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Travel and the Last Days
How Scripture predicts our global society—and connects it to the End Times
One of my friends once told me a story he heard from one of his parents. They were shocked, as children, when the father announced he was taking a job and moving the family seven miles away. It was all the way over near the county line. Back then, the edge of the county might as well have been the other side of the world.
Things have obviously changed.
I know many grown children who now live far, far away from their families. Some live in another state. Some really do live on the other side of the world. The recent COVID-19 crisis has disrupted the travel industry and certainly caused some families to rethink their distance from each other. But pre-crisis, it wasn’t that unusual for families to spread out across the country.
A couple centuries ago, this would have been stunning to hear. People couldn’t travel casually back then. Families on foot could travel maybe 20 miles a day. On horseback, they could cover up to 40 miles. If they boarded a ship and had favorable winds, they might have been able to travel 100 miles in a single day.
Then train travel arrived in the 19th century and increased mobility. The arrival of cars and buses in the early 20th century expanded travel even further, turning tens of daily miles to hundreds. Lengthy road trips became more common, and families became much more mobile. By the 1960s, air travel became accessible to the average person. Today, it’s rare to find someone who hasn’t traveled on a jet plane to a faraway destination. I’m sure a high percentage of my readers traveled internationally over the past year, prior to March 2020.
Of course, the pandemic has cast a lot of this industry in doubt, but most experts believe the travel industry will return. Even more intriguing, commercial space travel may even become an option over the next few years or decades.
What does this have to do with the Bible or end times prophecy?
Daniel 10-12 is a well-known prophetic passage. These chapters describe a vision of the future given to Daniel. These passages predict the Antichrist in the last days, also known as the “King of the North.” Daniel 12 contains an especially intriguing statement about what life will look like prior to the end. The Bible predicts this will be an age of unique human technological capabilities, different from any other generation that precedes it.
“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
In this vision, the angel speaks to Daniel and tells him to seal up what he’s been told because no one would understand it until the end times. One of the things people would not understand is that “many shall run to and fro.”
Does that sound familiar? In ancient Israel, people might have traveled several miles a day for trade or worship. Today, Karen and I think nothing about driving 20 miles back-and-forth for dinner or a date night.
In a time where you can travel to the other side of the planet in less than a day, we are definitely seeing people go “to and fro” in our generation. The increased access to travel would astound our ancestors, most of whom were born, raised and buried in the same place. Daniel’s prophecy has become a reality in our time.
Is our traveling generation the period of human history to which Daniel was referring?
The pandemic has impacted travel and will force the industry to continue to evolve. Who knows what it will look like in the years to come? If the return of Christ is delayed a few more years, we may be even more amazed at our ability to “run to and fro.” We are moving at lightning speed into the future.