Sealing and Opening
God is on a constant communication quest because He wants us to know what He’s up to in human history so we can be involved. In this study we will consider a Bible prophecy about God’s current activity that invites our engagement.
Begin by reading Revelation 10, and then compare Daniel 8:14, 26; 12:4-10.
A correlation of these passages makes it clear that the two prophets, though separated by nearly 600 years, were addressing one and the same topic: the sealing and opening of Daniel’s prophecies. One of Daniel’s visions included a 2300-day time prophecy, which was of particular interest to him:
“For two thousand three hundred days; then the __________________ shall be ____________” (Daniel 8:14).
When Daniel prayed for understanding of the vision he was told by an angel that it pertained “to many days in the future” rather than to his own time. “Therefore seal up the vision,” the angel said. Later, Daniel was again told, “Shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.” This odd terminology refers to an ancient method of study. The scrolls of Scripture were unrolled on long tables and the student would “run” back and forth comparing scripture with scripture. The angel is telling Daniel that his sealed “book” will be opened to the understanding of “many” who will search the scriptures during the end-time period of history.
The same angel that told Daniel to “shut” his book appeared to the apostle John with “a little book open in his hand” (Revelation 10:2). Then the angel instructed John to enact a prophecy:
“Go, take the little __________ which is ________ in the hand of the angel. . . Take and ______ it; and it will make your stomach ___________, but it will be as _________ as honey in your mouth” (verses 8-9).
At the end of time the book of Daniel would be eaten, or studied, and its sealed prophecies would be understood. And yet, there would be something both sweet and bitter about the experience.
Just as foretold, during the first half of the 19th century a unique Bible study phenomenon emerged on the scene of history with a specific interest in comprehending the prophecies of Daniel. “Many” were, indeed, running “to and fro” in Scripture. A key figure at the forefront of the movement was an American Baptist preacher named William Miller. Many preachers around the world understood what is commonly referred to as the day-for-a-year principle of prophetic interpretation (Ezekiel 4:6; Numbers 14:34). They knew that the 2300 days of Daniel 8:14 represented 2300 years. Miller noticed that the 70-week prophecy of Daniel 9 was actually a breakdown of events that would occur within the first 490 years of the larger 2300-year period (see study guide 6). This meant that the event given by Gabriel to mark the beginning of the 490-year prophecy also marked the beginning of the 2300-year prophecy. That event was “the command to restore and build Jerusalem,” which was issued by the Persian King Artaxerxes in 457 BC (Daniel 9:25; Ezra 7:11-12). With that starting date, Miller realized that the 2300 day prophecy would end in 1844.