A sister responded with interest to the previous edition, The Problem with the Moral Law. She then went on to wonder about Peter’so vision in Acts 10, because there is a common teaching that Peter was given the ‘ok’ to do as the Chinese. [If it has four legs and it’s not a table, swims but isn’t a submarine, or flies but isn’t an airplane–eat it! ]
So, let’s take a quick look at this often misunderstood passage.
In verses one through eight, we are given the prologue about a gentile man who feared God. Now, fearing God in scripture is synonymous with obedience. So this is a gentile who follows as much of the Torah as he can get away with. Not someone like Nero.
To a devout Jew, a gentile was like a dog, a source of uncleanness. You can see this when Yeshua refers to the Phoenician woman as a dog. Also, in how theasy scribes and priests would not enter the judgment hall of Pirates, lest they become unclean. In short, a good jew wouldn’t hang out with a gentile.
Now, there are reasons behind this Tradition, but it is a tradition, and I believe a wrong one as Avraham, Yaakov, Moshe and Aharon all ate with gentiles.
Interesting, Acts tells us in v6 that Peter is staying with a jew, who is. tanner…important because the tanning profession would have often risked uncleanness. So Peter is willing to stay with actual uncleanness with a Jew, but probably, assuming he adheres to tradition, would be unwilling to visit Cornelius.
Vision, say what?
Peter has his vision of unclean beasts and told to eat. How does Peter respond? V14, by refusing.
Think about that. Peters has a vision FROM HEAVEN and refuses, three times (v16). Now, if God tells you to jump, most of us say “How high? ” Where does Peter get the…um…guts to say, no?
What should be obvious is that he is operating from a Torah mindset, so it would be like God telling a Baptist to hit a bar and smoke a joint. It’s unthinkable.
This can’t be glossed over: Peter is assuming Torah is still in effect. Why? The obvious answer is that Yeshua never told him different. If Yeshua had taught that after his death the Torah was a nulled, then Peter makes no sense because he’s already been taught this.
And the inverse, says the idea of life without Torah was never taught by His Master.
V17, Peter doubtake what the vision means. This is me hammering home the previous point. Peter refuses to accept the eat pork chops instruction FROM HEAVEN and even afterward doesn’t know what the message meant. Why? because he knows that whatever it means, it can’t mean break the everlasting commandments of God.
The Spirit knows Pete is confused. V19, so the Spirit tells him “three men seek thee.” How many times did the sheet come down? 3. How many gentile men are there? 3. What do we suppose was the message of the sheet…?
So, Pete goes doubting nothing because the Spirit says they were sent by God. No mention of stopping at the local barbeque pit. Fast forward to v28, where Peter tells us exactly what HE learned from the vision. “You know how that it is an unfit thing for a jew to keep company with a gentile…but God has shown me that I should call no man common or unclean…“
So… Peter tells us plainly that the vision had nothing to do with pork chops. Weird.