“Many shall run to and fro…”
THE MODERN MEANS of communication and transportation that have made it possible for the Gospel to now be preached in all nations bring to mind another specific prediction regarding Endtime conditions. In 534 BC, the prophet Daniel received an outstanding revelation. Afterwards, God told him not to worry that he couldn’t understand it all, that even though the prophecy was given to him, it wasn’t for him. Amongst many other predictions, Daniel was told:
“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.”
Many running to and fro literally means “speeding about, here and there,” or as The Living Bible renders this verse, “travel shall be vastly increased.”
In 1789 it took George Washington eight days to travel the 200 miles from his home to his inauguration in New York City. The fact that it took eight days is not significant. What is noteworthy is that Julius Caesar could have made the same trip just as rapidly in the year 50 BC! No real progress had been made in transportation over the 18 centuries that passed between their lifetimes. But look how mankind has advanced in the past hundred years!
Today we not only drive at enormous speeds and cover great distances in our automobiles, but a new generation of supersonic private jets will fly at nearly 2,000 kilometers per hour,66 and the space shuttle orbits Earth in 90 minutes.
Two thousand six hundred years ago, another prophet described the following “in the days of the Lord’s preparation” before He returns: “The chariots come with flaming torches in the day of His preparation. … The chariots rage in the streets, they jostle one another in the broad roads; they seem like torches, they run like lightning” (Nahum 2:3–4). No horse-drawn chariot ever ran like lightning. Could this be a vision of our modern highways at night filled with vehicles with their headlights on? It would certainly fit the description. And if it is, our modern vehicle-filled highways are another indication that the Lord is soon to return.
And they certainly jostle one another in the broad roads. Since the invention of the motor vehicle over a century ago, it is estimated that about 30 million people have been killed in road crashes.
Road traffic accidents—the leading cause of death by injury and the tenth-leading cause of all deaths globally—now make up a surprisingly significant portion of the worldwide burden of ill-health. An estimated 1.2 million people are killed in road crashes each year, and as many as 50 million are injured.67
The number of people traveling today is unprecedented in history. In 1990, economic forecaster John Naisbitt underscored how the largest industry in the world is now the one which enables people to “run to and fro”:
Travel and tourism is the biggest and the most energetic industry in the world. It will be one of the three super-industries driving the (global) economy of [this] century, along with Information Technology and Telecommunications.68
There was concern that the airline industry might never recover from the downturn it experienced after the 9/11 attacks in 2001.However, the travel industry needn’t have worried.
World tourism broke all records in 2006 despite fears over terrorism, bird flu and rising oil prices, the United Nations tourism watchdog reported [January 29, 2007]. A total of 842 million international tourist arrivals were recorded [in 2006], an increase of 4.5 percent, the Madrid-based World Tourism Organization said, citing preliminary data. That followed a 5.5 percent jump in 2005.69
According to the Geneva-based Airports Council International, airports handled 4.4 billion passengers on all services in the twelve-month period ending January 2007—equivalent to about two-thirds of the world’s population.70
World travel and tourism is expected to generate in excess of US$7 trillion in 2007, rising to over US$13 trillion over the coming decade. It accounts for 10.4 percent of global GDP and over 230 million jobs [and is] set to grow at more than 4.3 percent per annum over the next ten years.71
Never in all of world history have people traveled the distances, the speeds, or with the frequency that hundreds of millions are traveling today. Truly many are running to and fro, just like God said they would in the “time of the end.”
- Robert Andrews, “New York to L.A. in Two Hours,” Wired, 28 Aug 2006, www.wired.com/cars/futuretransport/news/2006/08/71665.
- Heidi Worley, “Road Traffic Accidents Increase Dramatically Worldwide,” Population Reference Bureau Web site, Mar 2006, http://www.prb.org/Articles/2006/RoadTrafficAccidentsIncreaseDramaticallyWorldwide.aspx.
- John Naisbitt, Megatrends 2000: Ten New Directions for the 1990s. (New York: Morrow, 1990.)
- “World Tourism Sets Record in 2006” AP, 30 Jan 2006.
- 2006 ACI World Airport Traffic Report, (Geneva: Airports Council International, 2007.) http://www.airports.org/cda/aci_common/display/main/aci_content07_c.jsp?zn=aci&cp=1-6-43-5732^19595_666_2__l.
- World Travel & Tourism Council Press Releases, 8 Mar 2007 and 14 Mar 2007.
- The Future Foretold
- A World at War
- “Mommy, I’m Hungry!”
- A Plagued Planet
- The Big Shake-up
- Our Violent World
- The “Me” Generation
- The Good News Goes Global
- Globetrotters and Jetsetters
- Information Overload
- The Pagan Revival
- The Beast That Is to Come
- The “Mark of the Beast”
- The Second Coming
- Faith to Face the Future