When our pastor and the congregation parted ways, he left behind a study full of books. In order to get ready for the new pastor, the deacons cleaned out the room and put the books in the hallway. Any and all members were encouraged to look through and choose any books they wanted. This was one of the happiest days for me, a bibliophile’s, life.
Our other two pastors picked up many of the commentaries and expositions, but there were still plenty left over. I picked up several, along with atlases, reference books, and biographies. One book I happily got is Oliver B. Greene’s verse by verse exposition of Daniel (pub. 1964). Please allow me a brief diversion from my upcoming point about the Daniel prophecy where “many shall run to and fro”, to introduce you to a worthy man of the faith. Wikipedia:
Oliver Boyce Greene (February 14, 1915 – July 26, 1976) was a Independent Fundamental Baptist evangelist and author. He converted in 1935 at the age of 20. Over 200,000 confessions of faith were recorded as a result of his ministry. He attended North Greenville Baptist College briefly before entering full-time ministry, conducting revival meetings in tents and in churches across the eastern United States for 35 years. Greene wrote over 100 books and brief booklets about the Bible.
In 1956, he founded The Gospel Hour, Inc. as a Christian outreach ministry. It included a radio program of his preaching called The Gospel Hour, which began on one station in Georgia and gradually became syndicated until the point it spanned the nation. The Gospel Hour was heard on 150 stations at the time of his death. The cause of death was a cardiac aneurysm. The broadcast is currently on over 80 stations, including international stations and the Internet. Taped copies of the program are still aired today on the Fundamental Broadcasting Network and other Christian radio stations.
Greene hoped that the radio program would continue hopefully until the Lord came back. May it be so. You can read his and many other short biographies of the great men of faith here at The Sword of the Lord
Here is part of the prophecy the angel delivered to Daniel and subsequently interpreted. The title of chapter 12 in the ESV is “The Time of the End”. In Daniel 12:2, the angel said to Daniel that the prophecy was for his people and will happen during a time of trouble no man has ever seen nor shall see again (cf. Matthew 24:21). The angel was speaking of the Israelites (Jews) and the Tribulation. The angel reassured Daniel that his people will be delivered in the end, and then the judgment will come. (Daniel 12:1-3). However, the angel said then, “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.” (Daniel 12:4)
Since the ascension of Jesus it has been the time of the end. It has been the Messianic Age, the time of Christ as prophesied. The Last Days means the time when Messiah comes. Yes, the past 2000 years have been the latter days. The Jews and early Christians did not know that there would be a 2000 year interval. The rapture could have happened at any time during this last two millennia. Paul certainly thought it would happen in his lifetime.
The Jewish last days began 2,000 years ago, did you now that? That’s right. The Jewish last days began 2,000 years ago with the arrival of Messiah. They will be completed when the setting of the kingdom takes place. It just so happens that the last days has stretched at least in the 2,000 years. You say why so? Because God graciously is calling a people from the Gentiles. And secondly, because God in chastisement is punishing Israel for unbelief.
And when God gets through calling together the fullness of the Gentiles and gets through gathering and regathering Israel to the land, then the last days will be consummated. Now Paul writing to Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:1 and 2 Timothy 3:1, talks about the last days there, but he’s talking about the last days of the church. That the interval of 2,000 years that we’ve been living in, I believe we’re living in the last days of that. Do you believe that? Do you believe Jesus is coming soon? Do you believe the rapture is soon? Then we’re not only in the last days of Israel and have been for 2,000 years, but we’re in the last days of the church. John MacArthur “Explaining Pentecost“
The last of the last days will begin when the rapture happens and Jesus pours out His wrath upon the world, and then consummates all His plan by judging, setting up the Millennium Kingdom, and then after that, close the age to begin eternity. The Millennium Kingdom (so called because it will last 1000 years) is what the Jews are looking forward to, but first, they must be punished for their rebellion. That’s what the angel is explaining to Daniel in chapter 12.
So at the time of the end, people will rush to and fro. I was reading the news headlines like I always do, with more often than not one eye closed lately because of the headlines’ increasingly heinous nature. I saw several headlines that reported passenger airliner near collisions over metropolitan airports. Here are the news pieces:
Boeing 767 Aborts Landing To Avoid Crashing Into Another Plane
The news article comes with stunning video showing just how close the crash nearly was. Below is a still from the video showing the second the airborne plane sees throttles up, points his nose up and aborts the landing. He really kicked it into high gear. The video goes on to show the airliner circling around and making a 2nd attempt to land, this time successfully with no planes in the way.
These two planes were in Houston TX and came within 200 vertical feet of one another in early July – but an aware traffic controller noticed the danger and gave timely instructions to avert the collision. The article ends by noting that the FAA was investigating another near miss at that airport from May.
Last month, there was an actual crash of two passenger planes on the tarmac. Thankfully there were no injuries. One of the plane’s wings was crushed and the incident forced three hour delays of all traffic at Stansted Airport north of London.
In the US a ground crash between two passenger planes occurred at Boston’s Logan Airport, causing damage but thankfully again, no injuries.
In Ottawa Canada, A quick-thinking air traffic controller saved an ORNGE air ambulance helicopter from taxiing into the path of a cargo jet at Ottawa airport
All these examples are from the last few days to last few weeks. Increasingly, we read of these crashes and near misses as our world’s airports and other transportation hubs as they have become overloaded with travelers.
I found Mr Oliver B. Greene’s explanation about the people rushing to and fro in the prophecy very interesting. I quoted his bio above, he was born in 1915 and died in 1976, an interesting time span. I’ve often wondered about my grandmother’s life, emigrating from Britain as a young woman, having been born in 1900 and living through to the early 1980s. What a century the 1900s was!
