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Daniel 12 and E. G. White

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Daniel 12 and E. G. White

“The people of God need to study what characters they must form in order to pass through the test and proving of the last days. Many are living in spiritual weakness and backsliding. They know not what they believe. [Then the author points to where a focused understanding must be.] Let us read and study the twelfth chapter of Daniel. It is a warning that we shall all need to understand before the time of the end. There are ministers claiming to believe the truth who are not sanctified through the truth. Unless a change comes in their lives, they will say, My Lord delayeth His coming.’” [1]

  • This chapter will assist God’s people to pass through the final testing experience because of its spiritual value. It contains heart-changing timing information that convicts its students that Christ’s coming is not delayed!
  • It has two warnings of risks to eternal loss:
  • One, if not sanctified, it won’t be understood.
  • Two, not understanding this chapter risks procrastination in preparing for Christ’s Second Coming.


The first four verses are actually a continuation of chapter 11, where the “king of the north” (the antichrist) makes his last stand before his demise.
“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” (Daniel 12:1).
Reviewing key words and phrases:
“At that time” initially echoes the previous verses and more specifically verse 40’s timing statement: “at the time of the end.” This refers to the time of the last expression of the antichrist[2] and, specifically, when he functions as a world power (11:40-45; cf. 8:17, 19). It describes what precedes his demise (11:45).
Michael “stands up.” Though not analyzed within this document, Michael is Jesus Christ.

“The angels are holding the four winds…. It is God that restrains the powers…. The angels have not let go, for the saints are not all sealed…. this trouble will be all over the earth. [The winds] are just ready to blow…. There’s a check put on [them] because the saints are not sealed.”[3] When they are finally released, probation will have closed, and all of God’s people are sealed for eternity. Then Michael stands up – the end is in sight. Christ’s high priest role in the heavenly sanctuary has ended.
“There shall be a time of trouble” when Christ stands up, at which time the world’s greatest tribulation or “time of trouble” occurs. Our legal divine advocate (I John 2:1), our “great high priest” who has been interceding for us (Hebrews 4:14-16) ceases that advocacy role. When He stands up, trouble follows (cf. Jeremiah 30:7). This is what Christ portrays in Matthew 24:21. Man’s probation is over. God’s people will be rescued by a special rescue mission, called “deliverance.” Heightened drama comes to the saints when the everlasting covenant is given to them.[4] (A forever citizenship in heaven.)
“Deliverance” comes to all who are found written in the book” (12:1).
“It is at midnight that God manifests His power for the deliverance of His people. The sun appears, shining in its strength. Signs and wonders follow in quick succession. The wicked look with terror and amazement upon the scene, while the righteous behold with solemn joy the tokens of their deliverance. Everything in nature seems turned out of its course. The streams cease to flow. Dark, heavy clouds come up and clash against each other. In the midst of the angry heavens is one clear space of indescribable glory, whence comes the voice of God like the sound of many waters, saying: ‘It is done.’ Revelation 16:17.” [5]

  • Based upon this little information, we know that Daniel 12:1 relates to the sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12-17) and the seventh Vial Plague (Revelation 16:17-21).

Another terminal event is described:

A Final Event
“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” (Daniel 12:2).
This is the only specific reference to a resurrection in the Hebrew Bible that affirms eternal life following the resurrection.[6] However, it is alluded to in others!

  • Some call this a “special resurrection.” Why? Both wicked and righteous are raised!
  • “All who have died in the faith of the third angel’s message come forth from the tomb glorified, to hear God’s covenant of peace with those who have kept His law. ‘They also which pierced Him’ (Revelation 1:7), those who mocked and derided Christ’s dying agonies, and the most violent opposers of His truth and His people, are raised to behold Him in His glory and to see the honor placed upon the loyal and obedient.”[7]

Hope in Knowing this Prophetic Orientation
“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” (Daniel 12:3).
The word “wise” (maskilim) is translated in a variety of ways. Here, the implication is “the one who pays attention will have insight and influence.”[8] In verse 10 they are noted as having been purified and will understand the unsealed prophecy. The expressions dealing with “wisdom” or the “wise” have eschatological significance (i.e., Revelation 13:18). It is an allusion to special understanding: “He that hath an ear, hear what the Spirit says,” noted in the seven churches’ narrative. The saints will have insights regarding Daniel 12.

  • This is a beautiful promise for God’s last generation on earth.

