Antichrist, Resurrection, and the Last Days
From the end of verse 35 of Daniel chapter 11 there is a distinct shift in focus, the prophecies that concerned the Ptolemies and the Seleucids cease. The prophecies from verse 36 move to the last days of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, and to what will be fulfilled in the Antichrist, the counterfeit messiah who will be the final world dictator.
There is a progressive flow in the narrative from chapter 11:5 to 35, recording the struggles of two dynasties: the Seleucid and the Ptolemaic. Daniel refers to them as the kings of the North (Seleucid), and the kings of the South (Ptolemies), on the basis of their location to Israel. In verses 21-35 the focus narrows to include the reign of the “contemptible person” (11:21), who for a brief period controlled the Seleucid Empire, Antiochus IV Epiphanes. Now in verse 36 we have a man that is simply referred to as “the king.” A careful examination of the Scriptures pertaining to “the kings” reveals that obvious differences exist between him and Antiochus IV, the subject of the preceding verses. The differences are important to note:
- Verses 36-39 give a description of the king’s characteristics which suggested that he is just being introduced. Verses 21-35 have already given a fairly complete view of Antiochus IV’s qualities and rule, so it would be surprising to see them repeated here.
- Then in verses 40-45, there are facts stated that are not consistent with what we know of Antiochus IV:
- He did not attack the Libyans and Ethiopians.
- He was not concerned with tidings out of the North or East. It was the power of Rome which was in the West that kept him from conducting his Egyptian campaign.
- In verse 40 “the king” is distinguished from the king of the North; whereas, Antiochus was a king of the North.
- The king’s conquests according to prophecy, would cause many countries to fall (vs. 40b). Antiochus IV’s warlike tendencies, by contrast, did not result in the fall of many countries. His failed campaign against Egypt is a notable example. The wars Antiochus was involved in were local affairs.
- While Antiochus devastated the Holy Land, he did not set up his campaign tent there as his provincial headquarters (vs. 45).
- Antiochus was a very arrogant man, giving himself the title of Epiphanes (god manifest), but he remained faithful to Zeus and the Greek pantheon of Gods. The Hellenization process that he enforced in Judah involved sacrificing to the Greek gods, and he honoured the gods of Olympus by building shrines and temples to them throughout his territories. He did not as Daniel 11:37 suggests reject “the God of his ancestors,” this will be the action of the Antichrist.
These facts strongly support that verses 36-45 have in view the coming Antichrist, and not the historical Antiochus IV Epiphanes, that is the subject of verses 21-35. Antiochus IV must be seen as one of the Biblical types of the Antichrist in Scripture, and that Scripture skilfully uses him to introduce the Antichrist for very important prophetic reasons. The abundance of evidence points to the introduction of a powerful new figure, who will impose himself on the world in the last days (Daniel 10:14).
Satan and the Antichrist are One in Rebellion Against God (11:36-38)
“36 The king will do as he pleases. He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard-of things against the God of gods. He will be successful until the time of wrath is completed, for what has been determined must take place. 37 He will show no regard for the gods of his ancestors or for the one desired by women, nor will he regard any god, but will exalt himself above them all. 38 Instead of them, he will honour a god of fortresses; a god unknown to his ancestors he will honour with gold and silver, with precious stones and costly gifts”.
As mentioned in the introduction, although Antiochus was arrogant and blasphemed the “God of gods,” the God of the Jewish people (11:36), we know from history that Antiochus did worship the “gods of his fathers,” the Greek gods. This passage is an extremely important prophetic passage of Scripture, which has been erroneously interpreted in many ways, so it must be studied carefully:
“…He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard-of things against the God of gods … He will show no regard for the gods of his ancestors or for the one desired by women, nor will he regard any god, but will exalt himself above them all” (Daniel 36b-37).
