The Spirits in Prison

panzeror Mike follows the tracks of the Apostle Peter’s stanza panzer

Few passages have caused as much discussion as the one concerning “the spirits in prison” in 1 Peter 3. It’s also one of the few texts where I found that not a single one of the explanations offered was satisfactory. Well, I’ve run the matrix over it, and I reckon I’ve solved it.

To understand the context of “the prison spirits,” we have to identify the structure which contains it within Peter’s letter. Or, to put it another way, to get his structural point, we have to see the entire structure.

Unity among the brethren

Finally, all [of you be] of one mind, (Sabbath unity)
…..having compassion for one another; (Passover)
……….love as brothers, (at the Altar, Matthew 5:23-24)
……….[be] tenderhearted, courteous; (Law of Covenant love)
……………not returning evil for evil (Eye for eye)
……….or [insult] for [insult], (“Bridal response”)
…..but on the contrary blessing, (Sanctions)
…..knowing that you were called to this, (Mediators)
that you may inherit a blessing. (Succession)


For “He who would love life and see good days, (Transcendence) [1]
…..Let him refrain his tongue from evil, (Hierarchy – teachers)
……….And his lips from speaking deceit. (Ethics – serpent)
…..Let him turn away from evil and do good; (Sanctions – mercy)
Let him seek peace and pursue it. (Succession – Future Rest)


For the eyes of the LORD
…..[are] on the righteous, (The facebread man)
……….And His ears [are open] to their prayers;
…..But the face of the LORD [is] (Face to face)
against those who do evil.” (No Succession)


And who [is] he who will harm you
…..if you become followers of what is good?
……….But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake,
…..[you are] blessed. (Positive Sanction)
“And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.”


But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, (Transcendence)
…..and always [be] ready to [give] a defense (Hierarchy)
……….to everyone who asks you a reason (Altar)
……….for the hope that is in you, (Table – Firstfruits)
……………with meekness and fear; (Trembling – Ethics)
……….having a good conscience, (Trumpets – Witness)
……….that when they defame you as evildoers,
…..those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed.
…..(Miscarried Sanctions)
For [it is] better, if it is the will of God,
to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. (Judges – elohim)


For Christ also suffered once for sins, (Sabbath – Ark)
…..the just for the unjust, (Passover – Veil)
……….that He might bring us to God, (Nearbringing – Altar)
……….being put to death in the flesh (Firstfruits – Table)
……………but made alive in the Spirit, in which also (Pentecost – Lampstand)
……….to the prison spirits having gone, He preached (Trumpets – Incense)
…..who formerly did not comply, (Atonement – Sanctions)
when once was waiting the longsuffering of God (Rest/Inheritance)

Now, here is where the tracks of the Bible Matrix stanza panzer draw a line in the sand. The longsuffering of God has nothing to do with the days of Noah. The Greek has no punctuation, but the literary structure often tells us where to make a break.

This means that the “spirits in prison” are not angels. Angels cannot be atoned for. The word “prison” here apparently also carries a connotation of refuge, which fits the Day of Coverings. Although the use of “spirits” for dead men is unusual, the structure demands it. We have “spirit” and “spirits,” the one and the many. It follows the process of sacrifice, and the order of the Dominion pattern. The prison spirits are the slain saints, under the Incense Altar. They, too, were put to death in the flesh, but when Peter wrote, they still awaited their High Priest, and their entrance through the Veil with Him as the fragrant “clouds” to inherit the kingdom and sit on thrones (Rev. 20).

They are at Step 5 here, and relate to the fifth seal in the Revelation — the Old Covenant martyrs. They obviously witnessed – or were witnessed to — of Jesus’ ascension. They ask Him “how long” will it be before they are avenged. They are told to wait a little longer, until the New Covenant martyrs, the apostolic Church, is sealed, has time to witness as Trumpets, and is slain. These two witnesses — Old and New — then called down vengeance upon the Old Creation together, as a united witness. Their stories corroborated, so the Cainite/Herodian whore could be executed under the Law. The patience of God waited until these saints could enter into the rest, the heavenly country, for which they had waited. They could only inherit these promises once Christ opened the heavenly veil for them and covered their sin.

But it has nothing to do with Noah. Peter actually changes his subject here for his final stanza, and the theme of that entire stanza is rest.


In the days of Noah,  (Sabbath – “Noah” means “Rest”)
…..the ark was prepared, (“cut according to plan” – Veil)
……….in which a few, that is, eight souls, (Firstfruits)
……………were saved through water. (Ethics – Pentecost)
……….There is also an antitype which now saves us — (Atonement – Clean Garments)
…..(Atonement – Clean Garments:)
…..baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh,
…..but the answer of a good conscience toward God),

Peter expands the final line into its own pattern. It is the rest of Jesus, who now sits on the great white (ivory) throne as the true Solomon (the real king of peace) and the true Noah (the first man to qualify as a judge and executioner).

through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, (Light)
……….who has gone into heaven (through the Veil)
……………and is at the right hand (Ascension)
………………..of God, (Ruler)
……….angels and authorities and powers (Elders)
…..having been made subject (Conquest)
to Him. (Rest)

Now, of course this is not the entire epistle. This structure appears within an even larger one. I suspect that the letter follows the five-fold Covenant document. As far as I can tell, the basic theme of this passage above is the Covenant Ethics.

[1]  I think this is an allusion to the Ten Words, the “second tier” of which concerns Adam’s work and Eve’s children (Hierarchy). You can see my layout of this in The Covenant Key, p. 63).

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4 Responses to “The Spirits in Prison”

  • jared Says:

    What translation are you using?

  • Mike Bull Says:

    NKJV – but it’s been edited of course, taking into account the Greek word order, and the words that have been added in English to “smooth” it out.

  • Jared Says:

    The Greek word for “prison” is never used in the sense of refuge at any point in the NT, and the fact that the spirits were not obedient seems like a good indication that something positive like “refuge” is not what Peter has in mind. This also goes against your suggestion that the spirits are martyred saints, men don’t get a second chance after death.

  • Mike Bull Says:

    Thanks Jared

    According to a couple of sources I found, the word can have that connotation, but it’s not a major point. The point is that it is the Day of Atonement, and the Most Holy is often pictured in the matrix as a cave (Abraham/Ephron, David/Saul), prison (Joseph, Peter) or den (Daniel) or tomb (Jesus). Those within are imprisoned by the evil one, with the appearance of justice. He has used the Law, but in his heart he is lawless.

    I’m not suggesting these saints got a second chance. They were faithful, but not THE faithful, the one who could actually defeat death. Jesus came to set the captives free — both the living and the dead.