Daniel 12 • The Personal Application of Daniel


Do you fully believe Paul’s assertion that, “ALL Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work”? (2 Tim. 3:16) Then we have to apply this to everything presented in the Bible, even hard things like genealogies, specifications for things like the temple, and prophecy. They all have something greater in which to teach and train us to live according to the standards of God’s righteousness. So the exercise here is to forgo merely trying to know what God’s Word means, and seek the greater lesson it’s teaching for how we should live. Knowing WHAT God is doing is only useful when combined with the understanding of how to properly apply it according to His Word and ways.

Read verses 1-4

Q: What does “at that time” refer to?

A: Remember that originally there were no chapter or verse markings. Chapters 10-12 should always be read as if they were just one, single chapter. There is no break in the conversation between the end of chapter 11 and the beginning of chapter 12. So “at that time” is referring to what has just been described in chapter 11 as the actions of the Antichrist.

Q: What might be significant about the fact that it is Michael who is specified here and not the Messiah?

A: Michael is identified exclusively with the nation of Israel. It indicates that the things occurring here are specific to the literal nation of Israel. If the Messiah were specified, it would speak of the church composed of both Jew and Gentile. It’s yet another indication that God is not yet done with Israel and has plans yet to be fulfilled.

Q: What book is referred to here?

A: The book of life, those obtaining salvation through Christ.

Q: So what does this indicate about those in Israel who will be rescued?

A: They have experienced a spiritual revival and accepted Jesus as their Messiah. (This is spoken of through other prophets as well.)

Q: And what occurs shortly after Israel’s rescue?

A: The “time of distress” comes to a close and there is a resurrection.

Q: Is v.2 describing the final and ultimate resurrection of all people for Final Judgment?

A: No. Scripture corroborates that there is an initial resurrection of believers timed with the Messiah’s Millennial Reign, followed by the ultimate and final resurrection of everyone else for final disposition.

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.

— 1 Thessalonians 4:16

Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.

— Revelation 20:4-6

Application: In reality, it won’t matter whether you believe in the Rapture of the Church and whether or when it comes in relation to these events because they’re all going to happen according to God’s will and timing regardless. The more important factor is whether or not your name is “written in the book”, whether or not you choose Christ in spite of everything else.

Q: Why will “those who have insight...shine brightly”? Of what is this speaking?

A: It’s a general reference to the role and responsibility of the ministers of the Gospel during the times described in Daniel 10-12. They are not merely preaching about the need for salvation, but fulfilling Christ’s mandates to “make disciples” (Matthew 28:19) by teaching and holding others to live according to the biblical standards of righteousness, putting into practice God’s Word and ways alone.

Application: Is it enough to just believe? What does it take to get through times of trial or duress? (Living exclusively according to His Word and ways, rejecting all others.) Is salvation possible without the follow-up commitment to sanctification?

Q: What is the contrast of the personal message to Daniel in v.4 during Daniel’s time, versus that to John in Revelation 22:10?

And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near.

— Revelation 22:10

Timing and perspective. The timing and perspective given through Daniel is one of looking at events yet to occur in the future, whereas John is looking back on future events yet to occur as if they already have.

Q: What do you suppose is the meaning of “many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase”?

A: Many believe that this is a reference to the present, modern age on earth wherein conventional transportation and knowledge have increased. However, since all things prophetic are consistently made up of earthly activities which are influenced by and tied to heavenly activities, consider this alternative: It speaks of a time when a great many will be stirred up to inquire into Scripture the same way as Daniel was in his reading of Jeremiah and realizing the time of fulfillment of God’s Word was at hand. (Daniel 9) Nothing will be spared in the pursuit of the meaning of Scripture and, with the blessing of God, biblical knowledge will increase and things will appear nearer and plainer than ever. It’s a prelude to fulfilling a condition that will be present in the Millennial kingdom:

They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain,

For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord

As the waters cover the sea.

— Isaiah 11:9

Application: In recognizing that the End Times are upon us, our response should be exactly like that of Daniel when he realized a prophetic time of fulfillment was about to occur: “So I gave my attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes.” (Daniel 9:3)

Read verses 5-7

Point: This is a general summation of events described to this point. There are a great many biblical instances of 3-1/2 years or 42 months or 1,260 days (all of which are equal):

  1. The apostasy of the little horn is 3-1/2 years. (Daniel 7:25)
  2. The holy city is trodden by the Gentiles for 42 months. (Rev. 11:2)
  3. The beast exercises power for 42 months. (Rev. 13:5)
  4. The two witnesses preach and have power for 1,260 days, and remain unburied for 3-1/2 days. (Rev. 11:3, 9, 11)

Just because we know these things occur in Daniel’s 70th week, just because some things it contains last a half of a seven, it doesn’t necessarily mean they have to occur exclusively in the first half or the second – they could overlap in some manner. Furthermore, there are other references that seem to teach us something about these events and that last “week” overall:

  1. Israel halted in the wilderness 42 times. (Numbers 33:1-50)
  2. The famine and drought brought about through Elijah lasted 3-1/2 years. (Luke 4:25; James 5:17)
  3. Christ’s earthly ministry lasted for 3-1/2 years.
  4. The “Man of Sorrows” will be cut off in the midst of the week. (Daniel 9:27)

However, the most important information for us is the event mentioned at the end of v.7, “as soon as they finish shattering the power of the holy people”. THIS is something Christ spoke of in depth in His own discourse on the End Times. And THIS reveals the greater issue going on behind these events: not just a literal persecution and battle with Israel, but with all Believers.

