RH Cheat Sheets: Daniel 12:2

Daniel 12:2: “And the multitude of those sleeping in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.”

  1. Only “some” will awake to everlasting life, meaning that the others—namely, those who will “awake… to shame and everlasting contempt”—will not live forever. (Everlasting life is just what it sounds like: living forever. “Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life… Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever. – John 6:54, 58).
  2. Only contempt is said to be everlasting, not shame. To properly shame the wicked, their evil deeds and thoughts must be exposed in such a way that they are aware of it, hence the need for them to awake. Once faced with their condemnation, having been shown that they did not escape what they deserved (cf. Job 21:19-20), their shaming is final (Psalm 73:19-20).
  3. The word translated “contempt” (deraon) is only used one other time in all of Scripture, namely in Isaiah 66:24. It reads, “And [those who worship me] shall go out and look on the dead bodies of the men who have rebelled against me. For their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence (deraon) to all flesh.” In harmony with Isaiah saying that the wicked will be an abhorrence to the righteous, the contempt of which Daniel speaks is not a feeling that will be experienced by the wicked, but it refers to how those who perpetuated evil will be remembered by the righteous—they will forever be remembered in contempt.

In short, Daniel 12:2 teaches that the righteous will rise to everlasting life, while the wicked will rise to a shame-provoking trial exposing their evil deeds and thoughts, for which they will die a second time and be forever remembered in contempt.