ACTS OF THE APOSTLES CHAPTER 12
With the first Gentile church established at Antioch, actions were now temporarily focused back in Jerusalem to record the martyrdom of the first apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ and the horrifying judgment that came upon king Herod. This chapter documented how religions and politics could unite together to further a course for mutual peaceful coexistence and benefits. Persecuting the Church of God was a convenient item that offered these players the opportunity to work together. Eliminating a common enemy would be the expedient strategy to employ for consolidation of power over the people. Here was the first time politicians became involved in the religious realms concerning religious disputes of the Jewish people since the formation of the Church.
Acts 12:1: Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church.
Acts 12:2: And he killed James the brother of John with the sword.
The persecution that arose after the death of Stephen and pursued aggressively by Saul was now taken over by the secular power. The apostles and disciples of Christ had never posed any real and immediate challenge to power against the king. While they might be preaching a coming King Jesus concerning the restoration of the Kingdom to Israel, there was no political machinery at work to suggest they could replace the existing powers to be ordained of God in the near future, especially after the martyrdom of Stephen when the disciples were scattered abroad. The followers of Jesus raised no armies, created no ministerial offices and portfolios and installed no political structures with a shadow government waiting in the wing to replace the existing government of the day. The words of the Lord Jesus Christ to Pilate confirmed this to be the case.
Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. (John 18:36)
In fact, the Jews had soundly rejected the Kingdom the Messiah of Israel offered to the nation. There would be no Kingdom until they acknowledge that Jesus Christ is the Messiah of Israel and King of the Jews. There was no real reason for the powers that be to become involved in the religious dispute between the established Jewish religious authorities and the apostles of Christ. Then why would King Herod become involved with the movement of this sect of the Nazarenes? Were the apostles and their followers a threat to national security? There is always an undercurrent of political intrigues between religions and the secular powers. In fact, they need each other and use each other in order to consolidate powers over the people.
The religious authorities subjugate the people with fear over the uncertain future and the afterlife. They create an environment of fear, punishment and blessings and direct the people to a certain way of life where there is a real impact on the real economy of the land. The various religious activities over the year create supply and demand on goods and services. A case in point is those merchants congregating at the Jewish temple in Jerusalem. Moreover, when the Lord Jesus Christ had to chase out those merchants from the temple, true worship of the God of Israel had shown to have descended into a business and a viable and thriving commercial enterprise.
Of course, the secular powers permit such activities because they also stand to benefit from taxation and various schemes to ensure they have the budget to run the government of the day and keep the people distracted and occupied with their religious observances. Moreover, the religious authorities are also an extension of their power where they could help govern the people and prevent them from causing trouble to their rule. It would be much better to deal the religious authorities as a whole to disseminate policies and information on the way they would rule over the people than to deal with every individual at large. The secular power exerts their influence and powers over matters of security and civil services to ensure the smooth running of the state. In addition, those in secular powers also subscribe to some system of beliefs of certain religions. These arrangements of the intersecting sphere of influence between religions and politics create a status quo where none of the parties wishes to replace.
Hence, when the religious Jews wanted to put Christ to death, they handed Christ to the Roman authorities. Such was the unspoken understanding between the religious power and the secular power. When Pilate wanted out of this setup, he was blackmailed into submission by the religious Jews appealing to the corridors of powers in Rome. The Jewish religious authorities derived their authority to operate from Rome to minimize disturbances under the civil authorities set up by Rome. So both parties often go together to accomplish their respective religious or political objectives.
So when Herod began his reign of terror against the apostles and disciples of Christ, the church suffered again. This time, persecution came from the state that was very likely overtly supported, instigated and sponsored by the religious authorities. When the Jewish religious elites could not stamp out the movement of this sect of the Nazarenes, they would not mind inviting the secular power to take over from them this task of eliminating this Jesus sect. After all, the secular powers needed them and would not want to deal with another religious rival upsetting the balance of powers between them. It was still better for Herod to deal with the Jewish authorities he was familiar with and to continue this partnership with them than to deal with this unfamiliar and uncompromising Jesus movement preaching about a resurrected Jesus, the King of the Jews, and waiting for this Messiah to return to restore the Kingdom unto Israel.
