This chapter describes the end and duration of the Great Tribulation, when the Antichrist's power will end, and the dead will be raised to be judged and rewarded.
This chapter continues to describe the great war that was introduced in chapter 10, and described in verses 40 to 45 of chapter 11.

Verse 1 says that at that time (of the great war), Michael (the archangel) will arise to watch over the people of Israel. There will be a time of distress unlike any other from the nation's beginning up to that time. This is the Great Tribulation, as described in Matthew 24:21, which will affect all nations, and not just Israel. The NET Bible notes offer 'from the beginning of a nation' as an alternative translation to 'from the nation's beginning', suggesting it might not be specifically Israel-focussed. The verse continues to say that Daniel's own people (the Jews), all whose names are found written in the book, will escape (or be delivered), which is consistent with Michael arising to watch over them. In my commentary on Jeremiah 30:7, I consider whether the Great Tribulation is the same as 'the time of Jacob's trouble', out of which Jeremiah promised that Israel would be saved. Could it be that the time of Jacob's trouble was fulfilled in the Holocaust, out of which Israel was restored as a nation? If so, is the Great Tribulation a time of further discipline for Israel to bring them to repentance (Jeremiah 30:11 and Zechariah 12:10), but otherwise a time of their deliverance? Many passages, especially in Isaiah, indicate that Jesus will deliver Israel during the Great Tribulation (search tags: Jesus delivers Israel).

Verse 2 is the Old Testament's clearest verse promising a bodily resurrection of the dead and judgment. The dead are described as those who sleep in the dusty ground. Jesus spoke of death as sleep in Matthew 9:24 and John 11:11. Some of the dead will awake to everlasting life, and others to everlasting abhorrence, according to whether their names are found in the book that is mentioned in verse 1. Revelation 20:12 describes this book as the book of life. Revelation 20 describes two resurrections and judgments. The first resurrection (Revelation 20:6) is that which precedes the rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:16), and is limited. Paul says, "…and the dead in Christ will rise first". He makes no mention of Old Testament believers. The second resurrection occurs at the end of the Millennium and includes the rest of humanity. However, here in Daniel it appears that Old Testament believers, or at least some of them, are included in the first resurrection.

The wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens (v3). Wisdom, according to the bible, begins with the fear of the Lord and obeying his commandments (Proverbs 9:10 & Psalm 111:10). Those who bring many to righteousness will shine like the stars forever. This is the time when godliness will be rewarded.

In verse 4, Daniel is told to close and seal the book until the time of the end, the book being the dependable book described in 10:21, which contains the revelation of chapters 11 to 12. Perhaps his earlier visions are sealed too. Sealing the book until the time of the end implies that its full meaning will be hidden until then, but presumably there will come a time when the seal will be broken. It is possible this relates with Jesus opening seven seals in Revelation 6 to 8. The statement "many will dash about and knowledge will increase" could be an allusion to Amos 8:12, which prophesies a time when there would be a famine of God's revelation, and people would travel about in vain looking for revelation. Alternatively, the statement could be interpreted as two end-time signs. An increase in travel, and an increase in knowledge, both of which have occurred dramatically in the last century, could be taken as signs that we are now in the time of the end.

In verses 5 to 7, as Daniel watches, the man in linen (Jesus - see my comments on chapter 10) is above the river Tigris (see 10:4) and two others are there on each side of the river. These two are likely angels, just as when God visited Abraham in Genesis 18 and was accompanied by two angels. Daniel wants to know when these events will occur. He is told it will be for time, times and half a time (three and a half years). "When the power of the one who shatters the holy people has been exhausted, all these things will be finished". This is the Antichrist who shatters and conquers God's people for three and a half years (Daniel 7:25 and Revelation 13:6-8). After that, his power will come to an end. Various scriptures prophesy the persecution and martyrdom of true believers during the Great Tribulation (Revelation 2:10, 7:9-17, 12:11, 20:4-6).

Daniel heard but did not understand (v8). This is comforting for us if we are confused by these visions. But actually, we have a huge advantage over Daniel. We have the benefit of so much more revelation than Daniel had, and we can also look at how world events are being aligned to fulfil end-time prophecies. We live in the time of the end, when the seals are about to be broken and end-time prophecies make more and more sense, the closer we get to the end. Daniel also wanted to know what will happen after these things. He was not given any more information, but we have the benefit of the last chapters of Revelation, describing the Millennium, and the eternal age of the new heaven and the new earth. He is told that the wicked will not understand and will carry on being wicked, but the wise will understand. This is an encouragement for us to seek God, for he wants us to be wise and to understand.

