Daniel was given many astonishing visions and prophecies which concerned his people, Israel, and the holy city of Jerusalem. Some of his writings describe Israel’s immediate future while others give us a glimpse into the end-times, the coming satanic Antichrist, and the terrible time of Great Tribulation which is to descend on the whole earth as God pours out His wrath on an unbelieving world.
The final chapter of his book gives a peep into the terrible time of Tribulation, which Jeremiah calls: “The Time of Jacob’s Trouble.” Daniel was told to seal up his prophecy until the “end of time.” He was not permitted to understand its greater impact, but with the knowledge we glean from the whole counsel of God, both Old and New Testaments, we can identify this period as the final three and a half years of Daniel’s prophetic “70 weeks.”
It is during this time that Michael, the great prince of Israel and archangel of God who stands guard over the sons of Israel, will rise up to protect them. Although they will have to endure the greatest time of distress the world has ever seen: “Everyone who is found written in the book (the Lamb’s book of life) will be rescued.” They will come forth from the dust of the ground, be resurrected from the dead, and receive their earthly inheritance.
From the beginning, the nation of Israel learned about bodily resurrection. Abraham and his seed had been promised an inheritance in Canaan, and Isaiah foretold: “Your dead will live. Their corpses will rise. You who lie in the dust, will awake and shout for joy.” Although Israel are God’s chosen people, they are not all automatically saved. Only those who believe on God and Jesus Christ Whom He has sent, will be redeemed. Only the ‘true Israel of God’ which Paul identifies as believing Jews from all dispensations, including martyrs in the Great Tribulation who wash their robes and make them white in the blood of the Lamb, will be saved and resurrected unto life.
Martha of Bethany believed Daniel’s words. She knew her brother would rise again in the resurrection on the last day and then Jesus made his startling claim, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die.”
Everyone who has ever lived since the beginning of time, Jew or Gentile, saved or unsaved, will be resurrected. However, God has given a divine order to the resurrection:
First: The Lord Jesus; the first-fruit from the dead: “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.”
Then: Church-age saints are part of ‘the First Resurrection to LIFE’, and will be resurrected before the 7 year Tribulation. This resurrection of Church-age believers is often referred to as the Rapture of the Church: “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.”
Then: Old Testament saints and Tribulation saints will be part of ‘the First Resurrection to LIFE’, at the end of the 7 year Tribulation at Christ’s Second Coming. These people will be resurrected: “To everlasting life.” King David, Abraham, Daniel and Esther will be among those resurrected at this time.
Finally: After the 1000 year Millennial Rule of Christ, millennial believers will also become part of ‘the First Resurrection of LIFE’, but all unbelievers – all who refused God’s offer of salvation, throughout the ages, will have to face ‘the Second Resurrection’. They will be raised to stand before the Great White Judgement Throne of God. These people will be a part of the terrible “Second Resurrection of Judgement: “To disgrace and everlasting contempt.” John calls this: “The Resurrection of Damnation,” where the worm will not die and the fire will not be quenched.
Let us give glory to God that, as believers in the Church age, we will take part in the Rapture of the Church, whether as part of the dead in Christ, or one who is alive and remain. Let the grim realisation of the second death renew our hearts and minds to tell out to a lost and dying world the glorious plan of salvation in Jesus Christ: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.”
Heavenly Father, thank You, for all I can learn from the book of Daniel about the end times and the resurrection of the dead. Thank You that I have been saved by grace, through faith in Christ and will not take part in the second death, the everlasting terror of the fires of hell. Thank You that anyone can be declared righteous by faith and that every member of the human race has to make their choice, either to trust in Jesus for the forgiveness of sins or to reject His offer of salvation. Give me boldness to proclaim Your gospel to the lost so that more people can choose to trust in Jesus and be saved. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.