Islam from a Biblical Perspective XI
Sealed Until the End
As Daniel comes to its conclusion, the angel makes it clear that the ultimate context of the passage is the end-times:
When the angel says that these things will take place at the time when "those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake", it is clear that he is referring to the time of the resurrection of the dead. The angel tells Daniel that the revelations are to be "sealed up":
Daniel is told once again that the words have been sealed and shut up until the last days, and the vision is not for him to understand; rather, it is for the final generation:
Some claim that the prophecy is not "shut up" or "sealed", but only preserved or kept safe for everyone. Others claim that in Daniel's day, the book would be sealed, but understanding would gradually become more and more available to those believers who diligently and collectively study the book, though it would not ultimately be fully understood until the actual end-times. "Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase". This phrase has popularly been understood as speaking of an increase in transportation and ease of access to information in the last days. But virtually all scholars disavow this view, seeing it instead as a reference to the gradual opening up of the prophecy by the diligent. The running to and fro involves searching the book through and through, scrutinizing it over and over until at last, at the end of the age, the book is finally unsealed and fully understood by the believing community.
The revelation is hidden (wa ha tom) and sealed (se tom). Wa ha tom means "to stop up, shut up, keep close, or secret" Se tom means "to seal, seal up, affix a seal, lock up". This word is used when one seals a scroll or letter with wax. While the use of these two words makes the meaning of the angel's words abundantly clear, because of its problematic nature for the traditional view, many commentators have felt the need to alter the clear meaning of the passage. But we cannot alter the meaning of the words, nor the clear and plain-sense reading of the passage simply because it does not support our position. From a Christian perspective, the purpose of the tradition is to faithfully pass on:
It is a tradition that when used properly will preserve both orthodoxy (right belief) and orthopraxy (right practice) throughout the generations.