Bible Book of Daniel, Part 9 - Chapter 12
This final chapter of Daniel is a direct continuation of the last prophecy in chapters ten and eleven, but now dealing with the very end of time with Christ preparing to return to earth.
This then leads to three final time periods to be aware of during this time of the end.
It is also the only chapter beginning with Christ and not with earthly kings as per all other previous chapters. He is described as Michael the archangel, and although others disagree and see Michael as created angel, there's a post here with more details.
“And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people:” – Daniel 12:1a
The chapter begins with Christ standing up for His Children, still in heaven and the High Priest in the heavenly sanctuary as described in Hebrews. Chapter seven confirms how God was seated at the previous judgement scene (Daniel 7:9), and there are various New Testament references to Christ sitting at the right hand of the Father (e.g. Hebrews 12:2).
Therefore, now must be the very end of time when He is standing.
I’ve placed an image at the top of the display in this final chapter section as a glimpse of God’s glory when such an event happens.
After Christ stands, there are terrible times and events on earth, popularly known as the Great Tribulation:
“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 12:1b
This also links to references in Revelation and Matthew (e.g. Revelation 7:14, Matthew 24:21).
The focus is God’s people at this time – all written in the 'book' – and how they shall be delivered safely through this crazy time. God’s people will be a shining example of Him, with the final resurrection of them at the end:
“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. 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 12:2-3
Daniel is then told to shut and seal-up these words and book and leave until the time of the end, where there will be an increase in knowledge (this phrase ‘time of the end’ is referred to five times in total in the book of Daniel). This is reiterated again at the end of the chapter with an explanation of how some will be purified and tried and are wise, whereas the wicked will not understand these matters:
“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
"And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. 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 12:9-10
Daniel then sees three heavenly beings by a river, with two on either side of a river asking a third 'man' upon the river about the timing of these end-time events.
“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. 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?” – Daniel 12:5-6
It’s interesting how the timing aspect of this is being emphasised by angelic beings and God through this vision, and not simply Daniel being curious. This also happened with the timeline in chapter eight which was later explained in chapter nine.
This chapter, therefore, concludes with three-time spans. Although this is the shortest book in Daniel, it is actually has the most number of time prophecies in it.
There are different interpretations of course with what these time periods represent. Here is what I understand these to be through the Historicist method of interpretation, and will be placed as separate lines on the display to correspond with other time frames in previous chapters.
The First Time Period
The first time period is actually confirming the same one already mentioned several times earlier in Daniel, and also Revelation – 1,260 days.
“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.” – Daniel 12:7
This is simply re-iterating what has already been said, and therefore, summarising an important point about this antichrist as symbolised in earlier chapters through a little horn against God and His people.
As previously, using the day-year principle and Historicist perspective, this can be interpreted as the period of Papacy control for 1,260 years between the years 538 AD and 1798 AD.
Of course, Daniel at this time has no idea what this means, and God reminds him to leave alone for the time of the end:
"And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things? And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end." - Daniel 12:8-9
However, detail is provided about the 'holy people' being scattered by the end of this period which was certainly the case with the persecution of true believers during the Dark Middle Ages.
"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." - Daniel 12:7
The Second Time Period
A second time period is a new number that has not been mentioned before - 1,290 days.
When understanding this, we, of course, must use the same 'day year' principle as with the previous time which leads to it representing 1,290 years.
We then need to understand when this time period begins in order to identify what it symbolises – from the removal of the ‘daily’ and establishment of the ‘abomination of desolation’:
“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
This can be seen as 508 AD, when Clovis the King of France converted to Catholicism and conquered the Goths. Other Barbarian kings were either still pagan or the heretic Arian faith, therefore, Clovis was the catalyst for the Papacy's secular and political control over Western Europe (see post here with further details).
The Emporer and Bishop of Rome endorsed this, and Catholicism's doctrines of removing the daily and establishing the abomination of desolation across the Holy Roman Empire began.
If we add 1,290 years to this year 508 AD, we arrive at the year 1798 AD.
This is the same year that is arrived at from the first 1260 years time period from the completion of the Papacy’s final delegated authority across the Empire in 538 AD in an earlier chapter.
The Third Time Period
The third time span is also a new one of 1,335 days, which again using the same 'day year' principle of interpretation, can be identified as 1,335 years.
“Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.” – Daniel 12:12
We’re still using the same starting point as the second time span in the previous verse, hence adding 1,335 years to 508 AD arrives at the year 1843 AD.
There is a specific blessing to people beyond this date, with the following year 1844 being the year when the heavenly sanctuary is prophecised to be cleansed in chapter eight.
The mainstream Futurist method of interpretation sees all these time frames as still to happen right at the end of time in a literal seven-year period with a mid-week mark at three and a half years.