Interestingly, the angel dives straight into the prophetic deep end with the Antichrist, the typology of Antiochus was the introduction to the background and character of the Antichrist, now the angel goes to the core of who the Antichrist is. Paul calls the Antichrist “the son of perdition” in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 (KJV), which means he will be possessed by Satan. Satan works in direct opposition to God, and strives to replace God, so as to receive the worship due to God. The Antichrist will proclaim himself to be greater than all gods, and will oppose, by every means possible, the true creator God. The angel’s prophetic revelation is focusing on the start of the Great Tribulation, 3½ years after the start of the Tribulation. This is when the Antichrist proclaims himself to be god, and through the work of the False Prophet (Revelation 13:14-15), has a statue of himself erected in the confines of the Temple (the abomination of desolation), and requires all to worship his image. The Antichrist will use the queen of heaven (apostate Christianity) as a stepping-stone to elevate himself into a position of religious power and authority. Then in the middle of the Tribulation, the Antichrist will put aside the queen of heaven, when he proclaims himself to be god (Rev. 17:15b-18), he will therefore be placing himself above all religions.
The reference to the “God of his fathers” identifies the Antichrist as being Jewish, and therefore he is rejecting Yahweh, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Many End Time theologians ignore the very important fact that the Antichrist must be Jewish. For the Jews to believe that the Antichrist is their messiah, he will have to fulfil a number of requirements set out by the famous rabbi Moses Maimonides (Rambam). One of the key requirements is that he will have to come from the line of David:
“In the future, the Messianic king will arise and renew the Davidic dynasty, restoring it to its initial sovereignty. He will build the Temple and gather the dispersed of Israel. Then, in his days, the observance of all the statutes will return to their previous state. We will offer sacrifices, observe the Sabbatical and Jubilee years according to all their particulars as described by the Torah.”
An analysis of important Scriptures confirming Daniel 11: 36:
“He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard-of things against the God of gods.”
Several Scripture passages come to mind regarding the Antichrist exalting himself, the first one was covered in the study on Daniel chapter 7:
“He shall speak words against the Most High, shall wear out the holy ones of the Most High, and shall attempt to change the sacred seasons and the law; and they shall be given into his power for a time, two times, and half a time.” (Daniel 7:25)
Then from Isaiah, referring to Lucifer who possesses the Antichrist (2 Thess, 2:3):
“You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit on the mount of assembly on the heights of Zaphon; I will ascend to the tops of the clouds, I will make myself like the Most High‘” (Isaiah 14:13-14).
The Apostle Paul associates this exaltation over God to the “man of lawlessness,” or the Antichrist.
“Let no one deceive you in any way; for that day will not come unless the rebellion comes first and the lawless one (son of perdition [KJV]) is revealed, the one destined for destruction. He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, declaring himself to be God.” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4).
The book of Revelation also gives details concerning the Antichrist, who, is referred to as “the beast that comes out of the sea.”
“The beast [rising out of the sea] was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months. It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven.” (Revelation 13:5-6)
This Antichrist seems to exercise complete authority for a short period of time. During this time he will exalt himself above God, blaspheming God through action and word. The man of sin will do what he pleases and oppress and persecute God’s people. Then his end shall come.
The Antichrist will reject Jesus
“…or for the one desired of women” (11:37)
This Scripture is commonly misinterpreted to imply that the Antichrist will not desire woman, meaning that either the Antichrist will be homosexual, a celibate priest, or that his life will be dominated by a lust for power. This is not the case, Daniel is pointing out that the Antichrist will reject the true Messiah, Jesus, when he says that the Antichrist will not show regard to the “one desired of women”. The great desire of all Jewish women was to be the mother of the Messiah, so not regarding the “one desired of women,” is not showing regard to the true Messiah, Jesus. Once again, the error in interpretation stems from ignoring the Jewish context of Scripture, seeing Jesus as the desired of women, makes the most sense when the statement follows a rejection of God the Father. So, the Antichrist will elevate himself to become a god over mankind, and in doing so he will blaspheme God the Father and disdainfully reject Jesus as mankind’s saviour.
“The god of fortresses’”
“Instead of them, he will honour a god of fortresses; a god unknown to his ancestors he will honour with gold and silver, with precious stones and costly gifts. 39 He shall deal with the strongest fortress with help of a foreign god. Those who acknowledge him he shall load with honour. He shall make them rulers over many and shall divide the land for a price” (11:38-39).
