- Acts 12:6-10
- Acts 12:6 (KJB)
- And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was
sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before
the door kept the prison.
- Since they probably heard how the apostles escaped from prison, they
were taking no chances on keeping Peter from any way of escaping. So to make
sure that this was escape proof, Peter was chained between two soldiers and
not only with one chain but with two chains. To double the security, there
were even guards outside the door in case somehow Peter was able to get
loose and make it to the door. Now if you notice that Peter was sleeping and
it seemed that he was calm about the entire situation. I am sure that he
heard of James being killed by Herod and the same fate probably awaited him.
However, Peter had one thing James did not and that was a promise that he
would live into his old age and then be martyred. (John 21:18 KJV)
Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst
thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old,
thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry
thee whither thou wouldest not. Peter knew what the
Lord Jesus had told him and knew that his time was not yet and that is why
- Acts 12:7 (KJB)
- And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light
shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him
up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands.
- Smote - To strike or hit hard
- Peter was now in prison for seven days and the church had been praying
for him. Then when it was God’s timing, He then dispatched an angel of the
Lord to the prison where Peter was being kept. The presence of the angel
caused a light to shine in the prison and then he proceeded to strike Peter
on the side and raised him up. The Lord must have given the angel the order
to strike him hard because throughout the earthly ministry of Jesus, we find
Peter sleeping in many situations and the Lord knew Peter was a sound
sleeper. As soon as the angel hit Peter and he arose, the chains fell off
from his hands. Whenever the Lord enters the scene, whatever binds us in our
Christian walk will be removed so we can be free to serve the Lord. This
scenario became the inspiration for the fourth stanza of Charles Wesley’s
famous Hymn, “And Can It Be” written in 1739.
- Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
fast bound in sin and nature's night;
thine eye diffused a quickening ray;
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
my chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed thee.
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed thee.
- Acts 12:8 (KJB)
- And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals. And
so he did. And he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, and follow
- Peter may have been still half asleep or thought he was seeing a vision
but the angel had to give him direction to get dressed and to follow him.
There was not one bit of unrest in that prison. It seems that the Lord had
caused the guards and everyone else at that time in the prison to be in a
deep sleep. No one saw the light and no one heard anything which was going
on in Peter’s cell. Peter then proceeded to follow the angel.
- Acts 12:9 (KJB)
- And he went out, and followed him; and wist not that it was true which
was done by the angel; but thought he saw a vision.
- Just as with the vision he experienced in the episode with Cornelius, at
this time he thought that he was experiencing another vision. He did not
know that was happening to him was real and that he was being released from
prison. He probably though that once the vision was completed, he would be
back in the cell chained to the two soldiers.
- Acts 12:10 (KJB)
- When they were past the first and the second ward, they came unto the
iron gate that leadeth unto the city; which opened to them of his own
accord: and they went out, and passed on through one street; and forthwith
the angel departed from him.
- Herod had made sure that there was no way Peter would escape. Not only
did he have guards placed strategically inside the prison, he had them
stationed outside the prison. As they went past the outer guards, they came
to an iron gate which was probably very heavy and maybe needed two men to
open and close it. When they approached it, it opened on its own accord
which means that the power of God had opened it for them to pave the way for
their escape. Peter and the angel had now made it to the street and once
they were there, the angel had departed from Peter. Peter was probably held
in the Fortress of Antonia which Herod had built in honor of Mark Anthony.