Daniel Chapter 11:36-12:12 Notes: The Rise and Fall of the Antichrist
Dan. 11:36 ¶ ³The 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.
Dan. 11:37 He will show no regard for the gods of his fathers or for the one desired by women, nor will he regard any god, but will exalt himself above them all.
Dan. 11:38 Instead of them, he will honor a god of fortresses; a god unknown to his fathers he will honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and costly gifts.
Dan. 11:39 He will attack the mightiest fortresses with the help of a foreign god and will greatly honor those who acknowledge him. He will make them rulers over many people and will distribute the land at a price.
Dan. 11:40 ¶ ³At the time of the end the king of the South will engage him in battle, and the king of the North will storm out against him with chariots and cavalry and a great fleet of ships. He will invade many countries and sweep through them like a flood.
Dan. 11:41 He will also invade the Beautiful Land. Many countries will fall, but Edom, Moab and the leaders of Ammon will be delivered from his hand.
Dan. 11:42 He will extend his power over many countries; Egypt will not escape.
Dan. 11:43 He will gain control of the treasures of gold and silver and all the riches of Egypt, with the Libyans and Nubians in submission.
Dan. 11:44 But reports from the east and the north will alarm him, and he will set out in a great rage to destroy and annihilate many.
Dan. 11:45 He will pitch his royal tents between the seas at the beautiful holy mountain. Yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him.
Dan. 12:1 ³At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your peopleeveryone whose name is found written in the bookwill be delivered.
Dan. 12:2 Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.
Dan. 12:3 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.
Dan. 12:4 But you, Daniel, close up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. Many will go here and there to increase knowledge.²
Dan. 12:5 ¶ Then I, Daniel, looked, and there before me stood two others, one on this bank of the river and one on the opposite bank.
Dan. 12:6 One of them said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, ³How long will it be before these astonishing things are fulfilled?²
Dan. 12:7 ¶ The man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, lifted his right hand and his left hand toward heaven, and I heard him swear by him who lives forever, saying, ³It will be for a time, times and half a time. When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed.²
Dan. 12:8 ¶ I heard, but I did not understand. So I asked, ³My lord, what will the outcome of all this be?²
Dan. 12:9 ¶ He replied, ³Go your way, Daniel, because the words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end.
Dan. 12:10 Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand.
Dan. 12:11 ¶ ³From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days.
Dan. 12:12 Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1,335 days.
Dan. 12:13 ¶ ³As for you, go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance. ²
Ð lAo×w l$Ea_lD;k_lAo Ð lé;dÅgVty×w M§EmwørVty×w JKRl#R;mAh wønwøxrIk h°DcDo×w Dan. 11:36
hDxrTjn y¶I;k MAoYÅz hDlD;k_dAo ÐAjyÐIlVxIh×w twóøaDlVpn rE;båd×y My$IlEa lEa
My¢IvÎn tñå;dVmRj_lAo×w Ny$IbÎy aâøl ÐwyDtObSa y§EhølTa_lAo×w Dan. 11:37
:lá;dÅgVty läO;k_lAo y¶I;k Ny¡IbÎy aâøl A;hwäølTa_lD;k_l`Ao×w
rªRvSa A;hw%ølTaRl×w d¡E;bAk×y wäønA;k_lAo MyYzUo`Dm ÐA;hÐølTaRl×w Dan. 11:38
härq×y NRb¶RaVbw PRs¢RkVbw b¶DhÎzV;b d¢E;bAk×y wy#DtObSa whUod×y_aøl
r¶RvSa r$Dk´n A;hwâølTa_MIo ÐMyzUo`Dm yôérVxVbImVl hÞDcDo×w Dan. 11:39
q¶E;lAj×y hDmdSaÅw My$I;bår`D;b ÐMDlyIvVmIh×w dwóøbDk hR;brÅy [ryI;kÅy] ryI;kIh
wy%DlDo r°EoD;tVcy×w bgYnAh JKRlRm Ðwø;mIo j§AgÅnVty X#éq tEoVbw Dan. 11:40
twäøxrSaAb a¶Dbw twóø;bår twäø¥ynFaDbw My$IvrDpVbw ÐbRkÐ®rV;b Nw#øpDxAh JKRlRm
wâfVlD;my ÐhR;lÐEa×w wl¡EvD;ky twäø;bår×w y$IbVxAh X®rRaV;b ÐaDbw Dan. 11:41
:Nwáø;mAo y¶EnV;b tyIvaér×w b$Dawømw MwêødTa w$ødÎ¥yIm
hRyVhIt añøl My$årVxIm X®rRa×w twóøxrSaA;b wëødÎy j¶AlVvy×w Dan. 11:42
