Future for the Jews

Daniel 12

Alan Lewis
Elon, North Carolina
November 2018

We have been studying the book of Daniel for the last six months.  It has been a huge blessing to me personally.  It has been very profitable.  It is a book that every Christian should study.  It is a book that has not only some incredible prophecies but also some powerful lessons.

Today, we will be finishing the Book of Daniel, as we come to the final chapter of the book.  Daniel sees three angels in this chapter.  He is outside by the Tigris River.  He sees on angel on one side of the river.  One angel on the other side of the river and one hovering on top of the river. We want to look at this chapter prophetically and we want to look at it practically.

Why This Chapter Matters

This is a short chapter.  It only has thirteen verses, but it is an important chapter.  It is Daniel’s final prophecy.  It mentions all kinds of important topics.

1. It mentions the Great Tribulation

It tells when it will happen (Daniel 12:1).  It also tells how long it will last It will be “time, times and a half of times” or three and a half years (Daniel 12:7).

2. It mentions resurrection from the dead.

People who sleep in the dust of the earth suddenly wake up (Daniel 12:2).  Death is pictured as sleep.  They were not literally sleeping.  This is a metaphor for death.  Many thought that this was only found in the NT, but the OT teaches the concept of an afterlife as well.

3. It mentions heaven and hell

Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. (Daniel 12:1 NIV).  You may have thought that Jesus was the only one to talk about eternal life.  Here we see that it was mentioned in Daniel 12.  It is the only time that we see these words in the OT.  Some wake up to everlasting life.  Others will wake up to shame and everlasting contempt.

4. It mentions a book in heaven

It is a real book.  It contains a list of names (Daniel 12:1).  The only people delivered are the people whose names are in this book.  We know the name of this book.  It is the Book of life.  The Book of Life is not just a NT concept.  The very idea of the Book of Life comes right out of the OT.

5. It mentions evangelism.

It mentions people who lead others to righteousness (Daniel 12:3).  That is evangelism and discipleship.

6. It mentions a seventy-five day period.

It is a special period of prophecy not mentioned in any other place in the Bible.  Where do the seventy-five days come from?  The Great Tribulation is three and a half years, a time, times and a half of time.  360 days + 360 x 2 + 180 = 1260 days (Revelation 11:3; 12:6)

Daniel 12:11 mentions 1,290 days.  1290 is thirty days longer.  Daniel 12:12 mentions 1,335 days, which is forty-five more days.  Thirty days plus forty-five days add up to seventy-five.  What is this all about?

Between the end of the tribulation period and the start of the kingdom on earth will be a period of seventy-five days.  The Millennium will not start until seventy-five days after the Second Coming.

Not everyone who survives the Tribulation will make it into the Millennium.  Some people will be judged (sheep and goat judgment).  Those that make it in receive a special blessing.

7. It mentions the end-times (Daniel 12:4).

It tells us some things about the Jews in the end-times.  It gives us five revelations given to Daniel about the Jews in the end of time.

Five Prophetic Jewish Revelations

1) There will be a time of unspeakable trouble for the Jews

At that time Michael, the great prince who protects YOUR PEOPLE, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time YOUR PEOPLE—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered. (Daniel 12:1 NIV)

Notice who the focus is.  This chapter does not deal with Nebuchadnezzar’s’ people (Babylonians) or Cyrus’ people (Persians).  The focus is on Daniel’s people (Jews).  It does not deal with Gentiles.  It does not deal with the church or even believers of all time.  It deals with the Jews.  This will not just time of trouble but time of JACOB’S TROUBLE (Jeremiah 30:7).

This is frightening language.  There have been lots of times of trouble for the Jews.  This one will be the worse one they have ever had.  It will be unparalleled persecution.  That is what Daniel says.  It will be worse than the holocaust which killed six million Jews.

The Antichrist will attempt to kill every Jew on the planet.  The Tribulation Period will be the worst persecution that has ever happened.  Daniel was not the only one who predicted this.  Jeremiah predicted it BEFORE Daniel and Jesus predicted it AFTER Daniel.

How awful that day will be! No other will be like it. It will be a time of trouble for Jacob, but he will be saved out of it. (Jeremiah 30:7 NIV)

What Jeremiah said is exactly the same thing that Daniel predicted.  It will be a terrible time like no other for the Jews but they will be delivered out of it.  Jesus said the same thing.

