Now, we return to Jerusalem and find out what Herod the king (Agrippa I, the grandson of Herod the Great) was doing with his hands, as opposed to Barnabas and Saul at the end of chapter 11!
12:1But according to that time Herod the king threw (his) hands on some of the (people) from the church to treat (them) badly .2and he eliminated James the brother of John with a sword; .3and having seen that it is pleasing to the Judeans he added to take-together also Peter - and they were (the) days of the unleavened - .4whom also having apprehended he put into prison having given (him) over to four quaternions of soldiers to keep-watch (regarding) him, deliberately-determining after the Passover to lead him up to the people; .5therefore indeed Peter was kept in the prison, but prayer was stretchingly coming-to-pass by the church towards God concerning him.
During that season Herod was casting his hands (figuratively referring to using his power and authority) on some of the holy-people in order to inflict and affect them with badness, even to the point of killing James (the brother of John) with a sword (the type of knife usually used for cutting and worn together with a larger sword). He eliminated one of the apostles whom Jesus had selected during his ministry before he was crucified.
But when Herod perceived that his getting James out of the way gave pleasure (it was agreeable, acceptable, gratifying) to the Judeans who did not believe regarding the Lord Jesus Christ, in addition to what he had already done, he caught (seized) Peter also – the apostle who had helped Cornelius and all the people in his house to receive the gift of holy spirit (Acts chapters 10 and 11)!
These events occurred during the four days leading-up to the Passover which began the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
When Peter was arrested in a hostile, violent manner, Herod placed him into the prison (the watch or guard place) and handed him over/along to the custody of four quaternions of soldiers (four soldiers for each of four shifts; 16 men altogether) to be vigilant to watch and guard him. Herod's purposed-will was that after the Passover he would bring Peter up to the people and let the people decide what to do with him. Therefore certainly Peter was kept in custody within the prison.
Did Peter 'fall-apart' with condemnation thinking that he must have completely messed-up somewhere? No! Or did the other holy-people (Christians) think that he must have disobeyed God and the Lord Jesus Christ and that he was being punished? No! Or did they rally in protest against the religious or governmental policies? No!
God's Word tells us that prayer was made in a manner that was fervently stretching (extending) forward and earnest by the church of holy-people towards the only true God about Peter. They communicated to/with God about what was happening; they spoke to God about it!
[Reference: Matthew 4:21; Acts 1:13.]
.6But when Herod was about to lead him forth, that night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers having been bound2 with two chains, and prison-guards before the door kept the prison. .7And look!, an angel of (the) Lord stood-on (him) and a light shone in the housing-area, and having struck the side of Peter he raised him up saying, "You must stand-up in quickness," and his chains fell from (his) hands, .8and the angel said towards him, "You must gird-yourself and bind-under your sandals," and he did thus, and he says to him, "You must clothe-yourself-with your outer-garment and you must follow me." .9And having gone-out he followed and he had not known that it is true, the-thing coming-to-pass by means of the angel, but he considered to observe a seen-object. .10And having gone-through (the) first prison-guard and (the) second (prison-guard) they came onto the gate, the iron (gate), the (gate) carrying into the city, the-one-which was opened automatically to them, and having gone-out they went-forth one narrow-street and immediately the angel departed away-from him.
During the night before Herod was on the point of taking Peter to the judgment area, Peter was doubly-chained between two soldiers and there were two prison-guards keeping an eye on things in front of the cell-door - but Peter was sleeping! He was not all nervous and upset about his situation - he was asleep.
And look (see, behold what happened)! – one of the Lord's angels stood on Peter (approached and took position over or near him), and absolute light shone as a lamp or torch beaming brightly and radiantly within the housing area (the cell, living-quarters) where Peter was.
[Note: An angel is a spirit-being whose office and character is one of a messenger in official service via words and/or actions. The word "angel" comes from the Greek word aggello which means to tell or deliver a message and therefore an angel could be called a "messenger." Those angels who have continued to take their instructions from the only true God are also now under the command of the Lord Jesus Christ. We should also note that the Bible shows us that no human-being was or is or will be a spirit-being angel! See Hebrews chapter 1.]
This angel struck (knocked, beat) against Peter's side, which Peter must have felt to make him wake-up from sleep, and the angel raised him up from his sleeping position between the soldiers saying that he must stand-up with speed (swiftly) and the two chains fell off from Peter's hands.
Then the angel told him that he must gird his flowing garment around his loins (so he's ready to do what the angel would tell him whether it would be service or conflict) and that he must tie his sandals underneath his feet. Peter did in this manner, and then the angel told him to throw/cast his outer-garment around himself (perhaps it was a cool night outside) and that he must follow him.
When Peter went out he followed the angel as he was instructed to do by him, but he continued not to see (not to perceive, know) that what was happening to him by way of the Lord's angel was true, that it was really happening. But he supposed that he was mentally-seeing a seen-object, because as far as he was concerned it was just the same type of thing as a previous object which was presented to his eyes for his own knowledge and encouragement (refer to Acts 10:10-19 and 11:5). Doesn't this clearly show us that when God or the Lord Jesus Christ communicates by means of a 'panoramic picture' to the "mind's eye" of a Christian that it is not a hazy or snowy picture because the 'satellite link’ or ‘cable connection’ is subject to interference! Peter had already experienced a seen-object, a 'panoramic picture' very clearly, and now the real-thing was similar.
When they both had come through the first prison-guard and then the second prison-guard, they came to the iron gate which led into the city, and a wing of this gate was caused to open spontaneously (self acting, moved without their help) to/for them. Then they went out and went forward one narrow street or laneway – and straightaway the angel stood away from Peter.
[Note: verbs with a superscript 2 (2) immediately following them indicate the "perfect" tense - details are provided in the "Relevant Notes" link of this study.]
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