- Category: Teachings & Articles
- Published: Monday, 16 April 2018 11:46
- Written by Augusto A. Kho
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By Augusto A. Kho
Bureau of Jail and Management and Penology (BJMP) \
April 16, 2018 (Monday); 9:00 AM
A place like no other place. BJMP Balungao (Photo by David, April 16, 2018)
Sometimes we are locked up for a reason. And we could not understand why? Or it could be like we are being placed to a situation that we struggled hard to get us out but to no avail. A season of darkness or time of dire need. Shall we look for a safer place to hide, a sort of getaway?
Several times that God will place me to a situation that I truly don’t want to. But He will put me there for a reason as if it a place like no other place. But at the end, your head is just like worth the price. Why would God do that?
I don’t what to share to you and I was asking the Lord for a message that must be fitting to your present condition. I couldn’t think anything so I decided to read my Quitetime which I always do every morning if not every day. This is what I read this morning:
Revelation 18:1/ (New Living Translation/ NLT), “18 After all this I saw another angel come down from heaven with great authority, and the earth grew bright with his splendor. 2 He gave a mighty shout: “Babylon is fallen—that great city is fallen! She has become a home for demons.She is a hideout for every foul spirit, a hideout for every foul vulture and every foul and dreadful animal.[b]3 For all the nations have fallen because of the wine of her passionate immorality. The kings of the world have committed adultery with her. Because of her desires for extravagant luxury, the merchants of the world have grown rich.”4 Then I heard another voice calling from heaven, “Come away from her, my people. Do not take part in her sins or you will be punished with her.”
The writer is John the Beloved, who was placed in exile in the island of Patmos in Greece. Like you, John the Apostle of Christ was a prisoner sharing the fate of his contemporaries like Paul who was imprisoned in Rome and also, Philip the Evangelist who died as a martyr for the sake of the Lord Christ in a place called Phyrgia in Asia Minor (now Turkey). So the one who wrote Revelation is a writer-prisoner, a believer of Christ when preaching the Gospel of Christ is considered a treason for defying the Roman Decree of placing the Emperor of Rome as “God.”
John was imprisoned for another reason, he is innocent for any crime. Your imprisonment today is different from his.
The writer-prisoner, John the Beloved who later placed on exile in Patmos walked here (above photo) in the land of Phrygia, Asia Minor (Turkey) together with Silas, Philip and Paul before he died due to old age. Photo by Peps (2017)
The word “hideout” was mentioned twice which means in Greek “phulake” pronounced “foo-lak-ay” referring as “guard, watch or prison.” The word “Hideout” in King James Version (KJV) is interpreted as “hold” or “cage” our contemporary term as “prison” today.
Phulake means “a person keeping watch, a guard, or a place where captives are kept. “
Thayer Bible Dictionary said: “Of the time (of night) during which guard was kept, a watch i.e. a period of time during which part of the guard was on duty, and at the end of which others relieved them. As the earlier Greek divided the night commonly into three parts, so, previous to the exile, the Israelites also had three (3) watches in a night, subsequently however, after they became subject to the Romans, they adopted the Roman custom of diving the night into four watches.”
James Strong Bible Dictionary defined “hideout” as“ “hold” or “cage” this way: a guarding or concretely guard; the act, the parson. Figuratively it is the place of condition (or specifically ) the time (as the division of the day or night). Literally or figuratively – cage, hold, imprison, ward, watch. “
“Babylon” in Greek “Babulon” means “confusion,” which is a famous city of Babylonian king along the Euphrates River. King Cyrus captured it; King Darius destroyed her walks and gates while King Xerxes destroyed the Temple of Belis there. The city was reduced into solitude and waste to the neighboring Seleucia, a city in Roman Province of Asia Minor. Allegorically,. Babylon is Rome, the corrupt seat of idolatry and an enemy of Christianity.
Babylon is the original place of Babel (Genesis 10:10), the ancient city of Babylonia.
