Friday, August 15, 2008

The Pharisee's position on prison, and jails.

I don't believe in them. I do not think any "Bible Believing" pastor should EVER utter from the pulpit, ONE WORD regarding harsh prison punishments, for ANYONE. The reason? In God's law, as given through his prophet Moses, of whom there is no one like him save Christ himself, there are no punishments involving confinement.

There is record of one instance in which a man was held "in ward" until judgement was passed, but he was not being held for punishment (Leviticus 24:12). The "Cities of Refuge" were just that. Refuges, sanctuaries for men who had killed another by accident. Hebrew law (which is God's law) required blood for atonement and a man, even an innocent man who had without malice caused the death of another, was liable for blood vengeance by the "avenger of blood" from the family of the deceased (Deuteronomy 19:6 and Numbers 35:12). In the early days of Israel, there was no government, and it was up to the family to execute judgement.

The city of refuge was a hiding place against the avenger of blood so that the man liable for manslaughter not be killed. When the high priest died (Numbers 35:12) the liable man was free. Thus there were no prisons in Israel. Prisons are of pagan design. They are not Godly. The command to punish involved monitary penalty, death, exile, occasional mutilation (based largely on the damage intended or done), lifetime obligation, or slavery in the case of a man who could not pay damages.

Prison is compared to HELL. We are commanded to visit those in prison. Scripture views prison with universal horror and revulsion. It is not a Godly tool.

Having said that, it is not PROHIBITED, and thus it is within the power of those appointed by God to rule to use prison if they so choose, but I cannot see it as Godly and I do not advocate confinement as a punishment for any crime.

This is where I use the "if I were King" illustration. I am not King nor do I expect to be but if I were there would be no prisons in this land. They would be emptied. There would be short retrials of all those in prison and if determined that they were in jail for crimes of a death penalty sort, they would die, right then and there. The rest would go free.

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