Monday, September 30, 2013

Daniel Panel: Delayed Understanding - Part 3

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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?

Nathan Jones, Lamb & Lion Ministries
Oh, I'm a tech guy, so I love the prophecies in Daniel 12:4. The angel tells Daniel, "Shut up these words and seal the book, even to the time of the end." In other words, it's referring to the end times. And this is it today!

"Many shall run to and fro and knowledge shall be increased." What the angel is saying is, Daniel, you just can't understand this stuff right now. It's too far in the future. There are going to be too many changes.

The two main changes that you are going to see are these. First, you are going to see people traveling all over the place like they never have traveled before. Today we can travel by trains, planes, automobiles, some even in space shuttles and rocket ships. People are traveling like they never have in all of history. My grandmother who grew up in the 19-teens used to tell me that she used to drive around when the cars only went 35 mph. She had to wear goggles, otherwise the dust blew into her eyes. Truly today we travel and go farther and faster than we've ever traveled before.

Secondly, knowledge will increase. The Bible says in the end times people will be obsessed over knowledge. Today like no other day we have an incredible amount of information to access. We have the Internet. We have libraries of information we can access by just getting on our smart phones and checking info out. We are truly living in a time of great knowledge.

There's also a spiritual aspect to the increase in knowledge, and that involves that Bible prophecy will start being understood. Daniel had to seal these prophecies up until the end times, but once the end times were nearly over, this information would be revealed. As we get real close to the end of the end times with the return of Jesus, people are starting to understand Bible prophecy like they've never understood it before.

Randall Price, World of the Bible Ministries
I think God is saying to Daniel that the closer we get to the actual fulfillment of those prophetic events given him, the clearer the details will become. In context it's talking about people studying Daniel's own prophecy. Daniel 12:4 says that people will go to and fro and they'll travel around trying to understand the details of this specific prophecy. I think they will understand it because they are getting closer to the actual time of the events.

Some people have said that prophetic events cast their shadow before them. So, in one sense, you can see what's coming before it comes. You may not be there for the time of fulfillment, but as you are so close to it you are able to see those signs along the highway that point to the final destination.

Tim LaHaye, Tim LaHaye Ministries
I think we are living in the signs of the times. We are seeing fulfillments unlike anything that any generation beforehand has ever seen. The stellar sign is Israel being brought back into the land. No nation in the history of the world has ever survived being pull up from its roots and scattered somewhere else for nearly 1900 years. They just sink into the sands of time, except for the Jew. The Jew was expelled from their homeland for 1,850 years. When the Lord got ready to bring them back into the land from all over the world, He used different means. Today it's an historical fact that Israel has been gathered back into the land amid the trouble and the tribulation that they are going through. It isn't the Great Tribulation that Jesus warned would come, but it's still troublesome times, just as the Bible predicted. We are on the cusp of seeing Daniel's prophecies all being fulfilled.

Tom McCall, Tom McCall Ministries
There is a progressive understanding of Revelation. Revelation has been given once for all to the Saints in the Scriptures. But, our understanding of the Scriptures has developed over time. There were the great battles over topics such as: "Who is Christ? He has come? What is His nature? Is He God? Is He human?" Jesus is completely God and He's completely human, and the Church has had to settle that. There are many other theological battles involving understanding of the Scriptures that have come throughout Church history, such as the rediscovery during the Reformation of salvation by grace through faith.

As we've drawn closer to the Second Coming of Christ, it seems like there's more interest and more understanding of the prophetic end times. Not that there's been any change in the Scriptures, rather it's just that we understand prophecy better. How could we've understood some of the prophecies about the restoration of Israel until they actually came forth? Now we're living in the day when Israel is a nation. Who'd of thought? Only Bible believers would have. Imagine that, and now it's real! So, as we draw closer to the Lord's return, a lot of the prophecies make more sense and we can understand them a little better.

Daniel prophesied that there would be an increase in learning. I think that's biblical, prophetic learning. That's what we are seeing. We are understanding not only the prophecies about Armageddon and so forth, but we are beginning to understand about Gog and Magog in Ezekiel 38-39. There has been discussion of other prophetic wars like in Ezekiel 35, and some have suggested Psalm 83 as being a prediction of more immediate warfare with Israel's immediate neighbors. These things were never discussed much in Church history. Now that we're getting closer, we can see these things happening. We read the headlines and everything seems to be coming together, and so we anticipate the Rapture of the Church imminently. We see the stage being set for all the things being prophesied in the Scripture.

Gary Frazier, Discovery Worldwide Ministries
Almost all conservative prophecy guys I know all understand something called Progressive Illumination. We understand that in the 66 books of the Bible that we hold in our hand, this it's God's written record to us. We don't believe in Progressive Revelation as we think that God said everything to us that He's going to say in those 66 books. But, we do understand that the Holy Spirit of God has a way of illuminating the minds of Christ followers to help them understand the times in which they live.

The reality is I could go back 60-70 years from our time. Can you just imagine a person sitting in their living room at home reading the thirteenth chapter of the book of Revelation, and they are reading verse 16-18 which states that every man, woman, boy and girl will be required to take a mark or number upon their right hand or upon their forehead, and without it they cannot buy or sell? That just simply says that without this mark or number there is no way to survive as there can be no commercial transactions. There is no possible way before Al Gore "invented" the Internet that we could ever have experienced or understood the technological explosion that has happened in recent times.

As we move through the years, those people past could not possibly grasp what the future was going to hold with regard to technology. Our generation on the other hand, we fully understand. Today there's biochip implant technology and RIFD's. We realize that today we live in a surveillance society. All these may play into the Mark's economic system.

I personally believe that, yes, God is opening our minds and we are understanding things that no generation has ever understood before. That should remind us that we are living in the last days.

David Reagan, Lamb & Lion Ministries
The bottom line on this question is that because of historical developments like the re-establishment of the state of Israel, and because of technological developments like computers and the Internet, we are now understanding end time prophecies that no one has ever understood before. And that, in turn, means we are living in the season of the Lord's return. In other words, we are living on borrowed time. The crucial question is, "Are you ready for the Lord's return?" I sure hope so.


In the tenth part of this series on the book of Daniel, the members of our panel of Bible prophecy experts will next answer the fourth question, "What is your favorite prophetic passage in Daniel, and why?"

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