Daniel on the Timely Understanding of Prophecy :: By Nathan E. Jones

“But as for me, I heard but could not understand; so I said, ‘My lord, what will be the outcome of these events?’” (Daniel 12:8).

The prophet Daniel had been listening intently to the angel Gabriel pronouncing a series of mind-blowing messages. God was revealing the rise and fall of great empires, leading eventually to a global empire led by a despot whom the Apostle John would later call the Antichrist, with its inevitable demise at the divine hand of God.

Of course, all these great empires were still so far off in the future, from Daniel’s perspective, that he was obviously quite perplexed by what he was hearing. Rubbing his wrinkled forehead in confusion, Daniel requested God’s mighty messenger to provide some elaboration. To his dismay, the angel replied with a firm, “No way!” He explained that Daniel could never truly understand these prophecies because too many events needed to happen first before they could be fulfilled and, therefore, properly understood.

Fortunately, Gabriel added there would be three major signs that would mark the “time of the end” in which the finale in this series of events would culminate. We find the source text for these signs in Daniel 12:4. “But as for you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the book until the time of the end; many will go to and fro, and knowledge will increase.” He added that only those living in the end times and who were “wise” (meaning spiritually discerning) would at last understand these prophecies. They would recognize that the exponential increase in knowledge, travel, and prophetic understanding would herald the end of these human-controlled kingdoms with the second advent of the Messiah establishing His earthly millennial reign (Daniel 12:3-10).

1) Increase in Knowledge

Let’s explore the first sign—a great increase in knowledge.

Unless you’re a toddler playing with your mother’s Android, you have lived long enough to realize that the way we obtain information has changed a lot—a whole lot—over the last few decades. Let’s not even talk decades but in years. The child attaining adulthood today can, with a shudder, look back to the early 2000s when there was no Wikipedia, no Gmail, no social media like Facebook and Twitter (now called X), no cloud computing, no tablets, no smartphones, and certainly no high-speed Internet connectivity. Remember the sound a modem made when connecting a surfer to the World Wide Web? Ask a ten-year-old that question today, and they couldn’t even tell you. Even Bob Dylan couldn’t have imagined how much things would be changing when, way back in the stone ages of 1963, he sang, “The Times They Are A-changin.’”

Times a-changin’ wasn’t always the way things were, though. For thousands of years of human history, life remained pretty much the same. Sure, every 300 years or so, the world eked out an innovation that revolutionized the world, moving humanity from, say, the Bronze Age to the Iron Age. But, for the most part, limitations in travel left most inventions cordoned off to a tiny corner of the world. But then, AD 1454 finally arrived, and the German goldsmith Johannes Gutenberg released the very first mobile, reusable type press (like an antique photocopier). At last, words of knowledge could be mass-copied onto paper and distributed far and wide. The age of the printed book revolutionized the world, and Gutenberg started with the fount of all knowledge—the Bible.

Were you surprised to learn from your history classes that the most world-changing advances were made just in the last 150 years or so? And, as we got closer to our day and age, how each discovery came about faster and faster, as one breakthrough was achieved on top of another? This increasingly rapid acceleration in learning is called the Exponential Curve. Our knowledge has been experiencing exponential growth as one breakthrough builds upon another at an increasingly faster and faster pace.

What would you say was the most important discovery that has helped us facilitate the advent of this massive explosion in the growth of knowledge? If you answered “the computer,” then you’d be correct.

When it comes to the exponential curve for computers, the old joke is, “How do you know when your computer is obsolete?” The answer is, “When you take it out of the box.” That’s not too far from the truth, though, for computer companies double computer processing speeds about every 18 months. Known as Moore’s Law (after Intel co-founder Gordon Moore), this is just one manifestation of the greater trend in how all change happens to be occurring at an exponential rate. In 2023, quantum computers began processing at speeds equivalent to the human brain. By 2045, in a mere quarter of a century, Moore’s Law predicts we will possess computers with the computational ability equivalent to the entire human race!