Many theologians interpret “He shall honour a god of fortresses,” to mean that the Antichrist will take and hold power with military might, and that the “honour with gold and silver, with precious stones and costly gifts,” is the shrewd use of his abundant wealth. However, I do not believe this is the case, as it ignores the fact that the origins of the false religion is Babylon at the time of the Tower of Babel. The “god of fortresses” was one of the titles of the queen of heaven, so a more correct title would be the “goddess of fortresses.” Many of the ancient cultures’ great mother goddesses, such as the Greek Artemis, the Ephesian Diana and the Roman Cybele, were depicted with turret crowns. The ancients believed that Semiramis, the original mother goddess, was responsible for the building of the magnificent walls of Babylon, and because of that, she was worshipped both as the great mother goddess and the goddess of fortresses. The Antichrist will initially worship the modern variation of the queen of heaven, who is, therefore, also linked to the goddess of fortresses: the Catholic Mary, who is the Roman Catholic Queen of Heaven. The Jewish patriarchs and kings (“ancestors”), would have known about the queen of heaven, as she was a continual presence in Israel, causing the Jews to follow pagan practices and worshipping her in Asherah groves. However, they would not recognise her in her cloak of apostate Christianity, under the guise of Mother of God – Mary worship would be foreign to them.
The Antichrist will honour the apostate Mary, during the first three and a half years of the Tribulation, in true Catholic tradition, by dressing her images with “gold and silver, and with precious stones” and he will give her costly gifts (Dan. 11:38).
Battle with the King of the South (11:40-45)
“40 At the time of the end, the king of the south shall attack him, but the king of the north shall rush upon him like a whirlwind, with chariots and horsemen, and with many ships. And he shall come into countries and shall overflow and pass through. 41 He shall come into the glorious land. And tens of thousands shall fall, but these shall be delivered out of his hand: Edom and Moab and the main part of the Ammonites. 42 He shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape. 43 He shall become ruler of the treasures of gold and of silver, and all the precious things of Egypt, and the Libyans and the Cushites shall follow in his train. 44 But news from the east and the north shall alarm him, and he shall go out with great fury to destroy and devote many to destruction. 45 And he shall pitch his palatial tents between the sea and the glorious holy mountain. Yet he shall come to his end, with none to help him.” (11:40-45).
This section of Scripture details a number of conflicts, none of which can be linked to the history of Antiochus IV, and the angel clearly identifies that the prophecy is detailing events during “the time of the end” (11:40a). It is a mistake to believe that Armageddon will be one final battle, as from the time of the Antichrist proclaiming Himself to be god, he is going to continually be dealing with conflicts, which will escalate until the final end time battle occurs. The Antichrist comes to power at the start of the Tribulation, introducing an unprecedented time of peace. A factor that will influence the Jews to accept the Antichrist as their messiah, believing that the time of peace and the reintroduction of Temple worship is the fulfilment of the promised Kingdom of God. The Antichrist is the first horseman of Revelation 4, he is depicted riding a white horse and holding a bow without arrows, meaning he is militarily strong, but in the beginning he does his conquering by diplomacy. So the Antichrist brings with him a time of world peace, the second horseman is riding the red horse, representing war and conflict, the two horsemen are incompatible, they cannot occur together. The second horseman comes on the scene at the start of the Great Tribulation, and Daniel 11:40-45 is documenting these conflicts. War affects the economy and food production which is the third horseman of the scroll with seven seals. The final horseman being the pale horse (sickly pale green colour – death and disease). Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. The result of the wars, famine and disease is death, and the pale rider rides behind the others claiming the souls of the deceased.
In the series on Joel (part 7) which covered the winepress of Gods wrath, we covered the rise of nations to battle in the Last Days. Joel writes that the nations should consecrate for war; stir up the mighty men (Joel 3:9), in preparation for these End Times conflicts. The scene set by Joel is one of a time of peace being shattered by a call to arms. The shout goes out for soldiers to be shaken awake, the time for battle has arrived and men must come forward to take their place in their ranks. The time for rest and slumber is over, there is an urgency, a startling change in circumstances.
