Tuesday, April 19, 2011

What Was Herod Celebrating? Acts 12:4

My dad taught me that when reading the Bible pay attention to what it says; but equally, and in some cases, more importantly, pay attention to what it doesn't say.  This can be a rather tricky statement, but a very wise and common sense one as well.  So let's apply this to the verse that contains the much debated word Easter.  Keep in mind, we have all been taught that Easter is the correct word because Herod was celebrating his pagan/Easter feast.  Let's read this verse carefully.

Acts 12:4 And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.

Notice carefully what this verse DOES NOT say: it does not say Herod was celebrating anything.  It simply states that he was going to bring Peter to the Jews after this thing rendered Easter in our English Bible.  Here is a modern day example of this verse: Pretend you were married last Saturday, then left on your honeymoon on Sunday and will return home this coming Saturday.  Let's also pretend you and I are business partners and I have some business to discuss with you.  It could be then said that I am intending after the honeymoon to discuss the business item with you.  Question: does this mean I am celebrating the honeymoon?  Of course not.  All the statement says is that I am waiting until after a particular time to speak to you; this is the same thing Acts 12:4 says.

If we compare scripture with scripture we know that the Jewish religious leaders were married with the Roman government (John 19:15).  We know from the crucifixion that they have a custom to release a prisoner to the Jews (John 18:39).  We also know that the Roman government 'respected' the Jewish celebration of days as witnessed by their listening to the Jews concerning leaving bodies on the cross on the Sabbath in preparation for the Passover (John 19:31).  When we take all of this into consideration, we can ask the question "Would Herod be willing to keep Peter in prison until after the Jews finished their feast during the days of unleavened bread?"  The answer is yes.

So ask yourself: was Herod waiting until after his party, or the Jews party?  Clearly from scripture, the Jews party.


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