Daniel 12 – A Brief Overview

Daniel was a prophet of God who was taken captive during the Babylonian exile where he would serve under four different kings.  It was during this time that God spoke to Daniel and revealed future truths about what was to occur over the next three millennia.  God used Daniel as an instrument of faith and power showing those pagan nations who had captured Judah that God was, and is, greater.

In Daniel chapter 12, we get a glimpse of what will be happening on the earth at the end of the dispensation of the Church age (aka ‘the age of Grace’).  Daniel looks  through the prophetic lens of scripture, through time, toward the end of the Church age where God revealed to Daniel the incredible and horrific things that will take place on the earth at the end of days; more specifically, during the seven-year tribulation.

“At that time Michael shall stand up, the great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time.”                    – Daniel 12:1a

  • The phrase, ‘At that time Michael shall stand up’ refers to a very specific time, obviously in the future, where Michael (meaning ‘who is like God’), the archangel of God, known for being God’s lead warrior angel, will stand.

The posture of standing implies that a battle is about to take place and Michael will be leading the charge.  We have seen Michael mentioned a few other times in scripture with this same battle ‘standing’ prowess. 

  • In Daniel 10:12-14 we find Daniel praying and fasting for a message from God; 21 days later that message came through.  ‘Michael, ‘one of the chief princes’ (meaning archangel), was sent by God, but he had to battle demonic forces of evil in the heavenlies over where Daniel was (aka spiritual warfare).
  • Later in this same chapter we find Michael fighting the prince of Persia and later the prince of Greece, both are demonic strongholds in the spiritual realm over those regions of the earth; with Michael prevailing of course.
  • Jude mentions how Michael contended with the devil about the body of Moses and in his exchange, ‘Michael did not bring a reviling accusation against the devil but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you!’  This reveals Michael’s role in defending Moses’ body and also defending Moses’ people, the Jews.

NOTE: This phrase, ‘the Lord rebuke you’ is paralleled in Zechariah 3 where the Lord is rebuking the devil.  The message for us is that the spiritual battles that we fight in life are the Lord’s; not ours. The power  God gives to us is from Him; it’s the only power we have over the devil and it’s found in Christ.

  • In Revelation 12 we see Michael and his angels fighting with the devil and his angels in the heavenlies; the devil is cast out of heaven to the earth.  There is wide speculation to the particulars of this battle; when it occurs, and why, but the bottom-line here is that Michael wins!

Knowing Michael’s role in the spirit realm helps us to better understand what he will be doing ‘at that time,’ a phrase mentioned twice in verse 1. 

What is ‘that time’ and when will it occur?  Some scholars say it’s the mid-point of the tribulation and mid-trib ratpurists use this belief to support their mid-trib rapture theory.  Some scholars say that it is an undisclosed time that we can’t know. I believe that ‘at that time’ references the moment the pre-tribulation Rapture of the Church occurs; which is before the beginning of the seven-year tribulation period.  This belief is consistent with the rest of the text in Daniel 12 which reveals a ‘deliverance’ and then a ‘time of trouble.’

Daniel 12 describes a time of trouble.  The time of trouble begins with the rescue and resurrection of believers. It occurs ‘at that time,’ which refers to the end time mentioned in the previous chapter. In Daniel 11 we see the rise and fall of the antichrist, including his war with Egypt. This proves the time of trouble consists of the whole seven-year period. …Daniel 12 records that Michael will stand up and the Rapture/Resurrection will occur at the beginning of the time of the end.”                               – Dr. Ken JohnsonThe Rapture

“And at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone who is found written in the book.”             – Daniel 12:1b

  • The phrase, ‘at that time,’ mentioned a second time, references the moment the Rapture occurs. The phrase ‘your people’ used here, normally would reference the Jews, but a secondary statement is made, ‘everyone who is found written in the book.’

This changes the descriptor to reveal another group of people who are also referred to as ‘your people,’ but whose names are ‘found written in the book.’  I believe that this other group of people is none other than the NT Church, a group that didn’t exist when Daniel wrote this. This ‘book’ is none other than the Lambs Book of Life where only born again believers in Jesus have their names recorded therein.  Here we see a divine separation of ‘your people’ into two camps; those who have their names ‘written in the book,’ (the NT Church) and those who are not written in the book; at least not yet (the Jews).

“And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt.”                                       – Daniel 12:2

  • Here we have a resurrection being revealed, ‘those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake,’ which refer to people who have died and are ‘at this time’ being resurrected.

There are two resurrections referenced here in this passage; one ‘to everlasting life,’ that is the Rapture Resurrection; and the other, ‘to shame and everlasting contempt,’ which is the Great White Throne judgment occurring at the end of time; after Christ’ Millennial Reign.

