Bible Study is written by Roger Christopherson, and it's
Acts of the Apostles
"Jerusalem, Peter's imprisonment."
Though what took place in this chapter took place in 44 A.D., if it is taught in the futuristic sense, there is much in it. That is the year that God set aside as a marker. We will see a type of Antichrist in Herod, and we will also see how God delivers one from Antichrist. This entire chapter is a parenthetical chapter, which is given in the manuscripts, and unfortunately when we read from the King James you would miss that. That is why the Companion Bible is good for an English teacher, or reader, because it calls your attention to this fact. The whole purpose is to draw our attention to certain things that took place in that year.
Acts 12:1 "Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church."
Herod is out to vex, or mistreat the church, and the best way that he sees to do this, is by killing the leaders of the church.
King Herod spoken of here was Herod Agrippa I, an Idumean which was the the People of Esau. He was the second son of Herod the Great, the King that ruled during the time of the birth of Christ.
Acts 12:2 "And he killed James the brother of John with the sword."
Stop and think for a moment. The word "James" is the Greek equivalent for the word Jacob in the Hebrew. Remember in the prior verse we say that Herod's blood line was from the people of Esau. Jacob and Esau were twin brothers, the sons of Isaac. Remember Genesis 27:40, where this one Esau was pleading with Isaac his father for a gift and a promise, just like the one that Jacob had received.
Genesis 27:40 "And by thy sword shalt thou live, and shalt serve thy brother; and it shall come to pass when thou shalt have the dominion, that thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck."
Esau and his descendants would live by the sword, and he also would die by the sword. So that sword of Esau is at work right here in this book of Acts. This is not adding to the Word of God, but taking another look at this verse in relation to other scripture. Prophetically, we can that when the Herod of the end times, Satan the Antichrist comes to power, Christians will also be delivered up to him, and just like Herod, Satan will try to destroy them. However just as the Angel of God saved Peter from destruction, God will protect His elect from the sword of Satan during the great deception [tribulation].
Acts 12:3 "And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.)."
These "Jews" are people that lived in the land of Judaea, they are not our brother Judah. Remember when these Nethinim [Kenites] had taken over the priesthood way back in Ezra's day, and what was taught in the temple were the teachings of the traditions of the Kenites. The laws of Moses were replaced by the traditions of these Kenites. It was the Kenites that were putting Herod up to killing the leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ.
If it were the tribe of Judah doing this it would be refering to them as Israel, or the house of Judah. "Jews" was a catch all slang for anyone living in the territory. The murdering mind of these Kenites were fed in the killing of James, and now they seek after more blood, this time by Peter. Herod liked the attention that these Kenites gave him, and if they want blood, he is going to give them more blood. The time of this event was on Passover, the feast of the days of unleavened bread.
Acts 12:4 "And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people."
A quaternion of soldiers is for soldiers, so Peter had sixteen men keeping him under guard. Now let's take time to look closely at this word "Easter". Strong's concordance and Greek dictionary calls attention to the fact that this is the only place in the entire Bible where this word exists. When we go to the Strong's Greek dictionary we see # 3957; "Pascha, pas'-khah; the Passover (the meal, the day, the festival or the special sacrifices connected with it):" The word Easter is not in the Word of God, and what it should read here is "Passover".
Easter is a heathen rite, and holiday to the goddess "Ishtar", and it is a disgrace that the Word is entered here in the Scriptures in relationship with the feast of Passover. This is the only place int the Bible that this word is used.
Acts 12:5 "Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him."
Peter is the founder of the Church and the one that Christ Himself indicated would be the founder of the Church. Peter then is the focus of the Kenites and Herod for destroying the Christians, and we see Peter being locked away in prison for the Passover.
Lock that in your mind, the church, or Peter's followers have gone to their closets to pray the night for Peter's deliverance. Keep in mind that God is in control.
Acts 12:6 "And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison."
Peter is sleeping in the cell, with a man on each side, and both are chained to Peter. So we see there are four men in the cell and the other twelve are outside the door keeping watch over them. In the morning Peter is going before old Herod, to have His head taken off.
Acts 12:7 "And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, "Arise up quickly." And his chains fell off from his hands."
