SCRIPTURE'S MOST IMPORTANT TIMED PROPHECIES
(DANIEL 12 – PART THREE OF THREE)
Daniel had specifically asked about the period that ends with the deliverance of God's people and special resurrection. Jesus didn't disappoint. In our last study we learned that it was time, times and a half – a literal three and a half years. Then Jesus added:
"and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished" (Daniel 12:7).
"and when he shall have accomplished" (vs 7)
The word "when" is a timing word that helps fix the point of time that those three and a half years apply. The word "he" refers back to the persecutor (11:35), the one who is against the holy covenant (11:30), the antichrist during the "appointed time" (11:29, 35), the king of the north (11:40-45). When he finishes his evil work, the end that Daniel inquired about comes. But Jesus adds another clarifying point:
"to scatter the power of the holy people" (vs 7)
What task does the antichrist complete? The Hebrew word for "scatter" is naphats, and literally means smashing or pulverizing God's people, the "holy people." Steinmann suggests that a better transliteration for the word "scatter" would be "persecute." The papal power will do everything to dilute or stop the witnessing of God's people. This ties directly with the prophecy of the two witnesses in John's apocalypse. When they "finish" their task (the gospel has gone to the world) (Revelation 11:7), they are "killed" (silenced). That will come to an end when they are delivered ("stood upon their feet" – Revelation 11:11) and then great fear falls on those who see this (Revelation 11:11), alluding back to Daniel 11:44.
"all these things shall be finished" (vs 7)
High Priest Jesus has given us a three-and-a-half year period. At its end the persecution of God's people will not only be finished but their deliverance comes (Zechariah 14:3-11). The antichrist will have been destroyed (Daniel 11:45, Revelation 16:19). This whole scene is eschatological and is anticipated in the very near future.
This imagery is introduced in the descriptive events of Daniel 11:39-45. Why is this timing prophecy so important now? At deliverance the knowledge of when When the antichrist and his minions are finally silenced (at the end of a three and a half year period), the church, "the holy people," will know that the time for Christ's return is extremely near. that occurs will be made clear.
"The tribulation will last three and a half years, the time corresponding to the second half of the week mentioned in 9:27." This introduces another important timing topic. The great purpose of the 490-year prophecy remains yet to be fulfilled. A corporate "holy people" is still pending! Who is that "holy people?" It is a cosmopolitan blend of Jews and Gentiles (Romans 1:16-17; 11:7-10, 25-27; Galatians 3:26-29). "Holy host," "holy people," are phrases that imply the very end of time! A body of saints will have been made up.
What timing information has been presented?
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 periodevent that starts this timing block must be identified. That is what the rest of this chapter unfolds for us! valuable, the
"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's spirit and understanding are so different from when he was the prime minister/statesman at the height of his executive career. He functioned with finesse and confidence, interpreting divine messages. But not here! This transition came around 545 B.C. (60 years into the Babylonian captivity) when Daniel 7's prophecy was given. "Hitherto is the end of the matter. As for me Daniel, my cogitations much troubled me, and my countenance changed in me: but I kept the matter in my heart" (7:28). Daniel was troubled by that vision. It was mysterious and fearful.
Up until then the prophetic issues were great kingdom-oriented metaphors which he understood. But in Daniel 7 a new element is introduced. Not only is a kingdom theme presented but the imagery draws on issues of power and horror. Dual application becomes apparent in 7:12b and eternal kingdom language in 7:22 and 27. The final restoration of God's people and His kingdom is fast forwarded. The great controversy between good and evil is spotlighted. How it all ends begins to unfold in proleptic imagery. Daniel 7-12 has stunning links to help God's holy people right at the end.
"And I heard, but I understood not:" (vs 8)
Daniel is again not grasping the nuances of this Daniel 12 prophecy. He wants to know the outcome of "the latter part of these things." This relates to the time the antichrist is active (Daniel 11:29-45) – the "time appointed" (11:29) at the "time of the end" (11:35) when the "he" becomes a world power (vss 40-45), then falls, culminating in the triumph of God's people!
