Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Acts 12:10

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

The first and - second ward - It is supposed that ancient Jerusalem was surrounded by three walls: if so, then passing through the gates of these three walls successively is possibly what is meant by the expression in the text. The prison in which he was confined might have been that which was at the outer wall.

Iron gate - This was in the innermost wall of the three, and was strongly plated over with iron, for the greater security. In the east, the gates are often thus secured to the present day. Pitts says so of the gates of Algiers; and Pocock, of some near Antioch. Perhaps this is all that is meant by the iron gate. One of the quaternions of soldiers was placed at each gate.

Which opened - of his own accord - Influenced by the unseen power of the angel.

The angel departed from him - Having brought him into a place in which he no longer needed his assistance. What is proper to God he always does: what is proper to man he requires him to perform.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

The first and second ward - The word which is here rendered “ward” φυλακήν phulakēnproperly denotes “the act of guarding”; but it is most commonly used to denote “a prison, or place of confinement.” In this place it seems to denote the guard itself - the soldiers stationed at intervals in the entrance into the prison. These were passed silently, probably a deep sleep having been sent on them to facilitate the escape of Peter.

The iron gate - The outer gate, Secured with iron, as the doors of prisons are now.

That leadeth unto the city - Or rather into εἰς eisthe city. The precise situation of the prison is unknown. It is supposed by some (compare Lightfoot on this place) that the prison was between two walls of the city, and that the entrance to the prison was immediately from the inner wall, so that the gate opened directly into the city.

Of his own accord - Itself. It opened spontaneously, without the application of any force or key, thus showing conclusively that Peter was delivered by miraculous interposition.

And passed on through one street - Until Peter was entirely safe from any danger of pursuit, and then the angel left him. God had effected his complete rescue, and now left him to his own efforts as usual.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
A peaceful conscience, a lively hope, and the consolations of the Holy Spirit, can keep men calm in the full prospect of death; even those very persons who have been most distracted with terrors on that account. God's time to help, is when things are brought to the last extremity. Peter was assured that the Lord would cause this trial to end in the way that should be most for his glory. Those who are delivered out of spiritual imprisonment must follow their Deliverer, like the Israelites when they went out of the house of bondage. They knew not whither they went, but knew whom they followed. When God will work salvation for his people, all difficulties in their way will be overcome, even gates of iron are made to open of their own accord. This deliverance of Peter represents our redemption by Christ, which not only proclaims liberty to the captives, but brings them out of the prison-house. Peter, when he recollected himself, perceived what great things God had done for him. Thus souls delivered out of spiritual bondage, are not at first aware what God has wrought in them; many have the truth of grace, that want evidence of it. But when the Comforter comes, whom the Father will send, sooner or later, he will let them know what a blessed change is wrought.
Ellen G. White
The Voice in Speech and Song, 393

When, a few years afterward, I was speaking in general meetings, I met this man again, and at the close of my discourse he asked, “How did you get that wonderful voice?” I told him that the Lord had given it to me. When I began my public labors, I had no voice, except when I stood before the congregations to speak. At other times I could not speak above a whisper. “And,” I added, “I have often thought of what you said to the people when someone asked you how you became a minister. You told them that your friends said you could never be a minister, because you could not speak properly; but that you went away by yourself and talked to the trees in the woods; and then when driving the oxen, you would talk to them just as if you were in meeting. ‘This,’ you said, ‘is the way I learned to speak in public. “”—Manuscript 91, 1903. VSS 393.1

Divine Aid in Speaking—The following day I was ill, and very weak. The cold had taken a firm hold on my system. I doubted if I should be able to speak on the morrow. However, I ventured to allow the brethren to make an appointment for me to address the people Sabbath forenoon. I made the Lord my entire dependence; for I knew that unless He should be my helper, I could not speak more than a few words. My throat and head were greatly troubled. I was so hoarse that I could scarcely speak aloud. VSS 393.2

Sabbath morning I felt no better. At the appointed hour, I went over to the chapel, and found it crowded. I feared I should fail, but began talking. The moment I began to speak, strength was imparted. I was relieved of hoarseness, and spoke without difficulty for nearly an hour. My illness seemed to disappear, and my mind was clear. As soon as I finished speaking, the hoarseness came upon me again, and I began coughing and sneezing as before. VSS 394.1

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Ellen G. White
The Acts of the Apostles, 143-9

This chapter is based on Acts 12:1-23.

“Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church.” The government of Judea was then in the hands of Herod Agrippa, subject to Claudius, the Roman emperor. Herod also held the position of tetrarch of Galilee. He was professedly a proselyte to the Jewish faith, and apparently very zealous in carrying out the ceremonies of the Jewish law. Desirous of obtaining the favor of the Jews, hoping thus to make secure his offices and honors, he proceeded to carry out their desires by persecuting the church of Christ, spoiling the houses and goods of the believers, and imprisoning the leading members of the church. He cast James, the brother of John, into prison, and sent an executioner to kill him with the sword, as another Herod had caused the prophet John to be beheaded. Seeing that the Jews were well pleased with these efforts, he imprisoned Peter also. AA 143.1

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Ellen G. White
Evangelism, 581

Now from the light given me of God, I know that as a people we have not improved our opportunities for educating and training the youth. We should teach them how to read and understand the Scriptures. Wherever there is a Biblical institute for ministers and people, we should, in connection with it, organize a class for the youth. Their names should be registered. All should feel the importance of the scheme of educating the youth to understand the Scriptures. Let the work be taken hold of in the very simplicity of the truth itself. Lead the minds of the youth from truth to truth, up higher and higher, showing them how scripture interprets scripture, one passage being the key to other passages. Thus the Scripture itself will be the educating power, holding the thoughts in captivity to Christ.—Letter 27a, 1892. Ev 581.1

Children's Meetings in Evangelistic Efforts—The third angel is flying in the midst of heaven and bears on his banner the inscription, “The commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.” In every place where the tent is pitched earnest efforts should be made from the first to preach the gospel to the poor and to heal the sick. The work of giving spiritual sight to the blind has added many souls to our number of such as shall be saved. Ev 581.2

Meetings for the children should be held, not merely to educate and entertain them, but that they may be converted. And this will come to pass. If we exercise faith in God we shall be enabled to point them to the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. All who attend our large gatherings are to be labored for. The high and the low, the rich and the poor, are to be reached by this class of labor.—Manuscript 6, 1900. Ev 582.1

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Ellen G. White
The Story of Redemption, 292-7

This chapter is based on Acts 12:1-23.

Herod was professedly a proselyte to the Jewish faith, and apparently very zealous in perpetuating the ceremonies of the law. The government of Judea was in his hands, subject to Claudius, the Roman emperor; he also held the position of tetrarch of Galilee. Herod was anxious to obtain the favor of the Jews, hoping thus to make secure his offices and honors. He therefore proceeded to carry out the desires of the Jews in persecuting the church of Christ. He began his work by spoiling the houses and goods of the believers; he then began to imprison the leading ones. He seized upon James and cast him into prison, and there sent an executioner to kill him with a sword, as another Herod had caused the prophet John to be beheaded. He then became bolder, seeing that the Jews were well pleased with his acts, and imprisoned Peter. These cruelties were performed during the sacred occasion of the Passover. SR 292.1

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