Passing Through the Iron Gate

Together with the prophetic allegory in Genesis 45, this account in the 12th chapter of Acts had a significant impact on the way I read the Bible. What appears to be a historical account of a miraculous jail break is far more than just that!

The Backstory

Early in the Winter of 1991-92, my eyes were opening to some very profound biblical prophecies that revolved around the timing of the events. I was coming to a place where I humbly accepted that the theories I had long subscribed to were failing in the face of my increasingly critical examinations. One day, I was suddenly led to inquire about when the "rapture" (a term I still used back then) would occur relative to the seven year period of interest, and it was with a confidence in knowing that it was not as the seven began, and neither would it precede it. This leading was His prompting, and I simply asked the Lord to show me - and, without delay, that's what He began to do! He had been leading me in that memorable season in such a way that this awesome process had become a familiar routine.

He proceeded to take me through Genesis to see how Jacob's son Joseph pictured Y'shua in his first and second advent. I had known about types and shadows before but my new experience with that prophetic allegory revealed something far more comprehensive and illuminating than I had imagined. When the light shined so brightly upon the scene in Genesis 45 where Joseph finally revealed his identity to his brothers, I noted with great excitement that I was seeing a stunning foreview of the sealing of the 144,000 and their commissioning. It was verse 6 that caught my attention so forcibly, visibly standing out from the other text on the pages. I had come to the beginning of the answer He had prompted me to ask, about the timing of the resurrection event!

For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will not be plowing and reaping.

Genesis 45:6

At this point in the Famine week, Joseph revealed his identity to his brothers. Benjamin was acting as a special witness and I understood how he was a type of the church (more correctly, as I would later come to learn - the Bride) in her newly glorified body. As I was considering this profound insight, a verse came quite vividly to mind from the gospel of Luke.

It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night.

Luke 12:38

I thought, what if we're being informed that the master of these servants who are found ready actually does come in the second or third watch of the night, with the Lord Himself being that master? Genesis 45:6 had just been opened to me, and I suspected that a watch in the night might be a reference to a year in the Famine week, lending support to the cryptic testimony of Genesis. I began to explore the possibility, looking for examples that might validate that hypothesis. Reaching for my Strong's Concordance I found that the Greek word translated, watch, was, phulake. (Strongs #5438. phulake, foo-lak-ay'; from G5442; a guarding or (concr. guard), the act, the person; fig. the place, the condition, or (spec.) the time (as a division of day or night), lit. or fig.:--cage, hold, (im-) prison (-ment), ward, watch.) I scanned the page for other instances where, "second," or "third," appeared in connection with, phulake. I readily found Acts 12:10, and as I searched the context for a resurrection scenario and a commissioning I found both! I was elated, thrilled!

After learning about the way that the word, phulake, is used like a code, I used my Septuagint to track it through the Old Testament. In this way, the Lord led me to Psalm 90 and the insight documented in the study, The Great Seven is a Threefold Model.

The backstory is for me a testimony of the Lord's faithfulness to reveal those things that have been kept in reserve for these last days.

The Allegorical Jail Break

Ready? Here's the passage that's our primary interest in this first part of the study.

Now about that time Herod the king laid hands on some who belonged to the church in order to mistreat them. 2 And he had James the brother of John put to death with a sword. 3 When he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. Now it was during the days of Unleavened Bread. 4 When he had seized him, he put him in prison, delivering him to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out before the people. 5 So Peter was kept in the prison, but prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to God. 6 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. 7 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. 8 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.” 9 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 was seeing a vision. 10 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. 11 When 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 12:1-11

What happens is a veiled resurrection event, where Peter clothes himself as the mortal putting on immortality. The angel escorts Peter out of the prison-as-physical-world and they enter the city, of Jerusalem-as-New-Jerusalem, the heavenly city. This historical account is a spectacular prophetic allegory, hidden in plain sight! If you see it already, praise the Lord for opening your eyes to such radiant splendor! In this rather lengthy study we're going to explore some of the detail to learn more about the resurrection event and what happens in the context. What a privileged view we've been granted, friends!

As I shared in the opening paragraphs, my discovery of this prophetic allegory came as the Lord was guiding me very specifically. He opened to me the scene and setting of Genesis 45, then brought me into Acts 12:10 through Luke 12:38 to confirm when the resurrection of primary interest would happen. “They passed the first and second guards (phulake) and came to the iron gate leading to the city. ” Two years would pass and then it would be time for resurrection, in the spring of the third year of the seven. The point of contact with the understanding of the prophetic level of scripture was becoming clear:

C H R O N O L O G Y - Timing is the key!

