DANIEL 10-12 (4-B)

(Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4)

Part 4 – Deliverance!

4-A: Deliverance!
4-B: The End of the End
4-C: Summary and Bibliography

4-B: The End of the End (12:5-13)

12:5-6 Then I, Daniel, looked; and there stood two others, one on this riverbank and the other on that riverbank.
        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?”

After a long session of listening to and recording the words of the angel Gabriel, in chapters 10 and 11, the scene changes, and Daniel finds himself interacting with some other heavenly beings. Two angels have appeared, one on each bank of the Tigris River, and, hovering above the river, “the man clothed in linen” – probably the same Person who appeared at the beginning (in 10:5-6) – which is a good signal that the prophetic message is coming to its conclusion.

One of the angels asks the man clothed in linen how long will last “the fulfillment of these wonders”. A better phrase for “wonders” might be “shocking events” (from NLT) for this “time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time.” (12:1)

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.

“Time, times, and half a time.” In the ancient language this phrase meant 3½ years, and it expresses how long the “time of trouble” mentioned in verse 1 would last. Other Scriptures, referring to this End of the Age era, reveal the same time span, in different words: 1,260 days and 42 months. (See Chart below for details.) For God’s people who are living during this most difficult and final era of the present Age, this will be priceless information and a great comfort – to know exactly how long it will take before they “shall be delivered”, that rescue is on the way, and their hardships will soon be over. (12:1)

And it is a solemn promise; “the man clothed in linen” raised both hands “to heaven and swore by Him who lives forever.” The closing era for this Age of history is a matter of utmost importance, both to us human beings and to the Creator who is engineering it. And in His concern for those who will be living at that time, He wanted to make it absolutely clear how long it would last. For as the next phrase makes clear, it will be a very difficult time for God’s people.

“When the power of the holy people has been completely shattered.” In our world today, God’s people enjoy a certain amount of liberty and in many countries are able to carry on their activities without too much interference. There is, nevertheless, growing intolerance towards faith in a Higher Power. Secularized societies, such as in the European Union or China, are steadily marching towards banning the expression of religious belief and forcing religious institutions to close down. Here is one excerpt among many that could be included regarding the situation in China:

Religious leaders [in China] are now expected to spend more time extolling the CCP and Chinese President Xi Jinping personally than they do seeing to their flock. In some churches, icons of Jesus or Mary have already been replaced with portraits of Xi. (from The Chinese Communist Party is Scared of Christianity)

But if we decry China for its treatment of the people of faith, then we must also decry what the Christian nation of America is doing: robbing the world of its wealth for decades and destroying nations in the process. Because of this wayward disobedience to godly values, God can no longer protect America from her enemies and from being swamped by the rising China-Russia combine that seems destined to take over the economic and political reins of power in the world. This is a big subject and is covered more thoroughly in the series of posts about Revelation 17-18 and in the posts Who are the Two Superpowers of the End and Which Two Territories?

During that final 3½ years, the shutdown of religious expression of any kind will be as thorough as possible in the totalitarian regime that is to come. The only religion allowed will be Materialism, which will be tied in with worship/adulation of the world’s last demagogue.

“The power of the holy people.” This phrase likely refers to material power – wealth, position in society, buildings, and so on. For mainstream Christianity and other mainstream religions, the persecution will be devastating; they will be “completely shattered”. This final era will see the rise of one known now as the Antichrist, called in 2Thessalonians 2:3-4, “the man of sin… the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped.” To enforce the secular worship of himself, he and his government will outlaw all forms of religious worship.

Nevertheless, although the powers of Darkness have control over the material realm, they are helpless against the mighty spiritual power of God. And in those days, there will be great manifestations of that power through God’s earthly agents, who are known in Daniel 11:32-33 as “the people who know their God” and “shall be strong, and carry out great exploits”, “the people who understand… and “shall instruct many”.

12:8-9 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.”