twêødUmSj läOkVbw PRs$R;kAh×w bDhÎzAh Ðy´nAmVkImV;b l#AvDmw Dan. 11:43
:wyádDoVxImV;b MyIvUk×w My¶IbUl×w MyórVxIm
aDmEjV;b ÐaDxÎy×w NwóøpDxImw jär×zI;mIm wh$UlShAb×y twâøoUmVvw Dan. 11:44
:My`I;bår MyäîrSjAhVláw dy¶ImVvAhVl h$DlOd×g
v®dúOq_yIbVx_rAhVl MyI;mÅy Ny¶E;b wYøndAÚpAa yRlFhDa ÐoAÚfy×w Dan. 11:45
:wáøl rEzwøo Ny¶Ea×w w$øxIq_dAo ÐaDbw
¤dEmOoDh lw#ødÎgAh rAÚcAh l%EaDky`Im d°OmSoÅy ·ayIhAh tEoDbw Dan. 12:1
ywYøg twâøyVh`Im ÐhDt×yVhn_aáøl r§RvSa h$rDx tEo ÐhDt×yDh×w ~ÔKR;mAo yEnV;b_lAo
bwñtD;k aDxVmnAh_lD;k $ÔKV;mAo fElD;my ÐayIhAh t§EoDbw ay¡IhAh tEoDh dAo
M$Dlwøo yE¥yAjVl hR;lEa£ wxyóîqÎy rDpDo_tAmdAa y¶EnEv×¥yIm MyðI;bår×w Dan. 12:2
s :M`Dlwøo NwñøarîdVl twäøprSjAl hR;l¶Ea×w
My$I;bår`Dh Ðyéqyî;dVxAmw AoyóîqrDh rAhâOzV;k wrIh×zÅy My$IlI;kVcA;m°Ah×w Dan. 12:3
p :d`RoÎw M¶DlwøoVl MyIbDkwø;kA;k
tEo_dAo rRpE;sAh MñOtSjÅw MyöîrDb;dAh M¬OtVs laG´¥ynád hD;tAa×w Dan. 12:4
:tAoá;dAh h¶R;brIt×w MyI;bår wñfVfOv×y Xóéq
MyóîdVmOo MyäîrEjSa My¶AnVv h¢EnIh×w laY´¥ynd yInSa ÐyItyÐIar×w Dan. 12:5
:ráOa×yAh t¶ApVcIl hÎnEh d¶DjRa×w r$Oa×yAh tApVcIl ÐhÎnÐEh d¶DjRa
yEmyEmVl lAoA;mIm r¶RvSa My$î;dA;bAh vwâbVl ÐvyIaDl rRmaGø¥yÅw Dan. 12:6
:twáøaDlVÚpAh Xñéq yAtDm_dAo róOa×yAh
¤ lAoA;mIm rRvSa My#î;dA;bAh vwâbVl vyIaDh_tRa oÞAmVvRaÎw Dan. 12:7
yEjV;b oAbDÚv¥yÅw My$AmDÚvAh_lRa ÐwølaømVcw wôønyIm×y M®r½Î¥yÅw ~rOa×yAh yEmyEmVl
v®dëOq_MAo_dÅy X¶EÚpÅn twöø;lAkVkw yIx#EjÎw My%îdSowáøm d°EowømVl ·yI;k M¡DlwøoDh
tyäîrSjAa h¶Dm yÁnOdSa h$rVmâOaÎw Ny¡IbDa aâøl×w yI;tVoAmDv y¶InSaÅw Dan. 12:8
MyäîrDb;dAh My¢ImUtSjÅw MyªImUtVs_y`I;k la¡E¥yn;d JKEl rRmaäø¥yÅw Dan. 12:9
woyIvrIh×w My$I;bår Ðwpr`Dxy×w wônV;bAlVt`Iy×w wrßr`D;bVtyþ Dan. 12:10
:wny`IbÎy MyIlI;kVcA;mAh×w My¡IoDvr_lD;k wnyIbÎy añøl×w My$IoDvr
MyðImÎy M¡EmOv Xwê;qIv tEtDl×w dy$ImD;tAh rAswh ÐtEoEmw Dan. 12:11
:My`IoVvIt×w My¶AtaDm PRlRa
twäøaEm vñølVv PRlðRa MyðImÎyVl Aoy¡IgÅy×w hR;kAjVm`Ah yñérVvAa Dan. 12:12
:h`DÚvImSjÅw My¶Iv ølVv
XñéqVl äÔKVlrOgVl dñOmSoAt×w AjwönDt×w Xóé;qAl JKEl hD;tAa×w Dan. 12:13
The first 35 verses of Daniel 11 contain a total of 135 specific prophecies which have been fulfilled, and well documented by extra biblical sources. Therefore, the reality of the God of the Bible is demonstrated for us.
Starting in verse 36, God unveils what is to come in the future for us to Daniel, and having had his revelations come to fruition and well-documented in detail, we can rest confidently on what the rest of Daniel has to show us.
Daniel 11:36 through chapter 12 contain revelations about what will happen just prior to the second advent of Christ, the literal ³end times.²
- The ³king² spoken of is the Antichrist himself, the ³little horn² spoken of repeatedly in Daniel, and the verses from 36 to 39 outline what his character and actions will be like
- In his invasion, the Antichrist will conquer all the lands north of Jerusalem, but will spare ³Edom, Moab, and the leaders of Ammon,² which is modern Jordan. Either they will ally with him or just simply be out of his direct line of battle.
- The Antichrist will set up his headquarters ³between the seas at the beautiful holy mountain², which may either be the Temple Mount itself, or a hilltop just south of Jerusalem, where he can threaten the city militarily
- Either way, at some point the Antichrist will enter and defile the rebuilt Temple, according to 2 Thess 2:4 and Matt 24:15.
- ³Armies from the north and the south² will threaten him at some point, possibly in the military campaign written of in Ezek 38-39.
- The great battle spoken of in 40-45 is the battle of Armageddon, to be fought in the valley of Megiddo
- This battle is referred to in Ezek 39:2-29; Joel 3:2-16; Zech. 12:2-9, 14:1-21; Rev. 16:16.
- The Antichrist¹s career will end after this great battle, and he will be judged when Christ returns to set up His millennial kingdom (Dan 7:11, 26,27; 2 Thess 2:8; Rev 19:20)
- The Archangel Michael is Israel¹s protector, and the greatest of all God¹s angels will be needed for this task, as Israel is prophesized to experience ³a time of distress² like nothing else in its history
- Michael will engage in a great battle with Satan during the Tribulation period.