At the start of Daniel chapter 11, the angel makes it clear that “the kings of the North” refer to the Seleucid kings, however, verses 40-45 cannot be referring to Syria as the country is no longer a major power, having been decimated by war, she does not have a fleet of ships to support an attack as verse 40 suggests. So, the ‘king of the North” will most likely be leading a confederation of Northern States, while the “king of the South” will likewise be a confederation of African nations.
John in the book of Revelation adds a third threat to the Antichrist’s dominance, he records that from the east, a massive army will cross the dried-up Euphrates River, (Rev. 16:12). This attack by “the kings of the East,” coincides with the sixth bowl judgement, which is the release of demonic powers that go out to “the kings of the whole world” to gather them to battle “on the great day of God almighty” (Rev. 16:14). As Israel is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea in the West, there is no “king of the West” attack. Both Joel and Daniel indicate attacks on the Antichrist from North and South, and John indicates an attack from the East, and then states that “the kings of the whole world,” will be involved in the battle for Israel. So, countries from the West will not be left out of the final conflict.
With the Antichrist proclaiming himself to be god there is going to be turmoil in Israel, with many Jews coming to the realisation that he cannot be their messiah. Verse 41 reveals that the Antichrist will seek to quell the uprising with military force, “the glorious land,” being the nation of Israel, and “the glorious holy mountain” (Vs. 45) being Jerusalem. Jesus spoke of this conflict during the Olivet Discourse, when he warned that those who see the “abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place …let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains” (Matthew 24:15-16). While some secular Jews will accept the Antichrist’s claim of godhood, those Jews who reject the Antichrist will be persecuted. Revelation 12:14 reveals that they will flee “into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time (3½ years)”. It is important to note that the abomination of desolation is an extremely significant sign for the Jews, it will be the moment that they realise that Jesus is their true Messiah. Jeremiah’s prophesied “time of Jacob’s trouble” (30:7), which is the Tribulation period, was instituted by God with the goal of restoring the Jews in relationship with their Messiah.
Other nations mentioned in verses 41-43 are Edom, Moab, and Ammon, who together represent modern day Jordan, East of Israel. Egypt and its neighbour Libya are located on the south-eastern shores of the Mediterranean, Nubia would cover the territory of southern Egypt and northern Sudan. The words of Judgement from God on Egypt and Edom are recorded in Joel 3:19-21, and were covered in part 8 in the series on Joel.
All these different conflicts that the Antichrist will be dealing with during the Great Tribulation will culminate in the armies of the world gathering in the valley of Jezreel for the final battle, that the book of Revelation calls Armageddon.
“… Who go abroad to the kings of the whole world, to assemble them for battle on the great day of God the Almighty… And they assembled them at the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon” (Revelation 16:14, 16).
The reference to Armageddon refers to the ancient city of Megiddo, Har meaning “mountain,” which is located in the vast valley of Jezreel in North West Israel. The area has been the site of approximately 34 battles over the centuries (Judges 5:19; 2 Kings 23:29-30), Napoleon referred to it as “the most natural battleground of the whole earth”.
“Yet he shall come to his end, with none to help him.” (11:45).
The end of the Antichrist is the most dramatic in all of Scripture, it comes when the King of kings returns to earth riding a white horse at the head of the hosts of heaven, armed, not with a bow like the counterfeit messiah, but with the Word of God. The Antichrist and the False prophet are then the first two people to be thrown into the Lake of Fire, which is described by the apostle John in Revelation 19:
” And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who was sitting on the horse and against his army. 20 And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet… These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulphur” (Revelation 19:19-20).
Daniel 11:36-12:13 gives the reader incredible detail about the Antichrist, that along with the typology of Antiochus gives us great insight into the nature and character of the coming false messiah, the counterfeit of Jesus. Add this information to the details of Revelation 13, and other scriptural revelations of the Antichrist, and the student of eschatology will attain a very clear picture of the Antichrist. So, when the Antichrist appears on the world stage, they will be able to use the detailed information to identify him. Not in the way that amateurs of prophecy have done in the past, using one or two prophecies to attach to a public figure and then label them as the Antichrist, this irresponsibility does great harm to Bible prophecy. Almost everyone who has ever tried to bring about peace in the Middle East has been saddled with the label of Antichrist, and then combine it with the fact most of these men are arrogant politicians and you have all the evidence you need!