Daniel's lack of understanding underlines the mysterious nature of these prophecies that would remain that way till the time of the end (cf. 8:27). He was to be a faithful seer. Since it is the ha hazon visions which were previously sealed, one must conclude that the timing prophecies in this chapter are part of that apocalyptic composite.
"then said I, O my Lord," (vs 8)
Daniel's use of "O, my Lord" is a gracious way to address a divine being (10:16-17, 19).
"what shall be the end of these things?" (vs 8)
There is debate regarding the wording of this text. The Theodotion and the Old Greek (OG) records of the LXX differ. It appears as though the latter is clearer. In that context, the OG suggests that Daniel wants to simply have further information. He seems to understand the "period" of time (three and a half years) and its two main terminal events that occur during this chazown (ha hazon) vision. So his question: "What now?" "What will occur after those things or after that period?" "Especially after the resurrection?"
He was not to get an answer. More timing prophecies would be given. But the end-points of "timed" prophecy are only these two events – deliverance of the holy people and the special resurrection. What occurs after that was already alluded to in Daniel 7:21-22 and 27 – but not "timed."
- Antichrist wars with the saints and prevails (7:21), "silences" the holy people (12:7)
- God's people delivered (12:1)
Time prophecy ends here
- Ancient of Days comes (7:22) – second coming
- Judgment given to the saints (7:22) – millennial review
- Saints possess kingdom (7:22), everlasting kingdom (7:27) – new earth
"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." The ha hazon prophecies were to be sealed until "the time of the end," repeating what Gabriel said in 12:4. Jesus will yet add even new information that will also be unavailable to his understanding – but distinctly to help an end-time viewpoint!
- Time – es/et/eth – appointed season. Collectively, when everything consummates.
- End – qes/qets – when God brings everything to a judicial end
This "time of the end" is clearly associated with the "appointed time" of three and a half years (8:19). But there are other interesting allusions to associated prophecies in Revelation.
Immediately following the onset of the judgment of the living, when John measures the temple (Revelation 11:1), this three-and-a-half-year period begins – (Revelation 11:2-3). This ties directly to the first angel's message (Revelation 14:7), which begins with the "hour of his judgment has come." When es and qes are used together, related to all these prophecies, an eschatological end is in view.
- 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.
- "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.
Jesus noted that "time" would "soon no longer be delayed" (Revelation 10:6) (anticipated in the near future, a tarrying time would end).
- John eats that little book (Revelation 10:9) – he (symbolizing us) understands it before the two end-time timing prophecies of Revelation 11:2-3 are activated!
Those two three-and-a-half-year periods (Revelation 11:2-3) are direct references to Daniel 12:7.
Prophetic language has distinct meaning. The three and a half years are repeated in Revelation three ways:
- Time, times, and half – for cleansing, deliverance – Atonement language
- 42 Months – a period of persecution tied to lunar cycles (lesser light – apostasy)
- 1260 days – a specific time to "count down"
"As the end approaches, the messages of Daniel (and other prophecies of the last days) will become increasingly clear to believers." In the context of Daniel 12:4 and 12:9, we now know that they do "refer eschatologically to the period of time leading up to the return of Christ."
"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).
Jesus now develops a scene that insinuates an end-time judgment! He notes that there will be a point in time when two moral classes of people fill planet Earth. This is eloquently stated 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).
When Jesus returns, He segregates (symbolically) those two divisions. "When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world" (Matthew 25:31-34).
Here, Daniel, in this end-time setting, is given exactly the same message. There will be two classes. When it occurs, it will be final! There will be no turning back. A judicial decision has been made.
"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." 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.
This verse refers back to the previous chapter (11:32-35), where these two groups are introduced.
- Such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries (vs 32).
