“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
There is a group of people in the United States called “preppers,” who are identified that way because they are focused on preparing for the end of the world or some other great apocalyptic event. They stock up on guns, ammunition, food, water, and generators. Some build underground bunkers with air-filtration systems, or buy homes on secluded islands or in remote areas where they can live off the grid. One business executive invested in a fifteen-unit underground apartment complex, selling all of the units at a hefty price except one he retained for himself. Some preppers have helicopters fueled and ready for immediate departure if disaster strikes in their locality. Others have bags of gold coins stashed away for use in the event that paper money becomes worthless. One of these individuals recently stated, “My current state of mind is oscillating between optimism and sheer terror.” Worry over survival readiness is constantly on the minds of these people.
Certainly, it is prudent to be prepared for emergencies and natural disasters. Earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados, and floods occur with some frequency in parts of our world, so suitable preparedness is good stewardship. And we know from the Book of Daniel and other places in Scripture that a time of great trouble is ahead for this world. However, the best preparation that we can make for the end times — or any type of crisis — is spiritual preparation. If we have established and maintained a close relationship with God, we have taken the right steps to ensure a secure eternal future where we will ultimately be safe in His care.
In our text today, Daniel was told by God to shut up the words regarding the end times and not worry about what was ahead. It had been revealed to Daniel in the verses just prior to our text that a future time of trouble was coming and Israel would be at the center of these events. However, Daniel was encouraged to go on with his life and the plans God had for him.
As Christians today, we can learn from the words given to Daniel in our focus verse. God had a course He wanted Daniel to complete, and Daniel needed to remain focused on that. Like him, we should follow the plan God has for us and obey His leading. There is a “rest” provided for the people of God — a place of perfect security. As we keep our hearts pure and holy before the Lord, we do not need to fear the terrible things that will happen after Jesus returns. We expect to escape the Great Tribulation that will come upon this world — our hope is in a bright future ahead with the Lord!
After receiving a wide scope of revelation in previous chapters, in this concluding chapter, Daniel was told to seal the book until the end of time (verse 4). In verses 5-8, the timeline given refers to the last three and a half years of the Tribulation period. In verses 9-13, the angel reassured Daniel that after he died, he would be resurrected at the end of time to stand with his people (the Jews) and see all these things fulfilled.
Daniel’s sealing of the book in verse 4 could have a two-fold meaning. In one sense, sealing would preserve the book from being altered. The angel told Daniel to seal the book “to the time of the end,” when knowledge would be increased, and man would be better able to understand Daniel’s revelation. The Hebrew meaning of the phrase shall run to and fro is “to push forth, to row (by implication, to travel).” Some Bible scholars suggest that modern advancements in modes of travel and technology are a fulfillment of verse 4, and an indication that the end is drawing nigh. Others believe that the phrases “run to and fro” and “knowledge shall be increased” have more to do with a search for knowledge of the Scriptures, thus gaining a better understanding as the end draws near. Both of these interpretations could be applicable to this verse.
In verse 5, it seems that Daniel was standing by the Tigris (Hiddekel) River (see Daniel 10:4) when he saw the two angels standing on opposite banks. One of the angels addressed the man clothed in linen (see the earlier reference in Daniel 10:5-6) and asked, “How long shall it be to the end of these wonders?” Although the second angel did not participate in the exchange, he may have been fulfilling the concept that two witnesses were required to establish an oath. The man clothed in linen responded that it would be for “a time [one year], times [two years], and an half [half a year].” This was a reference to the last three and a half years of the Great Tribulation period. Based on a lunar calendar of 360 days, which was used by the Jews, this was a period of 1,260 days. By the end of that period, the Jews (holy people) would be scattered, and Daniel’s revelation would be fulfilled.
In verses 9-10, Daniel was told that these prophecies would be “closed up and sealed” and not understood until the time of the end. Many would come to know the Lord and would understand, but the wicked would not understand.
Verse 11 refers to the beginning of the last half of the Tribulation period, when the Antichrist will set himself up as god in the Third Temple in Jerusalem and cause the daily sacrifices to cease (see Daniel 9:27; 2 Thessalonians 2:4). Scholars believe that the extra thirty days in verse 11 (from 1,260 to 1,290 days) may be the time of cleansing the earth and judging of the nations (Matthew 25:31-46) before the start of the Millennial Reign. Those who come to the 1,335 days (verse 12) may refer to those who will govern with Christ during His reign.
In verse 13, the angel told Daniel to live out his life, and then rest as he waited to be resurrected at the end of time to participate with his fellow Jews in Christ’s Millennial Kingdom.
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)
4. The conclusion to Daniel’s prophecy (12:4-13)
a. The instructions concerning the book (12:4)
b. The questions regarding the Great Tribulation (12:5-13)
(1) The first question (12:5-6)
(2) The reply (12:7)
(3) The second question (12:8)
(4) The reply (12:9-13)
Eternal life awaits those who have made proper spiritual preparation. As Christians, when the end comes, there will be no need for extra food or a secure shelter. We will forever be with our Savior and the Giver of all good things!