The Church is failing in its responsibility to teach End Times prophecy; 28% of Scripture is prophecy, and it is given for a reason i.e., we are to be prepared, we are to watch and pray, and we have a responsibility to warn others.
A time of Trouble for Israel (12:1)
Daniel’s vision shows us the spiritual roots of the earthly conflict that was described in the last verses of chapter 11. As was revealed in the previous study, an angel, with the archangel Michael’s help, engaged in combat with the “prince of Persia” (10:13); the war on earth, is mirrored by conflict in the heavenly places.
“At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book. “ (12:1).
Before dealing with the start of chapter 12, it is important to identify who “Michael” is, and his role in Scripture. Jude the brother of Jesus identifies Michael as an Archangel (1:9), so he is at the apex of authority amongst the angels, equal with Lucifer. The statement “who has charge over your people (Israel),” has caused some people to claim that Michael is the angel in charge of protecting Israel alone. This would be in error as Michael is the warrior angel, who is associated with spiritual battles as documented in: Daniel 10:13, Daniel 10:21, Jude 1:9, and Revelation 12:7.
The reason why the archangel Michael is prominent at the start of chapter 12 is that the angel is describing “a time of trouble” for Israel, unmatched by any previous time. Spend a couple of minutes thinking of the trials Israel has endured in the past, and the full impact of that statement should hit you. The Scripture is referring to the Great Tribulation and the time that the Satanically empowered Antichrist will turn on the people of Israel, that is why Michael is required to come to their aid. Satan has continually throughout their history, tried to destroy the Jews, and during the Great Tribulation he is going to make one more attempt.
Further evidence that the angel is referring to the Great Tribulation, is that Jesus uses the same language when describing the Great Tribulation to the disciples, saying “then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be”. At Yad Vashem, the holocaust museum in Jerusalem, there is a book at the exit for people to write comments in, the most repeated comment being: “may this never happen again”. The sad truth is Satan hates the Jew, he knows that God’s plans are centred around Israel, so if he can eradicate Israel, he will be able to derail the purposes of God. Therefore, during the Great Tribulation Satan’s fury is going to be directed towards the Jews one last time.
God will however, not desert the Jews, that is why Michael the archangel is designated to protect God’s people, and he will deliver them (Revelation 12:14). The delivery however, will be restricted to those Jews who have accepted Jesus, and whose names “are found written in the book” of life in heaven. Many Jews will die, both saved and unsaved, but, only those Jews who accept Jesus as their saviour will live through the Great Tribulation, and go on to be a part of the Kingdom (Romans 11:25-27). Ultimately the return of Jesus will put an end to Satan’s schemes, and the true Messiah will at last be recognised by the chosen race.
Resurrection of the Dead (12:2-3)
The resurrection of the dead is a fundamental teaching that runs through both the Old and the New Testament. The Patriarchs believed that they would be “gathered to their fathers” in death (Genesis 49:29; Judges 2:10), but there wasn’t widespread understanding of eternal life beyond the grave. King David gave a glimpse of the resurrection, with a prophecy pointing to Jesus, the first resurrected of the dead:
“You will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay.” (Psalm 16:10)
Job had a remarkable understanding of physical life after death:
“For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me!” (Job 19:25-27).
However, Daniel has by far the clearest vision of resurrection in the Old Testament.
“Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever” (Daniel 12:2-3).
The context of Daniel 12:2-3 is that it is a continuation of the point raised at the end of verse 1, “everyone whose name shall be found written in the book,” The book being the Book of Life! The explanation then is given to Daniel that multitudes will be resurrected in body, “some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt”. There is a clear teaching that there will be two types of resurrection, one for the saved and another for the condemned (John 5:29, Revelation 20:4-6).
