“At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book.”Daniel 12:1
We are now entering into the final chapter of Daniel’s prophetic testimony — chapter 12. Despite the convenience of Biblical chapter and verse, it is always worth noting that the book divisions were not in the original text of Scripture but were added by scribes much later. The unfortunate consequence of these man-made divisions is that many times the reader fails to read the Scripture through chapter divisions to see the contextual connections between chapters.
Daniel 12 is a perfect example. Instead of interpreting this passage independently of chapter of 11, we must read it as the natural extension of chapters 9-11 and the culmination of the entire book. Chapter 11 sets the context for the first three words in chapter 12 — “at that time.”
At what time?
At the time of the rise of that evil prince to come, the “little horn” — the king of the North. We learn that the little horn — Antichrist — will exercise authority for 3.5 years, or 42 months [Daniel 7:25, Revelation 13:5].
At the time of the great tribulation on the earth and fierce warfare among the stars in heaven. This time of unparalleled distress is also called Jacob’s Trouble [Jeremiah 30:7]. Daniel plainly tells us that this time of unprecedented travail will begin with the abomination that causes desolation in the holy sanctuary [Temple], revealing the man of lawlessness and initiating the final kingdom of Antichrist — the Beast.
Daniel also repeatedly framed this time of Jacob’s trouble as a period of a “time, times, and half a time” — which is 3.5 years, or 42 months. This is precisely the same amount of time that is given for the ministry of the two witnesses, the trampling down of Jerusalem [Revelation 11] and the satanic persecution of the saints.
So when Daniel says “at that time,” he is referring in general to this unique and final 7-year period in the future — the 70th week — but more specifically to the final half of the week.
More significant still is the culmination of the great tribulation — aka Jacob’s Trouble. Jesus says that it is immediately after the great tribulation of those days when the Son of Man will return in power and great glory [Matthew 24:29-31] to destroy the Beast and judge the ungodly in wrath. Furthermore, the return of Yeshua — King of Israel — will signify the final deliverance and divine reward for all of God’s people — both Jews and Gentiles — and the establishment of God’s eternal kingdom on earth.
MICHAEL THE GREAT PRINCE
“The woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which she is to be nourished for 1,260 days. 7Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, 8but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. 9And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.”Revelation 12:6-9
Daniel again mentions Michael — the archangel who has been assigned by God to have charge over His people Israel. As the time of Jacob’s trouble begins, the LORD will send Michael to engage the heavenly front and thwart Satan’s plan to annihilate the Jews. In the same way that I see the 144,000 sealed servants supernaturally protecting and providing for the remnant of Israel on the earth, I also see Michael and his heavenly host protecting Israel in the unseen heavenly realm.
Michael is one of the “chief princes,” who came to help the angel Gabriel in spiritual conflict against the adversarial princes of Persia and Yavan. Jude also tells us that he disputed with the devil over the body of Moses [Jude 1:9].
Other than that, we know relatively little about this chief prince and archangel over God’s people. When the LORD allotted the nations according to the number of the sons of God after Babel [Deuteronomy 32:8-9], He at the same time chose Jacob for His portion — Israel as His allotted inheritance. It was likely at this time that God put Michael in charge of His people.
A Wilderness Place Prepared by God
As Michael defeats the dragon and casts him and his angels to the earth, the dragon — aka Satan — will begin thrashing his tail in a fit of rage. Many have speculated if this heavenly expulsion of the devil is connected to the abomination of desolation on earth and the revealing of the Antichrist — the son of destruction.
I believe this makes the most sense, as all the satanic forces from heaven, the earth, and under the earth are unleashed upon the world. The great tribulation will be the ultimate culmination and concentration of evil the world has ever seen. Once the dragon is cast down to earth, he will be infuriated with God and God’s people. Satan will know at that point that his time is short — namely 3.5 years — and therefore he will waste no time venting his wrath at the holy people.
First the dragon will pursue the Jews, pouring what is described as water like a rive to sweep them away in a flood. Since Revelation 12 is pregnant with symbolism, I interpret this raging river to be a flood of Gentile armies who will invade Israel, sweep across the land, and surround Jerusalem. For this reason, Jesus warns those living in Jerusalem and Judea in those days to flee to the mountains to escape the reach of the Beast.
At the same time, God will provide supernatural assistance to the Jews in order to get them to safety in a place prepared by God in the wilderness.
“But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle so that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time.”Rev 12:14
Although I am not certain, I have reason to believe that the “two wings of the great eagle” could be a reference to Michael the archangel supernaturally swooping down to carry the children of Israel to their wilderness refuge. There is another “eagle” mentioned in Revelation 8:13, who announces the coming three woes of the trumpet judgments 5-7. “Then I looked, and I heard an eagle crying with a loud voice as it flew directly overhead, ‘Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, at the blasts of the other trumpets that the three angels are about to blow!’”
Here in Revelation 12, John mentions a “loud voice in heaven” making a similar announcement concerning the coming woes on the earth. “But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!” [Revelation 12:12]
Of course the voice of the archangel is also connected to the triumphant return of Jesus to earth at the last trump, so my speculation is that these announcements and actions are directly connected to Michael the archangel in charge over God’s people.
“For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.”1 Thessalonians 4:16
Once again, the duration of Jacob’s trouble is provided as a time, times, and half a time — or 3.5 years. The remnant of Israel will be delivered and supernaturally protected and nourished in the wilderness during the great tribulation. Many have speculated about the location of the “wilderness” as either Petra in southern Jordan or Mount Sinai in Saudi Arabia. My guess is that it will be in the wilderness of Sinai where the Lord will supernaturally provide for Israel just as He did in their 40 years of wilderness wanderings.
Once the dragon realizes that God has frustrated his plans and supernaturally delivered Israel from his hands, he will turn his rage toward Christians, which is why the Lord consistently calls his disciples to endure to end.
“Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. And he stood on the sand of the sea … And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months. It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven. Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation.”Revelation 12:17, 13:5-7
Believers are called to endure the great tribulation and will overcome by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony — the gospel of truth. True believers will not be ashamed of Christ or His gospel and will not shrink back from Satan’s wrath in the last day, as we are called to love not our lives even unto death.
In closing I will leave you with some thoughts to ponder. Since Gentile believers are grafted in to Israel and brought into the commonwealth of Israel through Christ, then do we enjoy the covenant blessings and promises to Israel?
And what does it mean when Daniel says, “at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book?”
I will attack these questions next time.
Until then … Maranatha!