Category Archives: Persecution

The Death of Agrippa

It is interesting as we come to the end of Acts 12 that Herod should die at the hand of God. Josephus, who never puts Agrippa in a bad light, seems to agree, in that Herod, himself, sees an owl as an omen from God announcing his death [Josephus: Antiquities 19.8.2]. Therefore, although put in different words, Josephus and Luke agree that God killed Herod, because he accepted without rebuke the praise of the people saying he was a god! Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on October 16, 2012 in Agrippa, Persecution


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Agrippa Abode in Caesarea

According to Josephus, the Jewish historian in the 1st century CE, Herod Agrippa of Acts 12 “loved to live continually at Jerusalem” and each day offered the prescribed sacrifice of Israel’s king [Josephus: Antiquities 19.7.3]. If this is true, then his leaving for Caesarea should be taken as an indication of his embarrassment over Peter’s escape (cp. Acts 12:19). Certainly, it should be understood that Agrippa would leave Jerusalem from time to time to conduct civil business that needed personal attention that was impossible to accommodate from Jerusalem, but Josephus says his normal abode was in Jerusalem. Yet, Luke claims that Agrippa left Jerusalem and abode in Caesarea (Acts 12:19). Josephus says this occurred when Agrippa was three years into his reign over Jerusalem [Antiquities 19.8.2]. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on October 14, 2012 in Agrippa, Persecution


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Mary, the Mother of Mark

Upper Room - 1

from Google Images

As soon as Peter understood that he was not having a vision but was actually delivered from Herod’s sword (Acts 12:11), he went to the home of Mary, the mother of John Mark (Acts 12:12)! Something we should notice, and it can be disconcerting, is that the Gospel writers, including Luke’s work in Acts, simply mention a name, often without any other detail that would help us identify the person named. Who is Mary, the mother of Mark, and why would she be so important that her home is  Peter’s first choice to visit, before he flees Jerusalem?  This particular Mary has Peter’s trust to tell James, the Lord’s brother, and anyone else that needed to know Peter’s whereabouts (Acts 12:13-17)? Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on October 12, 2012 in Kingdom of God, Persecution


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Herod’s Official Story about Peter?

Peter's Escape

from Google Images

After the death of James, Agrippa turned his attention toward Peter (Acts 12:3), the apparent leader of the Messianic movement in Jerusalem. Luke tells us that Agrippa realized that “the Jews” (read the powerful Annas family) were pleased with what he had done with John’s brother, James (Acts 12:1-3), and, being the man-pleaser that he was (see Antiquities 19.7.3),  Agrippa then made it his business to vex the Church of God and seized Peter, intending to execute him after the Passover feast days (Acts 12:3). Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on October 10, 2012 in Herod Agrippa, Persecution


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Persecution Renewed Under Agrippa

Herod Agrippa, the father of King Agrippa of Acts 25 and 26, is mentioned by Luke as beginning the second phase of the official Jerusalem persecution against believing Jews. Claudius Caesar had made him king over all the lands of his grandfather, Herod the Great, in order to calm the unrest in Rome’s eastern frontier province of Syria, which included Judea. Caligula had recently brought Rome and Jerusalem to the brink of war, so the new emperor wanted to smooth over Rome’s relations with the Jews and did so by making Agrippa king of the Jews. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on October 8, 2012 in Agrippa, Persecution


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Jesus and Raising the Dead

In Acts 9:36-43 we have Luke’s recording of the miracle of Peter raising Tabitha or Dorcas from the dead. This is the first account of anyone after Christ raising anyone from the dead, which causes me to wonder why the believers at Joppa would believe Peter should be called to raise up this woman who did so many good works. What would cause them to believe that Peter could raise up Tabitha? I am not alone in believing that they had sent for Peter before Tabitha died. Otherwise, why tell Peter to hurry. Jesus didn’t hurry to raise up Lazarus, so, if Tabitha had already died, why would it be necessary for Peter to hurry? In any case what Jesus did through Peter here, he also did through Paul at Acts 20:9-12; but what does all this mean—what is Luke telling us, or more immediately his addressee, Theophilus? Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on August 30, 2012 in Persecution


