Daniel 12 (NRSV)
The Resurrection of the Dead
“At that time Michael, the great prince, the protector of your people, shall arise.
The angel Michael is often associated with spiritual battle (Daniel 10:13, Daniel 10:21, Jude 1:9, and Revelation 12:7). Since Michael is called the archangel (Jude 1:9), he is Satan’s true opposite. Satan is not the opposite of Jesus; he is the opposite of Michael, this high-ranking angel. In addition to his role as a spiritual warrior, Michael has a special job in protecting Israel. God appointed Michael as a spiritual guardian over Israel.
–David Guzik (and all following in red)
There shall be a time of anguish, such as has never occurred since nations first came into existence.
This refers to the time of persecution for Israel and world calamity known as the Great Tribulation. This period is also called the time of Jacob’s trouble in Jeremiah 30:7.
The Jewish people have known many a time of trouble through their history. From the horrors at the fall of Samaria and Jerusalem to the terrors wrought by Antiochus Epiphanes, to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, to the persecutions from the church during the Dark Ages, to the pogroms of Europe, to the 20th Century Holocaust, it often seems that all Israel’s history has been a time of trouble. Yet this time of trouble will be different. This will be a worse time of trouble than Israel has ever seen before.
Jesus quoted this passage in Matthew 24:21: 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. With great sadness, we must say that the Bible teaches that the worst has yet to come.
But at that time your people shall be delivered,
Despite the terrors of that time, deliverance is assured. No matter how great the attack is against the Jewish people, God promises to preserve them. He will never break His promise to Abraham: And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you (Genesis 17:7).
everyone who is found written in the book. 2 Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
Here would be a good place to start a discussion about the existence and condition of hell. Increasingly, it seems to me, people are denying that hell exists at all. I went through a phase as a young adult when I didn’t believe in hell. No one, in the end, I thought, will be able to resist God’s love. As Madeleine L’Engle put in one of her poems, “And now do you hold Pharaoh in your arms?” (from the book The Irrational Season). I wouldn’t want relatives omitted from the best of all family reunions! Psalm 136 says over and over, “For his mercy endures forever.”
Then one Sunday morning in church we were proclaiming our faith in the words of the Apostles Creed, and I found myself saying,
And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died and was buried.
He descended into hell.
On the third day He rose again from the dead.
He ascended into heaven
and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.
From thence He will come to judge the living and the dead.
Suddenly it was clear to me. To call myself a Christian was not to cherry pick what I wanted, but to form my opinions from what Scripture teaches, as confirmed by long centuries of church teaching. I did some Scripture study. I read Dante’s Inferno and C. S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce. Now I do believe in hell, certainly for the devil and his demons, but also for those who choose to go there by not choosing God. For me, a big part of believing this is that I trust God; as Abraham said in Genesis 18:25 — “Will not the Judge of all the world do right?”
3 Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.
Philippians 2:14-16 (NIV)
Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation. Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.
4 But you, Daniel, keep the words secret and the book sealed until the time of the end. Many shall be running back and forth, and evil shall increase.”
5 Then I, Daniel, looked, and two others appeared, one standing on this bank of the stream and one on the other.
6 One of them said to the man clothed in linen, who was upstream, “How long shall it be until the end of these wonders?” 7 The man clothed in linen, who was upstream, raised his right hand and his left hand toward heaven. And I heard him swear by the one who lives forever that it would be for a time, two times, and half a time, and that when the shattering of the power of the holy people comes to an end, all these things would be accomplished.
8 I heard but could not understand; so I said, “My lord, what shall be the outcome of these things?”
9 He said, “Go your way, Daniel, for the words are to remain secret and sealed until the time of the end. 10 Many shall be purified, cleansed, and refined, but the wicked shall continue to act wickedly. None of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand. 11 From the time that the regular burnt offering is taken away and the abomination that desolates is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred ninety days. 12 Happy are those who persevere and attain the thousand three hundred thirty-five days. 13 But you, go your way, and rest; you shall rise for your reward at the end of the days.”
Adam Clarke draws the following points from Daniel 12:13:
–Every man has his way to go.
–Every man has an end.
–There is a rest provided for the people of God.
–There is an inheritance for the people of God.
THE END of the book of Daniel
“O Love that wilt not let me go” was written by the blind Scottish preacher George Matheson over 130 years ago. He believed, and so can we, that God’s love will not let us go –– that God’s light will follow us all our way –– that God’s joy will seek us through our pain –– and that our faith will make all the difference, because God is faithful! Daniel lived physically as a foreigner in a far-off land, but spiritually he was at home with God all his life long. What is pressing you now? Take courage today, and pray this song, HERE. You, too, will shine like the stars as you trust in the One who is Love!