Christian Challenge International
From: "Pastor Buddy Martin" <Bro.Buddy@ChristianChallenge.org>
Date sent: Thu, 26 Sep 2002 18:06:11 -0500
Subject: [HF] Act026 - Acts
11:27 - 12:25 The First Apostle Goes Home
In reading Acts it is easy to get the idea that things are happening in
rapid succession. But this simply isn't the case. We have already covered
years of church history. Acts covers roughly thirty-five years.
Think about it --- If the apostles were about the same age as Jesus,
Lord was crucified at age thirty-three, this means the apostles are now
years old. When we complete Acts, the apostles will be over sixty years
Let's continue ...
In our last study of Acts we found that the name 'Christian' had been
new covenant believers. We also saw where the Old Testament prophet said
God's people would be given a new name. However the name Christian took
to complete its rounds. The early Jewish believers in Judea were generally
as 'the sect of the Nazarenes.'
Where are we now in the history of the early Church? Cornelius came to
about seven years after Pentecost. A great movement has taken hold in
Barnabas brings Saul to Antioch, and they teach in the Church there for a
The beginning of this study will put us at about eight years after
will extend itself to about eleven years after Pentecost.
This is Act026 - Acts
11:27 thru 12:25 The First Apostle Goes Home.
11:27-30: " Now at this time some prophets came down from
Antioch. One of them named Agabus stood up and began to indicate by the
that there would certainly be a great famine all over the world. And this
place in the reign of Claudius. And in the proportion that any of the
had means, each of them determined to send a contribution for the relief
brethren living in Judea. And this they did, sending it in charge of
and Saul to the elders."
... The role of the early church prophet was not only to expound on the
prophetic mysteries of the former testament, they were also gifted to
future events. They were forthtellers with an additional gift of
is known that the prophets during that time were relatively itinerate in
they traveled from place to place. Some historians seem to think that
one of the seventy disciples that Jesus had sent out.
.... Agabus speaks of a famine about to descend on all the world. A
ancient secular writers speak of this famine, including Josephus. Josephus
that it was especially hard on Judea. It is quite possible that this
a judgment from God. But the believers were to the be prepared beforehand.
church in Antioch sent contributions to Jerusalem by Barnabas and Saul.
12:1,2: "Now about that time Herod the king laid hands on some
to the church in order to mistreat them. And he had James the brother of
put to death with a sword."
.... This statement fixes our time frame in the early part of 44 a.d.,
the date of Herod's death. (About eleven years after Pentecost.) Once
see spaces of time in the book of Acts.
.... Troublesome times were on the Church. About the time Barnabas and
brought the contribution to Jerusalem, Herod put the apostle James to
a sword. Herod was taking over the wishes of the Sanhedrin.
.... Death by the sword was one of the most disgraceful of capital
allowed by the Jews. It was usually reserved for those considered to be
deceivers of the people. In later Talmudic writings, Jesus is spoken of as
deceiver in Israel.' If you recall, after the burial of Jesus, the chief
Pharisees said to Pilate, "Sir, we remember that when He was still
deceiver said, ' After three days I am to rise again.' Therefore, give
the grave to be made secure until the third day, otherwise His disciples
come and steal Him away and say to the people, 'He has risen from the
and the last deception will be worse than the first." (Matt27:63,64)
"When he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter
also. Now it was during the days of Unleavened Bread. When he had seized
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. So Peter
kept in the prison, but prayer for him was being made fervently by the
.... Herod took advantage of this feast to give the Jewish leadership a
present. The leadership was especially happy to see Peter placed in
course Peter was familiar with the prison. He had been there before. So he
settles for a night's sleep. The man Peter doesn't seem to be worried for
.... This took place during Passover. Four quads would be sixteen
Seems everyone remembered that this man Peter had been delivered out of
before. Four soldiers were assigned to Peter on each watch. He would be
to two soldiers, and the other two kept watch outside the cell.
.... God's peoples throughout the city were praying fervently for
was a moment of crisis for the church. One apostle had been beheaded.
was waiting the same judgment.
Rather than comment on each verse, let me give a brief synopsis on
Peter's deliverance by an angel. An angel of the God appears and light
Peter's cell. What is Peter doing? He is sleeping. The angel strikes Peter
the side to awaken him. He is told to gird himself and put on his sandals.
thought he was dreaming. The chains fall off. They walked out of the
past the guards, and then out of the city gate. The huge iron gate opens
itself. Peter then goes to the house of John Mark's mother, Mary. After
astonishment, Peter motions for them to be silent. He says, "Report
to James and the Brethren." Peter then leaves for another place.
"Now when day came, there was no small disturbance among the soldiers
as to what could have become of Peter. When Herod had searched for him and
not found him, he examined the guards and ordered that they be led away to
execution. Then he went down from Judea to Caesarea and was spending time
.... Here we see the severity of Herod. Herod would kill anyone who got
way, or who questioned him. He was of a vile temper. Herod actually
own wife, Mariamne. In addition he murdered Mariamne's mother and his own
sons. There was a common saying that it was better to be Herod's pig than
.... It should also be noted that the rule of Rome for soldiers was, if
a prisoner escape, you forfeit your life for his. In this case it wasn't
Herod's vile temper, but also the following of the rule of Rome.
"Now he was very angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon; and with
accord they came to him, and having won over Blastus the king's
they were asking for peace, because their country was fed by the king's
On an appointed day Herod, having put on his royal apparel, took his seat
rostrum and began delivering an address to them. The people kept crying
'The voice of a god and not of a man!' And immediately an angel of the
struck him because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by
.... The Jewish historian Josephus says that Herod's apparel was of
when the early morning sun hit it, it sent out brilliant rays. This was
reason for their outcry in saying Herod was a god. But there was another
-- Herod struck fear into anyone he was around. The cry was a desperate at
flattery. Of course Herod took it to himself.
.... Josephus records this incident and says that the angel appeared in
of an owl. But the Christian historian Eusebuis, says Herod looked up and
angel sitting over his head. The angel smote him with a disease. What was
cause? Herod took to himself the glory that belonged to God alone. But it
also time to avenge God's servants of whom Herod had dared to touch.
"But the word of the Lord continued to grow and to be multiplied. And
Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem when they had fulfilled their
taking along with them John, who was also called Mark."
.... This is where we can see the truth in what the prophet said;
that is formed against you will prosper; and every tongue that accuses you
judgment you will condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the
their vindication is from Me,' declares the LORD." (Isaiah
.... After the death of Herod, believers became even more vocal in
declaration of Jesus as Messiah, and many more converts were added to the
The opposition was losing ground.
.... Barnabas and Saul returned to Antioch. They take John Mark with
here we are about to enter into another chapter of history.
The study is open. Dialogue and questions are invited.
Shalom in Christ,
Lawrence E. (Buddy) Martin, HF Host
"See to it that no one comes short of the grace
of God; that no root of bitterness springing up
causes trouble, and by it many be defiled." (Heb12:15)
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