Application: There is a greater sign of spiritual  and literal persecution which we should be sensitive to far more than trying to figure out the beginning and end of these periods of time. The greater issue is bearing up spiritually and withstanding persecution.

Read verses 8-13

As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful searches and inquiries, seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look.

— 1 Peter 1:10-12

Q: How does Peter’s explanation help explain Daniel’s situation in these verses?

  1. God is not just in control of the timing as to when prophecy comes true, but the timing as to when the meaning of prophecy will be revealed.
  2. There are things given in the Old Testament which have been hidden until God’s working moved from Israel to His church. Other things had to be instituted to fulfill what was revealed; so prophecy often describes a goal or end result, but not always the detailed, specific means. (Note: This is how we are fooled, by trying to put the pieces together while ignoring the absence of the proclaimed goal.)
  3. Daniel’s desire to know “what will be the outcome” as explained by Peter is something far less interested in seeing the signs and wonders themselves and much more focused on knowing the greater spiritual meanings behind them. Their desire to know how and when God would fulfill them was a springboard to their greater desire to know the Spirit of Christ behind it all.

Q: What is the greater sign that is once again highlighted?

A: In v.5-7, the greater sign concerning the timing and fulfillment was “as soon as they finish shattering the power of the holy people” – spiritual persecution. In v.10 it’s the purging, purification, and refinement of God’s people contrasted with those who continue to embrace sin.

Point: There is a greater spiritual issue at work behind the events of the End Times that is separating the righteous from the wicked. That which Christ said He will do at the end of that time is actually just confirming the behavior and choices they embraced during that time. His judgment just puts the exclamation point, so to speak, to what has been going on spiritually the whole time.

“But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.

— Matthew 25:31-33

Q: So what are the numbers associated with the End Times described in "days"?

A: 1,260 – 1,290 – and 1,335.

Q: How do these numbers fit together? What exactly do they mean?

A: We don’t know. We know they tell us something about the timing and relationships of things yet to come, but as yet it has not been precisely revealed. However, to synchronize the Jewish lunar calendar to the seasons, as needed they add an additional "leap month" of Adar. In other words, there are times when a 3-1/2 year period can have both 1,260 AND 1,290 days.

Q: But what is the event which will trigger these things? What is the greater spiritual thing at work?

A: According to both Daniel here in v.11 and Christ Himself, it’s the “abomination of desolation”.

“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

Point: Many theories have come and gone concerning 1,260, 1,290, and 1,335 – and many continue to this day – but none of them can come true without the visible witness of the greatest spiritual deception attempted, where Satan through the person of the Antichrist sets himself up to be worshiped and attempts to supplant God Himself. Nebuchadnezzar, Antiochus Epiphanes (during the time of the Macabees), and Titus (the Roman destruction of Jerusalem) all teach us about this event as they mimicked it, setting up an idol of themselves to be worshiped in place of the One True God. But before we understand the numbers, we have to first understand and recognize the abomination of desolation, Satan’s great spiritual deception.

Q: In this study we’ve been looking at the greater spiritual meanings behind the events. How would you apply this perspective to v.12 & 13?

  1. Verse 12 is not a call for knowledge, but for spiritual endurance. As it is with most things for Believers, it’s not a test of knowledge, but faith.
  2. There is a clear indication of the work of resurrection for the righteous as represented by Daniel, that death is characterized as “rest” until an appointed time by God.

Application: The specific language pertaining to Daniel that he will be resurrected “for your allotted portion” is strong, Old Testament terminology pertaining to how Canaan was distributed to the Israelites. It indicates a completion of everything God originally intended in the whole manner originally intended; a fulfillment of the whole Bible from beginning to end.


Many have concentrated on the individual events so as to miss the greater spiritual message and meaning accompanying them:

  1. The most important thing is that one’s name is found to be written in the book of life; that is, a life devoted to Christ.
  2. This final, seven-year period holds a reward for all Believers from EVERY age in that a resurrection is promised so they can be part of the Messiah’s earthly kingdom to come.
  3. Those who come to understand these things will come to understand them in the same way Daniel did, through earnest prayer, fasting, and meditation on God’s Word – not with knowledge alone to try and decipher numbers and such. Such people, defined here as having “insight”, preach and live righteousness.
  4. There are greater spiritual events which will put these things into the proper context: persecution of the nation Israel, Israel’s restoration to Jesus as their Messiah, persecution of all Believers, and Satan’s attempt to spiritually pervert and deceive everyone through the person of the Antichrist in the work of the abomination of desolation. These things pertaining to the spiritual environment are the most important indicators and triggers for which we need to remain vigilant.
  5. As Peter explained, prophets such as Daniel – and even the angels themselves – are more interested in how these things speak of Jesus than how they fit together into some kind of timeline. So should we. The spiritual is far more important than the physical.
  6. The greater spiritual working DURING this last seven-year period is separating the sheep from the goats – the righteous from the wicked – which Christ Himself formally finalizes at the end. So the greater issue at work is the quality of each individual’s faithfulness.
  7. Overall, this is a call for spiritual endurance. It’s not a test of knowledge, but a test of faith.