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Adam Clarke Commentary

Daniel 12

Introduction

The proper conclusion to the great revolutions predicted in this and the following chapters is the general resurrection, of which the beginning of this chapter (to be literally understood) gives some intimation, Daniel 12:1 -3. Daniel is then commanded to shut up the words and to seal the book to the time of the end, Daniel 12:4 ; and is informed of the three grand symbolical periods of a time, times, and a half, twelve hundred and ninety days and thirteen hundred and thirty-five days, Daniel 12:4 -12; at the end of the last of which Daniel shall rest and stand in his lot, Daniel 12:13 . It is generally thought by commentators that the termination of the last period is the epoch of the First resurrection. See Revelation 20:4 , Revelation 20:5 .

Verse 1

And at that time Michael shall stand up - Michael the archangel, as has already been observed, was ever reputed the guardian of the Jewish people.Every one that shall be found written in the book - All that truly fear, love, and obey the Lord, On the phrase, "written in the book, the book of life," etc., see the passages in the margin, and the notes on those passages.

Verse 2

Many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth - This prophecy has been referred to the future restoration of the Jews. It will be also true of the state of mankind at the general judgment.

Verse 3

And they that be wise - Those who are thoroughly instructed in Christ's word and doctrine, shall shine - shall be eminently distinguished in the Christian Church by the holiness of their lives, and the purity of their creed.And they that turn many to righteousness - They who, by preaching Christ crucified among their brethren, shall be the means of converting them to the Christian faith; shall be as the stars - bright luminaries in the Gospel kingdom of Jesus Christ. This also may be applied to the case of holy and useful men, particularly the faithful ministers of the Gospel, in the day of judgment. See James 5:20 (note), 1 Corinthians 15:41 -42 (note).

Verse 4

Shut up the words, and seal the book - When a prophet received a prediction concerning what was at a considerable distance of time, he shut his book, did not communicate his revelation for some time after. This Daniel was commanded to do, Daniel 8:26 . See also Isaiah 29:10 , Isaiah 29:11 ; Revelation 22:10 . Among the ancients, those were said to seal, who in the course of their reading stamped the places of which they were yet doubtful, in order to keep them in memory, that they might refer to then; again, as not yet fully understood. This custom Salmasius, in his book De modo Usurarum, p. 446, proves from Hesychius.Many shall run to and fro - Many shall endeavour to search out the sense; and knowledge shall be increased by these means; though the meaning shall not be fully known till the events take place: Then the seal shall be broken, and the sense become plain. This seems to be the meaning of this verse, though another has been put on it, viz., "Many shall run to and fro preaching the Gospel of Christ, and therefore religious knowledge and true wisdom shall be increased." This is true in itself; but it is not the meaning of the prophet's words.

Verse 5

Behold there stood other two - Probably two angels. We know no more of them, unless they be the same as those called saints, Daniel 8:13 (note), which see. The river was most likely the Tigris.

Verse 6

The man clothed in linen - Gabriel in a human form. Thus he is represented, Daniel 10:5 .

Verse 7

Which was upon the waters - By this description, he was standing on the water. This is very similar to the description of the angel, Revelation 10:5 , Revelation 10:6 , and in the seventh verse there seems to be a reference to this prophecy "a time, times, and a half." See the note on Daniel 7:25 (note).

Verse 8

I heard, but I understand not - Could not comprehend what the time, times, and half time should refer to. These make three years and a half of prophetic times answering to one thousand two hundred and sixty years.

Verse 9

The words are closed up - The prophecy shall not be understood, but in its accomplishment; and then the depth of the wisdom and providence of God will be clearly seen in these matters. See on Daniel 4 (note). We must wait "till the time of the end;" and this, it appears from the following calculations, will not arrive before the Twentieth Century. We here see the reason why these prophecies are at present so imperfectly understood. God has sealed them.

Verse 10

Many shall be purified - During the interim, the great work of God's providence and grace shall be carried on in the salvation of men; who, in the midst of trials, temptations, and difficulties, shall be purified and made white - be fully saved from their sins.None of the wicked shall understand - Because they are wicked, and will continue in their sins, the eyes of their understanding shall be closed, and their hearts hardened; so that they shall not see the light of the glorious Gospel.But the wise - Those who open their hearts to God, that he may pour in his light, shall understand the things that make for their peace.

Verse 11

From the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away - See the notes on Daniel 11:25 -27 (note).The abomination that maketh desolate set up - I believe, with Bp. Newton, that this is a proverbial phrase; and may be applied to any thing substituted in the place of, or set up in opposition to, the ordinances of God, his worship, his truth, etc. Adrian's temple, built in the place of God's temple at Jerusalem, the church of St. Sophia turned into a Mohammedan mosque, etc., etc., may be termed abominations that make desolate. Perhaps Mohammedanism may be the abomination; which sprang up a.d. 612. If we reckon one thousand two hundred and ninety years, Daniel 11:11 , from that time, it will bring us down to a.d. 1902, when we might presume from this calculation, that the religion of the False Prophet will cease to prevail in the world; which from the present year, 1825, is distant only seventy-seven years.

Verse 12

Blessed is he that waiteth - He who implicitly depends on God, expecting, as his truth cannot fail, that these predictions shall be accomplished in due time.And cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days - This is seventy-five days more than what is included in the three years and a half, or the time, times, and a half in the seventh verse; and as we have met with so many instances of prophets days and years, this undoubtedly is another instance; and as a day stands for a year, this must mean a period of one thousand three hundred and thirty-five years, which period is to bring all these wonders to an end, Daniel 12:6 . But we are left totally in the dark relative to the time from which these one thousand three hundred and thirty-five years are to be reckoned. If, however, we reckon them from the above epoch, a.d. 612, when Mohammedanism arose, they lead us to a.d. 1947, when the fullness of the Gentiles shall be brought in; and thus a final closure of vision and prophecy be made, as then all the great events relative to the salvation of men shall have taken place. Wars and contentions will probably then cease over the whole world; Jews and Gentiles become one fold, under one Shepherd and Bishop of souls; and the triune God be properly worshipped and glorified, from generation to generation, over the face of the whole earth. But all these conjectures may be founded in darkness. We have not chronological data; and "the times and seasons God has reserved in his own power."

Verse 13

But go thou thy way till the end be - Here is proper advice for every man.1. Thou hast a way - a walk in life, which God has assigned thee; walk in that way, it is thy way.2. There will be an end to thee of all earthly things. Death is at the door, and eternity is at hand; go on to the end - be faithful unto death.3. There is a rest provided for the people of God. Thou shalt rest; thy body, in the grave; thy soul, in the Divine favor here, and finally in paradise.4. As in the promised land there was a lot for each of God's people, so in heaven there is a lot for thee. Do not lose it, do not sell it, do not let thy enemy rob thee of it. Be determined to stand in thy own lot at the end of the days. See that thou keep the faith; die in the Lord Jesus, that thou mayest rise and reign with him to all eternity. Amen.Masoretic NotesNumber of verses in this book, 357Middle verse, Daniel 5:30 Masoretic sections, 7Finished correcting for the press, March 1st, 1831. - A. C.

Daniel 12


  1 And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: 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.
  2 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.
  3 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.
  4 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.
  5 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.
  6 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?
  7 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.
  8 And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things?
  9 And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.
  10 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.
  11 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.
  12 Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.
  13 But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.

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