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The Last Word-Daniel Chapter 12

by R H Boll

Robert H. Boll (1875-1956)

Robert H. Boll (1875-1956)

CHAPTER XV  Daniel 12
By R. H. Boll

(From Bro. Boll’s Study of the book of Daniel)


“Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise.” So begins the 12th, the last chapter of Daniel. Three points demand our attention here:

  1. What time is referred to, when he says “At that time”?
  2. Who is Michael?
  3. What is meant by Michael shall “arise”? [or “stand up”KJV]
  4.      “At that time”manifestly refers to what has been spoken of in the preceding context, namely, “the time of the end” (Daniel 11:35, 40); not the last mentioned instant in Daniel 11:45, but the period of the end-time in general. It is at some special point during these events of the end-time that Michael shall arise.
  5.      Michaelis described here as “the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people,” the people of Israel. In Daniel 10:13 he is spoken of as “one of the chief princes”; and in v. 21 of the same chapter “Michael your prince.” Just as the heathen kingdoms, Persia and Greece, were under the dominion and tutelage of certain of the powerful angels of Satan–“the prince of the kingdom of Persia,” “the prince of Greece,” Daniel 10:13, 20–who withstood God’s great angel when he was sent in answer to Daniel’s prayer (read again Daniel 10)–so Michael was the mighty God-sent angel-prince who had charge over Israel. In Jude 9 he is called the “archangel,” i. e., the chief of angels.
  6.     The fact that in the end-time he shall “stand up” [“arise”] indicates that before this he had held himself in abeyance. When God gave up His people Israel because of their continued disobedience (Micah 5:3; Hosea 1:9), Michael retired from his activities. For many long years and centuries he had not “stood up” for Israel. Now, in this end of the end-time, he comes forward again to take a hand in their affairs. But the first consequence of Michael’s rising up is “there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time.” Out of this unparalleled trouble Daniel’s people shall be delivered–“everyone who is found written in the book.” (Daniel 12:1.)

A remarkable side-light to this is found in Revelation 12–for here once again the book of Revelation makes contact with Daniel’s prophecy.

The sun-clad woman in Revelation 12 that gives birth to the Manchild destined to rule the nations with a rod of iron, is Israel. The dragon who waits to devour the woman’s child is Satan. (Revelation 12:9.) But the dragon’s purpose is foiled: the child is caught up to God and to His throne (v. 5). In the next verse the woman is seen again, but now no longer as a glorious ideal figure in heaven, but as being on the earth, distressed and persecuted, and as a fugitive, finding protection in the wilderness. The explanation of this strange turn of affairs lies in the episode of Revelation 12:7-12, which is also the point of contact with Daniel 12:1.

Here (as in Daniel 12:1) we see Michael rising up. There is war in heaven: Michael and his angels warring against the dragon and his angels. It is a final and decisive battle: the dragon and his host are vanquished and forevermore cast out of the heavenly realm and down to earth. Then John hears a great voice in heaven, saying,

Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night.”

This victory in the spiritual realm was made possible by a previous victory on earth by those “brethren,” the servants of God: [48]

And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.”

But it is this heavenly victory that precipitates the great tribulation:

Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time.”

But the woman (Israel) finds refuge in the wilderness in a place prepared for her of God, where she is nourished from the face of the Serpent for 1260 days; a time, and times, and half a time. (Revelation 12:6, 13, 14.)

It is to this time and circumstance that Daniel 12:1 refers. Daniel does not tell us what Michael does when he rises up–Revelation 12:7-9 tells us. And Daniel does not reveal the cause of the great, unparalleled trouble that ensues upon Michael’s rising up; but Revelation 12:12 explains it. Satan now knows his nearing defeat, and his rage knows no bounds. All his fury is now turned against the woman. But unable to destroy her in her shelter, he turns to make war with “the rest of her children,” and raises up the Beast of Revelation 13 to be his agent and instrument.

