Bible prophecy The Papacy the Reformation Witnessing

Daniel 12 prophecy

The Time of the End?

This chapter is a continuation of the previous two chapters of Daniel. It should be read as a single unit with Daniel 10 and 11. The Scripture continues on from there, from the trouble, the great trouble that Jacob (the Jews) experienced when the Romans moved into the Holy Land. Hundreds of thousands were slaughtered, but those who heeded Jesus’ warnings (Matthew 24, Luke 21 and Mark 13) and fled out of Judaea managed to escape the tribulation. (All bold are my emphases added. Square brackets [ ] indicate meanings of words. King James Version Easy-Reading Bible (KJVER) used.)

I was taught that this chapter (Daniel 12) applied to the last days of the End-time just before and through period of the return of Christ, under the futurist interpretation. But where did chapter 11 end? It was with the rise of the pagan Roman power, its dominance in Judaea, and at the end it gave allusions to the Papacy and the Latin Roman Church that followed it.

Daniel 11:45 And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him.

After Christ’s death and resurrection the pagan Roman Empire decimated the Jewish people in Judaea, and, in 135 A.D., build their own Temple on the Holy mount. Eventually this pagan Roman Empire is ruled Constantine who declares the world Christian. By law all must be. The empire had absolute power and built his own Temple on mount Moriah, in 325 A.D., replacing the Roman Temple with an octagon church on the site. The temple of the false church. This is the background to this period of time.

Daniel 12:1 And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which stands for the children of your people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time your people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.

‘At that time’ Daniel records. This is the time (especially 30 A.D. to 70 A.D.) when the Jews (‘the children of your people,’ Daniel’s people) are oppressed and persecuted. Many hundreds of thousands killed. The following verse speaks of Jesus resurrection, so the trouble here is that which the Jews suffered at the hands of the Roman conquerors—Jacob’s trouble (Jeremiah 30:7-9, Matthew 24:21).

Some have suggested that Michael here may be a OT reference to Jesus, the great prince who comes, and delivers His chosen people—all those who are saved by Christ’s first coming. But since Michael in Daniel chapter 10 is a reference to a powerful angel, and chapters 10-12 are one contiguous revelation, then this Michael is the same angel. Why couldn’t the same angel who assisted Daniel also assist the early church at a time of great tribulation?

Daniel 12:2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.

This was fulfilled at Jesus’ resurrection. The saved believers (the Old Testament saints) came out of the graves; they were resurrected after Christ’s resurrection.

Matthew 27:52,53 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, 53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.

Note, even the description is the same. The scripture uses the word ‘many’ not ‘all,’ for all were not saved. Christ died for many, not all, but for ‘whosoever will’ come to Him (John 3:15, John 5:24, Revelation 22:17). And the concept of ‘waking from sleep’ is used in both passages, illustrating that they were not dead.

Matthew 25:46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

John 5:25 Verily, verily, I say to you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.

John 11:24,25 Martha says to Him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. 25 Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believes in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:

Believers who follow the leading of the Holy Spirit to witness the Gospel are called ‘wise’ and are likened to shining stars in the heavens, and in particular, the brightness of the sun in the sky. Compare Daniel 12:3 to Matthew 13:43.

Daniel 12:3 And they that be wise [have understanding of God’s truths, hence righteous believers] shall shine as the brightness of the firmament [day-time sky]; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever [night-time sky].

Matthew 13:43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.

night-time skyAfter Christ’s resurrection the disciples were scattered throughout the known world. They spread the Gospel message. This verse (vs. 3) applies to all his disciples. Yet it also illustrates what we, His disciples, are to be doing until Christ’s Second Advent, that is, witnessing the gospel to turn others to Christ.

Daniel 12:4 But you, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.

This prophecy was given to Daniel about 533 B.C., well before any of the events would happen. God tells him to seal up the book. It is for the time of the end, or End-time. This is an expression I have heard for 40 years. But the End-time started with the Cross, and it continues until Christ’s Second Coming.

For the past 2000 years man’s ability to travel the world has slowly increased until recent times it has exponentially increased. And since the invention of the printing press knowledge has progressively increased throughout the world. The Gutenberg Press began in 1440 A.D. and it revolutionized the spread of knowledge, especially the Bible, and its translations into the common languages, that started with the Reformers after 1517 A.D.

Daniel 12:5-7 Then I Daniel looked, and, behold, there stood other two, the one on this side of the bank of the river, and the other on that side of the bank of the river. 6 And one said to the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, How long shall it be to the end of these wonders? 7 And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and swore by Him that lives for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when He shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished.

How long ‘to scatter the power of the holy people‘? If that refers to the Jews in Judaea that that happened with the Jewish wars, especially during the 3½ year period of the ‘overspreading of abominations’ of the pagan false gods into Jerusalem and the destruction of the Holy temple in 70 A.D.. Remembering that this is the same revelation as Daniel 10 and 11, and cross-referencing with Daniel 9, the 3½ year period was the second half of the last ‘week’ of the 70 ‘weeks’ (Daniel 9:24).

Daniel 12:8,9 And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things? 9 And he said, Go your way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed [kept secret] till the time of the end.

For Daniel it was not urgent information, but he was used to record this message for those who were to endure the tribulation of the Romans in Judaea. The ‘time of the end’ began with the Cross but continues until the Messiah’s Second Coming.

