Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology A Preterist Response to
When Shall These Things Be?
The Resurrection of the Dead
Part 5 Daniel 12:1-3
David A. Green
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Strimple Argument #5: Daniel 12:1-3 says that “many of those who
sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to
shame and everlasting contempt.” This is obviously referring to a physical
resurrection of the dead. Additionally, God tells us that this prophecy
is to be fulfilled in “the time of the end” (Dan. 12:4), which is the end
of human history (295).
Answer: Daniel’s prediction of the resurrection of the dead begins
with these words: “And at that time . . . ” “That time” refers back to the
end of chapter 11. Philip Mauro in his book, The Seventy Weeks and
the Great Tribulation, argues convincingly that Daniel 11 ends with a
prophecy of Herod the Great.
Herod, the first enemy of the incarnate Christ, died very shortly
after Christ was born. It was “at that time” that Christ (“Michael,” “the
Chief Messenger”) stood up for the saints. It was at that time that Christ
came into the world for His people and took on the body of sacrifice
that the Father had prepared for Him (Dan. 12:1; Heb. 10:5-7; Ps. 40:6;
cf. Rev. 12:7).
It was the “stand” for the elect that Christ made in His Incarnation
that led to the “war in heaven” (Matt. 11:12; Rev. 12:7), which in turn
led to fleshly Israel being overtaken in the death-throes of the Great
Tribulation (Dan. 12:1). Jesus promised that that time of distress was
going to take place within His own generation, and that it would be consummated
in the destruction of the city and the sanctuary (Dan. 9:26;
12:1; Matt. 24:1-2, 21, 34). That event took place in August-September
of AD 70.
According to the angel who spoke to Daniel, it was at that time that
the power of the holy people would be shattered (Dan. 12:7), that the
church would be delivered (Dan. 12:1), that the resurrection of the dead
would take place, and that the righteous would inherit the kingdom
(Dan. 12:2). Jesus, in harmony with Daniel, promised that the kingdom
would be taken from the wicked and given to the righteous in the lifetime
of the chief priests and Pharisees (Mat. 21:43-45). Therefore, “the
time of the end” (not “the end of time,” as it is sometimes mistranslated)
in Daniel 12:4, 9 was not the end of human history; it was the end of
redemptive history in Christ’s generation.
It was in AD 70, therefore, that many who slept in “the earth’s dust”
awoke. To “sleep in dust” is a figure of speech. The dead were not literally
sleeping, nor were they literally in the dust. They were “in dust”
only insofar as, in their death, they had not ascended into God’s presence
in Christ. In terms of the righteousness and life of God, they were
earth-bound. From a literal standpoint, they were in Sheol/Hades (the
abode of the Adamic dead), and it was from out of Sheol that they were
raised to stand before the heavenly throne of God (Dan. 12:1-2).
Futurist James Jordan writes regarding Daniel 12:13:
What Daniel is promised is that after his rest in Abraham’s bosom,
he will stand up with all God’s saints and join Michael on
a throne in heaven, as described in Revelation 20, an event that
came after the Great Tribulation and in the year AD 70.
Regarding the word “many” in Daniel 12:2: The word is not used
in contrast to “all” (as “the many” is used to limit the term “all men” in
Rom. 5:12, 15, 18-19) or in contrast to “a few.” The angel simply referred
to a large number of people; to multitudes (NIV). No inference can be
made from the context as to whether “many” referred to all or to only
a portion of the dead. Only subsequent scriptures revealed that the
“many” in Daniel 12:2 referred whole company of all the dead
from Adam to the Last Day.