- The people who do know their God shall be strong and do exploits – they that understand shall instruct many (vss 32-33).
- Those will be persecuted and be purged and made white at the time of the end (vss 33, 35).
Here in 12:10 is the culmination of that tribulation period. Jesus had already identified them in verse 7 as "the holy people." There is a corporate body, called a "host" in Daniel 8:10 and 11. This verse (12:10) and 11:35 use "purge," "purify" (white) and "refine," revealing God's final cleansing and sealing work of His people.
"Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried;" (vs 10)
What do "purified" and "white" mean?
"But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you" (I Peter 5:10).
||That is the "faith of Jesus"
(Revelation 14:12) – just like He is!
This ties to Christ's message to the Laodicean church:
- "buy of me gold tried in fire" (Revelation 3:18) – the purification process
- The tender? Giving Him our sins.
How perfect is "purified"?
"No man can cover his soul with the garments of Christ's righteousness while practicing known sins, or neglecting known duties. God requires the entire surrender of the heart, before justification can take place; and in order for man to retain justification, there must be continual obedience, through active, living faith that works by love and purifies the soul."
"For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified." (Romans 2:13).
"Every one who by faith obeys God's commandments, will reach the condition of sinlessness in which Adam lived before his transgression." "When we submit ourselves to Christ ... we live His life. This is what it means to be clothed with the garment of His righteousness."
The term "white" refers to purity – a character like Christ's. This concept must not be minimized.
- It symbolizes innocence (Isaiah 1:18). There are no spots or stains.
- The saints in heaven are depicted as being in white robes (Revelation 7:13-14).
- The "white" color was the focus of a conversation between John and one of the 24 elders (Revelation 7:14).
- Then it was noted that they were white because their robes/their characters were washed in the blood of the Lamb.
Those who are delivered have all their sins removed – their sanctuary is cleansed – like the white horse (first seal). That horse represents Christ's purified corporate body near the end.
"I also saw that 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."
"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."
In Revelation the group first identified as "refined" and "sealed" are the 144,000 (Revelation 7). These emphasize the results of justification and sanctification. Here in Daniel, these verbs are passive. God does it all! But – those gifts are given to those who have wisdom and understanding. They have come into contact with truth and applied its power!
"but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand;" (vs 10)
The wicked will not understand because of spiritual blindness (cf. John 9:39-41, II Corinthians 2:14). These individuals are "ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth" (II Timothy 3:7).
Wickedness will increase, not decrease, in the last days. "But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived" (II Timothy 3:13; cf. Revelation 22:11).
"‘When the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?' Luke 18:8. And, as we have seen, He declares that the state of the world will be as in the days of Noah. Paul warns us that we may look for wickedness to increase as the end draws near: ‘The Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.' 1 Timothy 4:1. The apostle says that ‘in the last days perilous times shall come.' 2 Timothy 3:1. And he gives a startling list of sins that will be found among those who have a form of godliness."
"but the wise shall understand" (vs 10)
In this context, what will the wise understand? (Key)
- The sealed portion of the prophecy.
- "As we near the close of this world's history, the 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."
"John sees the little book unsealed (Revelation 10). 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." 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 prophesy again" – Revelation 10:11 – second application).
John symbolizes those who, before the appointed time (three and a half years) (Revelation 11:2-3), will understand the sealed portion of Daniel.
Daniel 12:10 is another clue, in the very center of Jesus' final discourse to Daniel, that this chapter is end-time! Jesus ends it by saying, "the wise will understand."
Christ's Grand Finale
Now we move towards the mighty timed endings to Daniel's book. The three timing prophecies beautifully mesh together. As one sees this, suddenly a remarkable framework for the setting of Revelation will unfold.
