Samson and the Investigative Judgment


When studying the story of Samson we must ask the question of whether Samson participated in an investigative judgment and if so why did he do it. So perhaps a good question is what is an investigative judgment. In the world, and certainly in the Bible, every judgment requires that all the data concerning the case be examined, reviewed, and assessed before a final judgment is made and before punishment or rewards are granted. In the Bible this is described, or insinuated, in the phrase that Jesus came down to “see”, or investigate, whether a person, city, or nation had actually done that which was reported to Him (Genesis 18:20-21). God knows all of what we are and what we do but all of His creation does not understand these things so God opens up the processes of His investigations so that all can see and know how He conducts His judgment events.


In Samson’s case He was a judge in Israel (Judges 15:20). He had had opportunity to see how Israel responded to the oppression of the Philistines and he had had the opportunity to see the oppressions of the Philistines toward himself. On the other side of the question the Philistines had had the opportunity to see how Israel conducted business, and they had had the opportunity to see the deliverances of God in behalf of Israel. The Philistines had acknowledged the power of God in delivering Israel from the Egyptians (I Samuel 6:1-6) so they knew of this history from the time before Israel had entered into Canaan. They had seen the power of God’s hands in delivering the Canaanites into the hand of Israel. They had seen and heard of the destruction of Jericho by the unusual methodology of the grace of Christ. They had seen the various times that God had delivered Israel in the times of the Judges. Then the Philistines had the felt the supernatural power of Samson that Jesus had granted him in order to bring punishment upon the nation of the Philistines. All of this data was available to tall to see, and meditate upon, and to decide whether they would be like Rahab and allow their hearts to melt (Joshua 2:8-13) or to be like Pharaoh and allow their hearts to harden (Exodus 9:34-35) in rebellion against the Most High God.


Bible history tells us that the Philistines did not seem to learn from their experiences with Samson but seemed to see him as a one man show and did not connect him to the God of Israel. This could be because the heart of man is do dim that they did not understand spiritual things (I Corinthians 2:10-16). In their trust in the power of military might they recognized that they were not able to overcome Samson by direct confrontation and so they turned to Delilah as a possible way of discovering how to overcome Samson’s supernatural strength. They succeeded in bribing Delilah and she succeeded in overcoming Samson’s hesitancy to share spiritual things with her. When Samson told her about his hair she was able to cut his hair and since he had broken his relationship with God he was vulnerable to the military prowess of the Philistines. They then added insult to injury by putting Samson’s eye out, physically, and then chained him to a grinding stone in their prison. They then judged that they were safe because Samson was now perceived as weak and helpless. Their investigative judgment upon Samson would prove to be weak and dangerous to them because they did not understand the power and grace of Jesus the Christ of Israel (I Corinthians 10:1-4).


The Bible says that we should take heed for when we think we are strong in our own strength then we are most likely to fall (I Corinthians 10:12). On the other hand God says the following in II Corinthians 12:10 “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” Oddly enough Samson learned more about God after he had his eyes put out and he was grinding in the prison because now he was blind enough to see spiritually and recognize how much he really needed God. It was sad that he could not have learned that before being physically disabled, but no matter how much we have to go through the fact that we get it at all is a miracle of God’s grace.


After beginning to see his need it appears that Samson asked God for forgiveness and reunited with the All Mighty God. In Patriarchs and Prophets page 566 Ellen White writes the following: “In suffering and humiliation, a sport for the Philistines, Samson learned more of his own weakness than he had ever known before; and his afflictions led him to repentance. As his hair grew, his power gradually returned; but his enemies, regarding him as a fettered and helpless prisoner, felt no apprehensions.” Now that Samson felt himself to be weak, he could not be strong in the strength of Jesus, not in his own strength. Now he could fulfill the spiritual principle of II Corinthians 10:3-5 “For though we walk in the flesh, we do now war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ…”


The Philistines, not thinking of the power of God to bring judgment upon them, decided to praise their Gods and to bring a great sacrifice into the temple of Dagon. They did not repent at the knowledge of their sins against Jehovah the God of Israel and they did not repent at the judgments that God had brought against them through Samson, and they did not relent in their attempts to control the Israelites. They decided to blaspheme against God in their intent to persecute the judge of Israel in the form of Samson. This decision was very similar to that party held by Belshazzar in chapter 5 of Daniel. In the Philistine story Jesus did not write on the walls of the temple of Dagon that they were to be judged that day, but in bringing in God’s judge and to mock the God of Israel through their mockery of Samson (Matthew 25:40) they would be passing their line of probation and would bring death upon themselves. This was the end of the Investigative Judgment on their leadership. The data had been assessed, their behaviors had testified that there was nothing more that could be done to win them to their Savior – Jesus the Son of the Living God, and thus they were ripe for destruction.


The Philistines brought Samson into their temple, made fun of him and he made sport for them. Then Jesus inspired him to ask the young man who led him, for he was blind, and asked him to take him to the central pillars that held up this mighty temple to a non-existing God. The boy brought Samson to the two pillars and then Samson prayed one last time to Jesus and asked for special strength to pull down the pillars and thus collapse the temple. All of the people in that temple, and on the roof of the temple, except for Samson, died that day in utter rebellion against God. They had trusted in their gods to deliver them from the God of Israel and that very day God had closed their life’s experience. They had died in rebellion against God and the judgment of God had been accurate and fulfilled.


Only God knows the hearts of man, but the fruit of the thinking of the heart is revealed in the behaviors of the person. The Philistines had the opportunity of many years to decide whether to surrender to God or not, and as a result of their decisions God brought the judge of Israel into direct contact with them. After God thoroughly evaluated their decisions and behaviors, God allowed them to bring judgment upon themselves and they were destroyed that night.


In conclusion, the Investigative Judgment is an event that happens in every case of Judgment. Each case must be thoroughly investigated for God does not want anyone to die in their sins (Ezekiel 18:32) but He wants them to live in Him. But after giving each person, and each nation, a probationary period of time then He makes the decision as to whether He will allow the request of the nation, or the individual, to die. In the case of the Philistines they chose to rebel against God, and against His judge, and God chose to empower Samson to pull down the pillars of the temple of the Philistines, and all of the people in the temple, and on the roof of the temple, to die in that one scene of destruction.

The destruction of the temple of Dagon was a small sample of what will happen at the end of the world. What happened to the Philistines will be repeated in the whole world. All of the people of the world will unite against God and they will try to kill off God’s people (Revelation 13, 17-18).


As God has been “investigating” the people of the church and the people of the world since 1844, someday He will call out that “it is done” (Revelation 16:17). He will not call this out because He is impatient, for He is reluctant to lose any of His children, but because He will have discerned that there is nothing more that He can do to woo the heart of any last person on the planet. When all have decided, for or against Him, then the work of intercession will end for there is not another person on the earth who will decide for Him. All will have made their decisions and their decisions will be final. When that time comes the Investigative Judgment phase is ended as well. All the data has been gathered, and all of the decisions have been made. Then Jesus declares that there is nothing else that can be done and that all who have chosen Him have been sealed into righteousness (Revelation 22:11) and all who have rejected Him have been sealed into unjustness (Revelation 22:11). Then He can come and not hurt any of His children by the brightness of His coming.


So again, the story of Samson and the Investigative Judgment is another story of the compassion, care, and thoroughness of our great and loving Lord – Jesus Christ of Nazareth the Son of the living God.