Gary answers a listener question about Daniel 12 and the resurrection of the dead.

The events of Daniel occur at the very beginning of a new covenantal and historical situation. The Restoration Covenant places the priestly covenant people in a wider context, the context of a world empire. This is the beginning of the “latter days.” This new covenant and new priestly service come, as always, through death and resurrection.

In the immediate context of the book of Daniel, and throughout the book itself, death and resurrection is a major theme. We think of death as physical death and of resurrection as the physical revival and transfiguration of men and women at the end of history – and rightly so, for this will indeed happen. In the Bible, however, death and resurrection can be and often is a wider concept, applying to nations and to individuals in ways that are analogous to actual physical death and resurrection. Joseph’s imprisonment and Daniel’s being cast into the den of lions are instances of death and resurrection, as are Jonah’s experience in the belly of the great fish and Nebuchadnezzar’s insanity and deliverance in Daniel 4. Similarly, the nation of Israel undergoes a judgment, death, and resurrection in the wilderness, as recounted in the book of Numbers. Ezekiel 37 predicts the revival of the people of God using the imagery of the physical resurrection of corpses. Ephesians 1:20 says that God raised Jesus from the dead and seated Him in heaven, and then 2:6 uses the same language to describe the saints as we live on earth after our new birth.

There is a sliding scale from sleep to death, so that the Bible can speak of those who have died as having “fallen asleep in Christ.” Indeed, our common experience is that we are tired by the end of the day, and fall into unconsciousness, only to wake up refreshed and restored. Why don’t we wake up as tired as we were when we dropped to sleep?

In the beginning, as Genesis 1 puts it, God made the world in seven days with times of darkness between each one. We may ask why. Why not just have one day after another without these intervening evenings? Similarly, when God chose to make the first woman from the side of Adam, why did He put Adam to sleep (indeed, “deep sleep”)? Why not just tell Adam to stand still and pop the rib out of his side painlessly while he was awake?

What we see in the beginning is that each day is more glorious than the one before. God sees that a situation is good, but then there is evening (“death”) and a new day, and God decides that now the situation is no longer good and changes it to make it good. The days move from good to good, from glory to glory. And they do so by undergoing darkness (sleep, death) before the next day arrives.

Human life follows the same pattern, as we have noted. Human beings are made of soil, made of “world,” and hence move on the same cycle of light-dark-light, day-night-day, wake-sleep-wake, as the world itself. We are not awake for 27 hours and then sleep for 15. Rather, we live on the same clock as the days and nights set up before mankind was created.

The Handwriting on the Wall

The Handwriting on the Wall

The Handwriting on the Wall takes a Covenant Historical Approach to interpreting the imagery of God's prophecies revealed to Daniel. The prophecies of Daniel deal with the events in the Covenantal Era that were dawning in Daniel's lifetime: the Restoration Era after the exile and the return of God's people back to the land, city, and temple. There are no ‘historical parentheses’ or ‘gaps’, no leaps of thousands of years into the future.

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Gary answers a listener question about Daniel 12 and the resurrection of the dead. Connecting various verses and passages from the Old and New Testaments, Gary shows that once again, the Bible is its own best interpreter. We must be careful to not bend the Bible to our own preconceived ideas, but conform our ideas to the Biblical text.

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