Thursday, January 8, 2009

"To and Fro"

"But thou, O Daniel 1840, shut up 5640 (8798) the words 1697, and seal 2856 (8798) the book 5612, [even] to the time 6256 of the end 7093: many 7227 shall run to and fro 7751 (8787), and knowledge 1847 shall be increased 7235 (8799). "

The above text, while familiar, may look a bit strange. The reason for that is that I imported it directly from "Blue Letter Bible" including all of the reference numbers from Strong's Concordance that will take one directly to the words (in Hebrew) that permit one to study all the words the translators could have chosen from as they did their translation (King James).
I remember being taught that the phrases about "knowledge increasing" and "running to and fro" referred to the increase in general knowledge (e.g. scientific, technological, etc.) and also to vastly improved modes of transportation. Evangelists would point to the logrithmic increase in knowledge and say, "See there. This proves we are in the end times."
No. that is not what this verse means. The angel directs Daniel to "shut up the book until the time of the end." There is a strong contextual suggestion that knowledge of the Book of Daniel would be increased. And how would this happen? From many running "to and fro" in the book.
And this surely did happen simultaneously in Europe and America when the Book of Daniel was unlocked. Many, many papers were published on both continents beginning at the turn of the 19th century and these resulted in increased knowledge of the writings in Daniel.
This is a common understanding amongst theologians in the SDA church while the bit about faster travel and greater general knowledge is a common misunderstanding.
Here is a tiny bit of substantiation: "... baffled by the mystic symbolism of the prophetic books of Daniel and John. ... it was foretold that men should run “to and fro” in the “book” of Daniel"
But the church today is not finished with the book of Daniel and I will opine that the church does not fully understand its closing chapters. This opinion is based on what I view as the paucity of exegesis of chapters 10-12 in all the books written about Daniel in the past ten years.
Perhaps there is one....perhaps more than one that I have not read; one that is not eisegesis but exegesis; one that brings out the Word of God and not the opinions of man (the difference between exegesis and eisegesis). If you know of it, post a note.
Daniel is still alive. We have much to learn from diligent study of Daniel and we should be setting ourselves at work to understand what God is telling us through His servant Daniel.
God Bless. e.c.

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