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DANIEL CHAPTER 12
Michael shall deliver Israel out of trouble: the general resurrection and recompence of the just and unjust, Daniel 12:1-4. Daniel heareth the times, but understandeth not: he is bid to wait the end, which shall be in his favour, Daniel 12:5-13.
Many interpret this of the heat of Antiochus’s persecution, but their arguments are not cogent; but the meaning is this, as after the death of Antiochus the Jews had some deliverance and respite, so there will be yet a more famous deliverance to the people of God when Michael your prince, i.e. Messiah the Prince, shall signally appear for your salvation. He is called
the great Prince; but these words in their contexture refer not to the times of Antiochus, but to antichrist, and to that part of them which are the last part. Yet I think the truest meaning is to interpret these words, at that time, of all the time of Christ, from his first coming to the last. These all are the last times wherein God spake to us by his Son, Hebrews 1:1-3, to which Michael answers well, i.e. who is like God, which notes his equality with God, Philippians 2:6. It was necessary Christ should now appear as a
Prince to comfort his people against the oppression of Herod and the Romans, by bringing in a glorious salvation, which should wholly free the elect Israel of God from the Roman yoke, both under the persecuting emperors and under antichrist.
Every one that shall be found written in the book: thus this election is called by a metaphor usual in Scripture, and drawn from the usage of men in many cases, namely, writing some select men’s names in a book; showing that this salvation shall not be national neither to Jews nor any Gentile nation, but only a gathering together of the elect of God which are scattered abroad, called therefore a remnant, Romans 9:0.
So enamoured are some of their notions, though found false and ill-grounded, that they will pertinaciously hold them, and seek still to prove one absurdity from another, as Grotius doth here, still expounding all of Antiochus, and so makes this resurrection metaphorical, and not the real ultimate one; whereas the most learned Jews themselves are against him, as the late Manasseh Ben Israel in his book de Resurrectione.
Here the faithful are called wise, i. e. to salvation, and so these two members include teachers, and disciples that are truly taught the way of salvation, i.e. such as are taught of God to learn Christ as the truth is in Jesus, John 6:45; Ephesians 4:21. They that teach true justification by the righteousness of Christ, imputed to faith, which is the sum of the gospel, and express it by righteous walking, they shall have high degrees of glory. By being diligent and faithful instruments in the Lord’s hand, by the word of God, and a holy example of the conversion of souls from an evil state, from an evil heart, and from an evil life unto God, they shall shine, not in fame for a long time, as Grotius lamely renders it, but for ever and ever in heavenly glory, as the words import.
Shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: by these words the angel doth not forbid all knowledge of the things here foretold, for
whatsoever is written is written for our learning; but the meaning is,
1. That Daniel must take notice of the special favour of God to him to make so great discoveries of the Divine secrets.
2. That they were intrusted with him to see the force and fruit of his humiliation and fervent prayer.
3. That he should support, and lay up these things for the support of the godly in their future deep afflictions.
4. That God would never utterly forsake his people, though their sins justly provoked his heavy hand upon them.
5. That these things be kept from the profane, who would make an evil’ use of them.
6. The book was commanded to be sealed, because it would be long ere the words would be all fulfilled, whereas those that were shortly to be fulfilled were forbidden to be sealed: see 2 Chronicles 21:12; Isaiah 8:16; Revelation 22:10. Many shall run to and fro; they shall diligently inquire and search these prophecies concerning the fates of the church, and shall see and admire both the prescience and providence of God concerning things to come; they shall know signs of the times, and wait upon God in the way of his judgments: see Psalms 77:5-7; Isaiah 26:8; 1 Peter 1:10-12. The miserable Jews pervert this scripture, and forbid the people by dire threatenings to calculate times, namely, lest they find thereby that Jesus Christ is the true Messiah. Thus are they wilfully and judicially blinded, Acts 28:26; Romans 11:8. And knowledge shall be increased; he means chiefly in gospel times, which came by the preaching of Christ and searching the Scriptures about it.
Two angels, waiting and ministering on Christ to observe his commands, by the banks of the river Tigris or Hiddekel, where this new vision was.
To the man clothed in linen; to Michael, Daniel 10:5; Christ, who seemed to stand between the banks, i.e. in the air above the waters, or upon them, Matthew 14:25; upon many people, say some, Revelation 10:2.
How long shall it be to the end of these wonders? the angels themselves inquire into these things, for they do not know all, yea, they are ignorant of many things, Matthew 24:36; Ephesians 3:10.
