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(Please note that most of this timeline is empty to impress you with the amount of change that has happened just in the last 200 years. It was mostly drawn to scale, except the last 200 years. It was not possible to put all that has happened in that little space.)
"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."
There are at least two opinions as to what Daniel 12:4 is saying:
- One scholar says, "The text specifically refers to "knowledge" of the book of Daniel and the "to and fro" has to do with the eyes going back and forth across the scroll of Daniel, studying the message of Daniel. Modern travel and computers only aid us in the study of the book of Daniel, but the original meaning probably had nothing to do with airplanes and computers."
- Another scholar says, "The text translated "knowledge" is referring to the understanding of the book of Daniel, but the "to and fro" is just what it says in the King James, "many shall run to and fro" meaning that people will be running all over the place."
Which ever opinion you agree with, it becomes very obvious as you study the Book of Daniel, that we really are living in the "Time of the End".
From the time of Creation until about 100 years ago (a span of about 5,900 years) man had mostly traveled on foot, by animal or used an animal to pull a wagon or cart. The maximum speed was somewhere around 50-60 miles an hour.
In just the last 100+ years man has literally gone from "horse & buggy" to "space travel" at over 17,000 mph. The increase of general knowledge has allowed the increase of both travel and communication which in turn causes an additional increase in knowledge. (This same increase in general knowledge has also lead to an increase in the understanding of the book of Daniel.)
As an example of what is happening to our knowledge base, this page is being written in June of 2002. In just the last 9 months our knowledge base, the amount of information we have, has doubled. It is expected that in the next 72 days our knowledge base will double again. (Update, April 26, 2009: Most people know about the space telescope named "Hubble". This is its 19th year and "Since the telescope's launch aboard the shuttle Discovery on April 24, 1990, Hubble has traveled 2.8 billion miles in space during more than 100,000 orbits around the earth. More than 570,000 pictures have been taken of about 29,000 celestial objects. The data transmissions sent back from Hubble add up to almost 39 trillion bytes - twice as much as all the data contained in all the books in the Library of Congress.")
Many have been taught that the book of Daniel is a sealed book. There was a time when it was sealed; it was sealed by God and no one could understand it. Daniel 12:9,10 says, "And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words [are] closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand." Daniel, himself, wanted to understand what he was writing (verse 8) but he was told that the words were "sealed till the time of the end" and so he never did understand them. In verse 10 above, we are told that "the wise shall understand". This tells us that the whole message of the book of Daniel is for the "wise" people of the "time of the end".
As noted above, it can easily be seen that we are living in what the Bible calls the "time of the end", so the message is for us, if we are wise. The book of Daniel can be understood because God has unsealed it.
And if we lack wisdom, the New Testament book of James tells us what to do. "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all [men] liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." [The words "upbraideth not" means that God will not criticize us for how bad we have been.] James 1:5
The purpose of the above timeline then, is to impress upon the reader that we are in the last days of time and that because of this:
- We can be assured that we can understand the books of Daniel & Revelation.
- We can be positive that God is real, knows what is happening, and is in control.
- We can be assured that Jesus will soon come back to rescue the righteous.
- We can be assured that Jesus really does love us and we do not need to worry, but trust Him completely.
You can look at this same 100+ years in another way by looking at the End Time Events Timeline. And to see this same information in relation to Bible prophecy take a look at the Daniel 8 & 9 Timeline.