Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Daniel 12:3

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

And they that be wise - Those who are thoroughly instructed in Christ's word and doctrine, shall shine - shall be eminently distinguished in the Christian Church by the holiness of their lives, and the purity of their creed.

And they that turn many to righteousness - They who, by preaching Christ crucified among their brethren, shall be the means of converting them to the Christian faith; shall be as the stars - bright luminaries in the Gospel kingdom of Jesus Christ. This also may be applied to the case of holy and useful men, particularly the faithful ministers of the Gospel, in the day of judgment. See James 5:20; (note), 1 Corinthians 15:41-42; (note).

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

And they that be wise - This is the language which, in the Scriptures, is employed to denote the pious, or those who serve God and keep his commandments. See the book of Proverbs, passim. True religion is wisdom, and sin is folly, and they who live for God and for heaven are the truly wise. The meaning is, that they have chosen the path which true wisdom suggests as that in which man should walk, while all the ways of sin are ways of folly. The language used here is expressive of a general truth, applicable in itself to all the righteous at all times, and nothing can be inferred from the term employed as to what was designed by the angel.

Shall shine as the brightness of the firmament - As the sky above us. The image is that of the sky at night, thick set with bright and beautiful stars. No comparison could be more striking. The meaning would seem to be, that each one of the righteous will be like a bright and beautiful star, and that, in their numbers, and order, and harmony, they would resemble the heavenly constellations at night. Nothing can be more sublime than to look on the heavens in a clear night, and to think of the number and the order of the stars above us as an emblem of the righteous in the heavenly world. The word rendered firmament means, properly, expanse, or what is spread out, and it is applied to the sky as it appears to be spread out above us.

And they that turn many to righteousness - Referring to those who would be instrumental in converting men to the worship of the true God, and to the ways of religion. This is very general language, and might be applied to any persons who have been the means of bringing sinners to the knowledge of the truth. It would apply in an eminent degree to ministers of the gospel who were successful in their work, and to missionaries among the pagan. From the mere language, however, nothing certain can be argued as to the original reference as used by the angel, and it seems to have been his intention to employ language so general that it might be applied to all, of all ages and countries, who would be instrumental in turning men to God.

As the stars - As the stars that are distinguished by their size and luster in the firmament. In the former part of the verse, when speaking of those who were “wise,” the design seems to be to compare them to the sky as it appears, set over with innumerable stars, and in their numbers and groupings constituting great beauty; in this member of the sentence the design seems to be to compare these who are eminent in converting men, to the particular beautiful and bright stars that strike us as we look on the heavens - those more distinguished in size and splendor, and that seem to lead on the others. The meaning is, that amidst the hosts of the saved they will be conspicuous, or they will be honored in proportion to their toils, their sacrifices, and their success.

Forever and ever - To all eternity. This refers to those who shall turn many to righteousness; and the meaning is, that they shall continue thus to be distinguished and honored to all eternity.

Uriah Smith
Daniel and the Revelation, 302

Verse 3

The margin reads “teachers” in place of “wise.” And they that be teachers shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; that is, of course, those who teach the truth, and lead others to a knowledge of it, just previous to the time when the events recorded in the foregoing verses are to be fulfilled. And, as the world estimates loss and profit, it costs something to be teachers of these things in these days. It costs reputation, ease, comfort, and often property; it involves labors, crosses, sacrifices, loss of friendship, ridicule, and, not unfrequently, persecution. And the question is often asked, How can you afford it? How can you afford to keep the Sabbath, and perhaps lose a situation, reduce your income, or it may be even hazard your means of support? O blind, deluded, sordid question! O what shortsightedness, to make obedience to what God requires a matter of pecuniary consideration! How unlike is this to the noble martyrs, who loved not their lives unto the death! No; the affording is all on the other side. When God commands, we cannot afford to disobey. And if we are asked, How can you afford to keep the Sabbath, and do other duties involved in rendering obedience to the truth? we have only to ask in reply, How can you afford not to do it? And in the coming day, when those who have sought to save their lives shall lose them, and those who have been willing to hazard all for the sake of the truth and its divine Lord, shall receive the glorious reward promised in the text, and be raised up to shine as the firmament, and as the imperishable stars forever and ever, it will then be seen who have been wise, and who on the contrary, have made the choice of blindness and folly. The wicked and worldly now look upon Christians as fools and madmen, and congratulate themselves upon their superior shrewdness in shunning what they call their folly, and avoiding their losses. We need make no response; for those who now render this decision will soon themselves reverse it, and that with terrible though unavailing earnestness.DAR 302.2

Meanwhile, it is the Christian’s privilege to revel in the consolations of this marvelous promise. A conception of its magnitude can be gathered only from the stellar worlds themselves. What are these stars, in the likeness of which the teachers of righteousness are to shine forever and ever? How much of brightness, and majesty, and length of days, is involved in this comparison?DAR 303.1

The sun of our own solar system is one of these stars. If we compare it with this globe upon which we live (our handiest standard of measurement), we find it an orb of no small magnitude and magnificence. Our earth is 8000 miles in diameter; but the sun’s diameter is 885,680 miles. In size it is one and a half million times larger than our globe; and in the matter of its substance, it would balance three hundred and fifty-two thousand worlds like ours. What immensity is this!DAR 303.2