Right at the beginning of the chapter, Michael is often seen as a general angel, not Christ Himself preparing for His Second Coming to earth. God's people are assumed to be Israel at the end of time who are seeing persecution in the final period of an antichrist individual against them.
There is an emphasis on a final message and help through the angel to provide an opportunity for the Jews to turn to Christ after Christians have probably already been raptured to heaven (a period of final testing).
The 1260 days period is interpreted as the last three and half years where the antichrist will set up a literal idol of self-worship and therefore abomination of desolation probably thirty days before to link to the second 1290 days timeline. The final 1335 suggests an extra forty-five days after the end of this whole period, although it's not clear what for.
Preterists focus on all these things already coming to pass through Roman's persecution of the church in the first few centuries, and Antiochus Epiphanes (who Futurists see as foreshadowing the final individual).
As we come to the end of the biblical book of Daniel, it’s important to then look at how this relates to real life. After all, prophecy from God is meant to help and navigate us through strange End Times.
In short, it’s highlighting an antichrist system that is against God, His method of salvation, and His believers - developed later in Revelation and other parts of the New Testament. This matches all ten features of the little horn in chapter seven.
When you see this through the Historicist perspective identifying as the Papacy and Catholicism, then you realise how this is applicable right now, and not some far-off event way into the future or historical one in the past.
This shocked me when I first discovered this, and the fact that modern mainstream Christianity no longer sees or believes this, whereas great Protestant Reformers of the past did.
Therefore, I think it’s important to outline more specific examples of modern Christianity deviating from this perspective. This is not meant at all to point the finger at people after all this is about a ‘system’ and ‘kingdom’ rather than individuals which I understand better through the analogy of coffee shop baristas here.
But this does need to be addressed, as individuals in places of authority in the church and Christianity have a God-given responsbility to walk and lead others into truth. Therefore instances, where this doesn’t appear to be the case, need highlighting for people to make their own decision.
So here are my top five observations:
1. The Worldwide Combination of Different Religions
We should, of course, love and respect everyone and our neighbours, including other religions and beliefs. However, there comes the point when you can’t share practices like prayer and doctrines, simply because they’re believing in something different.
I was therefore surprised by how easily Christians and churches have gone past this line and actively participated in such things with other religions, which the Pope is an active participant in, often under a theme of Ecumenicalism. There may be a good and plausible common goals like world peace and human betterment, but we’re all turning to different gods for this.
There are organisations like the Parliament of World’s Religions and even United Nations, and there is a particular video I saw that I’m now having difficulties in finding – it basically showed worldwide religions coming together and gladly accepting the same prayers and doctrines.
In particular, there is also the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification.
This was formed in 1999 by the Roman Catholic church to basically lead all other Christian denominations to sign-up to the same core doctrine of salvation and justification, with a detailed post here of what this essentially is and how it is incorrect.
However, the Reformation was all about there needing to be differences, and the bible warning that in fact, the Catholicism doctrine is against the only sacrifice of Jesus Christ for salvation. This core belief has not changed in more modern times even though there may be different forefront issues of say spirituality, human aid, and ecumenicalism.
One Christian denomination also worth mentioning is the Seventh-day Adventist church, which I came across more in 2017 when learning what the former great Protestant Reformers believed through the 500th year celebration of the Reformation. They are the main, and possibly only denomination that still accepts this Historicst method of interpreting Biblical prophecy.
They emerged in 1844 with a belief in Christ completing High Priestly duties in the heavenly sanctuary from this time. Although they also believe in a further Spirit of Prophecy through a co-founder Ellen White, even without this aspect their belief of a pre-advent judgement after 1798 is supported in Scripture.
2. Christian Church Leaders
Looking further into, I noticed notable Christian and Church leaders like Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, and Joel Osteen all openly saying that we need to partner with the Roman Catholic church, as there are no serious doctrinal differences.
Whilst Joel Osteen is already known as being more positive-thinking focused with little reference to Christ (see helpful video here), when you start digging into teachings like Rick Warren’s church you also see little references to Christ and His sacrifice, and more on more spiritual experiences and generic God references.
You can also often spot the earlier education of such leaders from Jesuit establishments which are the Papacy’s main Counter Reformation tool against Protestantism (see below).
Nicky Gumbel, who started the Alfa Course in the UK, also particularly stuck out to me with his open acceptance of the Pope.
In 2014 there was an open partnership of evangelical Christian leaders in America with the Roman Catholic church, with one video here of a talk from representative Tony Palmer.
Kenneth Copeland, one of the main leaders in this, has a video here with a disturbing declaration that the Reformation from 500 years ago was basically wrong; I have no hesitation in now believing that he is a false prophet if he can openly come out with statements like this (also see a video on exposing him as a false prophet here as well).
There is also a detailed analysis here of Bill Johnson and Bethel Church here highlighting wrong teachings.
