“Now at that time Michael [a], the great prince who stands [b] guard over the sons [c] of your people will arise [d]. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued. Many [e] of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt. Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness [f], like the stars forever and ever. But as for you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time [g]; many will go back and forth [h], and knowledge will increase. [i]” Dan12:1-4NASB]
And so to Daniel: As a result of the spiritual encounter I have referred to in earlier posts which resulted in my book, I have come to understand the Scriptures in such way that for the first time in my 45 years as a Christian it appears to gel. But there are still a number of mysteries in the form of biblical prophesies relating to the last days that I remain unclear about, and the above is one of them, starting with the identity of Michael. So this brief post will pose more questions than it attempts to answer, but as usual I will apply as literal and precise an approach to the Hebrew text and (as has been the case throughout this process) identify particular details that had previously eluded me and I suspect others. I am not a Hebrew scholar but utilise the following link for parsing purposes: http://biblehub.com/interlinear/daniel/12.htm
[a] – Who is Michael? – Not Christ Himself I think, for He will hardly “arise” or “make a stand” [H5975] but descend from the heavens and “appear” in glory. I suspect the reference or comparison is to Arch-Angel Michael who disputed with Satan [Jude9], though it is difficult to see how an angel would “arise” and “make a stand” for God’s people in the end-time context; such beings will be despatched to deal with those who are to be “severed” from the Kingdom (e.g. Mt13:49)
[b] The NASB has “stand guard” (as might an angel); but “haomed” can also mean to stand or alternatively “make a stand” for [c] below:
[c] Why “the sons of Your people”; why not simply “Your people” as later in verse 1?
[d] “Michael” will arise or stand-up at such a time –what was he doing before he arose and where was he doing it?! [This seemingly simplistic, methodical, inquisitive, child-like approach to the Hebrew or Greek narrative is how I have tended to approach all Scripture throughout this process. It has (with I’m sure the Spirit’s aid) generally resulted in solutions or new insights, but not necessarily in this passage]
[e] [werabbim] occurs 7 times in the bible and usually refers to many within a group, not usually the whole group (i.e. “all”) – implications to the resurrection referred to? (verse 2)
[f] Note: those who “have insight” and ”lead many to righteousness” will shine as the stars but those whom they lead will also be righteous and “in the mix” but by implication not in the same category
[g] “Seal up the book until the end-times” – implies this refers to a mystery that will not be understood before that end-time, whereas the essentials of the gospel message have not been sealed up but proclaimed to the world. Likewise in Rev10:7-11 certain matters were disclosed to John that he was instructed not to put in writing (v4) – they were therefore not intended for the Church throughout her history whereas the rest of Revelation clearly was (Rev1:1), not that we can entirely get our heads around that.
[h] Many will run back and forth or “two and fro”. Sounds a bit like my spiritual journey and I suspect it is alluding to confusion within the churches; the positive news being that –
[i] “knowledge will be increased” – Clearly that will be the case after Christ has come but it is linked within the sentence to the “running to and fro” so I think applies immediately prior to that.
A popular song springs to mind “There are more questions than answers” [singer Johnny Nash – 1960s photo] – so it must be for the present with regard to this particular passage. I am clear that certain details concerning the end-times will remain uncertain until that time in view of the role of faith. But (God knows) we do need to be clear and ideally have a unified understanding regarding the gospel and what exactly God requires of those who have been chosen for Christ to be ready for Him. Such a re-unification of His people would seem to be essential if a united rendition of the Good News of the Kingdom is to be preached throughout the world before the end of its current arrangements (Mt24:14) when Christ comes to establish a renewed heaven and earth where righteousness dwells (2Pet3:13).