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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary
Daniel 12

 

 

Verse 1

Daniel 12:1 And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation [even] to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.

Ver. 1. And at that time,] i.e., In the last days, and toward the end of the world; for in this chapter seemeth to he set forth the state of the Church in the last times, that it shall be most afflicted; yet she shall be fully delivered by Christ’s second coming to judgment. Cyprian was in like sort wont to comfort his friends thus: Venit Antichristus, sed superveniet Christus; Antichrist cometh; but then Christ will come after him, and overcome him.

Shall Michael stand up,] i.e., The Lord Christ (that Prince of angels, and protector of his people), not a created angel, much less Michael Servetus, that blasphemous heretic, burned at Geneva, who was not afraid to say, as Calvin reporteth it, se esse Michaelem illum, Ecclesae custodem, that he was that Michael, the Church’s guardian. David George, also another black-mouthed heretic, said that he was the one David foretold by the prophets, [Jeremiah 30:9 Ezekiel 34:23 Hosea 3:5] and that he was confident that the whole world would in time submit to him.

Which standeth for the children of thy people.] For all the Israel of God, to whom Christ is a fast friend, and will be while "the government is upon his shoulder." [Isaiah 9:6]

And there shall be a time of trouble.] To the Jews by the Romans (after Christ’s ascension, Matthew 24:21), to the Christians by the Romists.

And at that time thy people shall be delivered.] The elect, both Jews and Gentiles, shall be secured and saved.

Every one that shall be found written in the book.] Called the "writing or catalogue of the house of Israel," [Ezekiel 13:9] and the "Lamb’s book of life," [Revelation 21:27] which is nothing else but conscriptio electorum in mente divina, saith Lyra, the writing of the elect in the divine mind or knowledge; such are said to be written among the living in Jerusalem. [Isaiah 4:3]


Verse 2

Daniel 12:2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame [and] everlasting contempt.

Ver. 2. And many of them that sleep in the dust.] "Many" for all; {as Romans 5:18-19} these are said to sleep, which denoteth the immortality of the soul and the resurrection of the body. (The soul liveth in the sleep of death, as it doth in the sleep of the body in this life). And this the poor Jews, when to lose land and life for the truth, are here seasonably and plainly told of (amidst other things that are but darkly delivered) to bear up their sinking spirits. Awake they shall as out of of a sweet sleep, those that are good, and then be full of God’s image. [Psalms 17:15] The wicked also shall "come forth," but by another principle, and for another purpose; they shall come out of their graves like filthy toads against this terrible storm, &c.

Some to everlasting life.] Which is here first mentioned in the Old Testament. See Matthew 25:45, John 5:29.

And some to shame and everlasting contempt.] Christ shall shame them in that ample amphitheatre, and doom them to eternal destruction. Gravissima poenarum pudor est, saith Chrysostom. Oh, when Christ shall upbraid reprobates, and say, Ego vos pavi, lavi, vestivi, &c., which way will they look? or who shall say for them? They shall look then upon him whom they have pierced and lament, but all too late, οψονται, κοψονται; they shall be sore ashamed of their sinful practices, which shall all be written in their foreheads; and this shall be as a bodkin at their hearts, that ever they turned their backs upon Christ’s bleeding embracements, while they refused to be reformed, hated to be healed.


Verse 3

Daniel 12:3 And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.

Ver. 3. And they that be wise.] And in addition do what they can do to wisen others to salvation, as all wise ones will; for goodness is diffusive of itself, and would have others to share with it. Charity is no churl.

Shall shine as the brightness of the firmament.] A good amends for their present sufferings. [Daniel 11:33 Romans 8:18] Solomon allowed little or no considerable reward to his workmen, [Song of Solomon 8:12] but Christ doth. For they shall shine as the firmament; yea, as the stars; yea, as the sun in his strength; [Matthew 13:43] yea, as Christ himself shineth, they shall appear with him in glory. [Colossians 3:4] Their souls shall shine through their bodies as the candle doth through the lantern; their bodies shall also be so lightsome and transparent, saith Aquinas, that all the veins, humours, nerves, and bowels shall be seen as in a glass; for so the light pierceth the firmament and stars. Let us therefore keep these bodies of ours clean and free of filth, that they may be fit vessels and receptacles of such a transcendent glory.