The Framing of the Picture

It may be seen that Acts 12 fits into the book like a parenthetical insertion. The flow of the context is interrupted with regard to the mission of Barnabas and Saul. It begins with the last two verses of chapter 11, is followed by the prison release scenario, then picks up again with its conclusion in the 25th verse of chapter 12. Without chapter 12 verses 1-24, which contain absolutely no reference to Saul, Barnabas or their mission, the surrounding context would flow quite smoothly. But, as it is written, there is a not-so-subtle break in the literary flow. This literary device should arrest our attention. Here are the bracketing verses.

29 The disciples, each according to his ability, decided to provide help for the brothers living in Judea. 30 this they did, sending their gift to the elders by Barnabas and Saul.

Acts 11:29-30

When Barnabas and Saul had finished their mission, they returned from Jerusalem, taking with them John, also called Mark.

Acts 12:25

It's rather conspicuous, isn't it? You might assume that the events within the parenthesis happened during the time that Paul and Barnabas were away on this mission, but with no hint of an explanation offered in the context about why the flow is interrupted, all we can really say for certain is that it has thus been marked out for special attention. A parenthetical insertion can function like the setting of a picture in a frame. Framing provides structure but also serves the aesthetic, enhancing the impact and meaning of the artwork framed. This is how the parenthesis of Acts 12:1-24 can be understood, so let's give due attention to how it's framed in the context.

Chapters 10 and 11 verify that Gentiles have indeed been "grafted in" as members of the Body of Christ. Following this event, the outreach among the Gentiles expanded. Acts 11:26 states that the believers were called "Christians first in Antioch" and appears to wrap up the theme of the establishing of the Christian Church. Acts 11:27 and 28 begin a detailed portrayal of the last days of this period.

27 During this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28 One of them, named Agabus, stood up and through the Spirit predicted that a severe famine would spread over the entire Roman world. (This happened during the reign of Claudius.)

Acts 11:27, 28

The severe famine predicted by Agabus may be identified with the Famine week of Genesis 41, where there is an extensive foreshadowing in type. The Famine represents a lack of physical food (Rev. 6:6-8) but spiritually of the food that is the word of God, the nourishment required for salvation. Notice that this famine in Acts 11 was predicted by a prophet, so think, prophecy, just like how foreknowledge of the famine week had been given in Joseph's day! Notice too that this famine would spread over the entire Roman world. There is agreement in this with the prophecy of Nebuchadnezzar’s metallic image in Daniel chapter 2, which history has proved to reveal how the last days would be as an extension of the iron Roman Empire.

This famine occurred during the reign of Claudius. The proper name, Claudius, means, whining. Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary defines, whining, as: “The utterance of a high-pitched plaintive or distressed cry.” Plaintive, means: “Expressive of suffering or woe.” The interpreted meaning of the reign of Claudius is, the reign of high-pitched cries of distress, expressing suffering and woe! That seems to be a pretty fair characterization of the Famine week, as it's described in many passages of scripture! The prophet’s name, Agabus, means, “a grasshopper.” He's the one who brought forth the prophecy about the famine. How many famines throughout history have been associated with grasshoppers, or locusts? Many, right? And, grasshoppers or locusts have a significant role the end times. (See Jeremiah 51:14, Joel 1:4, 2:25, Revelation 9) Agabus came down from Jerusalem (meaning, peace peace) to Antioch (meaning, driven against). You see, judgement will be falling upon the world at this time. Where once there had been relative peace, the entire Roman world will be driven against by the agents and agencies of judgement.

The Picture, Framed

Now that the context of the parenthesis that is Acts 12:1-24 has had an adequate introduction, we're ready to see the picture that has been so fitly framed. (You'll notice that the verses in the featured passage will appear in a blue color just to highlight the thread as we work our way through it.)

It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them.

Acts 12:1

A passage from the latter part of the chapter presents King Herod (Herod Agrippa I) as a type of the world ruler of the last days.

19b Then Herod went from Judea to Caesarea and stayed there a while. 20 He had been quarreling with the people of Tyre and Sidon; they now joined together and sought an audience with him. Having secured the support of Blastus, a trusted personal servant of the king, they asked for peace, because they depended on the king's country for their food supply.

