Of all the passages in the “New Testament” that seem to be misinterpreted and misunderstood, it seems that Acts 10 potentially makes the top of the list. The reasons for this are rather unclear to me, as the passage describes a vision that the Apostle Peter had and then provides the interpretation of that vision further down in the account. However, for some reason, Christian traditions maintain a very incorrect view of what this whole thing was all about.
Even in major theological works, such as The New International Commentary On The New Testament: The Book Of Acts, this wrong view of Peter’s vision is presented with such statements as:
The abolition of barriers was pressed home in the vision with special reference to Jewish food restrictions, but Peter soon learned that its range was much wider. Perhaps, as he thought about the vision, he remembered hearing similar words on an earlier occasion, though he had not grasped their import. No doubt he was present when his Master, in debate with Pharisees and scribes, insisted that it is not what goes into someone’s stomach that conveys defilement, but what comes out of one’s heart (Mark 7:14-19a).
This was in effect an abrogation of ceremonial food laws and much else of the same character, but it was not until later, as a result of his experience on the roof at Joppa, that Peter appreciated this. It may well be to Peter that we owe the comment appended by the evangelist to Jesus’ pronouncement on this subject: “Thus he declared all foods clean” (Mark 7:19b).
The divine cleansing of food in the vision is a parable of the divine cleansing of human beings in the incident to which the vision leads up. It did not take Peter long to understand this: “God has taught me,” he says later in the present narrative, “to call no human being profane or unclean” (v. 30). Within the framework of the vision it is food that God has cleansed by dominical pronouncement, but in the wider narrative it is men and women, even Gentiles, whose hearts he has cleansed by faith (cf. 15:9). Yet the cleansing of food is not wholly parabolic: there is a connection between the abrogation of levitical food restrictions and the removal of the barrier between believing Jews and Gentiles, for it was in large measure the Gentiles’ eating of food which was “unclean” (not kosher) by Jewish law that made association with them a source of “defilement” for Jews (cf. v. 28).
Sadly, this entire discourse has many flaws in it. Now, I am not questioning the entirety of this theological work on the Book of Acts, but it is clear from these two paragraphs that a common misinterpretation of the text in Acts 10 has even invaded the minds of some of the greatest of Bible scholars in modern Christianity.
First of all, the above citation mentioned Mark 7 and the declaration by Yeshua that alleges “He made all foods clean” means that we are now free to eat things like pigs and shellfish (the two most popular unclean meat items used as food in American culture today). The major problem with this interpretation of the statement in Mark 7, a statement that is parenthetically inserted and is potentially not part of the original text, is that it completely ignores the sister account of this event recorded in Matthew 15.
In both Mark 7 and Matthew 15 the record is given of a typical clash Yeshua had with certain men of the religious leaders of that time. I would also remind you that not all Pharisees, Sadducees, or Torah-teachers were “bad”, it was a “clique” within the leadership that were against our Messiah. Many who followed Yeshua, such as Joseph of Aramethea, were certainly from one of these Hebrew groups. Even the Apostle Paul is clearly from the sect of the Pharisees. So, as we read the passage from Matthew 15, we find the mirror statement to Mark’s “Thus He declared all foods clean”, where it is recorded in Matthew 15:19-20, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, and slander. These are the things that make the man unholy; but to eat with unwashed hands does not make the man unholy.”
We can also gain a better understanding by looking at Mark 7:19 from the Tree Of Life Version of the Bible, a wonderful Messianic translation put together by a team of experts that bring the Scripture back to it’s Hebraic origins. Here it says, “For it does not enter into the heart but into the stomach, and then goes out into the sewer, cleansing all foods.” You see, what Yeshua was doing here was describing the natural digestive process to explain His point, not given a blanket overturn of what was commanded in Torah.
The context of the entire account in both Mark 7 and Matthew 15 was an issue regarding whether or not it makes a person “unclean” by eating bread without first washing their hands. The matter was addressed by Yeshua, and He declared that it does not defile you to eat bread (or any other clean food for that matter) if you fail to first wash your hands after a ritually prescribed manner according to the traditions of the elders. This was more than just running to the sink for a quick wash, this was a special ceremonial hand washing that was never actually instructed in Torah. There is a lot more I could go into on this, but the focus of this message is Acts 10 and Peter’s vision, so I will move on. (If you want to get into more about Mark 7 and Matthew 15, I cover this in more depth in an article titled Does The New Testament Void Old Testament Dietary Laws?)
Another area where the above commentary seems to err is that it assumes the vision has a literal message in addition to the spiritual principle it was intended to convey. In fact, the citation actually takes the position that the spiritual application was a wider range of the vision’s message, thus implying that the direct and perhaps main reason for the vision was actually to tell Peter he could start eating the pigs. Apparently, as also implied, Peter completely missed this when Yeshua “declared all foods clean” over a decade earlier.
