Posted in daniel, end time, many shall run to and fro, prophecy

"From buggy to outer space": Many shall rush to and fro, prophecy and hope

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!

Posted in daniel, end time, future shock, many shall run to and fro, prophecy

Space jumping and Daniel’s prophecy

“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).

Does this prophecy, the famous one in Daniel, mean that technology and science and widespread travel are a sign of the end times? Yes and no.

First of all, the end time has been since Jesus ascended and will end when He returns. In that case, the advances of the Romans in installing indoor plumbing, aqueducts, hot and cold running water, as many roads as are equivalent with the United States Interstate system, and the Colosseum are indicators of the end time as much as our current Interstate, the Houston Superdome, and Kohler’s no-touch kitchen faucet are.

As a matter of fact, no one still knows the how the ancients came up with the technology behind the Great Pyramid at Giza, as mathematically, architecturally, and astronomically perfect as it is.

So what does the verse in Daniel mean? Barnes’ Notes proposes one interpretation:

“Many shall run to and fro – Shall pass up and down in the world, or shall go from place to place. The reference is clearly to those who should thus go to impart knowledge; to give information; to call the attention of men to great and important matters. The language is applicable to any methods of imparting important knowledge, and it refers to a time when this would be the characteristic of the age. There is nothing else to which it can be so well applied as to the labors of Christian missionaries, and ministers of the gospel, and others who, in the cause of Christian truth, go about to rouse the attention of men to the great subjects of religion; and the natural application of the language is to refer it to the times when the gospel would be preached to the world at large.”

MacArthur explains it this way:
“At that time, many shall run to and fro and knowledge shall be increased.” Now this is a most interesting phrase, been interpreted many ways. Let me give you what is the basic interpretation, the words, the context that I think makes real sense. It is not talking about the increase of scientific knowledge primarily, although that may be an allusion or an implication that could be drawn. What it is talking about is this, many people in the Tribulation, the time of the end, are going to run to and fro trying to find out answers to what’s going on. And they’re going to find the book of Daniel and at that point, their knowledge will be increased.”

So I don’t think we can be dogmatic that this or that is definitely what the verse means. After all, the Lord said to seal it up until the end. If we are still debating what it means then obviously He hasn’t unsealed the meaning to us yet, though we do have more of a clue today than in Daniel’s day, I believe, because we are so close to the end

Francis Bacon, English philosopher of the 1600s Restoration was influential in insisting that the advances in science currently underway should be for the betterment of man. He urged a more utilitarian approach instead of a contemplative one, and thus, he was a forerunner of the Industrial Revolution. However, just as ominously, Bacon said in his major work, “Novum Organum” (the second part of the Instauration), he stated his view that the restoration of science was part of the “partial returning of mankind to the state it lived before the fall”, restoring its dominion over creation, while religion and faith would partially restore mankind’s original state of innocence and purity.” (source)

In this way, Bacon kicked us into high gear in replacing God with science.

Bacon’s motto was “Multi pertransibunt & augebitur scientia” = “many will pass through and knowledge will be the greater”, as seen on the frontspiece of his major work. It is a direct reference to Daniel’s verse.

The title page of Novum Organum depicts a galleon passing between the mythical Pillars of Hercules that stand either side of the Strait of Gibraltar, marking the exit from the well-charted waters of the Mediterranean into the Atlantic Ocean. The Pillars, as the boundary of the Mediterranean, have been smashed through opening a new world to exploration. Men have been unleashed to sail new waters of thought, science, and technology. Bacon hoped that empirical investigation will, similarly, smash the old scientific ideas and lead to greater understanding of the world and heavens. The Latin tag across the bottom is taken from the Book of Daniel 12:4. Bacon is thought of as the father of empiricism.

So each age has been amazed by science and technological advances. However up above I said ‘yes and no’ to the question as to whether technological advances are a sign of the end time. I don’t think it can be related firmly to the Daniel verse but I also think it can be seen as a mirror of man’s status a la Tower of Babel.

As man’s achievements grow, his pride grows too. The prouder man gets of his works the more he says he doesn’t need God. I also believe this generation has seen the most growth in God-dishonoring science and technology than any generation before. “Safe abortions”? What an oxymoron. Safe for whom, exactly?? We go into space to prove God is not there. Though we have heeded Bacon’s plea to create things from science and technology for the betterment of man, we have also gone far away from God with it.

“Future Shock is a book written by the futurist Alvin Toffler in 1970. In the book, Toffler defines the term “future shock” as a certain psychological state of individuals and entire societies. His shortest definition for the term is a personal perception of “too much change in too short a period of time”. Toffler argued that society is undergoing an enormous structural change, a revolution from an industrial society to a “super-industrial society”. This change overwhelms people, he believed, the accelerated rate of technological and social change leaving people disconnected and suffering from “shattering stress and disorientation”—future shocked.” (Wiki)

I believe that we are in a state of future shock now.

Though things did change dramatically between 1950 and 1970 when Toffler observed and prompted him to write of the advances and their impacts in society, that change has accelerated even more dramatically from 1970 to now. This isn’t just a feeling. It is actually related to technological change, and has been observed in Moore’s Law.

Moore’s law is the observation that over the history of computing hardware, the number of transistors on integrated circuits doubles approximately every two years.

“The capabilities of many digital electronic devices are strongly linked to Moore’s law: processing speed, memory capacity, sensors and even the number and size of pixels in digital cameras. All of these are improving at (roughly) exponential rates as well. This exponential improvement has dramatically enhanced the impact of digital electronics in nearly every segment of the world economy. Moore’s law describes a driving force of technological and social change in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.” (source)

Vernor Vinge popularized his ideas about exponentially accelerating technological change in the SF novel Marooned in Realtime (1986), set in a world of rapidly accelerating progress leading to the emergence of more and more sophisticated technologies separated by shorter and shorter time intervals, until a point beyond human comprehension is reached.

This accelerating trend has continued for more than half a century.

My half a century.

When I was born, man had not gone into space yet. Now a man jumped from space to the earth. I believe this most rapid change in technology and science has been due to the birth of the modern computer age in 1970. The world’s first general microprocessor came out on Nov. 1971 and we have never been the same.

In this bewildering world of advanced quantum technology, iPhones, space jumping, Mars roving pace, please remember that the Lord never changes. He is steady constant, and eternal. His timing is perfect. At just the right moment He will call us home, and our joy will be complete. Personally, I’m looking forward to a world without cell phones 🙂