This weeks topic is a discussion of the vision Peter had in Acts Chapter 10. This topic is a hot bed for discussion since the mainstream Christian Church says this scripture does away with the dietary requirements for believers and many other Churches say it is a misrepresentation of the written word. So first, let’s dig in the Scripture in Acts 10, with the NASB translation, verse numbers are removed for easier reading and to keep text into context.
NASB Acts Chapter 10
Now there was a certain man at Caesarea named Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian cohort, a devout man, and one who feared God with all his household, and gave many alms to the Jewish people, and prayed to God continually. About the ninth hour of the day he clearly saw in a vision an angel of God who had just come in to him, and said to him, “Cornelius!” and fixing his gaze upon him and being much alarmed, he said, “What is it, Lord?” And he said to him, “Your prayers and alms have ascended as a memorial before God. and now dispatch some men to Joppa, and send for a man named Simon, who is also called Peter; he is staying with a certain tanner named Simon, whose house is by the sea.”
And When the angel who was speaking to him had departed, he summoned two of his servants and a devout soldier of those who were in constant attendance upon him, and after he had explained everything to them, he sent them to Joppa. And on the next day, as they were on their way, and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray. And he became hungry, and was desiring to eat; but while they were making preparations, he fell into a trance; and he beheld the sky opened up, and a certain object like a great sheet coming down, lowered by four corners to the ground, and there were in it all kinds of four-footed animals and crawling creatures of the earth and birds of the air. And a voice came to him, “Arise, Peter, kill and eat!” But Peter said, “By no means, Lord, for I have never eaten anything unholy and unclean.” And again a voice came to him a second time, “What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy.” And this happened three times; and immediately the object was taken up into the sky.
Now while Peter was greatly perplexed in mind as to what the vision which he had seen might be, behold, the men who had been sent by Cornelius, having asked directions for Simon’s house, appeared at the gate; and calling out, they were asking whether Simon, who was also called Peter, was staying there. And while Peter was reflecting on the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are looking for you. “But arise, go downstairs, and accompany them without misgivings; for I have sent them Myself.” And Peter went down to the men and said, “Behold, I am the one you are looking for; what is the reason for which you have come?” And they said, “Cornelius, a centurion, a righteous and God-fearing man well spoken of by the entire nation of the Jews, was divinely directed by a holy angel to send for you to come to his house and hear a message from you.”
And so he invited them in and gave them lodging. And on the next day he arose and went away with them, and some of the brethren from Joppa accompanied him. And on the following day he entered Caesarea. Now Cornelius was waiting for them, and had called together his relatives and close friends. And when it came about that Peter entered, Cornelius met him, and fell at his feet and worshiped him.
But Peter raised him up, saying, “Stand up; I too am just a man.” And as he talked with him, he entered, and found many people assembled. And he said to them, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a man who is a Jew to associate with a foreigner or to visit him; and yet God has shown me that I should not call any man unholy or unclean. “That is why I came without even raising any objection when I was sent for. And so I ask for what reason you have sent for me.”
And Cornelius said, “Four days ago to this hour, I was praying in my house during the ninth hour; and behold, a man stood before me in shining garments, and he said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your alms have been remembered before God. ‘Send therefore to Joppa and invite Simon, who is also called Peter, to come to you; he is staying at the house of Simon the tanner by the sea.’ “And so I sent to you immediately, and you have been kind enough to come. Now then, we are all here present before God to hear all that you have been commanded by the Lord.” And opening his mouth, Peter said: “I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right, is welcome to Him. “The word which He sent to the sons of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ (He is Lord of all)– you yourselves know the thing which took place throughout all Judea, starting from Galilee, after the baptism which John proclaimed.
“You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good, and healing all who were oppressed by the devil; for God was with Him. “And we are witnesses of all the things He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. And they also put Him to death by hanging Him on a cross. “God raised Him up on the third day, and granted that He should become visible, not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen beforehand by God, that is, to us, who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. “And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead. “Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.”
While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message. And all the circumcised believers who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out upon the Gentiles also. For they were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God. Then Peter answered, “Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?” And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay on for a few days.
Review of key points
What we see is Peter has a perplexing vision of unclean things coming down from the sky and told to kill and eat. However, Peter is shocked that he is being told to eat unclean things. After the vision, Peter has no Idea what the vision means. Then IMMEDIATELY he is told by the Spirit to go with unclean men and to not fear for God sent them himself.
When Peter arrives at the house of Cornelius, Peter says to them that they know darn well that is it unlawful for a Jew to go to a Gentile (an unclean person) BUT because the Spirit told him to go he went. Then while preaching the Gospel, the Holy Spirit comes upon these unclean people and fills them. The other Jews with Peter sees the whole thing too and there could be no denying that the Gentile (unclean) people will now and forever be included into God as promised to Abraham back in Genesis.
Peter then proclaims out of his own mouth that he finally understands the dream and that it had nothing to do with food, but that the unclean Gentiles were to be part of the ministry established by Jesus. If you read further in Acts, you will find that Peter was questioned by this entry into a Gentile place by a Jew. But, God showed Peter, through a vision that would greatly disgrace Peter, thinking about eating unclean stuff, that He has included the Gentiles and to no longer call the Gentiles unclean.