V 1-3 The first four verses of chapter 12 complete what began in chapter 10. We need to remember that the chapter divisions are not divinely inspired and at times are not attuned to the flow of God’s revelation. The revelation of chapter 11 continues through Daniel 12:1-4. This is clear from the phrase “at that time” at the beginning of Daniel 12:1. This links this verse with 11:45 and refers to the time of the death of Antiochus IV. The expression “that time” occurs three times in 12:1 to emphasize and connect this verse not only with what precedes but also with what follows. That the death of the oppressor of Israel will be during a time of great time distress (12:1) and to the deliverance that follows. It will be at that time that faithful Jews will be rescued or delivered. The phrase “that time” points to the end times because the death of Antiochus Epiphanes foreshadows the ultimate end (see 11:24, 27, 35, 36, 40, 45). The expression “at that time” is like to “in/on that day,” both are used by the prophets to indicate a future time when God will intervene in human history.
Isa. 26:1 In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah: “We have a strong city; He sets up walls and ramparts for security.
27:1-2 In that day the LORD will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, With His fierce and great and mighty sword, Even Leviathan the twisted serpent; And He will kill the dragon who lives in the sea. On that day, “A vineyard of wine, sing of it!
Jer. 3:17 At that time they will call Jerusalem ‘The Throne of the LORD,’ and all the nations will be gathered to it, to Jerusalem, for the name of the LORD; nor will they walk any more after the stubbornness of their evil heart.
Joel 3:1-2 For behold, in those days and at that time, When I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all the nations And bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat.
Then I will enter into judgment with them there On behalf of My people and My inheritance, Israel, Whom they have scattered among the nations; And they have divided up My land.;
Also Zeph. 1:12; 3:19-20; Zech. 12:3-4; 13:1-2.
So, when the end comes, Antiochus will die and Michael will go into battle once again as he did against the princes (or fallen angels) of Persia and Greece (10:13, 20-21). Antiochus as we have said is a type of the antichrist who is to come in the last days. At that time Michael will appear to rescue the Jewish people by fighting against their oppressors. This could refer to demons in the spiritual realm or men who are influenced through their flesh to attack the Jewish people. Michael’s work is to protect Daniel’s people with the result that they will be delivered (12:1).
In Rev. 12:7-9 Michael is described as the commander of the heavenly army, engaging in battle with the devil and his angels. And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. The dragon and his angels waged war, and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world …
Michael’s role seems to be to carry out the sentence of destruction on God’s enemies (Dan. 7:9-11, 26; Zech. 3:1-5), or perhaps he will act as defense attorney for the Jews by arguing for their vindication. Michael is the appointed angel of Israel, and he plays a decisive part on God’s behalf.
The great tribulation will come as prophesied by Daniel and the other prophets but the Israel of God, those Jews who turn to Yeshua, will escape, those who are written in the book of life (Ps. 69:29; Ex. 32:32; Phil. 4:3; Rev. 3:5). God already knows His own. This word to Daniel closes with the revelation that the end times has a special relationship to “your people,” Israel. Those in Israel who worship God will experience a special deliverance as Zech. 12-14 describes. Those who die looking forward to the Messiah will experience the resurrection which is an encouragement for those martyred for their faith and their loved ones who are left behind.
Daniel 11:36-12:3 reveals these truths about the end times: There will be a world ruler, a world religion, a world war, a time of great tribulation for Israel, deliverance for the people of God at the end of the tribulation, resurrection and judgment, and reward for the righteous. Other Scriptures complement these facts and that the time of the end begins with the breaking of the covenant by “the prince who is to come” (Dan. 9:26-27) and that the “time of the end” will last for three and one-half years.
V 4 Although it is possible that Daniel was told to keep these words of the vision secret, an alternative rendering of the Hebrew is to “close up the words” and seal the book, a reference to preservation of the text of Daniel until the time of the end. In the testimony of Rabbi Leopold Cohn just prior to coming to faith began reading the Talmud concerning those who would investigate prophecy regarding the end of days. The Jewish writings gave this warning: “May those who calculate the end of days be cursed [tippaḥ], as they would say once the end of days that they calculated arrived and the Messiah did not come, that he will no longer come at all (Sanhedrin 97b). With fear and trembling he continued to study and then God revealed to him that Messiah had already come.
