Difficult Texts

"And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat."

This chapter gives the interesting account of the Gentile Cornelius, who prayed for the troth. God appeared to him and told him to send men to Joppa and to invite Peter to come and teach him (verses 3-6).

As the servants of Cornelius approached Joppa, Peter fell into a trance on the housetop and saw a sheet let down from heaven. In the sheet were all manner of beasts, creeping things, and fowls--moles, bats, buzzards, etc. A voice invited Peter to eat them, but he said, "Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean." Verse 14.

Some people contend that Christ cleansed all food when He was on earth, but if so, Peter knew nothing about it. He had spent three and one-half years with the Master and had listened to His instructions. Yet Peter had gathered no intimation that those unclean animals could be eaten. Peter did not know what the vision meant. Verse 17 says, "Now while Peter doubted in himself what this vision which he had seen should mean, behold, the men.., stood before the gate." He was pondering it. Again in verse 19, "While Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee."

Apparently, on the way back to Cornelius' house the Lord answered Peter's ponderings and showed him the meaning of his vision. When he entered the house full of Gentile friends, Peter said, "Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean." Verse 28, emphasis added.

The meaning was now clear. Peter's vision had nothing to do with diet. It was a sign that the gospel was henceforth to be preached to the Gentiles.