Daniel 12:4, A Watchtower's tactic for the naive and unlearned readers who need to believe in some thing
"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)
The book pretended to have been written in the sixth century before Christ. However, most scholars admit that it was written during the Antiochus' persecution against the Jews about 164 BCE. So, the above verse was cleverly written to justify the appearance of a book which was unknown, although the author dishonestly lies by falsely foreseeing events of the Antiochus moment, as they were written in the sixth century.
Note also that the "time of the End" was the troubling time of the Antiochus persecution.
However, Christianity has tried to shift that "time of the End" to more than 2000 years ahead.
Thanks for bringing this up.
Whether Daniel was written in the 160s BC or earlier, it certainly has an odd structure. Some of the later chapters seem like re-writes of the same vision - and for what reason remains unclear.
But the notion that Daniel should keep silent about what he saw, heard or learned - I think you hit it on the head.
I won't repeat all the scholastic arguments for the later date for Daniel's authorship, but I would like to cite some, including one or two of my own.
The year of reign statements give many clues and especially the difficulties Daniel has with identifying who Herodotus. Both Greek authors identify the invading Persians frequently as Medes. Thucydides claims that the battle of Marathon where the citizen soldiers of Athens routed the Persians was a defeat of the Medes. This was 490 BC. The king of Persia was Darius.
If the author of Daniel was a witness to the defeat of Babylon, he would be aware of both Babylonian and Persian records ( e.g., Cyrus Cylinder). If the author was living during the time of Persian control of Judea, he would be aware of Persian monarchs because they controlled his life. But if the author or authors lived in a period when Greeks had long held control over Judea and in which Persian and Babylonian history was a distant memory save for Greek telling of it, ...Well, you've got yourself an apocalyptic book for the Bible - to eventually be placed among the Writings of the TaNaKh and not among the books of Law or the Prophets.
There are links in the Bible ( books, chapters and verses) which tie together an apocalyptic vision to which many groups of Christians (understatedly) have seized. These include Daniel, Revelations and Matthew Chapter 24.
Matthew 24:15 is the only NT citation of Daniel by name speaking of an abomination in the Temple and whether it was time to run for the hills. But Daniel, if written circa 165 BC, could be speaking of the introduction of Zeus and desecrating rites by the Antiochus IV government. Whether this is what the reference means in Matthew is to this, perhaps, or it could be in anticipation of something that would happen in later decades ( the War with Rome) or perhaps the continuing threat at Rome's deification of its rulers would imply. Incidents in Jerusalem stemming from this Roman behavior are included in the account of Josephus Flavius as events leading to the war he describes. I suspect that Matthew was written before 70 AD, so I am inclined to think that the Roman behavior similar to that of Antiochus IV is more likely than a prophecy or a latter inclusion.
The way the Borg keeps on shifting these generation expansions, they could very push the end times 2000 years.
Regarding my post above, I said, "I suspect Matthew was written before 70 AD..." That was shooting from the hip as I was writing, assuming that some Gospels were written after the destruction of the Temple. I would not necessarily say mine was a conservative guess - unless you are convinced that Matthew was writing an account shortly after the events occurred. Because there are very good arguments for saying that Matthew was written after the Temple's fall.
Whatever the original gospel was that seems to be a template for the existing four, Mark seems to have less elaboration than those that follow. Even Mark suggests that a conflict with Rome was looming in the background - and if it had been written in the time that Paul had written his epistles, then he certainly would have cited it.
The point is that the explanation of the referral to desolation and abominations in the Temple could very well have been written after such events had occurred under Roman banners.
Kepler: "But the notion that Daniel should keep silent about what he saw, heard or learned - I think you hit it on the head".
I noticed that after knowing that this book was an apocalyptic fraud (as all we have). Surely, this books was written in that time of trouble, when Antiochus' men were pressing the Jews for idolizing the Zeus' image in Jerusalen's temple. So, the author needed to write a story of a past hero so as to give comfort. He cleverly had to justify the appearance of this unknown book to his readers, so he had to create a scene where an angel told to Daniel for not revealing the visions before the time of the end. Thus, the readers would say: "Oh yes, this is why we couldn't have the manuscript before these events".
Interestingly, I was attracted firstly by the Watchtower literature after reading a green book of the 50s written by Fred Franz that interprets the book of Daniel. In this book, "the time of the end" was the events after 1914, but now I clearly see that this was Antiochus' time. Thus, catholic scholars admit it, but many evangelicals, as well as Adventists, insist that this was a future time. They even believe that the book was written in the sixth century.
For those who read in Spanish, I wrote a commentary on Daniel's fraud:
In any case, Daniel 12:4 is talking about knowledge of the sealed up portion of the book of Daniel which he, Daniel could not understand. To apply it to true knowledge of the whole bible is to misapply the verse.
Also, the verse says that many shall run to and fro. That is not the situation with JWs. With JWs very few - specifically, the Governing Body - are running to and fro, coming up with one false speculative teaching after another, and feeding it to JWs who all blindly accept it.
So JWs misapply Daniel 12:4 on three counts!