- The core of Christian faith, the Resurrection, is prophesized in 12:2, the first time ³everlasting life² appears in scripture.
- The time of this terrible period is given as 7 years
- Daniel asks questions, just like we would!, and is given some additional insight, but the real message is given him by Christ: go live your life without worrying or fretting about this future time it is coming, but you have nothing to fear if you are called by His name!
Dr. Constable's Notes on Daniel
3. The distant future
11:3612:4 In the revelation given to Daniel about the 70 sevens (years, 9:24-27), we observed that what Gabriel told the prophet in verses 24-26 has already happened. Those verses described what would happen in the first 69 sevens. Verse 27 predicts things that have not happened yet. It reveals what will happen in the seventieth seven. There is a similar break between verses 35 and 36 of chapter 11. What was predicted in verses 2-35 has happened. What follows in this chapter has not happened.
"No commentator claims to find precise fulfillment in the remainder of this chapter."
Even liberal scholars, who believe that a second-century writer wrote the book as history rather than as prophecy, admit that all of what follows has had no literal fulfillment in the past. A few scholars, liberal and conservative, believe that Antiochus Epiphanes fulfilled some of these predictions, especially those in verses 36-39. However, I am not aware of anyone who believes that he fulfilled them all literally.
In view of later revelation, in the Olivet Discourse and in the Book of Revelation particularly, what the angel told Daniel in these verses must refer to the last one of Daniel's seventy weeks. This is the last seven-year period before Jesus Christ returns to the earth to establish His kingdom. Jesus called the end of it a time of great tribulation (Matt. 24:21), and Daniel's angel called it the worst period of distress that the Jews have ever seen (12:1; cf. Jer. 30:7). Therefore it seems reasonable to conclude that what follows will occur in that seven-year period, the Tribulation.453
The coming ruler 11:36-39
11:36 "Then" signals a leap in time to the distant future, as the context indicates.
The predicted king will have the power to do as he pleases; apparently he
will not be subject to a higher human authority (cf. 7:23; Rev. 13:1-10;
17:12). He will exalt himself higher than any other god implying that he
will demand worship (cf. 2 Thess. 2:4; Rev. 13:11-18; 17:16). He will also
repudiate the true God (cf. 7:25). He will prosper for a time, until God's
indignation against His people the Jews has run its course (cf. 8:19; Isa.
10:25; 26:20). All of this will happen under the sovereign authority of
11:37 This verse gives more information about the ruler's religious convictions.
The phrase "the God of his fathers" is similar to one that occurs elsewhere
in Scripture describing the God of the Jews (cf. 2:23; Exod. 3:15-16; 4:5;
et al.). This has led some interpreters to conclude that this king will be a
Jew.454 However the phrase does not require this interpretation. The name
"God" is "Elohim," the general word for God rather than the covenant
name "Yahweh" that God often used when stressing His relationship to
His chosen people. This word can have a plural translation (gods) or a
singular one (God). Moreover in the light of other revelation about this
man, he seems to be a Roman (7:8, 24; Rev. 13:1-10). Of course, he could
be a Jewish Roman, but the description of him in this verse does not
identify him clearly as a Jew. Probably the angel meant that this king will
abandon the religion in his past whatever that religion may have been.
He will do this because he will set himself up as the object of worship in
place of all gods.
The identity of "the desire of women" is also problematic. It may be a
reference to the Messiah.455 Supposedly the supreme desire of every godly
Jewish woman in Daniel's day was that she bear the Messiah. Another
view is that the reference is to Tammuz (Adonis), a pagan goddess in
Daniel's day that women found very attractive.456 Others believe that the
meaning is that this king will have no desire for women. Some even
speculate that he will be abusive toward women. In other words, he will be
devoid of natural affection.457 I tend to favor this third view.
11:38 What this king will really trust in is a "god" who he believes can give him
military success. Evidently this is not a god in the religious sense. He will
probably idolize power. His forefathers typically acknowledged some
supreme being or some pagan god or gods. He will honor his "god" by
spending money to build his military arsenal. In other words, he will be a
11:39 The foreign god referred to in this verse may be the god of military might
mentioned in verse 38. Alternatively it may be some other foreign god that
he uses for his own ends, or it may even be himself. As Antiochus before
him, this ruler will reward those who are loyal to him and support him by
bestowing honors and positions of authority on them. Perhaps he will also take bribes, as Antiochus did, and give land to those who pay him off.
Another possibility is that he will reward with lands those who are faithful
The attack against the ruler 11:40-45
11:40 Finally the very end time of the seventieth week will arrive (cf. vv. 27, 35;
12:4, 9). Then this king will be the focus of attack by the king of the South
(cf. vv. 42-43), a power south of Palestine, and the king of the North, a
force to its north. Evidently they will attack him simultaneously.
Apparently this king is neither the king of the South nor the king of the
North himself. In view of 9:26, he will probably be a western ruler, the
little horn arising out of the Roman Empire (i.e., Antichrist; 7:8, 24).459
The conflict will be great, but he, apparently the ruler described in verses
36-39 (Antichrist), will invade many countries, overwhelm them, and pass
on to conquer others.460
"Presumably the warfare will be carried on by armored
vehicles and missiles such as are used in modern warfare
though in order to communicate with Daniel's generation,
ancient equivalents of these are used here. Likewise, the
ancient names of the countries or states occupying the
region where the final conflict will be carried on are used in
the prediction, though most of those political units will no
longer bear these names in the last days."