“So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. 18 Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. 19 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers!

20 Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again. 22 “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.

Here Jesus quotes two passages from Daniel 12.  He quotes the passage about the abomination of desolation which the Antichrist will commit.  He also quotes the verse about the greatest time of trouble since the world began.  Mark says that the time of the Antichrist will be the greatest time of suffering since creation (Mark 13:19)

2) There will be a time of supernatural protection for the Jews

In Daniel 10, we saw how many nations are controlled by demon spirits.  Here, we learn that Israel is protected by a special guardian angel.  Israel is guarded by the Archangel Michael.  Michael is a fighter and his special assignment is to protect Israel.  God’s people have angels protecting them.

“AT THAT TIME Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But AT THAT TIME your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered. (Daniel 12:1 NIV)

The phrase“at that time” occurs two times in this verse.  At what time?  At the time of the Antichrist.  This does not mean that he has been sitting down or sleeping for a few thousand years, but it does mean that at the time of Israel’s greatest trial and in Israel’s darkest hour, this angel will arise.  He will arise and do what?

3) There will be a time of divine deliverance for the Jews

Everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered. (Daniel 12:1 NIV).  Here we have great distress but deliverance.  This is interesting.  The Angel Michael does not prevent the Jews from suffering but delivers them in the midst of their suffering.  God does not prevent us from suffering.  Trusting in God does not exempt you from suffering and persecution.  Some Christians teach that foolishness.

What were they delivered from?  They were not all delivered from death because many of the Tribulation saints will be martyred (Daniel 7:18, 27; 11:33).  The angel Michael will help save the nation from extinction.  It will never be destroyed but the nation will still experience terrible persecution, and many will be killed, including many believers.  Two thirds of Jews will be killed.  Many will be believers.

In the whole land,” declares the Lord, “two-thirds will be struck down and perish; yet one-third will be left in it. 9 This third I will put into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.’” (Zechariah 13:8-9). 

Daniel 12 is not talking about deliverance from the first death but from the second death.  It is explained by the next verse, which mentions eternal life.  It is talking about salvation.  Ultimately, Israel will be saved.  The Tribulation will bring them to salvation.  That is how many get saved today.  They go through a tragedy in their life and turn to God.  The same thing will happen to the nation of Israel.

But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered. 2 Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. (Daniel 12:1-2 NIV)

Everyone is not delivered.  Everyone is not saved.  Only those whose names are written in God’s book are delivered.  Some people think that all Jews go to heaven.  The only way to be delivered is to have you name written in God’s book.  Deliverance is not based on race or skin color.  It is based on whether your name is in God’s book.

The only real question for us is this:  Is our name written in God’s book?  There are really only two types of people – those whose names are written in God’s book and those whose names are not written in God’s book.  We need to make sure our name is written in this book.  We can be sure now.

4) There will be a time of resurrection for the Jews

Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. (Daniel 12:2 NIV)

This is one of the greatest verses in the OT.  The Bible does not teach the doctrine of soul sleep.  The only thing that sleeps is the body but one day it will wake up.  Why did the angel say “many” who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake and not “all who sleep in the dust will wake up”?  Why do not all of them wake up?  In some passages, many does mean all (Romans 5:15, 19)

What does this passage teach?  It teaches that death is not final.  Everyone who dies will come back to life.  This is talking about Jews, but the Bible teaches that all of the death will eventually be raised and come back to life.

“Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when ALL who are in their graves will hear his voice 29 and come out—those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned.  (John 5:28-29 NIV)

Every saint who died will be raised. Every believer from the beginning of time will wake up.  Daniel was promised ion this chapter that one day he would be raised.  “As for you, go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance.” (Daniel 12:13 NIV).  Daniel was an old man.  He was about ready to die but one day he would be raised.

Not only will the righteous be raised from the dead, so will the wicked.  The most wicked person in the history of the world will come back to life.  That sounds a little frightening – Hitler, Stalin and Jack the Ripper coming back to life, every rapist and mass murderer coming back to life.

Someone said that science says that people MAY live again.  Philosophy says that people HOPE to live again.  Ethics says that people OUGHT to live again.  Atheism says that people will NOT live gain.  The bible teaches that people WILL live again

5) There will be a time of accountability for the Jews

What happens after they are raised from the dead?  They are held accountable for their actions.  Some are rewarded, and some are punished.  What does this tell us?

