Daniel 12:4 is to me one of the most interesting verses in the Bible, and one of my favorites.
“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, and knowledge shall be increased.” Knowledge about what? And why is this important and even mentioned in Daniel?
An obvious application of “the increase of knowledge” may very well be in reference to people understanding more and more the prophecies of the book of Daniel and Revelation. This is surely true. I began studying these books back in 1981 and everything I was taught about the significance and meaning of these profound prophecies is coming true. Thank you to faithful pastors who have understood and communicated the importance of studying prophecy! But I have always understood it to also apply to an increasing knowledge of science, medicine, travel, and technology.
The days we live in make this sign seem even more obvious as it relates to tangible knowledge. Even the most skeptical must admit that knowledge is exploding in all directions. For the first several millennia, not much changed in how we worked, traveled or acquired knowledge of the world around us. Around 80% percent of the world’s total knowledge has been brought forth in the last decade and that 90% percent of all the scientists who have ever lived are alive today. Electricity, automobiles, computing and air travel have all sprung up only recently. The Hebrew word for “increase” (ra^ba^h) implies not only an addition of knowledge, but also a multiplication or a knowledge that is increasing exponentially. It is said that knowledge doubles every twenty-two months. Not our wisdom, unfortunately, only our knowledge! Now, I understand a lot of the hows of technology, but the whys, they escape me. Surely Jesus can return whether we are dumb as rocks and don’t go any faster than a canoe, or whether we are so info-loaded up we can hardly function on the other extreme without drugs and caffeine.
Perhaps with all the billions of people in the world, and in order to be as connected as possible so the world can unite, “tech-knowledge” is required as the glue that binds all people into one big babel-style gelatinous mass. I don’t claim to know. Any ideas out there, further insights into Daniel? Let me know. I would love to hear.
At any rate, I ran across something this morning that struck me as to how much we really do know. Someone I work with purchased a tera-byte hard drive. Now, some bytes I get: kilo, mega, and giga. Tera-that’s a new one. What is that? I’ll byte: tell me. So I looked it up.
A terabyte is 1,099,511,627,776 bytes. Then there are petabytes, exabytes, zettabytes, and yottabytes. The mere fact that we know these measurements of digits exist indicates a knowledge increase unseen before. Whether or not any ancient civilizations were this advanced, we can’t know. But our culture is on overload for sure.
By way of comparison, here is what I found: a Terabyte of info might include all the X-ray films in a large hospital. Ten terabytes on a hard drive would house the entire Library of Congress. 20 Petabytes is the same as the contents of every hard drive made in 1995. 200 petabytes: ALL printed material.
But this tripped my trigger: 5 Exabytes equals every word ever spoken by human beings. Now, their take on when humans came about remains unsure. But this is sure: that is one big honkin’ piece of technology. And if God keeps track of every word we speak, then….well, you get where I am going.
This does indeed make my head spin; but more importantly, as big as our corporate knowledge base is, it can never measure an all knowing, all seeing God, the God we serve, the God of Bible prophecy. Wow.
WOW! I have never thought to investigate this. We serve an awesome BIG POWERFUL ALL KNOWING GOD. Amen.