The second resurrection is the opposite of the first, instead of a resurrection to everlasting life, there is a resurrection to everlasting “shame and contempt”. Contempt is a word used to express anger and disgust towards an individual or group, because of their behaviour. The contempt shown the second group of resurrected dead, is because they have rejected the gift of eternal life, they were motivated by pride, and for selfish reasons they desired to live a life determined by their own will. The angel gives clarity to Daniel, stating that the condemnation is “everlasting,” there is no end to the terror and torment of the Lake of Fire:
“But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur, which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8).
The second death the apostle John is referring to is the death of the resurrected body in the Lake of Fire, the spirit will live on for eternity.
So, Daniel is shown a double resurrection – not only a resurrection for the righteous, but also of the wicked, which is confirmed by Jesus:
“Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment” (John 5:28-29).
Note that the angel speaking to Daniel refers to the righteous as “those who are wise,” not only because they accept God’s salvation which is freely given, but they are eternally minded. They have an understanding that our God is our creator and has a plan and purpose for each one of us. That service will result in eternal rewards, when God will exalt His faithful so that they will shine with God’s glory eternally (“forever and ever”).
The Resurrections of the Righteous
Daniel makes it clear that there are two types of resurrection, a resurrection of the righteous, and a resurrection of the condemned. However, Scripture indicates that the resurrection of the righteous follows the requirements for the Harvest: The First Fruits harvest which is offered to the Lord, the main harvest, and the gleaning done by the poor (Leviticus 19:9-10; 23:10):
- The harvest of the first fruits of souls is recorded in Matthew 27:52-53, when on the day Jesus rose from the dead, there was a resurrection of believers who had died prior to the crucifixion of Jesus. These people entered the city of Jerusalem and were seen by many people. The resurrection of these saints proved that Christ’s power over death was not limited to Himself.
- The rapture was a “mystery” to Daniel, as Paul only reveals it after the death and resurrection of Jesus, “Listen, I will tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we will all be changed” (1 Cor. 15:51). The rapture is the main harvest of souls, the Bride of Christ resurrected to heaven (1 Cor. 15:51-54; 1 Thess. 4:16-17).
- The gleaning resurrection will be the believers who die, or are martyred during the Tribulation period – the Tribulation saints (Rev. 7:14; 20:4). The great multitude standing before the throne in heaven are those who “came out of the Great Tribulation” (Rev. 7:14). They are dressed in white robes and holding palms, which are symbols of justification, holiness and victory. They do not have crowns, or sit on thrones as promised to the Church in Revelation 2:10 and 3:21.
- In the resurrection of the righteous we can include the two witnesses of Revelation 11:11-13, plus Enoch and Elijah who were both types of the rapture.
The resurrection of the unrighteous will take place at the final resurrection, after the Millennial Kingdom (which includes the righteous of the Millennial Kingdom), this will result in the Great White Throne of judgement in heaven.
Seal Up the Words of the Scroll (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” (12:4 [KJV]).
Daniel has been shown visions of the End Time, but the words are “sealed” until the time of the end, when God will reveal their meaning. These prophecies gain clarity and insight only when revealed after the Lamb of God who was slain for the sins of mankind. The book of Revelation given to John is an unveiling of God’s plan and purpose, and a study of what Daniel was told must be sealed. The book of Daniel is an important foundation for the understanding of the book of Revelation, to study Revelation without an in-depth knowledge of Daniel would result in incorrect assumptions being made.
When the angel informs Daniel that “many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase” (12:4), this is most often taken as one of the signs of the End Times indicators, where world travel will increase, and the number of inventions made by mankind will become exponential in the Last Days. However, scripture focuses on God’s Word, so the going “here and there” is a seeking after knowledge, and the searching to finding answers to life’s great questions. When directed towards Scripture, the interpretation would be that many will search through the Word, and an understanding of the Scriptures will increase. Therefore, the understanding pertains to a greater clarity regarding the fulfilment of prophecy in the Last Days; this fits with the context of Daniel’s having to close up and seal the words of the scroll, and John writing the book that is called “the unveiling” (Revelation).
