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Bible Commentaries
Daniel 12

Bridgeway Bible CommentaryBridgeway Bible Commentary

Verses 1-13

End of an era (12:1-13)

Having concluded his lengthy revelation concerning the arrogance, ambition and brutality of Antiochus Epiphanes, the interpreting angel gave encouragement to Daniel. He pointed out that the great angel Michael would fight on behalf of the Jews during the period of Antiochus’s persecution. Those who were truly God’s people would be saved through their time of suffering. Though good and bad alike would be killed in the widespread massacre, the righteous had no need to fear. They received the assurance that one day God would raise them to enjoy eternal life, whereas the wicked would be raised to suffer eternal disgrace. A special reward awaited those who could turn others from selfish wrongdoing to the ways of God (12:1-3).
Daniel was not yet to announce publicly the revelation that God had given him. He was to make sure that it was kept safe till the climax of Jewish suffering arrived with the appearance of Antiochus. Through Daniel’s prophecy true believers would then receive enlightenment from God concerning his purposes. The unfaithful, by contrast, would never discover God’s purposes, no matter how hard they tried (4).
Two other angels appeared to Daniel, to assure him that God had set a limit to the period that he would allow his people to suffer under Antiochus (5-7). They informed him also of the outcome of the dreadful persecution. Many Jews would renounce their religion to preserve their lives, but in so doing would lose the only life worth having. Others would stand firm, and as a result their lives would be strengthened and purified (8-10).
History records that the period of Antiochus’s apparent triumph, which began when he stopped the Jewish sacrifices and ended when the Jews rededicated the temple, was about three and a half years. This period is described as ‘a time, two times and half a time’, or 1290 days. Many did not live to see the end of the persecution, having been martyred for their unfailing commitment to God. Those who survived, though they had a longer time of suffering, received a blessing that made their suffering seem worthwhile. After three and a half years of persecution, they had the joy of seeing their temple rededicated and the temple services in full operation again. Their religion had survived the onslaught (11-12).
Daniel went to his ‘rest’ in the grave before these events happened. However, he was assured that he would still have a place in the final triumph of God’s people (13).

The pattern repeated

Although Daniel’s understanding had been helped by the interpreting angel, the visions and revelations that God gave him had more significance than he may have realized. Their symbolic meaning extended beyond the period of conflict that followed the Jews’ return from Babylon. The terrible suffering under Antiochus, though it was the last great persecution of the Jews before the coming of the Messiah, was by no means the end of their troubles.

When the Messiah came, the Jewish people as a whole rejected him and brought upon themselves, at the hands of Rome, greater suffering than they had ever experienced before (cf. 7:23-25). Jesus more than once connected the Jews’ rejection of him with the ‘desolating abomination’ and ‘awful horror’ of the Romans’ destruction of Jerusalem (Matthew 21:37-41; Matthew 23:37-38; Matthew 24:15-22,Matthew 24:32-33; Luke 21:20-24; Luke 23:28-31).

Many years after the destruction of Jerusalem, John wrote of the persecution of God’s people, using symbolism that again was taken from the book of Daniel (Revelation 11:1-3; Revelation 12:6-7,Revelation 12:14; Revelation 13:1-12; Revelation 17:8-14). An anti-God spirit had motivated the persecutors of the Jews in Old Testament times, and now the same anti-God spirit was motivating the persecutors of Christians in New Testament times. The anti-God spirit was now specifically anti-Christ. This spirit is always hostile to God and his people (1 John 2:18), and will have its fullest expression in the antichrist who will appear at the end of the age and who will be destroyed by Christ at his coming (2 Thessalonians 2:3-12; Revelation 19:20).

Whatever the era and whoever the antichrist, the message for God’s people is always one of encouragement: ‘he who endures to the end shall be saved’ (Daniel 12:12; Matthew 24:13; 2 Timothy 2:11-12; 2 Timothy 2:11-12; Revelation 12:11; Revelation 13:10; Revelation 20:4). In the end all the powers of this world must give way to the rule of God, whose people inherit his eternal kingdom (Daniel 7:27; Matthew 25:34; Revelation 11:15; Revelation 19:1-8).


Summary of important events



First Jewish exiles taken to Babylon


More Jewish exiles taken to Babylon


Jerusalem destroyed; final deportation to Babylon


Cyrus becomes king of Persia


Persia conquers Media


Persia conquers Babylon


First Jews return to Jerusalem

Work starts on rebuilding the temple (under leadership of Zerubbabel)


Temple finished


More Jews return to Jerusalem (with Ezra)


Nehemiah goes to Jerusalem as governor


Alexander the Great overpowers Persia


Alexander’s empire splits into various sectors

301-198 Palestine ruled by Egyptian sector

198-143 Palestine ruled by Syrian sector


Antiochus Epiphanes becomes king of Syrian sector


Antiochus Epiphanes desecrates the Jewish temple


Jews under the Maccabees retake the temple


Palestine becomes independent again


Rome takes over Palestine


Birth of Jesus Christ

AD 31

Death and resurrection of Jesus Christ


Destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans

Bibliographical Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Daniel 12". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bbc/daniel-12.html. 2005.
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