This persecution of the believers of the Lord culminated with the execution of the apostle James, the brother of John. This was the first time an apostle of Christ was martyred. Unlike the martyrdom of Stephen where the Lord stood up in heaven to receive him, this execution was a quiet event. There was no mob out on the streets demanding the death of James. When the Jews could not handle the apostles, and even when imprisoning them and beating them could not stop them from healing and preaching in the name of Jesus, Herod finally got involved and put one of these apostles to death. James and John were close brothers mentioned together in several places of Scriptures. Their mother actually wanted the Lord to put her two sons one on the left and one on the right of the Lord. James was also among the inner circle staying close to the Lord with Peter and John. Here the Lord saw fit to allow James to arrive home to be with Him early to rest while the rest of the apostles continued to labour on earth below.
Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints. (Psalm 116:15)
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
The death of James must have caused much pain to John and the other apostles and disciples. Though the apostle John was often mentioned together with the apostle Peter in the gospel work, from then on John would not have the opportunity to be mentioned together with his brother James like it was in the past during the earthly ministry of the Lord. Their reunion would be sweet and joyous when they met again in the presence of the Lord having fulfilled the will of God on earth below. There was no replacement for the apostle James like the case of Judas Iscariot. This showed there was no apostolic succession in the Church.
Acts 12:3: And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.)
Acts 12:4: And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.
What Herod did certainly pleased the Jews and he realized this as well. So Herod proceeded to take Peter as well because he would stand to gain by doing the Jews this favour of getting rid of the apostles and stamping out their movement. Peter was considered one of the most prominent ring leaders of the sect. If Herod could eliminate Peter, he would very likely be handsomely rewarded by the Jews whether in monies or in kinds. Of course, Herod was more than willing to do the Jews this favour and win their allegiance and submission to his rule. What was so difficult a task for this man Herod made the head of the state with civil powers to punish and execute criminals! Years ago, another king Herod executed all the young male children two years and under in Bethlehem without betting an eye. He needed not justify his killing to anyone and he could not careless if the religious powers of the Jews would protest against his crime. So the king bore the sword through military and police powers and he was more than willing to use this sword to suppress dissent or even when using it unjustly for his personal gain.
The religious authorities were having trouble with the apostles and facing great difficulties in stopping them to convert Jewish followers to follow Christ. The secular power would be a convenient agency to turn to for help and what more when Herod would even do this favour without their asking! Faced with a dangerous detainee like Peter who made headlines with his famous prison-break drama, Herod was not taking any chances. Peter was secured with heavy security and it would be humanly impossible for Peter to escape this time. The religious Jews’ prisons were proven to be of little use against Peter and his gang and so this time Peter would surely meet his fate like James. No doubt the Jews were delighted and waited with much anticipation for the execution of Peter, their chief enemy that had caused them so much headaches and troubles.
However, these Jews were so religious and outwardly pious and they were not going to be involved in the killing of Peter during their holy days much like those Jews who refused to enter Pilate’s judgment hall during the trial of Jesus in case they defiled themselves rendering them unfit for their religious observances. So this severe acute blindness in rites and rituals with no righteousness whatsoever was really mind boggling to say the least. How could they plan to murder an innocent man Jesus by wicked means and worry about spiritual and religious defilement? Such unexplainable behaviour would certainly make interesting case studies concerning the hardness of the wicked hearts of fallen men.
Peter was scheduled to be put to death but Herod could not do it probably fearing this might upset the religious sensitivity of the Jews during their holy days. Really funny if one consider the desperation of the Jews and yet their religion prohibited the execution of their most hated enemy during their holy days. Their planned murder was held back by their own religion. While secular powers often would not take into consideration religious sensitivity of the people in times of emergency and uprising, Herod played it safe since he was trying to please the Jews. Since it was during the days of the unleavened bread, Peter was spared for a few more days before meeting his fate like James. Herod of course was very confident in putting Peter to death and what was the hurry. It would just take a few more days before Peter would meet his Maker and furthermore, Herod was showing the Jews respect for their religion as well as doing them this favour of getting rid of their seditious follower who had turned traitor to the faith of their fathers.
The feast of the unleavened bread was one of the three most important festivals of the Jews. This festival consists of the Passover follows by seven days of unleavened bread.
In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD’s passover. And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread. (Leviticus 23:5&6)
So it was clear that Herod wanted to kill Peter but then it was already during the days of the unleavened bread. The Passover was already passed and they were already somewhere into the seven days of unleavened bread. As such, Herod decided to execute Peter after Easter, which coincided with the Jewish festival. Easter however, is not the Jewish Passover. If Easter were the Jewish Passover, Herod would have to keep Peter in prison for another close to a year before the next Passover would arrive as they were already in the days of the unleavened bread. Furthermore, Herod was not a Jew nor was he a practicing Jew. Easter was his religious festival, a pagan festival as far as the Jews were concerned. It is impossible to force Easter to be the Passover where they were already in the days of the unleavened bread. Besides trying to be considerate towards the Jews during their festive days, he might also be concerned about own religious observance and spared Peter for the time being until his own Easter celebration was over.
