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.
God has revealed what is to take place in the last days, that His people may be prepared to stand against the tempest of opposition and wrath. Those who have been warned of the events before them are not to sit in calm expectation of the coming storm, comforting themselves that the Lord will shelter His faithful ones in the day of trouble. We are to be as men waiting for their Lord, not in idle expectancy, but in earnest work, with unwavering faith. It is no time now to allow our minds to be engrossed with things of minor importance. While men are sleeping, Satan is actively arranging matters so that the Lord's people may not have mercy or justice. The Sunday movement is now making its way in darkness. The leaders are concealing the true issue, and many who unite in the movement do not themselves see whither the undercurrent is tending. Its professions are mild and apparently Christian, but when it shall speak it will reveal the spirit of the dragon. It is our duty to do all in our power to avert the threatened danger. We should endeavor to disarm prejudice by placing ourselves in a proper light before the people. We should bring before them the real question at issue, thus interposing the most effectual protest against measures to restrict liberty of conscience. We should search the Scriptures and be able to give the reason for our faith. Says the prophet: “The wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.” 5T 452.1
Those who have access to God through Christ have important work before them. Now is the time to lay hold of the arm of our strength. The prayer of David should be the prayer of pastors and laymen: “It is time for Thee, Lord, to work: for they have made void Thy law.” Let the servants of the Lord weep between the porch and the altar, crying: “Spare Thy people, O Lord, and give not Thine heritage to reproach.” God has always wrought for His people in their greatest extremity, when there seemed the least hope that ruin could be averted. The designs of wicked men, the enemies of the church, are subject to His power and overruling providence. He can move upon the hearts of statesmen; the wrath of the turbulent and disaffected, the haters of God, His truth, and His people can be turned aside, even as the rivers of water are turned, if He orders it thus. Prayer moves the arm of Omnipotence. He who marshals the stars in order in the heavens, whose word controls the waves of the great deep, the same infinite Creator will work in behalf of His people if they call upon Him in faith. He will restrain the forces of darkness until the warning is given to the world and all who will heed it are prepared for the conflict. 5T 452.2
“The wrath of man shall praise Thee,” says the psalmist; “the remainder of wrath shalt Thou restrain.” God means that testing truth shall be brought to the front and become a subject of examination and discussion, even if it is through the contempt placed upon it. The minds of the people must be agitated. Every controversy, every reproach, every slander, will be God's means of provoking inquiry and awakening minds that otherwise would slumber. 5T 453.1Read in context »
By giving His life for the life of the world, Christ bridged the gulf that sin had made, joining this sin-cursed earth to the universe of heaven as a province. God chose this world to be the theater of His mighty works of grace. While the sentence of condemnation was suspended over it because of the rebellion of its inhabitants, while the clouds of wrath were accumulating because of the transgression of the law of God, a mysterious voice was heard in heaven, “Lo, I come...to do thy will, O God” (Psalm 40:7, 8). Our substitute and surety came from heaven declaring that He had brought with Him the vast and inestimable donation of eternal life. Pardon is offered to all who will return their allegiance to the law of God. But there are those who refuse to accept a “thus saith the Lord.” They will not reverence and respect His law. They make rigorous human enactments in opposition to a “thus saith the Lord,” and by precept and example lead men, women, and children into sin. They exalt human enactments above the divine law. But the condemnation and wrath of God are suspended over the disobedient. The clouds of God's justice are gathering. The material of destruction has been piled up for ages; and still apostasy, rebellion, and disloyalty against God is continually increasing. The remnant people of God, who keep His commandments, will understand the word spoken by Daniel, “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” (Daniel 12:10). TDG 84.2Read in context »
All who will may come under the covenant promise. Precious is the price paid for our redemption—the blood of the only begotten Son of God. Christ was tried by the sharp proving of affliction. His human nature was tried to the uttermost. He bore the death penalty of man's transgression. He became the sinner's substitute and surety. He is able to show the fruit of His sufferings and death, in His resurrection from the dead. From the rent sepulcher of Joseph rings forth the proclamation, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in Me, and do the works of righteousness that I do, are justified, sanctified, made white and tried. They have obtained godliness and eternal life.”—Letter 144, July 12, 1903, to Edson White. TDG 202.5Read in context »
Your work is to take hold of the strength that is as firm as is the eternal throne. Believe in God. Trust in Him. Be cheerful under all circumstances. Although you may have trials, know that Christ suffered these afflicting things in behalf of His heritage. Nothing is as dear to the Lord as His church. The Lord looks at the heart. He knows who are His. The Lord will test and prove every soul that lives. “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” (Daniel 12:10).... TDG 245.3Read in context »