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July 4

Reading for Today:

  • 2 Chronicles 3:1–4:22
  • Psalm 79:5-10
  • Proverbs 20:10-12
  • Acts 12:1-25


2 Chronicles 3:10–13 two cherubim. This free-standing set of cherubim was in addition to the more diminutive set on the ark itself.

2 Chronicles 3:14 veil. The veil separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place (the Holy of Holies), which was entered once annually by the high priest on the Day of Atonement (Lev. 16). This highly limited access to the presence of God was eliminated by the death of Christ, when the veil in Herod’s temple was torn in two from top to bottom (Matt. 27:51). It signified that believers had immediate, full access to God’s presence through their Mediator and High Priest Jesus Christ, who was the perfect, once-for-all sacrifice (Heb. 3:14–16; 9:19–22).

2 Chronicles 4:1 bronze altar. This is the main altar on which sacrifices were offered (the millennial temple altar, Ezek. 43:13–17). For comparison to the tabernacle’s altar, see Exodus 27:1–8; 38:1–7.If the cubit of 18 inches was used rather than the royal cubit of 21 inches, it would make the altar 30 feet by 30 feet by 15 feet high.

2 Chronicles 4:2 the Sea. This large laver was used for ritual cleansing. In Ezekiel’s millennial temple, the laver will apparently be replaced by the waters that flow through the temple (Ezek. 47:1–12).

Psalm 79:9 atonement. The word, found 3 times in the Psalms (65:3; 78:38), means to cover away sin and its effects. In the Old Testament, atonement was symbolized in sacrificial ritual, though actual forgiveness of sin was ultimately based on the death of Christ applied to the penitent sinner (Heb. 9). For Your name’s sake. A defeat of a nation was believed to be a defeat of its god. A mark of spiritual maturity is one’s concern for the reputation of God.

Acts 12:12 Mary. Mark is called the cousin of Barnabas in Colossians 4:10, so Mary was his aunt. John…Mark. Cousin of Barnabas (Col. 4:10), acquaintance of Peter in his youth (1 Pet. 5:13), he accompanied Barnabas and Paul to Antioch (v. 25) and later to Cyprus (13:4, 5). He deserted them at Perga (13:13), and Paul refused to take him on his second missionary journey because of that desertion (15:36–41). He accompanied Barnabas to Cyprus (15:39). He disappeared until he was seen with Paul at Rome as an accepted companion and coworker (Col. 4:10; Philem. 24). During Paul’s second imprisonment at Rome, Paul sought John Mark’s presence as useful to him (2 Tim. 4:11). He wrote the second Gospel that bears his name, being enriched in his task by the aid of Peter (1 Pet. 5:13).

Acts 12:17 James. The Lord’s brother, now head of the Jerusalem church. he departed. Except for a brief appearance in chapter 15, Peter fades from the scene as the rest of Acts revolves around Paul and his ministry.

DAY 4: Who was the Herod of Acts 12 who violently persecuted the church?

“Herod the king” of v. 1 was Herod Agrippa I, who reigned from A.D. 37 to 44 and was the grandson of Herod the Great. He ran up numerous debts in Rome and fled to Palestine. Imprisoned by Emperor Tiberius after some careless comments, he eventually was released following Tiberius’s death, and was made ruler of northern Palestine, to which Judea and Samaria were added in A.D. 41. As a hedge against his shaky relationship with Rome, he curried favor with the Jews by persecuting Christians.

He killed James the brother of John with the sword (v. 2). James was the first of the apostles to be martyred. The manner of his execution indicates James was accused of leading people to follow false gods (Deut. 13:12–15). He also imprisoned Peter and put him in the custody of “four squads” (v. 4). Each squad contained 4 soldiers and rotated the watch on Peter. At all times 2 guards were chained to him in his cell, while the other 2 stood guard outside the cell door (v. 6).

After Peter’s rescue by an angel, Herod “put to death” the guards who were in charge (v. 19). According to Justinian’s Code (ix. 4:4), a guard who allowed a prisoner to escape would suffer the same fatal penalty that awaited the prisoner.

Later, Herod came under the judgment of God. “On a set day” (v. 21), at a feast in honor of Herod’s patron, the Roman emperor Claudius, Herod came out “arrayed in royal apparel.” According to Josephus, he wore a garment made of silver. When the people began shouting, “The voice of a god and not of a man!” we are told that Herod “did not give glory to God” (v. 22), the crime for which Herod was struck down by an angel (A.D. 44). “And he was eaten by worms” (v. 23). According to Josephus, Herod endured terrible pain for 5 days before he died.

From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214,