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Prison

Prisons have been in existence for thousands of years, originally as a place where people accused of crimes were held until their trial or judgment, while in more modern times imprisonment has also become a form of sentence itself. Prisons have also been used to silence or neutralize political or religious reformers. Throughout The Bible, God's people very often found themselves in prison - in a world in which evil still reigns (see The Lame Duck), their "crimes" were righteousness and truth.

Prison Examples from Bible History:

Old Testament

"So Joseph's master took him and put him into the jail, the place where the king's prisoners were confined; and he was there in the jail. But The Lord was with Joseph and extended kindness to him, and gave him favor in the sight of the chief jailer." (Genesis 39:20-21 NASB) (see Coat Of Many Colors)

"She said, The Philistines are upon you, Samson! And he awoke from his sleep and said, I will go out as at other times and shake myself free. But he did not know that The Lord had departed from him. Then the Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes; and they brought him down to Gaza and bound him with bronze chains, and he was a grinder in the prison. However, the hair of his head began to grow again after it was shaved off." (Judges 16:20-21 NASB) (see Samson And Delilah)

"Then the officials were angry at Jeremiah [see also Prophets] and beat him, and they put him in jail in the house of Jonathan the scribe [see Scribes], which they had made into the prison. For Jeremiah had come into the dungeon, that is, the vaulted cell; and Jeremiah stayed there many days. Now King Zedekiah [see Kings of Israel and Judah] sent and took him out; and in his palace the king secretly asked him and said, Is there a word from The Lord? And Jeremiah said, There is! Then he said, You will be given into the hand of the king of Babylon! [see King Nebuchadnezzar and Ancient Empires - Babylon] (Jeremiah 37:15-17 NASB)

New Testament

"For when Herod [see The Herods] had John [see John The Baptist] arrested, he bound him and put him in prison because of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip. For John had been saying to him, It is not lawful for you to have her." (Matthew 14:3-4 NASB)

"Also the people from the cities in the vicinity of Jerusalem were coming together, bringing people who were sick or afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all being healed. But the high priest rose up, along with all his associates, that is the sect of the Sadducees [see also Who Were The Pharisees? and Sanhedrin], and they were filled with jealousy. They laid hands on the apostles and put them in a public jail. But during the night an angel of The Lord opened the gates of the prison, and taking them out he said, Go, stand and speak to the people in the Temple [see Temples] the whole message of this Life." (Acts 5:16-20 NASB)

"Saul was in hearty agreement with putting him to death. And on that day a great persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. Some devout men buried Stephen, and made loud lamentation over him. But Saul began ravaging the church, entering house after house, and dragging off men and women, he would put them in prison." (Acts 8:1-3 NASB)

"I persecuted this Way [see The Way] to the death, binding and putting both men and women into prisons, as also the high priest and all the Council of the elders can testify. From them I also received letters to the brethren, and started off for Damascus in order to bring even those who were there to Jerusalem as prisoners to be punished. But it happened that as I was on my way, approaching Damascus about noontime, a very bright light suddenly flashed from heaven all around me, and I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?'" (Acts 22:4-7 NASB) (see On The Road To Damascus)

"Now about that time Herod the king laid hands on some who belonged to the church [see What Is The Church?] in order to mistreat them. And he had James the brother of John put to death with a sword. When he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. Now it was during the days of Unleavened Bread. When he had seized him, he put him in prison, delivering him to four squads of soldiers [see Roman Legions] to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out before the people. So Peter was kept in the prison, but prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to God. On the very night when Herod was about to bring him forward, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and guards in front of the door were watching over the prison. And behold, an angel of The Lord suddenly appeared and a light shone in the cell; and he struck Peter's side and woke him up, saying, Get up quickly. And his chains fell off his hands." (Acts 12:1-7 NASB)

"When they had struck them with many blows, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to guard them securely; and he, having received such a command, threw them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them; and suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone's chains were unfastened." (Acts 16:23-26 NASB) (see Paul's First Missionary Journey, Paul's Second Missionary Journey, Paul's Third Missionary Journey, Paul In Athens, and Paul's Journey To Rome)

Fact Finder: Will God's end-time Two Witnesses be viewed as outlaws by a deceived world?
See Butch and Sundance
See also Are The Two Witnesses Here Now? and Down Without A Fight?

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