Ezekiel described a great military force descending on Israel from the far
north in the future (Ezek. 3839; 38:15). Ezekiel did not mention a power
from the South. Part of the fulfillment of Ezekiel's prophecy is probably
the same invasion Daniel recorded here.462 This aspect of the fulfillment
will probably occur in the second half of the Tribulation, when Israel is
suffering intense persecution.
11:41 The Antichrist will also enter Palestine (cf. 8:9), and many there will fall
before his forces. He will also defeat other countries in addition to Israel.
He will probably enter Palestine after he breaks his covenant with Israel,
which would confirm that these events will happen in the last half of the
Tribulation. There will be a few areas that he does not overpower,
however, namely, those in the former territories of Edom, Moab, and
Ammon. These nations were to the east and south of Israel. Today Jordan
occupies this region. The "foremost" of the sons of Ammon probably
refers to the best part.464
11:42-43 This ruler will then press his attack against other countries, particularly
Egypt. It will fall to his control. He will plunder the treasures of Egypt and
will bring those living in the ancient territories of Libya and Ethiopia
under his control. Libya lay to the west of Egypt and Ethiopia to its south.
11:44-45 Rumors of enemy armies from the East (cf. Rev. 9:13-21; 16:12) and from
the North (cf. v. 40) will cause him to kill more people (cf. Zech. 13:8).465
He will also return to Palestine. His headquarters there will evidently be in
Jerusalem. This city stands between the Mediterranean and Dead Seas.
The NIV translation "at the beautiful holy mountain" confirms this
location since Jerusalem stands on Mt. Moriah. It is evidently there that he
will meet his match and suffer defeat. Later revelation says that Jesus
Christ will return from heaven and destroy him (Rev. 19:19-20; cf. Zech.
One writer summarized the revelation about Antichrist in verses 36-45 as follows. He
will act in self-will (v. 36), will exalt himself (v. 36), and will magnify himself above
every god (v. 36). He will blaspheme the true God (v. 36), will prosper for a limited
period of time (v. 36), and will be an irreligious person (v. 37). He will also place
confidence in military might (vv. 38-39), his military might will be challenged (v. 40),
and he will be initially victorious in battle (vv. 40-43). However, he will face renewed
conflict (v. 44), will establish his headquarters in Jerusalem (v. 45), and will finally come
to an end (v. 45).
The deliverance of Israel 12:1-3
Whereas the previous verses have focused on the Antichrist, those in this pericope
concern Israel. Here we learn that this "end time" will definitely be a time of intense
persecution of Jews. This section constitutes the climax of this revelation (chs. 1012)
as well as the climax of the whole series of prophecies that this book records. It
highlights God's faithfulness to His promises to His chosen people Israel.
12:1 At the time of the end (11:40), Michael, the angel responsible to protect
Israel (cf. 10:13, 21), will arise in defense of this nation. This revelation
focuses the reader's attention again on the invisible and supernatural
dimension to the events that will take place. "Now at that time" introduces
additional information about this end time; it does not introduce a
chronologically subsequent event.
This period generally will be a time of extreme distress for the Jews,
worse than any other time in their national history (cf. Deut. 4:30; Jer.
30:7; Matt. 24:21; Rev. 619).467 The repetition of "your people" in this
verse clearly identifies the Jews, not all believers. They will be the focus
of intense persecution, though many non-Jews will also suffer, and their
land will become an international battlefield (cf. Matt. 24:22).
Nevertheless all those Jews whose names are in "the book" will
experience rescue (cf. 7:18, 27). This is not a promise of spiritual
regeneration; that comes only by faith in Jesus Christ for Jews living then.
Rather it is a promise of national deliverance from human enemies (cf.
Zech. 12:10; 13:8-9; Rom. 11:26). Therefore "the book" probably contains
the names of all the Jews living in that region then who will experience
physical deliverance (cf. Rev. 12:13-17).468 The figure of a book connotes
a divine record written beforehand that is the basis for this rescue.469
12:2 Why did the angel say "many" will awake and not "all?" Apparently he
did so to stress the fact that those Jews who die because of Antichrist's
persecutions will experience resurrection at the end of this period (i.e., the
Tribulation; cf. Rev. 20:4-6).470 He referred to the hope of those Jews in
particular. Furthermore this wording clarifies that not all will arise then.
Some will experience resurrection at other times in history (e.g., 1 Thess.
4:13-17; Rev. 20:4-6).
The angel meant a physical resurrection rather than just a renewal of the
soul (cf. Isa. 26:19; Hos. 13:14). This seems clear since he specified that
they will arise from "the dust of the ground."
"The OT's standard way of envisaging dying and coming
back to life is by speaking of lying down and sleeping, then
of waking and getting up. The former is an extreme form of
the latter, which thus provides the metaphor for it (2 Kgs
4:31; 13:21; Isa 26:19; Jer 51:39, 57; Job 14:12). Further,
dying means lying down with one's ancestors in the family
tomb, with its nonmaterial equivalent, Sheol; so coming
back to life would mean leaving such a 'land of earth' (cf.
also Pss 49; 73). The image presupposes a restoring to life
of the whole person with its spiritual and material
"The Bible never speaks of sleep in reference to the soul,
for sleep is not an activity of the soul. Rather, the Bible
always speaks of sleep as an activity of the body (see Matt.
9:18-25; Mark 5:35-42).²
Some of these Jews will enter into everlasting life, namely, those of them
that will be believers. Others will experience disgrace and everlasting
contempt, because they do not believe on Christ (cf. Matt. 25:46; John
5:28-29). Evidently those martyred during the Tribulation and resurrected
at this time will reign with Christ during His kingdom, which will begin
with His return to earth at the end of the Tribulation (Rev. 20:4).
