1. ACCORDING to the words of the angel to Daniel, when might the world look for an increase of knowledge?
“But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.” Dan. 12:4.
NOTE.-The prophecies of Daniel were not to be shut up till the end, for then there would be no time either to develop knowledge or to use the knowledge thus acquired, but until “the time of the end,” which refers to a short period just preceding the end. During this time there was to be a wonderful increase of knowledge. Especially were the prophecies of the Book of Daniel to be unsealed, studied, and understood at this time.
2. Until what time were the saints to he persecuted under the Roman power?
“And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed.” Dan. 11:35.
NOTE.-The time of the end, as shown by this text, was even then, in the days of Daniel, an appointed time, in the mind of God. This is not strange, when we learn that in the Scriptures both the judgment and the end itself are said to be appointed times. Acts 17:31; Dan. 8:19. The close of the period allotted for this persecution (1798) was to mark the beginning of “the time of the end.” See reading in Chapter 51. of this book.
3. According to the prophecy, how long was the power represented by the little horn, or papal Rome, to persecute the saints?
“And he shall speak great words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High. . . . and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.” Dan. 7:25.
NOTES.-As shown in the reading on “The Kingdom and Work of Antichrist,” chapter 51, this expression, “a time and times and the dividing of time,” represents 1260 years, extending from the year 533-538 A.D., the time of the decree of Emperor Justinian recognizing the Pope as head of all the churches and the successful campaign against Arianism, to the period 1973-98, when as a result of the French Revolution, the papal power received its deadly wound and the Pope was carried into captivity. This, then, locates the beginning of “the time of the end” in 1798. Up to that point the Book of Daniel, as a whole, was to be closed up; in other words, not understood by the people. But when the power that had placed this embargo on the Word of God, and had tried to shut it away from the people, was broken, then light of all kinds, Biblical, scientific, inventive, and industrial, began to shine and penetrate in every direction.
It is a singular and striking fact that immediately following the overthrow of the papal power in 1798, Bible societies, tract societies, and Sunday schools sprang up in large numbers. The London Religious Tract Society was organized in 1799, the British and Foreign Bible Society in 1804, the American Bible Society in 1816, and the American Tract Society in 1825. The Bible has now been translated into more than four hundred and fifty languages and dialects, and sent to every part of the globe. Before that time access to the Bible was confined to comparatively few. Now the humblest person may possess it, and is as free to read and study it as is the most exalted in the land. A little more than one hundred years ago there was not a Sunday school in the world, the first one being organized by Robert Raikes, at Gloucester, England, in 1784. Now there are more than 285,000 such schools, with over 28,000,000 officers, teachers, and pupils.
4. What may be said of the developments in the line of scientific inventions since 1798?
These have been remarkable, phenomenal, and without parallel in the history of the world. The people of a century and a quarter ago knew nothing of steamships, steam and electric railways, telegraphs, telephones, photographs, phonographs, sewing-machines, anesthetics, submarine cables, linotypes, monotypes, motion pictures, X-rays, aeroplanes, wireless telegraphy. Were they to be raised from the dead, they would be as much astonished at all these things as would the people of four thousand years ago.
NOTES.-“Of a verity, this is the age of invention.”-Scientific American.
“The great facts of the nineteenth century stand out so conspicuously above the achievements of any preceding century that it would be affectation of humility not to recognize and speak of them.”-Union Handbook, 1870.
“The most striking characteristic of our times is the rapid strides which the world is making in science, general intelligence, and inventions.”-Chicago Republican, March 14, 1872.
“Never was there such activity of invention within the history of mankind as at the present day.”-Phrenological Journal, April, 1871.
“More has been done, richer and more prolific discoveries have been made, grander achievements have been realized, in the course of the fifty years of our lifetime than in all the previous lifetime of the race.”- London Spectator.
Some of the principal inventions and discoveries of modern times are the following:-
Balloon in 1798.
Gas for lighting purposes in 1798.
Cast-iron plough in 1800.
Steel pen in 1803.
Steamboat in 1807.
Steam printing-press in 1811.
Railway-cars in 1825.
Mower and reaper in 1833.
Electric telegraph in 1837.
Electrotyping in 1837.
Photography in 1839.
Sewing-machine in 1846.
Anesthesia in 1846.
Submarine cable in 1851.
Machine-gun in 1861.
Monitor war-ship in 1862.
Automatic air-brake in 872.
Telephone in 1876.
Phonograph in 1877.
Electric railway in 1879.
Modern seismograph in 1880.
Linotype in 1885.
Steam-turbine in 1888.
Roentgen or X-ray in 1895.
Wireless telegraphy in 1895.
Motion pictures in 1895.
Monotype in 1896.
Radium in 1902.
Aeroplane, first successful flying, Dec. 17, 1903.
It will be noticed that none of these inventions antedate 1798. Go back a little over a century and we find the world about where it was in the days of the patriarchs. For thousands of years there seemed to be scarcely any advancement or improvement in knowledge. But suddenly with the opening of the nineteenth century, the world awoke from its long sleep, and a new era dawned,-the time of the end, when knowledge was to be increased.
5. What did the Savior say should precede the end?
“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come!’ Matt. 24:14.
NOTE.-Luther, the Wesleys, and others could not, in their day, proclaim the Lord’s coming to be at hand, as the signs heralding this event had not taken place. But now, the sun and moon have been darkened, and the stars have fallen, as predicted by the Savior; knowledge has most wonderfully increased, as stated by the angel to Daniel; and the gospel has gone to nearly every kindred, tribe, and people in the world. Therefore we may know that the end is near.
6. When we see all these things, what are we to know?
“When you shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.” Verse 33.