Acts 12:19b-20

Since Herod had control over the food supply, he was able to exert his authority. During the end-time famine there will be a beast or beasts who wield this power.

16 He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, 17 so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name.

Revelation 13:16-17

People will become completely dependent upon the beasts for provision. Consider what's said about Herod in the verses that immediately follow in Acts 12. They echo descriptions given in 2 Thessalonians 2 and in Revelation 13.

21 On the appointed day Herod, wearing his royal robes, sat on his throne and delivered a public address to the people. 22 They shouted, "This is the voice of a god, not of a man." 23 Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died.

Acts 12:21-23

The name, Herod, means, heroic. Webster's defines a hero as: 1a)- a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability 1b)- an illustrious warrior; and 2b)- the central figure in an event or period. The Beast fits each of these three definitions. Consider what the prophet Daniel said about the end-time leader and see if he sounds heroic to you.

Because of rebellion, the host of the saints and the daily sacrifice were given over to it. It prospered in everything it did, and truth was thrown to the ground.

Daniel 8:12

23 In the latter part of their reign, when rebels have become completely wicked, a stern-faced king, a master of intrigue, will arise. 24 He will become very strong, but not by his own power. He will cause astounding devastation and will succeed in whatever he does. He will destroy the mighty men and the holy people. 25 He will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior. When they feel secure, he will destroy many and take his stand against the prince of princes. Yet he will be destroyed, but not by human power.

Daniel 8:23-25

What a hero! “Yet he will be destroyed, but not by human power.” The stern-faced king - like King Herod.

Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died.

Acts 12:23

Let's consider Herod's role in this prophetic context as we return to make our way through the scene of the jail break. Make note that we're told this happens during the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

2 He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword. 3 When he saw that this pleased the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also. This happened during the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

Acts 12:2-3

This pictures persecution and martyrdom in the last days, being very early in the beast regime. James represents some who will be martyred when the end-time Herod has been unveiled. The name, James, means the same as, Jacob. Jacob, is the Hebrew form and James, the Greek. Peter represents the church, generally, and various factions of the church more specifically, depending upon the flow of context. Knowing that Peter is a type of the church has been instrumental in the opening of similar prophecies. Since learning the vocabulary of the prophetic scenarios in Genesis 45 and Acts 12, many more metaphors, types or code words have been added to the list!

4 After arresting him, he put him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring him out for public trial after the passover. 5 So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.

Acts 12:4-5

Notice that Herod intended to keep him in prison until after the Passover. Don't miss this because the feast has been named twice, with Passover and Unleavened Bread being effectively concurrent in their celebration. So, Peter is imprisoned and guarded by four squads of four soldiers each; not just sixteen soldiers but specifically four quaternion. The number four is emphasized, being repeated. One signification of the number four is, the world. Here's the prophetic interpretation. Peter-as-Bride is imprisoned in the world, restrained in the physical realm in a body of flesh. The lawless one has already been revealed and is persecuting the Bride.

The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance.

Acts 12:6

It's the last day of the Feast, the 21st day of the 1st month.

Did you know that there are several different Greek words that might have been used for, sleeping? The one used, koimao, also refers to the state of death, like in the following examples.

Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed--

1 Corinthians 15:51

Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope.

1 Thessalonians 4:13

Did you happen to notice another number being repeated in Acts 12:6?

The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance.

Acts 12:6

Two soldiers and two chains. The repetition emphasizes the number two like it does the number four - and there's an important reason for this. Consider how we are imprisoned in this realm. What specifically binds us? Two things; sin and death.

Because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death

Romans 8:2

The law of sin and death binds or chains us until such time as the dead are raised and the living are changed! Romans chapters 6-8 are very clear about this. Although this freedom is manifested in varying degrees in those saints who live and abide in Jesus Christ, the fullness of this freedom awaits the arrival of the life that is truly life. For now, we remain bound in this life of the body of flesh as if sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, with sentries standing guard.

24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.

Romans 7:24-25

Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains - as one who is not yet rescued from this body of death.

22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. 7:1 Do you not know, brothers—for I am speaking to men who know the law --that the law has authority over a man only as long as he lives?

Romans 6:22-7:1

Paul speaks and writes to men who know the law. What law has authority over a man only as long as he lives but THE LAW OF SIN AND DEATH? Once the body is dead, the law of sin and death no longer has authority over man. This was proven true in Y'shua at his death and resurrection!

