Daniel 12 Bible Commentary

John Darby’s Synopsis

(Read all of Daniel 12)
Conclusion to Daniel

Israel's own history: the faithful remnant, their deliverance and reward

Chapter 12 gives us more of Israel's own history. In the midst of all these events Michael, the archangel, stands up in behalf of the people of Daniel. There is a time of trouble, such as never has been nor will be. Nevertheless the people shall be delivered, that is to say, those who are written in the book (the remnant belonging to God). Jeremiah has already spoken to us of this period, and of the deliverance (chap. 30: 7). The Lord speaks of it also in Matthew 24, drawing the attention of His disciples to the abomination of desolation here mentioned, shewing clearly that He speaks of Jerusalem, the Jews, and the last days, when the Jews shall be delivered. He also points out the way in which the faithful are to escape, while the tribulation continues. Taking these passages together makes it easy to understand them both. The second verse extends beyond the land of Israel, which had been the scene of the prophecy until this. But their condition is stated in a way not to own the countries of their dispersion. Many of the race of Israel arise from their long abasement, some to everlasting life, but others to everlasting shame. They that understand shall shine as the firmament. They who have instructed the many in righteousness shall shine as the stars (compare the host of heaven and stars, chap. 8). God will clothe with the brightness of His favour those who will have been faithful during this period of rebellion and distress.

The length of the tribulation

After this one of God's messengers inquires of the man clothed in linen, who was upon the waters of the river, how long it should be to the end of the wonders (that is, of the tribulation) by the intervention of God in deliverance for Israel. The answer is, three years and a half, or 1260 days; and that, when God should have put an end to the dispersion of the holy people, all these things should be finished. Daniel asks for a fuller revelation with respect to the end; but the oracle is sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be tried and purified and made white, but the wicked shall do wickedly. Alas! this must be expected. None of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand—these "maschilim," whom the Spirit of God has mentioned.

Full blessing comes a little later, in which Daniel shall have his part

Now, from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be 1290 days. But the accomplishment of 1335 [1] days has still to be waited for; there shall be full blessing to him that waits and arrives at their fulfilment. Daniel himself shall have his part in this time of glory.

The scope of Daniel's prophecy

It is to be observed, that Daniel never describes the period that succeeds to the times of the Gentiles. He gives the history of those monarchies, the oppressors and seducers of the Jews in the latter days, and the deliverance of the people; but there he stops. He is the prophet of the times of the Gentiles until the deliverance.

[1] I have thought it possible that this computation may arise from this. An intercalary month to the 1260 days, or three years and a half, and then 45 days, if the years were ecclesiastical years, would bring up to the feast of tabernacles: but I offer no judgment on it. At any rate, the statement is clear that then the sanctuary of God will be cleansed in Jerusalem.