“When I think of those words of Daniel, I find myself waking up in the night and repeating them over and over: ‘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.’ Look at the sun and the stars marshaled in the heavens, and known by their names. The Lord says, They that turn many to righteousness shall shine as the stars forever and ever.”[9]

“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” (Daniel 12:4).

This is a heavenly imperative to the seer. The “scroll” or “book” has apparently been completed. It is to be sealed until the “time of the end.” That implies that it will be unsealed at that period! This is an amazing issue that many fail to comprehend. Until that point is reached, no scholarly work or expositor’s insight can break open the meaning of the chazown (or ha∙hazon) vision – a special sealed portion of Daniel 8 to 12. That vision began in 8:1 and has been intermittently described through this verse.
“The words of the angel to Daniel relating to the last days were to be understood in the time of the end. At that time, ‘many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.’” [10]
How This End Comes About
The story of the final battle between good and evil is repeated many times in Daniel. Chapter 11, verses 30 to 45 (the second rise of the papacy) just ended and is in our immediate sight (the vile person, the king of the north, the king of the south, the persecuted saints, and “the end of time.”)

Now Daniel sees a courtroom scene.
“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” (12:5).
“There stood other two” (vs 5)
Scholars note that this “two” expression symbolizes witnesses to the oath that Christ will soon take. In the Law of Moses, a minimum of two individuals was required for a case to proceed (Deuteronomy 4:26, 17:6, 19:15, 30:19, 31:20). That law applied only to criminal cases. But – we will shortly see that Christ will be telling us when the great case of highest treason against the government of heaven will be “wrapped up.”
“the one on this side of the bank of the river, and the other on that side of the bank of the river” (vs 5)
These witnesses are on the opposite banks of a river. Though it is tempting to identify this as the Tigris or Hiddekel, the last river noted (Daniel 10:4), Daniel’s first “river encounter” at the Ulai River is appealed to. The “above the waters” imagery of 8:16 is replicated here. Christ is talking to Gabriel in chapter 8 and, here, messaging the 144,000, those waters!
“The light that Daniel received from God was given especially for these last days. The visions he saw by the banks of the Ulai and the Hiddekel, the great rivers of Shinar, are now in process of fulfillment, and all the events foretold will soon come to pass.” [11]

  • The river prophecies in Daniel are tied to the last days and the future to when she wrote this in 1896.
  • Daniel 8, most of 10, and all of 12 were set to be future to that time!

One of these witnesses is Daniel. Above the river is a “man” (Christ). The other witness is likely Gabriel.
Picture1“And one said to the man clothed in linen, which was upon [“above” in later translations] the waters of the river, How long shall it be to the end of these wonders?” (12:6).
The “man clothed in linen” is identified as Christ by many scholars[12] – especially by the words “clothed in linen.” The word “clothed” (labesh) refers to being totally clothed since here “white linen” is plural. This usually refers to the high priest’s dress on the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16:4).
The question that Daniel poses is exactly the same as the one Gabriel conveyed to Jesus in 8:13: “How long?” (ad-matay). Ad – “how is it continuing into the future?”; matay – “when?” Together, it is summarized as “until when.”
“The expression ‘how long?’ … is typically used throughout the Greek OT for questions concerning when God will finally punish persecutors and vindicate the oppressed (Pss 6:4[3]); 12[13]:2; 73[74]:10; 78[79]:5; 79[80]:5[4]; 88[89]:47[46]; 89[90]:13; 93[94]:3; Dan. 8:13 Theod.; 12:6-13 Theod.). John’s emphasis on God’s defending his own reputation by judging sinners who have persecuted the righteous is also evoked by ‘will you not vindicate our blood,’ which is an allusion to Ps. 78[79]; 10LXX: ‘let the vindication of your servants’ blood that has been poured out be known.’” [13]
Daniel does add two qualifiers here in 12:6! The words “end” and “wonders.” This embellishes the meaning of ad-matay! The word for “end” is qes. This usually refers to a judicial end. Something legal is completed. Daniel is asking “when” that will occur, contextually. A Day of Atonement is key to Daniel 8–12. “Wonders” (pelaot) is a feminine plural noun and refers to God’s acts of judgment and redemption (a divine event!).[14]
“Wonders” is preceded by “these,” revealing that it alludes to something specific and precise, which should be obvious! What divine acts were noted in the previous verse and prophecy? – (1) The deliverance of God’s people and (2) a special resurrection (12:1-2). They explain the plural word “wonders.” [15]

  • Daniel is asking Christ, “When will You vindicate Your character?” The antichrist has been so successful in fighting against you and your people!
  • “How long until the deliverance of Your people and that special resurrection?”

