The penultimate chapter of Daniel tells of a time of great war between the "King of the North" and the "King of the South". For the purposes of this question, it probably doesn't much matter who they might be identified with in history (or precisely when Daniel was written).
In the ultimate chapter, we hear how the conflict will be resolved. Daniel 12:1-4 (ESV, emphasis mine):
“At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name 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. And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. But you, Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.”
How are we to interpret this passage—particularly the bits about shining like the sky and the stars forever?
Some options I thought of are:
- The righteous will become actual stars and parts of the sky.
- Compared to the metaphorical darkness of war, the peace the righteous will experience will be like daylight.
- After the destruction of war, God's renewal for the sake of the righteous will be on a similar scale to the creation described in Genesis 1.
Is there a better way to understand this passage?