The Story of Redemption


Delivered by an Angel

On this last night before the execution a mighty angel, commissioned from heaven, descended to rescue him. The strong gates which shut in the saint of God open without the aid of human hands; the angel of the Most High enters, and they close again noiselessly behind him. He enters the cell, hewn from the solid rock, and there lies Peter, sleeping the blessed, peaceful sleep of innocence and perfect trust in God, while chained to a powerful guard on either side of him. The light which envelopes the angel illuminates the prison, but does not waken the sleeping apostle. His is the sound repose that invigorates and renews and that comes of a good conscience. SR 294.2

Peter is not awakened until he feels the stroke of the angel's hand and hears his voice saying, “Arise up quickly.” He sees his cell, which had never been blessed by a ray of sunshine, illuminated by the light of heaven, and an angel of great glory standing before him. He mechanically obeys the voice of the angel; and in rising lifts his hands, and finds that the chains have been broken from his wrists. Again the voice of the angel is heard: “Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals.” SR 295.1

Again Peter mechanically obeys, keeping his wondering gaze riveted upon his heavenly visitant, and believing himself to be dreaming, or in a vision. The armed soldiers are passive as if chiseled from marble, as the angel again commands, “Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me.” Thereupon the heavenly being moves toward the door, and the usually talkative Peter follows, dumb from amazement. They step over the motionless guard and reach the heavily bolted and barred door, which swings open of its own accord and closes again immediately; while the guard within and outside the door are motionless at their posts. SR 295.2

The second gate, which is also guarded within and without, is reached; it opens as did the first, with no creaking of hinges or rattling of iron bolts; they pass without, and it closes again as noiselessly. They pass through the third gateway in the same manner, and at last find themselves in the open street. No word is spoken; there is no sound of footstep; the angel glides on before, encircled by a light of dazzling brightness, and Peter follows his deliverer, bewildered, and believing himself to be in a dream. Street after street is threaded thus, and then, the mission of the angel being completed, he suddenly disappears. SR 295.3

As the heavenly light faded away, Peter felt himself to be in profound darkness; but gradually the darkness seemed to decrease, as he became accustomed to it, and he found himself alone in the silent street, with the cool night air upon his brow. He now realized that it was no dream or vision that had visited him. He was free, in a familiar part of the city; he recognized the place as one which he had often frequented, and had expected to pass for the last time on the morrow, when on the way to the scene of his prospective death. He tried to recall the events of the last few moments. He remembered falling asleep, bound between the two soldiers, with his sandals and outer garment removed. He examined his person and found himself fully dressed, and girded. SR 296.1

His wrists, swollen from wearing the cruel irons, were now free from the manacles, and he realized that his freedom was no delusion, but a blessed reality. On the morrow he was to have been led forth to die; but lo, an angel had delivered him from prison and from death. “And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a surety, that the Lord hath sent His angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews.” SR 296.2