Verse 1 begins “At that time.” In the future the angel Michael will get up and take position. Michael is the archangel who stands watch over the Jewish people. At the time when the antichrist turns on the Jewish people. When he unleashes a fury that has never been witnessed before. When he sets up an abominable act in the temple and makes himself god of the world. When he wages wars and seems victorious and unstoppable. When he’s slaughtered more Jews than Hitler could imagine. It is during this time that Michael will take his position.
Israel has suffered through Babylon, the Medo-Persians, they’ve suffered from the Greeks and from the Herod’s and the Hitlers. They have suffered and suffered and suffered and this will be worse than any of those times. The worst is yet to come is what the angel is saying here in verse 1.
It is during this time that the angel Michael will stand up and Daniel’s people will be delivered. Let’s look at who Daniel’s people are. This is not a blanket statement that every Jew, whether they practice Judaism or not will be saved. The Bible talks about a remnant being saved. Verse 1 also says their names must be written in the book of life.
During this time God is going to put his people to the test, he is going to put their feet in the fire and see who is loyal and who is not. Two-thirds of the Jews are going to die, they will not live through the tribulation. One-third is going to be protected because they are small remnants who obey the commands of God and honor and confess the testimony of Jesus Christ. They will be Jews who believe in Jesus Christ as their Messiah. It will be their names written in the book of life. They are the 144,000 Jews talked about in Revelation.
Verse 2 begins to talk about resurrection. The NT talks about a resurrection of all saints of all believers. This is specifically speaking about a resurrection of Israel. Overall there will be a few different resurrections. I’ll try to keep it basic here.
- The first resurrection took place on Resurrection Sunday. The day Jesus Christ walked out of the grave along with him came to life the men and women who died believing in Him, but they died before his crucifixion.
- The second resurrection will be the resurrection of the church and is what we call the rapture. Everyone dead or alive who make up the church, the body of Christ are caught up to be with the Lord.
- Within this second resurrection, is a part two, and will take place at the end of the tribulation period and will include OT saints and tribulation saints, along with any gentiles that turned to Christ during the tribulation. They will all be resurrected to help build, rule and reign with Christ in the millennial kingdom.
- The final resurrection will happen at the end of the thousand year reign of Christ and this will include the unrighteous people who will be judged and condemned to the lake of fire.
We understand that these resurrections happen over a span of thousands of years each. Daniel has it depicted as a sudden, sort of one and done, type of resurrection of everybody. The scripture just states the facts that there will be a resurrection and leaves out the thousands of years that take place between them, which is why some people think the rapture takes place mid tribulation.
Verse 3 is awesome because it focuses on the promise. There is no more condemnation, it’s as if it picks up a thousand years later where the fullness of all that God has ever promised is fully given to his children. “The wise will shine like the brightness of heaven” and “Those who lead people to “righteousness” will shine like the stars forever and ever”.
We will all be given the ability to radiate the full Glory of God. The wise, those who know the word of God, who know who God is and understand Him and His ways will shine with his brilliant glory.
Those who lead people to righteousness, notice it says righteousness not salvation. God desires for us to be the righteousness of God through Jesus Christ. He wants us to stand before him in righteousness. Not just saved, not just making it through the gate. But to genuinely live a life of righteousness before Him. Those who teach people to be righteous will shine like the stars forever and ever, they will have a special glow, they will reflect the Glory of God in their own unique way. Inspire righteousness.
With that beautiful picture the meaning of the vision is finalized. There is nothing left for Daniel to add so it’s time for him to “seal it up”. He needs to make sure this is preserved until the times of the end at which time people will need this information. It won’t make much sense to the people in Daniel’s time. It makes a whole lot more sense now. We can imagine these words will ring even more true in the future when the tribulation is taking place and the world is literally crumbling.
At that time people will be running all around, seeking understanding, trying to figure out what is happening and what went wrong, they will find the Book of Daniel and read word for word what is written there. They will understand every word because they will be living it out. You know how it is when you read the Bible and it’s like it was written just for you and your situation. That’s how it will be for those surviving the tribulation.