I will speak more about this in a moment. First, let’s begin to take a closer look at the text from Acts 10 and pull out some details that are often overlooked or even ignored by those who seek to interpret the text as mentioned above, an interpretation that says it is now OK to eat things (previously) forbidden by God.
Common vs. Unclean
On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour: And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance, and saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending upon him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. But Peter said, not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. And the voice spake unto him again the second time, what God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven.
~Acts 10:9-16 (KJV)
The first thing I want to focus on from the passage is a difference between the words “common” and “unclean”. These are two very different things, but to fully understand that we must look at what both of these words meant to Peter, a Hebrew man living in the first century Hebrew culture, as well as those who the Book of Acts was initially written to, also Hebrew people living in first century Hebrew culture.
The oldest known records of the “New Testament” are written in Greek. While there are those who believe that the original manuscripts written by the Apostles themselves would have been written in Hebrew, we currently do not possess these documents, if they ever existed at all.
In the Greek language the word translated “common” is from the Greek word “koinos” and the word “unclean” is from the Greek word “akathartos”. Koinos is a word that is used to describe something that was forbidden through man-made traditions and could not be deemed as forbidden under Torah. One such tradition stated that if a clean animal came in contact with an unclean animal, the clean animal was also to be deemed unfit for human consumption. Basically, if a lamb rubbed up against a pig, then the lamb was now equally as unclean as the pig.
There is nothing in Scripture to declare such a rule, and if that were the case then pretty much all animals would be unclean because what animal, including clean ones, could ever have avoided having a fly or a mosquito landing on their body? The intentions may have been good ones, make a rule to ensure that you never came even remotely close to breaking God’s Law, but too much of the time the Jewish leaders in their zeal to live for God created ridiculous rules and traditions that placed a burden on people.
Back to the context of the passage, also notice that it says that every time Peter told God that he has never eaten anything common or unclean, up to three times, God’s response back to Peter is, “Don’t call common that which I have made clean.” Notice that God never uses the word unclean, or, as it was rendered in the Greek, akathartos.
The word akathartos refers directly to those things that were forbidden under Torah, the instructions handed down to Moses from Yahweh Himself. God makes no mention of akathartos in His responses back to Peter, which indicates that the focus of the vision was on those animals that were “koinos”.
When God told Peter to, “Get up, kill, and eat,” He was not telling Peter to eat a pig. There were all manner of beasts on the sheet in the vision, both those that were unclean according to Leviticus 11 and those that were clean. God was telling Peter to kill and eat a lamb or a cow or a goat from the sheet, and Peter’s objection was that he could not eat that thing because there were also things like pigs and camels on the sheet that deemed the clean animals to become common, or koinos.
This point alone makes a very important change to the modern Christian interpretation of the text, as it changes the focus on the type of animals Peter was being told to eat in the vision. If Peter was not being told to eat the unclean animals, then that means that there is no possible way to use this record to justify eating things like pigs, shellfish, rodents, reptiles, or any other unclean animal.
God was telling Peter to eat clean animals in the vision. Peter’s objection was that they were “common” because there were also unclean animals on the sheet. God’s response back to Peter was that a clean animal does not become tainted just because it comes into contact with an unclean animal.
More about this point is brought out in Rob Roy’s article A Hebraic Perspective in Peter’s Vision (Acts 10).
Peter Interprets The Vision
The following day he entered Caesarea. Cornelius was waiting for them and had called together his relatives and close friends. As Peter entered, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him.
But Peter pulled him up, saying, “Stand up! I too am just a man.”
Talking with him, Peter went inside and found many people gathered. He said to them, “You yourselves know that it is not permitted for a Jewish man to associate with a non-Jew or to visit him. Yet God has shown me that I should call no one unholy or unclean. So I came without objection when I was sent for. I ask, then, what is the reason why you sent for me?”
~Acts 10:24-29 (TLV)
In this passage we see the first time that Peter provides the interpretation of the vision. In some translations instead of saying, “I should call no one unholy or unclean,” it says, “God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean.” The way Peter interpreted this vision was that he was not to continue with a bigoted attitude toward Gentile people, something that was prominent at the time.
It is common for people to view Peter as being bigoted himself toward Gentiles. While this may have been the case there is a deeper issue to this whole thing. It says that it is not permitted for a Jewish man to associate with a non-Jew. Some Bibles use the word “unlawful” in this passage, which may well be a better word to use in this case.
During this time, actually tracing back prior to the ministry of Yeshua, two schools of Jewish thought developed. These were the House of Shammai and the House of Hillel. These two schools of thought were very influential at the time. In fact, the Apostle Paul, who may be more appropriately known as Rabbi Sha’ul, was brought up through the House of Hillel. For this reason, a basic understanding of what the House of Hillel believed and taught can help the student of Scripture in better understanding what Paul means when he said some of the things recorded in his writings.
