Hip and Thigh: Smiting Theological Philistines with a Great Slaughter. Judges 15:8

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Gleanings from Daniel [25]

resurrectionThe Final Triumph of God’s People (Daniel 12:1-3)

I come to the last chapter of Daniel.

The final chapter is also the conclusion of Daniel’s last vision he was given on the future of Israel.

The last vision Daniel had is recorded at the end of chapter 9. There, God tells Daniel that 490 prophetic years had been determined, or appointed, or what would literally be defined as “cut out.”

God had “cut out” a certain period of time for the purpose of dealing with the people of Israel.

There was a six-fold purpose:

  • Finish transgressions
  • Put an end to sin
  • Atone for wickedness
  • Bring in everlasting righteousness
  • Seal up prophecy and revelation
  • To anoint the most holy

Chapter 10 introduces the historical events that will fill the first 69 weeks of years, or 483 of the prophetic years. Chapter 11:1-35 deals with events that takes us up to the fulfillment of the first part of that vision – to the cutting off of the Messiah.

Chapter 11:36-45 fills in events that take place in the last unfulfilled week of 7 years. In my previous two studies, I have been considering this period called “the time of the end.” It is marked by one, wicked individual who brings calamity upon the entire world. While he wages military campaigns against the kings of the north and south, he launches brutal oppression against God’s people, Israel.

Chapter 12:1-3 focuses our attention upon the certain hope of Israel during this time.

Three events establish Israel’s certain hope:

Tribulation|Resurrection|Eternal Reward

I) Tribulation

The entire section begins with the eschatological phrase, “at that time.” This raises the question: “At what time?” Chapter 11:40 establishes for us it is at the time of the end. During that time the anti-Christ brings terror upon the world with the land of Israel at the center. The phrase is repeated two more times in the same passage.

The phrase is understood by the Jewish commentators as speak of that time heralding the coming of the Messiah. The verse goes on to describe a time of trouble, a time of trouble not seen since Israel was a nation. Jesus even confirms this trouble in Matthew 24:21. It is also called “the great tribulation.”

How exactly is this time of trouble a hope for Israel? Daniel describes how “Michael shall stand up.” what exactly does he mean by this? Revelation 12:3 may give us a clue that this is Michael the archangel. Though it is not entirely clear, Daniel’s words suggest that Michael has been assigned to watch after Israel. He fights for them. During this period of tribulation, perhaps the last 3 1/2 years of the final week, Michael will work on God’s behalf to deliver the people.

In spite of this “great time of distress,” Israel will be delivered. Zechariah 13:8 suggests that only 1/3 of Israel will survive. Those who are left will be refined as silver, Zechariah 13:8, 9. Tribulation will bring the Jews to recognize their Messiah. The phrase “everyone written in the book” would mean those appointed to eternal life. It is what Malachi describes as the “Book of Remembrance” of those who fear God’s name.

II. Resurrection

Israel will experience tribulation that will result in the Jews to look upon their Messiah. But following this tribulation comes resurrection.

Daniel 12:2 is one of the clearest revelations in the O.T. of a future, bodily resurrection.

Some commentators mistakenly believe this refers to the re-birth of the nation of Israel. But the images are clear: Those who “sleep in the dust [man was created “from dust”] will awake.”

Sleep designates physical inactivity – not soul sleep, but body sleep. In fact the LXX uses the Greek word for resurrection here in this passage.

Daniel’s words read almost exactly as Jesus’s words in John 5:28, 29.

Two destinations: Everlasting life/contempt

Contempt – An object of aversion or abhorrence

Everlasting – Eternal, meaning without end, forever.

Where is the millennium? Is this a description that is teaching one resurrection without the millennium?

Note the word “many” – “Many will awake,” implying “not everyone at this time.”

III. Eternal Reward

After experiencing tribulation that refines Israel, and partaking in the resurrection, then there is eternal reward with God.

Daniel speaks of the “wise.” The wise are described in the O.T. as those who fear God (Prov. 1:7). Those who fear God and seek His righteousness.

In addition to the people of Israel, this has reference to Christians. We partake in Christ’s New Covenant as a spiritual body of believers who anticipate an eternal inheritance, for example Ephesians 1:13, 14. Jesus’s words in Matthew 13:36-43 has reference to Daniel’s prophecy, especially verse 43 where Jesus says, “Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

May we be hearing the Father now through His son who will one day rescue His people Israel and establish His kingdom for a thousand years.



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