Daniel 12:4 says "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." (KJV)

Now, what does the phrase "run to and fro" mean? In particular, there is a certain interpretation of this verse contained at this page at the Yashanet website. (Since the explanation is lengthy, I won't copy it here.)

Is the explanation given there a possible interpretation for Daniel 12:4?


shuwt literally means to go to and fro or to run about. It's closely related root (as a pun) 'suwt' means to turn aside, swerve, or fall away.

Here is my bias in answering the question: I believe that God created the only and true Mystery religion. As such, The tree of Life is Christ himself who is the "water, water" or the Living Torah of God in heaven and on earth. What is proposed in the article is a variant of Gnosticism where John has been given a higher knowledge as he goes to and fro.

In all mystery religions there us a way to gain additional meaning from a given text. However, the constraint of that additional meaning is always in the hands of an expert priesthood.

In God's mystery religion, the mystery has been revealed in Christ, and the meaning of the hidden text is so self-correcting that children can discern the truth.

If the meaning of going to and fro, as the article states, means: "Rather, this "going" (or "running") is of the spiritual type, and can mean both, a) angels carrying out the will of God (descent), and, b) people "connecting" with God (ascent) in terms of gaining insight into the mysteries of Torah."

Then when Satan said he had been going to and fro upon the earth, was he doing God's will? Certainly not in any immediate sense, but perhaps in a more esoteric manner. Was he gaining insights into the mysteries of the Torah? Probably not. Where is the 'control on the meaning'? In the hands of those who say it is so.

So I am doubtful of the meaning they propose.

Literally it probably means they ran around, not knowing where to settle. This behavior is uncharacteristic of one who trusts God. Figuratively, it probably means that they were falling away from God (same as the literal, but from a different direction).


This first answer is confusing! I feel as though Daniel 12:4 means many will be able to travel long distances quickly such as airplanes and helicopters and the increase in knowledge comes from God, Revelations is revealing the hidden things (things done in secret will be shouted from the rooftops) what's on our roof? Usually a satellite or telephone cable, connecting to the internet and with the search of your fingers, you can search anything online and have search results in seconds! Thanks and God Bless You My Brothers and Sisters! ✝️💕🕊️ 😇 🙏 👑 🇺🇸

Qmap.pub 👀 👈

  • Welcome to BHSX, dash, so glad to have you with us. Please take the tour to get yourself familiar with the site. Enjoy ! hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/tour
    – sara
    Nov 17 '19 at 13:43

What does “run to and fro” in Daniel 12:4 mean?

Some modern renderings of the verse.

Daniel 12:4 (NET Bible)

4 “But you, Daniel, close up these words and seal the book until the time of the end and knowledge will increase.”

Daniel 12:4 (CEV)

4 "Daniel, I now command you to keep the message of this book secret until the end of time, even though many people will go everywhere, searching for the knowledge to be found in it."

The expression “run to and fro” , " Many will dash about," and "many people will go everywhere." basically means what the AMP wrote: " To search or examine the scroll closely and understand the purpose of God as revealed by his Prophets, this will be possible at the end of time,

Daniel 12:4 Amplified Bible (AMP)

4 "But as for you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the scroll until the end of time. Many will go back and forth and search anxiously [through the scroll], and knowledge [of the purpose of God as revealed by His prophets] will [greatly] increase.

The Prophet Daniel was asked to conceal these words until the end of time. Why? The prophesies in the book remained for centuries a mystery ,( Daniel wrote: “Now as for me, I heard, but I could not understand.) Today we have seen the coming of Jesus, and many additional prophesies in the scriptures like the book of Revelation ,and the fulfillment of many such prophesies. For example we have similar prophecies Daniel 7:25 and Revelation 11: 3-9. and others. Today Knowledge is abundant. the expression "end of time "is referred to as" last days" ,John 12:48, 2 Peter 3:3-4

  • End of time? The kingdom age never ends! Last days? Since the apostles were in the last days (of the age of the earthly Jerusalem theocracy) it is evident that we, millennia later are not: [1Pe 1:20 NLT] (20) God chose him as your ransom long before the world began, but he has now revealed him to you in these last days.
    – Ruminator
    Nov 17 '19 at 18:14
  • @ Ruminator:I have found the expression " εσχατη μερα-eschate hemera" at John 6:39- 40 , John 12:48 and John 11:24 and all translations including NLT translate it as "last day" At 1 Peter 1:20 the expression " εσχατου των χρονον- eschatou ton chronon."Most translations translate it as "end of the times or last times" some however translate it "last days" I believe that the best and most correct translation to be "end of times" and not "last days". Nov 17 '19 at 21:56
  • @Ruminator:At John 12:48 "last day" is associated with a time of judgement which corresponds to a period of one thousand years Reign of Christ, at which time he will judge mankind including those resurrected from the dead. Rev. 20:4-6 Nov 17 '19 at 21:58
  • Okay, but clearly he was saying he was there, as he was writing 2000 years ago, in the end of times: [1Pe 1:20 NLT] (20) God chose him as your ransom long before the world began, but he has now revealed him to you in these last days. That age ended in 70 AD with the destruction of the temple. The current age, the kingdom age has no end. Christ is the everlasting kingdom.
    – Ruminator
    Nov 17 '19 at 22:48
  • Consider this... A few hundred years before Jesus' arrival God tells Daniel to seal up the scroll because it is for the end times. Then, in Revelation John is told NOT to seal up the scroll because the time has arrived. In the Revelation we see Jesus opening the scrolls, the terrible judgment on earthly Jerusalem, war with Rome, etc. So how can we be waiting 2000 years later? It was not at hand a few hundred years BC. It WAS at hand in 70 AD and we see Jesus open the scrolls. The finale is the descent of the invisible new Jerusalem to earth.
    – Ruminator
    Nov 17 '19 at 23:20

Daniel 12:4

‘MANY SHALL RUN TO AND FRO’: This is a Hebrew expression for observing and thinking upon the time,

‘AND KNOWLEDGE’: This knowledge is regarding that time mentioned - 'SHALL BE INCREASED.’ .

Daniel had one vision relating to time, and that can be found in Daniel 8:14 - "Unto two thousand and three hundred days, and the sanctuary shall be cleansed." Daniel did not understand the time relating to the vision, so God told him in Daniel 12:4, that he should shut and seal the book (or his vision) because in the latter days, men will have or receive light on how to interpret Daniel 8:14.

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    – agarza
    Jul 26 at 1:13

The translation is wrong. Infact in the latin version is reported 'et multiplex erit scientia'. Means 'so that the meaning will be winding'. The God says Daniel to spirtually close the book in order to throw confusion so that no one will explain It over time until world end:'run to and fro'.

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    – sara
    Jul 26 at 11:13
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    @sara Sara you can add the links like this. Hi , welcome to BH-Stack Exchange, we are glad you are here. Please be sure to take the site tour and read our code of conduct. Thanks! see here help Jul 26 at 12:16

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