Did God tell Peter that he is free to eat unclean animals which He had banned before? Acts 10:1 – 11:18

A lot of people read the events around Peter and the vision he saw, to say that “God revoked the Food Laws”. Is this true? Can we come to the conclusion that God was trying to communicate to Peter that the Food Laws were no more after Christ’s death through this Vision? The objective of this study is not to conclude whether the Food Laws are valid for today, or not. (This will be a separate study, hopefully in the near future). The objective of this article is to study the said passage, so that we can figure out what it means, and what it does not mean. Whether God really did tell Peter to start eating all animals without separating clean and unclean, or whether God’s message was something else.

Let us start at the beginning of the Chapter and work ourselves down step by step. Since this is a verse by verse commentary, I have underlined the critical verses, if you want to get the facts, fast.

Acts 10:1
We know a few things about Cornelius. He was a Centurion of the Italian Regiment. He was posted in Caesarea, a place in Palestine. Mar 8:27, says that Yeshua Himself visited Ceasarea.

Acts 10:2
He was a godly man. He feared God with all his household, helped the poor and prayed constantly to God.

Acts 10:3
It says that he saw a vision about the 9th Hour. Later in verse 30, he confesses that he was fasting and praying at the 9th hour in his house. This was a separated time of prayer as seen in Acts 3:1. In this vision he saw, an Angel of God speaking to him.

Acts 10:4
And the Angel says that his “prayers” and the “compassion he had towards the poor” has reached God.

Acts 10:5,6
He is given direction to send men to Joppa(another place in palestine) to bring Simon Peter to him, so Peter could direct Cornelius as to what must be done.

Acts 10:7,8
When the Angel had left Cornelius, he called two servants and a god-fearing/devout soldier and told them what had happened and sent them to Joppa, as he was commanded.

Acts 10:9
While Cornelius’ men were approaching Joppa the next day, Peter went upstairs to pray around the 6th hour of the day.

Acts 10:10
It says Peter was very hungry, but the food was still being prepared. And he suddenly fell into a trance.

Acts 10:11,12,13
Peter saw the Heavens open up, and a great sheet with all kinds of animals let down to earth. And Peter heard a voice saying “Rise, Peter, Kill and Eat”.

Acts 10:14
Peter says “Not So, Lord”, meaning “may it not be”, I have “never” eaten anything which is unclean or common/unholy. This poses and interesting question. If, as some believe, Yeshua(Real name of Jesus) had taught the Disciples that all things are Clean, and everything can be eaten, why is Peter rejecting this “commandment” from heaven? So, it is safe to say, that Yeshua would have never taught any disciple to break God’s Food Laws.

Acts 10:15,16
Then the voice replies Peter saying, “What God has cleansed, do not call common/unholy”. This happens 3 times and the sheet was taken up back to Heaven. In this vision, did God revoke his food Laws and say God has cleansed all food, and not to call or segregate foods as clean and common/unholy or unclean? It is very clear. But, let us read on before jumping to any conclusions.

Acts 10:17
It says that Peter was unsure of what the vision meant. Why? it was so clear. God had told him to eat all things. But, Peter was not so sure what all of this meant. God had commanded not to eat unclean animals before, and now suddenly, He is asking Peter not to call Unclean animals Unclean! While all of these thoughts were in Peter’s mind, the men from Cornelius had reached the gate of the house where Peter stayed.

Acts 10:18,19,20
While the people asked for Peter, He was still thinking what the Vision meant, when the Holy Spirit spoke to him saying “3 men are looking for you, Arise, Go with them, without doubting anything, I have sent them”. Is this vision somehow connected with the arrival of the 3 men from Cornelius’ house? Let us read on.

Acts 10:21,22
Peter goes downstairs and declares that he is Peter and asks for what reason they are looking for him. They tell him that Cornelius, a Centurion, a God fearing just man, who is known by even the Jews with good report, saw an Angel asking him to send for Peter, to hear what he has to say.

Acts 10:23,24
Peter asked them to stay with them in Joppa, and left Joppa the next day with some of the other believers. The next day, they entered Ceasarea, and Cornelius was waiting for Peter in his house, and he had invited his friends and relatives as well.

Acts 10:25,26,27
As Peter was entering the house, Cornelius rushed to him, fell down, and worshiped him. But Peter “took him” up saying “Stand up, I am also just a man”. And then Peter entered the house to see many who had gathered.

