“At that time Michael, the great prince, the protector of your people, shall arise. There shall be a time of anguish, such as has never occurred since nations first came into existence. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone who is found written in the book.” (Daniel 12:1)

If I may first speak as a biblical commentator (hold tight beloved reader!) “at that time” refers to a time that was not come, but will come soon. (Okay beloved reader, I am done.) The sense of this chapter and the one before it was that a time was coming when there would be great changes. It hints at but does not quite say that it is the end of all of time. Daniel’s vision and prophecy of it makes it sound that it is soon – perhaps in the next decade when there is a shift in the kings and ruling authorities. The biblical commentators note that the same sort of parallel prophecy is found in the gospel of Matthew which, actually, upsets the timeline that was laid down by the biblical commentators when considering only Daniel’s words and prophecy.

“Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” (Verse 2)

“Sleep” may mean “snore, snore”. It may mean be unaware of the events around. It may mean death and then resurrection or coming back to life. It would seem, beloved reader, the further we move away from the culmination of this event, the more likely that unawareness or death is the sleep. And the waking is to the world to come or that one’s life went so astray as to not be “delivered” and “written in the book”.

“Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.” (Verse 3)

When one is embroiled in the here and now, it is hard to imagine a time far beyond. Surely, said the Israelites, a great king will arise and save the people from capture and oppression. Surely, the Jews said, the Messiah will come and end the peoples subjugation under their enemies. Surely, the disciples said, Jesus the Christ will return soon and take the faithful up to heaven and the kingdom of God. Surely our present suffering will not last beyond our natural life and we will see Heaven come down.

I turn around and look at the years between now and when I was just a child. So much has changed, but so much has remained the same. I take it now as a comfort that what I am going through in the present will not last beyond my endurance. Not that I believe the end times are just down the street and around the corner. My hope is that by having endured so much, I have the strength and will to endure more. Not to endure until the end times, but to endure until my time ends. I also hope, that having followed the Divine as much as a mortal can, that I will one day shine like the brightness of the sky. Shalom & Selah!