Decoding Daniel - an in depth Bible study of the book of Daniel

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Daniel 12

Two Events - Final Deliverance of Israel - Daniel 12:1-3

Instruction and Prediction - Daniel 12:4

Conversation, Inquiry, and Incomprehension - Daniel 12:5-8

Answer and Comprehension - Daniel 12:9-13

Applications of Daniel 12

Instruction and Prediction - Daniel 12:4

The preincarnate Christ conveys final instructions for the prophet.

But you, Daniel, close up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. Many will go here and there to increase knowledge.

Since throughout the book, portions of dreams, visions and prophecies concern the time of the end, “the words of the scroll” appears to indicate the entire prophecy (Daniel 2:28-29, 43-45; 7:17-27; 8:17; 9:27; 10:14; 11:35, 45). The double reference predictions, with both near and distant fulfillments, would have the distant predictions sealed up until the end. The narrative section (chapters 1-6) is typical, foreshadowing future events in the life of Christ, the Antichrist and Israel. Certainly, the typical sections are closed up and sealed until history unfolds their meaning. There are several ways to understand the instruction to “close up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end.”

1. “Close up and seal” might mean until the prophecy is fulfilled or until history unfolds the prophecy, which is especially true of types.

2. “Close up and seal” might indicate the prophecy is completed. There is nothing more for Daniel to write.

3. “Close up and seal” might indicate that the predictions are not to occur until the time of the end. In Revelation 5-6, the Lamb (Christ) alone is found worthy to look in the scroll and open its
seven seals. When the Lamb opens the first seal of the scroll (the title deed to the earth), the rider on a white horse inaugurates the Tribulation Period.

4. “Close up and seal” might refer to its safekeeping, especially from tampering. “Close up” would indicate that the text is unchangeable and “Seal” would indicate that it is an official text.
In contrast, the apostle John was told to do the opposite with the Apocalypse of Jesus Christ.

Then he told me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, because the time is near” (Revelation 22:10).

Since the book of Revelation fills in many details of Daniel’s wide-ranging outline of God’s plan for the end times, are the prophecies in Daniel now open and unsealed? If so, in what sense is it open and unsealed? Certainly, the book has been preserved, even though it has suffered much criticism.

The Lord gives what appears to be a time marker that must occur before the unsealing of the prophecies.

Many will go here and there [run to and fro] to increase knowledge.

There are several ways to understand this time marker.

1. Does “run to and fro” refer to the fulfillment of the prophecy? That would be the case with all the prophecies that have been literally fulfilled from Daniel to Christ as people “run to and fro”
completing the predictions.

2. Does “run to and fro” refer to a time when many travel back and forth and have increased knowledge? (Such as archeologists who travel the world to discover and understand the past).

3. Does “run to and fro” refer to searching? The prophets Amos and Jeremiah use the phrase in the latter sense.

And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it (Amos 8:12, KJV).

Run ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now, and know, and seek in the broad places thereof, if ye can find a man, if there be any that executeth judgment, that seeketh the truth; and I will pardon it (Jeremiah 5:1, KJV).

From the time of Daniel to the destruction of the Temple in A.D. 70, Bible knowledge had greatly increased. Think of all the prophecies in chapter eleven of Daniel that had been revealed and fulfilled. Since the time of Jerome in A.D. 400, there has been a corresponding increase in knowledge, due to the rise in archaeological discoveries of ancient inscriptions and literature, accompanied by the study of linguistics. Add to all of these discoveries, Israel’s nationhood in 1948; the daily flow of Jews from all over the world to the Holy Land; and the birth of the European Union accompanied by a great falling away from Christianity in Europe. As we study Daniel, time passes and knowledge of the Word of God increases.

We understand the scroll better than the prophet Daniel did! Even so, the fullest understanding of Daniel will not come until the last half of the Tribulation. Leon Wood offers a helpful paraphrase of this difficult verse.

Many shall run to and fro in their desire for knowledge of the last things, and, finding it in Daniel’s book, because it will have been preserved to this end, their knowledge shall be increased (A Commentary on Daniel, 321).

During the Tribulation Period, Daniel will become an open book. Its predictions will be unsealed because of their fulfillment. The prophecies will become clearest to those living through the events.

Bible Studies by Bob Conway

Unsealing Revelation

Experiencing Exodus

Book of James

Life and Passion of Christ

The Holy Spirit

How to Study the Bible

Romans Salvation

Life of the Apostle Paul

Other studies at Spreading Light Bible Studies

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