Mr Greene wrote of Daniel 12:4. I think it is interesting so please bear with me as I post his long exposition of the verse.
A fleet-footed horse was probably the fastest mode of transportation in Daniel’s day. The kings had horses and chariots which were very fast in that day, but compared to the speed of today they were slower than a tortoise.
Notice that “MANY” – not just a few, but multitudes – shall run to and fro. My father lived to be seventy years of age. He left his home state only once during those years, and the only reason he traveled so far from home was because my brother, out of state at an army camp, was preparing to go overseas. Had it not been for the fact that my brother was going to war, I doubt that my dad would have left his home state during his lifetime.
I’ll pause here to insert that I have met many people here in Georgia, older folks who farm or have animals. Many of them have never left the state of Georgia, or a few have ventured to nearby South Carolina (40 miles away) to visit nearby family or go to the lake that borders our two states. This was amazing to me when I moved here, having grown up in the northeast and having traveled the world by the time I was 40. But the north tends to be transient not just in travel but in simply moving to and fro and here to there. The south has farmers who are tied to the land, and whose families also tend to stay put. It is not uncommon for family reunions in the south to have 50 or more attendees, all of whom are still living in the same county.
Continuing with Mr Greene,
Fifty years ago, [in 1914, working back from 1964 when the book was published] very few people traveled very far; but today almost everyone travels. Millions travel even across the seas, and a trip around the world is nothing today. Regardless of where you go on this earth, many are running to and fro. I visited the jungles of Africa, and in Leopoldville we purchased a ticket for that native train that rain 100 miles back into the jungle. I supposed there would be an ambulance of room, but the next morning when we went down to the station to board the train we found people standing, hanging out the windows, and riding everywhere they could find a place to stand or sit. Wherever you go today, people are on the move, traveling, going, and coming.
In the early days of our country, people traveled from east to west, but as a rule they traveled only one way – most of them never returned. But Daniel was instructed to write that many would go “to and fro”: they will go, but they will return.
Another pause here to put before you several translations of the verse.
NLT: “But you, Daniel, keep this prophecy a secret; seal up the book until the time of the end, when many will rush here and there, and knowledge will increase.”
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.”
ESV: “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.”
The word for run or rush is to roam about, rush back and forth, rove. It indicates movement, and restless movement at that. Mr Greene says of the rushing part of the verse, and I replicate his emphasis:
Notice that “many will RUN to and fro”. When I was a boy, I walked 5 miles to school. Today the average child who goes as far as two city blocks to school either rides in the family automobile, or has his own bike or motor scooter. There is a minimum of walking.
Wherever you go, people are in a hurry- and for what? Most of them could not tell you. They are hurrying to get – where? Most of them do not know, but they are always in a hurry. The only way to stay alive today is to run, even in the supermarket. If you are not careful, someone will run a grocery cart right into you if you stop moving!
LOL, you notice our pattern of speech, As I grew up I always heard my mother say “I’ve got to run to he grocery store.” Or if she was leaving a person’s home or concluding a telephone call, she said, “I’ve gotta run.” In my lifetime we’ve gone from saying “I will go” to I’ll run”. Of course the statement I just made isn’t absolute nor does it apply to everyone, but in general, I’ve noticed an ever further speeding up than did Mr Green in his day of 1964. To continue:
This is the age of speed. As I dictate these lines, the President of the United States has just announced that we have a jet fighter that flies more than 2,000 miles per hour… think of it! It makes one dizzy to think of such speed. It has just been announced that France is building a transport that will carry 200 people across the Atlantic ocean in just one hour and twenty-five minutes.
Mr Green was speaking of the Concorde, which came online in 1969 and ran in service from 1976 to 2003. It did indeed run an hour and a half. Donald Fagen’s song I.G.Y. (What A beautiful World) mentioned it,
On that train all graphite and glitter
Undersea by rail
Ninety minutes from New York to Paris
Well by seventy-six we’ll be A.O.K.
What a beautiful world this will be
What a glorious time to be free
‘The undersea by rail’ may indeed refer to the Channel Tunnel, AKA the Chunnel, “a high-speed undersea transport from France to the UK. The tunnel carries high-speed Eurostar passenger trains, the Eurotunnel Shuttle for automobiles and other road vehicles—the largest such transport in the world—and international rail freight trains. It has the longest undersea portion of rail in the world.” (Wikipedia)
Amazing! None of this was even conceived of or possible before my generation. Mr Greene remarks about Daniel,
If Daniel could have read a statement such as I have just made, he could not have understood the words he read. Thus the Lord God instructed him to seal up the book and close up the words until the time of the end. WE can understand because we have seen these things come to pass. We are living in the days of fulfillment of this prophecy.
Isn’t he good?! I have enjoyed his commentary and exposition. In addition, he wrote a half-page pre-tribulation stance that is just tremendous. I’ll be posting that later in another post.
Not only do I agree with what he wrote but see how far it’s gone even in the last 50 years since Mr Greene published his exposition of Daniel’s prophecy of traveling to and fro. The Chunnel, the Concorde, space ships, the Space Shuttle, regular commuting distances of hundreds of miles, travel at the drop of a hat, so much so that now airports are SO crowded that planes crashing in to one another even on the ground is a regular threat and a frequent occurrence.
Our crowded, rushing, to and fro world is certainly an amazing one. When the angel said to Daniel to shut up the prophecy for the time of the end, the time of the end came in 33AD, but until this past 75 years, it still would not have been understood. Has the prophecy been opened? I believe it has. As Mr Greene said, we understand it because we have seen these things come to pass.
And may it soon come to pass that Jesus calls His bride home, and the time of the very end will come in which He will blessedly rectify all the blasphemous injustices that have been performed against Him.
Enjoy the thoughts from Mr Greene, and above all, slow down!