It is written:
“At that time Michael shall stand up, The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; And there shall be a time of trouble, Such as never was since there was a nation, Even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, Every one who is found written in the book.” (Daniel 12:1)
The Bible here tells us that during the time of this wicked king, there will be great and difficult times in the world.
The phrase “at that time” ties us back to the timeframe which has been discussed from Daniel 11:35-45. This is a reference to the end of the Christian Age (cf. Matthew 13:39-40, 49; 24:3; 28:20). So near the end of the Christian age, “Michael” shall stand up.
Who exactly is Michael?
The text tells us that Michael is the “great prince who stands watch over the sons of (Daniel’s) people.” When we turn to the pages of inspiration, we see that Michael has a very special importance and calling.
“This special angel, Michael, has a ministry that is so distinct from that of ordinary angels that it bears an individual listing. He is associated with at least five events in biblical history: (1) Michael and his angels fought the devil and his angels (Rev. 12: 7-9); (2) Michael disputed with Satan over the body of Moses (Jude 9); (3) Michael came to the assistance of an angel that had been sent by God to Daniel but was detained for twenty-one days by the prince of Persia (Dan. 10: 1-14); (4) Michael will fight for God’s people in perilous times preceding the second coming of Jesus Christ (Dan. 12: 1); and (5) Michael will co-announce the return of Jesus Christ (1 Thess. 4: 16).” (Edward P. Myers, A Study of Angels, 30 (Kindle Edition); New York, NY: Howard Books)
When we turn to other sources of Jewish writing, we find considerable lore about this archangel.
““Michael: (). “[ One] Who Is Godlike.” A princely angel, the guardian angels of the people Israel. Michael first appears to Daniel (chapter 10) as the defender of Jews, a role that he remains closely identified with in rabbinic literature. This is why he also functions as the High priest in the ideal heavenly Temple, for he is constantly making offerings before God on Israel’s behalf. He is also frequently invoked on protective amulets. Sometimes he is identified with the element of fire, at other times with the element of air. 1 He is one of the four angels (along with Gabriel, Uriel, and Raphael) who attend upon God’s throne. He is one of the generals commanding the host of heaven. He is one of the angels God sends to discipline the fallen angel (I Enoch 10), and he will play a prominent role in the eschatological battle at the end of time (DDS, Sefer Melchizedek). He is made of snow, air, and/ or light (Deut. R. 5: 12; DSS War Scroll). He is accompanied everywhere by the Shekhinah (Ex. R. 2: 5). He holds the keys to heaven and escorts the righteous souls to God’s presence (III Baruch). Sefer Zerubbabel identifies him with Metatron. He is also the “Angel of the right [side]” of the sefirot (Zohar I: 98a). As an angel of revelation, Michael has had many earthly manifestations and he is linked to many of the encounters between biblical figures and the divine, even if he is not mentioned by name in the biblical text: witnessing the marriage of Adam and Eve (Gen. 2), the visitation of Abraham (Gen. 18), the rescue of Abraham from Nimrod’s fiery furnace (Gen. R. 44: 13), and accompanying Abraham’s servant Eliezer (Gen. R. 59: 10). Michael intervenes to prevent Laban from killing Jacob (PdRE 36). He is the fiery manifestation in the burning bush (Ex. 2: 5), descends with God on Mount Sinai (Gen. R. 2: 34), and accompanies Moses’s Body for his burial (Deut. R. 11: 10). He appears to Isaiah (Ber. 4b). He was the angel that smote the armies of Sennachrib (Ex. R. 18.5). He assisted Esther in her struggle with Haman (Est. R. 7: 12). Michael also serves God outside the context of Israel. He established the place where Rome would be built (S of S R. 1: 6). Michael is frequently paired with Gabriel in rabbinic texts. There is a fragmentary text among the Dead Sea Scrolls, the “Michael” text, in which Michael addresses the angelic host, which is the only Jewish record of Michael speaking in the first person. 1. M. Verman, M. The Books of Contemplation: Medieval Jewish Mystical Sources. (New York: SUNY Press, 1992), 206.” (Geoffrey W. Dennis, The Encyclopedia of Jewish Myth, Magic and Mysticism: Second Edition, 12957-12986 (Kindle Edition); Woodbury, Minnesota; Llewellyn Publications)
Michael is identified here in Daniel specifically with the Jewish people. The New Testament teaches that the true Israel of God today is the church, comprised of both Jewish and non-Jewish (Gentile) believers.
Romans 11:19-23-You will say then, “Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.” 20 Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either. 22 Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off. 23 And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.
Galatians 3:7-Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham.
Galatians 3:26-29-For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
So, Michael “at that time” (i.e., near the end of the Christian Age, before the Second Coming) will “stand up.”
What will happen during this time?
Further, what does this passage teach us about the wicked king of Daniel 11:36-12:13?