While this verse teaches that there will be a resurrection of the wicked, it
does not say that this will occur at the end of the Tribulation. It only says
that others will awake to disgrace and everlasting contempt. Revelation
20:12-14 make clear that the resurrection of the wicked will occur at the
end of the Millennium, not at the end of the Tribulation. In the context of
Daniel 12:2, the emphasis is on the hope of the Jews who will die in the
Tribulation. The destiny of the wicked is brought in simply to clarify that
they too will be raised, not to specify when.
This is the first mention in the Old Testament of a twofold resurrection.
For this reason, and because this verse identifies the time of the physical
resurrection of saved Jews (who lived outside the church age, cf. 1 Thess.
4:13-16), this is an extremely important verse.
"Those who argue simply on the basis of the concept of
'lifetime' or 'age' for only an age-long punishment in hell
rather than one of endless duration must reckon with the
many passages in the OT that apply 'olam to the endless
life and sovereignty of God himself. In other words, if hell
is not eternal, neither is God; for the same Hebrew and Greek words are used for both in the Bible (cf. Rev 4:10;
20:10; 21:8). The corresponding Greek word aion exactly
parallels the Hebrew 'olam in connotation and semantic
This is the first occurrence of the expression "eternal life" in the Old
12:3 The emphasis on hope for the Jews living during this time continues in
this verse. Rewards will follow resurrection. Those Jews who have insight
into the importance of remaining faithful to God and who do so will
receive glory (cf. 11:33, 35). Those who lead others to do right will too.
Their glory will be similar to the glory of the firmament above and to the
stars (cf. Matt. 13:43). The angel expressed this blessing in a beautiful
parallelism. Their glory will involve the privilege of reigning with Jesus
Christ during His millennial kingdom and from then on (cf. Matt. 25:14-
30; Luke 19:11-27; Rev. 20:4).
"Verses 2-3, then, clearly affirm the doctrines of
resurrection and of eternity beyond the grave. Even the
most skeptical OT scholars concede the presence of these
doctrines here . . ."
The end of the vision 12:4
In conclusion, the angel instructed Daniel to close the record of this revelation. In the
ancient Near East, people wrote official documents and then, after making a copy for
reference, deposited the original in a safe place. The phrase "conceal these words" does
not mean that Daniel should keep them to himself but that he should preserve this
revelation because it was important (cf. 8:26). Also it was customary for the scribe who
recorded important documents such as contractual promises to run his cylinder-seal
across the bottom to guarantee authenticity.478 That is what the angel instructed Daniel to
do with this contractual promise. By sealing it, Daniel would certify that what stood
written was exactly what God had revealed to him and had promised would happen (cf.
Daniel was to preserve this revelation until the end of time (or the "time of the end," the
last half of the Tribulation479) because much of what God had revealed to him concerned
the far distant future. He confessed that he did not understand much of it (v. 8), as we can
appreciate since most of it predicted things still future from his standpoint in history.
The last part of this verse probably refers to the attempts of people in the future to
understand this revelation, in view of the context (cf. Amos 8:12).480 Attempting to
understand these prophecies, people would search around and try to discover what they
meant. As time passed and knowledge increased, they would understand these things
better than Daniel could.
"Whether or not physical wandering and travel is involved, the implication
is that attempts to understand the truth will require considerable effort."
Even though Daniel and his people did not understand this book's prophecies as well as
we do, simply because we have seen many of them fulfilled, these predictions did
comfort them. They assured them that Yahweh would ultimately deliver Israel from the
hostile Gentiles and fulfill His covenant promises.
4. The end of Israel's trials 12:5-13
Daniel continued to view things in the vision that he began describing in 10:5. The book
ends with a question and answer session.
The first question 12:5-6
Daniel now saw two other individuals, undoubtedly angels, beside the one who had been
addressing him since 10:11, standing on either side of the Tigris River (cf. 10:4). One of
these angels asked a question of the man (angel) dressed in linen (cf. 10:5-6) who was
above the river. He wanted to know how long it would be until the end of the events just
related (cf. 1 Pet. 1:12), namely, the things having to do with Israel's final persecution
and deliverance (11:3612:3).
The first answer 12:7
The angel above the river swore by the eternal God that what he was about to say was
true. Normally people who swore by God lifted one hand to heaven (cf. Deut. 32:40).
This angel lifted both hands thus stressing the truthfulness of what he was about to reveal.
"There must be a reason for the choice of the word translated stream. As
already indicated, it is the common designation for the Nile river.
Possibly, it is deliberately employed here to remind Dan. that just as the
Lord had once stood over Egypt, the world-nation which was hostile to
God's people, so now does He stand over the world kingdom, represented
symbolically by the Nile stream, actually the Tigris, ready again to deliver
The meaning of "time, times, and half a time" is quite clearly three and one-half years (cf.
7:25).483 Scattering the power of the holy people refers to the terrible persecution of the
Jews in the end times previously revealed (11:36-45). This was good news for Daniel and
his people. Even though the future enemy of the Jews would be in control for one week
(seven years, 9:27), intense persecution would only be the Jews' lot for the last half of
that period (cf. Zech. 14:2-3).
The second question 12:8
Daniel continued having trouble comprehending this revelation, so he respectfully asked
the angel how everything would end. He may have been particularly interested in
receiving more information about the resurrection and rewards that the angel had
mentioned briefly before (vv. 1-3).
The second answer 12:9-13
12:9 The angel reminded Daniel that much of what he had received would
remain obscure until the end time (cf. v. 4). Then people will be able to
look back, marvel at the total fulfillment of prophecy, and glorify the
sovereign Most High God.
