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Thursday, December 1 2016

What Was Different About Roman Prisons?

"And Paul said, "Whether short or long, I would to God that not only you but also all who hear me this day might become such as I am - except for these chains"

Ancient prisons were very similar in design to prisons everywhere, through all time, right to the present. They generally had a different purpose than prisons today however. They were most-often intended and used as temporary holding jails, rather than long-term prisons. They were employed as a place to hold an accused or convicted person until their judgment was determined and carried out - prison itself was usually not the punishment. It was regarded to be too expensive and wasteful of resources (as the LORD Himself had declared - there were no permanent prisons in ancient Israel i.e. murderers, kidnappers and sex perverts were executed; thieves were required to work to repay what they stole, plus a penalty amount that was paid to the victim).

In the Roman world, when the accused person's trial (sometimes fair and legitimate, sometimes an outright travesty - just like today; see The Trial Of The Centuries) was over, the prisoner was released, if innocent, or the prisoner was released with a sentence of a fine, enslavement, a severe beating - or execution (a severe beating was often a part of the execution, as happened with the Messiah's Crucifixion; see The Night Of The Messiah And The Lynch Mob and The Crucifixion Of The Messiah). There was rarely any such thing as a "life sentence" in a Roman prison.

Apostle Paul In a world that lives by lies, Truth is a crime. Nothing in this world is more hated than the Truth. No one in this world is more hated than those who speak the Truth. As such, the true people of the LORD often found themselves subject to the "justice" of an upside-down world (see Iniquity In History And Prophecy and Is Iniquity Liberal Or Conservative?). The Messiah Himself was arrested and judicially assassinated for it (see The Religion And Politics Of The Messiah's Assassination).

John the Baptist was arrested and held on trumped up ("invented as an excuse or a false accusation") charges until Herod could decide what to do with him ("he would have put him to death, he feared the multitude"). But John was abruptly executed anyway at the behest of an adulteress and her harlot daughter - cowardly Herod's two favorite floozies ("a girl or a woman who has a reputation for promiscuity").

"14:3 For Herod had laid hold on John, and bound him, and put him in prison for Herodias' sake, his brother Philip's wife. 14:4 For John said unto him, It is not lawful for thee to have her. 14:5 And when he would have put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet.

14:6 But when Herod's birthday was kept, the daughter of Herodias danced before them, and pleased Herod. 14:7 Whereupon he promised with an oath to give her whatsoever she would ask. 14:8 And she, being before instructed of her mother, said, Give me here John Baptist's head in a charger. 14:9 And the king was sorry: nevertheless for the oath's sake, and them which sat with him at meat, he commanded it to be given her.

14:10 And he sent, and beheaded John in the prison." (Matthew 14:3-10 KJV)

The apostle Peter was repeatedly arrested for preaching the Truth and held until it could be decided what to do with him i.e. "he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people" (Note: the "Easter" in the KJV is a flagrant mistranslation; the actual word written the Scriptures was Passover, as it is correctly rendered in nearly all other translations).

"12:1 Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. 12:2 And he killed James the brother of John with the sword. 12:3 And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.)

12:4 And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people. 12:5 Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him." (Acts 12:1-5 KJV)

The apostle Paul was repeatedly arrested for preaching the Truth and held until it could be decided what to do with him. Ironically, before his conversion, he did the same to others as others later did to him i.e. "8:3 As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison." (Acts 8:3 KJV)

"11:23 ... in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent" (2 Corinthians 11:23 KJV)

The apostle John was being held as a prisoner of the Romans when he was given to write the Book of Revelation (it was actually a letter; see The LORD's Letter From Patmos and Why Were The Seven Churches Listed In That Order?).

"1:9 I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ." (Revelation 1:9 KJV)

Fact Finder: How did the Messiah release John the Baptist from prison - in a way that John wasn't expecting?
See How Did The Messiah Free John The Baptist From Prison?

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This Day In History, December 1

800: Charlemagne presided over the charges laid against Pope Leo III by the Romans. Later known as the "Father of Europe" (Pater Europae) Charlemagne's Germanic "Roman" Empire (see The Holy Roman Empire Of The German Nation) united most of Western Europe for the first time since fall of the original Roman Empire centuries before (see A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars).


1135: King Henry I of England died.

1145: Pope Eugene III proclaimed the Second Crusade (see Constantine's Crusades In History And Prophecy). It was undertaken by King Louis VII of France and Emperor Conrad III from 1147 to 1149 (see also Emperors and Popes).


1553: The Imperial Chamber at Speyer outlawed Albert (Albrecht) II, and he sought asylum in France.

1640: In a nationalist revolution, Spanish garrisons were driven out of Portugal. Two weeks later, the Duke of Braganca was crowned as John IV.

1742: Empress Elizabeth ordered all Jews out of Russia.

1821: The Dominican Republic declared independence from Spain.

1822: Dom Pedro became the first emperor of Brazil.

1906: The Cinema Omnia Pathe, considered to be the world's first cinema, opened in Paris.

1913: Crete, after having achieved independence from Turkey after the First Balkan War, was annexed by Greece.

1918: The Danish Parliament passed an act granting independence to Iceland.

1918: The union of Transylvania and Romania was declared.

1918: Alexander I proclaimed the creation of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.

1925: The Pact of Locarno was signed by France, Belgium, Germany, Britain and Italy in Switzerland. Although it guaranteed peace and inviolable frontiers in Europe, the signers were involved in World War Two less than 15 years later (listen also to our Sermon The European World Wars).

1959: 12 countries signed a treaty to make Antarctica a scientific preserve with no territorial claims.

1973: David Ben-Gurion (born in Poland as David Gruen), present-day Israel's (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Israel Of Judah) first Prime Minister, died at age 87 (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Balfour Declaration).


1989: Mikhail Gorbachev became the first Soviet leader to visit the Vatican and meet the Pope.

1990: Workers digging the English Channel tunnel broke through the last section, opening Britain to the continent for the first time since the Ice Age.


Copyright © Wayne Blank