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Does the reference to "many shall run to and fro" in Daniel 12.4 anticipate modern day global travel and restlessness?

The idea that the Angel’s address to Daniel here points to trains, automobiles, and aeroplanes rushing here and there is, we believe, not to be deduced from the words. This interpretation seems so disconnected from the sense of the verse and context. What then is the meaning of, "many shall run to and fro"? What time period is referred to? Verse 1 indicates it is a time of trouble – the last three and a half years of the Tribulation period. Who are the "many"? Clearly they are the faithful remnant referred to in v.3 who will exercise a ministry of teaching and witness towards the unbelieving in Israel and to the Gentile nations (cf. Is 66.19 and Mt 24.14).

What will guide, comfort, and help the remnant during the awful period of the Great Tribulation? The answer to this is the Word of God, for this, we submit, is implicit in the words "shall run to and fro". It is not the idea of swift movement, but the thought of diligent study. The phrase might well be rendered: "Many shall scrutinize the book from end to end", or "many shall search it through and through". J N Darby in his New Translation has this footnote: "shall diligently investigate". Thus the faithful remnant of the Tribulation days will run through every page of God’s book with keen studious eye. It does not appear from prophetic Scripture that during this period the Jewish remnant will have any supernatural revelations or see visions. They will be cast upon and shut up to the Word of God. What comfort, counsel, and courage it will give them.

The Lord Jesus, speaking of the setting up of the abomination of desolation, which will be the sure sign that the Tribulation has commenced, adds, "whoso readeth, let him understand" (Mt 24.15). This links well with Daniel 12.4. The reward for those who carefully study the Scriptures at that time will be that "knowledge shall be increased". They will be given spiritual understanding of all that God is going to do. Do we love and read the Word of God? Do we desire to have an understanding of God’s mind as to the future? Then let us diligently study the sacred page of Scripture.

John J Stubbs

According to Luke 14.25-33, the Lord Jesus gives three conditions under which we cannot be His disciples. Do any of us meet these requirements, or is it possible to be saved and not be a disciple?

Answer…The commission of the Lord Jesus to "the eleven disciples" (Mt 28.16) after His resurrection was, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations" (Mt 28.19) (or "make disciples of all the nations", RV). In so saying, surely He would not be satisfied with anything less than wholehearted commitment on the part of those so reached. We need to bear in mind that "the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch" (Acts 11.26). The term "Christians" was a distinguishing name given to the disciples by the Holy Spirit, for the word rendered "called" signifies "called as by an oracle"; thus the two terms are not to be separated.

The tests of discipleship set forth in Luke 14.25-33 are:

i) Such a wholehearted devotion to the Lord Jesus that all other loves are "hatred" in comparison: "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple" (14.26).

ii) Bearing his own cross and following the Lord Jesus: "And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple" (14.27). To bear one’s cross means death to self and self interests; indeed self denial was at the very heart of the Lord’s teaching concerning discipleship.

iii) Forsaking all that one has: "whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple" (14.33). Such a forsaking involves turning the back on that which has been dear or formerly loved.

Our English word "disciple" is derived from a Latin expression meaning "I learn by study"; it is the equivalent in the New Testament of mathetes, "a learner" (from manthano, "I learn"). Though the word "disciple" does not appear in the New Testament after Acts 21.16, "Mnason of Cyprus, an old disciple", nevertheless the verb manthano often occurs, e.g., "But ye have not so learned Christ" (Eph 4.20).

Discipleship can never be practised without personal cost. It is in the context of His teaching on discipleship that the Lord said, "For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it" (Lk 14.28). We do well therefore to put ourselves to the tests of discipleship set out above; we may well find that certain adjustments are required in our manner of life.

David E West


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