Is an increase in technology a sign of the end times according to the Bible?
Many have proposed that an increase in technology is a sign of the end times. Is this true? The one biblical passage related to this concept is found in Daniel 12:4: "But you, Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase."
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First, it is clear this passage speaks of the end times. But what is the proper understanding of the second half of this verse? "Many shall run to and fro," refers to seeking, perhaps including travel, though not necessarily. Some have suggested this phrase refers to an increase in travel, connecting it with modern inventions such as airplanes and cars. Though this is possible, it is not a conclusive fulfillment of this passage.
Second, the phrase "knowledge shall increase" clearly teaches an increase in information in the end times. The modern information age certainly fulfills this aspect of Daniel's prophecy. In the time of Daniel, information could only be shared orally or by handwriting. Today's technologies allow any person with a smartphone to share text, pictures, audio, or video instantly around the world.
Third, more specifically, knowledge about Daniel's prophecy will increase in the last days. Daniel 12 discusses the time of the tribulation and the judgment at the end of this period. During the tribulation, some will read God's Word and be able to specifically see the fulfillment of prophecies that today remain for the future. Their "knowledge shall increase" in the sense that they know more clearly how God's prophecies will unfold.
The final verses of Daniel 12 help to define the time when "knowledge will increase" as well. In verse six, someone asks, "How long shall it be…?" The answer includes "time, times, and half a time" (v. 7) referring to a three and a half year period encompassing half of the seven-year tribulation period. Also clear is that this will take place "when the shattering of the power of the holy people comes to an end" (v. 7). This reference to the end of God's people being persecuted likely refers to the Jewish people who are persecuted during the tribulation, though it could also possibly refer to people who come to faith in Christ during the tribulation.
More specifically, verse 11 teaches, "And from the time that the regular burnt offering is taken away and the abomination that makes desolate is set up, there shall be 1,290 days." It is clear from this verse that this increase in knowledge will primarily take place during the last half of the seven-year tribulation. However, three and a half year would be 1,260 days, not 1,290. Thirty extra days are given, with a variety of interpretations suggested. In addition, verse 12 adds, "Blessed is he who waits and arrives at the 1,335 days." The purpose of these extra days are not made clear, though they may have something to do with the period of judgment between Armageddon and Christ's millennial rule.
In summary, the idea of technology increasing as a sign of the end times is a popular one, but is also often exaggerated. Daniel 12:4 simply speaks of an increase in knowledge, offering no additional details. We are only promised knowledge will be increased in the final days, without any predictions regarding today's technologies.
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