Time, Times, and Half a Time (12:5-7)
“5 Then I, Daniel, looked, and behold, two others stood, one on this bank of the stream and one on that bank of the stream. 6 And someone said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the stream, ‘How long shall it be till the end of these wonders?’ 7 And I heard the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the stream; he raised his right hand and his left hand toward heaven and swore by him who lives forever that it would be for a time, times, and half a time, and that when the shattering of the power of the holy people comes to an end all these things would be finished” (12:5-7).
Verse 5 reveals that Daniel is still on the banks of the river Tigris, where the narrative first started back in Daniel 10:4. Then a conversation between the angels is for the benefit of Daniel, and is started by one angel asking the question, “How long shall it be till the end of these wonders?”. The other angel responds by raising his hands to heaven, and giving a solemn oath that “it would be for a time, times, and half a time,” which is for 3½ years. This is a wonderful confirmation from God for the saints of the Great Tribulation, that their suffering under the persecution of the Antichrist will last for 3½ years, no longer.
The verse “when the shattering of the power of the holy people comes to an end” (12:7b), refers to the authority that the Antichrist will have been given by God (Rev.13:5). This authority includes being “given power to war against the saints and to conquer them (Rev 13:7).” God has handed mankind over to a reprobate mind, for 2 000 years the witness of Jesus as the Son of God has been carried around the world and largely rejected, even more so in the last days. God will then give man what he desires, the opposite of Jesus – the Antichrist: “For this reason God will send them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie” (2Thess. 2:11). Unfortunately for the believers of this time, (not the church as it will have been raptured), this will mean that they will live under the authority of “the man of sin,” who will persecute them. The book of Daniel will be of great assistance to the faith of those believers, as they will know from Daniel that despite the circumstances God is still in control, and they also have His solemn promise, that their persecution will be for half of the Tribulation period, the 3½ year Great Tribulation.
Shut up and Sealed until the End (12:8-10)
“8 I heard, but I did not understand. Then I said, “O my lord, what shall be the outcome of these things?” 9 He said, “Go your way, Daniel, for the words are shut up and sealed until the time of the end. 10 Many shall purify themselves and make themselves white and be refined, but the wicked shall act wickedly. And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand'” (12:8-10).
Daniel is in a very difficult position, he knows what he has seen and heard has great significance for mankind, but he is unable to make any sense of it! The angel’s response to Daniel’s request for clarity, is that he is to “go your way,” in other words Daniel was to stop his questioning, he was to make a mental departure, he was not going to be given any more information. The information he had been provided was to be shut up and sealed, but would become clearer for those living at the Time of the End.
The clarity of the prophecies being for those living in the last Days, is emphasized by the angel describing believers being purified, and making themselves white, which is a state of purification that will only be attained after the sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross. Through the work of Jesus, the believers will have God in them, and part of the work of the Holy Spirit will be to open up the Scriptures to those who seek diligently. Once again, there is a focus on the End Times, as the statement ‘but the wicked shall act wickedly. And none of the wicked shall understand,” has connotations for not only an increase in the wickedness of mankind, but also points to mankind’s lack of understanding of the signs of the soon return of Jesus as Judge. Towards the time of the end the righteous will draw closer to God, and the unrighteous will become more rebellious, with sin becoming rampant in all phases of society. This rebelliousness will result in God handing man over to a reprobate mind:
“So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts, to follow their own counsels” (Psalm 81:12).
The consequences of living with a reprobate mind apart from God will be severe, they will identify the Antichrist as a saviour of mankind, and receive the Trumpet and Bowl judgements of Great Tribulation as a consequence.
1,290 and 1,335 Days (12:11-12)
“11 And from the time that the regular burnt offering is taken away and the abomination that makes desolate is set up, there shall be 1,290 days. 12 Blessed is he who waits and arrives at the 1,335 days”.
