We are living in what the Old Testament calls the "time of the end," a period just before the Second Coming of Christ. Daniel uses the phrase five times in chapters 8-12, and tells us that the period would arise at a very specific time appointed by God. That time came in 1798, as we will learn.
And some of those of understanding shall fall, to refine them, purify them, and make them white, until the time of the end; because it is still for the appointed time (Daniel 11:35 NKJV, emphasis added).
How do we know that era of the end times has begun?
Daniel 7:25 tells us about the period of papal dominance, which, as we can see from the chart, was 1260 years long:
And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.
Daniel 12:6-7 uses the same time period to explain when the end times would be. With the completion of the 1260-year period of papal dominion in 1798, the time of the end began.
During the era of papal dominance, the truth about Christ and His Gospel were trampled on—"great words" were spoken "against the most High." However, Daniel 12:4 tells us that the beginning of the time of the end also signifies the restoration of those truths:
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.
Daniel also had a vision in which he was told that the sanctuary would be cleansed after 2300 days. Daniel himself did not understand this vision, nor did he fully understand what would unfold during the time of the end. This is because the prophecy was sealed until the time of the end, as we just read in Daniel 12:4.
In the Hebrew, the definite article is given with the word "knowledge," indicating that knowledge of the book of Daniel itself will be increased at the time of the end. If the time of the end has begun, then knowledge must have already increased, and Daniel's prophecy must have been unsealed. Has this happened?
In Psalm 119:98-99, we read, "Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than my enemies: for they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers, for thy testimonies are my meditation."
Understanding comes from obedience to God’s law (Psalm 119:100,104) and to God's testimony—His Word spoken through the prophets of all ages (Psalm 119:125,130,144). If truth is to be restored, then knowledge and understanding of the Biblical concept of truth is essential.
Three definitions of truth are given in the Scriptures:
I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me (John 14:6).
Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth (John 17:17).
Thou art near, O LORD; and all thy commandments are truth (Psalm 119:151).
Truth restored contains all these elements. It is Christ-centered, Word-based, and involves obedience to God’s law.
According to the book of Daniel, the time of the end will include an increase of knowledge and unveiling of Daniel's sealed prophecies. History confirms that a great resurgence of interest in the Scriptures, accompanied by missionary zeal, began around 1798—the beginning of the end times:
- In 1795, the London Missionary Society was organized, followed a year later by the New York Missionary Society.
- The great Bible societies of the world were also formed in the period between 1798 and 1844, which is the close of the 2300-year prophecy.
- Associated with this resurgence of interest, numerous health and temperance societies were formed. By 1807 William Metcalf had even founded the vegetarian and teetotaler Society of Bible Christians of Philadelphia.
Many of the historical names and accounts in the Bible—especially in the book of Daniel—were unsubstantiated by other sources until the end of the 18th century. According to page 10 of Archaeology and the Old Testament, “Modern archaeology may be said to have had its beginning in 1798 when the rich antiquities of the Nile Valley were opened up to scientific study by Napoleon’s Expeditions.” In this era, ancient hieroglyphics were deciphered that aligned perfectly with the Scriptures' historical accounts
- The first steam engine was patented in 1769, and this opened the way for steamboats (1810-1807) and the railroads (1825). The Gospel was to be spread to “all the world” and God saw to it that the means to achieve this end would also be available.
- In the world of music, the great Biblical themes were a prominent source of inspiration with Handel’s “Messiah” focusing attention on the King of kings and Haydn composing The Creation in 1844.
During this period of renewed interest in the Scriptures, Baptist William Miller began exploring the themes of Biblical prophecy. He rejected the popular interpretations of Scripture and reintroduced the idea that the return of Christ, and the actions of His followers, were at the heart of Biblical prophecy.
While some of his ideas were correct, Miller incorrectly concluded that the date of Christ's Second Coming would be October 22, 1844. As we know, Christ did not return in 1844. Those expecting His return were greatly disappointed, and many turned away from Miller's teachings altogether.
A few believers, however, began to study the Scriptures deeply to find the meaning of their disappointment. It was these faithful who uncovered the mysteries in Daniel's prophecy of the sanctuary. They found that the books of Hebrews and Revelation held many clues to understanding the prophecy of Daniel 8.
Read the whole story of William Miller and the Great Disappointment of 1844