And they that turn many to righteousness.] Heb., That justify many; scil., Ministerially, as instmments in Christ’s hand; for "we preach Christ," yea, we give what we preach; "we give the knowledge of salvation for the remission of sins"; [Luke 1:17] we deliver men from hell; [Job 33:24] we save the souls of them that hear us. [1 Timothy 4:16]

As the stars for ever and ever.] What a glorious place is heaven then! Festinemus ad clarissimam patriam: corrigamus mores et moras, &c. What though Christ’s ministers be here slighted and slurred? they shall one day shine as stars, yea, the meanest of them, velut inter stellas luna minores. What then the Doctores seraphici?


Verse 4

Daniel 12:4 But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, [even] to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.

Ver. 4. But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words.] Since the full understanding of them is reserved to later times, and event will prove the best interpreter, as it doth in all prophecies, which are as riddles till accomplished; (a) and men must meanwhile be content with a learned ignorance. But what meant Jachiddes the Jew to give us this gloss upon the text, God sealed up the time of the coming of the Messiah, revealing it only to Daniel; and that his coming might be accelerated by their deserts, like as for their sins, which are many, it is retarded? He concludeth well, howsoever: God will one day give us a clear vision - viz., when he shall bring back our captivity, then shall we understand things as they are.

Even to the time of the end.] The time appointed. [Daniel 12:9]

Many shall run to and fro.] For increase of divine knowledge they shall spare for no pains, care, or cost, as the Queen of Sheba, the Ethiopian eunuch, &c. See Proverbs 18:1, Acts 17:11-12. Increase of knowledge is promised only upon our industry, and it is especially promised to these later times, [Joel 2:28] wherein we find to be (as in our climate) much light, little heat; our heads are so big (like children that have the rickets) that the whole body fareth the worse for it. Bullinger thus interpreteth the text, that toward the end of the world men shall run to and fro, being certain of nothing, but distracted in opinion, variis se adiungent sectis, (b) they shall join themselves to divers sects. They shall run to and fro, saith another expositor, velut canes famelici, as hungry dogs, and there shall be much knowledge in the world; that is, there shall be innumerable opinions and sects abroad, wherewith many being infected shall be at no certainty in the matters of salvation. For the confirmation, therefore, and comfort of the last ages of the world, wherein these things shall befall, "shut up the words," and "seal the book."


Verse 5

Daniel 12:5 Then I Daniel looked, and, behold, there stood other two, the one on this side of the bank of the river, and the other on that side of the bank of the river.

Ver. 5. Then I Daniel looked.] As being as yet unsatisfied.

And, behold, there stood other two.] Angels, on each bank of the river Tigris, by whose interrogation Daniel is further resolved about the vision.


Verse 6

Daniel 12:6 And [one] said to the man clothed in linen, which [was] upon the waters of the river, How long [shall it be to] the end of these wonders?

Ver. 6. And one said,] i.e., An angel inquisitive about the affairs of the Church, for Daniel’s further information.

To the man clothed in linen.] Of whom see Daniel 10:5.

Which was upon the waters.] See Daniel 8:16.

How long shall it be to the end of these wonders?] i.e., The forementioned mysteries, viz., concerning the saints’ sufferings, the end of the world, the coming of Christ, the resurrection of the dead, life and death everlasting.


Verse 7

Daniel 12:7 And I heard the man clothed in linen, which [was] upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that [it shall be] for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these [things] shall be finished.

Ver. 7. And I heard the man.] The man Christ Jesus.

When he held up his right hand and his left hand.] Assuring and assevering the matter with both hands earnestly.

That it shall be for a time, and times and a half,] i.e., For a time most certain with God, and by him determined, but to us uncertain and unknown. Broughton thinketh that this term of "three years and a half" showeth the term of Christ’s persecution in the days of his flesh, which was just so many years, But there is more in it than so. See Revelation 6:11, a parallel text, and such, like glasses set one against another, do cast a mutual light.

When he shall have accomplished to scatter the power.] When the Church shall be at the greatest under, when the number of the elect shall be consummated, and they sorely afflicted by the devil and his agents, then shall Christ appear to their relief, as it were, out of an engine. See 2 Thessalonians 2:7-12, 1 Timothy 4:1-3, Revelation 6:12-17


Verse 8

Daniel 12:8 And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what [shall be] the end of these [things]?

Ver. 8. And I heard, but I understood not.] This he ingenuously confesseth, for the best know but in part. [1 Corinthians 13:12] And if any man thinketh that he knoweth ought, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know. [1 Corinthians 8:2] Let this be noted by such as profess to know, beyond the periphery of human knowledge, all that is knowable. Any created understanding is but, as Aeschylus saith of fire stolen by Prometheus, παντεχνου πυρος σελας, a spark of the all-wise God’s fire. The prophets themselves understood not some things that were shown unto them without a further light from the Father of lights, whose alone it is to enlighten both organ and object, as Plato (a) also could say.