He held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven: here he calls God to witness the truth of this thing: many reasons are given by sundry expositors of it why he held up both hands to heaven.
1. For the more sure and solemn confirmation of it.
2. To denote the unchangeableness of God’s decrees, both for good to the church, and for evil to her enemies.
By him that liveth for ever; by God the Father, and by the Deity, which was himself, that liveth for ever, to show the eternal God only knew that decreed it, and would bring it to pass; that he only is master of the times, Acts 1:7.
It shall be for a time, times, and an half; it shall be for a long time, and yet a definite time. Some will have all this to be and end in Antiochus’s time, but we have proved before that this is a great mistake, and the text and this chapter disprove that conceit.
When he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished; which reacheth to the calling of the Jews upon the destruction of antichrist, for till he be down the church will suffer and will not be up, which will fall out upon the pouring out the sixth vial and after, Revelation 16:12, &c., and the seventh vial, then all is finished, Revelation 16:17; see also 2 Thessalonians 2:3. The judgment of Christ will not come till the man of sin come and fall.
i.e. What is the meaning of all this, of the
times, time, and half, when they begin and end; and when the enemies of the churches, and the sufferings of the church, shall have their end.
They shall not be clearly understood till the event make them good: see Daniel 12:4, and Daniel 8:26. God is choice in keeping the keys of time at his own girdle, Acts 1:7.
Of this purging and purifying you heard before, Daniel 11:35; the meaning is, the great afflictions of the church are to prepare them, by taking away their filth, for the Bridegroom, as gold and silver are tried and refined.
None of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand: they shall be blinded, they know not what they do, viz. they shall not be bettered by the word, or rod, or any warnings of God, but be hardened to their ruin; but the godly shall be taught of God to understand the ways of God’s providence, foretold by the prophets, for this is it they are always minded of and commended for; particularly in this kind of wisdom:
1. Because it is obscure.
2. Because they are concerned greatly to know their safety, and God’s honour lies in it.
These days are either,
1. Natural days, and properly so called, and so the times of Antiochus are hereby noted. Or,
2. Prophetical days, a day for a year, Ezekiel 4:6; and thus one thousand two hundred and ninety days is forty-two months, which if we multiply at thirty days the month make the sum one thousand two hundred and ninety. Here many learned expositors fall in together to that opinion of calculating these years by days, beginning the one thousand two hundred and ninety days from the profaning of the temple to the letter of king Antiochus to the Jews, 2Ma 11:27, and so make them to end exactly then: and concerning the abomination of desolation, whereof see what is said Daniel 7:25; Daniel 8:14; Daniel 9:25, being the epoch from Apollonius’s coming, who was called the prince of abominations, or from the worship of God forbidden by Antiochus, and at last restored by Judas Maccabeus, and confirmed by Antiochus, from thence to the death of Antiochus are fortyfive days, which added to one thousand two hundred and ninety make one thousand three hundred and thirty-five; but this is a false account, and contrary to the scope of this place, and to history and chronology, which the learned Joseph Mede hath proved at large, Lib. Oper. III. p. 882. The Jews make these days, i.e. years, to end at the coming of Christ, but uncertainly when to begin their reckoning, but have been often and grossly deceived. Sound Christians refer it to the second coming of Christ. Mr. Mede makes the chief revelation of antichrist to be in 1123. The latter number of one thousand three hundred and thirty-five ends in anno Christi 1168; and so the type of antichrist, which is Antiochus Epiphanes, leads us by the hand to the revelation of antichrist, which fell out anno 1106 to anno 1120; between which time the papal power was highly mounted, the church greatly persecuted, after that great numbers of them had separated from the abominations of Rome, openly declaring it to be antichristian. Therefore the angel saith, the saints by their trials
shall be purified and made white, that is, by those cruel persecutions which befell them, from their ignorant and enraged enemies, who went on to do wickedly and did not understand. How this is further cleared, and why the angel makes use of the Roman supputation in this case, namely, by indictions, and how it answers and resolves the case, see in the forecited author.
I have revealed to thee of these things what I had in commission, that thou and thy people should be prepared for the sufferings which will come upon them, and yet not without hope of a glorious deliverance. In which hope thou shalt die, and rest from fear or feeling of trouble, till the resurrection of the just to the joys of another world: which some make to be here after all enemies are destroyed, at least to begin here, and to be consummated in heaven eternally, comparing this with Revelation 19:20,Revelation 19:21.
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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Daniel 12". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25