The Story of Redemption


Delivered by an Angel

The apostles were accordingly arrested and imprisoned, and the Sanhedrin was called to try their case. A large number of learned men, in addition to the council, were summoned, and they counseled together what should be done with these disturbers of the peace. “But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said, Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life. And when they heard that, they entered into the temple early in the morning, and taught.” SR 255.1

When the apostles appeared among the believers and recounted how the angel had led them directly through the band of soldiers guarding the prison and bade them resume the work which had been interrupted by the priests and rulers, the brethren were filled with joy and amazement. SR 255.2

The priests and rulers in council had decided to fix upon them the charge of insurrection and accuse them of murdering Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11), and of conspiring to deprive the priests of their authority and put them to death. They trusted that the mob would then be excited to take the matter in hand and to deal by the apostles as they had dealt by Jesus. They were aware that many who did not accept the doctrine of Christ were weary of the arbitrary rule of the Jewish authorities and were anxious for some decided change. If these persons became interested in, and embraced, the belief of the apostles, acknowledging Jesus as the Messiah, they feared the anger of the entire people would be raised against the priests, who would be made to answer for the murder of Christ. They decided to take strong measures to prevent this. They finally sent for the supposed prisoners to be brought before them. Great was their amazement when the report was brought back that the prison doors were found securely bolted and the guard stationed before them, but that the prisoners were nowhere to be found. SR 255.3

Soon the report was brought: “Behold, the men whom ye put in prison are standing in the temple, and teaching the people.” Although the apostles were miraculously delivered from prison, they were not saved from examination and punishment. Christ had said when He was with them, “Take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to councils.” God had given them a token of His care and an assurance of His presence by sending the angel to them; it was now their part to suffer for the sake of that Jesus whom they preached. The people were so wrought upon by what they had seen and heard that the priests and rulers knew it would be impossible to excite them against the apostles. SR 256.1