23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

Romans 8:23-25

We now have the firstfruits of the Spirit and are waiting patiently for the redemption of our bodies, at which point we're released from the law of sin and death. If we've already obtained a full release, why then is it yet our hope?

51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed-- 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.

1 Corinthians 15:51-53

Now, pay very close attention to the sequence as that passage continues.

54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory." 55 "Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law."

1 Corinthians 15:54-56

When will the law of sin and death no longer have authority over us? When the dead are raised and the living changed, at the redemption of our bodies - in resurrection! This is our hope!

Let’s continue the narrative in Acts 12.

7 Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. "Quick, get up!" he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists. 8 Then the angel said to him, "Put on your clothes and sandals. And Peter did so. "Wrap your cloak around you and follow me," the angel told him.

Acts 12:7-8

This is rich! When the angel suddenly appeared, a light shone in the cell. Angels are themselves often manifesting as radiant beings. The light shining in the cell is also linked to resurrection!

Reports of bright light being seen when people are dying are not uncommon. Many saints and martyrs have left us with a testimony as they take their last breaths, reporting how they are witnessing the bright light of glory. Some saints have died and been returned to this life, with substantial documentation of their having been dead. They report about their having been received into the light to meet with Jesus in heaven, where they had a conversation and were then returned to their bodies to resume this life in the flesh.

I believe there's a connection with the illumination of the Temple ceremony celebrated during the Feast of Ingathering (Sukkot), the Feast that pictures the last of three harvests. This has the same meaning as the "joy of the pouring out of the water" ceremony, about which Jesus spoke the following:

On the last and greatest day of the feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.

John 7:37

There is a level of interpretation where that invitation, which was made on the last day of Sukkot, prophecies about a fulfillment in the final ingathering, the one appointed for a distant anniversary of that day.

The radiance of angels who attend resurrection, the testimonies of martyrs and other saints who are passing from this life into that which is truly life, the ceremonial activities of the “joy of the pouring out of the water” and equivalent “illumination of the Temple,” these speak to me about the meaning of the light shining in Peter's prison cell, that it signifies the passage through death to life in resurrection!

Now, just like how the word used for, sleep, in Acts 12:6 is one that refers to the state of the dead, the word used for, woke, in verse 7 refers to resurrection from the dead!

Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke (egeiren) him up. "Quick, get up!" he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists.

Acts 12:7

Forms of this same word for, woke, occur 19 times in the text of 1 Corinthians 15. You see, there's a message in this!

42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised (egeiretai) an imperishable body; 43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised (egeiretai) in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised (egeiretai) in power; 44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised (egeiretai) a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.

1 Corinthians 15:42-44

I'm going to present two profound connections made through a study of the place where Peter was struck, on his side, which have to be seen as strong support for the resurrection allegory of Acts 12:7.

The Greek word for, side, is, pleura. This word is used elsewhere in only one other context in the New Testament. In every case, it's about Y'shua's pleura as the place of piercing at His crucifixion. After rising from the dead, He put His pleura on exhibit so others could identify Him as the one who had been pierced. It was a sign of his identity and tangible evidence of his death and resurrection.

24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples were saying to him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side (pleura), I will not believe.” 26 After eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then He said to Thomas, “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side (pleura); and do not be unbelieving, but believing.” 28 Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.”

John 20:24-29

Because this is where Peter was struck when he was sleeping and it woke him up, a distinct connection is made between Peter's situation and Y'shua's. This links them in death and resurrection! Do you see it?

That connection supports the resurrection allegory of Acts 12:7 and so does this next insight, which I didn't gain until after I eventually came to grasp the distinction between the Bride and the Body of Christ. It must be understood that there are two pattern or model Adams, the first man Adam and the last Adam, who is the Lord Y'shua.

45 So it is written: "The first man Adam became a living being"; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. 46 The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. 48 As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. 49 And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven.

1 Corinthians 15:45-49

The last Adam is compared very closely to the first man Adam. We receive instruction through one Adam as a model of the other Adam. We take this insight with us into the book of Genesis.