Daniel, the ever inquisitive prophet, isn’t satisfied simply with knowing the length of time but wants to know more about this final era. In answer – it sounds like Gabriel again – the angel repeats what was said earlier in verse 4 that the prophetic message is meant for the “time of the end”. But then, perhaps in deference to Daniel’s curiosity, the angel divulges a bit more information.

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.

Gabriel had spoken earlier on this same point about the benefits of difficult times: “some of those of understanding shall fall, to refine them, purify them, and make them white.” (11:35) This End of the Age era will be a time of great polarization. “The wise” who “understand” will be made better through the purifying effects of this time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time.”

But those who are too proud, whose hearts are rebellious to the truth, will never understand, and the difficult times will harden them even further in their folly and evil deeds. Ultimately, this takes the form of rejection of God – or “blasphemy” as the Scriptures call it.

12:11-12 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.
        Blessed is he who waits, and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days.

A puzzling passage this. “The man clothed in linen” has just declared that the “time of trouble” would last 1,260 days, at the end of which God’s people would be “delivered” in the First Resurrection. (12:1,7) Matthew 24:29 states that immediately after the tribulation… He shall gather together His elect” – which should mean that as soon as the 1,260 days run their course, the “elect” will be gathered into the Celestial Realm.

So why does the angel tack on 30 more days in this new time span of 1,290 days, and then another 45 days to make a total of 1,335 days from the mid-point of the final 7 years (when “the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up”)?

This may be speculation, but here are two suggestions as to what these extra time periods are for:

    1.         From Daniel chapter 9, verse 27, we read that at the end of the “70 weeks” – that is, at the end of the 1,260 days“that which is determined shall be poured upon the desolate”. This seems to indicate that the beginning of Christ and the saints’ reign in the Earth starts with a period known as the Indignation. Revelation describes the “bowls of wrath” that are poured out on the world – for two reasons it seems: 1) to bring an end to the present world system 2) to make it easier for some of the world’s people to turn to God.
              The world’s final anti-Christ leader will go far in his rebellion. Not only will he shatter the power of the holy people (12:7), but “he shall even rise against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without human means.” “Without human means” refers to the supernatural intervention of the Battle of Armageddon, which will do away with the forces of Darkness that have plagued the Earth since time immemorial. (Daniel 8:25, Revelation 19) For not only will the armies and forces of the final Antichrist be destroyed, but the Dragon also and his angels will be sent to their place of imprisonment in the Nether Realm. (Revelation 20:1-3)
              So at this time in Earth’s history, there will be great destruction. And that is what it takes sometimes for people to be willing to turn to God. It is also a necessary step in God’s plan to re-build the world during the Millennial Age; the old world must be destroyed in order to make way for the new.
              And for the people of the world, as long as everything is going fine, it is human nature not to feel much need for God. Many an unbeliever has testified that they would never have turned to God until some kind of disaster struck them in some way. If there is ever a time to choose God’s way, to look to Him for salvation, it’s when all the props are gone and there is nothing else left – as it will be during this period of Indignation. Many, however, will reject: “the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand.” (12:10) However, God has done everything He can to bring them to their senses, but they still reject Him.
              Those who make it through the Indignation and come to the 1,335 days are “blessed” – whether they be one of the resurrected saints or whether, having been left on Earth, they have proved themselves worthy through the time of Indignation because, like the thief on the cross, they turned to God for salvation in their final hour of need. And many, like the other thief who “blasphemed Him” (Luke 23:39), will curse God and, from the sounds of it, will have to be rounded up in the Battle of Armageddon and sent to the Lake of Fire for further correction.
              The short phrase “blessed is he who waits” is talking most likely about those who wait for the Lord. This is a frequent expression in the Old Testament – God’s encouragement for His people to trust and wait for His salvation. Those who are not looking to God at this time will rebel and side with the regime of the Antichrist and False Prophet. They will take matters into their own hands, even to the point of thinking they can protect themselves by battling against the forces of Heaven.
    2.         The end of the 1,260 days marks the time of deliverance for God’s people, the “elect”, those “who follow the Lamb wherever He goes”. (Revelation 14:4) (See “Appendix –Who are the elect?) By their being “gathered together” at Christ’s first appearance, they are being spared from the final Indignation.
              The dramatic appearance of Christ in the clouds of heaven will probably cause many who have not known Christ to turn to Him. Perhaps the 30 days is meant to give time and opportunity for many other worthy folks to turn to Christ and be gathered to Him in the Heavenly Realm. The fact that the 1,290 days is mentioned by the angel right after the 1,260 days, suggests that the two dates might be connected, and so both can be applied to the era when God’s “people shall be delivered”. (12:1). So in this view, the Resurrection is a sort of multi-stage process.
              Right after Daniel’s question, “What shall be the end of these things?”, and before the 1,290 days announcement, the angel told Daniel that “many shall be purified, made white, and refined.” (12:8,10) Could it be that much of this purification takes place during those 30 days? Those who did not know about the Messiah, now having seen Him, will have the opportunity to turn towards Him. As for those who once knew the Messiah but later rejected Him, even though they may not have been gathered at the same time as the “elect”, they will not be forgotten but will still get resurrected by the end of the 30 days.