Moreover, Easter or Good Friday was not the day of crucifixion of Christ. No one needs to be a mathematician in order to count three days and three night where the Lord was buried and rose again the day after the Sabbath, the first day of the week which is a Saturday night to Sunday morning, that Friday does not match the number of days and nights required. In addition, what is so good about Friday, especially Friday the 13th, which is nothing more than pagan superstition.
Once again, those nonsensical modern English versions like NIV, NASB and NKJV all changed Easter to Passover. This time, they tried to be literal in translating the Greek text literally as Passover but the English reader would not be enlightened at all. Their previous clumsy attempts of being too clever in translating Acts 7:45 and Hebrews 4:6-9 as Joshua refusing to translate literally when the Greek text reads Jesus, they destroy the Biblical teaching that Joshua is a type of Christ. These translators are bringing the Bible reader to their shallow understanding of the Scriptures. They just would not know when to be literal and when to be led by the Holy Ghost in their translation work.
So where did they obtain the authority to translate literally and when not to? Why should Bible believers accept their scholarship in such shoddy translation work? If they can translate according to their whims and fancy, how can they accuse the King James translators of being wrong here for translating Passover as Easter? If they could refuse to translate literally Jesus as Jesus but changed it to Joshua, what was so wrong with the King James translators for telling us English speaking Bible believers that this day that Herod was waiting for was Easter and not the Jewish Passover in another year’s time? Indeed, common sense is quite uncommon to faithless Bible correctors. The word “Easter” appears only one time in the entire Bible. This should teach Bible students the significance of this word where the Holy Ghost want to teach the Lord’s people and reveal spiritual truths to humble Bible believers searching for the truth.
Acts 12:5: Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.
Acts 12:6: And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison.
While Peter was in prison, the brethren were praying for him without ceasing. What did they ask of the Lord concerning Peter? Of course for God to deliver Peter and spare him so that Peter might be able to continue his work with them. After all Peter was a very important and key member of the apostles and his healing ministries were renowned. There was so much more work to accomplish for the church and the Kingdom was yet to come. It would be very difficult without Peter around and his leadership would be much missed by those under his care. Notwithstanding, Peter had denied the Lord in the past in times of crises. Could Peter’s weakness cause others to stumble should he recant and renounce his faith in the Messiah to save his own skin? Could this possibility turn into a high probability? Could the brethren be praying without ceasing for Peter to be strengthened and not to fall? Of course, this could be pure conjecture. Nevertheless, Peter had been in prison under heavy security for quite a while. Deliverance via human means would be futile. So the best the disciples could do was to pray for Peter.
With the brethren praying the night before Peter’s execution, Peter was found sleeping soundly. Peter was the safest man under heavy security. Peter was also oblivious to his impending death. Why was Peter so at peace and at ease while being kept so securely in prison? He surely knew he was a very important prisoner. He was no stranger to prisons too. He had been in and out of jail quite a number of times since his gospel work and he could perhaps win a badge of honour as a hardened prisoner. His familiarity with prison surroundings and sufferings had given him much to write about concerning sufferings in his epistles.
For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. (1 Peter 2:19&20)
But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing. For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: (1 Peter 3:14,17&18)
Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator. (1 Peter 4:16&19)
But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. (1 Peter 5:10)
Of course Peter had done no evil and he could sleep soundly in the most hostile and harshest environment. His committing of his soul to his Lord as a faithful Creator demonstrated his unfailing faith in the Lord who would be his mainstay whether in life or in death. Denying the Lord again would be too unthinkable given his role now in shaping believers in the Messiah of Israel. Why would he fear death when he had personally entered that empty tomb where his Lord was laid and saw the Lord ascending into heaven with his very own eyes? He was a first hand witness and he could not hope to be with his Lord at a moment’s notice to behold His majesty.
For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. (2 Peter 1:16)
Acts 12:7: And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands.
Acts 12:8: And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals. And so he did. And he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me.
Acts 12:9: And he went out, and followed him; and wist not that it was true which was done by the angel; but thought he saw a vision.
Acts 12:10: When they were past the first and the second ward, they came unto the iron gate that leadeth unto the city; which opened to them of his own accord: and they went out, and passed on through one street; and forthwith the angel departed from him.
Acts 12:11: And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a surety, that the Lord hath sent his angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews.