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The Power of God to Heal

In Acts 9:32-35 we have an account of Peter healing an impotent man. He lay in his bed paralyzed, unable to walk and perhaps unable to even use his arms. I believe this account and the next miracle immediately following is very important for Luke’s message in that these are the final recorded miracles performed by Jesus through Peter in Acts. Paul performed a similar miracle at Lystra in Asia in Acts 14:8 and following. What are we to think of these things? What is Luke telling us? Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on August 23, 2012 in Gospel, Persecution


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The Churches of God Were Multiplied

Luke concludes Acts 9:31 with the words: “…[the churches throughout all Judea, Samaria and Galilee], walking in the fear of the Lord and the comfort of the Holy Spirit, were multiplied.” Months ago I had shared what I believed to be the manner in which Luke had written Acts. I believe he wrote Acts in 6 submissions, which can be categorized into three themes of two parts each. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on August 18, 2012 in Persecution, Temple of God


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Building up the Church

Luke uses three phrases to make up Acts 9:31. We spoke of the first phrase: “Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria…” in my previous blog, showing how the churches of God had obtained rest from their persecution. I will speak of the second “…and were edified…” in this one, and hope to speak of the third “…and, walking in the fear of the Lord and the comfort of the Holy Spirit, were multiplied” in my next blog. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on August 17, 2012 in Persecution, Temple of God


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From Where Did the Church Gain Rest?

Luke writes in Acts 9:31 that the churches throughout all Judea, Samaria and Galilee had rest. Rest from what? It seems to me that he speaks of the persecution that had begun in Jerusalem in Acts 8:1. Luke has this rest occur immediately following his account of Paul’s leaving Jerusalem for his own city of Tarsus in Syria-Cilicia. Nevertheless, this rest from persecution could not, as some seem to believe, to arise out of Paul’s ceasing to persecute the believing community. First of all Paul had already ceased his persecuting the Church for three years; and secondly, his persecution seemed to have been limited to Jerusalem and his going to Damascus, because the rest of the churches of Judea didn’t know him personally (Galatians 1:22). So, what was responsible for the **rest** that the Church experienced in Acts 9:31? Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on August 16, 2012 in Persecution


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How Long Did Paul Persecute Believers?

Life of Paul

from Google Images

The Hellenist Messianic Jews were scattered abroad going into regions of Samaria and Judea (Acts 8:1) and then to more distant lands such as Phoenicia, Cyprus, Cyrene and Antioch (Acts 11:19-20). Paul pursued them to wherever it became known they were (Acts 26:11). In order for Paul to pursue the Hellenistic Messianic Jews to foreign cities, two things are implied. First, letters had to have been sent out from Jerusalem to those synagogues outside Judea to beware of this Messianic sect that had so little regard for the Temple, meaning the name of God (cf. Acts 28:21). Secondly, it would have to be known by those in Jerusalem that wanted Messianic Jews had traveled to such cities. Otherwise it would be like looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack. Therefore, news had to have been brought back to Jerusalem such cities alerting the high priest that these Messianic Jews had come there and were spreading the Gospel in their synagogues (Acts 26:11), before someone such as Saul would journey there.[1] Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on February 1, 2011 in Paul's Conversion, Persecution


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When did Paul go to Damascus?

Coin of Pontius Pilate. For black and white tr...
Image via Wikipedia

In Acts 8:1 we are told that Saul (Paul) consented to Stephen’s death. This may indicate that he was a member of the Sanhedrin and was perhaps a prosecuting attorney. However, I’ll pursue this possibility in another blog. For now I wish to focus upon the year of his mission to afflict the Messianic believers at Damascus. It is worthy of note that the Apostles were not persecuted. Why was this so? The only logical answer, as far as I can see, is that it was only that branch of the church to which Stephen belonged that was persecuted. The Grecian or Hellenistic Messianic believers had separated under good terms from the main body of Palestinian Messianic believers (Acts 6:1-6). Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on January 30, 2011 in Paul's journey to Damascus, Persecution


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