What had happened is that the ruling leaders at the time of Peter’s vision were of the House of Shammai. As a result they had written it into law that it was forbidden for a Jewish person to associate with a non-Jew, which would mean for someone like Peter that going to his non-Jewish neighbor’s home for dinner would be completely out of the question. This was more than just a religious rule, it was a law imposed by the national government. When Peter was saying, “You know that it is unlawful for a Jew to associate with a non-Jew,” it would be like an American saying, “You know that it is unlawful to drive through an intersection when the traffic light is red.” It was literally a criminal act that would warrant judicial sentencing.
You see, this wasn’t really about Peter being a religious bigot or about adherence to man-made religious laws as much as it was about Peter obeying national and state laws so that he wouldn’t be arrested. Let me give you another example based on current motor vehicle laws.
While I am unsure of the laws in every state, where I live it is the law that a person must wear a seatbelt when they are in a moving vehicle. If you are not wearing a seatbelt and a police officer pulls you over, you can be issued a ticket and may be required to pay a fine. I personally believe that this law is a violation of personal choice, as the only person impacted by the wearing or not wearing of the seatbelt in the event of a collision is the person who chose to either wear or not wear it. This means that being forced to wear the seatbelt is an act of the government creating and enforcing a law that removes the freedom of individual choice from the lives of the citizens.
So, do I wear my seatbelt? Of course I do! It’s the law, and I am not interested in paying a fine for something simply because I don’t completely agree with it being a law. Peter, it appears, was in a similar predicament. Whether he agreed with the law or not seems irrelevant, it was illegal from a governmental level for him to go and associate with anyone who was not a Jew. God was not telling Peter to abandon what is written in Torah (the dietary laws of Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14), He was telling Peter through the vision that the Gospel was for all people and it didn’t matter if there were laws on the books that said he couldn’t interact with Gentiles.
Are Dreams And Visions Ever Literal?
Another key aspect in understanding this passage is to consider other dreams and visions listed in the Scripture. We have a variety of records to pull from, but we will just look at a few that are familiar to most people.
Then Joseph dreamed a dream and told his brothers—and they hated him even more. He said to them, “Please listen to this dream I dreamed. There we were binding sheaves in the middle of the field. All of a sudden, my sheaf arose and stood upright. And behold, your sheaves gathered around and bowed down to my sheaf.”
~Genesis 37:5-7 (TLV)
Now at the end of two whole years, Pharaoh was dreaming. Behold, there he was standing by the Nile. Then behold, there were seven cows, good-looking and beefy, and they grazed in the reeds. Then behold, there were seven other cows coming up after them from the Nile, ugly and emaciated, and they stood beside the cows at the edge of the Nile. Then the ugly emaciated cows ate the seven good-looking beefy cows—and Pharaoh woke up.
~Genesis 41:1-4 (TLV)
Yet when Gideon came, behold, there was a man relating a dream to his fellow, saying, “Listen, I just now had a dream: there was a loaf of barley bread that came tumbling into the camp of Midian, came up to a tent and struck it so it fell, and turned it upside down, so that the tent lay flat.” His companion answered and said, “This is nothing less than the sword of Gideon son of Joash, a man of Israel—God has delivered Midian and all the camp into his hand!”
~Judges 7:13-14 (TLV)
Joseph did not run out to the fields trying to find sheaves that would bow to him and nobody is teaching people to do that today either. He knew immediately that God was showing him that a day would come when his brothers would bow to him.
Pharaoh did not go out into the pasture to try and find those skinny cows that were eating the fat cows. The man who had the dream recorded in Judges 7 did not stand guard at his tent in case a giant loaf of barley bread came in to attack him.
These are just a few. There is also that dream Daniel interpreted for Nebuchadnezzar where a great statue was seen with a head of gold, a chest and arms of silver, belly and thighs of bronze, legs of iron, and feet of iron and clay. But I don’t see where anyone made an actual statue according to the specifications in the dream and waited to see if an actual meteorite would strike it.
In Ezekiel there is that record of the valley of dry bones that the prophet was taken to by the Spirit and watched as the bones came to life. But nowhere in the history of Christianity has anyone made a doctrinal practice of going into cemeteries and prophesying that an army of zombies would burst out of the tombs.
So many times we see dreams and visions used in the Bible, and not once do we find a record that they were interpreted literally. We know all this, and yet somehow Acts 10 becomes this exception to the pattern of the rest of the entire Bible. Suddenly we are allowed to eat pigs based on a vision. This simply does not make any sense.
But OK, the examples I cited were all “Old Testament”, and Peter’s vision was “New Testament”, post-resurrection. Well, let’s see what can happen if we take to this “new” method of dream interpretation, a method that is supported no other place in Scripture, and use it to interpret dreams.