The angel came into that cell, and shook Peter and told him to get up. When all this is going on, those two laying beside Peter kept right on sleeping. The angel of God is arranging this event. This is a parenthetical chapter because in a prophetic sense, when you are delivered up before Antichrist [instead of Christ], God is going to protect you also. We have nothing to fear. Luke 21:18 "But there shall not an hair of your head perish."
Acts 12:8 "And the angel said unto him, "Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals." And so he did, And he saith unto him, "Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me."
The reason Peter is to "gird thyself", was that the men wore skirts at this time, and when a man was to move out fast, he reached under his legs and grabbed that back hem of that skirt bottom, and tucked it into his belt, and his legs were ready to move. The equivalent of what this angel is telling us today, is to put on the full gospel armor, and gird yourself. study to be spiritually alert at all times. We are in the final days, and prophecies are being fulfilled every day.
Acts 12:9 "And he went out, and followed him; and wist not that it was true which was done by the angel; but thought he saw a vision."
Even Peter can hardly believe what is happening to him. The soldiers slept on, while the change fall off, gate doors opening with no one there, and now Peter is out of the prison and on his way. He doesn't know if it is a dream, or reality. Peter himself knew that God would take care of His own, but when the deliverance comes, he doesen't know how real it really is.
Acts 12:10 "When they were past the first and the second ward, they came unto the iron gate that leadeth unto the city; which opened to them of his own accord: and they went out, and forthwith the angel departed from him."
The second ward, is the other cell block where the rest of the sixteen soldiers that were to guard Peter were. Then Peter came to that main gate to the prison, and this was an heavy gate, and it just swung open, and Peter and the angel just kept on going. When they were one block from the main gate the angel departed from Peter, and Peter was again alone. Just because you cannot see the angel of God, does not mean that the angle of protection is not on you. The only reason that this angel was even visable to Peter, was to direct him and let Peter know that God is still in control.
Matthew 18:10 "Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of My Father Which is in heaven."
If you are a child of God, you have an angel that is watching every move you make, and is ready in an instant to call attention to the Father when you are in trouble. This is not a fairy tale, it is the Word of God, something you can count on. God knows what you are going through.
Acts 12:11 "And when Peter was come to himself, he said, "Now I know of a surety, that the Lord hath sent His angel, and delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews."
You can say that Peter is symbolic of God's elect, or even the Church, for Peter was elected by God to do exactly what he is doing, founding the church. Peter knew that the angel of the Lord had delivered him out of He68rod's prison, and away from the evil expectations that the Jews were waiting for the next day.
Acts 12:12 "And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where may were gathered together praying."
Peter considered where he was, and desided to go to the home of the mother of whom we commonly call Mark, the author of the Gospel of Mark. We know what they were praying for, they were praying for Peter. The church people are gathered together to pray as a body, for Peters release. They knew what happened to James, the brother of John. This was not the James the author of the book of James. It is important to observe the unity of our people the body of Christ, and their coming together in prayer for the needs of other menbers of that many membered body of Christ.
Again this is a parenthentical chapter, given that we can learn a lesson from, and pay attention to what has happened.
Acts 12:13 "And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a damsel came to hearken, named Rhoda."
Peter is out there knocking at the door, and little Rose [Rhoda in the Greek] comes to the door. I'm sure Peter is looking over his shoulder thinking that the entire Roman Army is on his trail.
Acts 12:14 "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."
Rose [Rhoda] knew Peter's voice as he was saying "let me in it's Peter". and little Rose jumped for joy and in the excitment never opened the door, but ran in to tell the others. She left Peter standing outside the gate, still knocking to get in.
Acts 12:15 "And they said unto her, "Thou art mad." But she constantly affirmed that it was even so. Then said they, "It is his angel."
This comes from a traditional belief that was common at that time. They knew from the book of Matthew that every one had a guardian angel, and she is saying that Peter's angel is at the door. These people are so wrapped up in their prayer to release Peter, that they just don't believe that God has freed him. Would you like to have a group of prayer warriors praying for you, if you were in trouble. Their prayers have been answered, yet they don't have the faith to believe it. Rose came in to tell them that Peter is at the gate, and they tell her that she is crazy.
They didn't put reality to their own faith, and that is like those that play at Christianity today.
Acts 12:16 "But Peter continued knocking: and when they had opened the door, and saw him, they were astonished."
