Daniel was given some details about the end of time because he was asking God about the future of Israel and what would happen to them. God was telling Daniel all the things that would happen concerning Israel and anyone who lives during that period of time will be able to look at the book of Daniel and see it is playing out exactly as God said it would.
One of the things that will be sought after as the end draws near is knowledge. Knowledge in our society is big business and there is money to be made if your curriculum or text book makes it into a school system. Knowledge is so sought after because we believe that “Knowledge is Power” and whoever has the knowledge will have an upper hand on those who do not. To have knowledge means you have understanding and understanding means that you see things as they really are or how they operate. Knowledge of how the world began and operates is constantly being sought after with some believing that with the right amount of knowledge they will be able to explain how our world came into being without a God being the one to design it.
Because of the vast amount of knowledge we have discovered and the access we have to get it many people are experiencing information overload in our country. One of the problems we have today is the conflicting reports of what the knowledge actually means and which expert we are supposed to believe. Having information is only good if we assess things with it correctly and there is a great divide in our country, not because people do not have access to the same information but because they interpret the same evidence differently. Having knowledge is important but interpreting the knowledge is just as important or it will lead you to the wrong conclusions. We will see in the last chapter of Daniel that there is some advice we can glean to help us interpret the knowledge we have correctly.
Daniel 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.”
Seal up the scroll does not mean put it where no one can read it but it means to preserve it because those who walk through the last days will need it to understand what God is doing and see that He is still in control and knew everything that would take place in our world.
1) Knowledge without understanding
Many will go here or there to increase knowledge because e they will not understand what is taking place as the end of the world is taking place. Many people even mock that the world will end because they believe that it has always been here and will continue to remain. In their search for knowledge it is has left them with even more questions because they are trying to understand a world with God. It is a frantic search for knowledge that cannot be found apart from God (Amos 8:11-12) and therefore the answers to their questions will never be satisfied.
“There are few things more characteristic of our age than this. At no time in the history of the world have more things been known by more people. Education is a major industry. Yet at no time have people seemed more to lack understanding. Millions do not even know what they are, let alone why they are or what they are doing.” (Daniel, James Montgomery Boice, Pg. 119)
Matthew 13:10-15 Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” 11 And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. 12 For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. 14 Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says:“‘“You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive.”15 For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.’
Jesus tells us that the prophet Isaiah tells us why people do not understand and that is because they close their eyes and their ears. People are ignoring the information that is right in front of them because it does not lead them to the desired result they want which is a world without God. As much as people try and say that Christianity is anti-science the reality is that much of science is anti-science because it ignores the final conclusion of the findings.
People that ignore the revelation that God has revealed to them will eventually harden their hearts to any further information even though it is plain to see. Many atheists are this way as they ignore the complexity of our world and so instead of believing there is a God (designer) they believe that Aliens planted the seeds of life in our universe in order for life to exist. Of course the thought that it is aliens or a multi-universe theory only pushes the ultimate problem further away but does not answer how we began. We know the universe had a beginning and so the question has to be answered how we began. For Christians we know that God created the world but atheist cannot accept that conclusion so they ignore the facts of there being a designer and even worse ridicule those who accept the plain evidence that there is a God.
Richard Dawkins said, “Religion makes specific claims about the universe which need to be substantiated and need to be challenged and, if necessary, need to be ridiculed with contempt.”
