Prison Break

In Acts chapter 12, we read of a miraculous escape (NIV):


"It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. 2 He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword. 3 When he saw that this met with approval among the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also. This happened during the Festival of Unleavened Bread. 4 After arresting him, he put him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring him out for public trial after the Passover.

5 So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.

The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance. 7 Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists.

8 Then the angel said to him, “Put on your clothes and sandals.” And Peter did so. “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me,” the angel told him. 9 Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision. 10 They passed the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went through it. When they had walked the length of one street, suddenly the angel left him."


The Festival of Unleavened Bread begins on the second day of Passover, which altogether is a seven day observance. Herod intended to bring Peter out for public trial after Passover, which means Peter likely spent six days in prison.


In the book of 2 Peter, chapter 3 we read (NIV):


3 "Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. 4 They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” 5 But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. 6 By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. 7 By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."


In Genesis chapter 2, creation is completed:


2 "By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.3 Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done."


We are currently very close to 6000 years from the creation event (for more information see http://www.all4yhwh.net/uploads/2/1/7/0/21709732/1802643_orig.gif). Many prophecy scholars feel that man will experience 6 days (or 6000 years) of imprisonment under the authority of the usurper (Satan), followed by 1 day (or 1000 years) of righteous governance under Jesus Christ. This final day is the millennial reign. Peter's six days in prison, followed by a miraculous escape, is prophetic foreshadowing of a great liberation event which will occur prior to the millennial reign. Of note, Peter passes through "the first and second guards" followed by an "iron gate" in order to escape. This is reminiscent of the Apostle Paul's description of a vision he experienced, as relayed in 2 Corinthians chapter 12 (NIV):


"Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord.2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows.3 And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows—4 was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell."


Taken together, these verses foreshadow the Ultimate Prison Break, when the Church will finally be delivered from the clutches of the warden (Satan): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RDDpqF_sq9w .


Paul relays more detail regarding his vision in 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 (NIV):


"Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, 2 not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from us—whether by a prophecy or by word of mouth or by letter—asserting that the day of the Lord has already come. 3 Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. 4 He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.

5 Don’t you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? 6 And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. 7 For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, 10 and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness."


A greek word study of verse 3 reveals that the word "rebellion" is actually "apostasia" (see https://biblehub.com/text/2_thessalonians/2-3.htm). A more accurate translation of apostasia would be "a falling away" or "departure". Many prophecy scholars feel that this is actually a reference to the removal of the Church prior to the revelation of the "man of lawlessness" or antichrist (false christ). This indicates that the Church will be liberated in dramatic fashion before Daniel's 70th week, when (per Daniel 9:26-27) "[t]he end will come like a flood: war will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. He [the antichrist] will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him."


We will continue our exploration of this topic next time.

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