Divine Blessings for “the Ones Having Insight”
“The ones having insight will shine like the brightness of the expanse; and those who are bringing the many to righteousness, like the stars to time indefinite, even forever.”—DANIEL 12:3.
1. After describing the time of distress on the warmongers, to what does the angel next turn his attention?
THE angel’s prophecy to Daniel has brought us all the way from the fourth century B.C.E. to Armageddon. It has shown that Michael will bring peace to the earth in the only possible way: by destroying the warmongers. Now, after such a remarkable survey of history in advance, the angel foretells some of the rich blessings enjoyed by God’s people “in the final part of the days.”—Daniel 10:14.
A Time of Resurrections
2. How did some dead ones “wake up” during “the final part of the days”?
2 The angel tells Daniel: “And there will be many of those asleep in the ground of dust who will wake up, these to indefinitely lasting life and those to reproaches and to indefinitely lasting abhorrence.” (Daniel 12:2) Evidently, “the final part of the days” is a time for resurrections, of raising those “asleep in the ground of dust.” One such awakening began soon after Jesus became King in 1914. (Matthew 24:3) Looking forward to that time, the apostle Paul wrote: “We the living who survive to the presence of the Lord shall in no way precede those who have fallen asleep in death . . . Those who are dead in union with Christ will rise first.” (1 Thessalonians 4:15, 16; Revelation 6:9-11) Evidently, then, soon after 1914 Jesus raised to spirit life in the heavens those of “the Israel of God” who had already died faithful. (Galatians 6:16) For them, the awakening was to “indefinitely lasting life.”
3, 4. How did a group of faithful servants of God come to be ‘dead’ in 1918?
3 But the angel’s words undoubtedly include another resurrection. For about 40 years preceding 1914, a small group of Christians had been warning that that year would mark the end of the Gentile Times as prophesied by Jesus. (Luke 21:24) These Christians had Zion’s Watch Tower Tract Society incorporated in 1884, and they published the results of their Bible research in a journal called Zion’s Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence.
4 In 1914 the truth of their message was dramatically confirmed when the first world war broke out, and the “pangs of distress” foretold by Jesus began. (Matthew 24:7, 8) Nevertheless, their religious enemies used the war hysteria to persecute them until finally, in 1918, their preaching work was virtually stopped, and principal servants of the Watch Tower Society were unjustly imprisoned. This caused great rejoicing in some quarters. It also fulfilled the prophecy recorded in the book of Revelation: “And when they have finished their witnessing, the wild beast that ascends out of the abyss will make war with them and conquer them and kill them.”—Revelation 11:7.
5, 6. How did this group’s experiences in 1919 provide a fulfillment of the prophecy that “many of those asleep in the ground of dust . . . will wake up”?
5 According to the prophecy, however, they were not to stay ‘dead.’ “And after the three and a half days spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet, and great fear fell upon those beholding them. . . . And they went up into heaven in the cloud, and their enemies beheld them.” (Revelation 11:11, 12; Ezekiel 37:1-14) Their resurrection was evidently a symbolical one, since a literal resurrection to spirit life in heaven would have been invisible to their enemies. Rather, they were resurrected from a deathlike state of inactivity to a vibrant state of zealous activity in full view of those who had schemed their end. In 1919 the representatives of the Watch Tower Society were released from prison, the preaching work was reorganized, and the world saw the beginning of the greatest Kingdom witnessing campaign in history.—Matthew 24:14.
6 In this symbolical sense, ‘many of those asleep in the dust of the ground woke up.’ Then, starting in 1919, that small, awakened body of Bible Students began to seek out and gather the remaining ones of Jesus’ brothers so that the full number of the 144,000 could be sealed. (Matthew 24:31; Revelation 7:1-3) As individuals responded, they dedicated themselves to God through Christ and became members of Jehovah’s visible organization on earth. Receiving the free gift of holy spirit, they were declared righteous on the basis of their faith in Jesus’ ransom sacrifice and were adopted as sons of God in a spiritual way.—Romans 8:16; Galatians 2:17; 3:8.
7. For many of these, how will this prove to be an awakening “to indefinitely lasting life”?
7 Those of them who remain faithful to the end of their earthly lives have the firm prospect of taking their place in heaven alongside Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:50-53) Thus, their spiritual awakening is to everlasting life. While still alive on earth, they experience peace among themselves even though living in a warring world. (Romans 14:19) But more importantly, they enjoy peace with Jehovah God himself, “the peace of God that excels all thought.”—Philippians 4:7.
Awakening “to Reproaches”
8, 9. In what way could this spiritual awakening be “to reproaches and to indefinitely lasting abhorrence”?