Once again, Peter was involved in another episode of his famous prison-break drama. All man-made security measures failed utterly. Actually Peter was awakened from his sweet slumber by a light and a touch not from this world. He had to be told to dress up before following the angel sent by the Lord to deliver him from jail. Peter was indeed kept in a high security prison having to pass through many sectors of the facility. How could such prison keep the apostle when the angel was armed with remote controls to open the way for Peter’s exit? Moreover, the prison guards were also under a heavy dose of anesthesia sent from above and were completely oblivious to the escape of their most important prisoner.
Peter being so used to communicating with the Lord via visions thought this was just another vision with embedded lessons like the previous vision concerning unclean animals. It was only after Peter had left the prison that he realized the Lord had indeed delivered him. Peter knew the Jews wished him dead. Herod was just a tool of this people for his execution. Now that he had left the prison of Herod, he had to seek out his companions and showed them what the Lord had done for him.
Acts 12:12: And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying.
Acts 12:13: And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a damsel came to hearken, named Rhoda.
Acts 12:14: And when she knew Peter’s voice, she opened not the gate for gladness, but ran in, and told how Peter stood before the gate.
Acts 12:15: And they said unto her, Thou art mad. But she constantly affirmed that it was even so. Then said they, It is his angel.
So Peter made his way to the house of Mary where the brethren were praying. They must have been praying for a very long time for Peter praying without ceasing. Rhoda was too excited when she answered Peter’s call but she did not open the door for him. When she told the brethren that Peter was at the door, none believed her. What were they praying to the Lord concerning Peter? Did they pray for Peter to be spared and delivered? Sometimes, the saints do indulge in unbelief in their prayers. This was due to praying for something seemingly impossible but when the Lord miraculously answered such request, the saints became dumbfounded. It was indeed hard in the flesh to believe the God of the impossible would be more than willing to honour certain impossible request according to God’s will.
Thus, the brethren thought Peter had already passed on to glory and Rhoda was seeing his angel. No one in the house believed Peter was alive and had escaped jail. Actually what was the point in praying for Peter if that was the case? Their vehement unbelief in the deliverance of Peter exposed the weakness of the flesh in believing God could answer prayers in the remotest possible circumstance. It would be easy to pray but hard to believe God would actually answer prayers. This is the cruel irony for many believers where they desire God answers prayers but they have no faith to believe God would actually grant them their requests. Fortunately, God is faithful and gracious and would even answer prayers according to His will when God’s people engage in faithless praying.
Acts 12:16: But Peter continued knocking: and when they had opened the door, and saw him, they were astonished.
Acts 12:17: But he, beckoning unto them with the hand to hold their peace, declared unto them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, Go shew these things unto James, and to the brethren. And he departed, and went into another place.
Finally, though the brethren would pray without ceasing but without believing, Peter would rather knock without ceasing that the brethren opened the door for him. Of course, they were astonished when they saw Peter. They did not expect Peter to be alive let alone escaped and came to them. It was in the quiet of the night when Peter escaped jail and his prolonged noisy knocking on the door would have caused disturbance to the neighbours. Had Peter not stopped them in their astonished verbal acknowledgement, Peter might have to go back to jail if he was found out by the incensed and irritated neighbours, especially those Jews expecting him to be put to death. The Jews were in the days of the unleavened bread and they were not in the mood to accommodate such noisy outburst in the night.
Then Peter declared to the brethren his deliverance and the Lord told him to go to them. The James mentioned here was not the apostle James who was executed earlier. He was the brother of the Lord Jesus Christ and the leader of the church in Jerusalem where he would be mentioned again in another chapter concerning the issue of circumcision for the Gentile believers in Christ. Having appeared to James and the brethren, Peter left and went to another place. He was too familiar a figure there and abiding there would be to his own jeopardy when his scheduled execution was in the morning. He surely would not want to taunt Herod with his appearance outside his prison in the morning.
Acts 12:18: Now as soon as it was day, there was no small stir among the soldiers, what was become of Peter.
Acts 12:19: And when Herod had sought for him, and found him not, he examined the keepers, and commanded that they should be put to death. And he went down from Judaea to Caesarea, and there abode.
Morning finally came and Peter was nowhere to be found in the prison. The soldiers were in trouble and were probably quarreling and blame shifting with the disappearance of Peter. Peter indeed lived up to his reputation of acting in his famous prison-break drama. Another episode had come and gone and the soldiers had to take the blame. They were certainly not at fault but they had to pay with their lives for being passive participants of this yet another prison-break drama staged by the main actor Peter with divine help.