Acts 10:28,29
Peter talks to the assembly, and says “You know, that it is unlawful for a Jew to keep company with, or visit foreigners”. Let’s stop here for a minute and study what Peter really meant, before we proceed. First of all, we should see that it was a known fact by all, that Jews did not keep company with foreigners. Otherwise, Peter would not start his speech by saying “You know”. We see this separation throughout the bible(John 4:9) So much so, that Jews did not even talk with non-Jews (John 4:27). They tried to even refrain from stepping into buildings that foreigners were in(John 18:28). Had God Almighty, instituted such a Law? God has always advised Israel not to go after the nations, and their ways, but never to not keep company with them or talk to them. in Deut 4:6-8, God even advised Israel to keep His Laws so Gentiles will see the good things of God and obey God. This law, of division between Jew and Gentile, like many other laws, were forced on Israel by their teachers and rulers, such as the Pharisees. (More about them in a future study). So, in short, It was a custom, or man made law, that no Jew could visit or keep company with a Gentile.

Now we finally get some solid answers to the questions we asked in Acts 10:15,16. Peter goes on to say, “but God has showed me that I should not call any man “common/unholy” or “unclean”. That is why I came promptly to you, as soon as I was asked to come”. It is very clear, by reading this admission, that Peter understood his vision the moment the 3 men asked him to come with them to Ceasarea. He understood that “God had showed” him the vision concerning not calling any man “Common/Unholy” and “Unclean”. Putting no difference between a person who knows God, and a person who is searching for God. Remember, ultimately, all are children of Noah, a child of God.

Peter goes onto ask why they asked him to come.

Acts 10:30-33
Cornelius explains what happened to him and tells Peter that they are present, to learn what God has commanded them to do.

Acts 10:34,35
Then Peter says that he “understands” that God does not respect any particular individual or nation, and that He has accepted all who “fear Him” and “does what is righteous”, in all nations.

Acts 10:36-43
Then Peter goes onto witness about Yeshua and preaches the Gospel to the people.

Acts 10:44-48
Then something fantastic happen. While Peter talks to the people, the Holy Spirit falls on the people. And some of the believers who were of the “Circumcision party”, who had come with Peter, were astonished. (We will check who “the Circumcision party” was, shortly). The Gentiles spoke in tongues, and magnified God. Then, Peter asked “Can anyone forbid these people who have received the Holy Spirit to get baptized? And Peter commanded them to get baptized in the name of the Lord. And he stayed with them for sometime.

Acts 11:1
The apostles and believers in Judea had heard that the gentiles received the Word of God.

Acts 11:2,3
When Peter came to Jerusalem, “those from the Circumcision” opposed Peter. Notice, that it was not the “Apostles” and “all the believers” who opposed him. It was only those of “the Circumcision”. Some think that “the Circumcision” is, all Jews. Not so. (Gal 2:12,13 showcases how Peter was scared of the Circumcision, and how the “other Jews”, who were not of “the Circumcision Party/Group” also followed him). They believed, as per the name which is used to call them, that you needed to be circumcised to be saved.

What was the accusation brought forward against Peter? That Peter went to “men who are not Circumcised” and ate with them.

Acts 11:4-15
To this, Peter replied by conveying the whole story which happened to him, not starting with the 3 men who came to Joppa, but starting with the vision he saw. He tells them the vision, and how as he was having the vision, the 3 men were looking for him at the house, and how 6 believers, present with him, went with him to Caesarea. How Cornelius had seen an Angel, and how the Holy Spirit fell, while he spoke.

Acts 11:16-18
Peter also says that he remembered what Yeshua said “John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit”. He told everyone, that God had given the Holy Spirit to the gentiles who believed in Yeshua, and asked them, who was he to withstand God. When “the Circumcision party/group” heard this, they kept quiet and glorified God, saying that God had granted repentance unto the gentiles as well.

So, in conclusion, as we have seen throughout this reading, the Vision was connected to the Gentiles and not regarding them as unholy or unclean. It could not have been about the food. If it was so, “The Circumcision Party” who accused Peter of eating with gentiles, would have ripped him to shreds for breaking “God’s Food Laws”. The key to understanding this misunderstood part of the Word, is Acts 10:28, where Peter said “God has showed me that I should not call ANY MAN “common” or “unclean”.

