Twenty-six hundred years ago, God provided the prophet Daniel with a number of visions concerning the future. In one of these visions, God revealed several events set to take place just prior to the Second Coming. But an angel told Daniel to seal up his vision until the end times, “when travel and knowledge will increase” (Daniel 12:4).
That means one of the clearest indications of the end times (and thus, the Second Coming of Jesus Christ) is a general worldwide increase in travel and knowledge.
As we survey the world today, do we see such an increase in travel and knowledge? Absolutely. In fact, we see a dramatic and undeniable increase in travel and knowledge. It’s so dramatic, it’s best described as exponential. Why? Because from the time of Daniel (6th Century B.C.) to around A.D. 1800, we didn’t see any noticeable increase in either.
Then, something happened. The speed and frequency of travel started to pick up, and the pace of change continues to this day. And human knowledge? It took off as well, and it shows no sign of slowing down. The pace of change has been so rapid and consistent, people take it for granted. But if you take a moment to reflect on where we’ve been, where we are now, and where we’re going, I promise you one thing – it will astound you.
In the days of Daniel, most people traveled less than 50 miles from where they were born – not in the course of a year, but in the course of a lifetime. As a slave carried away into captivity hundreds of miles from where he was born, Daniel was the exception not the rule.
In Daniel’s time, a horse was the fastest way to travel over land. This remained true for over two thousand years. During all those centuries, the speed of human travel didn’t change in any noticeable way. In the year 1800, the fastest land-based mode of transportation was… still a horse. Yet within the span of a single century, trains and cars completely replaced horses as the dominant mode of travel. And the speed and power of human travel continued to increase throughout the 20th Century and right up to our present day. Similar advances took place in both water and air travel.
For instance, in 1952, the ocean liner Blue Riband crossed the Atlantic in less than four days – a voyage that took Christopher Columbus and his crew five weeks. In 1998, that record fell. A passenger ship crossed the Atlantic in under three days.
And air travel? No other mode of travel better illustrates Daniel’s long ago foretold increase in travel and knowledge. For several thousand years, men dreamed of controlled flight. But for centuries, that’s all it was. A dream. Then, in 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright put together an airplane that flew for 12 seconds and traveled 120 feet. Just 66 years later, Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon. Do you think that qualifies as a notable increase in travel and knowledge?
About three hundred years before Jesus, the Ptolemaic dynasty in Egypt constructed a library. Known as the Ancient Library of Alexandria, many consider it to be the greatest collection of written knowledge in the ancient world. While we don’t know for sure how much knowledge was housed there, some estimates say as many 500,000 papyrus scrolls.
Today, you can buy a Kindle for less than a hundred dollars and hold a library larger than the Library of Alexandria in the palm of your hand. In terms of books alone, we’ve seen an exponential explosion in the amount and availability of knowledge. But Daniel’s predicted increase in knowledge is not limited to books.
The 20th Century witnessed an explosion of information via newspapers, magazines, radio, television, 24/7 cable networks, the Internet, and smart phones. Think of all the knowledge and information available on the Internet. In 1990, there was only one website. Hard to believe, isn’t it? Six years later, the Internet had over 100,000 websites.
A decade later? One hundred million. As of right now, estimates say two billion websites are in existence. And that number will be out of date by the time you read this because each day sees another 500,000 websites come online. In fact, more information is added to the Internet every day than existed in the Ancient Library of Alexandria. Think we’re witnessing a significant increase in knowledge? I think so, and the Bible says this means we’re on the cusp of seeing significant world events.
The Book of Daniel says an increase in travel and knowledge will immediately precede the Second Coming (Daniel 12:4). That’s exactly what we see today.
It’s clear the world we live in has transformed dramatically since the days of Daniel. Critics mock this idea. They say, “Oh, Jesus is coming back is He? Christians have been saying that for 2,000 years. Yet, the world goes on just the same as it ever has.”
Do you believe the world of today is “the same as it’s always been”? I don’t. For centuries after the crucifixion of Jesus, the world was very much the same. Not one of the signs of the Second Coming Jesus and the prophets said to look for was present. But today? There are a multitude of signs that have occurred in our lifetime that fulfill Bible prophecy besides the explosion of travel and knowledge.
These signs point to the soon return of Jesus. He’s right at the door. Jesus told us to “look up” when we see all these signs converge (Luke 21:28), and they’re converging right now. That means we’re on the cusp of the end times, and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ is close at hand. The urgency Christians feel today should be less about stockpiling toilet paper and more about helping people be ready for Christ’s return.