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. Acts 12:11.
Peter was confined in a rock-hewn cell, the doors of which were strongly bolted and barred…. But the bolts and bars and the Roman guard, which effectually cut off all possibility of human aid, were but to make more complete the triumph of God in the deliverance of Peter….
It is the last night before the proposed execution. A mighty angel is sent from heaven to rescue Peter…. He enters the cell, and there lies Peter, sleeping the peaceful sleep of perfect trust….
Not until he feels the touch of the angel’s hand and hears a voice saying, “Arise up quickly,” does he awaken sufficiently to see his cell illuminated by the light of heaven and an angel of great glory standing before him. Mechanically he obeys the word spoken to him, and as in rising he lifts his hands, he is dimly conscious that the chains have fallen from his wrists….
He [the angel] moves toward the door, followed by the usually talkative Peter, now dumb from amazement. They step over the guard, and reach the heavily bolted door, which of its own accord swings open, and closes again immediately….
The second door … is reached. It opens … with no creaking of hinges or rattling of iron bolts…. In the same way they pass through the third gateway, and find themselves in the open street…. The angel glides on in front, encircled by a light of dazzling brightness…. Thus they pass on through one street, and then, the mission of the angel being accomplished, he suddenly disappears.
Today, as verily as in the days of the apostles, heavenly messengers are passing through the length and breadth of the land…. We cannot see them personally; nevertheless they are with us, guiding, directing, protecting.77The Acts of the Apostles, 146-153.