What shall be the end of these things?] An end he much desired, and the angel for him. [Daniel 12:6] But men must have patience, and wait God’s end. "Ye have need of patience or tarryance," saith the apostle, [Hebrews 10:36] "that after ye have done the will of God (and suffered it too, grievous though it be for the present) ye may receive the promise." Good men find it often more easy to bear evil than to wait till the promised good be enjoyed.


Verse 9

Daniel 12:9 And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words [are] closed up and sealed till the time of the end.

Ver. 9. And he said, Go thy way, Daniel.] Quiesce, tibi satis esto - q.d., Though dearly beloved, yet of some things thou must be content to be ignorant. It should suffice thee to be of God’s court, though not altogether of his council. See Daniel 12:13. There is a laudable and learned ignorance, as of unnecessaries, of impossibles, or of unprofitables; such as are the term of our lives, the end of the world, the reprobation of others, &c.

For the words are closed up,] viz., Till future ages, which are more concerned in them, and till which these things shall be concealed.


Verse 10

Daniel 12:10 Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.

Ver. 10. Many shall be purified, and made white, &c., ] q.d., It is enough for thee to know, and that I should now tell thee, quales sint futuri homines postremi saeculi, what kind of folk there shall be towards the end of the world. Some shall be good people, and they shall meet with hard measure, but all shall be for the best unto them in the end. See Daniel 11:35. Others shall be as bad, and so desperately set upon sinning that they shall mind nothing else - no, not when these prophecies are fulfilled - but be "destroyed for lack of knowledge." [Hosea 4:6] Infatuati seducentur, et seducti iudabuntur; being infatuated they shall be seduced, and being seduced they shall be judged, as Augustine’s note is on 2 Thessalonians 2:10.


Verse 11

Daniel 12:11 And from the time [that] the daily [sacrifice] shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, [there shall be] a thousand two hundred and ninety days.

Ver. 11. And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away,] sc., By Antiochus, as hath been before said; and with the knowledge whereof I would have thee to rest satisfied.

There shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.] Which are the three years and a half mentioned before, saith Diodate, with thirteen days over, for some unknown reason. The wonderful numberer hath all in numerato. The Russians use to say in a difficult question, God, and our great duke, know all this. The Jews in like case say, Messiah, when he comes, will tell us all things we desire to be informed of.


Verse 12

Daniel 12:12 Blessed [is] he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.

Ver. 12. But blessed is he that waiteth and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.] Here are forty-five days more than in the former number; and probably they were, from the restoration of God’s service until the death of Antiochus - a blessed time to God’s poor persecuted people, as was here the death of Queen Mary - or else until some other signal mercy, as the victory that Judas Maccabaeus and his brethren had about that time over the Edomites, Ammonites, and Moabites, who thought to root Israel quite out.


Verse 13

Daniel 12:13 But go thou thy way till the end [be]: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.

Ver. 13. But go thou thy way.] Here Daniel to his great comfort hath a fair and favourable dismission out of this life before those great clashings and confusions should come which had been foreshown to him. So Augustine and Pareus died a little before Hippo and Heidelberg were taken.

Till the end be.] Whenever it shall be, sooner or later, thou shalt be sure to awake out of the dust of death unto everlasting life. {as Daniel 12:2} Yea, thou shalt "shine as the stars for ever and ever." [Daniel 12:3] All that thou hast to do now is, to prepare for such an end, and to wait till thy change shall come, comforting thyself against death with the hope of a blessed resurrection.

For thou shalt rest.] Thy soul shall rest in Abraham’s bosom, thy body in the grave as in a bed of down, until the resurrection of the just. Mors aerumnarum requies rest from death of afliction, was Chaucer’s motto.

And stand in the lot,] i.e., In thine own order, [1 Corinthians 15:23] and in that degree of heavenly glory which shall be given thee as thy lot - in allusion to the promised land, divided among the Israelites by lot - and as the reward of a faithful prophet, instrumental to the good of many, who shall bless God for thee throughout all eternity.

Ipse quidem studui bene de pietate mereri:

Sed quicquid potui, gratia, Christe, tun est.

Quid sum? Nil: Quis sum? Nullus: Sed gratia Christi

Quod sum, quod vivo, quodque laboro, facit. ”

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Daniel 12:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/daniel-12.html. 1865-1868.

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