We are continuing to share with you the opinions of 17 Bible prophecy experts concerning various questions related to the book of Daniel. You should find these interviews fascinating and very informative. The interviews were conducted at a national Bible prophecy conference that was held in the Dallas, Texas area.
The third question is related to the twelfth chapter of Daniel where the prophet Daniel was given many end time prophecies which he did not understand. When he asked the Lord to explain them, he was told that they would not be understood until the time came for them to be fulfilled. Are we in that period of time today when we are understanding end time prophecies that no one has ever understood before? And if so, does that mean we are living in the season of the Lord's return?
So the question for our experts is this:
#3. Are we finally understanding prophecies we've never understood before?
Don Perkins, According to Prophecy Ministries
When Daniel sees the prophecy given to him by God by an angel, there were still other prophecies that were yet to be given. God told Daniel to seal his book until the time of the end. Daniel's book would be sealed. Now we know that Daniel understood a lot of the prophecies that God gave him, but God didn't give him everything. As a matter of fact, the Scripture even tells that Daniel got sick at times because he couldn't understand all of the prophecy.
So, God told Daniel to seal the prophecies up because there was to be more revealed. That's when we get to the book of Revelation, where in chapter 22 John receives the conclusion of the matter. The Bible says God told John not to seal the book because the time was at hand. Daniel's prophecies were sealed until the time of the end, but then when John received the end of the prophecy, we now have these two bookends of prophecy complete and understandable.
Ed Hindson, World Prophetic Ministry
You have to get closer to the time of the end to understand Daniel's prophecy. It's interesting to me that Daniel was told, "Seal up the prophecy, for you're not going to figure this all out right now." Whereas in Revelation, the Seals are opened by the Lamb and the judgments are then poured out.
What God was saying to Daniel is first of all, "Daniel, you are wanting to know three things: When is the Messiah going to come? When are the Jews going to get to go back and rebuild the city of Jerusalem? And thirdly, when are they going to rebuild the Temple?" If you were living in 535 BC in the 6th Century like Daniel was and you were Jewish, you would want to know when these things were going to happen. Then the Lord tells him it's not going to happen for a long time. It's not going to happen for 483 years, or 69 "sevens". Even from a decree that hadn't even been issued yet to rebuild the city until the Messiah comes and then He's going to get killed. Then the city of Jerusalem is going to be destroyed and the Sanctuary is going to be destroyed.
If you were Jewish and you were just making this stuff up out of your head, you would never say that. You'd want the Messiah to come and conquer the world. You would want to rebuild the Temple. You'd want God to bring in the kingdom right then and there. But, that was not what was going to happen. Instead, God revealed to Daniel exactly what was going to happen in the future. Daniel recorded it whether he liked it or not. The Messiah will eventually come. He will be killed. The city will be destroyed. The sanctuary — the Second Temple — will be destroyed as well. This was bad news from a Jewish perspective. And yet, it was exactly what was going to happen, and did.
God gave Daniel the ability to look down through the tunnel of time and down through the halls of history into the distant future and see exactly what was coming in the future. Daniel recorded these events with such precise detail that we know that these prophecies only could have come from God Himself.
Brian Thomas, Blessings to Israel Ministries
Yes, there were many prophecies which Daniel wrote about, but he did not understand those prophecies. For example, if we look at Daniel 12:4, there were signs of the times in which these things would be understood as we got closer to the end. Daniel was told of course of many prophecies, including the fulfillment of the return of our Messiah, Jesus Christ. Daniel 12:4 says that in the end, which is the last days, people will run to and fro and knowledge will increase. We look today at travel. My grandmother is 91 years old, and she actually says that she never traveled on an interstate road until she was well into her 20's! Now as I go to airports, I see little babies on airplanes quite regularly. And so, I think that we clearly see travel has increased. We see planes taking off. People are going to and fro. Traffic jams are common.
Now let's look at knowledge. We see advances in technology and science and medicine that are taking place that have not happened yet prior to this time in history.
I also believe that Daniel 12:4 could refer to the time period of the Tribulation when all these cataclysmic events are coming upon the earth and people will run to and from the Bible to gain understanding of what is happening and what is taking place. Why are these things coming upon the earth?
If we continue if we look at verses 8 and 9, we find that God says those prophecies will not be understood until the end times. There have been some happenings historically and technologically that help us understand these prophecies. For example, look at the nation of Israel. When teaching prophecy, I'm always stressing the importance of the nation of Israel. Prior to 1948, it would be very difficult to understand a lot of the prophecies concerning what's going to happen with Israel. But, now that Israel is in the land, we can more clearly understand these things.
Let's look also in Revelation when it speaks of how there will be two witnesses who will be killed and their bodies will lie in the street for three days. We're told the whole world will look upon them. Well, how could that have happened prior to the invention of satellite television? Now we have smart phones to watch video. I think that will allow the means by which many people will look upon these two witnesses and their dead bodies.
Finally, we look at Revelation where it tells us that a third of the earth will be burned during the Tribulation. Now that we have the capability of nuclear warfare, I think we have a clear explanation as to how that can happen, and how it can happen so quickly.
I think those are just a few of the many examples of the events that Daniel wrote about, and how now we can understand them a lot better.
Gary Fisher, Lion of Judah Ministries
Daniel was shown four great empires. He was only living in the first one, so discussion of the other three were all yet future. The empire that he spent the most time on was number four, and number four was going to be a worldwide empire led by somebody whom we later identify in Scripture as the Antichrist. The peoples he originated from would be the continuation of the Roman Empire we believe. So, Daniel was talking about something that he didn't know anything about yet. It was revealed to him in Scripture, but was yet to happen in history.
The Bible is full of examples of delayed understanding. Revelation has one where the Battle of Armageddon is talked about. There's going to be at least a 200 million man army raised at that time. The Apostle John could not have understood that as there was only 200 million people in the entire world at the time he wrote that. Who understands an army of 200 million? The generation today with almost seven billion people on the planet could. So, these things are understandable the further we get into history.
Michael Norten, Author of Unlocking the Secrets of the Feasts
Daniel obviously wouldn't have necessarily understood about how the Messiah would be cut off. What a surprise to learn about the Temple being destroyed again!
Technology is trying desperately to catch up with the Bible. As new breakthroughs are made, we understand prophecy better than we just did 20 years ago. The closer we come to fulfillment, the easier it is for us to understand what was formerly not understood prophecy. I believe that's what God was referring to when He told Daniel to seal up his book.
In the ninth part of this series on the book of Daniel, the remaining members of our panel of Bible prophecy experts will finish answering, "Are we finally understanding prophecies we've never understood before?"