Reading through the Bible together
In this chapter, the world order as we know it will come to its end and Michael (Christ) our High Priest will have concluded His Investigative Judgment. He is the “Prince who protects the faithful to whom Daniel also belongs (v. 1). Some commentators are not sure whether Daniel 11:45 and chapter 12:1 will occur simultaneously or not. Judaism understood that verses 1-4 are the conclusion of chapter 11.
Christ will stand-up from sitting together with His Father on the throne. He sometimes stands before the Ancient of Days (7:13), but in these verses He will stand-up during the Time of Tribulation "such as never happened since there was a nation.” When He stands up, the Door of Mercy closes. Before Michael was described as "your prince" but here in His status of glorification after completion of the process of atonement, He is "the great prince."
The Time of Jacob's Trouble begins. However "at that time your people, everyone whose name is found written in the book [of Life], will be delivered." These are the faithful remnant people who will be alive then. Those who are asleep will be resurrected "shall awake” (v. 2), some to everlasting life, and some to everlasting shame and final destruction, including those who pierced Christ (Rev.1:7). They will come to their end and not continue to exist. All who accept Christ as Savior will be wise, and all those who actively were involved in the most important business of God such as soul-winning, will shine like the stars forever (v. 3).
The Book of Daniel was to be sealed until the time of the end (v. 4). After 1798, which is the time of the end (11:35), fuller understanding will be given. Also knowledge will increase rapidly (v. 4). We know this is the date because in verses 5-6 a conversation between an angel on this side of the Tigris River standing by Daniel is speaking to an elevated one in linen on the other side of the river. He asks: How long shall the fulfillment be? The answer: "Time, times and half a time" (v.7a). Daniel understood this according to the hemerological cuneiform texts as one year for time; two years for times; and half a year for half a time, which totals 1260 days, each day representing a year, taking us from 538 to 1798.
The one in linen continued, "When the power of the one who shatters the holy people has been temporarily broken, all these things will nearly be finished” (v. 7b). This “power” was not totally broken in 1798, there still remained the gospel going to all the world as well as the Great Shaking and the Latter Rain of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Daniel heard all this, but did not understand (v. 8). He still wanted to know “what will be the outcome of all this?" What will happen then? The message came to Daniel that he had to go his way because the words are closed up and sealed up until the end (v. 9).
The one speaking to Daniel from here on provides additional information about the faithful. They will be purified and made spotless through sanctification and their faith in Christ will be tested. Daily righteousness will be seen in their lives, for they have stopped their wicked ways (v. 10). But the wicked will continue their bad habits, their cover-up of sins, their half-hearted participation in God's true worship, and their lip-service instead of heart surrender. However, those who are wise will walk with Christ and His Spirit and "will understand."
Two time-elements are then given that were never given to Daniel before. After the 2300 year prophecy of Daniel, there was no more long periods of prophecy given to him starting after that time. However, the answer was given to Daniel's question how everything would end. The difficult times in history during the Middle Ages mentioned earlier were to end in 1798, but would start again before the end. Daniel is told about the 1290 days (v. 11), and the last verse says "blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1335 years" (v. 12). Daniel still does not understand everything, so he is told to go his way and rest, sleep in Christ, "and you shall arise and receive your inheritance at the end of days" (v. 13). That is the end of historical time and the beginning of eternity.
A note of caution. There is no official view of our denomination on the 1290 and 1335 days. For now, some observations must come from continued personal research.
We do not know when You will come, but that Your coming is near, that much we know. If we have to go to our rest, let it be in Jesus, and if we have to live, carry us through. Amen.
Koot van Wyk, DLitt et Phil, ThD.
Kyungpook National University
Sangju, South Korea.