12:10 The troubles coming on the earth, and especially on the Jews, would cause
many to turn to the Lord and experience spiritual purification through
faith. The wicked, however, would continue to act wickedly and would not
understand what was happening (cf. 1 Cor. 2:14; Rev. 13:10). The wise,
who have insight because they pay attention to divine revelation, will
understand what is happening.484 This verse provides motivation to pay
attention to what God has revealed and to study it carefully. It should also
help us avoid thinking naively that the passing of time and the fulfillment
of prophecy will cause bad people to change their ways. Humankind will
not get better and better in spite of what postmillennialists and social
evolutionists believe (2 Tim. 3:13).
12:11 Now the angel conceded to Daniel's request and provided a little more
information. However as these things were unclear to Daniel, so they still
are for most interpreters today, including myself.
The angel measured the time between the end, presumably the end of the
Tribulation, and the time that the Antichrist will terminate Jewish
sacrifices and desecrate the temple (cf. Matt. 24:15). It will be 1,290 days.
This is 30 days longer than the three and one-half years previously
mentioned (v. 7; cf. 7:25; Rev. 11:2; 12:6, 14; 13:5). Consequently the extra month must involve time before the three and one-half years, after it,
Perhaps Antichrist will terminate the sacrifices and desecrate the temple
30 days before the middle of the seventieth "week." This interpretation,
which I prefer, views the explanation in this verse as more specific and the
one in 9:27 as a general description.485 A similar view is that the Antichrist
may announce the termination of sacrifices and the setting up of the
abomination 30 days before he carries out those acts.486 Another option is
that there will be a 30-day period between the time when Antichrist
abolishes the regular sacrifice and the time when he sets up the
abomination of desolation. A fourth possibility is that the 30 days will
extend beyond the last three and one-half years.487 It will include the
cleansing of the temple and possibly the judgments of Israel and the
nations that Christ will execute when He returns (Ezek. 20:34-38; Matt.
12:12 The angel said that those would be blessed who keep waiting, presumably
for God to rescue them (v. 1), and attain to the 1,335 days. Why did he
mention this particular number of days, and when will this period end?
The 1,335-day period is 45 days (one and a half months) longer than the
1,290-day period just mentioned (v. 11). Evidently this period will end
after the Tribulation has ended, namely, after the millennial reign of Christ
has begun or at least after He has returned to earth. We can only speculate
about what these 45 days following the Tribulation will hold for people
living on the earth then. One view is that Jesus Christ will appear in the
clouds at the end of the Tribulation (Matt. 24:30), and 45 days later He
will descend to the earth.488 A better option, I think, is that it may take 45
days for Jesus Christ to accomplish the necessary judgments and set up
His kingdom after returning to the earth.
Whatever the explanation, clearly this verse will encourage believers living during the Tribulation to remain faithful to the Lord. It encourages us likewise.
12:13 The angel then dismissed the aged prophet. He was to go his way to the
end. The angel may have had the end of Daniel's life in mind, or he may
have meant that he should continue with his affairs, including dying, until
the end of the age would come. The first option seems preferable since the
angel appears to have been viewing Daniel's life in sequence. First he
would rest, in death, then he would rise again (cf. v. 2), and then he would
receive his reward from God (cf. v. 3). His resurrection and recognition
would occur at the end of the age, namely, at the end of the times of the
Thus this great book closes with a reminder that the present age of Gentile domination is
not all that God has in store for humankind. There is another age coming beyond the
present one in which Jesus Christ will reign in righteousness and holiness on the earth (cf.
Isa. 11:9; Zech. 9:10). We should all look forward to the beginning of this Messianic age
and pray for its coming (Matt. 6:9; Luke 11:2).
Whereas this book would have encouraged the Jews of Daniel's day, it has become
increasingly encouraging to God's people as history has unfolded. Today we can see as
never before how God has fulfilled His predictions exactly in the past. This gives us great
confidence as we anticipate His faithfulness to those promises that still remain
11:36-39. . If Antiochus IV is still in sight in these verses, they offer a general description of the difficult period surrounding the desecration. References to Antiochus¹s arrogance, his lavish support of some temples and his redistribution of land to those who support him are easily recognized as characteristic of this period.
11:37. the gods. Antiochus¹s Seleucid predecessors had elevated the god Apollo, while the Ptolemies had shown preference for Adonis (possibly referred to here as the one desired by women). Antiochus neglects them (though by no means rejects them) in favor of Olympian Zeus. The fact that he designated himself as God Manifest on his coins is sufficient to explain the comment in this verse.
11:38. god of fortresses. The fortress referred to here is usually considered to be the Akra, the garrison for Syrian soldiers that was adjoined to the Temple Mount.
11:40-45. final battle. There is no known historical sequence corresponding to that which is laid out in these verses. Antiochus IV was killed in battle in Persia in December 164. Many interpreters of Daniel consider this section (perhaps starting as early as v. 36) to contain a reference to a much more distant future.
12:1. the book. This appears to be a reference to the book of life. In Exodus 32:3234 Moses is willing to be blotted out of the book, an action that would result in his death. Yahweh replies that the one who sins is wiped out from the book. The metaphor is of a ledger that contains a list of the living. This is comparable to the book that contains the names of those destined for death that Enkidu sees in his dream of the netherworld. When someone¹s sins mandate judgment, their name is blotted out, thus leading to their death. This draws a connection between the book of life and the book of judgment (see comment on 7:10). Here the book still pertains to continued life, because those recorded will be delivered from the persecution. It is not yet conceived of as a book of eternal life.
