Lesson 20 - Acts 12

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Lesson 20
Acts, Chapter 12
1
Time Frame (Acts 12)
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Chapter begins around the same time
as the end of Chapter 11 (note verse 1,
“Now about that time…”
We related in chapter 11 a famine in
Judea, in A.D. 45, that correlates with
the prophesied famine of verses 2730.
Herod Agrippa I died in A.D. 44
(reference Lesson 3, A N.T.
Chronology)
Location of Chapter 12 is Jerusalem, 2
* Caesarea
* Jerusalem
Caesarea was at this
time the usual
residence of the
Roman governor of
Judea, and
consequently a
garrison of troops was
regularly found there.
Herod Agrippa I died in
A.D. 44 while residing
in Caesarea (Acts
12:23)
3
Herod Aggripa’s Violence
Toward the Church (1-4) 1

Information about Herod Agrippa I
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This text is the only time this Herod is
referred to in the pages of the N.T.
Grandson of Herod the Great (Father
Aristobulus), and a brother of Herodias (who
asked for John the Baptist’s head).
While a child, Herod the Great murdered his
father, and Agrippa was sent to Rome
Was thrown into prison by Tiberius in Rome
until 37 A.D. Freed by Caligula was granted
Kingship in Judea by Caligula.
4
Herod Aggripa’s Violence
Toward the Church (1-4) 2

Information about Herod Agrippa I
(cont.)
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When Claudius became Roman emperor,
Agrippa added all of Judea and Samaria, and
was named a sovereign King, independent of
any provincial Roman governor. (though
subject still to Rome)
As King, Agrippa I ingratiated himself to the
Jews by presenting himself as devout
Possible that his desire to please the Jews was
5
what led him to begin persecuting Christians
Herod Aggripa’s Violence
Toward the Church (1-4) 3

Herod began persecuting Christians
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Time frame, around 41-44 A.D.,the last three
years of Herod’s life, during his consolidated
rule in Judea.
Harassed “some from the church.” Same
phrase as used in 4:3 (Peter and John) and
5:18 (the apostles), translated there “laid
hands on.”
The apostle James was killed by Herod (2)
Note: Execution by sword was considered the
most humiliating forms of capital punishment.
6
Herod Aggripa’s Violence
Toward the Church (1-4) 4

Herod began persecuting Christians
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Little is known of James’ life. However, he
“begin dead, yet speaks…”
Herod’s motives in the persecution were
mainly political (3)
Peter was arrested during the Passover
celebration (3)
Peter was imprisoned, with the purpose of
presenting him to the people (presumably for
trial and execution) following Passover (4)
7
Peter Freed from Prison
(5-19) 1
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Peter kept in Prison (5)
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Note the nature of Peter’s bonds (6)
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The church prayed on his behalf
Note: “constant” or “fervent” prayer offered
by the church in Jerusalem
Bound with two chains between two soldiers
Further guard upon the doors of the prison
Yet, Peter with God’s help escaped
from the Prison (7-10)
8
Peter Freed From Prison
(5-19) 2

Peter’s Escape (7-10)
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Visited by an angel (Light shone in the cell) (7)
Angel woke Peter (“struck Peter on the side”) (7)
Chains fell from his hands (miraculous) (7)
Angel led him from the prison, past the guards
(8-10)
Peter was not aware if this were real, or a vision
(9)
Gate to the city opened miraculously (10)
After entering the city, the angel left Peter (10)
9
Peter Freed From Prison
(5-19) 3
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Peter at the House of Mary (11-17)
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It was not until the angel left that Peter realized
the escape was real (12)
Peter went to the house of Mary, where the
Christians had gathered to pray (12)
The young lady, Rhoda, informed the Christians
of Peter’s presence (13-16). Their astonishment
shows this was a notable accomplishment
Peter told the gathering of his escape (17)
10
Peter Freed From Prison
(5-19) 4
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The Aftermath of Peter’s Escape (18-19)
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Soldiers were astonished. Obvious that God had
intervened (note verse 10, as Peter and the angel
had passed by the posts undetected).
Herod executed the guards for allowing Peter to
escape (19).
Herod traveled to Caesarea, and stayed there.
(Note: It was at Caesarea where Herod was
struck with worms, and died).
11
Herod’s Violent Death
(20-24) 1
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Josephus’ Account
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Agrippa went to Caesarea, and had games
performed in honor of Claudius.
Agrippa saw an owl perched over his head,
which he interpreted as being a sign he would
die within five days.
He was smitten with violent pains, scolding
his friends for flattering him, and accepted his
imminent death.
He experienced heart and abdominal pains,
and died in five days.
12
Herod’s Violent Death
(20-24) 2
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Tyre and Sidon sued for peace (20)
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We don’t know the cause of the trouble.
The cities were dependent upon the area of
Galilee for food to live on (20)
The people clamored at the King’s address,
“The voice of a god and not of a man!” (22)
The flattery was accepted by Herod, and he
did not “give glory to God” (23). It was for
this reason an angel of God struck him with
worms, and he died. (23).
13
Herod’s Violent Death
(20-24) 3
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The Word of God (24)
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A contrast here “But”
Rather than the persecution of Herod slowing
or stopping the growth of the Lord’s church,
we are told the Word of God grew and
multiplied.
This a reference to continual conversions.
14
Barnabas and Saul Return to
Antioch (25) 1
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After delivering the gift from
Antioch to the brethren in Judea
(cf. 11:27-30), Barnabas and Saul
returned to Antioch.
John Mark accompanied them
back to Antioch.
15
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