We’ve probably all heard of this concept before: knowledge will increase in the latter days. I myself have often heard pastors give sermons about the distractions that modern innovations pose, the ever-quickening development of science and technology, the invention of the internet, the completing of the Human Genome Project which decodes and maps DNA, and many more examples. However, when the Bible says that “knowledge shall increase” what is it talking about? Were the prophets predicting a future age ruled by tech-savvy teenagers and quantum physicists? Did they really have iPods, Google, Facebook, and Wikipedia in mind? Let’s take a look at what the Bible has to say about this:
Daniel 12:4 “But you, 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.” So we find in the Book of Daniel that “knowledge shall be increased.” However, the angel that delivers this message to Daniel from God does not specify what he means by “knowledge.” He simply says that, whatever “knowledge” is, it will be increased in the “time of the end” (end times). This knowledge is a very specific kind of knowledge, however. But what kind of knowledge is it? The angel tells Daniel to seal up the book (the book in which Daniel just wrote down the vision he recieved) until the end times, during which time knowledge will increase. Wouldn’t it make a ton of sense if it read this way: “But you, O Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, even to the end times. Many shall run to and fro. At the time in which people run to and fro – the end times – knowledge will increase. This is why the vision will be sealed up until the end times, so that those with knowledge may know the meaning of the vision.” For this is knowledge: revelation from God. Those with revelation (understanding) from God, during the end times, will understand what the vision means. Why do I rephrase it like this? What reason do I have to believe that the angel is referring to knowledge of God? Let’s keep reading in Daniel:
Daniel 12:8-13 “And I [Daniel] heard, but I understood not: then I said, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things? And he [the angel] said, Go your way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly and none of the wicked shall understand… But go you your way till the end be: for you shall rest and stand in your lot at the end of days.” So we know that knowledge will increase during the end times (12:4). When the time of the end arrives, many will be spiritually tested and purified (perhaps this alludes to persecutions and tribulation?). Evil people will act sinfully and will not understand Daniel’s vision (12:8-10).
Hosea 4:6 "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I [God] also will reject you from being priests for Me; Because you have forgotten the Law of your God, I also will forget your children." So as always, let’s go back to the context of this verse and discover what’s going on…
Hosea 4:1-6 “Hear the word of YHVH, you children of Israel: for YHVH has a controversy with the inhabitants of the lands, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land. 2 By swearing*, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out and blood touches blood**. Therefore the land shall mourn, and everyone that dwells therein shall languish, with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven; yea, the fishes of the sea also shall be taken away***.”
* “swearing” here refers to making false or immoral oaths and vows to people
** “they break out and blood touches blood” refers to an outbreak of violence with the blood-spilling of many (the blood from many people/corpses runs together)
***This may refer to animal-shaped idols
Also notice here that the people lacked the "word of YHVH" and the "knowledge of God," thus resulting in sinful acts ("sinful acts" literally being defined as "transgressions of the Law" (1 John 3:4)).
Hosea 6:6 “For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.”
Habakkuk 2:2-3 “Then YHVH answered me and said: “Write the vision And make it plain on tablets, That he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry.” Here, we have another example aside from Daniel that the full unveiling and understanding of the knowledge of God will come about in the end times. In the latter days, people will have more access to the knowledge of God! We are now living in incredible times because we are in the midst of an indescribably glorious opportunity! We have the opportunity to gain access to knowledge and understanding that God did not permit even Daniel and Habakkuk to have… and they were prophets! These men were prophets (essentially spiritual superheroes) and God is willing to unveil even more of His holy plan to us than to them! This is truly amazing and blessed!
Habakkuk 2:14 “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of YHVH, as the waters cover the sea.” (see Ezekiel 1:16-18, Hebrews 1:3, 2 Corinthians 4:6; Jesus is the visual manifestation of God’s glory. Habakkuk 2:14 seems to imply that “the earth will be filled with the knowledge of Jesus”).
Malachi 2:7 “For the lips of a priest should keep knowledge, and people should seek the Law from his mouth; for he is the messenger of YHVH of hosts” A rephrasing of this verse might make it a little bit clearer: “For the lips of a priest should keep knowledge, and people should seek the Law from the priest’s mouth, for the priest is the messenger of YHVH of hosts” So, knowledge (given from God) involves knowledge of God’s Law. Malachi tells priests to keep the Law on their lips. Then it tells us to seek the Law from the priests’ mouths. The knowledge that is on the lips of the priests IS the knowledge (given by God) of God’s Law!
Proverbs 1:7 " The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction."
Luke 1:77 “To give knowledge of salvation to His people by the remission of their sins.” Again, “knowledge” here refers to a very specific kind of knowledge: knowledge that can only come from God. We are not talking about human knowledge or knowledge in general! We did not have the proper knowledge of salvation prior to Jesus teaching us.
