Daniel 10:1-12:13 – Your Allotted Inheritance
SummaryIn Daniel 10 we are told that Daniel had a disturbing vision. The rest of the chapter narrates his encounters with heavenly beings as he is being prepared for an interpretation of the dream. Daniel 11 reveals the content and meaning of the dream. It is filled with descriptions of great violence. Daniel 12 announces the intervention of Michael, a heavenly being assigned to protect the people of God, and the resurrection of the faithful. As a unit, Daniel 10-12 asserts, as have previous chapters, that the future for the people of God will not be easy; the picture is not at all pretty. But the outcome is certain: the evil rulers of this age will not have the last word. The closing words of Daniel assure us that God will provide the inheritance that has been allotted for the faithful.
AnalysisDaniel 10-12 draws together many of the themes of the previous chapters. There are, of course, some distinctive features in these chapters. They are both a climax and a summary. The unique elements include the following:
• Daniel's reaction to the vision is treated more fully in this chapter than at any other point in the book.
• Much more space is devoted to the final violent kingdom in chapter 11 than in the previous treatments.
• Chapter 12 deals specifically with the faithful who have died before the kingdom of God is established at the end of the series of defiant kingdoms.
Many themes appear in 11:5-28. These include plots and revolutions (11:21-25), strength (11:5, 6, 10), insolence (11:18), and deceit 11:23). The ruler mentioned in 11:29-35 repeats a number of these themes, but the emphasis on his magnified heart and his actions against the people of the covenant is unprecedented. The faithful will be sorely pressed; some will die (11:33). Others will flatter the oppressor and make a pact with him (11:34). The picture is one of painful turmoil. The tyrant will not only challenge God, but will forsake his own religious traditions and deify himself and his warring activity (11:36-39). The description of the resurrection in 12:1-2 is expressed in language that emphasizes the dimensions of the kingdom of God that exceeds what is now known. God's capacity to deliver exceeds the capacity of evil to destroy, no matter what form the latter takes.
We can persist in faithful defiance of the demands of the tyrants of this world, because they do not control our future. We can, as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:58, be "immovable" and get on with the work of the Lord. The end of the blasphemous and tyrannical kingdoms of the world is certain. This is asserted in several different visions in the book. The kingdom of God lasts forever and ever-that too is repeatedly asserted. The message encourages trust, not insecure speculation about the future.
The book has moved from suffering as punishment (1:1-2; 9:4-15) to punishment as refinement for the final cosmic battle between the forces of evil and God (11:30-32). In Daniel 1-6 faithful living can withstand and avoid the hubris of rulers who can nonetheless be served. As Daniel 7-12 comes to a close, it is clear that a shift has occurred: there will be rulers who cannot be served and who will only persecute. Under those circumstances, perseverance and resistance to the point of martyrdom are the marks of faithful living.