"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 begins with Christ's end-time dissertation (Matthew 24:15). Though Mark 13 is apparently the "original/first" narrative of His Olivet discourse, and perhaps a "reference" to Matthew's writing (ch. 24) and Luke's rendition (chs. 17 and 21), they all differ in many details. Collectively, a beautiful portrayal of end-time prophecy is framed. It creates a remarkable foundation to Daniel, and Daniel, in turn, is a preface to Revelation.
One area the three gospel transcriptions differ is in the response of God's people to the approach of the abomination into the precincts of God's church. In Appendix II is a discussion of how this progressive attempt to taint the purity of God's people (through end-time apostasy – Babylon) comes.
- Luke – the abomination surrounds God's people.
- Mark – it has entered, mingled with and influences God's people.
- Matthew – it stands in the "holy place" – God's church.
Daniel 12:11 is the key verse where Jesus in Mathew 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.
- Daily sacrifice (this latter word, "sacrifice," is not in the original manuscripts) is abolished or taken away. (See Appendix III for why the "Daily" is the true Bible Sabbath).
- An abomination that leads to desolation is set up. The language is legal and suggests that a law or decree causes the daily to be removed or diminished and the abomination established in its place. See Appendix IV for a discussion as to why this is a false Sabbath in defiance of the fourth commandment.
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 has 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:
They are superimposed as noted in this diagram. We will discuss the details shortly. But we must address two other issues before we move on.
- Are these literal days? (See Appendix V.)
- Could these represent a "year for a day?" (See Appendix VI.)
The hermeneutic rule simply states that when the Hebrew word yom (day) is used with a number (ordinal or cardinal), it always refers to a literal 24-hour day. Creation days were the first example of how this is applied.
Verse 7 was Christ's answer to Daniel's question in verse 6. This verse (11) is Christ's answer to Gabriel's question in 8:13!
"Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to him, ‘How long will it take for the vision to be fulfilled–the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, the rebellion [abomination] that causes desolation, and the surrender of the sanctuary and of the host that will be trampled underfoot?'" (8:13 – NIV).
"From the time that the daily ... is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days" (12:11 – NIV).
The power of the little horn that became great (a large, powerful king/kingdom), described in 8:9b-12, is manifest during this 1290-day period. It appears to wield its oppressive power against Messiah the Prince and His host, the "holy people," through a sin (transgression) that leads to desolation. That sin is later described, by God's emotional reaction to it, as an "abomination."
When that little horn power superintends over a law that minimizes the true Sabbath and sets up a false sabbath, it is called a "sin" or "transgression." The Hebrew word, used twice, in Daniel 8 and once in Daniel 9:26 is pesha. That is rebellion against God's law, covenant and authority. How are all three of those desecrated? By dishonoring the Sabbath commandment!
The Sabbath is the pivotal moral issue at the end. These verses are vital to grasp and understand! God's people will soon experience a life and death confrontation over the Sabbath! That is pointedly clear in these prophecies.
We now have two time periods (vss 7, 11). One has an ending, the other a beginning. How close or how far apart they are to this point is not revealed. That is the unique mission of the next verse. Look again at the above graph before we move on.
"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 word for "blessed" is esher. It conveys the thought that those who wait will experience happiness or heaven's special kindness.
This introduces another concept that is a vital end-time issue. God had waited for approximately 1500 years to have a people who were like Him. At the Cross the Jewish nation sealed their doom (Matthew 23:37-38). God has once again been waiting to have a people who are corporately clothed in His righteousness. This will be the 144,000. The Bible calls the period between the Cross and that time a "tarrying time." (See Appendix VII - "Tarrying Time"). We are in that time, and it is about to end.
This waiting is an Old Testament concept (Habakkuk 2:2-3 - where it is first introduced) 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 are they who wait, and in the context of this verse, understand these prophecies. They will be "waiting" with a distinct object in view - the onset of the "appointed time," the three and a half years. The word in Daniel 8:19 for the "appointed time" is moed. It is that special "set-aside" time that Jesus introduced in verse 7 above!! In fact, this is so important that Gabriel mentioned it twice in the previous chapter in association with the antichrist (11:29, 35). Know the meaning of this "appointed time"! It is at the "time of the end." It is three and a half years!
