Soldiers in ancient times were responsible for their prisoners with their lives (IKings20:39; Acts16:26,27), so there was “no small stir” when they learned Peter escaped (v.18). They were right to be stirred, for Herod “examined” them (v.9) by scourging them (cf.Acts 22:24), and a Roman scourge would leave a man bloodied beyond belief.
Herod is a type of the antichrist. He too will try to please unsaved Jews by killing the followers of Christ. Knowing that Herod is a type of Antichrist explains why Luke tells us how people tried to stay on Herod’s good side (Acts 12:19), as people will try to stay on Antichrist’s good. Tyre and Sidon were “nourished, or enriched, by Herod, as people will be enriched by the beast.
Herod made a speech that made people call him a god (Acts 12:21,22). Antichrist will also (Dn.11:36cf.IIThes.2:3,4). And don’t forget, Satan got Herod to kill James because he represented the voice of God. The Lord called him a son of thunder (Mark 3:14-17), and thunder is associated with God’s voice (IISam.22:14). James and John were about to become the voice of God, because they were about to write some books of the Bible. When James died, God used another James to write the epistle that bears his name. But when Herold silenced the voice of God in James, and then pretended to be the voice of God here, that’s a picture of how Antichrist will claim to be the voice of God, and tell people to forget about how the voice of God in the New Testament says that Jesus of Nazareth was Israel’s Christ, not him. I know it says the people said Herod was a god, but they were just saying what he was thinking. He was the king of Tyre (Acts 12:19), and Antichrist is called the prince of Tyrus in Ezekiel 28:2-6, where we learn he’ll think he’s God.
As a rich king, Herod was the type of king those unsaved Jews liked. The Lord predicted unsaved Jews will like Antichrist as well (Jo.5:43). They’ll like him so much they’ll call him a god. They killed a poor man who claimed to be God (Jo.10:31-33). But saved Jews won’t be hoodwinked by the beast’s voice, for they’ll know the Lord’s voice, since His words are recorded in Scripture (Jo.10:3-5).
Herod “gave not God the glory” (Acts 12:23) when he didn’t refuse their worship like Peter (10:25,26). So an angel made him give up the ghost, or die (12:23cf.Job3:11). But usually men die and then are “eaten of worms” in the grave (Job.21:25,26). When Herod was eaten and then died, he was a type of the beast, who’ll be cast alive into hell (Rev.19:20).
But he won’t miss out on the worms! He’ll die and go to hell, where he’ll be covered by worms (Isa.14:4-11)—the maggoty kind of worms found in hell (Mark 9:43), i.e., unsaved men (Isa.566:23,24). Hell reduces a man to a worm. And when those worms in hell see Antichrist has become weak like them, they’ll cover him, and make him wish he’d never oppressed them, as Isaiah 14 describes.
I know Herod becomes worm food “immediately” after he claims he’s God, and Antichrist won’t be fed to the worms until 3 ½ years later. But this type is only concerned with the first half of the Tribulation, when the beast will be busy making money and pleasing unsaved Jews. So the type skips over the last half of the Tribulation. And from now on, the types in Acts will focus on what God is doing today.
As the word of God through Paul grew (Acts 12:24), Paul fulfilled his ministry of taking “relief” to Jerusalem (11:27-30). The saints there knew no lack at Pentecost (Acts 2:4,44,45; 4:34), but when God began to shut down the kingdom program, He took away the filling of the Spirit, and those saints became “poor” (Rom.15:26). Paul collected even more relief from Gentiles for them, for they owed it to the Jews to minister to them in carnal things like money, since they partook of their spiritual things (Rom.15:25-27).
A video of this sermon is available on YouTube: “The Result of Peters Jailbreak” Acts 12:18-25