Figuratively speaking, it is called the “mother of all harlots” (Rev.17:5) referring not only to her “immoralities” but also one’s profound passion for “wealth, self-gain, power, possessions, luxuries and life’s comforts.” In today’s world of materialism, it is called “harlotry” by the Scriptures. Babylon therefore is both literal and figurative. Look at what Revelation 18:2-3:
“She is a hideout for every foul spirit, a hideout for every foul vulture” while vulture speaks of “death” referring to the Greek god of the underneath, “Pluto” or “Orcus” or “Hades” which means hell (Matthew 16:18). Then it continues, “For all the nations have fallen because of wine of her passionate immorality. The kings of the world have committed adultery with her because of her desires for extravagant luxury, the merchants of the world have grown rich.”
Many of those testimonies we earlier heard from your fellow inmates shared to us their “riotous or wanton living” when they were still outside this cell like being hooked into shabu or drugs, womanizing, revelries or in excessive drinking spree with their favourites drinking buddies.
Those carnal desires turned out to be a “place of prison like Babylon” in loving this world (1 John 2:15-16).
The above hideout or prison is a reserved placed for judgment for many various reasons: immorality; lasciviousness; materialism, greed, gluttony; self-gain, etc. mentioned in:
2 Timothy 3 :1-7, King James Version (KJV), “ 1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,4 Traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, 7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
But now that you are in regret is term we finally understood its true meaning. Bur regret is an attitude for what is right that we have already neglected.
It is rather unbelievable yet it is true that “tithing” in the house of God or His Temple” is required for the prisoners as well. Malachi 3:10, the word “house” in Hebrew “bayith” means “house, dwelling habitation, place, home, court, daughter, door, family, palace, court, tablet (Law), steward, prison, dungeon, winterhouse.”
In other words, the tithes of the church does not only for the priests but also for the widows, orphans and even to the prisoners.
But how many religious groups today or even Evangelical Churches set aside a portion or budget for the prisoners? As I said earlier, despite of our church’s need, we still allocate a portion for you BJMP (Bureau of Jail and Management Penology) though you are a government entity. Our annual budget for this prison ministry is around P220,000.00 a year (USD $4,400.00) which is not an easy money.
Not all prisoners after all are guilty as charged by their accusers and by the courts. Some of your as you testified are innocent to the crimes being charged against you just like some personalities in the Bible ….
Epaphras, Paul and others were once prisoners as well (Philemon 1:23; Hebrews 11:36; Rev. 2:10).
The following were just some of the many prisoner-personalities mentioned in the Bible. God uses these horrible experiences even among people of God for a reason.
Joseph the dreamer is not merely prisoner (Genesis 40); he was the captain of the prisoners and interpreter of dreams. God uses his prison cell and his spiritual gift to introduce this man to the king of Egypt who later puts Joseph, the 2nd most powerful person in the land only next to him. Joseph was 30 years old when he is placed by God to the service of a king (Genesis 41:46).
Jeremiah was placed in a dungeon three (3) times by kings whenever he prophesies the word of the Lord God. In Jeremiah 32:1-8, King Zedekiah placed Jeremiah, the prophet into the prison for prophesying the Word of the Lord. All the kings who placed Jeremiah into prison and dungeon were allkilled but Jeremiah survived his ordeal.
John the Baptist was placed into prison, then beheaded. His death is personally and politically motivated. But John the Baptist is believed to be back again in the time of Tribulation as the “two witnesses” (Revelation 11:1-14)/
In Mark 6:17,18, we have the most complete record of the reason for the imprisonment: "For Herod himself had sent forth and laid hold upon John, and bound him in prison for Herodias' sake, his brother Philip's wife: for he had married her. For John had said unto Herod, It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother's wife." One day Herodias' daughter (often named Salome), danced before Herod on his birthday in front of his entourage of leaders. Herod was so pleased, that he promised Salome "Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, I will give it thee, unto the half of my kingdom." (v. 23).Because his illegal wife hated John, she conspired with her daughter to ask for his head. Therefore, although "the king was exceeding sorry; yet for his oath's sake, and for their sakes which sat with him, he would not reject her. And immediately the king sent an executioner, and commanded his head to be brought: and he went and beheaded him in the prison," (vv. 26,27).