Not only has the exponential curve in all areas of computer technology increased our knowledge to stupendous levels, but computers have aided in all the major scientific discoveries of our day. We don’t need to cram so many facts into our brains anymore either, for the ability to easily store and access data means we can continue to learn like we’ve never learned before in human history.

The exponential curve is not just limited to computers. Other advances in biomedicine, space science, chemical engineering, human engineering, and all the other sciences have been climbing faster and steeper up their exponential curves with every passing day.

It’s expected that in the next five years, the world’s technology will be 32 times more advanced than it is today. It’s also been estimated that 65% of today’s kindergarteners, once they finally graduate from college, will ultimately end up working in completely new jobs that, at this time, don’t yet even exist.

Consider that just a hundred years ago, the information most people learned throughout their entire lifetime equated to the content of one Sunday edition of The New York Times. Our ability today to practically consume that same amount of information daily shows just how far mankind’s knowledge has increased in a very short amount of time.

Today’s exponential increase in knowledge points to the fact that we are living in the prophesied end times and that Jesus Christ is coming soon.

2) Increase in Transportation

Notice in that same prophecy, the angel told Daniel that, besides a great increase in knowledge, “many will go to and fro” (Daniel 12:4). This tremendous increase in travel would also occur in the same context, that being the end times. God was revealing that once people began to go to and fro, both farther and faster, those final years before Christ returned to set up His Millennial Kingdom were finally upon us.

Stop and think how people traveled just a single century ago. Most roads weren’t even paved yet and were traveled along by horse-drawn wagons. Watch on YouTube the video of San Francisco recorded back in 1906, and you will see far more horses than horseless carriages. People rarely, if ever, left their hometowns. Animal domestication and the early beginnings of decent roads, then bicycles, balloons, boats, and simple automobiles were developing but not widely received.

Since the early part of the twentieth century, mankind went on to invent airplanes and jets, and we’ve even left Earth’s atmosphere in rockets and space shuttles. It used to take months for people to travel overseas by boat, but now we travel that same distance abroad in mere hours. In today’s world, people are always on the move, just as the angel prophesied to Daniel.

Today’s exponential increase in travel points to the fact that Jesus Christ is returning soon.

3) Increase in Understanding Prophecy

Did you know that Bible prophecy constitutes a whopping 31% of the Bible? God’s overall plan for the ages appears to be rather like a 100-piece puzzle, and so far, He has only provided 75 pieces. One can make out the outline of a picture, but until certain events unfold, which then add another new piece to the puzzle, the picture remains incomplete.

Still, the 75 pieces we have now are far more numerous than what Daniel ever had. As Jesus explained to His disciples, “For truly I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it” (Matthew 13:17). Even then, the Apostles didn’t understand many of Christ’s teachings until after His resurrection when He openly explained them and then later sent the Holy Spirit at Pentecost to provide further illumination. Even then, the Apostles were expecting the imminent return of Christ and not a 2,000-year-long wait.

Today, the various end-times signs related to nature, society, world politics, technology, Israel, and the spiritual signs are coming at us at such a fantastic rate that Bible prophecy teachers such as Dr. Ron Rhodes have begun to call the phenomenon “The Convergence.” So many end times signs converging all at once has greatly enhanced our understanding of end-times Bible prophecy, just as Gabriel foretold.

Today’s exponential increase in the understanding of God’s prophetic Word points to the fact that Jesus Christ is returning soon.

Recognize the Times

These three major signs, along with the hundreds more provided in the Bible, being fulfilled in our day, reveal the fact that the Lord could indeed return at any moment. By looking through the filter of the Bible at all the wondrous yet fearful events playing out before us, we should clearly understand the times in which we are living. As a result, we are comforted knowing that God’s got it all under control, that He has a great big plan in place, and that His children play a vital role in that plan. Christians are called to serve God in these dark times with all our unique giftedness, resources, and experience.

For those of you who haven’t yet accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior but now recognize that we are living in the end times, the realization should act like an alarm clock buzzing you awake to the fact that the world doesn’t have much time left to it. We are all living on borrowed time. Therefore, embrace the fact that God loves the world so much that He gave His one and only Son and that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).