20b But for Adam no suitable helper was found. 21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man's ribs and closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. 23 The man said, 'This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called 'woman,' for she was taken out of man.' 24 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

Genesis 2:20b-24

As a woman was taken out from the first man Adam's body, so it will be that a Woman will be taken out from the last Adam's Body. The Man and Woman are Man and Wife, Bridegroom and Bride. The Body of the last Adam is the Church of which He is the Head. The Bride is a people who are in His Body and are then taken out, as if they are surgically removed. (See The Bride Theft for more insight.)

The Greek word for, rib, in the Septuagint version of the above passage is, pleura, yes - the very same word translated, side, in Acts 12:7! That's the same place where Peter was struck by the angel while asleep in his prison cell and the same place where Y'shua was pierced. This simple scene in Genesis testifies of a resurrection!

In Acts 12:7, Peter is modeling to us the sleeping Body of Adam and the taking out of a Woman - a Bride for the Bridegroom. As concealed and revealed in 1 Thessalonians 5, the corporate church Body will not be awake when the Bridegroom comes to steal His Bride away. While Peter lies sleeping in his prison cell he is a figure of the Body of Adam that has been put into a deep sleep, as anesthetized for surgery. When the angel strikes his pleura, it is as the pleura of Adam's Body from whence was brought forth a Woman who was bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh. In resurrection, passing through death to a new life, Peter becomes, in type, the Woman, who leaves her earthly heritage and puts on the heavenly as a Bride fit for the Bridegroom, the man from heaven!

This view in Acts beautifully presents the Bride Theft and affirms to those of us who hope in it the bright promise made! Though not yet seen, it is nonetheless a reality! And here's a little blessing for those with a hearing ear. Genesis 2:20b reveals a purpose, role and function of the Bride. She is a helper for the Bridegroom, is she not? Now and forever!

Returning to the narrative of Acts 12, it was after Peter woke up that the angel of the Lord said something that was perfectly appropriate and very telling! "Quick, get up"! How quick? Does the phrase "in the twinkling of an eye" come to mind?

In a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.

1 Corinthians 15:52

Quick, get up!” This command the angel gave Peter is that loud command of the Lord, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God!

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.

1 Thessalonians 4:16

7 Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. "Quick, get up!" he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists. 8 Then the angel said to him, "Put on your clothes and sandals. And Peter did so. "Wrap your cloak around you and follow me," the angel told him.

Acts 12:7-8

At the sound of the angel’s command, the chains fell off Peter’s wrists. This, my friends, is the church being set free in resurrection, released from the binding authority of the law of sin and death!

After that happened, the angel told Peter to put on his clothes and sandals, to wrap his cloak (very likely his "tallit") around himself and to follow him. The angel didn’t clothe Peter but rather directed him to clothe himself! These are not just Peter's old clothes we're reading about here. These are something else altogether! These garments are the required attire to enable Peter to follow the angel!

For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.

1 Corinthians 15:53

1 For we have known that if our earthly house of the tabernacle may be thrown down, a building from God we have, an house not made with hands -- age-during -- in the heavens, 2 for also in this we groan, with our dwelling that is from heaven earnestly desiring to clothe ourselves, 3 if so be that, having clothed ourselves, we shall not be found naked, 4 for we also who are in the tabernacle do groan, being burdened, seeing we wish not to unclothe ourselves, but to clothe ourselves, that the mortal may be swallowed up of the life.

2 Corinthians 5:1-4 (Young's Literal Translation)

Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision.

Acts 12:9

Peter exits the prison with his angelic escort. As Elijah was taken to heaven with an angelic escort (in another type of the Bride theft - 2 Kings 2), so is Peter.

Peter thought he was seeing a vision. And, didn't he, though, as a supernatural experience of the distant future had just manifested before him? And, oh, what a vision it is for us, dear friend, as we have a look through the veil!

We’ve now come to the verse that was my point of entry into this wondrous allegory!

They passed the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went through it. When they had walked the length of one street, suddenly the angel left him.

Acts 12:10

When Peter and the angel came to the iron gate leading to the city they came to heaven’s very door, to the heavenly city on Mount Zion. They passed through from the worldly realm into the heavenly. A closed "iron gate" is an impassable barrier for anyone with a body of mortal flesh, but Peter, clothed in garments according to the angel's direction, passes through the iron gate that opens by itself!

John the revelator describes a related experience.

After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, "Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this."

Revelation 4:1

Passage through this kind of door is exclusive. Certain requirements must be met.

But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.

Matthew 25:10

24 Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. 25 Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, 'Sir, open the door for us.' "But he will answer, 'I don't know you or where you come from.'

