ACTS 12 - HEROD IN THE HANDS OF GOD

Rev. Thomas Tyree, Jr., Pastor, Grace Bible Church of Costa Mesa, California

Copyright 1995-2014 Rev. Thomas Tyree, Jr., All Rights Reserved


This chapter opens with a new era of persecution coming upon the church at the hands of King Herod.

The Persecution of Herod

A. The instigator of persecution - Acts 12:1-3

Now about that time Herod the king laid hands on some who belonged to the church, in order to mistreat them. And he had James the brother of John put to death with a sword. And when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. Now it was during the days of Unleavened Bread. (Acts 12:1-3)

There are four different Herod’s mentioned in the Bible:

1. Herod the Great - received the Wise Men, killed all the children under two years of age.

2. Herod Antipas (The Tetrarch) - slew John the Baptist

3. Herod Agrippa I - Acts 12

4. Herod Agrippa II - Knew Paul the Apostle - Acts 25

B. The incarceration of Peter - Acts 12:4. The term "quaternions" means four parties of four each. A total of 16 soldiers guarded Peter.

And when he had seized him, he put him in prison, delivering him to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out before the people. (Acts 12:4)

The Prayer of Christians - Acts 12:5

So Peter was kept in the prison, but prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to God. (Acts 12:5)

The Provision of God

A. A case of Divine intervention - Acts 12:6-11

And on the very night when Herod was about to bring him forward, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains; and guards in front of the door were watching over the prison. And behold, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared, and a light shone in the cell; and he struck Peter's side and roused him, saying, "Get up quickly." And his chains fell off his hands. And the angel said to him, "Gird yourself and put on your sandals." And he did so. And he said^ to him, "Wrap your cloak around you and follow me." And he went out and continued to follow, and he did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. And when they had passed the first and second guard, they came to the iron gate that leads into the city, which opened for them by itself; and they went out and went along one street; and immediately the angel departed from him. And when Peter came to himself, he said, "Now I know for sure that the Lord has sent forth His angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting." (Acts 12:6-11)

B. A case of faithless intercession - Acts 12:12-16. We should be expectant when we pray.

And when he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John who was also called Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying. And when he knocked at the door of the gate, a servant-girl named Rhoda came to answer. And when she recognized Peter's voice, because of her joy she did not open the gate, but ran in and announced that Peter was standing in front of the gate. And they said to her, "You are out of your mind!" But she kept insisting that it was so. And they kept saying, "It is his angel." But Peter continued knocking; and when they had opened the door, they saw him and were amazed. (Acts 12:12-16)

The Penalty of Self-indulgence

A. The overtures of Tyre and Sidon - Acts 12:20

Now he was very angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon; and with one accord they came to him, and having won over Blastus the king's chamberlain, they were asking for peace, because their country was fed by the king's country. (Acts 12:20)

B. The oration of Herod - Acts 12:21

And on an appointed day Herod, having put on his royal apparel, took his seat on the rostrum and began delivering an address to them. (Acts 12:21)

C. The ovation of the people - Acts 12:22

And the people kept crying out, "The voice of a god and not of a man!" (Acts 12:22)

D. The occasion of Herod's death - Acts 12:23-24. The angel smote Peter (Acts 12:7) and he was raised up. The angel smote Herod and he died. Peter got a new lease on life. Herod lost his lease on life. There was a spiritual cause for Herod's death as well as a physical cause.

And immediately an angel of the Lord struck him because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and died. But the word of the Lord continued to grow and to be multiplied. (Acts 12:23-24)

And behold, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared, and a light shone in the cell; and he struck Peter's side and roused him, saying, "Get up quickly." And his chains fell off his hands. (Acts 12:7)

Study Questions

1. What are the two acts performed by an angel in Acts 12?

2. What is an angel?

3. How does Acts 12 show that it pays to pray?

4. What was Herod's great sin? - Acts 12:22-23

And the people kept crying out, "The voice of a god and not of a man!" And immediately an angel of the Lord struck him because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and died. (Acts 12:22-23)

5. What was the physical and spiritual causes of Herod’s death?

6. What are some spiritual lessons we can learn from Acts 12?

7. John Mark is mentioned in Acts 12:25. What is he most noted for?

And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem when they had fulfilled their mission, taking along with them John, who was also called Mark. (Acts 12:25)


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