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James is killed, but an angel leads Peter out of gaol before Herod can kill him too; Herod dies after accepting cries that he’s a god; Paul and Barnabas take the gospel to Jews and Gentiles in Cyprus, Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, Derbe, getting rejected by Jewish leaders in most places, before returning to Antioch: Acts 12–14

In 41 AD, Herod Agrippa came to power. This Herod was the grandson of Herod the Great (who built the Temple), the nephew of Herod Antipas (who was complicit in Jesus’ death), and the father of Herod Agrippa II (who was involved in Paul’s arrest).

He appears to have been committed to his Jewish faith, which made him a friend of the Jews and, therefore, an enemy of the early Christians.

Acts 12:1-3 About that time King Herod Agrippa began to persecute some believers in the church. He had the apostle James (John’s brother) killed with a sword. When Herod saw how much this pleased the Jewish people, he also arrested Peter.

His reign lasted three years (41–44 AD). His death was recorded as sudden by several sources. The author of Acts described it like this:

Acts 12:22-23 The people gave him a great ovation, shouting, ‘It’s the voice of a god, not of a man!’ Instantly, an angel of the Lord struck Herod with a sickness, because he accepted the people’s worship instead of giving the glory to God. So he was consumed with worms and died.

Josephus described it in a bit more detail:

A severe pain arose in his belly, striking with a most violent intensity. He therefore looked upon his friends, and said, ‘I, whom you call a god, am commanded presently to depart this life’ … his pain became violent. Accordingly he was carried into the palace … he would certainly die soon.

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