Well, those are two suggestions about the meaning of these mysterious extra time periods of 30 and 45 days. As time goes on, especially as the hour approaches when it will be needed, the meaning of these mysterious time periods will, no doubt, be easier to comprehend.

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.”

Daniel was told in verse 9 that “the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.” And again, the angel is reminding him that there would be no point in trying to understand the message; it was meant for a distant future time and wouldn’t start to make sense or even be needed until then.

Daniel’s work is finished, and probably it was not long after this that he was called home to “rest” and to receive his Heavenly reward, his “inheritance”. Daniel was a great example of faithfulness and dedication to God, and we can admire him for that. But let us not forget that countless numbers of persons have exhibited the same faithfulness and dedication during their earthly lives.

Daniel, having been called at an early age, and coming from a cultured and educated background of faith, was well outfitted for the important job God had called him to do. Like Moses or Joseph and the other patriarchs, he had, we might say, a high profile; and he lived up to what God had called him to do. But so have countless others, who are not well known, or even unknown, in God’s Hall of Fame.


APPENDIX: Who are the “elect”?

There is a revealing passage in Revelation 14. In the opening scene, we see in Heaven “before the throne” 144,000 of the “elect” drawn from amongst the Jewish people. (14:3) But this is only a selected portion; for in addition to that 144,000, were multitudes from every nation on Earth.

This was revealed earlier in chapter 7 where there appears alongside the 144,000 “a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes.” (7:9) Like the 144,000, they also “come out of the great tribulation”, having “washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” (7:14)

Much of the Bible focuses on one race, the Jewish people, who serve as a sort of microcosm, or example, of God’s dealings and relationship to all human beings. Those of the Jewish people who followed the Light of Christ during the Tribulation appear “before the throne”, but so also do great multitudes of other nations.

In the micro-cosmic view of the “elect” (the 144,000), it is said of them that they “follow the Lamb wherever He goes” and are “blameless”. (14:4-5, NIV) But this is no different from the macro-cosmic view of the rest of the “elect” – that “great multitude which no one could number”. They also “come out of the great tribulation,” having “washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” And they also appear “before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them. (7:14-15)

The Jewish people were the first nation that God called to obey Him in the Old Testament and in the New. However, they are just the “firstfruits”; it doesn’t mean that they are any better or more worthy than anyone else. “For there is neither Jew nor Greek… you are all one in Christ Jesus.” “For there is no partiality with God.” (Galatians 3:28, Romans 2:11)

So, the 144,000 are called the “firstfruits” to come out of the Great Tribulation (according to Revelation 14:4). Perhaps God gave them this special mention for the sake of His earthly messenger, John the apostle. In all this, it helps to remember that God is personal in His relationship to us, and that the Book of Revelation was given to a person. And since that person was Jewish and probably much interested about the fate of his own people, the message was tailored to some extent to address John the apostle’s particular concerns.


~ END ~

Go to 4C: Summary and Bibliography

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