Many shall be purified - During the interim, the great work of God's providence and grace shall be carried on in the salvation of men; who, in the midst of trials, temptations, and difficulties, shall be purified and made white - be fully saved from their sins.
None of the wicked shall understand - Because they are wicked, and will continue in their sins, the eyes of their understanding shall be closed, and their hearts hardened; so that they shall not see the light of the glorious Gospel.
But the wise - Those who open their hearts to God, that he may pour in his light, shall understand the things that make for their peace.
Many shall be purified - In future times. That is, as the connection would seem to require, there will be a system introduced by which many will become purified, and made holy. Daniel might hope and expect that under the arrangements which God would make, many of the human race would be cleansed from sin. To what he would apply this we cannot determine, but it is a great truth of immense importance in regard to the human family, that, before the “end,” or the consummation, “many” will be made holy.
And made white - White is the emblem of innocence or purity, and hence, the term is so often applied to the righteous. “They have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb,” “they shall walk before me in white,” etc. Hence, the angels are represented as appearing in white raiment. The meaning here is, that many on the earth would be made holy before the end would come. The mind of Daniel was thus directed onward to one of the most glorious truths pertaining to future times - that multitudes of the human race would be redeemed, and would be prepared for a holy heaven.
And tried - Tried as in a furnace; that is, they will be subjected to persecutions, and to various other forms of suffering, that will test the strength of their faith, and the nature of their religion. This language, also, is of a general character, and would in itself apply to the times of Antiochus, but it is also fitted to describe what would occur in other ages. Perhaps the meaning is, that it would be a prominent thing in the future, in introducing the triumphs of religion; and in preparing the people of God for heaven, that they would be subjected to various forms of trial. There have been facts enough of this kind in the history of the church to justify this description, and to show that it would be a marked feature in spreading religion on the earth, that its friends would be persecuted. “But the wicked shall do wickedly.” They will continue to do wickedly. Notwithstanding all the judgments that will come upon men; notwithstanding all that will be done to purify the people of God, and, notwithstanding the fact that “many” will be of a different character - will be “purified and made white, and tried,” yet it will be a truth still, that there will be wicked men upon the earth, and that they will act out their nature.
This remark seems to have been thrown in by the angel to prevent the impression which Daniel might possibly get from what was said, not only that the true religion would generally prevail, but that wickedness would wholly cease in the earth. Such a time, perhaps, we are not authorized to look for; while we may hope and believe that there will be a period when the worship of God will pervade the world, and will supersede all other forms of worship, yet we have no reason to expect that every individual of the human family at any one time will be converted, and that none of the remains of the apostasy will be seen on the earth. There will be wicked men still, and they will act out their nature, despite all that is done to save them, and despite the fact that religion will have the ascendency in the hearts and lives of the great mass of mankind. For an illustration of this, see the notes at Revelation 9:20-21; notes at Revelation 20:7.
And none of the wicked shall understand - This, also, is a general declaration. It means, that none of the wicked would understand the import of these prophecies, or the true nature of religion. Their depravity of heart would prevent it; their purpose to lead a wicked life would so cloud their understandings, and pervert their moral judgments, that they would have no correct appreciation of the government of God, and the nature of the Divine plans and dispensations. Compare the notes at 1 Corinthians 2:14. The fact here asserted has been always true, and always will be, that sin prevents a clear perception of Divine truth, and that wicked men have no appropriate views of the plans and purposes of God. To comprehend religion aright a man needs a pure heart; and no one under the influence of depraved feelings, and corrupt propensities and appetites, can expect to have a just appreciation of what is good. Doubtless it will be found to be true in the days of millennial glory, when the true religion shall spread over the world, and when the earth shall be filled with light, that there will be wicked men who will have no correct understanding of the nature of religion, and whose minds will be blind to all the evidences of the truth of revelation which shall be diffused around them. No man, unless he is converted, has any proper conception of the beauty of religion.
But the wise shall understand - They who serve God and love him, and who, therefore, come under the denomination of the truly wise. See the notes at Daniel 12:3. The meaning is, that religion - the love of God and a pure heart - will qualify them to perceive the import of Divine truth; to appreciate what is revealed, and to obtain a just view of passing events - or to “understand the signs of the times.” Humble and sincere piety - a heart and mind made pure and clear by the influence of Divine truth - is the best preparation for understanding the works and ways of God. Compare the notes at 1 Corinthians 2:9-12, 1 Corinthians 2:14-15.
