Questions From Readers
● Why did God’s servant Samson go to a prostitute’s place in the Philistine city of Gaza?
The account about Samson and the prostitute at the Philistine city of Gaza reads: “Once Samson went to Gaza and saw a prostitute woman there and came in to her.” (Judg. 16:1) Nothing in this record suggests that Samson’s purpose in going to Gaza was to see a prostitute. Instead, while in the city, he recognized a woman of her class, and, since he was in enemy Philistine territory, her home was the only place where he could find accommodations for the night. That his intent was merely to have a place to sleep is evident from what we read thereafter: “Samson kept lying till midnight and then rose at midnight.” (Judg. 16:3) Note that the account does not say that he kept lying with her till midnight.
The Philistines, however, may well have concluded that Samson hired the prostitute for her services. If that was their conclusion, they would have been reasonably sure of being able to seize him in the morning. This, too, could have served Samson’s purpose to act against them by ripping out the gates of Gaza and thus leaving the city defenseless.
● Daniel 12:1 places Michael’s ‘standing up’ as coming before an unprecedented time of distress. Has Michael already ‘stood up,’ or will that occur just before the “great tribulation”?
The indications are that Michael has already ‘stood up.’
Daniel chapter eleven presents the extended prophecy about the king of the north and the king of the south. We understand that this prophecy describes historical developments from Daniel’s time down to the present.* Then the 12th chapter opens: “And during that time 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.”—Dan. 12:1.
How did Michael “stand up,” and when was it to occur?
The book of Daniel a number of times uses the action of ‘standing up’ to describe someone’s taking authority or power. For example, a prophecy about Alexander the Great’s assuming authority reads: “A mighty king will certainly stand up and rule with extensive dominion and do according to his will.” (Dan. 11:3; compare Daniel 11:7, 21; 8:22, 23.) Accordingly, Michael’s ‘standing up’ would mean his taking authority or beginning to reign.
After his resurrection Jesus Christ, whom we understand from the Scriptures to be Michael the archangel, was to ‘sit at God’s right hand’ until it was time for him to “go subduing in the midst of [his] enemies.” (Ps. 110:1, 2; Heb. 10:12, 13) Jehovah’s Witnesses have often shown from the Bible and its fulfillment in history that Jesus’ period of ‘sitting’ ended during the raging of World War I in the autumn of 1914 C.E. Then it was time for him to “stand up” or accept Kingdom rulership in heaven, which is referred to in the first part of Daniel 12:1.
That verse Da 12:1 goes on to relate what else would occur. There would come “a time of distress such as has not been made to occur since there came to be a nation.” In Matthew 24:21, Jesus called this the “great tribulation.”
During the interval since Michael’s ‘standing up,’ the nations have had opportunity to acknowledge and submit to his Kingdom rule. But they have refused to do so and even have persecuted Christians who proclaim that Jesus is the authorized ruler of the ‘kingdom of the world.’ (Rev. 11:17, 18) The massing together of the national groups against him and his people has not caused Michael to relinquish his rulership. No, he has persisted in it. The result of the nations’ course will be disastrous for them. It will lead them to the outbreak of the “great tribulation,” in which they will be broken to pieces just as a potter’s vessel might be broken with an iron rod. (Ps. 2:1, 2, 8, 9) Happily, Daniel 12:1, 2 indicates that God’s people as a group will survive that “time of distress” into the New Order where even the righteous ones who have died will be raised.—Acts 24:15.
See “Your Will Be Done on Earth” (1958), pp. 220-307.