Daniel does not follow these developments. In verse 2 of Daniel 12, he speaks of a partial resurrection. In verse 3 he speaks of the work of certain heroic souls who, during the great tribulation, “lead many to righteousness.” Then in verse 4, Daniel is instructed (as once before, chapter 8:26), to “conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time.” As that “time of the end” (ASV) draws near the message will be released–partly through the earnest efforts of many who shall seek to understand it: “many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.” (ASV) And verse 12 says, “none of the wicked will understand, but those who have insight will understand.” Therefore, the Savior’s significant word, “let the reader understand,” which He interjects into His reference to Daniel’s prophecy: “Therefore when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand).” (Matthew 24:15). See how different were the orders given to John in connection with the book of Revelation, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near.” (Revelation 22:10.)

*     *     *     *

The resurrection mentioned in Daniel 12:2 has occasioned difficulty to all students of the book, regardless of what their eschatological views are. Is it a literal resurrection? Some say, not. It has ever been a convenient method to get rid of a difficult statement in the Bible by declaring it “figurative” and “symbolical,” and then making of it what one pleased. This method may seem plausible, because the Bible certainly does contain some figurative and symbolical statements. But it is manifestly unfair to God’s word to call any of its teachings “figurative” or “symbolical” just because they could be taken in such a sense, and because to do so would remove a difficulty for us. However, in Ezekiel 37 a national resurrection of Israel is spoken of, which admittedly is figurative. And while that of itself is no proof at all that the resurrection of Daniel 12:2 is also figurative, yet the similarity of the time and circumstances of the two passages may justify the conclusion that both refer to the same event. Some (most notably S. P. Tregelles) have offered other explanations worthy of consideration, with which we cannot burden our brief studies at this time.1

Now (at Daniel 12:5) the vision is resumed. Daniel sees “two others” one on each side of the river–the river Tigris. (See Daniel 10:4.) The angel whom he had seen at first, who was “dressed in linen” (10:5, 6) now is seen “above the waters of the river.” One of the two that stood on the bank, said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, “How long will it be until the end of these wonders?” The angel lifted his right hand and his left hand towards heaven, and Daniel heard him swear by Him who lives for ever (compare Revelation 10:6), saying, “It would be for a time, times, and half a time.” This is the duration of the great tribulation (Daniel 12:1).

At the close of this period the power “of the holy people,” Israel, will be completely broken. Then–not till then, but then–will God step in for their deliverance.

For the LORD will vindicate His people, And will have compassion on His servants, When He sees that their strength is gone, And there is none remaining, bond or free.”

And at that time He will say to them: [49]

See now that I, I am He, And there is no god besides Me; It is I who put to death and give life. I have wounded and it is I who heal, And there is no one who can deliver from My hand.” (Deuteronomy 32:36, 39.)

As when Jacob wrestled with the Stranger at the ford of the river Jabbok, and at last found blessing when in helpless weakness he clung to his great Adversary–so in this extremity, in “the time of Jacob’s distress,” which has no equal, shall Jacob be delivered. (Jeremiah 30:7-11.) Then “all these events will be completed.”

Daniel heard all this, but did not understand, so he asked, “My lord, what will be the outcome of these events?” He said, “Go your way, Daniel, for these words are concealed and sealed up until the end time.”

In those last days, in the midst of their last great distress, “Many will be purged, purified and refined.” As in another place he said–“And I will bring the third part through the fire, Refine them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested. 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 my God.'” (Zechariah 13:9.) For He has chosen them in the furnace of affliction. (Isaiah 48:10.) The wicked and rebels among them are destined to perish in the flames. The wise will understand these things; but “the wicked will act wickedly; and none of the wicked will understand.”

Two more notes of time are given:

  1. from the taking away of the continual burnt-offering, when “the abomination of desolation is set up,”–two things that mark the beginning of the Great Tribulation (Daniel 9:27; Matthew 24:15, 21) he numbers 1290 days–30 days beyond the duration of tribulation period; then
  2. he pronounces a blessing on him who waits another 45 days. Why those extra 75 days? We do not know. Whether it represents a reconstruction period, a margin allowed for adjustments and alignment with God’s new world order–it is not told us. It will be seen in that day.

The last word in Daniel is one of comfort from God to the aged prophet:

But as for you, go your way to the end; then you will enter into rest and rise again for your allotted portion at the end of the age.”

