, at least one of which he obviously wins (Jude 1:9, Revelation 12:7-9).

David Guzik makes the remark that some think that God and Satan are opposites, but a much more theologically correct view would be saying that Michael the archangel and Satan are opposites.

So what does Michael “standing up” have to do with the Great Tribulation?

Many see this verse as a reference to Michael standing up, in the sense of getting ready to defend Israel during the “time of trouble” that immediately follows this phrase. But this is a problematic interpretation. One reason is because if that is his mission, to protect them, then he fails at it.

This time is linked to the same period described by Jesus in Matthew 24: 15-22. If this is the case, then the very moment that Michael tries to protect them, he loses more of them than ever before in history. Such a conclusion is unlikely to be true.

Contextually, it would appear more likely that Michael’s “standing up” is what allows the “time of trouble” to begin.

Colin Nicholl, in his paper Michael, The Restrainer Removed, points out that the term used here for “standing up” was understood by Jewish commentators like Rashi to mean to “stand still” or to move aside to allow the time of trouble to happen to the Jewish people. Nicholl points out that Hebrew term for stand is very often used in scripture to refer to inaction, in direct contrast to action, (i.e. to stand still) (Josh. 10:13; Hab. 3:11; 1 Sam. 9:27; 2 Sam. 2:28; Nah. 2:9 and 2 Kgs. 4:6) or to refer to inactivity (2 Chr. 20:17), or to describe the cessation of an action (2 Kgs. 13:18; cf. Gen. 29:35; 30:9; Josh. 1:15) or to mean 'stand silent' (Job 32:16).

He also points out that the term, by the time of the Apostle Paul, was frequently used in a figurative sense, meaning 'to disappear' or 'to pass away'.

These and a great many other things he details in his paper lead him to the view that Michael is the restrainer of 2 Thessalonians 2.

This would of course make a huge amount of sense, as in that passage we see that the abomination of desolation is being held back only by the restrainer ceasing to restrain, which is exactly what we would have here. The Great Tribulation, which begins at the abomination of desolation, is here said to be contingent upon the inaction of Michael. It is an almost certain conclusion that this passage is where Paul gets this idea, after of course being directed by the Lord to study the same passage in Matthew 24:15.

For our purposes, it is only important to note his conclusion about our verse in Daniel 12a, namely that the “standing” that Michael does represents a ceasing to protect Israel at the midpoint, thus allowing the Antichrist to commit the abomination of desolation and begin the “time of trouble” that follows it.

And there shall be a time of trouble, Such as never was since there was a nation, Even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, Every one who is found written in the book.

Jesus makes reference to this time or trouble, which will be unparalleled in the history in Matthew 24: 15-22. Even the word “tribulation” in Greek that Jesus uses in Matthew 24:21 (thilipsis) is the same word that was used in the LXX to render the Hebrew “trouble” in Daniel 12:1.

In addition, the Lord brings up this point of the Great Tribulation in Matthew 24:21 in an effort to answer the disciple’s question (24:3) about when the resurrection or parousia would occur. It is therefore no surprise that this is the section in Daniel that Jesus points his hearers to in Matthew 24:15, as it’s the one in which Daniel gives us the clearest depiction of the Rapture in the Old Testament, which we will cover in the next two verses.

Dan 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.

Here we see a picture of the resurrection of the dead. We know it as the Rapture. This is when the dead in Christ will rise first, and those who are alive and remain on the earth at that time will be caught up to heaven to be with Jesus just before the wrath of God begins on the ungodly (1 Thes 4:15-17).

Daniel tells us that there is another kind of resurrection as well. He tells us that there will be a resurrection of the unjust or wicked dead in addition to the righteous dead. We are given more information about the resurrection of the unjust in Revelation 20, in which we find out that this resurrection happens at the close of the millennial reign (Rev 20: 7-15).

They are judged and sentenced according to their works to the lake of fire.

It seems that everyone will be resurrected. The only question is if that resurrection will be to everlasting life or to shame and everlasting contempt.

Dan 12:3 Those who are wise shall shine Like the brightness of the firmament, And those who turn many to righteousness Like the stars forever and ever.

Here the reward of the righteous dead is depicted as a shining.

Jesus perhaps had this verse in mind when he said:

“the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father” (Matt 13:43).

Forever and ever

Though the reward here (shining) is probably partly or totally allegorical, this idea of an everlasting or eternal state is a consistent theme. Heaven is an eternal state.

Dan 12:4 "But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase."

This verse marks an end to the vision. Now the angel will give some final instructions to Daniel, as well as a few additional details about it.

Shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end

Steven Miller argues against the widely held belief that this idea of “sealing” the book does not mean to make them unable to be understood until the time of the end, but rather that he is telling him to properly store them so that they would be preserved for future generations.

I think that there are good arguments for and against this view.

