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.
“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
Many running to and fro literally means “speeding about, here and there,” or some Bibles renders this verse, “travel shall be vastly increased.” When you consider that people’s means of transportation—horse and buggy, wagons, camels, boats, etc.—did not change substantially for thousands of years, you can appreciate the significance of this prophecy.
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 drive at enormous speeds and cover great distances in our automobiles, commercial airlines, and space travel.
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’s return is growing closer.
And our modern chariots certainly jostle one another in the broad roads. The World Health Organization’s Global Status Report on Road Safety estimates that there are over 1.25 million traffic deaths a year – nearly triple the UN’s estimate of annual murders, and twenty times the estimated annual total of deaths in wars. 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 and as many as 50 million were injured.
The travel and tourism industry is one of the world’s largest industries. The direct economic impact of the industry, including accommodation, transportation, entertainment and attractions, is enormous for the global economy.
This brings to mind another prophecy about the last days, given by the Old Testament prophet Amos:
“‘Behold, the days are coming,’ says the Lord God, ‘that I will send a famine on the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord. They shall wander from sea to sea, and from north to east; they shall run to and fro, seeking the word of the Lord’” (Amos 8:11-12).
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.”
“Knowledge shall increase” (Daniel 12:4). We are living in “The Information Age “ making this sign seem even more obvious. Even the most skeptical mind must admit that knowledge is increasing exponentially in all directions. It is said that 80% percent of the world’s total knowledge has been brought forth in the last decade/
Technology has developed at a rapid pace, which has led to great improvements in communications, information transference, scientific discoveries, and the medical advancements. Seventy percent of all information in our global society has been created since the start of the Internet and continues to grow at a rapid pace.
In spite of this increased knowledge, depression is now the fourth-leading cause of the global disease burden and the leading cause of disability worldwide. Depression is the most important risk factor for suicide [which claims around a million lives annually, with another 10-20 million attempting suicide each year], and is among the top three causes of death in young people ages 15 to 35.
The increase in knowledge and the information overload are not able to fill empty hearts or produce peace of mind and purpose in life. Only God can grant true peace and wisdom.
The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.—James 3:17-18
To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness.—Ecclesiastes 2:26