The saints who wait for the 1335 days to begin, and the Hebrew suggests also go through that period, will have that special blessing and happiness. Note: The time period in this verse has neither a beginning nor an ending. Why? Because those were already given in the previous two time periods! Now we know how far apart that beginning and ending are.
As noted in Appendix V, these are literal days. At deliverance (Daniel 12:1) God will have a holy people. The corporate body of Christ will have been cleansed and purified (Daniel 12:10). This process is beautifully outlined in Ezekiel 20:33-38. Also: "And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem" (Isaiah 4:3).
Why have these periods been given? Virtually the whole book of Revelation is couched within this time framework. Also, God, through John, will remind us again and again of this "appointed time." Beginning with Revelation 11-13, it will be repeated five times in various ways. When it ends, God's people will be secure, retained in the Book of Life and ready to respond to the call "Come up hither" (Revelation 11:12).
"The God who gave Daniel instruction regarding the closing scenes of this earth's history will certainly confirm the testimony of His servants as at the ‘appointed time' they give the loud cry."
"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.
Expositors differ as to what this "end"-point refers to. The context from Daniel 8:17 and in chapter 12 is the "time of the end" (es qes). Remaining true to this contextual association aids in understanding the last phrase. At the end he will "stand in his lot."
This latter phrase suggests that he will be resurrected, and is a great promise to the aging seer. But there is another allusion that draws on a wonderful metaphor. Daniel's unfulfilled and only partially understood prophecies will be understood (see 12:4); and though it seems so incomplete now, they will rise in prominence at the "end of the days."
"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.
"The attention of our churches must be aroused. We are standing upon the borders of the greatest event in the world's history, and Satan must not have power over the people of God, causing them to sleep on. The papacy will appear in its power. All must now arouse and search the Scriptures, for God will make known to His faithful ones what shall be in the last time. The word of the Lord is to come to His people in power."
Is Daniel 12 related to the appointed time, the time of the end, the period that ends with the deliverance of God's people? There is no other accurate conclusion.
Franklin S. Fowler, Jr., M.D.; Prophecy Research Initiative © 2010
EndTime Issues…, Number 105, June 10, 2010
 Steinmann, Andrew E.; Daniel (Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis - 2008), p. 565.
 Lacocque, Daniel, p. 249, as quoted in Miller Stephen R.; The New American Commentary,
vol. 18 (Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1994), p. 323.
 Collins, John J.; Daniel (Fortress Press, Minneapolis, MN - 1993), p. 399.
 Collins, op. cit., p. 400 (paraphrased).
 Lucas, Ernest C.; Daniel (Intervarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL; 2002) p. 297 (paraphrased).
 Bibleworks 7, on Daniel 12:9, WTT Hebrew.
 Harris, R. Laird; Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, vol II.
 White, Ellen G.; Selected Messages, vol. 2, p. 105.
 Miller, Stephen R.; The New American Commentary, vol. 18 (Broadman & Holman
Publishers, 1994), p. 324.
 Steinman, op. cit., p. 566.
 Miller, op. cit., pp. 324-325.
 White, Ellen G.; The Review and Herald, November 4, 1890.
 White, Ellen G.; The Signs of the Times, July 23, 1902 (emphasis added).
 White, Ellen G.; My Life Today, p. 311 (emphasis added).
 White, Ellen G.; Early Writings, p. 71 (emphasis added).
 Ibid., vol. 2, p. 505 (emphasis added).
 Whitcomb, John C.; Daniel, p. 167.
 White, Ellen G.; Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 103.
 White, Ellen G.; Prophets and Kings, p. 547 (emphasis added).
 White, Ellen G.; Manuscript Releases, vol. 19, p. 320.
 White, Ellen G.; Manuscript Releases, vol. 21, p. 436 (1906).