Questions From Readers
● What is the “time of distress” referred to at Daniel 12:1?—U.S.A.
This particular scripture mentions this “time of distress” in connection with Michael’sa ‘standing up.’ The distress is revealed to be one that God’s people will escape or survive. Daniel 12:1 reads: “During that time [that is, the period of conflict between the ‘king of the north’ and the ‘king of the south’ leading to the ‘time of the end’ mentioned in this chapter] Michael will stand up, the great prince who is standing in behalf of the sons of your people. And there will certainly occur a time of distress such as has not been made to occur since there came to be a nation until that time. And during that time your people will escape.
The Bible book of Revelation depicts this Michael with his angels as waging successful warfare against Satan the Devil and his demons. (Rev. 12:7-9) With their defeat, the announcement is made: “Now have come to pass the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ.” (Rev. 12:10) So the defeat of Satan and his demons would be powerful evidence that Michael had stood up and defended the interests of the newborn kingdom of God.
Since the standing up of Michael is mentioned before the distress, he and his angelic forces are the ones involved in bringing it upon the ungodly. The only distress that is described in similar terms in the Bible is the “great tribulation” that a “great crowd” of devoted servants of Jehovah God survive. (Rev. 7:14) That tribulation is definitely one brought upon the ungodly by angelic forces. We read the apostle John’s words of what was revealed to him: “I saw four angels standing upon the four corners of the earth, holding tight the four winds of the earth, that no wind might blow upon the earth or upon the sea or upon any tree. And I saw another angel ascending from the sunrising, having a seal of the living God; and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, saying: ‘Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until after we have sealed the slaves of our God in their foreheads.’”—Rev. 7:1-3.
The time of “distress” spoken of in the prophecy of Daniel is therefore evidently the same as the “great tribulation” that will bring the entire wicked system of things to its end. But God’s devoted people, the ‘sealed ones,’ as well as a “great crowd” of their companions, will escape or survive that destructive tribulation coming on this earthly system in the near future.