clubs to forcibly keep them moving toward the desired destination. Roman society had a high tolerance for human abuse. Yet even Watch Kenneth Copeland and Roman law demanded Rick Renner on the BVOV broadcast fair treatment of prisMay 9-13 & 16-20. oner s , e s p e c ia l ly i f they were Roman citizens. However, since Patmos was isolated, desolate and mostly forsaken, what transpired there wasn’t visible to the public eye. As a result, laws that guaranteed the good treatment of prisoners could be, and
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often were, ignored. Thus, the Roman government considered Patmos to be an ideal place for especially dangerous criminals, who were often transferred there so soldiers, wardens and interrogators could treat them with a level of brutality that wouldn’t have been tolerated elsewhere. Common Criminals vs. Political Offenders When the prisoners disembarked from the ship, they were divided into two groups: common criminals and political offenders. Then each group was transferred to different parts of the island. Common criminals were scourged as part of their official welcome to the island. This scourging was designed to serve as a warning that poor behavior would be dealt with swiftly and harshly. Criminals incarcerated on Patmos worked under the constant gaze of Roman soldiers, who watched their ever y movement and punished them ferociously for the least offense. Some early Christian writers recorded that prisoners on Patmos worked in mine quarries; however, archeologists have found no evidence on the island to support these claims. Politica l offenders were treated w ith a greater degree of respect than common criminals on Patmos and were allowed to freely roam the barren island. However, this type of prison sentence didn’t bode well for political prisoners, for they were not provided any clothes, food, water or medical services and were responsible for their own survival in the harsh conditions of the island. As a result, many died of star vation, disease, a lack of clean water or exposure. Political offenders sometimes formed communities to create a better chance of survival in such a hostile environment. At the time the Apostle John arrived on Patmos in A.D. 95, it’s known that several communities already existed, populated by people—and even entire families—who had been exiled to the island as political prisoners of the Roman Empire. How did John, the sole survivor of the original 12 disciples by A.D. 95, become an exiled prisoner on Patmos? The answer to this question is vital to this book. We must therefore pause to recall the remarkable account of John’s life in the years leading up to his exile on this forsaken island.