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Jamieson, Fausset & Brown :: Commentary on Daniel 12

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The Book of Daniel

Commentary by A. R. FAUSSET

CHAPTER 12

Dan 12:1-13. CONCLUSION OF THE VISION (TENTH THROUGH TWELFTH CHAPTERS) AND EPILOGUE TO THE BOOK.

      Compare Dan 12:4, 13; as Dan 12:6, 7 refer to Dan 7:25, that is, to the time of Antichrist, so the subsequent Dan 12:8-12 treat of the time of Antiochus (compare Dan 12:11 ), thus putting together in one summary view the two great periods of distress. The political resurrection of the Jews under the Maccabees is the starting-point of transition to the literal resurrection about to follow the destruction of Antichrist by Christ's coming in glory. The language passes here from the nearer to the more remote event, to which alone it is fully applicable.

      1. at that time--typically, towards the close of Antiochus' reign; antitypically, the time when Antichrist is to be destroyed at Christ's coming.
      Michael--the guardian angel of Israel ("thy people"), ( Dan 10:13 ). The transactions on earth affecting God's people have their correspondences in heaven, in the conflict between good and bad angels; so at the last great contest on earth which shall decide the ascendency of Christianity ( Rev 12:7-10 ). An archangel, not the Lord Jesus; for he is distinguished from "the Lord" in Jud 1:9.
      there shall be--rather, "it shall be."
      time of trouble, such as never was--partially applicable to the time of Antiochus, who was the first subverter of the Jews' religion, and persecutor of its professors, which no other world power had done. Fully applicable to the last times of Antichrist, and his persecutions of Israel restored to Palestine. Satan will be allowed to exercise an unhindered, unparalleled energy ( Isa 26:20, 21 Jer 30:7 Mat 24:21; compare Dan 8:24, 25 11:36 ).
      thy people shall be delivered-- ( Rom 11:26 ). The same deliverance of Israel as in Zec 13:8, 9, "the third part. . . brought through the fire. . . refined as silver." The remnant in Israel spared, as not having joined in the Antichristian blasphemy ( Rev 14:9, 10 ); not to be confounded with those who have confessed Christ before His coming, "the remnant according to the election of grace" ( Rom 11:5 ), part of the Church of the first-born who will share His millennial reign in glorified bodies; the spared remnant ( Isa 10:21 ) will only know the Lord Jesus when they see Him, and when the spirit of grace and supplication is poured out on them [TREGELLES].
      written in the book--namely, of God's secret purpose, as destined for deliverance ( Psa 56:8 69:28 Luk 10:20 Rev 20:15 21:27 ). Metaphor from a muster-roll of citizens ( Neh 7:5 ).

      2. many. . . that sleep--"many from among the sleepers. . . these shall be unto everlasting life; but those (the rest of the sleepers who do not awake at this time) shall be unto shame" [TREGELLES]. Not the general resurrection, but that of those who share in the first resurrection; the rest of the dead being not to rise till the end of the thousand years ( Rev 20:3, 5, 6; compare 1Cr 15:23 1Th 4:16 ). Israel's national resurrection, and the first resurrection of the elect Church, are similarly connected with the Lord's coming forth out of His place to punish the earth in Isa 26:19, 21 27:6. Compare Isa 25:6-9. The Jewish commentators support TREGELLES. AUBERLEN thinks the sole purpose for which the resurrection is introduced in this verse is an incitement to faithful perseverance in the persecutions of Antiochus; and that there is no chronological connection between the time of trouble in Dan 12:1 and the resurrection in Dan 12:2; whence the phrase, "at that time," twice occurs in Dan 12:1, but no fixing of time in Dan 12:2, 3; 2 Maccabees 7:9, 14, 23, shows the fruit of this prophecy in animating the Maccabean mother and her sons to brave death, while confessing the resurrection in words like those here. Compare Hbr 11:35. NEWTON'S view that "many" means all, is not so probable; for Rom 5:15, 19, which he quotes, is not in point, since the Greek is "the many," that is, all, but there is no article in the Hebrew here. Here only in the Old Testament is "everlasting life" mentioned.

