Knowledge Shall Be Increased

THE above statement is from a prophecy in the Book of Daniel which indicates conditions that were to prevail during our Lord’s second presence. This wonderful Book of Daniel also contains a prophecy that reveals facts about our Lord’s first advent, such as when he would present himself to Israel as the Messiah and that he would be “cut off,” crucified, after a ministry of three and one-half years.”—Dan. 9:24-27

We are interested particularly in looking into the prophecy concerning his second advent and presence as outlined in Daniel 12:1-4. As we note carefully what is taught therein, we shall find much to assure us that we are, indeed, in the days of the presence of the Lord. Hence, not far distant in time there shall be established in the earth the kingdom for which his people have long prayed.

Daniel 12:1 reads: “And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great Prince which standeth for the children of thy people; and there shall be a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time; and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.”

We are certain Michael refers to our returned Lord—but why that name? Does he not return as the Messiah—God’s “anointed One”? Michael means “who as God,” which suggests that our Lord is performing a special work for God. Our studies reveal that this present evil order ends with a great “time of trouble such as never was.” This period is variously styled as the day of God’s “anger” or “wrath” or “vengeance.” (Isa. 61:2; 63:1-4; Ps. 110:5) In other instances in this trouble our returned Lord is referred to as God’s “right Hand, and his holy Arm [which] hath gotten him the victory.”—Ps. 98:1

In Isaiah 63:4,5 we read: “For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come. And I looked and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold; therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury it upheld me.”

When one first reads of the day of God’s “anger” or “wrath” or “vengeance,” it tends to cause a reaction of horror. Can a glorious, all-wise and loving Creator have this fierce, vengeful side? One writer has well explained the proper meaning of that time of wrath and the terms used to explain it. “And yet the mind that grasps only the idea of anger, or supposes divine malice, seriously errs. God has established certain laws, in harmony with which he operates, and those who, from any cause, come in conflict with these reap the penalty or wrath of their own course.”

One of the reasons our God has permitted this long reign of sin and death was to allow mankind to appreciate the exceeding sinfulness of sin, degradation, sickness, and death in contrast to the perfection, majesty, and authority of his righteous law which will be evident in the kingdom reign.

If this evil age ends with this terrible time of trouble, how can we be sure there will be an “afterwards” on the earth? Seeking this answer is what highlights the Daniel 12:1-4 prophecy previously quoted. In our Lord’s great prophecy regarding his return and the end of this evil age, he quotes in part from Daniel. “For then shall be great tribulation such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time,” and he adds, “no, nor ever shall be.”—Matt. 24:21

That which follows in Matthew 24:22 clearly shows divine intervention. “And except those days should be shortened, there should be no flesh saved: but by the elect those days shall be shortened.” (Corrected translation in harmony with older manuscripts.)

It does not take much reflection to realize we are now in a “time of trouble” which could mean the destruction of all mankind. Luke 21:26, referring to this period states, “Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth.” Perhaps the number one fear in the hearts of the enlightened is the prospect of a nuclear holocaust.

Nobel scientist George Wald wrote: “I am one of those who does not see how to bring the human race much past the year 2000. And if we perish—as seems more and more possible—in a nuclear holocaust, that will be the end not only of us but for much of the rest of life and the Earth. We live—while that is permitted us—in a balance of terror. The United States and Soviet Union together have stockpiled nuclear weapons with the explosive force of ten tons of TNT for every man, woman and child on the Earth.”

We realize how much the genius of Dr. Albert Einstein contributed to this present situation—but not willingly. It was said of him that the mushroom cloud over Hiroshima was his unwanted monument. He first determined the equation that permitted man to determine the amount of atomic power in any given amount of matter. It has been said that at the time of his death he strode in lonely splendor to the crossroads of eternity—he saw farther than any telescope and deeper than any microscope.

Dr. Oppenheimer was active in the “Manhattan Project” to develop for the U.S. the atom bomb. But when the first one was detonated at White Sands, New Mexico, he was overwhelmed with its death-dealing potential for all mankind. His memorable words were, “Science has sinned.” For that change in outlook he was derided and he suffered much at the hands of his harsh critics.

Scientists have revealed to us that our life-giving sun is a huge caldron of nuclear fusion. But since we are at a distance it is a blessing, not a curse. It provides us with light, heat, and a circulatory system of rain. Also through photosynthesis man has oxygen provided, as well as food.

Because we have a loving God, that great system of nuclear energy is a constant source of blessing. We believe that without question the sun will be the world’s source of energy in the kingdom, replacing wood, coal, and oil. Scientists calculate that only a two billionth part of the sun’s radiation falls upon the earth. Yet they state that in three days the amount of energy which falls upon the earth is equal to all the energy that could be produced from every known source of wood, coal, or oil.

What a lesson to ponder! The Heavenly Father who has created and known such great facts from eternity has used them to bless. When man unlocked the secret of atomic power, his overwhelming thought was—we have found a new awesome, certain way to destroy. Man’s ingenuity and energies have been pouring out in this direction until, as Dr. Wald states, we now have “nuclear weapons” equal to “ten tons of TNT for every man, woman and child on Earth.” How tragically sad! And how wonderful to be assured those days of trouble shall be shortened!