The time period of 1 260 days has been made clear to be the 3½ lunar years (360 days) of Great Tribulation, which will commence after the Antichrist erects a statue of himself in the Temple confines. The two time periods of 1 290 and 1 335 days, are then an additional 30 days and 75 days after the end of the Great Tribulation. When Jesus returns, He will perform a number of important functions, as to which these two periods of time are indicating, it is difficult to say for sure:
- He will establish His government over, Jerusalem, Israel and the world.
- He will cleanse and purify the Temple.
- He will sit and rule over the sheep and goat judgement, which determines who enters the Millennial Kingdom. This will be held in the valley of Jehoshaphat (Kidron Valley).
The likely scenario is that it is during this time period that the Temple is cleansed and the sheep and goat judgement is carried out in the valley of Jehoshaphat (God judges). So, the extra days are required to set in motion the new government, and the requirements of the Millennial Kingdom.
Daniel Rises to Receive His Inheritance (12:13)
“13 But go your way till the end. And you shall rest and shall stand in your allotted place at the end of the days” (12:13).
Daniel has continually been concerned for the welfare of his people the Jews, and for the future of the nation of Israel. God has wonderfully provided Daniel with an answer that reveals that God has a plan and purpose for Israel, they are a focus of prophecy all the way to the very end, and the establishment of the Kingdom under the Messiah’s rule. From the age of 15, when Daniel was taken in chains from his home in Jerusalem to the pagan city of Babylon, Daniel has been hard at work, faithfully serving both his earthly masters, and his heavenly Master. Daniel is an old man now and his dedicated service to the Lord has been completed. The very last sentence of his book seems to be a call for an eternal “rest,” and that his faithful service will see him be rewarded with an “allotted place,” in a resurrected body, amongst the truly great saints of God.
Come soon, Lord Jesus!
There is much to learn and remember from the concluding section of the book of Daniel:
- The many denominations that hold to the doctrine of Replacement Theology, will follow End Times beliefs that deny the existence of an Antichrist. They state that the apostle John, when he uses the term “Antichrist,” was writing about a spirit of Antichrist at work in the world, and not a man. They will also point out that Jesus never referred to a man the likes of the Antichrist influencing the world. They are very wrong! Jesus did refer to the Antichrist when he spoke to the Jewish religious leaders, saying: “I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him” (John 5:43). Then, we have the powerful pointers to the Antichrist in the book of Daniel, not only in the detailed typology of the life of Antiochus IV, but also direct prophecy of an arrogant man who will blaspheme God, and exalt himself to a position above God. The man that will be accepted as the messiah by Israel, because of the peace he will bring to the Middle East, will become a man of war and conflict which will include his turning against Israel.
- There “shall be a time of trouble” for the Jews, a time of hardship like no other in their history, but it is a time of testing and restoration, God has a plan and purpose for the nation and will deliver them.
- All of mankind will have a resurrection, and there will be two distinct groups, a resurrection of the heaven bound righteous, and a resurrection for the hell bound condemned.
- The righteous are “those who are wise,” not only because they accept God’s salvation which is freely given, but they are eternally minded. They have an understanding that God is our creator and has a plan and purpose for each one of us. That service will result in eternal rewards, when God will exalt His faithful so that they will shine with God’s glory eternally (“forever and ever”).
- God in His Grace has determined that his judgement on a rebellious world will be limited to 3½ years. The Great Tribulation will be a time of persecution for both Jew and Gentile believers, but God has limited that time of testing.
- As we draw closer to the Last days there will be a greater clarity for those who seek the truth in God’s Word, and study His prophetic warnings. However, I must stress that those “Christians” who are deceived by the doctrine of Replacement Theology, will be blind to the fulfilment of prophecy occurring around them. In their claim that they are the New Israel, and their belief that God has rejected Israel, they have cut out the heart of all prophecy – the nation of Israel.
- Towards the time of the end the righteous will draw closer to God, and the unrighteous will become more rebellious, with sin becoming rampant in all levels of society. This rebelliousness will result in God handing man over to a reprobate mind.
- The last verse of Daniel has the same significance for every person: “13 But go your way till the end. And you shall rest and shall stand in your allotted place at the end of the days”. We all will come to an end of our lives, what happens after is entirely in our own hands.