Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.
– Daniel 12:2
It is important to remember a few key points about Daniel 12:2:
- This prophecy is given as a promise of the eternal destiny of Mankind. We will spend eternity in the grace of God or under the wrath of God.
- This passage best speaks against a belief called Annihilationism and Universalism. Annihilationism teaches that those who are outside of Christ will be annihilated, no longer to exist. Universalism teaches that everyone goes to be in the presence of God’s grace (Heaven). However, Daniel states the soul is not annihilated or universally accepted, but rather our soul has a specific eternal destiny. The Bible says your acceptance or rejection of the Messiah and Redeemer determines your destiny.
- Therefore, by resting in Christ as Lord and Savior, you will rise to eternal life by the Grace of God.
Interpreting Daniel 12:2
- Daniel 12:2 is a part of a larger prophetic statement that helps fill in details in regards to the eternal state of man.
- Daniel is specifically giving the statement in Daniel 12:2 having just described the events of the Great Tribulation in Daniel 11-12:1. He concludes his prophetic declaration by reminding us that all of history is culminating to a time when humanity will stand in judgment before the Lord.
- According to Daniel 12:2, every human will exist for the rest of eternity. Daniel divides eternity into two destinies. One is in the presence of the Grace of the Lord and the other is under the wrath of the Lord. This is determined by your faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior or your rejection of Jesus’s salvation.
- From a Pretribulational dispensational interpretation, Daniel 12:2 would be defined more specifically. This view would recognize that this future judgment of Daniel is specifically told to the nation of Israel. However, all of humanity will be judged. This judgment will occur on Israel at the end of the Great tribulation. A Pretribulational dispensationalists would state that the timing of this judgment is specific for Israel because the Great tribulation marks Israel’s time of repentance due to their rejection of the Messiah (see Daniel 12:1). Those who are a part of the Church age will be judged at the rapture.