I would argue that there would be very little that Daniel himself could do in order to make his writings unable to be understood until the time of the end, unless he knew of a way to encode them in such a way that only could be deciphered by the last generation, an idea that seems farfetched. This is because the things that he described were things he saw and heard Therefore, the visions had to have been already “sealed” divinely before they were conveyed to Daniel, an idea that we will see later has merit.

This then would make the angel’s charge to him to seal up the book until the time of the end more of a rhetorical device, as that would be an act for a divine being to do.

The arguments for this being about a “sealing up” that renders the meaning wholly or partially un-decipherable can be found in the consistent way that the angel speaks of this “sealing” in relationship to the content of the message being understood.

For example, in this verse, he goes on to connect the idea that knowledge shall increase to the “sealing” up of the book, suggesting perhaps that in the last times, there would be sufficient knowledge to understand it. Later, in verses 8 and 9, we see something that gives the idea more credibility.

Although I heard, I did not understand. Then I said, "My lord, what shall be the end of these things?" And he said, "Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. - Dan 12:8-9

Daniel, after hearing a kind of angelic conversation about an interpretation of the vision he just saw, said he heard it, but could not understand it. The angel’s response to Daniel seems to be reiterating that the vision can’t be understood because it has been sealed until the time of the end.

This not only connects the sealing to a lack of understanding once again, but it also shows that even at this time, the vision was sealed, that is, before Daniel had obviously written anything down about it or had a chance to encode or store it, as the other two options would have it.

This makes a very strong case that the angel asking Daniel to seal it was unnecessary, as the vision itself was delivered already spiritually sealed, if you will.

Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.

It seems possible that this is a reference to Amos 8:12, which says:

They shall wander from sea to sea, And from north to east; They shall run to and fro, seeking the word of the LORD, But shall not find it.

In context, this is speaking of a time of spiritual famine in Israel, when there would be a desire to have revelation from God through the prophets, but they did not find it, and though in the case of this verse they were unsuccessful, the text in Daniel seems to imply that the running to and fro in the last days, seeking the Word of the Lord, will in fact be successful.

It should be noted that the last days referred to here could be said to have begun during the first century (Acts 2:16-17) and that Jesus’s revelation in the NT about this prophecy in Daniel, and well as many other prophecies in the OT, could be the key to understanding them.

In other words, Daniel needed to wait for the revelation of Jesus Christ in order for his messages to be understood, but it’s technically possible for his messages to be understood by anyone today, as we are beneficiaries of the writings in the NT. This view then would be opposed to the idea that we are still waiting for the ability to properly understand these verses, though that could be argued as well.

Dan 12:5 Then I, Daniel, looked; and there stood two others, one on this riverbank and the other on that riverbank.

Dan 12:6 And one said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, "How long shall the fulfillment of these wonders be?"

Daniel then heard two angels calling to one another, one on each bank of the river.

There is a lot of discussion and belief that angel in linen is Christ. However, I remain unconvinced, as there is no reason I can see to distinguish any of the angels here from a so-called “strong angel”, which seems to be a certain class of angels who, among other things, wear linen, which I discussed at length in the section on Daniel 10: 4-6.

Dan 12:7 Then I heard the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand to heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever, that it shall be for a time, times, and half a time; and when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered, all these things shall be finished.

The man clothed in linen

As in other occasions, such as Daniel 10, the angel is referred to as a man because it appears in human form. See the discussion on Daniel 10, and how Gabriel is referred to as a man, and later as an angel.

Who was above the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand to heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever

This oath on the water is almost identical to an oath taken by an angel in the book of Revelation. There it is clearly called an angel.

The angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised up his hand to heaven and swore by Him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and the things that are in it, the earth and the things that are in it, and the sea and the things that are in it, that there should be delay no longer - Rev 10:5-6

For a time, times, and half a time

This is a reference to the three-and-a-half-year period which begins after the abomination of desolation. This period begins at the midpoint of Daniel’s 70th week.

Although the idea of 3.5 years is expressed many ways in Daniel and the book of Revelation, one such verse (Revelation 12:14) actually uses the same phrase: “time, times and a half of time.” There we can confirm that it is a reference to 3.5 years because in the same chapter (Rev 12:6), the time period is given as 1260 days, i.e. 3.5 years.

When the power of the holy people has been completely shattered, all these things shall be finished.

Many Bible versions give the impression that the finishing of all these things is contingent on the power of the holy people being completely shattered, but this conclusion would be wrong.

The NET Bible renders the phrase this way:

"It is for a time, times, and half a time. Then, when the power of the one who shatters the holy people has been exhausted, all these things will be finished."

This seems to reverse the meaning. It is saying that the 3.5 years is based on the exhausting of the power of the Antichrist, not the power of the people he “shatters.”

While the NET makes this case based on a linguistic argument,1 it also enjoys some scriptural support.

And he [Antichrist] was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority [power] to continue for forty-two months. - Rev 13:5

Here we are told that the Antichrist is given “authority” for 42 months or 3.5 years.

We can see that the 3.5 years will come to a conclusion, not because of anything that the people or the Antichrist do, but rather because that is the time allotted to him by God. When that authority is exhausted, God will finish him.