12:2. resurrection in the ancient Near East. There are several different concepts of afterlife that are evidenced in the ancient Near East. The most fundamental concept is continued existence in a gravelike netherworld where there is no differentiation in the treatment of the righteous and wicked. The Israelites called this place Sheol (see comments on Is 14:9), and they believed that it allowed for no interaction with God. In Canaan and Mesopotamia netherworld deities governed this realm. In Egypt the netherworld existence is more congenial for those who pass the judgment and enter its confines. Those who are not approved are devoured. None of these concepts include the idea of resurrection out of the netherworld. In general, in the ancient worldview the only awakening that took place was the calling up of spirits of the dead (which was not permanent and not a bodily presence) or the awakening of the fertility gods of nature cycles. These died annually when the agricultural cycle came to an end and ³wintered² in the netherworld. Then they were ritually awakened in the spring. None of this bears any resemblance to a theological doctrine of resurrection. Likewise not comparable are the occasional revivifications (when an individual is restored to life) or the indications of national return to life (Ezekiel¹s dry bones). A fully developed doctrine of resurrection in the modern sense includes six elements: (1) it is individual, not national; (2) it is material, not spiritual; (3) it is universal, not isolated; (4) it takes place outside the netherworld; (5) it leads to permanent immortality; and (6) it involves distinctions between the righteous and the wicked. Zoroastrianism appears to have all of these elements, but the nature of the sources makes it difficult to determine how early the Persians developed these concepts (for further discussion see comment on Is 26:19).
12:3. shining like the stars. Stars and angels are associated by the fact that both are referred to as the host of heaven (see comment on 8:10). Contemporary Greek thinking and intertestamental apocalyptic literature indicated that the righteous become stars or angels. Daniel only speaks of comparison, not identification.
12:4. seal the words. Already in the eighth century Assyrian texts of an esoteric nature were being preserved. The scribal notations (called colophons) at the ends of such works indicated that they contained secret lore to be shared only with those who were initiates. Scrolls could be sealed either by tying a string around them and sealing the knot with clay, or by placing them in a jar and sealing the cover. The clay or the seal around the lid would be impressed with the owner¹s seal. Mesopotamia used cylinder seals, Egypt used scarab seals, and Syria-Palestine used stamp seals. Tablets would be sealed inside a clay envelope, which would be impressed with the owner¹s seal. The seals were intended to vouchsafe the integrity of the contents. They warned against tampering and, if intact, attested to the authenticity of the document. For more information see Nehemiah 9:38.
12:11-12. 1,290/1,335 days. A lunar calendar was in use through most of the ancient world that resulted in years of 354 days. It had long been recognized that the solar year was 365 days, so periodic adjustments were made by adding months of a determined number of days. Greek practice used standardized thirty-day months that were also regularly adjusted to the solar cycle. Twelve hundred and ninety days is three years and seven months of thirty-day months.
IVP New Bible Commentary
Possibly the most difficult section in the book follows in vs 36-45. The description seems to exceed all that is known of even the blasphemous Antiochus (hence the conclusion of many commentators that this section is indeed predictive prophecy on the part of the author, which, because erroneous, enables us to date the final edition of the entire book). 13:1-3, however, suggests that the end of all history may now be in view. In this case, v 35 may be pointing forward to the experience of God¹s people, not merely during but beyond the time of Antiochus. Nevertheless, identifications of the king (36) vary (e.g. the Roman Empire [Calvin], the papacy and the antichrist).
Precise identification of the meaning of prophecy always depends on its historical fulfilment. In any event, we at least have here a portrayal of the spirit of antichrist (1 Jn. 2:18)
in the radical autonomy of the king (cf. 3:15; 4:30; 8:25; 11:3, 12, 16), who exalts himself as divine (36-37; cf. 3:5) and the marriage of ungodliness and unrighteousness. The reference to the one desired by women (37) is difficult. Sometimes taken as a reference to Tammuz, the pagan deity mourned by the goddess Ishtar (cf. Ezekiel¹s alarm at this abomination in Ezk. 8:13-14), the words may also signify the love of women¹ and denote the king¹s complete disregard for human affection (cf. 2 Tim. 3:2-4) or indeed for the creation ordinance of malefemale relationships.
Vs 40-45 portray a final struggle. Some interpreters suggest this will be fulfilled in the precise geographical terms in which it is described, but the statements are best taken as a portrayal of future conflict in terms of a then contemporary political map. Edom, Moab and Ammon (41) represent the ancient enemies of God¹s people. The traditional enemies of the king of the north with their allies will be mastered by him (43). Yet, his end will come unceremoniously (44-45).
If we have here a reference to the final scenes of history, it should be remembered that they are described in terms of the ancient world order. Prophecy does foretell the future, but also speaks to its contemporary world in terms drawn from its own time.
Even if the climax of godlessness is here portrayed, it would be a mistake to anticipate that history¹s d´enouement will involve chariots and cavalry (40). Nor should we forget that the function of this entire section is to emphasize that no matter how radically godless a ruler of the nations may be, yet he will come to his end, and noone will help him (45).
