Do you believe in angels? Have you ever met one? Do you believe in fervent prayer? Miracles? Many times, we say we do, other times, we have witnessed enchanted signs like Pharaoh’s magicians performed. In Acts chapter 12, we learn that it was Passover/ the Feast of Unleavened Bread–a week-long festival. Peter, an apostle of Yeshua, is in prison. He is chained between two soldiers. This is a holding cell until he is brought before the people and executed.
“And about that time, Herod the king put forth his hands, to do evil to certain of those of the assembly, and he killed James, the brother of John, with the sword, and having seen that it is pleasing to the Jews, he added to lay hold of Peter also — and they were the days of the unleavened food — whom also having seized, he did put in prison, having delivered [him] to four quaternions of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him forth to the people.” (Acts 12:1-4).
It’s been about two years since Yeshua’s death, resurrection, and ascension, and Peter has seen a lot in that short period. Now James, the brother of John, has been decapitated. One would think it would be difficult to sleep while handcuffed between two Roman soldiers, but Peter sleeps so well he has to be poked in the side by an angel to awaken him. Is he exhausted, or has he come to terms with drinking the cup that Yeshua drank? Our Yeshua was pierced in his side.
Herod and the long list of Herodians are much like Pharaoh. They kill babies. They both think they are gods. They seek to destroy Abba’s people, and they love to see signs and wonders. They keep people bound in prison. They seek magicians. They reside in our gatherings today. And they have no fear of Adonai. If you look at their fruit, you should be able to see, but even our thoughts give birth to fruit, and we need to be inspecting our own fruit to see if its rotten or good. “Hear, O earth; behold, I will bring evil on this people, the fruit of their thoughts. For they have not listened to My words and My law, they also rejected it” (Jeremiah 6:19). Herod had thoughts about Yeshua:
“Now Herod was very glad when he saw Jesus; for he had wanted to see Him for a long time, because he had been hearing about Him and was hoping to see some sign performed by Him“ (Luke 23:8).
“Now the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, “When Pharaoh speaks to you, saying, ‘Work a miracle,‘ then you shall say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and throw it down before Pharaoh, that it may become a serpent.'” (Exodus 7:9).
Peter is being guarded in prison. “Four soldiers formed a quaternion; four quaternions therefore were sixteen men who were especially appointed to guard Peter.” It looks impossible for him to escape. This is how the enemy and the thoughts of our mind keep us in bondage, chained to death.
The book of Acts tells us that fervent prayer was being made for Peter.
“On the very night when Herod was about to bring him forward, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and guards in front of the door were watching over the prison. And behold, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared, and a light shone in the cell; and he struck Peter’s side and woke him up, saying, “Get up quickly. And his chains fell off his hands. And the angel said to him, “Gird yourself and put on your sandals.” And he did so. And he said to him, “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.” (Acts 12:6-8, NASB).
Get up quickly.
Gird yourself and put on your sandals.
Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.
This sounds very close to words found in Exodus.
“Now you shall eat it in this manner: with your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste—it is the LORD’S Passover.” (Exodus 12:11).
The Israelites had a long journey ahead of them. The smell of death was over Egypt. The screams of mothers awakening to loss. His people were to get their shoes on, gird their loins, gird their minds, and in haste make their way out of this place of darkness. Eating food fast doesn’t convey what this passage is clearly about.
Strong’s Hebrew 2649: 1) hurriedly, in haste, trepidation, hurried flight.
Peter is to be ready, girded, and leaving the prison in haste, a hurried flight.
“And he went out and continued to follow, and he did not know that what was being done by the angel was real but thought he saw a vision. When they had passed the first and second guard, they came to the iron gate that leads into the city, which opened for them by itself; and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel departed from him. 11When Peter came to himself, he said, “Now I know for sure that the Lord has sent forth His angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.” (Acts 15:9-11, NASB).
Just as an angel of death comes over Egypt, an angel of light, the Lamb of God, comes over Israel.
“Then the angel of God, who had been traveling in front of Israel’s army, withdrew and went behind them. The pillar of cloud also moved from in front and stood behind them, coming between the armies of Egypt and Israel. Throughout the night the cloud brought darkness to the one side and light to the other side; so neither went near the other all night long.”-Exodus 14:19-20.
“Behold, I am going to send an angel before you to guard you along the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared. 21 “Be on your guard before him and obey his voice; do not be rebellious toward him, for he will not pardon your transgression, since My name is in him.” (Exodus 23:20-21, NASB).
Let’s get back to Peter and his arrival at the house of Miriam, the mother of John, where many had been praying fervently for him, and look at the next verse closely.
“When he knocked at the door of the gate, a servant-girl named Rhoda (rose tree/ Rose bush) came to answer. When she recognized Peter’s voice, because of her joy she did not open the gate, but ran in and announced that Peter was standing in front of the gate. They said to her, “You are out of your mind!” But she kept insisting that it was so. They kept saying, “It is his angel.” But Peter continued knocking; and when they had opened the door, they saw him and were amazed. But motioning to them with his hand to be silent, he described to them how the Lord had led him out of the prison.” (Acts 12:12-17).
What an interesting passage. Many times in scripture, it is the servant girls who are full of joy and who have great faith. A little servant girl told her master Naaman about the prophet Elisha and how he could be healed. I believe His handmaidens and servant girls are running to announce! They are not announcing that ‘Peter’ (pebble, a little stone) is at the gate, but that Yeshua Messiah is at the gate! These women are coming out to their posts, and their voices are going forth. Many in the assemblies call them mentally ill or out of their minds. They will tell them that they have seen ‘a ghost’ a spirit of Messiah, but Messiah will continue knocking on their hearts and minds. His Holy Ruach Spirit wants to come into the house and minister.
With great JOY, these handmaidens and servants will run with the message–the Good News. Look for them! They have an aroma; it is the aroma of a rose bush. They have been pierced with his thorns. They have drunk from his cup, and they have waited, praying fervently to see his face.
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come into him and will dine with him, and he with Me. He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne’” (Revelations 3:20-21, NASB).
Remember, it is not just the priest, pastors, Rabbi’s, and teachers who are being used in this hour. Let’s look at the order.
“‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams;
18even on my male servants and female servants
in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.” (Acts 2:17-18—Joel 2:28-29).
Look for the prophesying maidservants. Look for Rhoda and taste her joy—inhale the rose bush with its thorns. Rhoda was told that she was “OUT OF HER MIND!” by those praying to see a miracle.
May we have the mind of Yeshua, Messiah. May we see and hear what Rhoda did.
Open the door– He is knocking. Make ready, prepare, a King is coming, yes, a King is here.