Romans 1:28 “Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done”
Romans 2:17-20 “Indeed you are called a Jew, and rest on the law, and make your boast in God, and know His will, and approve the things that are excellent, being instructed out of the law, and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, having the form of knowledge and truth in the Law”
Romans 3:20b “For by the Law is the knowledge of sin." Let's remember that sin is literally defined as “lawlessness” (1 John 3:4-5) by the disciple whom Jesus loved – John (hmm, wonder why). So consider that by the Law comes the knowledge of lawlessness. If the knowledge of God reveals sin, what must it not be? Logically, the “knowledge of God” cannot be sin. If the knowledge of God reveals sin, what must it be? According to Romans 7:12 the Law is “holy, just, and good.” So when Jesus says that there is only One who is good (Matthew 19:17, Luke 18:19), God, then wouldn’t it make sense that knowledge of the Law can only mean knowledge of God? If the Law of God is also called the “word of God” (Exodus 34:1 is just one example) and John 1:1 tells us that the word is God, then… wouldn’t knowledge about the Law (word) = knowledge about God? Yes, it would.
Romans 10:2 “For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge” Some people can be very passionate about God, but not according to His word (scripture). This could very well describe the state of the modern church – they love God but not according to how the Bible tells us to love God – by obeying His commandments (John 14:15, 1 John 5:3, 2 John 1:6). So again, this “knowledge” refers to knowledge given to us by God.
Romans 11:33 “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!”
Romans 15:14 “Now I myself am confident concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to instruct one another” Tell me one thing: what kind of knowledge is able to instruct believers: worldly knowledge or divine knowledge? Human knowledge or holy knowledge? Only knowledge given by God is up to the task. Even aside from this, “all knowledge” is directly related to being “full of goodness.” The people Paul is writing to are filled with both goodness and knowledge. Considering this, what kind of knowledge could a person have that fills them with goodness? Worldly knowledge or knowledge from the only One who is good? (see Matthew 19:17 and Luke 18:19). Obviously if you are filled with both goodness and knowledge, then the knowledge you have is also good and has come from a good source – the only One who is good, God!
1 Corinthians 1:5 “I always thank my God concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus, that you were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge” The Corinthians were enriched by God in all knowledge. Undoubtedly, Paul was referring to a specific kind of knowledge when he says "all knowledge" because the Corinthians obviously did not learn everything they knew in life from God (i.e. did they learn how to sew, battle, sing, craft, sport, or harvest from God? Did they know about their pagan culture from God? Did they know the histoy of Greece from God? Obviously not literallly "all knowledge" known by the Corinthian church was given by God - only the knowledge concerning God and His will, which was revealed by God Himself and His proxies).
(Concerning the following passage (1 Corinthians 8:1-7): the text in brackets is added by me for the sake of clarity. I believe that you will agree with me if you read this passage is context. However, please also feel free to read the verse apart from my interpretive insertions).
1 Corinthians 8:1-7 “Now concerning things offered to idols: We know that we all have [human] knowledge. [Human] knowledge puffs up, but love edifies and if anyone thinks that he knows anything [according to human standards of knowledge], he knows nothing yet as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God, this one is known by Him. Therefore concerning the eating of things offered to idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no other God but one. For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords), yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live. However, there is not in everyone that knowledge [concerning God's unity and Christ's lordship; knowledge which only comes from God]; for some, with consciousness of the idol, until now eat it as a thing offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled.”
1 Corinthians 12:8 “For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit” The Holy Spirit gives us both wisdom and knowledge. Where else but from God?
1 Corinthians 14:6 “But now, brethren, if I come to you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you unless I speak to you either by revelation, by knowledge, by prophesying, or by teaching?” The gift of tongues (or languages) is useless without direct intervention from God via revelation, knowledge, prophecy, and teaching. Also, revelation, knowledge, and prophecy are all linked to each other and are relevant for this article's study. Lastly, we again find that scripture is talking about a very specific type of knowledge: knowledge from God that comes by revelation and is taught by the prophets.
1 Corinthians 15:34a “Awake to righteousness, and do not sin*; for some do not have the knowledge of God.” As we should clearly be able to see, the righteous have the knowledge of God, whereas sinners do not. (*1 John 3:4-5 says that “sin” = “lawlessness”. If you break the Law, you sin. Therefore, this verse can also be translated as "Awake to righteousness, and do not transgress the Law, for some do not have the knowledge of God").
