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Understanding Daniel 12:2-3

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Dean Butler

Daniel 12:2-3 is a powerful passage that gives us a glimpse into the end times and the hope of resurrection for those who are faithful to God. Here’s what these verses say:

"Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt. Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever."

Daniel 12:2 speaks of a future resurrection where many who have died will be raised. This is one of the earliest references to the resurrection in the Old Testament. It highlights a division between two groups: those who will be raised to everlasting life and those who will face disgrace and everlasting contempt. This paints a vivid picture of the ultimate destiny of humanity based on their response to God’s call. Notably, it emphasizes that all will be resurrected at the same time. Jesus reinforces this in John 5:28-29: "Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment."

In verse 3, Daniel talks about those who have insight and those who lead others to righteousness. These individuals are described as shining brightly, like the stars in the sky. This imagery suggests that their wisdom and actions have eternal significance. The brightness symbolizes the glory and honor that come from a life lived in faithful service to God and others. Jesus speaks of this separation and the honor of the righteous in Matthew 25:31-33: "But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left."

These verses offer profound hope and encouragement to believers. They assure us that our efforts to live righteously and to lead others to God are not in vain. Even in the face of trials and persecution, the promise of eternal life and the honor of shining like stars give us a reason to persevere. This promise also serves as a motivation to share the message of salvation with others.

As we reflect on Daniel 12:2-3, we can ask ourselves how we are living out our faith. Are we seeking to gain insight through God's Word? Are we actively leading others to righteousness? The promise of eternal life and the glory of shining like stars are not just for a select few but for all who commit themselves to following God and sharing His truth.

In conclusion, Daniel 12:2-3 reminds us of the reality of resurrection and the importance of living a life that honors God. It calls us to be wise, to seek understanding, and to lead others to righteousness. By doing so, we can look forward to the day when we will shine brightly in God’s eternal kingdom.

Fifty years ago, I committed my life to serving the Lord. I hold an associate degree in Christian Education and a bachelor’s degree in Christian Counseling.  I live by 1 Corinthians 9:16, Ephesians 3:7-8, and Colossians 1:28-29. In my retirement, I focus on study and sharing the teachings of God’s Word with others. Besides writing this Blog I maintain 3 Facebook pages dedicated to spreading the Word of God. Email:

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