For the last 30 years, I have heard that an increase in technology, knowledge, and travel are sure signs of the “end times.” All one has to do is look at the tremendous advancements in computing power, and you’d have to conclude that knowledge and technology are rapidly increasing. The go-to scripture that is cited is found in Daniel 12:4:
Daniel 12:4 (KJV) But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.
Seal the Book, Daniel!
Let’s look at this verse, pick it apart to see what the scriptures reveal. The two signs that are mentioned here are an increase in human knowledge and travel.
Like many, I taught that Daniel was referring to the rapid development of both travel and technology. Our great-grandfathers traveled by horse-drawn carriages but today we travel by commercial jet. According to some, man’s institutional knowledge is doubling every two and one-half years. The facts are there: who can deny the marvels of our century? I certainly can’t and won’t. So don’t these facts concur precisely with Daniel’s prophecy that the end is near? Radio program hosts and book authors declare that because “knowledge” has increased, they can say with certainty that we are living in the “last days.” But is this really what Daniel had in mind? Is it possible that many Christians miss the timing of this “knowledge” because they are looking for something to come in their future?
In Daniel 12:4 the Lord tells Daniel to “shut up the words, and seal the book even to the end.” Daniel 12:4 is a direct parallel to Revelation 22:10. Both Daniel and John received a vision of “the time of the end.” While Daniel was told to seal up the book until the time of the end John was told to unseal the book!
Don’t Seal the Book, John!
Daniel lived around 586 B.C., over 2500 years ago. So as I write this in the year 2017 over 2500 years have passed since the Lord commanded Daniel to seal the book. Then at “the end” the seal would be loosened, right? About 500 years passed from the time Daniel was told to seal the book until John wrote the book of Revelation. This is what the Lord told John to do:
Revelation 22:10 (KJV) And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand.
So Daniel was told to seal the book, but John was told not to seal up the book? Why? Because the Lord said, “the time is at hand.” So does it make sense that John’s vision was referring to a time and events nearly 2000 years in his (Johns) future? And if words have any meaning does the phrase “the time is at hand” mean 2000 or more years in John’s future? I certainly don’t think so.
Daniel 8:26 (KJV) And the vision of the evening and the morning which was told is true: wherefore shut thou up the vision; for it shall be for many days.
Not only was Daniel’s vision for many “days” (years) in his future it also concerned what would befall the “Jews” in the latter days.
Daniel 10:14 (KJV) Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days: for yet the vision is for many days.
So after “many days” what exactly befell the Jews? The answer is found in Matthew chapter 24 and Luke chapter 21. During the Olivet Discourse Jesus told his gathered disciples that “there shall not be left there one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down (Mat. 24:2). Jesus, in Luke 21:20-22, warned his disciples and the Christians in Jerusalem to flee the city when they see it surrounded by armies.
Luke 21:20-22 (KJV) And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.
So was Jesus’ prophecy in Matthew 24 and Luke 21 fulfilled? Sure was! In the year 70 A.D. the Roman General Titus marched on the city, surrounded it, broke down the walls and destroyed the Temple as well as the city of Jerusalem. The days of vengeance mentioned in Luke 21:22 occurred in 70 A.D. This marked the end of the Old Covenant, the Levitical priesthood, and the Jewish Age.
The “knowledge” that Daniel refers to is NOT scientific knowledge but spiritual knowledge. It is the wisdom given by the Holy Spirit to understand the deep things of God. This spiritual knowledge is also referred to in the book of Habakkuk:
Habakkuk 2:14 (KJV) For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.
During the days of Habakkuk, in the Old Testament, this knowledge had not been revealed. However, it was revealed to those in Paul’s day (1 Cor. 2:6-10). While the Spirit led men living in Old Testament days they didn’t understand how those promises were to be fulfilled. However, once the Holy Spirit was poured out on the Day of Pentecost, they started to understand the knowledge of the glory of God. God’s glory was revealed in Jesus Christ. God’s promises were fulfilled in Christ.
2 Corinthians 4:3-6 (KJV) But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Peter also referred to this increase of spiritual knowledge. Peter was aware of the Old Testament prophecies regarding the grace of God thru the Spirit of Christ. These Old Testament prophets inquired and searched diligently, but they did not understand how God would accomplish His plan. This “knowledge” of the Gospel of grace was a mystery to them. But to those in the first century (and to us), the mystery was revealed. Even the Gentiles would be partakers of God’s promises “in Christ” (Eph. 3:3-6, 8-10).
1 Peter 1:10-12 (KJV) Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.
Do you see the connection between the “knowledge” spoken of by Daniel and the New Testament writers? This was spiritual “knowledge” of the redemption plan and the redeemer. This plan took a man beyond the carnal justification by works to the Spirit of God. The knowledge of Jesus Christ causes us to glory in Him. By the Spirit, we can safely say that we know Him.
I realize some of you might be thinking “well yes, knowledge began at the day of Pentecost, but it’s still increasing today and will continue to increase until the end”. Well, that brings us to another scripture in the book of Isaiah:
Isaiah 11:9 (KJV) They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.
Isaiah 11:9 says that knowledge must increase until the earth is full of the knowledge of the Lord. Again this “knowledge” is not technological but spiritual. Daniel did not have jet travel or computers in mind when he prophesied that “knowledge shall be increased.” It’s the knowledge of salvation revealed in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. When the light of the knowledge of the glory of God shines down on us we no longer need to run around searching for redemption – it is right before our eyes! I have received the “knowledge” that Daniel spoke of – have you?
Want to know more about this “knowledge”? Please see the following articles: