Let no one mislead you about the times in which we live. If the parable of the fig tree and the signs of Matthew 24 are not enough, look at one last mile marker given by the prophet Daniel: the increase of travel and knowledge. Daniel accurately foretold the kingdoms and governments that would follow ancient Babylon’s disappearance from the world scene in Daniel 2:31–45. Many of his prophecies have been fulfilled, his writings constituting the cornerstone of biblical prophecy. Daniel described a key characteristic of the End Times, the period leading up to the return of Jesus Christ to earth, in terms of man’s pursuit of knowledge: “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” (Daniel 12:4).
While Daniel’s prediction of “many shall run to and fro” could easily be interpreted as the “rat race” of modern society, most Bible scholars interpret it as the rapid increase and the speed of travel. Comparing today’s world with that of even 200 years ago, when travel by train at speeds of 60 miles an hour was an incredible feat, now we fly in jumbo jets that can reach perhaps 600 miles an hour—or even the now-sidelined Concorde that reached speeds of a mind-boggling 1,350 miles per hour. What would Daniel have thought of these modern conveyances if we could transport him here in a time machine? I think he would definitely be looking at the skies for Christ’s return!
The rate of man’s knowledge has grown beyond our comprehension, as well. Years ago, scientists actually set out to measure the rate of expansion of man’s “knowledge database,” to put it in modern technological terms. They assumed that all scientific knowledge accumulated by the year AD 1 equaled one unit of information. They estimated that the amount of knowledge man acquired had doubled to two units over the next 1,500 years. But it only took 250 years for man’s knowledge to double to four units. From 1750 until 1900, a period of 150 years, knowledge doubled yet again. And throughout the 20th century, the rate continued to increase, with the result that it now takes only one to two years for our knowledge database to double once more. Think about that for a moment: Everything we know about the latest scientific developments will double in less than two years!
Encyclopedias and textbooks are out of date almost as soon as they’re in print. Doctors, engineers, physicists, and researchers are forced to specialize, limiting their concentration to a narrow area of knowledge. Even in our own daily lives, it’s almost impossible to keep up with the current flow of information. Is it any wonder we often feel that we need an advanced degree just to operate the latest gadget: iPhone, laptop, or iPad, or some yet-to-be-developed device?
Not only does this knowledge explosion indicate that we are living in the End Times, but the type of knowledge man has acquired is absolutely mind-boggling. Things that were in the realm of science fiction only a few years ago are now a reality (think of wristwatch communication or pocket-sized computers or self-driving vehicles). Our government, not to mention the average citizen, is caught woefully unprepared to deal with the moral and ethical implications of some of these scientific advances.
The “brave new world” that science fiction writers imagined just a decade or two ago is here. It’s a world in which man has decided to be his own creator via the practice of cloning. Ironic, isn’t it, that millions of unborn babies have been cavalierly aborted while at the same time scientists are cloning human life in a laboratory?
I can’t help but think that at some point—perhaps soon—God will intervene to stop mankind’s mad pursuit of attempting to create life on its own terms. We are building nothing less than a technological tower of Babel. In place of ancient Babylon’s worship of astrology and the heavens, modern man worships science and technology. The end result is the same: mankind seems bent on usurping God’s role as Creator. And at some point, the Creator will say, “Enough!” and put a stop to man’s folly.