Christopher Hitchens said “I think religion should be treated with ridicule, hatred, and contempt and I claim that right.” (Stealing from God, Frank Turek, Pg 38)
In 2004 Atheist Anthony Flew became a deist based on the discoveries in DNA and he was hated by other Atheist for it. Anthony Flew did not become a Christian as far as we know before he died but he did follow the evidence where it led him and that led him to believe the universe has a designer. Why are they against examining to see if the Christian view of the world is correct? The reason is the same problem that happened in the Garden of Eden and that is we want to be our own god knowing good and evil. (Genesis 3)
In the end times people will search for knowledge but not be able to find it because they have closed their eyes and ears to the truth and made up other things in order to not believe in a God who created us. Atheism is a religion that is based on chance and faith because they have to face the fact that science proves there was a beginning to the universe but how we began has to be accepted by faith. The information of a single cell points to a designer, the absence of mutating animals along with the Cambridge explosion which shows that the animals just appeared are all knowledge that are being ignored by atheist in order to hang onto their world view. Christians are said to accept things blindly but it is the atheist that have to accept that there is not a creator not the Christians.
Scientist are still trying to figure out the world that we live in and they do so in the name of knowledge but the Bible tells us that it will not be found because they are closing their ears and their eyes to the truth.
Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.
Theology (the study of God) is important because if you get God wrong then you get everything wrong. Atheist and Christians have a theology but for atheist they do not believe there is a God even though all the evidence points to their being one. When you ignore the evidence and do not start with God then your pursuit of knowledge will become an never-ending pursuit that will leave you empty.
1 Timothy 6:20 O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,”
The Apostle Paul says that they may call it knowledge but upon further inquiry you will see that it is just irreverent babble and contradictions.
Another view of the “To and Fro” and the search for knowledge is that when the end is near people will be searching the book of Daniel for answers. It will be why the book has been persevered all these years and it will be a great encouragement to those who have to walk through the difficulty of the end times.
Daniel 12:5-7 Then I, Daniel, looked, and behold, two others stood, one on this bank of the stream and one on that bank of the stream. 6 And someone said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the stream,[a] “How long shall it be till the end of these wonders?” 7 And I heard the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the stream; he raised his right hand and his left hand toward heaven and swore by him who lives forever that it would be for a time, times, and half a time, and that when the shattering of the power of the holy people comes to an end all these things would be finished.
2) Knowledge should be sought from God
One of the Angels asked, “How long will it be for these astonishing things to occur?” The Angels did not know the future and so they were hearing and getting a glimpse into the end times as well. They were seeing the horrible things that Daniel was and wanted to know how long God would allow this evil to continue.
The answer was a time and a times and a half which just means three and a half years. Israel at this point will be totally broken and destroyed and they will cry out to God for salvation
Zechariah 12:10 “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.
So many times we seek knowledge from others rather than going to God directly. We have a God that is involved in the world He created and He cares about every part of it. God is not a God who we hope to work our way up to and make it into Heaven but a God who cared enough about His creation to come in the form of a man (Jesus) and die for our sins that we can be back in a right relationship with Him. If God cared enough to come to earth as all human while still being God then we can know that He cares about the questions and concerns we have.
Matthew 7:7-8 Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.
Although it was the angel was the one asking the question is was Daniel who initiated the entire conversation with Christ because of his seeking for wisdom. Where do you go for knowledge? Christians should never seek Fortune tellers, psychics or horoscopes because all that we need has been given to us in God’s Word with the promise that His Spirit will guide us.
John 16:13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.
Daniel 12:8 I heard, but I did not understand. Then I said, “O my lord, what shall be the outcome of these things?”
3) We have limited knowledge of the things of God
Daniel was shown so many things about the future and yet he did not understand what he was seeing. We may think that if God would just lay out the plan for us we would be good but the reality is that even if He did we would not be able to understand His plan. We are finite beings with finite minds and we worship an infinite God with knowledge to great for us to grasp.
Romans 11:33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
Have you ever wondered why God does what He does? Have you ever thought to yourself that if you were God how you would have handled things? The reason is that we cannot fully understand what God is doing because we do not have the knowledge of God.
1 Corinthians 13:12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
One day it will all make sense but until that time we can only understand a little of what God is doing. One of the most difficult things you will do is trust God even when He does not make sense while believing that He is working out things for “The Good”. (Romans 8:28) When we get to Heaven I do not believe we will ask any questions even though we have many of them right now. When we get to Heaven we will understand the full plan of what God was doing with us and through us. It may be difficult now to not understand but we need to thank God for the understanding we do have.