Review: People who are resurrected/raptured are judged at the Bema Seat.  People who are resurrected from Hell are judged at the Great White Throne judgment and then cast directly into the Lake of Fire, an eternal place of ‘everlasting shame and contempt.’  Two different resurrections, two different times.

“Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever.”                             – Daniel 12:3

  • The phrase, ‘Those who are wise’ speak of believers who share the gospel of Jesus and ‘turn many to righteousness,’ that is, win souls for Jesus.  These are people who were once unrighteous and lost, but now have been saved and transformed (‘turned’) because of the witness of these ‘wise’ saints who ‘shine like the brightness of the firmament.’  These righteous ones will live forever with Jesus.

Solomon referenced the wise in this way, “He who troubles his own house will inherit the wind, and the fool will be servant to the wise of heart. 30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise. 31 If the righteous will be recompensed (rewarded) on the earth, how much more the ungodly and the sinner.”               – Proverbs 11:29-31

  • Here we see how the wise win souls and are rewarded; but the wicked are also recompensed.  The reward the righteous receive is heaven, the reward the wicked receive is the Lake of Fire.

“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.”                                    – Daniel 12:4

Daniel was commanded to keep these words secure ‘until the time of the end,’ the end times, the last days, when people will travel ‘(run) to and fro and knowledge shall increase;’ in other words, the time we are living in today.

NOTE: Some scholars teach that this is not referencing trains, planes, automobiles, and the instant communication we know today, but rather a greater, deeper revelation and understanding of God’s Word to those who search it out. In either case, you can have it both ways, a fast car and a better understanding of God’s Word.  You can believe in both as both are relevant to the text.

“Then I, Daniel, looked; and there stood two others, one on this riverbank and the other on that riverbank. And one said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, “How long shall the fulfillment of these wonders be?” 7 Then I heard the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand to heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever, that it shall be for a time, times, and half a time; and when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered, all these things shall be finished.”           – Daniel 12:5-7

  • The phrase, ‘a time, times, and a half of a time’ is a direct reference to three and one-half years, or 42 months, or 1,260 days. (Jews use a 30 day calendar.)

The question is always asked, ‘When does this three and one-half year time begin?’ The answer is written within the text: ‘When the power of the holy people has been completely shattered.’ 

  • This is a direct reference to the desecration of the temple in Jerusalem, by the antichrist, at the mid-point of the tribulation.

Jesus said it this way, “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), 16 “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. 18 And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. 19 But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 20 And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For 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. 22 And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.”              – Matthew 24:15-22

  • Jesus spoke these words in the early 30’s AD.  He was referencing Daniel chapter 9 and more specifically, He was referring to an end times antichrist who would enter the temple, desecrate it, and set himself up as a god therein.

NOTE: About 40 years later, in 70 AD, the Romans marched on Jerusalem, burned it, and the temple to the ground and took all the gold therein.  They killed many Jews and scattered the rest in the diaspora. The Jews living in and around Jerusalem in 70 AD who still remembered Jesus’ warning in Matthew 24 about ‘fleeing to the mountains,’ when they saw the approaching Romans, they thought this was this abomination and they immediately fled and lived to tell about it. However, this was not the temple desecration Jesus was speaking of in Matthew 24; only a foretaste of it.

Some people believe that Jesus was talking about Antiochus IV Epiphanies who lived and reigned over 170 years before the time of Jesus.  The problem with this theory is that Jesus was speaking of a future event, not a past one. It’s true that Antiochus IV Epiphanies is referenced in Daniel 8 as the ‘little horn,’ who was a ‘vile’ person and who treated the Jews in the intertestamental period very harshly. He too was just a foreshadowing of the coming end times antichrist; Antiochus IV is not the one who makes desolate the temple of the Lord referenced here; it’s in the last days; obviously.

Two other brief verses in this passage to note:

“But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days!  20 And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath.”                                                                                         – Matthew 24:19,20

  • This is a post-rapture statement made to people (Jews in particular) who are living in a mid-trib context.  Since all the children, toddlers, babies, and even the unborn are taken at the Rapture, people will continue to procreate during the tribulation.  By the time we reach the mid-point of the tribulation, women will be getting pregnant and nursing babies ‘in those days.’  Jesus was referencing this in this passage. Having to flee during the winter months is self-explanatory, but not fleeing (working) on the Sabbath pertains to Jews.

“And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.”                                             – Matthew 24:22           

There are only 2,520 days of the tribulation, not one day more or less.  Jesus is very specific about this.  The statement is that if the tribulation we allowed to linger on into 10 or 12 years or more, no flesh would survive; this is an indirect reference to the radiation that will permeate the earth’s atmosphere during the tribulation; an eradication that only Jesus can do and will do when He returns to the earth.