      3. wise-- ( Pro 11:30 ). Answering to "they that understand" ( Dan 11:33, 35 ), the same Hebrew, Maskilim; Israelites who, though in Jerusalem when wickedness is coming to a head, are found intelligent witnesses against it. As then they appeared worn out with persecutions (typically, of Antiochus; antitypically, of Antichrist); so now in the resurrection they "shine as the brightness of the firmament." The design of past afflictions here appears "to make them white" ( Mat 13:43 Rev 7:9, 14 ).
      turn. . . to righteousness--literally, "justify," that is, convert many to justification through Christ ( Jam 5:20 ).
      stars-- ( 1Cr 15:41, 42 ).

      4. shut up. . . seal the book--John, on the contrary, is told ( Rev 22:10 ) not to seal his visions. Daniel's prophecy refers to a distant time, and is therefore obscure for the immediate future, whereas John's was to be speedily fulfilled ( Rev 1:1, 3 22:6 ). Israel, to whom Daniel prophesied after the captivity, with premature zeal sought after signs of the predicted period: Daniel's prophecy was designed to restrain this. The Gentile Church, on the contrary, for whom John wrote, needs to be impressed with the shortness of the period, as it is, owing to its Gentile origin, apt to conform to the world, and to forget the coming of the Lord (compare Mat 25:13, 19 Mar 13:32-37 2Pe 3:8, 12 Rev 22:20 ).
      run to and fro--not referring to the modern rapidity of locomotion, as some think, nor to Christian missionaries going about to preach the Gospel to the world at large [BARNES], which the context scarcely admits; but, whereas now but few care for this prophecy of God, "at the time of the end," that is, near its fulfilment, "many shall run to and fro," that is, scrutinize it, running through every page. Compare Hab 2:2 [CALVIN]: it is thereby that "the knowledge (namely, of God's purposes as revealed in prophecy) shall be increased." This is probably being now fulfilled.

      5. A vision of two other angels, one on one side of the Hiddekel or Tigris, the other on the other side, implying that on all sides angels attend to execute God's commands. The angel addressing Daniel had been over the river "from above" ( Dan 12:6, Margin).

      6. one--namely, of the two ( Dan 12:5 ).
      man. . . in linen--who had spoken up to this point. God impelled the angel to ask in order to waken us out of our torpor, seeing that the very "angels desire to look into" the things affecting man's redemption ( 1Pe 1:12 ), as setting forth the glory of their Lord and ours ( Eph 3:10 ).
      How long. . . to the end of these wonders--This question of the angel refers to the final dealings of God in general, Antichrist's overthrow, and the resurrection. Daniel's question ( Dan 12:8 ) refers to the more immediate future of his nation [AUBERLEN].

      7. held up. . . right. . . and. . . left hand--Usually the right hand was held up in affirmation as an appeal to heaven to attest the truth ( Deu 32:40 Rev 10:5, 6 ). Here both hands are lifted up for the fuller confirmation.
      time, times, and a half--(See on JF & B for Da 7:25). NEWTON, referring this prophecy to the Eastern apostasy, Mohammedanism, remarks that the same period of three and a half years, or 1260 prophetic days, is assigned to it as the Western apostasy of the little horn ( Dan 7:25 ); and so, says PRIDEAUX, Mohammed began to forge his imposture, retiring to his cave, A.D. 606, the very year that Phocas made the grant to the bishop of Rome, whence he assumed the title, The Universal Pastor; Antichrist thus setting both his feet on Christendom together, the one in the East, and the other in the West. Three and a half is the time of the world power, in which the earthly kingdoms rule over the heavenly [AUBERLEN]. "Three and a half" represents the idea of spiritual trial; (besides this certain symbolical meaning, there is doubtless an accurate chronological meaning, which is as yet to us uncertain): it is half of "seven," the complete number, so a semi-perfect state, one of probation. The holy city is trodden by the Gentiles forty-two months ( Rev 11:2 ), so the exercise of the power of the beast ( Rev 13:5 ). The two witnesses preach in sackcloth 1260 days, and remained unburied three days and a half: so the woman in the wilderness: also the same for a "time, times, and a half" ( Rev 11:3, 9, 11 12:6, 14 ). Forty-two connects the Church with Israel, whose haltings in the wilderness were forty-two ( Num 33:1-50 ). The famine and drought on Israel in Elijah's days were for "three years and six months" ( Luk 4:25 Jam 5:17 ); there same period as Antiochus' persecution: so the ministry of the Man of Sorrows, which ceased in the midst of a week ( Dan 9:27 ) [WORDSWORTH, Apocalypse].
      scatter. . . holy people--"accomplished" here answers to "the consummation" ( Dan 9:27 ), namely, the "pouring out" of the last dregs of the curse on the "desolated holy people." Israel's lowest humiliation (the utter "scattering of her power") is the precursor of her exaltation, as it leads her to seek her God and Messiah ( Mat 23:39 ).