Did they hear the gospel preached to them by Peter? Perhaps. Did they repent? Certainly hoped so. Peter was actually sleeping so soundly with the prison guards. Although his reputation for getting out of prison miraculously would be known to these guards, they had little to worry about the security measures taken. Such confidence was proven to be misplaced when this prisoner divinely anointed to build the church was the case. Peter’s time to get out of this world had not yet come but the prison guards’ time was up. Peter’s incarceration was their chance of salvation that hopefully they had not spurned. So instead of Peter meeting his Maker, these prison guards went out of this world that morning.
Herod was surely furious over this failure and missed opportunity to please the Jews in Jerusalem to lay the ground for his political fortunes and consolidate powers in Israel. What was the point remaining in Jerusalem? Like the chief priests who could not keep their prisoners like Peter, Herod got slapped in the face too. Perhaps the Jewish religious leaders were laughing at him as well. So this egoistical man Herod, having executed the apostle James went to Caesarea and would soon get an answer from heaven for his crime against God’s servant when he still continued in iniquity. It was just too bad that the divine deliverance of Peter was not a wake up call for this earthly king.
Acts 12:20: And Herod was highly displeased with them of Tyre and Sidon: but they came with one accord to him, and, having made Blastus the king’s chamberlain their friend, desired peace; because their country was nourished by the king’s country.
Acts 12:21: And upon a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne, and made an oration unto them.
Acts 12:22: And the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man.
Acts 12:23: And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.
Politicians being politicians would always be concerned with authority, power and influence. Any opportunity that offers politicians mutual benefits would surely be seriously considered. Pilate and Herod becoming friends again during the trial of the Lord Jesus Christ is a case in point. Hence, Herod’s adventure into persecuting the church at Jerusalem to please the Jews was a calculated move for his political career to receive a boost which failed. Here in Caesarea, Herod was given this opportunity be the great man of the day as the ruler of the people. His unhappiness with Tyre and Sidon was resolved and what he hoped to achieve in Jerusalem that failed was now redeemed in the northern region of his sphere of influence and dominance.
Still discontented with his political achievement, Herod ever on the move upward in the political arena had crossed the line this time. When the people shouted and claimed that Herod was a god and not a man after giving his speech, he met his doom. Heaven had tolerated his infamy and his ambitious political agenda thus far. This time Herod stepped on the wrong foot. He could claim power on earth by intimidation and influence with different state actors to consolidate his position under the Roman Empire but the moment he crossed the line and stepped into the divine and spiritual realm, he was finished, not just politically but physically and spiritually. It was definitely dangerous to rob God of His glory.
I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images. (Isaiah 42:8)
For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. (Romans 14:11)
Apparently, Herod did not understand humility and who actually put him on that earthly throne. He thought too highly of himself.
By me kings reign, and princes decree justice. By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth. (Proverbs 8:15&16)
No man on earth except one man can claim divinity.
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:5,6 & 11)
Herod’s death by a thousand of worms must have been a horror story that hit the headlines and told on the streets of Caesarea for quite a long time. This was no normal bacteria-eating virus. They were live worms eating up the flesh of this arrogant king who refused to give God the glory. His political aspiration that drove him to plot and scheme and even to the extent of persecuting the saints on earth was watched by angels in heaven. No spirit beings could tolerate this man, though clothed in royal robes externally but actually internally clothed in dust and ash, to challenge divine authority. His rebellion against the Most High God was put down immediately with this horrendous death. Herod tasted death by a thousand worms on earth and was ushered into to the next world in a more horrifying and painful torment with worms that continued to be part of his eternal existence in constant torment.
Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. (Mark 9:44)
Acts 12:24: But the word of God grew and multiplied.
Acts 12:25: And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem, when they had fulfilled their ministry, and took with them John, whose surname was Mark.
In contrast, the persecuted church was victorious. The word of God grew and multiplied while the enemies of the saints were on the decline. Herod failed to strike out a synergistic partnership with the Jews and met his untimely and ignominious demise. Barnabas and Paul returned from Jerusalem with their relief ministries brought a disciple John Mark with them. There was no stopping the Church from marching on come what may whether persecution was initiated by religious envy or political consideration. All those who refused to believe the gospel message would have the same lot with this unrepentant king Herod.
The Kingdom of God was moving forward while the kingdoms in this world in the religious and political realms continue to plot and scheme for dominance where the saints at times become victimized in their power struggles. Notwithstanding, the saints will have the last laugh when the Lord established His long awaited Kingdom on earth.
And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. (Daniel 2:44)
And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed. But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever. (Daniel 7:14&18)
And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 11:15)