Advertisements

15 thoughts on “Did God tell Peter that he is free to eat unclean animals which He had banned before? Acts 10:1 – 11:18

  1. Jannie johnson

    all these years I thought wrong I thought God told peter not to call the animals unclean I didn’t read the whole scripture that’s where I made my mistake my teaching was to always read the whole scripture so we understood whats being said and now I know what the Lord was saying.

    Reply
    1. rameshdesilva Post author

      Hi Jannie,

      I sincerely thank God for people like you… who look at the evidence in the Bible and are not afraid to say “I understood this wrong”. Your comment was a big encouragement to me. Thank You for your honesty… May YHVH bless you and make you an even bigger blessing to all who are around you!

      Reply
  2. Pingback: Food Laws or Fasting? Misunderstandings regarding Romans 14 | Bible things in Bible ways

  3. Pingback: Examining Paul’s letter to the Galatians | Bible things in Bible ways

  4. Nathaniel Aaron Bourque

    Yeshua was a Jew. He observed all religious observances,Laws, and gave us the greatest beacon of light in this time of confusion and 1:Love thy God with all our substance,heart,soul. 2:Love thy neighbor as thyself. Brothers and sisters pray right after you read this. For Our Father to guide us as a father guides a baby learning to see the light. We must see the order to live in a community of like minded believers. Loving your fellow believers as neighbors is more excellent for our family. But for a missionary this is a impossibility. Must be strong to enter the field of missions. The Jewish community has it right. People who hear the word have the opportunity to believe. And spread the word,seed. In different fields. Not the same field where you live. That’s your rest,peace,home,sanctuary. And no man should enter your home when you are not there. No man should care for your children, that is the mothers job. Repent for your time is near. Doesn’t matter when Jesus returns, if it’s after your dead.

    Reply
  5. Jeff Jabben

    I highly recommend you do extensive research on the health facts of unclean animals. That should scare them away to begin with. Beings that eat dead beings and substances like animal waste (unclean animals) should not be eaten. Common sense, I would never want to eat a vulture.

    Some helpful tips for this subject.
    Acts 10:14 Peters statement rebukes mark 7:19 as being valid proof of food cleansing from God.
    Matthew 15:17 doesn’t use the term purify.
    So all those years Matt was teaching he never said that all meats are purged. It was just Marks vocabulary. If you notice before he says it he mentions cast out into draught. You cannot cleanse something in particular if it is being cast out into the draught.
    Also Mark chapter 7 is frequently used for justifying of the eating of unclean food. It is actually about the traditions of men. The apostles ate bread with dirty hands. The Pharisees claimed they were now defiled. Jesus stated that isn’t the case. Your point you should make is that if you dip your hands in poison and ate bread it won’t defile you, however it will not be good your health. Just like unclean animals.
    All the verses about unclean animals have science behind. The reason if you eat them and have to wash your clothes is because of the toxins and poisons from the animals that your excreting out of your swear glands. The fact God gives instructions on what to do if you eat it by accident shows it is a moral law. Usually someone were to be stoned or had to offer an animal sacrifice for disobeying an ordinance. Waiting until the eighth day to circumsise your child is scientific. It’s scientifically proven to reduce chance of blood clots. That Chapter is right under unclean food in Leviticus. The mom is unclean due to bacteria that she produces after child birth. The same Christians that say unclean food doesn’t stand says that we should not commit incest. They contradict themselves. Incest was stated in the old testament. Scientifically proven; incest causes birth defects.

    Keep going, your on the right track.

    Reply
    1. Jeff Jabben

      Wanted to grammatically fix this reply and provide further clarification, my apologies I typed this on my phone at the time and quickly and did not provide adequate information.
      Matthew 15: 17 – I meant “purging all meats”
      Poison will not be good for* your health just as the unclean animals are not good for your health*
      The excretion of poison or toxins (or that of the unclean animal itself DNA wise) was in relation to the temple, and it would or should not feasibly affect another human being. If a poisonous puffer-fish was eaten in large quantities and the person sweated incredibly it is possible to be reasonably traced in the sweat but I highly doubt enough to affect another human being (possibly a more than normal burn on an open wound?). The only feasible thing I can theorize for it to be harmful to others is if the sweat (which the body does to rid of toxins) is consumed in large quantities, which is not something to be done anyways. – I did not mean to cause any worries or concern with this statement, as I said before was just trying to provide quick possible clarification of why God commanded peculiar ordinances aside from the instructions of which animals to consume in the “Law of the Beast” on a small screened phone. – God Bless