All the early church Fathers agree to 2 B.C. as the birth of Christ, or the 41st year of Caesar Augustus reign. Jesus started His ministry in His 30th year, according to Luke 3:23. Therefore, His crucifixion was in 32 A.D. John the Baptist was imprisoned circa 29/30 A.D. He was undoubtedly beheaded within a year, about the time that Christ went up to Galilee. Answer Matthew 14:3-5 (The Message) Herod had arrested John, put him in chains, and senthim to prison to placate Herodias, his brother Philip's wife. John had provoked Herod by naming his relationship with Herodias "adultery." Herod wanted to kill him, but he was afraid because so many people revered John as a prophet of God. John the Baptist told Herod he couldn't have a relationship with Herodias, because Herodias was Herod's brother's wife, and that would be adultery. That's why Herod put John in jail. He wanted tokill him, but he was afraid to, because people thought of him as a prophet of God. However, because of Herodias's trick, Herod ends up having to behead John later. (verses 6-12) Another Answer: John the Baptist was imprisoned as a result of his own actions. He was willing to sacrifice his freedom and then his life because of what he believed. John had publicly criticised Herod Antipas for his marriage to Herodias, the former wife of Antipas' own brother, which John said was immoral. The wedding took place in 34 CE and John was executed in 35 or early 36 CE on the orders of Herod Antipas, out of fear that he was stirring the Jews up for rebellion. The relevant text from Book 18 of Antiquities of the Jews by the first-century Jewish historian, Josephus: " Now many people came in crowds to him, for they were greatly moved by his words. Herod, who feared that the great influence John had over the masses might put them into his power and enable him to raise a rebellion (for they seemed ready to do anything he should advise),thought it best to put him to death. In this way, he might prevent any mischief John might cause, and not bring himself into difficulties by sparing a man who might make him repent of it when it would be too late. Accordingly John was sent as a prisoner, out of Herod's suspicious temper, to Macherus, the castle I already mentioned, and was put to death ."
Jesus Christ was arrested illegally, paraded on the streets, stripped down to his waist, placed a sign of criminal’s placard – the cross, and later executed.
Even the innocents are being charged for whatever reason that only God knows which I myself cannot answer.
We were all prisoners in one way or another. Jesus Christ said “Anyone who sin is a slave to sin” and “No one is righteous, no, not even one.”
That is why the future message of John, the Beloved to all of us is this:
Rev. 18:4, ““Come away from her, my people. Do not take part in her sins or you will be punished with her.” Meaning we must not be attached to the splendour of the world. This is a “hideout” for the prisoners who are trapped a prison (literal or figurative).
Exodus 12:42/ NIV, “Because the LORD kept vigil that night to bring them out of Egypt, on this night all the Israelites are to keep vigil to honor the LORD for the generations to come.” Why would God makes a vigil for your soul? The word “vigil” is “observed” in KJV referring to the Hebrew word “shimmur” i.e. “night watch” or “vigil.” In other words, wherever you are God is watching you, 24 hours a day without stop. His eye is upon you and He never closes His eye a bit to simple stare at you endlessly.
God never sleeps. God does not sleeps in the job, neither He sleeps in your case. God will ALWAYS intervene in your case as long that you believe in Him.
A promise is this in Psalm 121:4 New International Version (NIV). “Indeed, He who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.”
Watches in Hebrew “shamar” is interpreted as “guard” in KJV version.
Watches means “to keep, to guard, to protect, to save life; wait for; to keep as a memory; to observe Sabbath or Keep the Covenants or Commands, to abstain.
The word “shamar” is being used to describe as the Hebrew “poimen “(pastor) who guards his sheep day and night. Read (John 10:1-11 Christ Jesus as the Good Pastor/ Shepherd).
Jesus said, “I am the Door of the Sheep.” Will you be willing to enter on that door that is safe and brings life? On January 15, 2013, I said this and I would say it again:
Time lost can no longer be recalled by regret. Until you have the time, do it now!
Turn to Jesus!
A serene place for getaway? Residential house photos in
Maryland, East Coast, USA. Photos by Peps (2006)