Acts 10 – Food or Gentiles?

I referenced Acts 10 and Peter’s vision.  Some believe all foods were declared clean here.  Wait, I thought it was Mark 7 all foods were declared clean.  Ah, yes, Mark 7 had nothing to do with food, yet the translator’s decided it should be.  What was Acts 10 about?  Let’s take a look.

Acts 10 starts out with a vision by Cornelius the centurion, a gentile.  Scripture says he was a devout man who feared G-d.  His vision told him to send for Peter in Joppa.  The commentary breaks from Cornelius and goes to Peter.  The next day he sees a vision.  His vision was an object like a white sheet with all kinds of animals, birds, and insects.  A voice told Peter to kill and eat.  What was Peter’s response?

“By no means, Lord, for I have never eaten anything common and unclean.”  Common and unclean is two different things.  Food that has become common is food that was considered clean, but become defiled.  How?  A clean animal that died of natural causes or a defect was found in the animal like an abnormal growth.  There are few other ways that a clean animal can become common.  Now, an unclean animal is one designated unclean by G-d in Leviticus 11.  We know the designation of clean and unclean was given much earlier than to the Israelites on Mt. Sinai.  We know Noah knew the difference between clean and unclean, since there were 7 pair of clean animals and only 2 pair of the unclean animals.

v15-16 – Again a voice came to him a second time, “What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy.” This happened three times, and immediately the object was taken up into the sky.

It is easy to take these last several verses to say all food was declared clean.  One has to think about we are told that G-d does not change.  G-d said the one who eats pig was an abomination to Him, but people say now it is ok.  They base their opinion on passages like this.  Let’s continue…

v17a – Now while Peter was greatly perplexed in mind as to what the vision which he had seen might be

If Yeshua had really declared all foods clean in Mark 7 then why would Peter be so perplexed here?  If Yeshua had come to do away with the Torah, one would think Peter would know.  Yet, he was perplexed by this vision.

v18-27 – these verses are showing the ones Cornelius sent to Peter and there exchange.  Then it shows Peter entering Cornelus’ house.

v28 – 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 G-d has shown me that I should not call any man unholy or unclean.

Here Peter is speaking of the Oral Torah.  I do not like to speak of the Oral Torah negatively since the perception is already so negative of the Oral Torah.  But no where in the written Torah are the Jews told to not associate with foreigner’s.  In fact, the Torah says the opposite.  We are to go out of our way to be hospitable to them.  Remember Avraham and how he was always inviting foreigners to eat with him?

The second half of v28 Peter tells us the meaning of his vision.  G-d showed Peter that he should not call any man unholy or unclean.  One can argue all they want of what the visions mean, but Peter clearly tells us the meaning of the visions.  Peter then tells us that is why he did not delay in coming to Cornelius’ place.

v29 – that is why I came without even raising any objection when I was sent for. So I ask for what reason you have sent for me.

The rest of the passage is them conversing and Ruach Hakodesh (the Holy Spirit) coming upon Cornelius.

Again, many take Mark 7 and Acts 10 to show that all foods were declared clean yet contextually one cannot come upon the same meaning.  As we are told in 2 Peter 3:16 about Paul’s letters –  as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.

I hope this helps you understand Acts 10 a little better now.  If you have any questions or comments please let me know.  If you think I am wrong, please show me.

Until next time…kadosh, kadosh, kadosh is HaShem!