12:1-4 The last things
The angelic messenger promises Daniel that the people of God will be protected against the ravages of the powers of darkness, as always, by Michael (cf. 10:13, 21). But like the testing of himself and his companions this will not mean that they will be shielded from the time of distress (1; cf. 2 Tim. 3:1-9) but delivered out of it. God¹s purposes (cf. the book, v 1) will not fail; he keeps his people for the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time¹ (1 Pet. 1:5). V 2 points forward to this resurrection as the reversal of the curse of death (everlasting life, v 2, contrasts with sleep in the dust of death, cf. Gn. 2:7, 17; 3:19), or its confirmation (everlasting contempt). The wise (cf. 11:25) who have been faithful to God¹s word, despite shame and suffering, will be glorified (3). This is the message of hope and comfort which will strengthen future believers. For this reason, Daniel is to seal the words of the scroll (4), not in the sense of keeping them secret, but in order to preserve them until they are needed, keeping them for those who seek a word from God by contrast with others who go here and there to increase knowledge (4; cf. Am. 8:12).
12:5-13 God¹s reign and his servant¹s rest
The exquisite conclusion focuses again on Daniel himself (cf. 10:2-18). He sees two others, possibly to be viewed as confirmatory witnesses (Dt. 19:15), standing one on each bank of the river. One of them asks the question which was certainly already in Daniel¹s mind, and frequently asked by God¹s distressed people, How long... before these... things are fulfilled? (cf. 8:13; Rev. 6:10). The divine figure (cf. 10:5-6) raises both hands indicating the solemnity and dependability of what he will say. As before a time, times and half a time (cf. 7:25) expresses both a general and extended period of time and a sense that these periods are known to and limited by God. Just when God¹s people have no defences left God himself will intervene (7).
Daniel was understandably puzzled and sought further illumination on the outcome of these events (8). Significantly (for all later interpreters as well as for Daniel) he was informed that the unfolding of the meaning of the vision will await its historical fulfilment; then the divison between the wise and the wicked will be made plain (10). The former, with Daniel¹s book in hand, will understand the true significance of the events through which they are passing. The wicked will know only confusion and bewilderment.
The figure provides one final explanation (which builds on 11:31). From the time of the abomination that causes desolation (11) the time of distress (1) will last for approximately three and a half years, stretching out for a further month and a half (11-12). This may be intended as a microcosm of the final time, times and half a time (7) and relate to the suffering under Antiochus Epiphanes. It seems likely, however, that it also looks beyond to the final days, these three and a half years bringing to completion the seventy sevens¹, only sixtynine and one half of which had been fulfilled in 9:24-27.
Fittingly the final words are of promise to the aged Daniel himself. He too must persevere to the end. Then he will enter into his rest. His works continue to follow him until his resurrection (v 13; cf. Rev. 14:13).
12:810 Clarity of Prophecy?
It has been argued that the prophets who wrote Scripture often did not understand what they wrote. Daniel¹s plain assertion, ³I heard, but I did not understand,² is used to prove that prophets often ³spoke better than they knew.²
But this conclusion is too simplistic. It fails to ask the question, What was it that Daniel did not understand? Was it the meaning of his scriptural writings?
Not at all! The incomprehensible words were not his own, but those of the angel who had been speaking to him (Dan 12:7). Moreover, the angel¹s words were never clarified. They were to be ³closed up and sealed until the time of the end.² This expression echoes Isaiah 8:16, ³Bind up the testimony and seal up the law.² In both of these texts, the ³sealing² of the testimonies referred to the certainty of their predictions, not their mysteriousness to the prophet to whom they had been disclosed or unveiled (as the word revelation means).
In this case, Daniel¹s question was a temporal one, ³What will the outcome of all this be?² Daniel wanted to know the state of affairs at the close of the ³time, times and half a time² (Dan 12:7). But to this question, as with most temporal questions arising from prophecy, God gives no further disclosure. Even the Son of Man did not know the time of his own Second Coming.
Failure to know the temporal details of prophecy is hardly a basis for asserting that ³the prophets wrote better than they knew.² Unfortunately this dubious principle has gained widespread popularity. The obvious rejoinder is ³Better than what?² What could be meant by the term better? Since our Lord has disclosed all that can be classified as Scripture, how then could he know less than he recorded? And if it is argued that this phrase means that the writers sometimes wrote things down but had little or no knowledge of what they had said or meant, then I will counter that a case for automatic or mechanical writing must be proven. The only biblical cases for mechanical writing are the Ten Commandments and the writing on the wall during Belshazzar¹s feast in the book of Daniel. But these cases hardly set the pattern for all the other texts.
Because the ³sealing up² of the prophecy indicated its certainty, not its hiddenness, Daniel was at times overcome by the meaning of his prophecies. On one occasion he lay sick for days (Dan 8:27).
I conclude, then, that Daniel knew all but two aspects of the prophecies revealed to him: (1) the temporal aspects (an exclusion we share even today, as noted in 1 Pet 1:1012) and (2) additional information beyond that revealed to him. No prophet claimed omniscience, only an adequate, God-given knowledge of a limited topic of importance.
Let us acknowledge, of course, that we often are better able than the prophets themselves to understand the implications of prophecies because we can now see many different streams of history and prophecy coming together. This is similar to one person¹s accurately describing a country he or she has never visited versus another person¹s not only reading this author¹s account but visiting that country as well. Nevertheless, our historical advantages cannot diminish the value of the original contributions by God¹s earthly spokesmen.
Intervarsity Press¹ Old Testament Commentary
Intervarsity Press¹ New Bible Commentary
Intervarsity Press¹ Hard Sayings of the Bible
Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries: Daniel, Joyce Baldwin
Daniel: An Expositional Commentary, James Montgomery Boice
Hermeneia: Daniel: A Commentary on the Book of Daniel, John Joseph Collins
The Preacher¹s Commentary: Daniel, Sinclair Ferguson
The New American Commentary: Daniel, Stephen Miller
International Critical Commentary: A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Book of Daniel, James Montgomery
Exploring the Book of Daniel: An Expository Commentary, John Phillips
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