Daniel 12 – “An Apocalyptic Resurrection”

1797501_low1_sun_sky.33160824_stdHebrew-English Text
I. Summary
An angel warns Daniel about an apocalyptic resurrection. Daniel then overhears two other angels speaking about the amount of time left until the “end.” Daniel learns that the “end” will occur 1,290 days after the idol was set up in the Temple.

II. Photo
The angel tells Daniel what the world will be like at the “end”: “And the knowledgeable will be radiant like the bright expanse of sky…” (v. 3)

III. Important Verses
vv. 1-2: At that time, the great prince, Michael, who stands beside the sons of your people, will appear. It will be a time of trouble, the like of which has never been since the nation came into being. At that time, your people will be rescued, all who are found inscribed in the book. Many of those that sleep in the dust of the earth will awake, some to eternal life, others to reproaches, to everlasting abhorrence.
v. 4: But you, Daniel, keep the words secret, and seal the book until the time of the end. Many will range far and wide and knowledge will increase.
vv. 6-7: One said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the water of the river, “How long until the end of these awful things?” Then I heard the man dressed in linen, who was above the water of the river, swear by the Ever-living One as he lifted his right hand and his left hand to heaven: “For a time, times, and half a time; and when the breaking of the power of the holy people comes to an end, then shall all these things be fulfilled.”
vv. 8-9: I heard and did not understand, so I said, “My lord, what will be the outcome of these things?” He said, “Go, Daniel, for these words are secret and sealed to the time of the end.
v. 11: From the time the regular offering is abolished, and an appalling abomination is set up — it will be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. Happy the one who waits and reaches one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days.

IV. Outline
1-3. The apocalyptic resurrection
4. Daniel is sworn to secrecy
5-13. Daniel overhears the time of the end

V. Comment
The prophecies in the book of Daniel come to an end in chapter 12. Collins writes that the promise of resurrection (which he believes meant taking on a sublime physical position and shining like the stars, cf. Dan 12:3, 1 Enoch 104) is first presented here. He writes: “The hope for resurrection explains why the wise could let themselves be killed in the time of persecution. The traditional hope in ancient Israel was for a long life and to see one’s children’s children. This hope was changed radically by the idea of resurrection to a glorious afterlife. The goal of life would henceforth be to become like the angels, so that one could live with them forever. This new hope is central to the apocalyptic literature. It figures prominently in the Dead Sea Scrolls, and it was essential to the rise of Christianity. Of course the transition in the nature of Jewish hope was not instantaneous and complete. Not all Jews accepted the idea of resurrection (the Sadducees did not). Those who did believe in resurrection did not necessarily give up their old ideas about fulfillment on earth. But the idea of individual resurrection, which occurs in the Hebrew Bible for the first time in Daniel, introduced a kind of hope for the future that was radically new in the context of Jewish tradition, and that would have far-reaching consequences for the development of religion in the Western world.” (570)

Verse 4 speaks about secrecy: “But you, Daniel, keep the words secret, and seal the book until the time of the end. Many will range far and wide and knowledge will increase.” Verse 9 echoes these sentiments: “He said, ‘Go, Daniel, for these words are secret and sealed to the time of the end.’” Why was Daniel told to keep the prophecies a secret? Collins writes: “We should not infer that the book of Daniel was to be kept secret. The time of the end was the time when the book was actually written. The command to keep it secret explained why these visions had not been known before the Maccabean period.” (571)

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)

Collins, John J. Introduction to the Hebrew Bible (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004).
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