First Reading: Daniel 12:1-3

The General Resurrection

1 At that time Michael shall rise up, the great prince who stands for the children of your people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time; and at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone who shall be found written in the book.

2 Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting contempt. 3 Those who are wise shall shine as the brightness of the heavens; and those who turn many to righteousness as the stars forever and ever.

World English Bible

Daniel was the first book written in an apocalyptic style. Because of the many historical inaccuracies in the book, there has always been a great controversy over the time frame of its composition. Conservatives insist it was penned by a historical person who lived in the Babylonian exile. Others claim it was written much later by an anonymous figure in the second century during the Maccabeean revolt against the Syrians.

Nevertheless, the book reflected a time of great upheaval. The book painted the changes in human affairs that mirrored the cosmic struggle between God and the dark forces. Chapters 10-12 consisted of a set of visions that depicted angelic combat against evil. 12:1-4 marked the high point of the these visions: the great tribulation [1b], assurance of salvation [1c], and the resurrection of the dead [2]. Notice that the righteous who are risen will shine like their leader, Michael the Archangel.

In these times of stress, we should take comfort, not anxiety, from the words of Daniel. The passage promised great protection. Why shouldn't we take comfort? After all, we have God on our side of this struggle!

How do these words of Daniel comfort you? How does God's presence and protection give you hope?