8 Why, then, do some “wake up . . . to reproaches and to indefinitely lasting abhorrence”? The fact is, not all those who accept the invitation to be part of that Kingdom class stay faithful. Some let their faith weaken and they fail to endure. (Hebrews 2:1) A few even become apostate and have to be removed from the Christian congregation. (Matthew 13:41, 42) Such ones are described by Jesus as “that evil slave” whom the Master punishes “with the greatest severity,” assigning him with the hypocrites. “There is where his weeping and the gnashing of his teeth will be.”—Matthew 24:48-51; Ephesians 4:18; 5:6-8.
9 What a tragedy, to accept the highest privilege ever offered to imperfect humans and then to turn against it! Of those who act in this way, the apostle Paul said: “It is impossible as regards those who have once for all been enlightened, and who have tasted the heavenly free gift, and who have become partakers of holy spirit, and who have tasted the fine word of God and powers of the coming system of things, but who have fallen away, to revive them again to repentance, because they impale the Son of God afresh for themselves and expose him to public shame.” (Hebrews 6:4-6) In this way, their awakening turns out to be “to reproaches and to indefinitely lasting abhorrence.” They have no further prospect of everlasting life.
“Shining as Illuminators”
10. Who are “the ones having insight,” and how do they ‘shine as illuminators’?
10 But for those who remain faithful, the prophecy says: “And the ones having insight will shine like the brightness of the expanse; and those who are bringing the many to righteousness, like the stars to time indefinite, even forever.” (Daniel 12:3) “The ones having insight” are clearly the faithful remaining members of the anointed Christian congregation, who are ‘filled with accurate knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual comprehension.’ Strengthened by Jehovah, they ‘endure fully and are long-suffering with joy, thanking the Father who rendered them suitable for their participation in the inheritance of the holy ones in the light.’ (Colossians 1:9, 11, 12) Ever since 1919, though ‘darkness itself covers the earth, and thick gloom the national groups,’ they have been “shining as illuminators” among mankind. (Isaiah 60:2; Philippians 2:15; Matthew 5:14-16) They “shine as brightly as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.”—Matthew 13:43.
11. In what way have “the ones having insight” proved to be “those who are bringing the many to righteousness”?
11 How do they prove to be “those who are bringing the many to righteousness”? (Daniel 12:3) Thanks to their faithful witnessing, the final ones of spiritual Israel have been gathered in and declared righteous for life in the heavens. Additionally, a great crowd of “other sheep” has manifested itself, flocking to the light from Jehovah as reflected by ‘Daniel’s people.’ (John 10:16; Zechariah 8:23) These “other sheep” have willingly joined with the anointed in their work of preaching the “good news.” (Matthew 24:14; Isaiah 61:5, 6) They, too, exercise faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ, so that they are declared righteous to enjoy friendship with God. (Revelation 7:9-15; compare James 2:23.) If they remain faithful to the end, their names will continue to be “found written down in the book.” Thus, they may expect to survive the most calamitous time of distress ever to strike the nations.—Daniel 12:1; Matthew 24:13, 21, 22.
“They Will Shine . . . Forever”
12, 13. (a) How is it that “the ones having insight” are able to “shine . . . forever”? (b) How, in another way, will they prove to be “those who are bringing the many to righteousness”?
12 The angel told Daniel: “The ones having insight will shine like the brightness of the expanse . . . , like the stars to time indefinite, even forever.” (Daniel 12:3) How can the anointed ones shine forever, since each one will eventually die? In that they will continue to “shine” even after death. Describing them in their heavenly position, Jesus tells us in the book of Revelation: “The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his slaves will render him sacred service; and they will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. Also, night will be no more, and they have no need of lamplight nor do they have sunlight, because Jehovah God will shed light upon them, and they will rule as kings forever and ever.”—Revelation 22:3-5.
13 Yes, these resurrected ones will rule as kings like stars in the heavens, “forever and ever.” Their spiritual brilliance will bring great blessings to mankind. (Revelation 14:13) Describing them as the “New Jerusalem,” the book of Revelation reports: “And the city has no need of the sun nor of the moon to shine upon it, for the glory of God lighted it up, and its lamp was the Lamb. And the nations will walk by means of its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it.” (Revelation 21:2, 9, 23, 24) The resurrected ones will assist in applying the benefits of the ransom sacrifice “for the curing of the nations.” (Revelation 22:2) When, by the end of the Thousand Year Reign, Jesus and his 144,000 associate kings and priests have restored faithful humans to perfection, they will indeed have brought “many to righteousness.” After the final test at that time, restored mankind will form a perfect human society living on a paradise earth for eternity. (Revelation 20:7-10; Psalm 37:29) In this way, the visible results of the heavenly glory of ‘Daniel’s people’ will also last “to time indefinite, even forever.”
