The Mighty Angels of Daniel 12: Hover Over the River
By Nathan Jones
Hover Over the River
Vic Batista: Let’s pick up our study of the book of Daniel by reading Daniel 12:5-7.
“Then I, Daniel, looked; and there stood two others, one on this riverbank and the other on that riverbank. And one said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, ‘How long shall the fulfillment of these wonders be?’ Then I heard the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand to heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever, that it shall be for a time, times, and half a time; and when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered, all these things shall be finished.”
It’s amazing how a lot of the prophecies in Daniel were received by the riverbanks.
Nathan Jones: Even late in life, the Israelite Daniel remained an exile up in Babylon. Babylon ran along the Euphrates River. Daniel would have taken many walks along the banks of the Euphrates. Today we in the West recognize the river because it runs through Baghdad in Iraq.
Vic Batista: One of the things I noticed from the text in verse 6 that caught my attention were two men, possibly angels, asking the question, “How long shall the fulfillment of these wonders be?” It seems throughout biblical history people always want to know when this or that prophecy was going to occur. How will we know when we are close? Here we find those same old questions popping up again.
Nathan Jones: What stood out to me was this guy in linen actually hovered above the waters of the river. He’s not floating above the waters, rather he’s hovering, like he’s flying. This is an angel! Two different angels, one “standing on this riverbank and the other on that riverbank” ask God’s mighty messenger angel a question. Daniel and the two riverbank angels were actually having a conversation with a guy who was hovering above the waters. Amazing!
The two riverbank angels were standing on the banks talking to one another, and one asks the question likely running through Daniel’s mind, “How long shall the fulfillment of these wonders be?” God’s messenger angel — “the man clothed in linen who was above the waters of the river” — held up his right and left hands to heaven, and “swore by Him who lives forever” (Dan. 12:7). His answer? “That it shall be for a time, times, and half a time.”
Now this can rightly be one confusing answer to most people. We actually have to go to other parts in the Bible where this reference is also mentioned in order to understand what the angel meant. We were told earlier in Daniel about Daniel’s Seventieth Week, which is a seven years long time block. This time has been described in a number of ways, such as in Daniel 9:27 where the angel noted the Tribulation would last seven years. Half of the time would be called the Great Tribulation because that’s the half that really will affect the Jewish people.
By Daniel 12, we’re given “time, times and half a time,” which we see referenced again in Revelation 12:14. We also learn the Tribulation consists of two 1,260 day periods according to Revelation 11:3. Again, in Revelation 11:2 and 13:5, the time consists of two 42 month periods. So, we can from these other references now easily deduce that “time, times, and a half a time” means “time” equals two years, “times” equals one year, and “half a time” equals half a year. Add that up and the angel is answering 3.5 years.
The angel singling out the second half of the Tribulation for “when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered, all these things shall be finished” (Dan. 12:7) refers again to the Great Tribulation. Scriptures reveal this particular time period begins with the Antichrist persecuting the Jewish people all the way until the end of the Tribulation. The length? Exactly 3.5 years, or 1,260 days, or 42 months of 30 days each. Each time stamp add up to 1,260 days. That is the exact length to the day of the second half of the Tribulation.
A study of Revelation reveals that the first half of the Tribulation is primarily a punishment by God on the Gentiles powers as the Antichrist conquers the world and God’s 21 judgments rain down upon the earth. But, by the middle of the Tribulation, after the Antichrist has consolidated all the world powers but Israel under his dominion, he turns his attention to Jerusalem. Satan’s puppet desecrates the newly built Third Temple by setting up the abomination of desolation which results in the Jews fleeing into the wilderness. Satan through the Antichrist will demand the world worship him in place of God in the Temple. Satan worship will become the world’s dominant and then required world religion during the second half of the Tribulation.
Back in verse 1, the Jewish people are suffering mightily, so God sends the Archangel Michael to protecting the fleeing Jews. That desecration marks the midpoint of the Tribulation and beginning of the second half of the Tribulation, which the Bible also calls the Great Tribulation.
Vic Batista: I don’t know why the angel just couldn’t have said 3.5 years instead of “time, times, and half a time.”
Nathan Jones: Maybe his time designation was tied back to his command in verse 4 to shut up these words until the end when knowledge and travel shall increase. In other words, he could have been explaining, “Daniel, you are not going to understand these prophecies. Don’t even bother! But, when knowledge greatly increases, especially concerning prophecy, such as when God reveals even more prophetic insights in Revelation to the Apostle John almost 600 years later, well then that will start filling in the gaps and people will start understanding better what the ‘time, times, and half a time’ actually means.”
Poor Daniel! He was left not understanding the time frame of the prophecies given him and remained confused about the details concerning what he’d just learned would be occurring far in the future. But, Daniel was given a picture by God, and he at least shared that picture word for word. And now, some 2,500 years later, you and I can read the message the angel gave Daniel and add it to New Testament texts that prophesy in far more detail.
The first segment of this series on the mighty angels of Daniel began with a tragic back story. In the eighty-third segment, Daniel goes ahead and asks for the details. Will he get them?