From Prison to Power to Providence

And they led her away to a limousine and cameras followed her in the car with a serious face as she was escorted down the road at night time outside Seoul to a prison. Much to the shock of a great part of the nation. Despite churches praying for her release in court. Despite people praying. Despite Adventists praying. She was not released, this female president of South Korea. She was incarcerated.

Prison. The Bible also knows about a prison for two members of the apostles in Acts 12. I got this unfolding of the chapter from dr. Benjamin Reaves who was the president of Oakwood a time ago and his sermon was preached in 1999 at the Campmeeting. It is on Youtube. A must.

 “Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church.

And he killed James the brother of John with the sword.

And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.)

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.

Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.”

Herod had itching hands and was looking for opportunity to bring false accusations, fake news against Christians so that they were arrested. He brought the Jewish mob hunger for entertainment, James and they killed him. Taken out of prison.

Peter was also grabbed, since the jailing urge and desire of Herod was not quench. He had to enjoy the devastation, the confusion in the eyes of James and Peter, the crowd pushing, screaming, blocking their way as they try to reach the prison doors. Some wanted to make sure they had the best view and do not miss anything.

Certain people are always just at the right time and the right place of disaster. Like the guy with the Zapruder film and camera, who happened to be in an open space where the crowd was not so packed, where the spot of the second shot from the Grassy Moll was marked on the tar with two yellow painted stripes of about half a meter each. His camera was there, and the gunman behind him, and both faced the same direction between the yellow lines. Strange that he kept filming and were not shocked by a gun shooting someone in front of him? He kept filming as if he was sure the gunman will not shoot him!

Focused people who want to see the bloody, messy part, the violent scenes, and all that goes with it. They cannot get enough of it.

Then Herod arrested also Peter and planned to give him to the Jews after Pasover.

Peter in Prison. We find him sitting in chains between two guards (Acts 12:6).

As Reaves pointed out, it is all fair enough to stick to the aspect of what the Power of God can do in situations like this. And God did it for Peter. But the problem lies exactly here, what about James? Why did the Providence of God not do the same for James. Two men, two Christians, equally faithful, yet the one is killed and one is not.

We love to talk about the Power of God but we do not talk often about His Providence. We zip open the Power part in the Joseph history, or Daniel or his friends, the dramatic and the swift rescue by God. But looking again at the passage we need to deal with the challenge in the chapter: what about James? What about the Providence of God?

It is possible to rejoice over the Power of God but we need to ponder over His Providence.

In Daniel 3 the Hebrew boys said to Nebuchadnezzar’s officials: there is a God who can deliver us from the fire, but if He does not [in His providence] let it be known that we will not bow our knee before an idol. They knew God’s power but also His providence.

Ellen White said that “we are not to doubt His Word because we cannot understand the mystery of His providence” (E.G. White, Acts of the Apostles).

Peter knew that God works nightshift and does not sleep and trusting His providence and power, he was sleeping (Acts 12:6). In Acts of the Apostles 302 Ellen White said: “the door He closes is as much a blessing as is the opening of it.

Prison. What is your prison? Asked Reaves in the sermon.

Prison of performance. Prison of the past. Prison of politics? (this one is added by myself). Prisoner of peer-worship? Prison of passion?

prison sermon.jpg

This is an illustration of the status quo of South Korea in their own "fish-tank" perspective; a larger "fish-tank" connected with the DMZ; a larger region around these fish-tanks including, China, Russia and the USA and finally up as an umbrella over all, the domain of God with a hand for power and a hammer for sovereignty of decision making and permission of existence of anyone or any group or any country below, whether they are good or bad. 

The 17 is Daniel 3:17 and the 18 is Daniel 3:18 illustrating that the Hebrew boys knew that whether good or bad they still accept God's decision for their lives, knowing that in eternity to come He will explain Himself properly for why He did what He did. 

"Nations are but a drop in a bucket" for God, says Isaiah 52. 

If nations do not stop existing plus their militaries, it is because God's decision is to have it that way, at least for now. Where is the Assyrian Empire? The Babylonian Empire? The Medo-Persian Empire? The Greek Empire? The Roman Empire? The Holy Roman Empire? The USA Empire? Any nation with a secret "Imperial Syndrome" currently? The length of their existence depends on the hammer above in God's domain called God's sovereignty of decision. 

This is very serious since Daniel 2 is a revelation of world history in succession of empires given by God to Nebuchadnezzar and interpreted by Daniel already in about 595 BCE. Why is it important? Since their rise and fall were predicted and they rose and they fell each as predicted. The final approach is a stone crushing all empires which is not a meteorite, but Christ Coming to resurrect and take the faithful for eternity to heaven according to Daniel 12:1. If your church or religious group is teaching to interpret the Bible locked up in its own time by a model called preterism, you are in the wrong church. It must be historicism otherwise you are going to get things wrong. Get out as soon as possible, even immediately.