by Harley Howard

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The Book of Acts Chapter 12 (24 of 44)
Dr. Harley Howard

So far in our study of Acts we see that the Church of
Jesus Christ continued to grow in mass, not only among
the population of the Jews, but now, the church was
involved directly in Gentile evangelism. The initial
Gentile ministry began with Peter, then unknown named
brethren were preaching to the Greeks, and in Antioch
we saw Barnabas and Saul teaching for at least one
year, ministering to multitudes of people. As the
church continued to grow, so did the persecution
against it. Although it has been some time since we
saw any persecution in our study, it would be foolish
to believe that it did not continue to some degree.
We will see now the persecution of the church from
Gentile leaders.

There is a very important first that we need to make
mention here. This is the first time that a Gentile
leader, a member of the Herod's family in particular,
was involved in persecution against the church. Let's
look at this.

1 Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth
his hands to vex certain of the church.
2 And he killed James the brother of John with the
3 And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he
proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the
days of unleavened bread.)

The first person that we are introduced to in this
chapter is Herod the king. A little history is
needful at this juncture. The Herod of this chapter
is Agrippa I or Herod the 1st (born in 10 B.C.), the
grandson of Herod the Great and the son of
Aristobulus. After his father's execution in 7 B.C.,
he was sent with his mother Bernice to Rome, where he
grew up on intimate terms with the imperial family. In
his youth he was something of a playboy, and in A.D.
23 he went so heavily into debt that he had to flee to
Idumea to escape his creditors. Later he received
asylum at Tiberias and a pension from his uncle Herod
Antipas, with whom, how ...

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