More recently, there is a great documentary called the American Gospel which highlights the issues with the modern Word-of-faith, prosperity-Gospel, and NAR (New Apostolic Reformation) churches in America, with specific reference to Catholicism being against true Protestant Christianity at 16:30 minutes in (and later on in the full film).
Also, you can see increasing references to the style and beliefs of churches becoming more like Roman Catholicism, an example in this Youtube video from around 26 minutes in.
3. Spiritual Experiences
Coming from an Evangelical and Pentecostal Christian background, it was then disturbing to see how spiritual experiences and apparent Holy Spirt led beliefs were being mixed up with the system that I believe God clearly says in scripture is wrong and actually against Him.
The Holy Spirit can only confirm truth; therefore, other wrong spirits must also be at work in 'experiences' that believe otherwise.
There’s an example here with Benny Hinn saying how the Catholic mass is a must for spiritual highs.
The most disturbing one I came across was a video here by Darlene Zhceh from Hillsong (after 42 minutes in), my favourite Christian Worship musician. She simply went with the flow and accepted an invite to the Pope’s event in Rome which she explained was a wonderful experience and can’t undertake why there was such a backlash on her social media account.
4. The Counter-Reformation
Run like a military operation behind the scenes of society; the Jesuits have (and are having) a subtle yet the most devastating effect on protestant faith ever, including the formation of secret societies like Masonry, development of educational ways to slowly eradicate the supremacy of scripture, and even influence over popular Christian people like Billy Graham.
5. Roman Catholic Theology
I have a separate post here on the ten main differences in doctrine and practice of protestant and Roman Catholic faith.
Although at face value, there appears to be little differences, when you dig deeper, you see how the bottom-line issues of the bible and Christ are actually opposites.
There's a good further explanation of this here by Mike Winger, and identifying how different (and cultish) Catholicism is against core Protestant Christianity, even without identifying it as the official antichrist system that I believe God is warning us about in the prophecies within the book of Daniel.
Final Lessons From Daniel
To finish off this series on the biblical book of Daniel, here are seven final takeaway lessons to note:
1. Pray to God for Help
Keep simple, and pray to God for revelation and understanding of His Word and the prophetic message he is communicating to us through this book in the bible.
Even if you are not a Christian believer, then still pray a simple prayer asking God (if he exists), to show Himself to you, so that you know whether this is real or not.
If He’s not there you can’t lose anything; if He is, you can gain everything.
2. Read and Study the Bible Yourself
No matter how good a study, preach, or teaching aid you have – we must all go back to the Word of God ourselves and let the Holy Spirit reveal it directly to us from there.
Even if you accept things, still go back and see it for yourself in Scripture – this is what God has divinely inspired.
In addition to reading it again and again, ideally in a version like the original King James version, then study it as well – go through verse by verse, write it out, talk it out, hear it spoken, take notes.
Or like myself in this study, even have a go at building a display of some sorts to help visualise it.
3. Appreciate the Right Method of Interpretation
This is fundamental and affects how you piece everything together.
I believe the Historicism perspective is correct as opposed to the more popular Futurist, Preterist and Idealist ones; this was used by all the old Christian Protestant Reformers of old.
You can look at the Chiastic structure of a book and how it is laid out.
4. Remember That Prophecy is Supposed to Help
Simple, but often missed. God wants to clearly explain the future to His believers to help us through these times and to be ready for Christ’s Second Coming.
Therefore, we’re supposed to have peace and clarity in these matters – not left in mystery and having no clue about the future.
Although we don’t know the exact time of His coming, we can spot the signs and be ready for it.
5. Understand Daniel Before Tackling Revelation
At the time of writing this whole study on Daniel, I haven’t actually gone through and therefore really understood Revelation.
I’ve realised that I need to first understand the book of Daniel before then going into the detail of Revelation. This will help form the basic format and understanding to then help unravel the many confusing parts of Revelation.
6. Know Its All About a System Not Individuals
I can best explain this through the analogy of coffee shop baristas in a post here.
God is revealing what overall kingdoms, systems, and governments there are that have ways and principles against Him, and therefore which will eventually affect us personally.
They have a basis that is trying to replace the role of Christ – an ‘anti-christ’ system
7. Leading to Being In-Christ
This should then lead to a relationship with Christ.
You often hear references now to a Christ-centred gospel, which of course, is true. However, this should not be separated from these prophecies which are actually coming from Christ Himself.
They are here to help our walk with Jesus, and after you understand the visions and prophecies in Daniel, the two most important chapters are in actual fact chapters three and six all about the lion's den and the fiery furnace.
These are examples of how we will need to have simple child-like faith in Christ through horrific times to see Him deliver His children and prepare us for His Second Coming and eternally.
Therefore, let’s get ready in-Christ.