Daniel 12:2, Everlasting Contempt

And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.

//This verse has the dubious distinction of being the one verse in the Old Testament that speaks of eternal punishment, or so we are often told. Actually, it depends upon the interpretation, and there are two problems:

Problem 1: Does “everlasting contempt” mean eternal conscious torment? The word “contempt” in this passage is the same Hebrew word as is translated “abhorrence” in Isaiah 66:24, which refers to corpses, not living people. You may be familiar this verse, because Jesus quoted it as well.

And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh. –Isaiah 66:24

Problem 2: Of perhaps greater concern is that word “many” in today’s verse. “Many” of them shall awake. Why not all? When the judgment comes, won’t everybody awake and arise? Note how the Gospel of John copies today’s promise from Daniel, but he conspicuously changes the word “many” to “all.”

Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. –John 5:28-29

Did John completely misunderstand Daniel’s message, or did he merely correct it?

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