Preserving Daniel’s prophecy was necessary because in the end of days, many will roam about seeking answers that will be found in the book of Daniel. Amos may give us insight in what is meant by that in Amos 8:11-12: “Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord GOD, “When I will send a famine on the land, Not a famine for bread or a thirst for water, But rather for hearing the words of the LORD. “People will stagger from sea to sea And from the north even to the east; They will go to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, But they will not find it.
Moreover, in that day, knowledge will increase, possibly referring to the understanding of Daniel’s prophecies as informed observers recognize the fulfillment of his predictions. Many also view the expression “knowledge will increase as an allusion to our current days with the information explosion through computing and the internet. Prophecy becomes more discernable many times after the events prophesied have been fulfilled. Like the prophecy of the Messiah being born in Bethlehem and yet will be a Galilean. We understand now how both prophecies were fulfilled in Yeshua.
V 5-7 Daniel saw two angels, who served as witnesses for the promise made by the angel clothed in linen who first appears in (10:5). In God’s Word two witnesses were necessary for an oath to be received and confirmed (Dt 19:15). One of the two witnessing angels asked how long it will be until the end of these events of the end time. The angel in linen replied that the time of the great tribulation (the second half of Daniel’s seventieth week) would be for a time, times, and half a time, or three and one-half years (7:25; Rev 12:7). By the end of the great tribulation, the power that Israel has will be broken, causing them to turn in faith to the Messiah Jesus (Zch 12:10). Messiah Yeshua will return and fight on their behalf. He will then sit in judgment of those who are left, and his millennial reign will begin (Zch 14:1-21).
V 8-10 When Daniel said that he heard but didn’t understand. This doesn’t mean that he didn’t comprehend this prophecy about the end of days but that he didn’t understand how these events would happen. Daniel was told to go on his way, because the words are concealed until the time of the end, meaning they would not be fully recognized until their fulfillment at the end of days. The wicked will fail to understand what is happening, but the wise will realize the fulfillment of Daniel’s words and turn in faith to the God of Israel and His Messiah Jesus. Salvation will come to both Jews and Gentiles during the great tribulation (Zech. 13:8–9, where the prophet speaks of one-third of the Jewish people; Rom. 11:26; Rev. 7:14). The truly saved grow in godliness through trials while the unsaved look to the world and the flesh for deliverance. The wisdom spoken of here comes from God’s Word and His Spirit during those horrible days.
V 11 This refers is to the daily temple sacrifice that was instituted with the covenant that the Antichrist signed with Israel. In the middle of the seven years, he will forbid sacrifices (Dan. 8:11-14; 9:27). This will begin a time of escalating persecution against Israel and the Jewish people. The antichrist will reveal an abomination that will desecrate the temple (9:27; Matt. 24:15; Mark 13:14; 2 Thess. 2:3–4) and is accompanied with persecution which shall be for 1,260 days. From the intrusion of the abomination, there follow 1,290 days, including 1,260 that make up the last three and a half years of the final seven years.
In six different places in many ways in both Older and New Covenants we learn about these 3 ½ years. It is for “a time, times, and half a time” (Dan. 7:25)—“a time, times, and half a time” (12:7)—“they will trample the holy city for forty-two months” (Rev. 11:2)—“and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which she is to be nourished for 1,260 days”—for “she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time” (12:6, 14)—“and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months” (13:5). All these passages refer to the same period of oppression and trouble under the Antichrist. They all begin with the breaking of the covenant with antichrist and the suspension of the daily offerings in the Temple. Why then were thirty days added to the 1,260 days? It may be that time will be for the future cleansing and rededication of the temple area, and resumption of sacrifices, that will occur at the beginning of the millennial kingdom (Ezek. 43:18).
The meaning of the number of days is further complicated in verse 12 where there is a special blessing for the one “who waits and arrives at the 1,335 days.” This is another forty-five days beyond the number in verse 11. Daniel does not explain but the second coming of Yeshua and the establishment of His millennial kingdom requires time. When the Lord returns there will be several divine judgments such as the judgment of the nations (Matt. 25:31-46) and the regathering and judgment of Israel (Ezek. 20:34-38). These great judgments beginning with the living on earth and the purging out of unbelievers who have worshiped the beast, although handled quickly, it will require time. Those who are present at the end of those days will have been judged worthy to enter the kingdom because they are called “blessed.”
V 13 The angel told Daniel that he was to continue to the end of his life, at which point he would rest, a euphemism for death. Yet he was given the promise that he too would rise from the dead at the end of the days (v. 2).