Are you astonished when your prayers are answered? Your prayers are your petition to our heavenly Father. Remember that this is symbolic to our people, the elect of God, when they are delivered up to the Antichrist and his religious order. That time is coming very shortly. Friend, pay attention, this chapter is given to let us know that God is able to take care of you when that time comes.
God created the stars in the heavens and all souls, and you don't think that God can take care of you. Everything is in God control, and when you call out to Him He hears you.
Acts 12:17 "But he, 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 shew these things unto James, and to the brethren." And he departed, and went into another place.
You can just see all of them jabbering at one time, and Peter held up his hand for them to quiet down. Peter then told them every thing that had happen at the prison, and told them to go and tell this to James, and to the brethren, and he left of places outside of Jerusalem.
Today peoples belief, and reality are so far apart. What we are to remember from this is that Christianity is not a religion, but it is reality. It is life itself that you are living, and the signs that surround our reality are coming to pass daily before our eyes. It is time to open your eyes and pay attention so that you will not be deceived. As we live in these days, there should be nothing that astonishes you. Not when nations fall, and mankind turns the righteous things of God into evil and evil into righteousness. That is what must come to pass because it is written in God's Word that it will.
Peter's release was from prison, only our release will not be from the prisons, and captivity in the physical realm, but from the false doctrines that are entering the church itself. From those traditions and false doctrines that would lead you to Satan the Antichrist. When Satan plays the role of "Instead of Christ" [Antichrist], he will come on the earth in the form of an beautiful angel. He will come looking like you have been taught that Christ would come, only this is not Christ but Satan.
Friend, the death that this Antichrist will bring is not a physical death, but a spiritual death, the death of your very soul. But you have nothing to fear, and that is what this chapter is all about; it brings you peace of mind.
Acts 12:18 "Now as soon as it was day, there was no small stir among the soldiers, what was become of Peter."
Back in the prison it is morning and the those prison guards are taring the prison apart looking for Peter, they know what will become of them, if Peter isn't found.
Acts 12:19 "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."
Herod was an early bird, he wanted the head of Peter. Herod headed for the prison and asked the guards to bring out Peter, but Peter wasn't there. Peter was bound and chained to two guards, with an additional fourteen guards both inside and outside the cell, and Peter walked without one of the guards knowing what had happened. Herod is burning mad over the affair, and he wants blood, and if isn't Peter's then it will be those guards that let him go, so he thought.
There is a lesson in this; for it is the souls that Satan [the Antichrist] will be after in the great tribulation. In this event of Peter, it is the physical bodies that this type of Antichrist [Herod] wanted. This claiming of souls by Satan will come by a great revival, and note here that Satan will be harder on his own, his angels, the Kenites, and those ministers that will doing his work, then he is on those that he is trying to convert. If you are an imposter from Jesus Christ, you have to act as Jesus Christ would.
So we see that God delivered Simon Peter from the hands of Herod, the one world government of Peter's time, the Roman government.
Acts 12:20 "And Herod was highly displeased with them of Tyre and Sidon: but they came with one accord to him, and having made Blastus the king's chamberlain their friend, desired peace; because their country was nurished by the king's country."
We remember Tyre and Sidon from Ezekiel 28, for these cities are the home of the Kenites, the center of merchandising. The king of Tyre was Satan, the father of these Kenites, through his son Cain, from the Garden of Eden. Tyre was the island city built on a rock, just off the sea shore in the Mediterranean Sea. The Kenites were the merchandisers from the world, and their great ships would come into port, for Tyre had become the trade center. Zidon was the town of their brothers on shore.
Herod was very unhappy with them, but they always had that ability of knowing where the trade was, and how to make the deals once they got there. When they went to war, it would never be their blood shed, but the causes were always for their favor.
These men from Tyre and Zidon came to Herod in a group to smooth over the friction that had built up between Herod the king, and the people of these cities. They had their own spy right in the king's chamberlin, and Blastus [meaning sprout] this chamberlin made these Kenites aware of all the king's weaknesses. These Kenites needed the blessings of the king Herod to keep themselves going, they were nothing but bloodsuckers.
Acts 12:21 "And upon a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne, and made an oration unto them."
