When is the End of the World?

Of all the thousands of verses in the Bible—which one explains the end of the world? Here is one that will stop you in your tracks. Open with me to Daniel 12.

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.”

Two phrases at the end should jump out at us. When God who has written the future wants us to know when the end is here He says these two events will be noticeable.

“…many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.”

Running to and fro speaks of traveling. How has travel changed on this planet? Unless you take a long view, someone living today has no idea how close we are to the end. The pace of change is staggering. Think how much the world remained the same from Daniel’s day to your great grandfather’s day, consider this.

  • Three thousand years ago David hired wooden boats, powered by wind to help bring special wood for the Temple. His son Solomon actually built and operated a fleet of wooden ships that sailed by wind power to carry on extensive trade with Africa, Europe, and parts of Asia. Jonah walked by foot to a port in Israel 2800 years ago and bought a ticket to sail to what is today Spain.
  • Two thousand years ago , the Apostle Paul traveled around the Roman World on mapped out highways by foot, by horse and chariot, or aboard a wooden ship moved along by wind power caught in the sails.
  • Five hundred years ago , Christopher Columbus embarked for a journey across the Atlantic Ocean in search of a sea route to China. He also probably went to the dock on foot, and boarded a wooden ship not unlike that of David, Solomon, Jonah, and Paul’s.
  • Two hundred years ago , Benjamin Franklin walked to a dock in America to board a wooden sailing vessel for his trip to France.
  • Just over one hundred years ago things began to change abruptly. With the advent of steam, man was no longer tied to man power and wind power. With the steamship, the locomotive, the automobile, the airplane and so on—in just one generation the entire world changed!
  • Today there are routine, scheduled flights of airliners that make the trip from continent to continent in a few hours. Many shall run to and fro, and so we do without hardly a thought. No one in the history of this planet ever traveled like we who are alive today can travel. This is the time of the end of the world!

Now the last half of that phrase, knowledge shall increase. That is almost an understatement when you think about life today.

Today, we sit atop a database containing what is arguably the sum total of the world’s accumulated knowledge every time we sit down to browse the internet.

From wooden boats with sails to MP3’s and DVD’s that I can watch or create on the personal computer that can also be my phone, television, radio, stereo, workstation, word processor, electronic document file, movie studio, sound studio, telephone answering service, fax machine, copy machine and printer. And a million other things.

[Our] generation is unique in all human history. Never has humanity been forced to come to terms with so many issues simultaneously -- issues for which we have no historical precedent to use as a guide. The explosive growth of knowledge has us reeling from what humanist writer Alvin Touffler terms “future shock.” It is only in this generation that last year’s encyclopedia is about as useful as last month’s newspaper. It has been said that the sum of human knowledge from the Flood to 1850 doubled once. It doubled again following World War II. The doubling of human knowledge increases exponentially .

When Daniel saw the end it was so overwhelming and incomprehensible, it made him sick. Look at Daniel 10:14.

While in exile in Babylon, the prophet Daniel was given a vision of the future of Israel, up to the coming of the Messiah. Up to this point in the vision, those things that Daniel saw were relatively familiar, cities, events, people in a context that were not too far removed from his concept of reality. But then he was shown the things to come in the last days.

The angel told him in Daniel 10:14 “Now I am come to make the understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days; for yet the vision is for many days.”

Daniel was so staggered by what he saw it made him faint, verse 18 records that ‘one like the appearance of a man’ touched him, and strengthened him, so that he could go on.

Daniel tried to describe those things he saw using terminology that made sense to him, but it comes to us as a series of baffling symbols, images and beasts. The things he saw terrified him.

Because the visions were so completely removed from his understanding of reality, he was unable to describe them in terms that even he was able to comprehend. And so it remained, for thousands of years.

Great Bible commentators like Calvin and Luther did not even attempt to interpret the books of Daniel, or the Revelation, for that matter, saying they were allegorical or symbolic books.

Matthew Henry, writing in the 18th century, did not fare much better. Even commentators on these books in the early 20th century admitted they had trouble fitting the pieces together.

After all, they dealt with a restored Israel, a revived Roman empire, and a one world government. Such things were deemed to be impossible, therefore to be interpreted as allegories.

The revealing angel understood what Daniel did not .

Now as we turn to Luke 21, fast forward in your minds to the day after Christmas in 2004. I was sitting at my computer. As I awaited a document printing I turned to Google News. All of a sudden the earthquake reports began to stream in.

  • A quake, rather large struck Sumatra.
  • Then some people may have died, and on it went until the greatest disaster of this generation, which is still unfolding, began to be understood.

Did you catch that all of us online that Sunday saw that quake within minutes of it striking? Seismic stations picked up the magnitude of the event, and news stations spread the word electronically at the speed of light. That is knowledge increased! Think about it.

Three minutes.

That is how long the ground shook, the earth quaked--and then the sea began to roar.

We know now that a minimum of 150,000 immortal souls perished because of the waves and quakes. The energy unleashed was staggering. But the reminder is priceless.

Jesus warned us that life is fragile, death is inevitable—but only He is the answer.

We all have heard the reports about how the power of this quake triggered of one of the worst tsunamis in history. The event also made our planet “vibrate”. Here is what the head of Italy’s National Geophysics Institute reported.

The earth wobbled on its axis and the regional map of south Asia was permanently altered. The island of Sumatra moved 100 feet. Time stood still for three microseconds. The impact of the 500 mile-per-hour waves was equal to one million atom bombs.

The Christmas Quake of 2004 will go down in history as another gracious reminder from the Lord of what we are really here on earth to do—seek God! Open with me to the “gentile version” of Christ's sermon on the End of the World. Matthew and Mark record these words, and John writes a 22 chapter expansion on this sermon called the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

But Luke 21 records an amazing version of Christ's words that are just right for us to reflect upon at the start this New Year.

The Waves Roared

What caught my attention as I watched the news over and over again replaying that tsunami was what one survivor reported. He said that they were drawn to the beach as the waters receded back so far that boulders the size of houses could be seen where the ocean had once stood. Then he heard it, like a roaring freight train—a wall of mud and water crashing towards him. His heart nearly stopped as he ran for his life and made it to a building where he climbed high enough to survive the waves of death.

Now, with that testimony of the waves roaring, follow along with me as we read Christ's sobering words about the end of the world, and then hear His commands to us who await His Coming! Luke 21:7-36.

The Omega Letter Intelligence Digest Vol. 14 Issue: 1, Friday, November 01, 2002 , Special Report Reason Six - The Explosion of Knowledge. The Omega Letter is published daily by Jack Kinsella at: www.omegaletter.com.

The Omega Letter Intelligence Digest, Vol. 20 Issue: 23, Friday, May 23, 2003, Confessions of A Techno-Junkie. The Omega Letter is published daily by Jack Kinsella at: www.omegaletter.com.

 

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