Daniel continues, “Although I heard, I did not understand. Then I said, “My lord, what shall be the end of these things?” 9 And he said, “Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. 10 Many shall be purified, made white, and refined, but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand.”                                                                                                 – Daniel 12:8-10

Daniel, like most people who read this, ‘heard, but did not understand.’  For Daniel, he never actually received an answer to his question, but was told to ‘go his way for the words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end.’ 

  • Daniel wasn’t even allowed to understand his own vision; it was ‘sealed’ until the time of the end, aka today. We are now living in the time of the end; we are the terminal generation.  This time wasn’t for Daniel, it’s for us today.
  • The phrase, ‘Many shall be purified, made white, and refined’ refers to all those saved by grace; both those who Christ resurrected from Abraham’s Bosom at His resurrection and those He is yet to resurrect at the Rapture.
  • The phrase, ‘but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand,’ refers to the many souls lost due to a lack of understanding of the holy scriptures or their unwillingness to receive the gospel of grace that comes to us from God’s Word, the Holy Spirit, and the message of the cross.

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge,”               – Hosea 4:6a

  • In context, God is speaking through Hosea regarding a wayward Israel, the Jews who have rejected God’s law, His Word, and His wisdom to save them.

Daniel concludes with, ‘but the wise shall understand.’  This reveals that those who are wise and have God’s understanding are those who are saved by grace.  The reference to ‘the wise’ is a repeated theme in this chapter and speaks to the wise as being saved from this ‘last days’ time of trouble.

Solomon spoke of this type of godly wisdom that saves in this way, “Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a just man, and he will increase in learning. 10 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. 11 For by me your days will be multiplied, and years of life will be added to you.”                        – Proverbs 9:9-11

  • We are reminded that wisdom begins when we learn to fear and reverence the Lord.  His blessing upon our lives brings us longevity; eternally!

“Get wisdom! Get understanding! Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth. Do not forsake her, and she will preserve you; love her, and she will keep you. Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding.”                                                       – Proverbs 4:5-7

  • By recognizing that wisdom is the principle thing and that wisdom begins with knowing God; our desire should always be to grow wiser in our faith in God.

In both of these passages we see the importance of getting this kind of ‘God’ wisdom, developing our knowledge, and gaining a better understanding. 

Remember: Wisdom is the ability to know WHAT to do in a given situation. Knowledge is the ability to know HOW to do it. Understanding is the ability to know the difference and to act on it.

“And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days (1,290).”                                                                                 – Daniel 12:11

  • The phrase, ‘from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up’ is a direct reference to the abomination of desolation that occurs when the antichrist desecrates the temple and sets himself up to be god.  This happens at the mid-point of the tribulation.

We know that the mid-point of the tribulation is 1,260 days into the seven-year tribulation; which means that there is still another 1,260 days to go before the tribulation is over.  The seven year tribulation will last for two sets of 1,260 days which is exactly 2,520 days.  On the last day of the tribulation, Jesus Christ will return to the earth in His glorious Second Coming.

NOTE: People living during the tribulation CAN know the exact day of Christ’ Second Coming by counting 2,520 days from the day the peace treaty is signed. However, in this passage Daniel tells us that there are 1,290 days; an extra 30 days beyond Christ’ Second Coming.  Many scholars agree that this extra 30 days is referring to the cleansing of the temple because the context pertains to the temple and the desecration of it by the antichrist; it must be cleansed.

We read in Ezekiel chapters 40 – 48 that the Lord will establish a millennial temple during the Millennial Reign of Jesus.  This 30-day period will be a set time in which the temple will be cleansed, set up, and prepared for use during the millennium.

Then we have this final passage in Daniel 12, “Blessed is he who waits, and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days (1,335).”        – Daniel 12:12       

  • There is an additional 45 days added to the 30 days totaling 75 days.  The angel said that those righteous people who make it through the tribulation and are found worthy to enter into the Christ’ millennial kingdom will be ‘blessed.’  This connotes an individual blessing for each surviving soul who has received Jesus during the tribulation, not taken the mark of the beast, and who is looking for His return. 

This means that a person found righteous by Jesus at the Judgment of the Nations is qualified to enter into the 1000-year Messianic kingdom.

Jesus referenced this in Matthew 25, “Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:”                                                                                      – Matthew 25:34

“This 75-day interval is a time of preparation for the kingdom. Because so much of the globe will have been destroyed during the judgments of the tribulation, it is not at all surprising that our Lord will take some time to renovate His creation in preparing for the Millennial kingdom.”                         – Dr. Tim Lahaye

  • This extra 45 days is a direct reference to the Judgment of the Nations which is a judgment that is reserved for all the survivors of the tribulation, the righteous (saved) as well as the wicked (lost) and Jesus will be the Judge.

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We don’t hear a lot of teaching on the Judgment of the Nations as to its purpose, what it represents, and when it will occur; however, Jesus makes is pretty clear that this judgment must occur prior to His millennial reign to vet all those who enter in. 

  • The same way Christians are found worthy to escape the tribulation by way of the Rapture and the Bema Seat Judgment, so trib-saints must be found worthy to enter the Millennial Kingdom by way of the Judgment of the Nations.

“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. 33 And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ 37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ 41 “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; 43 I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’ 44 “Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ 45 Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46 And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”                                                                                             – Matthew 25:31-46

  • In this passage Jesus gives us a brief, but accurate understanding of the Judgment of the Nations and what a person must do to ‘pass the test to be blessed’ and enter into His glory.  The Lord wants us to be with Him and He shows us how to do this by revealing why the righteous win and why the wicked lose in this judgment.

People often ask the question, ‘How will the people of the post tribulation world ‘be gathered’ before Jesus?’  The answer is given in Matthew 24, ‘Angel flight.’

“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”                                                   – Matthew 24:29-31

  • In this passage we see that what is occurring here is ‘immediately after the tribulation’ which infers that the 2,520 days are now completed, Jesus has now returned to earth with His Church, the Battle of Armageddon has been won, the temple must be cleansed (30 days), and the Judgment of the Nations must ensue for all the survivors of the tribulation (45 days).

This phrase, ‘and He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other’ is what many post-tribulationists believe is the actual rapture. Afterall, the angels of the Lord are gathering Christ’ elect from the four winds of heaven.

While this may seem logical to them, it doesn’t align itself with many other passages of scripture pertaining to a pre-tribulation Rapture.  I believe this ‘great gathering’ is all the people on the face of the whole earth, ‘from one end of heaven to the other’ who have survived the tribulation.  They are now being taken to the Judgment of the Nations in Jerusalem, Israel.

Those righteous people who are found worthy to enter into the Millennial Kingdom, after surviving the horrific seven-year trial of the tribulation, will be greatly blessed as they will be qualified to enter in. 

NOTE: Over the months and years to come their bodies will physically rejuvenate, be healed, and strengthen in both body and mind.  These surviving post tribulation saints will marry, have families, and repopulate the earth with godly offspring who will serve the Lord during the thousand years of Christ’ reign. 

Later these Millennial Kingdom offspring will be tested themselves to see if their faith in God is true.  This will occur at the end of the millennium.   

However, there is another group of people who will also be gathered to the Judgment of the Nations; these are the unrighteous who also survived the tribulation, but who took the mark of the beast, they did not repent of their wickedness, and who relied on their own resources to endure the global judgments of God on the earth.   These too shall be judged at this judgment, found unworthy to enter in; and thus they will be cast alive into Gehenna Hell to await their final judgment at the Great White Thorne Judgment.

A brief review of the 75-day interval: In the final verse in Daniel 12 it says, ‘Blessed is he who waits, and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days.’  This is another 45 days and then the righteous people found worthy will be blessed because at that time they will enter into the Millennial kingdom where Jesus will reign for a thousand years. 

  • Some preparation must occur before the Millennial Reign can begin; it will begin with the temple itself which has been desecrated.  This time of temple cleansing and proper preparation for the Millennial Temple must occur before Jesus begins His reign. Afterall, this is where He will rule the earth from.

Everyone who enters into the Millennial Kingdom will be blessed and benefit from Christ leadership; Jesus will rule and reign from the throne of David in Jerusalem. 

While it is true that much work will need to be done in the earth in the form of rebuilding and restoring Jerusalem, the temple there, and the entire planet; it is equally true that this restoration and rebuilding effort will be done with efficiency and effectiveness over the course of the coming years because Jesus will be in command and we will co-rule and reign with Him during this era. 

This blog on Daniel 12 is a brief, but concise picture of what is to occur when Michael ‘stands up.’ It all begins with a deliverance of all those people who names are written in the book.  This is a picture of a pre-tribulation Rapture of the Church, the seven-year tribulation, the Second Coming of Jesus to the earth, and the setting up and beginning of the Millennial Reign.

I realize that this blog is a bit lengthy, however, it does provide a concise picture of Bible prophecy and what to be looking for as we move forward on the timeline of humanity. I pray that you are ready to go, that is, saved by God’s grace through Jesus. A simple pray of repentance starts your journey of faith as you invite Jesus to be the Lord of your life.

In the words of Darth Sidious, ‘Do it!’


Encouragemen is a blog written by Pastor Rob Lee, recently relocated to Northern Missouri.  He lives with his wife of 33-years, near their three adult children, their spouses, and children (their grandchildren).  Pastor Rob is an Ordained Assemblies of God minister, a former Lead Pastor (25 years), police chaplain, and community advocate.  He continues to serve, consult, and disciple men of God, including those who are in the ministry. 

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