14. The prophecy that “many of those asleep in the ground of dust . . . will wake up” will come to include who else?
14 Thus, the angel’s words take us beyond the time of Michael’s ‘standing up’ and the unparalleled “time of distress” right into the new system of things. Moreover, the blessings channeled through these ones shining “like the stars” will not be limited to those who survive the “time of distress.” Jesus, while still a man on earth, said: “The hour is coming in which all those in the memorial tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who did good things to a resurrection of life, those who practiced vile things to a resurrection of judgment.” (John 5:28, 29) These words point to a literal resurrection of dead mankind, and doubtless this resurrection, too, is an extended fulfillment of the angel’s words: “Many of those asleep in the ground of dust . . . will wake up.”—Daniel 12:2.
15. For those resurrected then, how can it prove to be an awakening “to indefinitely lasting life”?
15 Among those included in this particular awakening will be Daniel himself. He was told by the angel: “As for you yourself, go toward the end; and you will rest [fall asleep in death], but you will stand up for your lot at the end of the days.” (Daniel 12:13) Those like Daniel who are resurrected then and who respond to the ministry of Jesus and his brothers from heaven will be raised to human perfection. When they pass the final test, they will have their names permanently inscribed in the book of life. (Revelation 20:5) For them, too, the awakening will be “to indefinitely lasting life.”
16. For whom will the awakening in the new system of things prove to be “to indefinitely lasting abhorrence”?
16 Not all will so respond, however. Some will doubtless try to bring back the practices that have robbed man of peace for so long. Such ones have fair warning in the Bible: “As for the cowards and those without faith and those who are disgusting in their filth and murderers and fornicators and those practicing spiritism and idolaters and all the liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur. This means the second death.” (Revelation 21:8) This “second death” is a direct judgment from Jehovah from which there is no resurrection. It is eternal, unending oblivion. Those resurrected who prove to be unappreciative will suffer this second death; hence, their awakening will be “to reproaches and to indefinitely lasting abhorrence.”—Daniel 12:2.
“True Knowledge Will Become Abundant”
17. How do we know that the prophecy about the king of the north and the king of the south was recorded mainly for our benefit today?
17 The angel then offers words of counsel to Daniel: “And as for you, O Daniel, make secret the words and seal up the book, until the time of the end. Many will rove about, and the true knowledge will become abundant.” (Daniel 12:4) These words arrest our attention. Although the angel’s prophecy concerning the two kings began to be fulfilled some 2,300 years ago, the understanding of it has been opened up primarily during “the time of the end,” particularly since 1919. In these days, “many . . . rove about” in the Bible, and true knowledge has indeed become abundant. Now is the time that Jehovah has given knowledge to understanding ones.
18. (a) What major parts of the prophecy are now being fulfilled or about to be fulfilled? (b) What balanced attitude does this give us?
18 The fact that several features of the prophecy were fulfilled many centuries ago serves to strengthen our faith in the parts of the prophecy that have yet to take place. (Joshua 23:14) The world today is engaged in a tug-of-war between the king of the north and the king of the south, just as the angel foretold. Moreover, the prophecy warns of even more dangerous times ahead. So we are helped to keep our balance and avoid being swayed by the propaganda of either king. This is the time to strengthen our trust in Jehovah. Never forget that “Michael . . . the great prince” is “standing” for God’s people. Our only sure salvation is in submitting to God’s Kingdom under Christ Jesus.—Acts 4:12; Philippians 2:9-11.
19. What significance do the angel’s words to Daniel have for each one of us?
19 Stay close, then, to “the ones having insight,” who are ‘shining like the brightness of the expanse.’ Stay active in working for God’s Kingdom. (1 Corinthians 15:58; Romans 15:5, 6) Deepen your love of the truth of God’s Word, and treasure deeply the peace that exists even now in God’s organization. (Psalm 119:165; Ephesians 4:1-3; Philippians 2:1-5) Then, when Michael ‘stands up’ to crush Jehovah’s enemies, may you escape, along with all of God’s people whose names are “found written down in the book.”
Can You Answer?
◻ In what way has there been an awakening already of “many of those asleep in the ground”?
◻ How could this ‘waking up’ turn out to be “to reproaches”?
◻ How do “the ones having insight” shine as illuminators and bring many to righteousness?
◻ What future fulfillment will there be as to the waking up of ‘those asleep in the ground’?
◻ How is Daniel 12:4 fulfilled?
[Picture on page 23]
Since 1919 those having insight have been shining forth life-giving truth