“Says the psalmist: ‘In the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion: in the secret of His tabernacle shall He hide me.’ Psalm 27:5. Christ has spoken: ‘Come, My people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. For, behold, the Lord cometh out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity.’ Isaiah 26:20, 21. Glorious will be the deliverance of those who have patiently waited for His coming and whose names are written in the book of life.” [16] There is an apparent delay – but only from man’s viewpoint. God is working out the last phase of redemptive history.
An Amazing Oath – One God to Another – The Answer
We now know that this is end time! How?

  • What did Daniel ask?
  • How long until the end of all these wonders? (that is when God’s people are finally delivered!)

This is how Daniel heard Jesus’ reply:
“The man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, lifted his right hand and his left hand toward heaven, and I heard him swear by him who lives forever, saying, ‘It will be for a time, times and half a time. When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed’” (Daniel 12:7 NIV).
“sware by him who lives forever” (vs 7)
Daniel heard Christ when he took that oath, invoking God’s name (“him that liveth for ever”) (Revelation 10:6) – an appropriate expression of God the Father (Deuteronomy 32:40, I Timothy 6:16).[17]

  • What does it mean when both hands are raised?
  • “I promise” (the right hand) and “I pledge my blood” (the left hand).

This is a validation ceremony that persecution will end when God’s people are delivered!
Are there other timing prophecies with a similar period of persecution, the “scattering of the power of the holy people”?
“And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time” (Daniel 7:25).
“But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months” (Revelation 11:2).

“And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months … And it was given unto him to make war with the saints” (Revelation 13:5, 7).
How do we know this is literal time?
“Time” (moed) here represents an appointed time of Atonement. It is annual (Exodus 30:10) – a solar year. It is a specific period of time each fall.
Combining Daniel 8:19 and 12:7, we find:

  • At the end of time, there is an appointed time in which holiness and cleansing come. It occurs during, and lasts, an “appointed time,” “appointed times” and “half an appointed time.” During this period persecution will occur.
  • A year, two years, half a year – meaning three and a half years.

Picture2Daniel’s timing question as to when it ends has been answered. Jesus wants to refine the events of these periods further. We can now begin to see why there are so many three-and-a-half-year periods in Revelation.

How else do we know it is literal?
What we read from this expositor:
“In the Scriptures are presented truths that relate especially to our own time. To the period just prior to the appearing of the Son of man, the prophecies of Scripture point, and here their warnings and threatenings pre-eminently apply. The prophetic periods [plural] of Daniel, extending to the very eve of the great consummation, throw a flood of light upon events then to transpire. The book of Revelation is also replete with warning and instruction for the last generation. The beloved John, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, portrays the fearful and thrilling scenes connected with the close of earth’s history, and presents the duties and dangers of God’s people. None need remain in ignorance, none need be unprepared for the coming of the day of God.”[18]

  • What prophetic periods?
  • This can only mean Daniel 12 [which is future to 1883 when this was written].

What timing information has been presented?

Picture3 2

This timeline shows an ending. Daniel’s question has been addressed. Note, however, that a key element is missing. There is no beginning. Terminal prophetic events are described. Since prophecy is event-driven, to make such a period valuable, the event that starts this timing block must be identified. That is what the rest of this chapter unfolds for us!
Barrier to Understanding
“And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things?” (Daniel 12:8).

  • Daniel still doesn’t grasp its meaning. He begs for more information.
  • But he does know that the deliverance of God’s people will come at the end of a three-and-a-half-year period of persecution. For him, it is likely 539 B.C. and his people will be released from Babylon in 536 B.C. But – what does that “time of the end” mean?

Though Daniel is confused, he does know that Cyrus, the commanding general of the Medo-Persian Empire, will deliver his people (Isaiah 44–46).
That story is also a prophecy of how the persecuting antichrist power will come to its end at the termination of a three-and-a-half-year period!
 Jesus, the Atonement-garbed Being, responds:
“And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end” (Daniel 12:9).
Daniel is not rebuked. He is advised that this issue is not to be his concern. “Be at peace, Daniel.”