Verses 11 to 12 tell us that 'from the time the daily sacrifice is stopped and the abomination set up, there will be 1,290 days', and 'blessed is the one who waits for and attains to 1,335 days'. This seems to imply that the abomination will remain in place for 1,290 days, after which there will be 45 more days before the end of the age and start of the Millennium. As such these verses are key to understanding a timeline of end-time events. Presumably the abomination of desolation will be removed from the temple as soon as Jerusalem is liberated and Antichrist defeated at the battle of Armageddon (Revelation 19:11-21). So that places the battle of Armageddon at approximately day 1,290 after the abomination is set up. I say 'approximately' because the exact day is 'a day known to the Lord' (Zechariah 14:7), or as Jesus said, "But as for that day and hour no one knows it – not even the angels in heaven – except the Father alone" (Matthew 24:36). The length of the Great Tribulation is described as 'time, times and half a time' (Daniel 7:25, 12:7, Revelation 12:14), as '42 months' (Revelation 11:2, 13:5), and as '1260 days' (Revelation 11:3, 12:6), all of which are equivalent if a Jewish year is taken as 360 days. It is during this time that the seven seals are opened (Revelation 6-8) and the seven trumpets are blown (Revelation 8-11), with Jesus returning at the seventh and last trumpet (Revelation 11:15). This means that Jesus raptures the Church (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, 1 Corinthians 15:52) and rescues the Jewish refugees from their 'Bozrah sheepfold' (Micah 2:12-13) at approximately day 1,260, bringing the Great Tribulation to a close, at least from the perspective of believers (Matthew 24:29-31). Again, I say 'approximately' because Jesus said he will return as a thief in the night, implying among other things an element of surprise (Matthew 24:43-44). After the seven trumpets, the seven bowls must be released during the 30 day period (approximately) between the second coming and the battle of Armageddon. What then happens during the final 45 days between day 1,260 and day 1,335? Presumably this will be the time for judgments and rewards (Matthew 25:31-46, Revelation 20:4) and for the wedding feast of the lamb (Revelation 19:6-9). Day 1,335 then brings the end of the age, and the Millennium begins.

In verse 13, Daniel is told he will rest (die) and at the end of days he will arise to receive his allotted inheritance. Together with verse 2, this is another important Old Testament affirmation of the resurrection of the dead. Again, it seems that Daniel will be included in the first resurrection, and not have to wait for the second one.
Tags: Great Tribulation, Israel saved through the Great Tribulation, Persecution of Christians, Martyrdom, Duration of the Great Tribulation, Book of life, Jesus as the man in linen, Resurrection of the dead, Judgments and rewards, Life after death, End-time signs
12 “At that time Michael, the great prince who watches over your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress unlike any other from the nation’s beginning up to that time. But at that time your own people, all those whose names are found written in the book, will escape.
2 Many of those who sleep in the dusty ground will awake – some to everlasting life, and others to shame and everlasting abhorrence.
3 But the wise will shine like the brightness of the heavenly expanse. And those bringing many to righteousness will be like the stars forever and ever.
4 “But you, Daniel, close up these words and seal the book until the time of the end. Many will dash about, and knowledge will increase.”
5 I, Daniel, watched as two others stood there, one on each side of the river.
6 One said to the man clothed in linen who was above the waters of the river, “When will the end of these wondrous events occur?”
7 Then I heard the man clothed in linen who was over the waters of the river as he raised both his right and left hands to the sky and made an oath by the one who lives forever: “It is for a time, times, and half a time. Then, when the power of the one who shatters the holy people has been exhausted, all these things will be finished.”
8 I heard, but I did not understand. So I said, “Sir, what will happen after these things?”
9 He said, “Go, Daniel. For these matters are closed and sealed until the time of the end.
10 Many will be purified, made clean, and refined, but the wicked will go on being wicked. None of the wicked will understand, though the wise will understand.
11 From the time that the daily sacrifice is removed and the abomination that causes desolation is set in place, there are 1,290 days.
12 Blessed is the one who waits and attains to the 1,335 days.
13 But you should go your way until the end. You will rest and then at the end of the days you will arise to receive what you have been allotted.”