Greetings! Welcome to the third installment in our series on Daniel chapter 12.
I was raised in a small town, population 880. We had all the technology that all the other households in our community had in the 60s and 70s. But when I went to Bible College in 1973, I came in contact with technology that made me feel as though I was living in the Hanna-Barbera cartoon world of George Jetson, a character from a futuristic world of automation. I went to the students’ lounge where all the vending machines were and purchased a cup of soup. I looked around for a stove to warm it up and a girl pointed to something she called a microwave. I was puzzled. I had never seen nor heard anything about a microwave oven. This girl told me how to use it… just put your soup inside, set the timer, and push start. In a couple of minutes, you have hot soup. Whoa! What strange magic is this? I was shocked! I didn’t know something so futuristic had been invented. No one I knew had one of these microwave oven things. I’d never seen it in a store, nor heard a TV commercial for it. I remember feeling sort of backward, like I was from Podunk. I’m sure I’m not the only person who has been shocked by the lighting fast pace of technology. It’s hard to keep up with all the technological advancements. We’re truly living in an age that would have shocked those alive in Bible times. Yet, the book of Daniel prophesied of this very age in which we are living—an age of advanced knowledge and travel. If you want to learn more, keep reading.
DANIEL CHAPTER 12
Third of a Four-Part Series
By Karen Thompson
The Clue That Pinpoints the Time
Dan. 12:4 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.
Let’s continue on with our study of Daniel chapter 12 by looking at verse four. The first part of verse 4, the angelic messenger said something surprising to Daniel. After revealing to Daniel about “a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then” (v.1), he then shockingly told Daniel to “shut up the words” and “seal the book.” Why would he do that? Why reveal such a monumental thing to Daniel only to tell him to “seal the book?” It’s because the vision didn’t concern the Jewish people who were alive during Daniel’s time. It concerns the Jewish people who will be alive during “the time of the end.” At the time of the end, the words will be unsealed. What does it mean to say the words would be unsealed? It means the interpretation of the vision will be revealed to the people living in the end times, to the people who will need it.
The rest of the verse gives us a clue that pinpoints the time in history this unparalleled time of distress would take place… the time when the interpretation of the vision would need to be unsealed. The clue that tells us when the time of the end would occur is in the phrase “many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.” This obviously speaks to modern travel and technology.
We Are That Generation Running To and Fro and Increasing in Knowledge
For nearly six thousand years, the method of travel for mankind has been limited to animals and ancient ships powered by wind and oars. The invention of the first steam engine in the late 1600s (albeit very crude) set off the flux of inventions that would enable mankind to “run to and fro” throughout the earth. Between 1769 and 1784, James Watts made several improvements to the steam engine, turning it into a usable invention. It is the steam engine that brought about the Industrial Revolution that changed the world so drastically. Then in 1769, a Frenchman by the name of Nicolas Joseph Cugnot created the first automobile using the steam engine.
In the early 1800s, inventors began working on the creation of the gas-powered engine. In 1885, Gottlieb Daimler invented the first prototype of what would be today’s modern gas engine. In 1901, a man named Ransom Eli Olds began to mass produce in the United States the first automobile—the Oldsmobile. It was his idea to produce automobiles on an assembly line, but it was Henry Ford that took Old’s concept of the assembly line to the next level. The famous Model T, introduced in 1908, was assembled in a mere 93 minutes. By 1927, Henry Ford manufactured 15 million Model Ts! That made him the largest automobile manufacturer in the world!
The Invention of Flight!
The Wright brothers advanced travel with their invention of the airplane; on December 17, 1903, they took their first flight flying ten feet off the ground for a distance of 120 feet, lasting 12 seconds. Improvements to their plane resulted in a five-minute flight on November 9, 1904. In 1911, the Wright brothers flew across the United States in 84 days; they had to stop a total of 70 times before they finally arrived in California.
In 1939, the first jet engine airplane took its first flight. After the jet, came the Concorde—the supersonic aircraft! After 5,000 hours of testing, the Concorde took its first flight on April 9, 1969. The Concorde cruised at 1,350 mph (more than twice the speed of sound). On a regular jet, a trip from London to New York takes eight hours, but on the Concorde, it took less than three and one half hours.
Just 66 years after the Wright brothers made their first flight, Astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, traveled into outer space! On July 16, 1969 at precisely 9:37 a.m., the Apollo 11 spacecraft was launched from the Kennedy Space Center. It would take the astronauts four days to make it to their destination—the moon! They landed on the moon’s surface on Sunday, June 20. They were nearly a quarter of a million miles away from home! Neil Armstrong was the first to step onto the moon’s surface. As he did, he proclaimed, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”
For thousands of years, mankind’s primary mode of transportation was powered by animal. Then in less than 200 years, mankind went from the steam engine in the 1800s to landing on the moon in 1969! Now that’s traveling “to and fro.”
And, indeed, knowledge has increased like an explosion. The ability to communicate started with the telegraph. Invented by Professor Samuel Morse, the first message was sent on a line constructed from Baltimore to Washington on May 24, 1844. The message? “What hath God wrought!”
Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, and on March 10, 1876, he made his first successful telephone call to his assistant Thomas Watson who was working in the next room. The message? “Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you.”
Then in the early 1900s, radio and television were invented. In the mid 1900s, the satellite was invented and developed. Satellite technology makes it possible to instantly transmit what is happening in one spot on the earth to people all over the world within seconds. It is this technology that will make it possible for the whole world to see the killing of the two witnesses in Revelation 11:9: “nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half….”
In 1969, the Internet was invented which led to the development of the information superhighway. By 1996, more than 25 million computers from over 180 countries were interconnected with each other. Today, the exact number of computers cannot be counted due to various factors, but at the time of this writing, the estimated number of computers with Internet access worldwide is somewhere around one billion!
In 1860, the fastest way to get your letters delivered in the U.S. was by Pony Express. Moving at lightning fast speed, it took the Pony Express riders ten days to deliver mail from the Atlantic to the Pacific coasts! In the age of the Internet, that same letter takes only seconds to be delivered! An email traveling from San Francisco to New York will travel 30,000 miles per second. That’s a wee bit faster than the Pony Express.
There have been astonishing advancements in every technological field. Every day, we continue to be amazed by the rapid advancements being made in the latest inventions. Without a doubt, we are living in that period of time described as “many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.”
Brothers and sisters, we are living in the end times!
In our next post, we will study the rest of the verses that tell us how long the time of trouble will be.
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