Luke 13:24-25

Peter was qualified to pass through the iron gate, the narrow door. He had become faithful and did not deny the Lord even to save his own life.

The scene continues.

Then Peter came to himself and said, "Now I know without a doubt that the Lord sent his angel and rescued me from Herod’s clutches and from everything the Jewish people were anticipating.

Acts 12:11

Peter's experience was surreal but when it was past he was fully aware of his new situation. When we transpose what he said about this rescue we learn how the Jewish people will be in collusion with the lawless one. This is like how it was when the Lord was crucified, with the Pharisees (and those with them) and the Roman authorities being jointly responsible for his capture, beating, and crucifixion.

The Resurrection Appearance and a Commissioning

After the Lord rose from the dead, He appeared to many who became witnesses. He gave some directions and a commission before leaving them behind. This same pattern is modeled by Peter as the profound allegorical 12th chapter of Acts continues, illustrating what happens after the Bride Theft. Here's the account of our Lord's activity.

3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; 7 then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles;

1 Corinthians 15:3-7

The Lord appeared in His glorified body to give witness over a period of 40 days. Finally, he met with his disciples and gave them direction and a commission before they became witnesses of his ascension.

1 The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach, 2 until the day when He was taken up to heaven, after He had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen. 3 To these He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God. 4 Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” 6 So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; 8 but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” 9 And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.

Acts 1:1-9

Now, here's the account of what happens after Peter and the angel pass through the iron gate.

12 When this had dawned on him, he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying. 13 Peter knocked at the outer entrance, and a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer the door. 14 When she recognized Peter's voice, she was so overjoyed she ran back without opening it and exclaimed, "Peter is at the door!" 15 "You're out of your mind," they told her. When she kept insisting that it was so, they said, "It must be his angel." 16 But Peter kept on knocking, and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished. 17 Peter motioned with his hand for them to be quiet and described how the Lord had brought him out of prison. "Tell James and the brothers about this," he said, and then he left for another place.

Acts 12:12-17

Peter-Bride appears in his just-glorified resurrection body to an assembly of close acquaintances who become witnesses. He gives them direction and a commission, then suddenly and mysteriously leaves them behind. This pictures the Bride following the pattern of the Bridegroom after His resurrection. Clearly, passing through the iron gate is a figure, an idiom, for resurrection. This extended prophetic allegory is informing us about the future, about our Hope, revealing things that have long been held in reserve beyond the cloaking veil!

I had often read the passage above and wondered why this praying assembly was so reluctant to accept the report that Peter was at the door. If you assume they had gathered to pray for Peter, which is reasonable since we're told the church was fervently doing that in the narrative (Acts 12:5), their response is more than a little strange. At first, they tell the servant girl that she's out of her mind. A natural response might have been for them to rush to the door to welcome Peter, praising God loudly for answering their prayers, but that's not what they did. When Rhoda kept insisting that Peter really was at the door, they still don't go see for themselves. Instead, they offer an alternative - that it must be his angel. What? Really? His ANGEL? These people were more willing to believe that it was his angel than Peter himself! Tell me something's not really odd about this account. Then, because Peter kept on knocking, they finally opened the door and saw him. And they were astonished. Like as if they had never seen a person get out of prison before. Or have their prayers answered! So, what's going on here? In a word - prophecy!

When the assembly told Rhoda that she was out of her mind, that speaks to me of the supernatural nature of the event that is beyond the grasp of the natural mind. When Rhoda insists that it really is Peter at the door, those assembled offer that it must be his angel because the Bride will be adorned in a radiant white robe in a glorified resurrection body, shining like an angel. It's suggested to be Peter's angel because the apparition will resemble Peter. When they saw him they were astonished. Because of his appearance. When the Bridegroom appeared He sometimes showed off HIs hands and side as proof of His identity because He was not easily recognized in His new body. When Peter motioned with his hand for those present to be quiet, it speaks to me of a similar demonstration of something personal they would recognize, like a familiar gesture.

One of the other curiosities I pondered has to do with why Peter never went inside the house. If he ever got past the door there's no indication, and neither does it seem that anyone went out. When this scene became known to me as a post-resurrection appearance this separation between them made a lot of sense. The house signifies this natural realm and those inside are still in the flesh.

After Peter gives them an assignment, he leaves.

Peter motioned with his hand for them to be quiet and described how the Lord had brought him out of prison. "Tell James and the brothers about this," he said, and then he left for another place.

