Question: My husband and I just finished watching the video that you appeared in with Chuck Missler and Chuck Smith called “Countdown to Eternity.” I do have a question about a scripture you all quoted and expounded upon: “Many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase” (Dn 12:4b). You presented the view of travel and human knowledge exploding in the last days. But when I studied it I find that is not what that verse is saying at all! It appears that Daniel is saying that many will go back and forth through the prophets (the books of the Bible, especially the prophetic passages), and knowledge of prophetic events and things to come will increase. This apparently wrong interpretation of Daniel:12:4b reminds me of the days when “everyone” seemed to be teaching that Matthew:24:40-41 referred to people “taken” in the Rapture, but further study shows this is about Tribulation times and they are “taken” in judgment, not in the Rapture. Thanks for your comments about this matter.
Response: I am not a Greek or Hebrew scholar, nor are most of those who claim to be. A few years of academic language study doesn’t make one an expert. But all of us can look up words in our Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance and (of most importance) compare scripture with scripture. When I do that with Daniel:12:4, I can’t find any basis for your interpretation, though I have scholarly friends who have suggested the same. The entire phrase “run to and fro” comes from the Hebrew word shuwt, which could mean the going back and forth of oars to move a boat and, by implication, to travel. How is the same word used elsewhere? Here are a few examples: “the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth” (2 Chr:16:9); “Run ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem...and seek...if ye can find a man” (Jer:5:1); “run to and fro by the hedges” (49:3), etc. That sounds like travel.
Yes, you could find a verse such as Amos:8:12 where there is a running to and fro “to seek the word of the LORD.” Yet even here it is not the running of the eyes over pages of Scripture but “from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD.” It seems fully justified to understand Daniel:12:4 as meaning that travel and knowledge will be greatly increased in the last days; and we are surely seeing that!
The word “knowledge” is translated from the Hebrew da’ath. Yes, it is used most often for the knowledge of the Lord and His truth; but that is to be expected because that is the main topic of Scripture. However, it is also used for general knowledge and even for the vain or evil knowledge of this world and Satan: “tree of knowledge of good and evil” (Gn 2:9); “Should a wise man utter vain knowledge?” (Job:15:2); “thy knowledge [referring to occult knowledge of Babylon], it hath perverted thee” (Is 47:10); “Every man [referring to idolaters] is brutish by his knowledge” (Jer:51:17), etc.
What about the context? I find nothing in it to specifically support either view. However, the rest of Scripture opposes the idea of increasing knowledge of Bible prophecy. We are told that the last days will be characterized by apostasy and a refusal to endure sound doctrine; Christ raises the question of whether He will even find faith on the earth at His return; the wise virgins as well as the foolish are sleeping, etc. This passage would be out of harmony with the whole tenor of Scripture if it suggested a great interest in studying God’s Word and an increase of the knowledge of God and His Word in the last days. Therefore, I will stick with the interpretation we presented in the video and which I believe makes sense in every way.
As for Matthew:24:40-41, if there was a day when “everyone” looked upon these verses as referring to the Rapture, that day has passed and the majority view today is that these are “taken” from bed, field and mill to judgment. This is the view of some of my best friends. I gave an entire address on this subject at the Pre-Trib Rapture Seminar in Texas last December—a tape which should be available soon, so I won’t go into details.
If these are taken to judgment, then I don’t know where any such judgment is mentioned. It can hardly be that described in Matthew:25:31-46, for at that time “before him shall be gathered all nations.” In fact, there is no judgment mentioned in Scripture where people are snatched out of beds and from fields to be taken there. Furthermore, the conditions at the time of “snatching” are like the days of Noah and Lot, prosperity and partying and no thought of judgment, which can only exist prior to the Great Tribulation, not at the end of it, nor at the end of the millennial reign of Christ. Therefore, this being “taken” can only be referring to a pretrib rapture.
That fact is further confirmed by the Greek. The word for “taken” (“one shall be taken, the other left”) is paralambano, whereas the word airo is used in Matthew:24:39 (“the flood came and took them all away [in judgment]”). That Christ used two different words must be significant. Airo simply means to remove from a place. Paralambano, however, means to receive to oneself in an intimate manner. Yes, it is used twice in taking Jesus away to judgment (Mt 27:27; Jn:19:16). However, it is used multiple times in a comforting way: when Joseph takes Mary as his wife (Mt 1:20, 24), takes her and the child Jesus to safety in Egypt, then back to Israel (2:14,21); Jesus takes His disciples here or there for intimate lessons (20:17; 26:37; Mk 10:32;14:33; Lk 9:10, 28; 18:31), Barnabas takes Mark with him (Acts:15:39); the jailor took Paul and Silas and “washed their stripes” (16:33), etc. Furthermore, paralambano is the very same word our Lord uses in John:14:3 when He says, “I will come again and receive you unto myself.” Is He not referring to the Rapture there? Then why would He use the same word in His Olivet discourse if He meant “taken to judgment”? He wouldn’t.