Implications of Accountability

1. It means that God is just

God is going to hold people accountable for their actions on earth.  Some may have escaped justice on earth.  They may have gotten away with their crimes on earth but one day everyone will stand before God and be held accountable for their actions.

2. It means that universalism is false

Universalism teaches that everybody will be saved.  That is a false doctrine. Everyone is going to be raised but Daniel 12 says that they are not all are going to the same place. Some are raised to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.

3. It tells us that annihilationism is wrong

What does annihilationism teach?  Annihilationism teaches that the righteous will live on in the next life but the wicked will be destroyed.  They will cease to exist.  Daniel could have taught that believers are raised and unbelievers are simply annihilated.  Instead, he says that both will be raised.  The word “everlasting is used for both groups.

Hell involves punishment, but it also involves shame.  Other passages talk about punishment and torment.  Daniel 12 focuses on shame and contempt.  Shame is something only the wicked could feel.  Contempt is something that others would feel for them.  You can’t feel shame is you cease to exist [2].

4. It means that there are two destinies

There are only two eternal destinies (heaven or hell). You either go to one place or the other.  There is not a third option.  There is no purgatory.   Jesus said that there are only two roads.  You either get eternal life or you get shame and everlasting contempt.  Both of these destinies are eternal.

Applications for Today

1) Believers have special advantages today

They have their name written in God’s book.  He knows them personally. They are purified.  They will be cleansed.  They will be made clean from their sin.  The blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin (I John 1:7).

Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand. (Daniel 12:10 NIV).

And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. (Revelation 7:13-14 NIV).

They are guarded by angels.  When people stood up against the Jews, the Angel Michael will stand up against them.  We have guardian angels as well.

God calls us wise. The world calls believers “fools.”  They think they are crazy. They think they are bunch of religious fanatics, just a bunch of ignorant bible believers.  What makes believers wise?

They know God.  They know the Bible.  They can understand prophecy.  They will have a knowledge that the unsaved will not have.  Daniel understood some things that no one else did.  He understood Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams and the writing on the wall.  No one else understood them.

In contrast to the righteous, we are told that “none of the wicked will understand” (Daniel 12:10 NIV).  They may be very smart and have a high IQ but without the Holy Spirit they cannot understand spiritual truths (cf. I Corinthian 2:14).  Not only do they not understand, they increase in wickedness.  The wicked continue to be wicked (Daniel 12:10).

2) Believers have an important ministry today

We have a ministry today to lead many to righteousness (Daniel 12:3).  That is our job today.  Those who lead many to righteousness are like the stars in heaven (Daniel 12:3).  They are stars for God.  We have the potential to be a real star for all of eternity.

How do we do that?  We make an impact on those around you.  We make a difference in someone’s life.  That is our ministry today.  God saved us so we could serve Him.  He left on earth to be a witness.  Is there someone that we are trying to reach out to and have a witness for Christ?

3) Believers have a bright future to look forward to

The chapter ends on a positive note.  We have the promise of bodily resurrection followed by eternal life.  We may suffer in this life or be martyred but God will reward us. One day we will not just shine, we will shine like the sun in heaven.  We will shine brightly.  God will reward us in the next life.

The Bible talks about Christians shining in a dark place (cf. Philippians 2:14).  This is not talking about believers shining in the world today but believers shining like the sun in heaven.  It is talking about glorification (cf. Matthew 13:43).

[1] This paraphrase comes from Paul Lee Tan, The Encyclopedia of 1500 Illustrations, p. 517.

[2] Annihilationists point out that the verse says, “shame and everlasting contempt” and not “everlasting contempt and shame.”  They argue that contempt for someone can go on long after a person has ceased to exist, just as people today still have disgust for Adolf Hitler who has died.  However, there is another way to look at the text.  The word “and” is not found in the Hebrew text.

My friend Van Parunak, who is a Harvard educated linguist, puts it, “The verse could be taken as an apposition.  The writer is defining ‘shame’ as ‘everlasting contempt’–the shame they feel is the result of the contempt that others have for them, so the duration of the contempt is implicitly the duration of the shame. There’s only one penalty defined in two ways, not two penalties.”

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