Deuteronomy 29:29 The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law
God has not told us everything but what He has revealed to us we are responsible to apply it to our lives. We need to not wonder about the things that have not been revealed and trust God for what He has already shown us. The things that are written in the book of Daniel we may not fully understand but Jesus told us in Matthew 24:15 that when we see these things written in the book of Daniel the reader will understand. Those who go through these perilous times will understand fully what is happening and when we get to Heaven all things that were confusing and frustrating to us will make sense.
Daniel 12:9-13 He said, “Go your way, Daniel, for the words are shut up and sealed until the time of the end. 10 Many shall purify themselves and make themselves white and be refined, but the wicked shall act wickedly. And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand. 11 And from the time that the regular burnt offering is taken away and the abomination that makes desolate is set up, there shall be 1,290 days. 12 Blessed is he who waits and arrives at the 1,335 days. 13 But go your way till the end. And you shall rest and shall stand in your allotted place at the end of the days.”
4) Knowledge will not lead to repentance
The wicked will act wickedly even though they will know that the pain and suffering they are going through is from God as He is giving them an opportunity to turn to Him.
Revelation 16:9 They were scorched by the fierce heat, and they cursed[b] the name of God who had power over these plagues. They did not repent and give him glory.
Wickedness will continue to increase in the end times even though people will have the knowledge of the truth and they will curse God instead of turning to Him. With all the scientific evidence we have that points to a creator people are still ignoring God. Anthony Flew at least acknowledge the fact that the world was designed even though he was an atheist. People do not want there to be a God and so they refuse to accept any knowledge that points to one.
2 Timothy 3:1-5 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.
We all have a tendency to justify our behavior by changing the definitions that God has established for mankind. Alternative lifestyle, freedom of choice, self-expression is all ways to deny what God says by twisting what we know is true to fit how we want to live. That is why it really comes down to us wanting to be gods of our own lives and not allowing God to tell us who we are, what we are or how we should live. The evidence points toward a God who created the universe but that knowledge does not mean we will accept it as truth.
5) The knowledge we have is to be lived out.
“Go your way, Daniel” is not a rebuke of Daniel who was longing to know more about the future of Israel but he was being told to live out his life with the knowledge he had been given.
Colossians 1:9-10 And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;
The reason for the knowledge God gives us is for us to change the way we live. God has revealed knowledge of Himself through nature which can be discovered scientifically but that knowledge should drive us toward the creator Himself. How we live matters to God because another way God points people to Himself is through the lives of His children. We are to live our lives like stars that shine guiding people to God just like ships in the ocean would use stars to navigate their way around the dark ocean.
We do not grow in knowledge to just be smarter we should grow in knowledge which changes the way we live our lives. Are you the same person you were a year ago? How have you taken the information that God has revealed to you and used it to grow closer to Him or to point others toward Him?
Many people wonder what the righteous can do in a perverse generation and the answer is to live righteously.
Revelation 22:10-11 And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. 11 Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.”
“It’s important to study the prophecies Daniel wrote, but it is also important to understand the life that Daniel lived.” Warren W. Wiersbe
Daniel served in a difficult place with people who hated him simply because of what he believed and how he lived and yet he did not compromise any of his beliefs. Trusting in God Daniel prayed read God’s Word and stayed focused on using his life to Glorify God. Daniel’s Name means “God is my Judge” and he lived a life knowing that one day he will give an account to God. We all have been placed where we are by God’s Sovereign design (even if you think it is a mistake) to be used by Him to influence the culture around us.
True knowledge starts with God and a trusting relationship with Him. We need to seek God for the knowledge we need for the decisions we need to make just like Daniel did. We will not understand everything God is doing but just like Daniel we can trust Him with our lives and serve Him faithfully where we are.