1 Now at that time, Michael, the great prince, who stands over the children of your people, will be silent, and there will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of Nations until then. But at that time Your people, everyone whose name is found written in the Book, will be delivered. 2 And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake: some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt. 3 Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.
a) ” In that time” does not mean that what is described in this last and twelfth chapter of Daniel (Dn, 12) is happening immediately after the events reported at the end of the previous chapter (Daniel 11, 36-45).
b) Michael transliterated from Hebrew מִיכָאֵל (mika-El) means “Who is like GOD?”, from the name already one can understand the immeasurable greatness of this messenger’s emissary. In fact “angel” comes from the Latin angelus (origin from the Greek word ἄγγελος “ággelos” pronounced ánghelos) a translation of the Hebrew מלאך, mal’akh, which means “messenger”, “servant”.
Michael is often associated in the Hebrew-Christian-Muslim tradition with the spiritual battle (see Daniel 10, 13 ; Daniel 10, 21 ; Judas 1, 9 and Revelation 12, 7), he is Satan’s adversary, that is the evil, therefore identified as the great prince, the strength he shows by watching over the children of the people of GOD, the believers. In addition to his role as a spiritual warrior, Michael has a special task in protecting Israel (the people of GOD) as the spiritual guardian of those who have faith.
c) “There will be a time of distress” refers to the time of persecution for Israel and the world calamity known as the Great Tribulation, this time is also called the time of Jacob’s troubles in Jeremiah 30, 7.
d) “As there never was”: The Jewish people have known many truly dark moments of tribulation in their history. From the horrors of the fall of Samaria and Jerusalem to the terrors caused by Antiochus Epiphanes, the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, the persecution of the church during the Middle Ages, the pogroms of Europe, and the Shoah of the 20th century. But this moment of difficulty prophesied by Daniel will be different and worse than Israel has ever seen before. Jesus also quotes this passage in Matthew 24, 21 “There will be great tribulation, as there has not been since the beginning of the world until now.” The Scriptures teaches that the worst is yet to come for Israel and for the people of GOD, but this era will by no means be an end, but will give way to a new and better beginning.
The final Book of the Christian New Testament Revelation (Rev 12, 13-17), although rich in metaphors and allegories, is a good window that extends the sight in this terrible time. The fury of the devil directed against the Jewish people, the trumpets, seals and bowls of Revelation describe the horrible conditions throughout the world during this time. The Jewish people will be the target of the fury of the devil and his Antichrist during this time, and they will live in a world that is in an incredible upheaval because of GOD’s impending judgment.
e) “Your people will be delivered,” translated from Hebrew, “will escape,” that is, they will be able to survive this difficult time. Despite the terrors of that period of anguish, liberation is assured. No matter how great the attack against the people of GOD, the CREATOR promises to preserve them, His promise to Abraham will never be broken: “And I will establish my covenant between you and Me and your descendants after you in their generations, for an eternal covenant, to be GOD for you and your descendants after you”. (Genesis 17, 7).
(f) “All those who will be find in the Book”. This promise of liberation is not addressed to every person of Jewish origin, but to all those who find themselves recorded in this “registry” which symbolizes the “report ” of all the actions committed during the lifetime of every man and woman. It is not conceivable for a good GOD to exclude from salvation people who have not had the opportunity to know the Jewish, Christian or Muslim faith, because it will be saved whoever in Israel (in the Nations of the World) will have done good and avoided evil.
g) “Many who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake” refers to the resurrection of the body and the Spirit.
h) “Some to the eternal life, some to shame and everlasting contempt. The New Testament states that there are two resurrections, one for those who will be saved and one for the damned (John 5, 29 ; Revelation 20, 4-6 and Revelation 11-15). If we really believed that each of us will live forever, it would profoundly change our way of life and our thoughts for the better. The “eternal contempt” is a terror that never ends, there will be no possibility of “redeeming oneself” after a certain period of punishment. The principles of the Old Testament confirm us that an “imperfect” payment of sins corresponds to a perpetual payment, which in earthly terms means how “you will continue to struggle until you understand and behave well”. The only term is Judgment Day, which is the deadline when the “Book will be consulted” and “the balance will be set”.
(i) “The wise men will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars forever”. If those who work in goodness and Love will be “only” saved, there will be a reward and an etrernal memory for those who have spread it. In spite of all the calamity and difficulties that present themselves to Israel, the righteous will shine for having lived and worked for peace. All the people of GOD are like the stars, radiating light and helping others to see and find their way.
l) “Forever and ever” confirms that committing one’s time to seek love and justice means investing in goods that will mature into enduring happiness (“light”). Often it seems that material things serve as indicators that everything is going well, but then you realize that the accumulation of goods does not fill at all the emptiness that only the knowledge of GOD can fill up.