Honored by men with the responsibilities of state and with the secrets of kingdoms bearing universal sway, Daniel was honored by God as His ambassador, and was given many revelations of the mysteries of ages to come. His wonderful prophecies, as recorded by him in chapters 7 to 12 of the book bearing his name, were not fully understood even by the prophet himself; but before his life labors closed, he was given the blessed assurance that “at the end of the days”—in the closing period of this world's history—he would again be permitted to stand in his lot and place. It was not given him to understand all that God had revealed of the divine purpose. “Shut up the words, and seal the book,” he was directed concerning his prophetic writings; these were to be sealed “even to the time of the end.” “Go thy way, Daniel,” the angel once more directed the faithful messenger of Jehovah; “for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.... Go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.” Daniel 12:4, 9, 13. PK 547.1
As we near the close of this world's history, the prophecies recorded by Daniel demand our special attention, as they relate to the very time in which we are living. With them should be linked the teachings of the last book of the New Testament Scriptures. Satan has led many to believe that the prophetic portions of the writings of Daniel and of John the revelator cannot be understood. But the promise is plain that special blessing will accompany the study of these prophecies. “The wise shall understand” (verse 10), was spoken of the visions of Daniel that were to be unsealed in the latter days; and of the revelation that Christ gave to His servant John for the guidance of God's people all through the centuries, the promise is, “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein.” Revelation 1:3. PK 547.2
From the rise and fall of nations as made plain in the books of Daniel and the Revelation, we need to learn how worthless is mere outward and worldly glory. Babylon, with all its power and magnificence, the like of which our world has never since beheld,—power and magnificence which to the people of that day seemed so stable and enduring,—how completely has it passed away! As “the flower of the grass,” it has perished. James 1:10. So perished the Medo-Persian kingdom, and the kingdoms of Grecia and Rome. And so perishes all that has not God for its foundation. Only that which is bound up with His purpose, and expresses His character, can endure. His principles are the only steadfast things our world knows. PK 548.1Read in context »
We have the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ, which is the spirit of prophecy. Priceless gems are to be found in the word of God . Those who search this word should keep the mind clear. Never should they indulge perverted appetite in eating or drinking. TM 114.1
If they do this, the brain will be confused; they will be unable to bear the strain of digging deep to find out the meaning of those things which relate to the closing scenes of this earth's history. TM 114.2
When the books of Daniel and Revelation are better understood, believers will have an entirely different religious experience. They will be given such glimpses of the open gates of heaven that heart and mind will be impressed with the character that all must develop in order to realize the blessedness which is to be the reward of the pure in heart. TM 114.3Read in context »
3 (see EGW comments on Isaiah 60:1). Stars and Gems in Crown—By living a life of devotion and self-sacrifice in doing good to others, you might have been adding stars and gems to the crown that you will wear in heaven, and laying up unfading, eternal treasures (Manuscript 69, 1912). 4BC 1174.1
10. The Wicked Lack Understanding—[Daniel 12:10 quoted.] The wicked have chosen Satan as their leader. Under his control, the wonderful faculties of the mind are used to construct agencies of destruction. God has given the human mind great power, power to show that the Creator has endowed man with ability to do a great work against the enemy of all righteousness, power to show what victories may be gained in the conflict against evil. To those who fulfil God's purpose for them will be spoken the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” The human machinery has been used to do a work that is a blessing to humanity; and God is glorified. 4BC 1174.2Read in context »
“And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things? And He said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.…But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.” TM 115.1
It was the Lion of the tribe of Judah who unsealed the book and gave to John the revelation of what should be in these last days. TM 115.2
Daniel stood in his lot to bear his testimony which was sealed until the time of the end, when the first angel's message should be proclaimed to our world. These matters are of infinite importance in these last days; but while “many shall be purified, and made white, and tried,” “the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand.” How true this is! Sin is the transgression of the law of God; and those who will not accept the light in regard to the law of God will not understand the proclamation of the first, second, and third angel's messages. The book of Daniel is unsealed in the revelation to John, and carries us forward to the last scenes of this earth's history. TM 115.3Read in context »