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The angel concludes his message to the prophet in Daniel 12:4, saying,
4 But as for you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time [eth]; many will go back and forth [shuwt], and knowledge will increase.
Daniel was told to keep this word secret. It is likely, then, that he committed this revelation to the safekeeping of a trusted friend, who may have passed it down to more than one succeeding generation before being published. I believe it was given to Ezra some decades later while he was compiling the sacred writings that would become what we call the Old Testament.
The End of Time
The NASB translation makes it appear that the book was to be sealed “until the end of time,” that is, until time itself comes to an end. But the word translated “time” is eth, which means “a fit time, a season of opportunity.” The Concordant Version translates it “era,” that is, the end of the era of concealment. It is self-evident that seals on prophecy end with its fulfillment—at least, for those who take the time to study it.
Even after the book was published, men only had a limited understanding of its meaning. The prophecies of the Greek empire would not be understood until they were fulfilled, beginning two centuries later with the rise of Alexander the Great and extending to the time of Antiochus Epiphanes another 150 years later.
Yet eventually, many were to run back and forth seeking the word of the Lord, and knowledge, discernment, and understanding of these prophecies were to increase. Perhaps these discerning ones are the same in the previous verse: “those who have insight will shine brightly.”
Many prophecy teachers have pulled Daniel 12:4 out of its context and flow. They interpret it to mean that the book of Daniel was to be sealed until just before or after the second coming of Christ. Further, they say that scientific knowledge will increase, rather than the understanding of Daniel’s sealed prophecy. Thus, they use Daniel 12:4 as a sign of Christ’s second coming, which largely misses the point.
The Remnant and the Blind Majority
The majority of the people were too blind to understand divine revelation—even after reading the words on the scroll. Paul says in Romans 11:7, 8,
7 What then? That which Israel is seeking for, it has not obtained, but those who were chosen obtained it, and the rest were hardened [or blinded]; 8 just as it is written, “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes to see not and ears to hear not, down to this very day.”
Running to and fro [shuwt], seeking the understanding of the word, bears fruit for the remnant of grace, but not for the blind majority. For the remnant, “knowledge will increase,” because they have the eyes of the Lord which run to and fro (shuwt) throughout the earth. But as for the majority, we read in Amos 8:11, 12,
11 “Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord God, “when I will send a famine on the land, not a famine for bread or a thirst for water, but rather for hearing the words of the Lord. 12 And people will stagger from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east; they will go to and fro [shuwt] to seek the word of the Lord, but they will not find it.”
Three Angelic Beings
Daniel 12:5, 6 continues,
5 Then I, Daniel, looked and behold, two others were standing, one on this bank of the river, and the other on that bank of the river. 6 And one said to the man dressed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, “How long will it be until the end [qets] of these wonders [pele]?”
Recall from Daniel 10:4 that the prophet was “by the bank of the great river, that is, the Tigris” when the golden angel (Peniel) appeared to give him this revelation. Daniel “fell into a deep sleep” (Daniel 10:9), but the angel touched him to strengthen him. In Daniel 10:16 he touched Daniel’s lips so that he could speak. In Daniel 10:18 the angel touched him again to strengthen him. Then, while the angel was giving his message, we read no more about the angel’s position or location until Daniel 12:6, where we find him situated over the Tigris River, flanked on either side by angels on the two banks of the river.
The two additional angels are not identified, but one of them asked the golden angel, “How long will it be until the end of these wonders?” Perhaps the angel expressed the question that Daniel was formulating in his own mind.
The “wonders,” of course, were the marvelous revelations that the angel had just given to Daniel. The “end” of the wonders refers to the fulfillment of these prophecies. In other words, how long will it take to fulfill these prophecies? How will all of this “end”?
Time Frames of the Prophecy
Daniel 12:7 says,
7 And I heard the man dressed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, as he raised his right hand and his left toward heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever that it would be for a time, times, and half a time; and as soon as they finish shattering the power of the holy people, all these events will be completed.
An earlier revelation (Daniel 7:25) mentioned an identical time frame. As we showed earlier, it is 3½ “times,” or 1,260 years. Each “time” is 360 years in prophecy.
