Chapter Twelve — Part Four: The Book of Acts

By: Pastors Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne

Publish date: 01/09/2022

Foundation Scriptures:
Acts 12:20-25

1. Herod’s Arrogance.
a. Acts 12:20a NKJV — Now Herod had been very angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon…
b. Herod was very angry (furious, fighting mad) with Tyre and Sidon.  
c. Very angry (Greek thymomacheō)—to be exasperated; be highly displeased.
d. This is the only place in the New Testament that this word is used.
e. Acts 12:20a AMPC — Now [Herod] cherished bitter animosity and hostility for the people of Tyre and Sidon…
f. The reason he was so furious is not explained.
g. Acts 12:20b AMPC — …and [their deputies] came to him in a united body, and having made Blastus the king’s chamberlain their friend…
h. Blastus was Herod’s chamberlain—in charge of his bed chamber—and a trusted and influential member of his inner circle.
i. They evidently joined together, made friends with Blastus, and gave him some kind of bribe to pacify Herod on their behalf.
j. Acts 12:20 AMPC — …they asked for peace, because their country was nourished by and depended on the king’s [country] for food.
k. These two nations were equal subjects of the Romans with the inhabitants of Galilee.
l. Herod could not go to war with them, but he could cut off their food supplies, which was a cruel thing to do.
m. They were dependent on the surrounding countries for food and trade, so it was essential for them to make peace with Herod.
n. Blastus did his part and convinced Herod to meet with their delegation.

2. Idolatry.
a. Acts 12:21 NKJV — So on a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat on his throne and gave an oration to them.
b. Josephus, the Jewish historian, says that the occasion was a festival honoring Claudius Caesar.
c. Herod, arrayed in his finest royal robes, gave a grand speech.
d. The Tyre and Sidon delegation were there, and for the sake of their bellies (the supply of food they vitally needed) prepared to curry his favor through flattery.
e. Acts 12:22 NKJV — And the people kept shouting, “The voice of a god and not of a man!”
f. The crowd deliberately played on Herod’s huge ego, committing idolatry by calling him a god, and he gladly encouraged and received this false worship.

3. God’s Justice.
a. Acts 12:23a NKJV — Then immediately an angel of the Lord struck him, because he did not give glory to God.
b. Immediately, on the spot, the angel of the Lord struck him.
c. Struck (Greek patassō)—to strike; to smite down; cut down; to kill; slay.
d. Herod was guilty of many serious transgressions before God.
e. Through his arrogance and his actions, he made himself an enemy of God.
f. God requires that we love and serve Him and that we also love, serve, and do right by others.
g. Mark 12:30-31 NKJV — And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment.  31 And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
h. When someone treats his neighbor with contempt, God takes it personally.
i. Jesus told us that however we treat our neighbor, He counts it is as though we are doing it to Him (Matt. 25:34-46).
j. Herod committed multiple sins—his lawlessness, iniquity, cruelty, anger, and arrogance brought down the judgment of God upon his own head.
k. God executed swift judgment on Herod because, in his supreme arrogance, he received for himself the glory reserved only for God.
l. Isaiah 42:8 AMPC — I am the Lord; that is My name! And My glory I will not give to another, nor My praise to graven images.
m. Acts 12:23b NKJV — And he was eaten by worms and died.
n. This word, “worms” (Greek skōlēkobrōtos) in the Bible, is only used here.
o. Josephus records that Herod was that day afflicted by a bowel disease, to which he succumbed five days later.
p. Herod died (Greek ekpsychō)—gave up the ghost; yielded up the ghost; to expire; to breathe out one’s life.
q. This word is only used here and when referring to the deaths of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:5,10).
r. Herod was unable to kill Peter but was killed by Peter’s God.
s. The Word of God tells us that the man of perdition we refer to as the antichrist, will also have this same attitude as Herod—a man full of iniquity, with an outsize ego and supreme arrogance (just like his father, the devil).
t. But Jesus will return to judge and condemn him and his followers (Rev. 19:11-21).

4. The Word of God Grew.
a. When God’s people obey His commands and pray for His help, He always comes through for them.
b. Acts 12:24 NKJV — But the word of God grew and multiplied.
c. Acts 12:24 AMPC — But the Word of the Lord [concerning the attainment through Christ of salvation in the kingdom of God] continued to grow and spread.
d. Grew/grow (Greek auxanō)—grow; cause to grow; grow up; increase; give the increase; become greater.
e. Multiply (Greek plēthynō)—to increase or be increased; to multiply; to abound.
f. The devil kept on trying to stamp out the preaching of the Gospel, but it only grew and multiplied and spread!
g. Acts 12:25 NKJV — And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem when they had fulfilled their ministry, and they also took with them John whose surname was Mark.
h. After Paul and Barnabas, completed their mission of bringing relief to the saints in Judea (Acts 11:27-30), they returned to their mission field in Antioch, taking John Mark with them.