      Reply
  6. Pingback: Unclean Foods sanctified by God’s Word and Prayer? Misunderstandings regarding 1Tim 4:1-5 | Bible things in Bible ways

  7. Dorothy Adams

    I find that almost all of scripture is multi-faceted, meaning that there are many teachings out of them that have different conclusions. I would like to point out that Peter did eat with them. Now, what they served and what Peter ate is a mystery that you cannot conclude with any real facts. It is possible that they were not serving unclean animals that day(perhaps God made it so), perhaps they were serving something Peter would not normally eat and he just did not eat that part of the meal. We would be foolish however, to blow off the possibility that he did eat an unclean thing that day. If Peter was a guest in their home and already walked across a social barrier, and was served unclean food and blessed it, trusting in God and ate a bite to show that God is more a God of love, than a God of works. Peter would also be trusting that by coming into relationship with Christ, they would soon decide not to eat unclean animals out of love for Gods wisdom. It would not have been a good example to start it all off with ‘do as I do’ in order to be holy but rather I choose the wisdom of God out of faith that He alone knows what is best for His people. An example, if you will. I do not eat unclean animals because God told me not to. I see that I have the opportunity to honor His wisdom and hold fast to that there is a very good reason for it. Now if I was starving and something unclean was presented to me, I would bless it and eat it and not feel that I have made God unhappy.

    Reply
    1. rameshdesilva Post author

      Dear Dorothy,

      First of all I do not believe that this whole event was about food at all. The only reason Peter was shown a vision about clean/unclean animals was because of the state he was in that particular moment – he was hungry. His words are very clear “Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.” – common or unclean being the key words. Furthermore, if this was about food, he did not need to doubt in himself about the meaning of the vision as mentioned in Act 10:17. And while he was still perplexed by the vision, the 3 people from Cornelius arrive at his door asking for him. When he enters Cornelius’ house the first thing he says is that “but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean(V28)”. notice the 2 key words “common or unclean”. Also notice he says that God has showed him not to call any “MAN” (not food) common or unclean. The only reason Peter was perplexed about the vision was because God had instructed not to eat common or unclean animals – but now He was going against His own words and saying kill and eat. Peter knew that God’s Words cannot change, and was unsure what God was trying to say through the vision… which he understood when he stepped into Cornelius’ house. I think it is foolish to believe that God would suddenly change His everlasting unchanging word – the same word that Yeshua said would not loose a jot or tittle till heaven and earth lasts. If food was an integral part of being a follower of God as James judged in Acts 15 (out of the 4 commands 3 were about food dervied from Lev 17) I don’t think Peter would have broken God’s commands even to make another person happy – conversely, he could have easily explained what God said to eat/not eat, when he preached at Cornelius’ house. We should love even the people who do not understand God’s Word as we do, but that does not mean we break His Word… If I were Peter, I would sit with them and eat bread and anything else which is clean, while saying I just do not eat the unclean. That does not mean I love a person less… it just means I love God as much as I love my neighbour. While your example is an extreme case scenario (which I hope no one has to go through) it is still breaking God’s command to feed oneself. If I were to take it to a higher extreme, I am sure you would agree with me that we would not kill a person so that we can feed ourself… which is breaking God’s Law to feed ourself… why then would we do the same with unclean foods? Sin in sin after all. If God has called unclean food abomination(Deut 14:3) I beieve that is quite serious…

      May you be ablessing to everyone around you!

      Reply
  8. Jeff Jabben

    rameshdesilva – I read something like this before except not as detailed. Very interesting, I appreciate the share. I would also recommend my short “book” or document on the law applying today in its fulfilled form and unclean animals remaining unclean for eating purposes. I spent over 300 hours creating this work to prove laws such as unclean animals apply today so I believe you will truly enjoy it. It is a very efficient and organized read.

    The link – https://www.scribd.com/document/325232945/Uncleanliness

    Feel free to quote from my work as much as you like.

    Reply
  9. Pingback: Can God, His Word or His Covenants change? | Bible things in Bible ways

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s