Daniel 12:4 Index
"But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, knowledge shall be increased."
Daniel 12:3 ===== Bibliography ===== Daniel 12:5

"But thou, O Daniel..."

  • In other words, the angel explained that the events Daniel saw in vision needed to be "shut up," and the book "sealed." Men will run "to and from," trying to understand, but God promised that, "knowledge shall increase," and this prophecy will be understood at "the Time of the End." The phrase "Time of the End" refers to a period of time beginning in 1798, continuing until the Second Coming of Christ. (KC 143-144)

"...shut up the words..."

  • Compare the similar admonition in regard to Daniel's earlier vision (Daniel 8:26). This instruction did not apply to the whole of the book of Daniel, for a portion of the message has been understood and thus been a blessing to believers for centuries. It applied, rather, to that part of Daniel's prophecy that dealt with the last days (AA 585; DA 234). Not until that time was reached could a message, based on the fulfillment of these prophecies, be proclaimed (GC 356). Compare the "little book open" in the hand of the angel of Revelation 10:1, 2 (TM 115). (4BC 879)
  • The "words" and "book" here spoken of doubtless refer to the things which had been revealed to Daniel in this prophecy. These things were to be shut up and sealed until "the time of the end;" that is, they were not to be specially studied, or to any great extent understood, until that time. "The time of the end," as already been shown, began in 1798. As the book was closed up and sealed to that time, the plain inference is that at that time, or from that point, the book would be unsealed. People would be better able to understand it., and would have their attention specially called to this part of the inspired word. Of what has been done on the subject of prophecy since that time, it is unnecessary to remind the reader. (US 313)

"...run to and fro..."

  • Many interpreters believe that "shut," in the preceding clause, is here used in a metaphorical sense and describes an earnest search throughout the pages of the Bible, with the result that there is an increase of knowledge concerning the prophecies of the book of Daniel (DA 234; GC 356). Others believe that Daniel here predicts a multiplication of travel [and communication] such as have marked the last century [allowing the gospel message of salvation to be spread to the entire world]. Theodotion's [translation] is closer [to the true meaning of [Daniel 12:4]: "And thou, Daniel, close the words and seal the book to the time of the end; until many are taught and knowledge is increased." (4BC 879)
  • The prophecies, especially Daniel's prophecy, have been under examination by all students of the word wherever civilization has spread abroad its light upon the earth. So the remainder of the verse, being a prediction of what should take place after "the time of the end," begins, "many shall run to and fro." Whether this running to and fro refers to the passing of people from place to place, and the great improvements in the facilities for transportation and travel made within the past century, or whether it means, as some understand it, a turning to and from in the prophecies, that is, a diligent and earnest search into prophetic truth, the fulfillment is certainly and surely before our eyes. It must have its application in at least one of these two ways, and in both of these respects the present age is very strongly marked. (US 313)

"...knowledge shall be increased."

  • This clause may be considered the logical squeal to the immediately preceding clause: When the sealed book is opened at the time of the end, knowledge concerning the truths contained in these prophecies will be increased (PK 547; Revelation 10:1;Revelation 10:2). At the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century a new interest in the prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation was awakened in widely separated places on earth. The study of these prophecies led to a widespread belief that the second advent of Christ was near. Numerous expositors in England, Joseph Wolf in the Middle East, Manuel Lacunza in South America, William Miller in the United States, together with a host of other students of the prophecies, declared, on the basis of their study of the prophecies of Daniel, that the second advent was at hand. Today, this conviction has become the driving force of a world wide movement... This prophecy has also been interpreted as pointing to the stupendous advances of science and general knowledge in the last century and a half, advances that have made possible a widespread proclamation of the message of these prophecies. (4BC 879)
  • This must refer either to the increase of knowledge in general, the development of the arts and sciences, or an increase of knowledge in reference to those things revealed to Daniel, which were closed and sealed to "the time of the end." Here, again, apply it which way we will, the fulfillment is most marked and complete. Look at the marvelous achievements of the human mind, and the cunning works of men's hands, rivaling the magician's wildest dreams, which have been accomplished within the past hundred years or more. Within this time more advancement has been made in all scientific attainments, more progress has been made in human comforts, in the rapid transaction of business among men, in the transmission of thoughts and words from one to another, and in the means of rapid transit from place to place and even from continent to continent, than was done for three thousand years previously. (US 314)
    • What a galaxy of wonders [have originated over the last 200 years]. How marvelous are the [continued] scientific attainments that [seem to appear each] day... Viewed from this standpoint [alone], we have truly reached the age of [increased] knowledge. (US 316-317)
    • To the honor of Christianity let it be noted in what lands and by whom, these discoveries have been made which have done so much to add to the facilities and comforts of life. It is in Christian lands, among Christian men. Not in the Dark Ages, which furnished only a travesty on Christianity; not to pagans, who in their ignorance know not God, nor to those who in Christian lands deny Him, is the credit of this progress due. Indeed, it is the very spirit of equality and individual liberty inculcated in the gospel of Christ when preached in its purity, which unshackles human limbs, unfetters human minds, invites them to the highest use of their powers, and makes possible such an age of free thought and action in which these wonders can be achieved. (US 317)
  • But if we take the other standpoint, and refer the increase of knowledge to an increase of Bible knowledge, we have only to look at the wonderful light which within the past one hundred and fifty years has shone upon the Scriptures. The fulfillment of prophecy has been revealed in the light of history. The use of a better principle of interpretation has led to conclusions showing beyond dispute that the end of all things is near. Truly the seal has been taken from the book, and knowledge respecting what God has revealed in His word, is wonderfully increased. We think it is in this respect that the prophecy is more especially fulfilled, but only in an age of unparalleled facilities like the present could the prophecy be accomplished. (US 317)
  • That we are in "the time of the end" is shown by Revelation 10:1 and Revelation 10:2 where a mighty angel is seen to come down from heaven with a little book open in his hand. Then the book of this prophecy should be no longer sealed. It was to be opened and understood. For proof that the little book to be opened is the book here closed and sealed when Daniel wrote, and that that angel delivers his message in this generation, see Revelation 10:2. (US 317)