Daniel 12:1-2 “And at that time Michael shall stand up, the great ruler who stands for the sons of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation; until that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.”

Although there are multiple references to various forms of judgment in the Old Testament, there are only two verses, out of over 27,000, that traditionalists believe solidly demonstrate eternal conscious suffering, and Daniel 12:2 is one of them. It actually does no such thing. This verse neither confirms nor denies eternal conscious suffering. There are two terms in the passage which are defined as “everlasting”. The first is the life that believers will be resurrected to. The second is the contempt. But who is feeling that contempt? God is. Strong’s Concordance defines the original word being translated as “contempt” as “abhorring”. Those who have rejected the call of God will always be an offense to Him, and they don’t need to continue to exist in order for their blasphemous rejection of the Holy Spirit to forever be with God. He said he’d forget our sin – the sin of those who have come to Him for forgiveness. But He can’t forget the sin of those who denied Him and wouldn’t repent from their unbelief.

So what about the “shame” mentioned there in verse two of Daniel chapter 12? That’s what the lost will feel when they are raised to stand judgment, which is what this passage is all about. While many of these were arrogant in their unbelief in life, there’s no room for that now. They know they are fully at fault, and they feel their due shame. There’s no place for contempt toward God on their part. So it can’t be argued that the “everlasting contempt” mentioned in this verse is what they’ll feel. That would be the opposite of the shame that the verse clearly says will be theirs. But notice that their shame is not described as everlasting. If it was, then I’d have to say this verse at least lends some credibility to the traditional stance. But it doesn’t. Their shame is the one thing in this verse which is not described as everlasting, and with good reason, since it will end when their very existence ends at the time they are cast into the lake of fire, which is in fact called “the second death”.

And just a sidenote that’s probably irrelevant…The raising of the saved to life, and the raising of the lost to stand judgment are actually separated by the 1000 year reign of Christ on earth, but Daniel didn’t have that revelation yet. That came from John, actually in the book of Revelation, many centuries later.

Overall, because the things described as everlasting in this passage are the life of the saved, and the feelings of God toward the lost, and these are contrasted with the shame of the lost, which is the one thing not described as everlasting, I’d say if anything, this verse is a clue that lends weight to the non-traditional argument. But I don’t want to be accused of the fallacy of “arguing from silence”, so at the very least, it’s fair to say that this verse in no way supports the idea that the lost are going to exist for all eternity.

 

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