Acts 12:17

The record doesn't seem to indicate where Peter goes or what he does, leaving it a mystery - but we're not left without clues. Peter entered a type of the New Jerusalem. In the example provided by the Lord in Acts 1, He was taken up to heaven with a cloud receiving Him out of their sight. We're not told where he was headed but there is a position or location that is sometimes given as, the right hand of the throne of God. It's a place of exalted authority. I believe that the Bride goes to a similar position, to the right hand of the Bridegroom to continue serving as His helpmate but in an exalted capacity.

When a Bridegroom steals His Bride away to his Father's house, a figure is being used that implies certain things. In an earthly model, there is, of course, a wedding ceremony where the union is officially recognized by the authorities and is duly witnessed. A sexual union is definitely a highlight of their being joined together, a consummation of their special relationship. There are also lavish celebrations of various kinds with banqueting, music, dancing, drinking and there are many classes of attendants. We have assurances that the earthly suggests much about the heavenly. Many biblical texts give insight into the development of a relationship and the wedding proceedings, some of which include The Song of Solomon, Ruth, Esther, some of the Psalms and certainly, the gospels. One thing I know about this union is that it's not going to be creepy or weird. It's going to transcend the shadowy form of this earthly nature and realm and manifest as something glorious that is far exceeding what can presently be imagined!

Some other clues to what is pictured in Acts 12 after Peter passes through the iron gate are provided by the proper names used, which may be interpreted. Of even greater utility, we can glean from how it compares with similar accounts because this isn't the only prophetic scenario that focuses on the Bride Theft and the events that relate to it.

We've already covered one from Genesis 45 (if you're reading through, When Cometh That Thief in the Night, in sequence like the chapters of a book, which is a recommended approach). Because the name, James, means the same as, Jacob, a point of comparison with Genesis 45 is evident. Peter tells those assembled in the house to, “Tell James and the brothers about this.” Joseph told those who had assembled, “Now you must tell my father of all my splendor in Egypt, and all that you have seen.” (Genesis 45:13a) Joseph's father is Jacob, as James. The scenes are both taking place at the time of the Bride Theft and sealing of the 144,000. It appears that those being commissioned by Joseph and Peter are being sent to the same Jacob-James people, on the same mission.

Can we assume that those who have assembled in “the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark” represent the 144,000, who are those we find being commissioned by Joseph-Y'shua in Genesis 45? Perhaps, or perhaps this is another independent set ordained to serve alongside them. I don't have all the answers, and not even very many of the right questions that should be asked. I only have confidence to a certain point beyond which I can only offer a speculative hypothesis based upon my observations.

for we see now through a mirror obscurely, and then face to face; now I know in part, and then I shall fully know, as also I was known;

1 Corinthians 13:12 (YLT)

There are several other scenarios that give us a window into the season's activity, so this is where this study of Acts 12 comes to an end.

As I am updating this document with an anticipation of time being reset and restoring this work to some former state, my interest is in what's fit for the present. Prior to this update, I had gone into some elaborate explorations of the meanings of the names and into deep comparisons with some other passages of scripture. This was useful but no longer necessary. What had formerly been presented in two parts has been consolidated into one.

Concluding Remarks

What a surprising treasure has been found hidden in the book of Acts! I still get a thrill when I read through this chapter. How the Lord can hide and then disclose such awesome truth - WOW! I have no doubt that every detail of the account is historically accurate, and that the Lord had sent the angel to release Peter for his benefit as well as the benefit of the church, but yet the record was most certainly recorded for our benefit at the close of the age to inform us about this very special resurrection! Isn't God good to us!

So, the cryptic prophetic scenario informs us about the timing of the resurrection event relative to the unfolding of the Famine week. The numbering of the watch is a time thing, which is concealed as the word, phulake, is translated, guard, and it becomes a distance thing in Acts 12:10a : “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”. In whole numbers, this resurrection is appointed to occur after two years of the seven.

What can be said to conclude a presentation of such astounding revelation? I hope you've enjoyed this time as spent in the intimate presence of the Lord. I sometimes grieve for those who still refuse to obey the Lord and cannot hear such awesome truth with a hearing ear. Signs in abundance are given to warn us to turn from our wicked ways, but who can hear them? Can you? Do you act upon what the Lord has given you. Some day it is going to really matter what we did with what we heard. Make today count, my friend.