In Daniel 7:25, this 1,260-year period is attributed to the “little horn,” which was the extension of the fourth beast (Rome). However, in Daniel 12:7 the same time frame is applied to the third beast (Greece). There are, then, at least two cycles of 1,260 years to consider. Yet when we see how these cycles were fulfilled historically, we discover even more than two cycles.
Recall that the overall tribulation and captivity of Israel was a fulfillment of the laws of tribulation found in Leviticus 26. There we are told that if Israel persisted in its lawless attitude and behavior, God vowed to punish them “seven times,” or 2,520 years. This is 2 x 1,260 years. For this reason, two cycles of 1,260 years were revealed to Daniel.
The first cycle, from the start of the Babylonian captivity, extending through the Greek empire—and also the Roman Empire—was 1,260 years. The second cycle begins with the rise of the little horn extension of Rome and takes to the present time. The two cycles are as follows:
607 B.C. to 754 A.D. is 1,260 years (after deducting a century of Judean independence).
754 A.D. to 2014 is 1,260 years
God took the Dominion Mandate from Judah and gave it to Babylon in 607 B.C. Having received this mandate, Babylon then came to Jerusalem and conquered the city in 604.
The first 1,260-year cycle extended through the 70 years of Babylonian rule, through the Grecian and Roman eras, ending with the rise of the Papal States in 754 A.D.
We must take into consideration the century of Judean independence from 163-63 B.C., where the beast nations were deprived of ruling Jerusalem during the time of the Hasmonean king-priests. The Roman general Pompey took Jerusalem in 63 B.C.
Hence, from 607 B.C. to 754 A.D. is 1,360 years by chronology, but the beast nations ruled Jerusalem for only 1,260 of those years. In 754 the Donation of Pepin gave the Roman popes territory to rule for the first time in history. These became known as the Papal States, which were ruled by the popes until 1870 when Italy was unified and the Pope lost all civil authority over territory.
The second 1,260-year cycle began with the Donation of Pepin in 754 and ended in 2014. This was also the end of the 2,520-year dominion of the beast nations. The transfer of authority to the saints of the Most High occurred on October 16, 2014, which was the eighth day of Tabernacles that year.
Two Beasts of the Little Horn
Revelation 13 speaks of two beasts—one from the sea, and the other from the earth—when it refers to Daniel’s prophecy of the little horn. Daniel’s revelation focuses primarily upon the first cycle of 1,260 years, while John’s revelation focuses upon the second cycle. There is, of course, much overlap in order to link the two books and give us understanding of the sequence of events. To know the full story, our eyes should go to and fro, back and forth in studying both books so that our “knowledge will increase” (Daniel 12:4).
Revelation 13:1-10 speaks of the beast arising from the sea. It is the first extension of the Roman beast, which centered in the “Holy See,” or Sea/Seat. The timing of its rise is expressed in legal terms: “he will intend to make alterations in times and in law.” In our study of Daniel 7:25, we saw that this was a reference to the acts of Justinian the Great, who first changed the calendar and then the laws of the empire itself. The laws were codified in 529, revised in 530, and were completed finally by the end of 534 A.D.
There was a 1,260-year period from Justinian’s Law until the French Revolution in 1789-1794, which soon brought about the near-death experience (“fatal wound”) in Revelation 13:3. Napoleon took Pope Pius VI captive in 1798. The pope died in prison the following year. This was the “fatal wound” described in Revelation 13:3. The fatal wound, however, was healed when Napoleon reinstated the papacy in order to have someone to crown him as emperor. Hence, his temporal power over the Papal States continued until 1870.
John then speaks of a second beast, which was unknown to Daniel. This beast from the earth was to become an ally of the first beast, in that “he makes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed” (Revelation 13:12). This second beast is described in financial terms, rather than in religious terms alone.
So history shows the rise of modern banking and the alliance between the Jewish bankers and the Vatican. This strange alliance was sealed (and concealed) at the Congress of Vienna in 1814-1815, which itself is known to historians as The Holy Alliance.
This alliance served to fill up the 200-year gap between 1814 and 2014, when the full “seven times” (2,520 years) ended.