This preoccupation with creating weapons of destruction has brought harsh misery even before their detonation. Dr. Wald wrote, “But arms, and war, and nuclear weapons are only part of the crisis. The big hunger is now upon us, the great famines scientists have been predicting for years past—hunger among the poor in the developed countries, starvation in Africa, South Asia, and South America. The Green Revolution has collapsed. It depended on huge supplies of cheap oil and coal to prepare artificial fertilizers and pesticides that make it work. And oil and coal are no longer cheap.”

Dr. Norman Borlaug, the Nobel Scientist, was one of the leaders in the Green Revolution. This was the name given to a successful effort to develop new varieties of grain that had extremely high yield and could grow under rugged conditions. At a World Food Conference in Rome this good man was asked, “What would it cost to feed the hungry of the world?” He answered, “About seven billion dollars a year, which is not available. Instead,” he countered, “we are spending 200 billion dollars annually on implements of war.”

One great law of God, if understood and practiced, could end this dismal picture. “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” The events at this end of the age will powerfully demonstrate the evil ends which come from following a law of selfishness. Manifold blessings of knowledge which have come to mankind have led to the trouble. Knowledge used for selfish purposes cannot bless but instead becomes a curse.

The recognition of this fact takes us back to our subject and the prophecy from whence it came. When Daniel received the prophecy of that time that Michael would “stand up,” the prophet knew this would be the time of deliverance for Israel and the rest of mankind. But the concluding statement caused him to realize it was for a much later time. “But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, even to the time of the end: [the remainder of the text tells of conditions that would prevail in the time of the end] many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.”—Dan. 12:4

Three key conditions of the time of the end are given in this profound prophecy. They are: (1) “there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that same time,” (2) “many shall run to and fro,” and (3) “knowledge shall be increased.” As we study the prophecy it becomes apparent that the triggering element for the “trouble” and “many running to and fro” is the “increase of knowledge.”

A close study of history shows that approximately the past one hundred years have produced a tremendous increase in knowledge. We believe this is due to the presence of our Lord as “Michael,” or “the Arm of Jehovah” or the “Archangel.” (Dan. 12:1; Isa. 63:5; I Thess. 4:16) Does this mean that in some way the returned Lord, as a glorious spirit being, has on occasion influenced the minds of men? We have recorded instances where such influencing was done without dominating the individuals’ wills and forcing them to comply to a higher power.

The Book of Esther, chapter 6, records a dramatic illustration of one exercising his own will but first being directed to certain information. The story is about the deliverance of Mordecai, an Israelite, who was a captive in Persia. Haman, of high station under King Ahasuerus, hated the Israelites, especially Mordecai. His plot against this good man had grown to the point where gallows had been constructed for Mordecai’s execution the next day.

That night, we read the “king could not sleep” and decided he might as well get up and read. He requested that a book of records (events which had happened in his kingdom) be brought to him. He then read of a plot against his life being exposed by a man named Mordecai: Why could the king not sleep? Why, when he received the records, did he turn to that special occurrence? Without affecting his will, the power of God directed him to those events. His reaction was based upon his own will and did not come from coercion. He desired to honor such a man.

At that time he heard footsteps in the outward court. They were those of Haman, who at that moment came to speak unto the king to hang Mordecai. When the king learned of Haman’s presence, he invited him in and asked, “What shall be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honor?” (Esther 6:6) Haman mistakenly thought the king referred to himself and suggested a variety of honors. The outcome was that Mordecai was feted and eventually Haman was hanged on the gallows which he had prepared for Mordecai.

Are there any facts to support the belief that the tremendous upsurge of knowledge had a special beginning about 100 years ago? Indeed, such is true and has been noted by scientists who have no particular interest in Bible prophecy.

In 1936 there was published a book, “The Next Hundred Years,” written by C. C. Furnas, professor of Chemical Engineering, Yale University. There is a chapter entitled, “The Risen Tide of Invention.” Mr. Furnas refers specifically to important, fundamental discoveries as inventions, such as the combustion engine, the telephone. The many improvements on such items, by his definition, are not basic inventions.

In his research he found “The World Almanac and Book of Facts” had an amazing amount of information. He wrote: “The peak of the world’s inventive activity came about the year 1875, the rate being twice as high as the years after 1900. Only one important invention was recorded in the World War years, and that was the depth bomb. It looks as if the Victorian Era wins.”

“At that time shall Michael stand up, … and there shall be a time of trouble … many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.” (Dan. 12:1,4) This great increase of knowledge due to the presence of the Lord would bring man to complete destruction if it were not cut short. This period will be a lesson to all beings for all eternity that when selfishness abounds those things which should bless will, instead, destroy.

Thank God for the promise it shall be cut short! In that kingdom, “They shall not hurt not destroy … for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.”—Isa. 11:9

Dawn Bible Students Association
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