“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
Ruth Slater was a woman who did her best to “turn many to righteousness.” When she was saved, she gave her life fully to serving her Savior. In her testimony she said, “My people were pioneers, and I was born in a sod house. My mother would take my sister and me in a lumber wagon to old-time revival meetings. As I heard her sing the hymns, I realized that she had God in her heart, and I knew He was real. Yet, I was a stubborn girl, and as I rode home in the wagon, my feet not yet able to touch the floorboard, I determined that I was not going to serve the Lord. I thought the world held so much for me, and I did not want to take the way of the Cross.
“However, God had other plans for me. In the spring of 1911, I knelt at a kitchen chair in our farmhouse and gave my heart to the Lord. I was just nineteen years of age at the time, and I told God that if He would come into my heart and make a change, I would give Him my life. Oh, what a change He did make! He took the pride and stubbornness out of me and filled my heart with such peace and happiness. Later God sanctified me and filled me with the Holy Ghost.
“After I was saved, I longed to do something for God. Whenever the church papers, The Apostolic Faith, were printed, the church leader would let me help fold them. We would sit on old-fashioned high stools in a little six-by-five cubbyhole in the Front and Burnside church building to work. The papers we folded were handed out and also mailed around the world. I never thought a time would come when I would be one who handed out those papers, but later I was blessed to give them away by the hundreds and thousands to people with hungry hearts throughout the world.”
A vivacious and energetic woman, Ruth was zealous in spreading God’s Word to people wherever she lived or traveled. When she lived in Hawaii, she walked many miles throughout the islands handing out thousands of pieces of Gospel literature on a one-to-one basis. She was a very giving person who did much for others, asking no payment but that they do the same good for someone else. Without doubt, Ruth will be among those who shine “as the stars for ever and ever.” Her life’s mission was to tell others about Jesus and His power to change lives and make people ready for Heaven.
Much of today’s text describes the Antichrist and the terrible time of the Great Tribulation. Yet at the end of this passage, a beam of hope comes through, and it is clear that those who serve God will be rewarded. Each of us has the opportunity to be among that number. Ruth Slater’s testimony can be an encouragement for us to take the focus verse to heart and to also do our best to turn many to righteousness.
Verses 1-35 in Daniel chapter 11 alluded to various ancient rulers, concluding with Antiochus IV Epiphanes. Verse 36 transitions to a description of the future Antichrist, who will exalt himself above all gods, including the God of gods. Verses 40-45 describe some of the wars the Antichrist will encounter, and the establishment of his center of operations near Jerusalem. Chapter 12, verses 1-3, relate to the Archangel Michael’s intervention on behalf of Israel, the resurrection of the dead, and the witness of God’s saving power in the lives of believing Jews.
In other portions of Daniel, the Antichrist is identified as the “little horn” (Daniel 7:8), and “the prince that shall come” (Daniel 9:26). Paul described him as “that man of sin” and “the son of perdition” in 2 Thessalonians 2:3. Verse 36 of chapter 11 describes the Antichrist as a man who will do as he pleases, a dictator who will regard himself above all other gods or religions. He will prosper “till the indignation be accomplished,” a reference to when he sets himself up as god in the Temple in Jerusalem at the mid-point of the Tribulation period.
In verse 37, the phrase “God of his fathers” does not indicate that the Antichrist will be Jewish. Daniel used the Hebrew word “Elohim” for God, which could imply any god in general, rather than the Jewish term “Yahweh,” which signified the God of Israel. Most scholars agree that the “desire of women” referred to a Jewish woman’s desire to be the mother of the Messiah, implying that the Antichrist will have no regard for Jesus Christ, the true Messiah.
The root of the Hebrew word translated forces in verse 38 means “a fortified place, a defense.” Most scholars believe this means that the Antichrist will put his trust in military might, to which he will allocate a great deal of his resources. Verse 39 is a reference to Satan, the “strange god” that is worshipped by the Antichrist, and the rulers who submit to the Antichrist’s authority, earning them portions of land to rule over.
Verses 40-44 convey that the Antichrist will be attacked by armies from the north and the south, who will threaten his world rule. As a result, the Antichrist will utilize his military strength, and many nations will be overthrown, including Egypt, Libya, and Ethiopia, causing the Antichrist to become even more wealthy and powerful. Other nations will be able to escape his wrath. The “glorious land” in verse 41 is a reference to Israel, indicating that the attacking nations are located north and south of Israel. In verse 44, the Antichrist receives disturbing news of rebellion from the east and the north, causing him to “go forth with great fury” to destroy those who rebel against him.
Verse 45 is a reference to the Antichrist establishing his operational center between the seas (the Mediterranean Sea and the Dead Sea) and “the glorious holy mountain” (Mount Zion), somewhere near Jerusalem. At the mid-point of the Tribulation period, the Antichrist will desecrate the Temple by setting himself up as god (2 Thessalonians 2:4) and breaking his covenant with Israel, signifying that his end is coming, and “none shall help him.”
Daniel 12:1 indicates that after the Antichrist breaks his covenant with Israel, Michael the Archangel will rise up to defend God’s people, the Jews. There will be “a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation to that same time.” This is a reference to the second half of the Tribulation period, known as the Great Tribulation. The Archangel will guard and protect the remnant of Jews whose names are written in the Book of Life. This is an indication that a remnant of Jews will believe on Jesus Christ as their Savior during the second half of the Tribulation and will be protected from the wrath of the Antichrist.
Verse 2 is a reference to the two separate resurrections that will follow the Tribulation. Those who are martyred for their faith during the Tribulation will be resurrected before the Millennial Reign. The rest of the dead will be resurrected after the Millennial Reign, prior to the Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20:4-5).
Verse 3 signifies that after the resurrection, those who were wise unto salvation will shine “as the brightness of the firmament” in their glorified bodies, and those who won others for Christ will shine “as the stars for ever and ever.”
III. The prophetic history of the Jews
C. The vision of Israel’s future (the history of Israel in the 70 weeks, cf. 10:14)
3. The revelation of the seventieth week (11:36 — 12:3)
a. The description of the willful king (11:36-39)
b. The war of the willful king (11:40-45)
c. The tribulation and deliverance of Israel (12:1-3)
(1) The tribulation and salvation of Israel (12:1)
(2) The resurrection of the dead (12:2-3)
There is great reward for spreading the Gospel light in any way we can.