These Kenites from Tyre and Zidon had boasted Herod to the point that he started to believe the lies they were telling him. It is from this big head that Herod had, that he put on all his royal apparel, and ascended to his throne, and made a great speech to himself, in front of them. This is "Antichrist" making his great speech. This is history and well written of in many areas.
However it is also prophecy that will come to pass very shortly, for we are living in the last generation, and most people living today will witness this event. Jesus spoke of this speech in Matthew 24:15, Mark 13:14; "When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand)." Jesus is telling us to pay special attention to what Daniel said about this "abomination of desolation", which is found in Daniel 9:27
Daniel 9:27 "And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the comsummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate." This, my friend, is what Jesus said we of the last generation that will see Antichrist, must know and understand.
It is Satan the Antichrist that shall confirm this covenant for one week of years, or seven years. We know that this seven years has been shortened because Jesus told us that is was in Revelation 9:5, 10. The sacrifice and the oblation, which is what we call Communion, the taking of the bread and wine in remembrance of Jesus until He comes; This oblation will stop, because the entire world, except for the Elect, will accept Satan the Antichrist [instead of Christ] as the true Christ. They will do this because in their ignorance they have been taught to do this.
The elect are those sealed in their minds with the truths of God's Word, and are not deceived. They know that Satan comes first, and they know that he will look and act exactly like Christ will. They also know the signs of the times and events that must happen before the seventh trump sounds, and all man in the flesh will be changed to their incorruptible bodies, as Paul told us in I Corinthians 15:50-53. You see my friend, God's elect know that in this flesh body they will not see our Savior setting up any religious order, for when Christ returns we will be changed into our eternal spiritual bodies, that will live forever, so there is no fear of physical death.
Before we discuss the abominations, we must first understand that the desolation is not a condition, but a person, which is pointed out in the Massorah, the translation should read "desolator", and Satan the "instead of Christ" is that desolator. And that abomination that Satan commits is declaring himself to be God, or Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. When he says it, most Christians living today will believe him in ignorance. So now that we understand what the Antichrist of the end times will be doing, let's go back and see how this relates to the book of Acts.
Acts 12:22 "And the people gave a shout, saying "It is the voice of a god, and not of a man." "
This is the exact thing that they will say when Antichrist returns, and they will believe it. Will you? They will say, It is the true Christ and he has come to fly us away.
Do you know what happens then?
Acts 12:23 "And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost."
God killed him right there, instantly. This will make the sounding of the seventh and last trumpet, and Satan will be bound and thrown into that pit, to be held for destruction, at the end of the Millennium age.
Revelation 20:13: "And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works." Death is Satan, and hell are those souls that refused repentance by the blood of Jesus Christ.
Revelation 20:14 "And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. The second death is the death of the soul.
Revelation 20:15 "And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."
Satan is death, and hell is where the spiritually dead souls are kept waiting for the dime of destruction. Your name can be written in that "book of life", also called the "Lamb's book of life". Jesus christ is that lamb that shed his blood, and when we repent of our sins and turn from our ways, and set our path from life on the ways written in His Word, then your name is added to the book of life. You must believe on His name, Jesus Christ, to be saved from that destruction.
Acts 12:24 "But the word of God grew and multiplied."
Acts 12:25 "And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem, when they had fulfilled their ministry, and took with them John whose surname was Mark."
These two witnesses Barnabas and Saul returned to Jerusalem, when they and fulfilled their ministry. Remember what happens at the close of the time of the great deception? Two witness also will return to witness against the "instead of Christ".
This is a beautiful chapter that God placed in the book of Acts as an parenthesis, of the events of the year 44 A.D., and these events are a type of what shall happen prophetically in our generation. It is important that we understand the events of both times that we are not caught off guard, when the fake Christ is cast out of heaven by Michael to the earth, to deceive all mankind, but the elect of God, and those who have the seal of God [the Word of God] in their foreheads, their minds with understanding.
It is very important that we see why God has set this year 44 A. D. aside to remember in that Paul has now been elected, and in that year the formation of the church had begun. With it's leader Paul being struck down on the road to Damascus, and God electing Him to carry the good news of the gospel to the Gentiles. So shall the church of the elect of the end times be also put to the same test in the end generation.
The elect will do just fine, because we have God on our side.
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