Daniel 12:10 Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.

The wise who understand are the Christian believers (verse 3). They shall understand the truth of Christ’s Words. This verse records the persecution of the believers that occurred from the scattering of the Early Church until now. But interestingly there is the phrase ‘none of the wicked shall understand.‘ Could this be referring to the false Church, led by the Papacy, the Roman Catholic Church, who think they are Christians, but are not? They are the ones who persecuted the true Church from the days of Constantine until recent times.

Daniel 12:11 And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that makes desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.

The ‘abomination that makes desolate‘ (Daniel 11:31) or the ‘abomination of desolation‘ (Matthew 24:15) referred to here is not only the Temple of Jupiter (built in 135 A.D.) but actually the false church, symbolised by the octagon church Constantine built in 325 A.D. on the site of second Temple.

Isaac Newton wrote that these ‘days’ are actually prophetic years. If so, one interpretation that could apply is that the 1290 ‘days’ means 1290 years. So taking 325 A.D. as the year the false church was ‘set up’ and adding 1290 years (corrected for 360-day lunar years) we get 1596 A.D..

Daniel 12:12 Blessed is he that waits, and comes to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.

Add another 45 years assuming the 1335 ‘days’ means 1335 years. Correcting for lunar years (44.3 years) that gives takes you to 1640 A.D. What happened in that year?

The Reformation, starting in 1517 A.D., developed into both a spiritual and earthly war against Satan. Spiritually it started with Martin Luther’s declarations that salvation is by faith alone and that the Papacy is the Anti-Christ. This eventually led to full-scale war—the 30 years war from 1618 to 1648 A.D.. It was war between Protestant and Roman Catholic states in the fragmenting Holy Roman Empire, which it gradually developed into a more general conflict between many of the great European powers.

With persecution of Protestants by Bloody Mary (Mary Tudor, a Roman Catholic) who became queen of England in 1553 a number of English Protestant scholars moved to Geneva (Switzerland). They included Miles Coverdale, John Foxe, Thomas Sampson, and William Whittingham. With the protection of the Genevan civil authorities and the support of John Calvin and the Scottish Reformer John Knox, the Church of Geneva determined to produce an English Bible without the need for the imprimatur of either England or Rome — the Geneva Bible. In 1560 a complete Bible was published. While other English translations failed to capture the hearts of the reading public, the Geneva Bible was instantly popular. Between 1560 and 1644 many editions appeared.This period was when the power of the Papacy was really being broken. (The 30 years war ended by 1648.)

The Geneva Bible was outspokenly anti-Roman Catholic and the Church of Rome was desperately trying to hold onto power and was still persecuting Protestants. Keep in mind that the English translators were exiles from a nation that was forcibly returning to Roman Catholicism under Bloody Mary, who burnt many Protestants at the stake.1 In the Geneva Bible the anti-Roman Catholic teaching is clearly taught in the Book of Revelation, in the footnotes provided:

Revelation 11:7 And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit, shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.

With reference to this verse the Geneva Bible translators described the “beast that cometh out of the bottomless pit” as the Roman Empire (civil and Ecclesiastical) headed by the Pope. You can find all the translators footnotes here.

The main point I wish to make here, is that it was the Reformation and the translation of the Bible that started the process of liberating the true Church from Romish Church control.

Matthew 24:12,13  And because iniquity [unrighteousness] shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. 13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

The Greek word translated ‘iniquity’ is ἀνομία (anomia) meaning transgression of the law, or unrighteousness.  The Roman Church learned how to get around the law of God, by selling indulgences and changing the meaning of what was in the scriptures, which she could only control as long as the people did not have the scriptures in their own language (translated from the original Greek, Aramaic and Hebrew texts). It is no surprise she fought against the translators. The Papacy killed (hung, burnt at the stake) many of the Reformers and those who opposed its rule.

But tribulation is a hallmark of the true Church. True faith endures such tribulation but the faith of the false Christian who is a ‘professing’ Christian, in name only, does not have the type of faith that endures to the end.

Daniel 12:13 But go you your way till the end be: for you shall rest, and stand in your lot at the end of the days.

The warfare continues. It may be more in the spiritual realm nowadays than with man-made armaments. The Roman Catholic Jesuits were an agency formed to counter the Reformation, but what of their influence in the political powers of man today? Pope Francis, a Jesuit, has praised liberation theology. That form of theology was developed in the 1960s-1970s in Latin America, and is tied to Marxism.

Many Jesuits embraced liberation theology as part of what a 1975 decree by the order called their “commitment to promote justice and enter into solidarity with the voiceless and the powerless.”

It appears to be to promote good for the poor of this world, but in the end it means political power to the Vatican. The Beast continues to infiltrate, so do not be complacent. Be vigilant, until Christ returns.


  1. Gary DeMar, The forgotten translation.
  2. Under Pope Francis, liberation theology comes of age, CNS, VATICAN LETTER September 13, 2013.

By John Gideon Hartnett

Dr John G. Hartnett is an Australian physicist and cosmologist, and a Christian with a biblical creationist worldview. He received a B.Sc. (Hons) and Ph.D. (with distinction) in Physics from The University of Western Australia, W.A., Australia. He was an Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Outstanding Researcher Award (DORA) fellow at the University of Adelaide, with rank of Associate Professor. Now he is retired. He has published more than 200 papers in scientific journals, book chapters and conference proceedings.