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The Resurrection of the Dead


“At that time Michael, the great prince, the protector of your people, shall arise. There shall be a time of anguish, such as has never occurred since nations first came into existence. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone who is found written in the book. 2Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. 3Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. 4But you, Daniel, keep the words secret and the book sealed until the time of the end. Many shall be running back and forth, and evil shall increase.”

5 Then I, Daniel, looked, and two others appeared, one standing on this bank of the stream and one on the other. 6One of them said to the man clothed in linen, who was upstream, “How long shall it be until the end of these wonders?” 7The man clothed in linen, who was upstream, raised his right hand and his left hand toward heaven. And I heard him swear by the one who lives forever that it would be for a time, two times, and half a time, and that when the shattering of the power of the holy people comes to an end, all these things would be accomplished. 8I heard but could not understand; so I said, “My lord, what shall be the outcome of these things?” 9He said, “Go your way, Daniel, for the words are to remain secret and sealed until the time of the end. 10Many shall be purified, cleansed, and refined, but the wicked shall continue to act wickedly. None of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand. 11From the time that the regular burnt offering is taken away and the abomination that desolates is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred ninety days. 12Happy are those who persevere and attain the thousand three hundred thirty-five days. 13But you, go your way, and rest; you shall rise for your reward at the end of the days.”

Again, the angel mentions the persecutions which were at hand for the purpose of arming the faithful for the approaching conflicts. We know from other sources how tender and weak our minds naturally are, for as soon as any cause for fear arises, before it comes to blows, we fall down lifeless through terror. As, therefore, our natural imbecility is so great, we necessarily require many stimulants to patience, and to urge us to contend with earnestness, and never to yield to any temptations. This is the reason why the angel announces the necessity for such multiplied purification’s, to cleanse them, as wheat from chaff; to whiten them, as cloth by the fuller; and to melt them, as metal to be separated from dross. First of all, as I have previously explained, he admonishes Daniel and all the pious of the future state of the Church, to lead them to prepare and gird themselves for battle, and to gather up their unconquered fortitude, since the condition of life set before them is that of forcing their way through the midst of troubles. This is one point. Again, the angel shews the practical utility of this kind of life, which might otherwise seem too bitter. We naturally refuse the cross because we feel it contrary to our disposition, while God shews the pious that nothing can be more profitable to them than a variety of afflictions. This is a second point. But afflictions by themselves might possibly consume us, and hence we are cast into a furnace. Now, then, could we expect these sufferings to promote our salvation, except God changed their nature in some wonderful way, as their natural tendency is to effect our destruction? But while we are melted down, and whitened, and cleansed, we perceive how God consults for our welfare by pressing us with his cross and causing us to submit to adversity. Now, thirdly, the angel shews the insufficiency of one single act of cleansing, and our need of many more. This is the object of this numerous heaping together of words, they shall be cleansed, and whitened, and melted down, or poured forth. He might have embraced the whole idea in a single word; but, as through our whole lives God never ceases to test us in various ways, the angel heaps together these three words to shew the faithful their need of continual cleansing as long as they are clothed in flesh; just as garments which are in daily use have need of continual washing. However snowy a mantle may be, it becomes soiled immediately when used for even a single day; requiring constant ablution to restore it to its original purity. Thus we are brought in contact with the defilement’s of sin; and as long as we are pilgrims in this world, we necessarily become subject to constant pollution. And as the faithful also are infected with the contagion of numerous iniquities, they require daily purification’s hi different ways. We ought, then, diligently to notice these three distinct processes.

The angel afterwards adds, The impious will act impiously, and will never understand anything; but the prudent will be ever endued with intelligence Here he wishes to fortify the pious against a stumbling block in their way, when they see the profane despisers of God exulting in every direction, and defying God to his face. When the faithful see the world so full of the impious, they seem to be indulging so freely in lust as if there were no God in heaven’ time they are naturally subject to grievous sorrow and distress. To prevent this trial from agitating their minds, the angel announces how the impious should conduct themselves impiously; implying, — there is no reason why thou, O Daniel, or the rest of the righteous, should depend upon the example of others; Satan will cunningly set before you whatever obstacles may draw you into the contempt of God, and the abyss of impiety, unless you are remarkably cautious; but let not the conduct of the impious cause either you or the rest of the pious to stumble. Howsoever they conduct themselves, do you stand invincible. He afterwards assigns a reason for their behavior — they understand nothing, they are perfectly blinded. But what is the source of this blindness? Their being given over to a reprobate sense. If any one should see a blind man fall, and should cast himself down after this blind man, would he be excusable? Surely his blindness was the cause of his perishing so miserably, but why does the other person destroy himself willingly? Whenever we see the impious rushing furiously on to their destruction, while God is admonishing them that their blindness proceeds from Satan, and that they are given over to a reprobate mind, are we not doubly mad if we willingly follow them? The cause then of this impious behavior on the part of the wicked, is added with good reason; namely, they understand nothing. Meanwhile, the faithful are recalled to the true remedy, and the angel subjoins, But the prudent shall understand, meaning they shall not permit themselves to be implicated in the errors of those whom they see entirely devoted to their own destruction. Lastly, the angel points out to us the true remedy which will prevent Satan from drawing us off towards impiety, and the impious from infecting us with their evil examples, if we earnestly apply ourselves to the pursuit of heavenly doctrine. If, therefore, we heartily desire to be taught by God and to become his true disciples, the instruction which we derive from him will snatch us from destruction. This is the true sense of the passage. It afterwards follows, —

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