So concludes the wonderful, meaningful, book of Daniel’s prophecy. One more chapter will sum up what we have seen and learned in these brief studies.


Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased” (ASV). This is one of the marks of “the time of the end.” On the face of it this means a great increase of travel and general education. Some think the statement is confined to the subject in hand–namely great effort and endeavor to find the truth and to search the Scriptures and a corresponding increase in knowledge of it. That is no doubt correct so far as it goes. But the more general meaning is not thereby excluded. It was this verse that led Isaac Newton to think that the time might come when people would be able to travel fifty miles an hour–which caused Voltaire, the French Infidel, to burst out into ridicule of both Newton and the Bible. But if running to and fro of many, and the general increase of knowledge is a sign of the approaching end-time, the time is surely upon us! [Editors note: The NASBU is rather weak here. It says, “many will go back and forth . . .”]

Those who are wise. In those days of the end-time and its terrible sufferings, a class of faithful men comes in for special notice. They are referred to as “those who have insight” [in the ASV margin–“the teachers”]. “They that are wise among the people shall instruct many; (11:33 ASV) who as a result of this teaching will turn to God.

Yet these converts shall nevertheless fall by sword and flame, by captivity and spoil, many days, though not without some manifestation of God’s help. Yes, those “teachers,” those “wise ones” themselves also shall fall, “in order to refine, purge and make them pure until the end time.” (Daniel 11:33-35.) Again he speaks of them in Daniel 12:3–“Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.” And once more these wise ones and the results of their work is referred to in Daniel 12:10.–But even today they who win souls to Christ are wise indeed. It is pre-eminently the work of God’s children. No other work bears such fruit, none other brings such joy and satisfaction, none brings so great a reward. The Christian can pray no better prayer than this: [50]

“Lead me to some soul today

O teach me Lord, just what to say,

Friends of mine are lost in sin

And cannot find their way.

Few there are who seem to care,

And few there are who pray;

Melt my heart and fill my life,

Give me one soul today.”


Michael Rises Up. Michael’s rising up in heaven is directly due to something that was done on the earth. What that was we learn from the passage in Revelation 12:7-12. Satan was unseated from his vantage ground in the heavens which so long he had held. This could be done because God’s people on earth had conquered Satan. Three facts entered into their victory: they overcame him:

  1. by the blood of the Lamb:that was their forgiveness and cleansing and righteousness;
  2. by the word of their testimony:their faithful avowal and proclamation of the word of God;
  3. by their whole-hearted devotion:“they did not love their life even when faced with death.” (Revelation 12:11.)

Mark this: what we do today, our faithfulness, our service, our sacrifice, enters essentially into the accomplishment of God’s prophetic purpose. When Satan is cast down through the foregone victory of God’s people a voice from heaven declares that

Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come” (Revelation 12:10.)

Satan’s tenure of a place in the heavenly realm will end with Israel’s returning. When Israel turns to the Lord, Michael stands up, and Satan is cast out from heaven.

“Go your way, Daniel.” “Say to the righteous that it will go well with them.” Long and faithfully has he served God. As a lad he purposed in his heart to be true to God. For many years in the court of the empire of Babylon, and after Babylon’s fall, in the court of the Medo-Persian, he stood for God in righteousness and truth and kept his garments unspotted from the world. Now his warfare was finished. From now on, it is rest for him and the promise of a blessed day to come.

You will enter into rest and rise again for your allotted portion at the end of the age.”
1 Tregelles holds that those “many” who were asleep in the dust and are raised unto life, are contrasted with the rest who were not raised, but are reserved unto everlasting shame and contempt. The Hebrew terms (ele–ele, “these” and “these”) confirms this. He quotes ancient rabbis who hold this view.


Except where otherwise indicated,
Scripture taken from the New American Standard Bible®,
Copyright © The Lockman Foundation 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968,
1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995.
Used by permission. (www.Lockman.org)

Third Edition, Revised and updated by R. L. Garrett
Published by Churches of Christ, P.O. Box 30, RUWA, ZIMBABWE


  Robert H. Boll
Lessons on Daniel, 3rd Edition, Revised (2000)


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That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:10