  • Time – es/et/eth – appointed season. Collectively, when everything consummates.[19]
  • End – qes/qets – when God brings everything to a judicial end.[20]
  • The book is closed or sealed “till the time of the end” (Daniel 12:9).
  • The book is open (unsealed) – “he had in his hand a little book open” (Revelation 10:2). This was the unsealed portion of Daniel.[21] (That is just before the 42 months of persecution (11:2) and 1260 days of witnessing (11:3).
  • “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” (Daniel 12:4). It would then be understood.
  • We know of the application to Daniel because of history, prophecy, and promise.
  • How do we know this prophecy is mainly related to the very end of time? From another verse in Daniel that follows: “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” (Daniel 12:10). God’s people will know.

This is eloquently repeated in John’s apocalypse: “And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand” (Revelation 22:10). Then comes the warning that contextually identifies this urgent picture of a final division: “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still” (Revelation 22:11).
“The context of this passage … is eschatological. Consequently, the time when ‘many will be purified, made spotless and refined’ is the tribulation period of the last days.... Even the chaos and calamities of the last days will not bring some persons to recognize their need for God.”[22] They will be lost. That is why Daniel 12 is so important. It introduces the time when planet earth approaches her final chance to repent.
“A wonderful connection is seen between the universe of heaven and this world. The things revealed to Daniel were complemented afterward by the revelation made to John on the Isle of Patmos. These two books should be carefully studied. Twice Daniel inquired, How long shall it be to the end of time?” [23] (1896)
Of that time, when probation is closed, this warning:

“Many do not realize what they must be in order to live in the sight of the Lord without a high priest in the sanctuary through the time of trouble. Those who receive the seal of the living God and are protected in the time of trouble must reflect the image of Jesus fully.” [24]

“Every living Christian will advance daily in the divine life. As he advances toward perfection, he experiences a conversion to God every day; and this conversion is not completed until he attains to perfection of Christian character, a full preparation for the finishing touch of immortality.” [25]
“but the wise shall understand” (vs 10)
In this context, what will the wise understand? (This is key.)

  • The sealed portion of the prophecy.
  • As we near the close of this world's historythe prophecies recorded by Daniel demand our special attention, as they relate to the very time in which we are living. With them should be linked the teachings of the last book of the New Testament Scriptures. Satan has led many to believe that the prophetic portions of the writings of Daniel and of John the Revelator cannot be understood. But the promise is plain that special blessing will accompany the study of these prophecies. ‘The wise shall understand’ (verse 10), was spoken of the visions of Daniel that were to be unsealed.” [26]

“John sees the little book unsealed (Revelation 10). Then Daniel’s prophecies have their proper place [please note] in the first, second, and third angels’ messages to be given to the world. The unsealing of the little book was the message in relation to time.” [27] Daniel’s unsealed prophecies are to be part of the last message given to earth’s inhabitants.
What are the wise then asked to do? [John is a metaphor for us (“the wise”) in Revelation 10].

  • Eat the little book. It becomes a part of him/them.
  • He/they now understand it – he/they are “wise.”
  • They are ready to share it with others as “witnesses” (“thou must prophecy again” – Revelation 10:11 – second application). We must clearly know the meaning of Daniel 12 and Revelation 10 and 11.

Now come two more amazing end-time timing prophecies!

Time, Once Again, Takes Front and Center
“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” (Daniel 12:11).
The focus on the abomination that leads to desolation began with Christ’s end-time dissertation (Matthew 24:15).
Three of the gospels talk of this abomination.

  1. Luke – the abomination surrounds God’s people.
  2. Mark – it has entered, mingled with, and influences God’s people.
  3. Matthew – it stands in the “holy place” – God’s church – it is “part of.”

Daniel 12:11 is the key verse where Jesus, in Matthew, told us to go for a deeper view of end-time prophecy (Matthew 24:15). That Matthian verse relates to time. And  this verse in Daniel does just that! It begins with a “timing point” – “From the time.” What time? The next two phrases reveal the events that start a clock ticking.

  1. The “daily [sacrifice]” is abolished or taken away. (The word “sacrifice” is not in the original manuscripts.) This is a legal gesture.
  2. An abomination that leads to desolation” is set up. This language is also legal and suggests that a law or decree causes the daily to be removed or diminished and the abomination established in its place.

The record notes that once the Sabbath is removed and a false Sabbath is set up in its place, there will be a 1290-day window for the apostasy to flourish. This is vital information. In verse 7 the three and a half years have an ending without an event-driven beginning. Here we have two events beginning a 1290-day period without a defined ending. This is graphically what Jesus has presented to this point: 
We know that this is end-time – but in all the places E. G. White talks of the “abomination” and “desolation,” she links it with the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.