      8. understood not--Daniel "understood" the main features of the vision as to Antiochus ( Dan 10:1, 14 ), but not as to the times. 1Pe 1:10-12 refers mainly to Daniel: for it is he who foretells "the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow"; it is he who prophesies "not unto himself, but unto us"; it is he who "searched what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ in him did signify."

      9. Daniel's desire of knowing more is thus deferred "till the time of the end." John's Revelation in part reveals what here is veiled (see on JF & B for Da 12:4; JF & B for Da 8:26).

      10. There is no need of a fuller explanation as to the time; for when the predictions so far given shall have come to pass, the godly shall be "purified" by the foretold trials and shall understand that the end is at hand; but the wicked shall not understand, and so shall rush on to their own ruin ( Dan 11:33-35 ) [MAURER]. The "end" is primarily, of Antiochus' persuasion; antitypically, the end of Antichrist's. It is the very clearness in the main which renders necessary the obscurity. The fulfilment of God's decree is not a mere arithmetical problem which the profane may understand by arithmetical calculations, but a holy enigma to stimulate to a faithful observance of God's ways, and to a diligent study of the history of God's people [AUBERLEN]. To this Christ refers ( Mat 24:15 ), "Whose readeth, let him understand."

      11. from. . . sacrifice. . . taken way. . . abomination-- ( Dan 11:31 ). As to this epoch, which probably is prophetically germinant and manifold; the profanation of the temple by Antiochus (in the month Ijar of the year 145 B.C., till the restoration of the worship by Judas Maccabeus on the twenty-fifth day of the ninth month [Chisleu] of 148 B.C., according to the Seleucid era, 1290 days; forty-five days more elapsed before Antiochus' death in the month Shebat of 148 B.C., so ending the Jews' calamities [MAURER]); by pagan Rome, after Christ's death; by Mohammed; by Antichrist, the culmination of apostate Rome. The "abomination" must reach its climax (see AUBERLEN'S translation, "summit," Dan 9:27 ), and the measure of iniquity be full, before Messiah comes.
      thousand two hundred and ninety days--a month beyond the "time, times, and a half" ( Dan 12:7 ). In Dan 12:12, forty-five days more are added, in all 1335 days. TREGELLES thinks Jesus at His coming will deliver the Jews. An interval elapses, during which their consciences are awakened to repentance and faith in Him. A second interval elapses in which Israel's outcasts are gathered, and then the united blessing takes place. These stages are marked by the 1260, 1290, and 1335 days. CUMMING thinks the 1260 years begin when Justinian in 533 subjected the Eastern churches to John II, bishop of Rome; ending in 1792, when the Code Napoleon was established and the Pope was dishonored. 1290 reach to 1822, about the time of the waning of the Turkish power, the successor to Greece in the empire of the East. Forty-five years more end in 1867, the end of "the times of the Gentiles." See Lev 26:24, "seven times," that is, 7 X 360, or 2520 years: 652 B.C. is the date of Judah's captivity, beginning under Manasseh 2520 from this date end in 1868, thus nearly harmonizing with the previous date, 1867. See on JF & B for Da 8:14. The seventh millenary of the world [CLINTON] begins in 1862. Seven years to 1869 (the date of the second advent) constitute the reign of the personal Antichrist; in the last three and a half, the period of final tribulation, Enoch (or else Moses) and Elijah, the two witnesses, prophesy in sackcloth. This theory is very dubious (compare Mat 24:36 Act 1:7 1Th 5:2 2Pe 3:10 ); still the event alone can tell whether the chronological coincidences of such theories are fortuitous, or solid data on which to fix the future times. HALES makes the periods 1260, 1290, 1335, begin with the Roman destruction of Jerusalem and end with the precursory dawn of the Reformation, the preaching of Wycliffe and Huss.

      13. rest--in the grave ( Job 3:17 Isa 57:2 ). He, like his people Israel, was to wait patiently and confidently for the blessing till God's time. He "received not the promise," but had to wait until the Christian elect saints should be brought in, at the first resurrection, that he and the older Old Testament saints "without us should not be made perfect" ( Hbr 11:40 ).
      stand--implying justification unto life, as opposed to condemnation ( Psa 1:5 ).
      thy lot--image from the allotment of the earthly Canaan.

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