2 Corinthians 2:14 “Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.” God uses the apostles to diffuse the “fragrance of His knowledge” everywhere. What were the apostles doing? Spreading the word of God to the Israelites of the Dispersion and the God-fearing Gentile proselytes. As Paul told us earlier, they had zeal for God without having the knowledge of God (Romans 10:2), i.e. the Israelites of the Dispersion were trying to worship God without yet receiving all of His word (which was completed by the Word (Jesus) himself).
2 Corinthians 4:6 “For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”
2 Corinthians 8:7 “But as you abound in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us—see that you abound in this grace also.” What kind of knowledge does Paul hope that people abound in? The knowledge of their favorite reality shows? The knowledge of what’s for dinner? The knowledge learned in college? The knowledge learned on the news? The knowledge of what the weather will be like tomorrow afternoon? NO! Paul exhorts us to yet again strive for a very specific kind of knowledge: the knowledge given to us from God and about God!
2 Corinthians 10:4-5 “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ”
Ephesians 1:17 Paul prayed that “the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him”
Ephesians 3:3-4 “by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)”
Ephesians 4:13 All of the saints will “come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ”
Philippians 1:9 “And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment” Again, Paul prays that people may grow more loving as they acquire more knowledge and discernment. What kind of knowledge makes people more loving and gives us discernment? Knowledge from God, of course! The Bible, the word of God, gives us holy knowledge useful for instilling discernment and love within us.
Philippians 3:8 “Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ”
Colossians 1:9-10 “For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding* that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” There’s a few things I would like to cover here: First of all, we find that “the knowledge of His will” is the only way by which we may acquire “all wisdom” and it is the only way we can have “spiritual understanding.” I would also like to note another thing: Paul tells us that if we have the knowledge of God then we will have (and receive) spiritual understanding. This is extremely interesting because in Romans 7:14 Paul tells us plainly that “we know that the Law is spiritual: but humans are carnal and are sold under sin.” Therefore, re-read Colossians 1:9-10 and when you get to the bolded part, read it like this: “the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and understanding of the Law.” Doesn’t this make a lot of sense, especially taking into consideration all of these other verses we've read? Especially verses like Hosea 4:1-6, Malachi 2:7, Romans 2:17-20).
* see Romans 7:14 (the Law is spiritual)
Colossians 2:2-3 “For I want you to know what a great conflict I have for you and those in Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God and of Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”
Colossians 3:9-10 “Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him [God] who created him”
1 Timothy 2:3-4 “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” Though this is not the main point of the verse, I find it interesting that Psalm 119:142 and 119:160 say that God "Law is truth". If the Law is being defined as "God's truth" then really 1 Timothy 2:3-4 really says "For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of His Law."
Hebrews 10:26 “For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins” This could also be understood as saying (based on verses already presented) "For if we transgress the Law willfully after we have recieved the knowledge of the Law, there no longer remains a sacrifice for our lawlessness."
James 3:13 “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom”
2 Peter 1:2-8 “Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
2 Peter 3:16-18 “[Paul] writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction. Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.”
So now that we’ve seen these, let’s go back to the original verses…
Daniel 12:4 “But you, 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.”
Daniel 12:8-13 “And I [Daniel] heard, but I understood not: then I said, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things? And he [the angel] said, Go your way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly and none of the wicked shall understand… But go you your way till the end be: for you shall rest and stand in your lot at the end of days.”
Hosea 4:6 "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I [God] also will reject you from being priests for Me; Because you have forgotten the Law of your God, I also will forget your children."
As it says in Ecclesiastes 12:13... Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Daniel is told that “knowledge shall be increased” in the latter days – the time of the end (Daniel 12:4, Habakkuk 2:14). In conjunction with this, we know that the vision Daniel received will be sealed up until the end times (Daniel 12:9 and Habakkuk 2:3). We also know that at this time, “the earth will be filled with the knowledge of God” (Habakkuk 2:14). After looking through dozens of scripture passages, we have also learned that the “knowledge of God” often refers to God’s Law (Hosea 4:6, Malachi 2:7, Romans 2:17-20, Romans 3:20b, 1 Corinthians 15:34a, Colossians 1:9-10, 2 Peter 3:16-18). So this is what I believe will happen before and during the End Times, up to the time when Jesus returns: the knowledge of God (the knowledge of God’s Law, His Torah) will spread throughout the world (probably among the Church, though it will never become very popular or genuine). Not only will the knowledge of God’s Law spread throughout the world, but knowledge (prophetic revelation) from God will also spread to those who obey God’s Law so that they might understand the meaning of Daniel’s vision and the other apocalyptic visions. Those who believe that the Law is done away will twist scripture and subsequently twist passages about the End Times and the Law. Those who twist scripture also do not understand the Law and do so unto their own destruction (2 Peter 3:16-18).