Question: Did she ever understand this differently?
Let’s begin to answer this with the next verse:
“Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days” (Daniel 12:12).
Before this final period is given, Christ conveys a “blessing in waiting.” The Hebrew word for “blessed” is esher. It conveys the thought that the one (a single individual) who waits will experience happiness or heaven’s special kindness.
This waiting or tarrying time is an Old Testament concept (first introduced in Habakkuk 2:2-3) and a New Testament truth (Hebrews 10:36-37). One of the unique issues that Daniel introduces is a period of three and a half years called an “appointed time” (Daniel 8:19), which begins when the tarrying time ends! Thus, blessed is he who waits, and in the context of this verse, understands these prophecies. They will be “waiting” with a distinct object in view – the onset of the “appointed time,” the three and a half years.

Picture6 2 

“But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days” (Daniel 12:13).
“Go thou thy way” – the conclusion of these prophecies has come. Rest until the end, Daniel. He will pass off the scene – be at rest, sleeping – until the resurrection. The word “end” is used twice in this verse. Both times the word qes is again used, reflecting when there is a legal cutting off of time.

  • When does Daniel "stand in his lot," or its meaning come?
  • Gabriel and Jesus both said that the prophecy was sealed from Daniel but would be opened or unsealed at the “time of the end”!

Here is a clue as to when it applies: “The message was given. And there should be no delay in repeating the message, for the signs of the times are fulfilling; the closing work must be done. A great work will be done in a short time. A message will soon be given by God’s appointment that will swell into a loud cry. Then Daniel will stand in his lot, to give his testimony.”[28]
“Daniel shall stand in his lot at the end of the days. John sees the little book unsealed. Then Daniel's prophecies have their proper place in the first, second, and third angels’ messages to be given to the world. The unsealing of the little book was the message in relation to time.” [29]

 Franklin S. Fowler, Jr., M.D.
Prophecy Research Initiative – non-profit 501(c)3 © 2024
EndTime Issues…, Number 282, May 2, 2024

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[1] White, Ellen G.; Manuscript Releases, vol. 15, p. 228, 1903 (emphasis added).

[2] Steinmann, Andrew E.; Daniel (Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis – 2008)p. 559.

[3] White, Arthur L.; Ellen G. White: The Early Years: 1827–1862 (vol. 1) (Review and Herald Publishing Association, Washington DC, 1985).

[4] White, Ellen G.; The Great Controversy, p. 640; Luke 12:35-36.

[5] Ibid., p. 636.

[6] Collins, John J.; Daniel (Fortress Press, Minneapolis, MN – 1993), p. 392.

[7] White, Ellen G.; Heaven, p. 28 (2003).

[8] Steinmann, op. cit., p. 561; Thayer on Sakal.

[9] White, Ellen G.; Maranatha, p. 330 (emphasis added).

[10] White, Ellen G.; The Desire of Ages, p. 234 (emphasis added).

[11] White, Ellen G.; Testimonies to Ministers, p. 112 (1896) (emphasis added).

[12] Miller, Stephen R.; The New American Commentary, vol. 18 (Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1994), p. 322.

[13] Beale, Gregory K.; The New International Greek Testament Commentary; The Book of Revelation (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan – 1999), pp. 392-393.

[14] Steinmann, op. cit., p. 565.

[15] Lucas, Ernest C.; Daniel (Intervarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL; 2002) p. 296.

[16] White, Ellen G.; The Great Controversy, p. 634 (emphasis added).

[17] Whitcomb, John C.; Daniel (Moody Press; Chicago, IL; 1985), p. 165.

[18] White, Ellen G.; The Review and Herald, September 25, 1883 (emphasis added).

[19] Bibleworks 7, on Daniel 12:9, WTT Hebrew.

[20] Harris, R. Laird; Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, vol II.

[21] White, Ellen G.; Selected Messages, vol. 2, p. 105.

[22] Miller, op. cit., pp. 324-325.

[23] White, Ellen G.; Testimonies to Ministers, p. 114 (emphasis added).

[24] White, Ellen G.; Early Writings, p. 71 (emphasis added).

[25] White, Ellen G.; Testimonies to the Church, vol. 2, p. 505 (emphasis added).

[26] White, Ellen G.; Prophets and Kings, p. 547 (emphasis added).

[27] White, Ellen G.; Manuscript Releases, vol. 19, p. 320 (emphasis added).

[28] White, Ellen G.; Manuscript Releases, vol. 21, p. 436, 1906.

[29] White, Ellen G.; The Seventh-day Adventist Commentary, vol. 7, p. 971 (emphasis added).



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