Yet this is far from being the largest or the brightest of the orbs which drive their shining chariots in myriads through the heavens. His proximity (he being only some ninety-five million miles from us) gives him with us a controlling presence and influence. But far away in the depths of space, so far that they appear like mere points of light, blaze other orbs of vaster size and greater glory. The nearest fixed star, Alpha Centauri, in the southern hemisphere, is found, by the accuracy and efficiency of modern instruments, to be nineteen thousand million miles away; but the pole-star system is fifteen times as remote, or two hundred and eighty-five thousand million miles; and it shines with a luster equal to that of eighty-six of our suns; others are still larger, as, for instance, Vega, which emits the light of three hundred and forty-four of our suns; Capella, four hundred and thirty; Arcturus, five hundred and sixteen; and so on, till at last we reach the great star Alcyone, in the constellation of the Pleiades, which floods the celestial spaces with a brilliancy twelve thousand times that of the ponderous orb which lights and controls our solar system! Why, then, does it not appear more luminous to us? — Ah! its distance is twenty-five million diameters of the earth’s orbit; and the latter is one hundred and ninety million miles! Figures are weak to express such distances. It will be sufficient to say that its glowing light must traverse space as light only travels, — 192,000 miles a second, — for a period of more than seven hundred years, before it reaches this distant world of ours!DAR 303.3

Some of these monarchs of the skies rule singly, like our own sun. Some are double; that is, what appears to us like one star is found to consist of two stars — two suns with their retinue of planets, revolving around each other; others are triple; some are quadruple; and one, at least, is sextuple.DAR 304.1

Besides this, they show all the colors of the rainbow. Some systems are white, some blue, some red, some yellow, some green; and this means different-colored days for the planets of those systems. Castor gives his planets green days. The double pole-star gives his yellow. In some, the different suns belonging to the same system are variously colored. Says Dr. Burr, in his Ecce Coelum, p. 136: “And, as if to make that Southern Cross the fairest object in all the heavens, we find in it a group of more than a hundred variously colored red, green, blue, and bluish-green suns, so closely thronged together as to appear in a powerful telescope like a superb bouquet, or piece of fancy jewelry.”DAR 304.2

And what of the age of these glorious bodies? A few years pass away, and all things earthly gather the mold of age, and the odor of decay. How much in this world has perished entirely! But the stars shine on as fresh as in the beginning. Centuries and cycles have gone by, kingdoms have arisen and slowly passed away; we go back beyond the dim and shadowy horizon of history, go back even to the earliest moment introduced by revelation, when order was evoked from chaos, and the morning stars sang together, and the sons of God shouted for joy — even then the stars were on their stately marches, and how long before this we know not; for astronomers tell us of nebulae lying on the farthest outposts of telescopic vision, whose light in its never-ceasing flight would consume five million years in reaching this planet. So ancient are these stellar orbs. Yet their brightness is not dimmed, nor their force abated. The dew of youth still seems fresh upon them. No broken outline shows the foothold of decay; no faltering motion reveals the decrepitude of age. Of all things visible, these stand next to the Ancient of days; and their undiminished glory is a prophecy of eternity.DAR 304.3

And thus shall they who turn many to righteousness shine in a glory that shall bring joy even to the heart of the Redeemer; and thus shall their years roll on forever and ever.DAR 305.1

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Michael signifies, "Who is like God," and his name, with the title of "the great Prince," points out the Divine Saviour. Christ stood for the children of our people in their stead as a sacrifice, bore the curse for them, to bear it from them. He stands for them in pleading for them at the throne of grace. And after the destruction of antichrist, the Lord Jesus shall stand at the latter day upon the earth; and He shall appear for the complete redemption of all his people. When God works deliverance from persecution for them, it is as life from the dead. When his gospel is preached, many who sleep in the dust, both Jews and Gentiles, shall be awakened by it out of their heathenism of Judaism. And in the end the multitude that sleep in the dust shall awake; many shall arise to life, and many to shame. There is glory reserved for all the saints in the future state, for all that are wise, wise for their souls and eternity. Those who turn many to righteousness, who turn sinners from the errors of their ways, and help to save their souls from death, Jas 5:20, will share in the glory of those they have helped to heaven, which will add to their own glory.
Ellen G. White
Christian Service, 109

The Lord at His coming will scrutinize every talent; He will demand interest on the capital He has intrusted. By His own humiliation and agony, by His life of toil and His death of shame, Christ has paid for the service of all who have taken His name and profess to be His servants.—Testimonies for the Church 9:104. ChS 109.1

All are under deepest obligation to improve every capability for the work of winning souls to Him. “Ye are not your own,” He says; “for ye are bought with a price;” therefore glorify God by a life of service that will win men and women from sin to righteousness. We are bought with the price of Christ's own life,—bought that we may return to God His own in faithful service.—Testimonies for the Church 9:104. ChS 109.2

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Ellen G. White
Colporteur Ministry, 155

Workers Must Gain Deeper Experience—God's workers must gain a far deeper experience. If they will surrender all to Him, He will work mightily for them. They will plant the standard of truth upon fortresses till then held by Satan, and with shouts of victory take possession of them. They bear the scars of battle, but there comes to them the comforting message that the Lord will lead them on, conquering and to conquer. CM 155.1

When God's servants with consecrated zeal co-operate with divine instrumentalities, the state of things that exists in this world will be changed, and soon the earth will with joy receive her King. Then “they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.”—The Review and Herald, September 17, 1903. CM 155.2

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Ellen G. White
Early Writings, 61

[See Appendix.]

The Lord has often given me a view of the situation and wants of the scattered jewels who have not yet come to the light of the present truth, and has shown that the messengers should speed their way to them as fast as possible, to give them the light. Many all around us only need to have their prejudices removed and the evidences of our present position spread out before them from the Word, and they will joyfully receive the present truth. The messengers should watch for souls as they that must give account. Theirs must be a life of toil and anguish of spirit, while the weight of the precious but often-wounded cause of Christ rests upon them. They will have to lay aside worldly interests and comforts and make it their first object to do all in their power to advance the cause of present truth and save perishing souls. EW 61.1

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