Q: Is Today’s Increase in Knowledge a Sign of the Times?

The recent growth in world travel and technology has been remarkable. Studies show that today knowledge doubles every 12 to 13 months, exceedingly more rapidly than in previous centuries. Consequently, many people believe Daniel 12:4 is a sign we are living in “the time of the end”: “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.”

Such reasoning seems logical. But is this the biblical interpretation of Daniel 12:4? Remember, it is important to study each verse of prophecy in the context in which it was written.

Daniel had received much knowledge about what God will do in the future. He asked for the interpretation of the revelation he received, but an angelic messenger told him no one in his day was meant to understand it (vv. 8–9).

The meaning will not be revealed until the time of the end, a phrase that refers to the 70th week of Daniel, also called the Great Tribulation (11:40—12:13).

The messenger told Daniel to “shut up the words, and seal the book” (12:4). Why? Because (1) the prophecy was for a future time, and (2) it was to be protected and preserved from destruction
so those living at the “time of the end” would be able to increase their knowledge by understanding the full meaning of what Daniel had written.

Daniel was told, “Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase” (v. 4). Because some people believe this statement refers to the current speed of travel and increase of knowledge, they interpret it as a sign that we are living “at the time of the end” today. But such an interpretation takes what Daniel wrote out of context.

This passage does not refer to general knowledge increasing. It refers to the fact that people will be intensely interested in understanding Daniel’s prophecy during the Tribulation because of the terrifying events taking place worldwide.

Many who previously evidenced no interest in God’s Word will thoroughly examine Daniel’s prophecy to gain knowledge about what they are experiencing. Therefore, the book of Daniel, along with other prophecies, will help people understand they are living “in the time of the end”—in the Tribulation. And many will come to trust in Christ prior to His Second Coming.

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