Daniel Chapter 12

The Time of the End

Daniel 12:1-4

At that time” would evidently refer to the time of Antiochus as the narrative continues from Daniel 11. History clearly records a great persecution against the Jews, and Christ referred to this in his statement recorded in Matthew 24:19-22. We had earlier cited Mark’s record of this, and here is Matthew’s record.

But woe to those who are with child and to those who nurse babes in those days! But pray that your flight may not be in the winter, or on a Sabbath; for then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall. And unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days shall be cut short.

Back in Matthew 25:15, Christ specifically tied this to Daniel:

"Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand).

Those whose names are “written in the book, will be rescued.” That is, those who remain faithful to the Lord. In order to escape persecution, some will deny their faith and be found worshipping the false gods.

Daniel 12:2 is a bit difficult, but there are reasonable explanations. Rather than understanding this as a literal resurrection from the grave, it refers to a spiritual resurrection. This figurative language is used in other passages, such as Ezekiel 37:11-13:

"Then He said to me, "Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel; behold, they say, 'Our bones are dried up, and our hope has perished. We are completely cut off.' Therefore prophesy, and say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, I will open your graves and cause you to come up out of your graves, My people; and I will bring you into the land of Israel. "Then you will know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves and caused you to come up out of your graves, My people.” "

A restoration under Judas Maccabeus fits the description given in Daniel, and those who were faithful would be rewarded with everlasting life, while others would suffer “disgrace and everlasting contempt.

Daniel is told to “conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time.” The “end of time” would refer to the end of the things being revealed in the vision and not the final end of the world. “The end” is used several times in Daniel referring to the end of the Jewish system and the end of the Roman Empire (Daniel 11:27, 35, 40; 12:4, 6, 8-9, 13).

Daniel 12:5-7

Daniel then sees two men standing on opposite banks of the river, and one asks how long it will be till these things come to pass. The other responds by saying…

that it would be for a time, times, and half a time; and as soon as they finish shattering the power of the holy people, all these events will be completed.” (Daniel 12:7)

So, just what is the meaning of this answer? One commentator gives a reasonable explanation.

“…lifting up both his hands towards heaven, the place of his throne, sware by himself, and his Eternal Father, and Blessed Spirit, that this calamity of his Church (that is, the faithful Jews, not today’s church—jdt) shall be but short, even for the space of only three years and some few days; after which, the true worship of God, which shall be defaced at Jerusalem, shall be restored; and at the end whereof, the hostile power of Antiochus, wherewith God’s people shall have been annoyed and grievously vexed, shall be scattered and utterly defeated” [Hall’s Explication of Hard Texts].

We know that Rome had the power to persecute God’s people for a time, but eventually, the Roman Empire came to an end, and while Christians may have been persecuted, the kingdom of which they were a part continues today, but Rome, as with all the kingdoms of men, came to an end.

Daniel 12:8-13

Daniel did not understand but was told to go his way, for the meaning was sealed up until the events transpired, at which time the meaning would be clear. It is possible that this was all made clear when Rome’s dominion was ended. This would tie in with Revelation 10:7:

but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, then the mystery of God is finished, as He preached to His servants the prophets.

While the wicked will continue in their wicked ways, the righteous will stand strong, for they have an understanding of God’s ways in that the kingdoms of men will rise and fall, but the Kingdom of God will endure forever.

The meaning of Daniel 12:11 is difficult to determine, but Duncan gives a reasonable explanation.

“The daily sacrifice being taken away and the abomination set up is in context referring to the same event of 11:31, and this verse gives us additional insight into the beginning of the 3½ year period. Whereas the earlier statement defines the ending point (when the holy people have been completely shattered), this statement gives the beginning point (the suspension of the daily sacrifice). From history, this time period fits very well with the actual events. History records

  • May 168 B.C. Apollonius captured Jerusalem Beginning point
  • Dec. 25, 165 B.C. Temple cleansed by Judas -1290 days later
  • February 164 B.C. Antiochus died -1335 days later

Some try to make the 3½ time period different from the 1290 days. However, two points need to be considered. First the time period of 3½ years is not specific enough to require it to be understood as exactly 1260 days (42, 30-day months). The 1290 days fits the time period well. Secondly, since it is well known that the Jews added an intercalary month during certain years, it may have been that during this 3½ year time period, the calendar called for an addition of a 30-day month to the calendar. This would make the 1290 days fit the 3½ year periods as well. At any rate, the specific time period prophesied fits the history and there is no need, nor any evidence from the passage that would require these to be two separate time periods” [Workbook on Daniel, David A. Duncan].

Following is a helpful chart from Robert Harkrider’s workbook on Daniel.

Significant Events with God's People

Temple Polluted
(Antiochus Epiphanes
Jerusalem Destroyed
(By Romans)
Rome Falls
Daily Sacrifice
(1290 days)
Taken Away
Jewish Economy
(45 days)
Kingdom of God


“Abomination That Maketh Desolate”
Daniel 8:11; 11:31
Matthew 24:15, Luke 21:20-22
“Saints Possess the Kingdom"
Daniel 7:18, 22, 27
“Abomination of Desolation”
Daniel 9:26-27; 12:11
Revelation 19:20-26


Finally, Daniel was told to continue on with his life. In time he would enter into his rest, and then rise as a true prophet at the end.

There is a meaningful song in many church songbooks that is based on Daniel 2:44, which says, "In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever.”

The title of the song is “The Kingdoms Of Earth Pass Away.” The words were composed by H. R. Trickett and the music by J. H. Fillmore.

The kingdoms of earth pass away one by one, but the kingdom of heaven remains;
It is built on a rock and the Lord is its King, And forever and ever He reigns.
The tempest may rage and its anger acclaim, Yes, the wind and the torrents may roar,
And the strong gates of hell may assail it in vain, Still the kingdom shall stand evermore.
The kingdom of God is now open to all, E’en the vilest may now enter in;
There’s a welcome for all who will turn to the Lord, Full salvation and pardon for sin.
It shall stand, It shall stand, Forever and ever and ever,
It shall stand, It shall stand, Forever and ever and ever. Amen and Amen.



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