Chapter 45



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(Acts 12:1-4)  Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. And he killed James the brother of John with the sword [i.e. he beheaded him]. And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take [arrest] Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.) [Passover] And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers [16 men] to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people [and kill him].

1.       Herod = Gk: a composite of  heroes (a "hero"); heroic; Herodes, the name of four Jewish kings /// a view, i.e. form:--appearance, fashion, shape, sight.

2.       Commentary: “Herod the king” (Acts 12:1) was the grandson of Herod the Great who, in his “diligent” search for the child Jesus, had all the male children of Bethlehem “from two years old and under” (Mat 2:16) put to death. Neither Herod was fully a Jew but were Edomites, descendants of Edom which was the surname or additional name given to Esau (Gen 25:30), elder brother to Jacob, symbolic of “the flesh.” Hence, the name of Herod may refer symbolically to King of Flesh, or, Hero of Flesh.

3.       vex = Gk: to injure; fig. to exasperate:--make evil affected, entreat evil, harm, hurt, vex.

4.       Commentary: James was the son of Zebedee, brother to John, both surnamed “The sons of thunder” (Mark 3:17). James was the first of the apostles to fall victim to martyrdom. The death of James was the only apostle’s death recorded in the Bible. He was one of Jesus’ inner circle consisting of Peter, James, and John; actually, the number two man by mention in Jesus’ entourage. Peter was number one.

5.       King James Bible Commentary: In his Ecclesiastical History (ii. 9) Eusebius preserves a tradition, which was first found in Clement of Alexandria, that the officer who was attached to James and commissioned with guarding him, was so impressed with the apostle’s witness, that before James was martyred, this officer confessed Christ as Saviour and was beheaded with the apostle.

6.       quaternions = Gk: a quaternion or squad (picket) of four Roman soldiers:--quaternion.

7.       Commentary: Herod was throughout currying favor with his Jewish subjects, to “please” them in their persecution of the Christians. His intent was to delay Peter’s execution until after Passover because it was against Jewish law to have a trial or sentencing during the Feast of Passover.


(Acts 12:5,6)  Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him. And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers [guards] before the door kept the prison [to prevent escape].


(Acts 12:7,8)  And, behold, the angel [messenger] of the Lord came upon [stood (before, by, over)] him, and a light [apparently emanating from the angel, i.e. the glory of God] shined [to beam, i.e. radiate brilliancy:--gave light] in the prison: and he smote Peter [from a type of death unto life. Contrast with verse 23 where the angel smote Herod from life unto death] on the side, and raised him up [typifying death, burial, and resurrection], saying, Arise up quickly [i.e. make haste. Why??]. And his chains [fetters, manacles: bindings] fell off from his hands [freedom for his works]. And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself [i.e. prepare thyself], and bind on thy sandals [protection from earthly defilement for his walk]. And so he did. And he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee [thy covering garment, i.e. the shed blood of Jesus Christ], and follow me [and who might this be?].


(Acts 12:9-11)  And he went out, and followed him [MANIFESTED OBEDIENCE]; and wist not [comprehended not] that it was true [i.e. reality] which was done by the angel; but thought he saw a vision [indicating a dumbfounded, bemuddled, or confused state of mind]. When they were past the first and the second ward [door guards], they came unto the iron gate [the third obstacle or door] that leadeth unto the city; which opened to them of his own accord: and they went out, and passed on through one street [i.e. connoting complete separation]; and forthwith the angel departed from him. And when Peter was come to himself [fully aware rather than mesmerized, enthralled, awestruck, rapt, captivated], 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.

1.       Commentary: “the iron gate” is the third obstacle or the third “door,” in general terms, that the angel and Peter pass through or “Passover.” The prison in its entirety may be likened to a Satanic representation or counterfeit version of the Tabernacle, portraying Peter’s (and our vicarious) escape, with the leadership and aid of the angel of the Lord (Jesus Christ), from the inside of the “evil” tabernacle and proceed outward, i.e., escape from the Most Evil Place (the Most Holy Place) through the first ward (the veil), escape from the Evil Place (the Holy Place) through the second ward (the door), and escape from the Courtyard through the “gate.” We enter (Passover) the three obstacles or “doors,” in general terms, of the Tabernacle of God from the outside of the “good” Tabernacle and proceed inward. (I think both passings may occur simultaneously – food for thought).

2.       Commentary: “Forthwith” the angel of the Lord released his mental hold on Peter, in an effect similar to when the two angels physically removed Lot and his family out of Sodom before its fiery destruction. Another note of commonality in these two noteworthy occurrences is that the angels also “hastened Lot” to “Arise.” 

3.       (Gen 19:15,16)  And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city. And while he [Lot] lingered [hesitated: delayed, tarried], the men [angels] laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the LORD being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without [outside] the city.

(Acts 12:12-17)  And when he [Peter] had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary [rebelliousness, bitterness] the mother of John, whose surname was Mark [John Mark is the author of the gospel of Mark]; where many were gathered together praying. And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a damsel came to hearken, named Rhoda [a rose]. And when she knew Peter's voice, she opened not the gate for gladness, but ran in, and told how Peter stood before the gate. And they said unto her, Thou art mad. But she constantly affirmed that it was even so. Then said they, It is his angel [spirit, ghost??]. But Peter continued knocking: and when they had opened the door, and saw him, they were astonished [i.e. essentially, they were astonished at answered prayer]. But he [Peter], beckoning unto them with the hand to hold their peace, declared unto them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, Go show these things unto James [the half-brother to Jesus and leader of the Jerusalem church], and to the brethren. And he departed, and went into another place [this phrase has strong implications of (new-found) “purpose.” Whose purpose?].

1.       Commentary: “Thou art mad.” Interestingly, this was the response of Jesus' disciples to the person who reported that their fervent prayers were answered. Negatively, how many of us don’t really believe in the power of our own prayers? Or positively, to what degree do you believe in the power of your prayers? “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” (Mark 9:24).

(Acts 12:18,19)  Now as soon as it was day, there was no small stir among the soldiers, what was become of Peter. And when Herod had sought for him, and found him not, he examined the keepers, and commanded that they should be put to death. And he went down from Judaea to Caesarea, and there abode.

1.       Life Application Bible: Under Roman law, if guards allowed their prisoners to escape, they were subject to the same punishment the prisoner was to receive. Thus these sixteen guards were sentenced to death.


(Acts 12:20-25)  1. And Herod was highly displeased with them of Tyre and Sidon [cities on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea]: but they came with one accord to him, and, having made Blastus the king's chamberlain their friend, desired peace; because their country was nourished by the king's country. 2. And upon a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne, and made an oration [speech] unto them. And the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man. (Acts 12:23)  And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him [from life unto death. Contrast with verse 7 where the angel smote Peter from a type of death unto life], because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost. 3. But the word of God grew and multiplied. And Barnabas and Saul [who was Paul] returned from Jerusalem, when they had fulfilled their ministry [MANIFESTED OBEDIENCE], and took with them John, whose surname was Mark.

1.       King James Bible Commentary: Josephus (Antiquities xix 8.2) records that on the birthday of the emperor (“upon a set day”), Herod held a large festival in which he donned a robe made of silver throughout. As he entered the theater of Caesarea at day break, the silver glittered in the morning sunlight and was so resplendent that all who looked on it were immediately enamored with the king. Herod relished and reveled in the plaudits that had been thrown his way. He was claimed to be a god; and he did not deny the claim. Therefore, “the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory.”


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