At the beginning of Acts 12, Herod arrests Peter and puts him in jail during the Passover festival (12:3-4). Just as the first Passover in Egypt led to Israel’s liberation from slavery, God replicates that initial Passover night when an angel releases Peter from prison. The disciple’s individual Passover and exodus underscore the continued presence of the God of Israel with the first Jewish followers of Jesus.

While Peter sleeps in prison, an angel of the Lord appears during the night, and tells him, “Gird yourself (ζῶσαι; zosai) and bind on (ὑπόδησαι; hupódesai) your sandals” (Acts 12:8). The angel’s directions to Peter on this night echo God’s words to the Hebrews on the night they eat the Passover lamb: “Thus you shall eat it with your belt girded around (περιεζωσμέναι; periezosménai), and your sandals (or “bindings,” ὑποδήματα; hupodémata) on your feet” (Exodus 12:11 LXX). These similar instructions to Israel and Peter both precede a miraculous release from bondage. More, when Peter and the angel come to the boundary of the prison grounds, a gate of “iron” (σιδηροῦς; siderous) opens for them and they escape into the city (Acts 12:10). Luke’s attention to gate’s metal recalls Israel’s liberation from Egypt, the “furnace of iron (σιδήρεος; sidéreos)” (cf. Deut 4:20; Jer 11:4 LXX).

Alongside these similarities, there is also a striking difference between the two Passovers. In order to liberate the Hebrews from slavery, God slays the firstborn: “I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike (πατάσσω; patásso) all the firstborn of Egypt” (Exodus 12:12 LXX). In Acts, instead of striking Peter’s captors, God’s messenger strikes Peter to enact his exodus: “The angel of the Lord… struck (πατάσσω; patásso) Peter on the side and woke him, saying, ‘Get up quickly!’ And the chains fell off his hands” (Acts 12:7). Whereas God had once passed over the homes in which the Hebrews slept, the angel enters a sleeping Peter’s cell and strikes him! Though the “striking” of Peter is nowhere near as severe as the divine strike against Egypt, Luke’s use of Exodus language reruns the original Passover event and reminds us that the God of who enacted the exodus also guides the early Jesus movement.

BEGIN YOUR JOURNEY OF DISCOVERY

43 COMMENTS

  1. I find connections between Old and New Testaments fascinating. This is one (probably among many) that I have missed. Thank you. I will give it deeper study.
    • Thank you for reading, Jim. Yes, there are many connections between Israel's Scriptures and the New Testament -- many, indeed, that I am yet to see. All the best in your continued studies.
  2. I never thought about it in that context but once again it shows the mightyness and mercy od ADONAI. GLORIOUS ARE HIS WORKS
    • Israel Bible Center equips you with the tools you need to enter into the Jewish world of Scripture. We provide first-rate teaching, and the opportunity to learn from some of the world’s top scholars. As a student, you will be able to interact personally with our teaching faculty, and gain access to hundreds of hours of Bible courses, including The Jewish Gospel of Matthew and The Hebrew Psalms: How To Worship God. Become a part of the community of teachers and students at Israel Bible Center today!
  3. We have kept the Passover and Annual Holydays as outlined in the gospels for years but this year started questioning whether or not as Jesus did. I specifically noticed it was after supper He added the wine and unleavened bread and the foot washing. John13:2 seems to indicate 2 ceremonies
    • Thanks for reading, Dan. It was actually Dr. Eli who wrote the book of insights, but maybe we'll include this one in the next book IBC produces.
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