So that is the meaning of the phrase “when the power of the one who shatters the holy people has been exhausted, all these things will be finished."”

Dan 12:8 Although I heard, I did not understand. Then I said, "My lord, what shall be the end of these things?"

Dan 12:9 And he said, "Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.

As mentioned in the discussion on verse 9, this is an argument in favor of the sealing having to do with making the prophecy difficult, if not impossible, to understand until the time of the end, though that time could potentially be seen as any time after the 1st century.

Dan 12:10 Many shall be purified, made white, and refined, but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand.

Here we see what this persecution of the saints is for, that is spiritual purification. This is why the so-called 5th seal martyrs in Revelation 6 were told by God to be patient regarding God beginning his vengeance on the persecutors of the Great Tribulation, because God intended more of them to be killed, as their persecution was a prerequisite to His judgment.

The idea of the Great Tribulation having purification as one of its functions is mentioned in several places (Rev 7:13-14, Dan 11:35, and others).

It is true that Christians in a salvific sense are already purified because they are 100 percent righteous in Christ. However, this purification is twofold. On one hand, it is a purification of the Jews (Zec_13:9) in a time that Jeremiah calls the “time of Jacob’s trouble.”

The other purification will likely come about in the sense that the Antichrist’s ultimatum to worship him or be killed will separate the true believers from those who are not truly saved.

Dan 12:11 "And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days.

Dan 12:12 Blessed is he who waits, and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days.

The angel tells us that the “end of these thingsmentioned in verse 8 will be 3.5 years after the mid-point of Daniel’s 70th week plus 30 days. He then tells us that blessed is he who waits 45 more days after that.

We find that there are two additional and distinct periods of time after the seven-year-long “70th week” ends. They are a 30 day period and a 45 day period.

Dr. Elbert Charpie has a great study of these two periods on his website2, and his view is virtually the same as Robert Van Kampen’s and Marvin Rosenthal’s on this point. Charpie states:

“The 30 day portion can be classified as The Reclamation Period, and the 45 day portion can be called The Restoration Period. These names are chosen to clarify the things that will happen during each specific period.”

I will give a list of some of the things we can know about what happens in the first 30 day period, but again if you want to know the details of why we know this I suggest you visit his website,, and look for the section on the 30 and 45 day periods.

  • Two witnesses killed (Rev 11:7-8)
  • All Israel saved ( Rom 11:25-26, Rev 10:7, Hosea 6:1-3, Micah 2:12-13)
  • The Journey to from Edom and Bozra to Jerusalem by Christ with the wilderness Jews (Isaiah 63:1-4, Hosea 11:10-11, Isaiah 14:1, Zec 12:10, Rev 11:10-11, Exodus 19:10-11, Obadiah 1:21, Rev 11:15, Rev 14:7, Rev 14:19-20, Rev 15:1, Zechariah 14:4-5, Isaiah 26:20-21, Rev 16:1)
  • The Seventh Trumpet and the Bowl Judgments (Revelation 16:1-21)

This means that Armageddon takes place not at the last day of the 70th week, but on the last day of this 30 day reclamation period.

The 30 day period ends up looking like this:

The 30 day reclamation period from the Book of Daniel

After the last bowl, there will be a need for restoration. Dr. Charpie notes:

“The seventh bowl symbolizes total devastation. The earth will suffer a catastrophe as never before. It is described as an earthquake more severe than has ever happened before. The cities of the nation’s collapse and mountains and islands can no longer be found.”

There will be a 45 day period as well. The things that happen during this time all have the sense of a preparation for the millennial kingdom. This is why it has been dubbed the Restoration period.

Here are some things that are said to happen during this time:

  • The Restoration of Mt. Zion (Zechariah 14:10, Isaiah 2:2, Ezekiel 20:40)
  • The Restoration of Israel (Jeremiah 31:10-12, Isaiah 10:20-22, Isaiah 43:5-7, Micah 7:7-9, Isaiah 56:6-8)
  • The Restoration of the Temple (Ezekiel 43:6-7, Zechariah 6:12-13)
  • Christ to rule over the earth (Daniel 7:11,13-14)

Here is an image from Dr. Charpie’s website that will help to make sense of this timeline:

The 7 year Tribulation timeline from the Book of Daniel

It is interesting to note that these 30 day and 45 day periods have a very interesting connection to the fall feasts which have yet to be fulfilled. But that subject is out of the scope of this commentary.

Dan 12:13 "But you, go your way till the end; for you shall rest, and will arise to your inheritance at the end of the days.

What a wonderful end to this book. This could be a “life verse” for someone. Despite all that is coming, we should go our way, looking for our heavenly inheritance, in the end of days. We will all see this time, whether we, like Daniel, will be resurrected at the Rapture, or if we are alive and remain, having gone through the difficult times that precede it.

This sentiment is mirrored precisely by Paul in a statement that we should all strive to be able to say when it is our time to die:

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. - 2Ti 4:6-8