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Acts - Chapter 12

Bible Study Notes

Acts 12:1-5 King Herod had the Apostle James, the brother of John, put to death. Herod then arrested Simon Peter, put him in prison, and set four guards of soldiers to guard him. Herod planned to put him on trial after the Passover. The church earnestly prayed for Peter.

Notes: four squads Each squad contained four soldiers and rotated the watch on Peter. At all times two guards were chained to him in his cell, while the other two stood guard outside the cell door

Acts 12:6-11 Before Herod could fetch Peter from prison, an angel appeared to Peter, woke him up, and told him to flee. The chains fell off Peter, who then got dressed and followed the angel out of the prison past the guards (Put in a deep sleep by the angel ???). At first Peter thought he was just seeing a vision until he stood outside the prison after the angel left him and was now sure that the Lord rescued him from Herod.

Acts 12:12-17 Peter went to Mark’s house (Believed to be the one that wrote the Gospel of Mark) where many were gathered and praying, especially for Peter. A servant girl responded to Peter’s knock on the door, recognized him, and ran to tell all those inside the house. They didn’t believe her, but after opening the door were amazed that it was truly Peter. Their prayers were actually answered!!! Peter told them what had happened and instructed them to tell James (Jesus’ half-brother, who at this time was the head of the Jerusalem church) and the rest of the Apostles.

Notes: Mark is known to be a cousin of Barnabas and an acquaintance of Peter in his youth.

Acts 12:18-23 The next morning, when Peter was missing from prison, Herod put the guards to death. Herod then stayed for a while at Caesarea. Herod was angry with those from Tyre and Sidon, but they sued for peace. Herod put on his robes and sat on his throne and delivered a speech to the representatives of Tyre and Sidon. The people praised Herod as if he were a god. The Lord did not like this and sent an angel to strike him down for not giving glory to  God, but accepted the people’s praise for himself.

Notes: A guard who allowed a prisoner to escape would suffer the same fatal penalty that awaited the prisoner. According to the Jewish historian Josephus, he gives the added detail that Herod’s royal robes were made of silver that sparkled in the sun, provoking the crowd’s acclamation. In contrast to Peter’s instantaneous rejection of worship in 10:26, Herod receives this wrongful praise with delight.

Acts 12:24-25 After Herod died, there was peace again for a while and the word of God increased and multiplied. At this point in time, Barnabas and Saul returned to Antioch from Jerusalem, and brought back with them Mark (Believed to be the one that wrote the Gospel of Mark).

Notes: According to the Jewish historian Josephus, Herod endured terrible pain for five days before he died.


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