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Bible Commentaries

Sermon Bible Commentary

Daniel 12

Verses 1-13

Daniel 12:0

We have in this chapter:

I. The hope of the suffering saint. "Many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt." The doctrine of the resurrection of the dead is here for the first time broadly asserted, and that in such a way as to connect it with retribution, and make it an encouragement to fidelity under trial.

II. We have here, secondly, the reward of the working saint. "They that are wise shall shine," etc. Among the nations of the earth decorations and honours are given to those who have done the greatest work of destruction. But in the kingdom of Christ it is far otherwise. The places of preeminence under Him are assigned to those who have been likest Him in the holiness of their characters, in the self-sacrifice of their lives, and in the hallowing and ennobling influence which they have shed around them.

III. We have here the rest of the waiting saint. "Go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days." Do not disquiet yourself about the future. Leave that in God's hands. You shall rest in Him during the remainder of your life on earth, and when that shall end, you shall rest with Him.

W. M. Taylor, Daniel the Beloved, p. 232.

References: Daniel 12:4 . A. Mursell, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxv., p. 40; H. W. Beecher, Ibid.; J. F. Stevenson, Ibid., vol. ii., p. 307; H. W. Beecher, Ibid., vol. xxix., p. 291.Daniel 12:9 . C. Wordsworth, Old Testament Outlines, p. 262.

Verse 13

Daniel 12:13

These words contain undoubtedly the dismission of Daniel from his whole life-work, and may therefore be applied to anyone who has been working well for God, and has now gone to rest.

The text brings before our view:

I. The majesty and greatness of the providence of God. God says not only to individuals to each of His servants when he has done his work, "Go thou thy way," He says it to communities of men and witnesses for the truth. He says it to Churches. He says it to generations. He says it to worlds to one world after another: "Go thou thy way." Everything is ruled and used for the accomplishment of His ultimate and perfect will.

II. How little is individual man! Is it not as if with some sublime consciousness of the greatness of His own providence covering the world, stretching along time, reaching up to heaven, filling at length eternity and infinitude that God says to Daniel in dismissing him: "But go thou thy way, 'I have got from thee all the little service I require"?

III. And yet God is mindful of man. He does visit the son of man, talks with him, dwells with him, works in him and works by him, for the accomplishment of His own great purposes. As for those who have loved and served Him, who have been happy in His kingdom, and valiant for His truth on the earth, they will be regarded with a Father's love and pity. He will deal gently with them. He will hide them beneath the shadow of His wings. He will keep them unto life eternal.

IV. For "thou shalt rest." To go from earthly labour for God is to go to heavenly rest. Even the earthly part rests in the grave where the weary are at rest. But the better part, sleeping in Jesus, is carried to Paradise, to the stillness of the blessed dead, to the waiting, yet happy and restful, company of sainted souls.

V. This rest at death is preparatory to something far more complete, "at the end of the days." "Thou shalt stand in thy lot." Thou shalt rest first, until the night is over, and then stand up in the morning as a man refreshed with sleep. The term "stand" expresses the completeness, and above all the permanence, of the new life.

A. Raleigh, From Dawn to the Perfect Day, p. 401.

These words seem to say to us: The future is wrapped in clouds; much is hidden from your view, and there are many mysteries. "But go thou thy way;" do not hesitate; do not look back; do not measure by results; go thou thine own proper and appointed way. Do thy work, whatever it be, that God has given thee to do; fulfil thy part; execute thy mission; act out thy destiny. "Go thou thy way."

I. You must first have well ascertained that that way which you are now going to take is "thy way." This was the point at issue between Christ and Satan. Satan, falsely quoting, said, "In their hands they shall bear thee up," leaving out the sequel which was the hinge of the promise "in all thy ways." Christ saw the omission, and saw that any venture which was without that condition would be presumptuous, and therefore He answered, "Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God."

II. I know of no comfort in life I know of no repose greater than this today, duty; to-morrow, trust; the foot straight in the road, and the eye, looking out for loving ends it cannot see. Therefore go. The clouds will vanish; the light will fall in; God will vindicate Himself; things may explain themselves, and the end will well compensate all thy effort, "Go thou thy way till the end be."

III. I do not wonder that the very next words are, "thou shalt rest." There is the soul's rest; increasing experience of God's faithfulness, a growing assurance of forgiveness; a greater and greater nearness to Christ; tokens for good; glances of the smile of God all these will be "rest" even while you are on the road. Nevertheless, that "rest," sweet as it is, is always a future, running on and on; it is always "Thou shalt."

J. Vaughan, Fifty Sermons, 10th series, p. 54.

I. The first application from this text shall be this general one: that wisdom is a practical thing. The prophet is telling us what the wise do.

II. If you are wise, when you see souls going the wrong way, the very first thing you will aim to do will be to use the means for turning them. When we look at all the works done under the sun, and compare them with this, there is no work worth talking about but this work of God the work of turning many to righteousness.

III. If you are wise, you will, in aiming to turn many to righteousness, begin with the young. A very little right, or a very little wrong at the beginning, must make a tremendous difference very often at the end.

IV. If you are wise you will perpetually go to Christ for grace, for God only gives through Christ. (1) The first qualification for this going is pardon. (2) Another qualification is grace. To teach you must touch; to magnetise you must be magnetic. (3) Beyond the qualification of grace there is the gift of teaching. Mere mechanical routine, mere human education, will not do. You want the gift of living in other lives, putting yourself in the position of other persons. You want the gift of the happy word and happy way. (4) Beyond all this, you want power from on high. There are different kinds of power. Intelligence is power; union is power. But there are certain things in the lowest kingdoms of life that all the powers of all the teachers cannot do they cannot make one primrose grow. And yet we want to do more than this we want to turn many to righteousness. We must run to Christ, who says, "All power is given unto Me." Ask for that power; everything else is a cipher without it.

C. Stanford, Penny Pulpit, No. 1033.

References: Daniel 12:13 . A. Watson, Sermons for Sundays, Festivals, and Fasts, 2nd series, vol. ii., p. 409; Clergyman's Magazine, vol. xi., p. 151; Preacher's Monthly, vol. iv., p. 292; J. Ker, Old Testament Outlines, p. 263. 12 J. G. Murphy, The Book of Daniel, p. 199; Expositor, 3rd series, vol. i., pp. 217, 431.

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Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Daniel 12". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/sbc/daniel-12.html.