I had a rather odd dream a while back myself. It was interesting because I, like Peter, awoke and was puzzled by the scenario that played out. In the dream about all I can remember is that I was in a home, not my own, and I somehow was engaged in conversation with a woman. The woman was rather attractive, appeared to be of a Middle-Eastern descent, perhaps Pakistani (I say that because her facial features resembled someone else I knew to be from Pakistan).
I have no idea what the conversation in the dream was, obviously it was irrelevant. The part that stuck out was that there seemed like there would be some type of an attraction or connection with this woman in the dream. It was rather short, and I woke up. I pondered on this dream thinking, “Why would I have such a dream? I already have a wife, what could this mean?” Then the Ruach (Spirit) spoke up in me and told me that this was given for me to use as an example in teaching on Acts 10.
This is the thing, if I used the same method of interpreting my dream that Christians are using to interpret Acts 10, then I should leave my wife and children in search of this mystery women. Right? After all, that is how we are interpreting things in Acts 10, we are ignoring the fact that every other example of a dream or vision in the Bible is figurative or parabolic in order to use this passage as a primary justification toward eating that which is deemed unclean.
Just like I would be committing sin, a sin that is called an abomination in Scripture (adultery), by deciding that because of this dream I should abandon my family to seek out a woman who may resemble the woman in my dream, Peter would have been sinning if he went out to a hog roast and started eating the pig after coming out of the trance he was in when he had his vision. Eating unclean animals, I remind you, is also called an abomination by God.
I cannot recall any modern day Pentecostal Preacher or anyone else involved in any type of Christian ministry who cites a dream or vision they allege to having had and then claim a literal interpretation to the dream or vision. They are always cited as illustrating a spiritual instruction or principle. With no other example of a literal interpretation of a dream or vision either in Scripture or in modern ministry, doing so with Peter’s vision as a justification for claiming that the Dietary Laws of Torah are overturned becomes a real problem, theologically speaking.
(NOTE: I refer to Pentecostal ministry as this seems to be the one major Christian belief system today that is open and accepting of dreams and visions.)
Call No Man Unclean
As we already saw, the interpretation of the vision was to inform Peter that the Gospel was for the Gentile people as well. If you were to read on into Acts 11 you will find that Peter was stopped and questioned about things by the religious leaders in Jerusalem.
Remember, it was illegal for a Jew to associate with a Gentile, so when news reached the authorities that Peter had shared a meal with Gentiles they naturally stopped him to ask questions. Peter explained the situation to them and in Acts 11:18 we find the religious authorities respond, “Then even to the Gentiles God has granted repentance leading to life!”
What we need to keep in mind is that Peter gave this interpretation to the vision, and it had nothing to do with it being OK to eat pigs. Peter does not come out of the trance and start looking for pork chops or bacon wrapped shrimp. He thinks about things for a while and concludes that the whole thing is about God’s desire to see all men saved.
If the vision is meant to allow us to eat previously forbidden things, then Peter got the interpretation wrong. This is important because if Peter got the interpretation wrong, then salvation was never opened to the Gentiles and almost all Christians are deceived into thinking that they are saved when such a thing would be impossible. What this simply means for the Gentile Believer is that eating unclean things based on this passage is a literal denial of Gentile salvation, which means that eating your favorite unclean meats prevents you from being saved.
This is a very troubling thought, particularly when you have a heart for evangelism as I have always held. Really, though, I can’t figure out how anyone can be saved and not have a heart for evangelism. But that is for another message at another time.
Gentile salvation hinges on a correct interpretation of Acts 10 because it is in this moment in the history of Judeo-Christian faith that God opens the door of salvation to the Gentile people.
What has been is what will be, and what has been done will be done again. There is nothing new under the sun.
~Ecclesiastes 1:9 (TLV)
The tricks of our adversary really remain unchanged. It’s as if he only has a few strategies in his playbook, and it seems his number one trick is getting God’s people to eat things that God said not to eat.
This deception goes all the way back to Eden. It was, after all, in Eden where we find the first act of sin against God. And what was that act of sin? They ate from the one tree that God said not to eat from.
I have pointed this out in the past, but it most certainly bears repeating. Is it a coincidence that the initial act of sin, the one thing that severed the bond between God and man, Creator and creation, was the action of eating the only thing up to that point in human history that we know was forbidden?
God gave Adam and Eve all of the fresh fruit and vegetables in Eden as food. Whether or not animal flesh would ever have been designated as a source of food is not known from the text. Most today hold the view that animals were not permitted for food until after the flood. However, among other things, a couple of points we know from Scripture is that Abel, the second generation son of humanity, was a shepherd who made sacrifice of his flocks to Yahweh and we know that throughout Scripture God is pleased with the sacrifices of clean animals.
In the case of Abel’s offering, it is said that God looked upon it favorably. The next known major sacrificial offering is seen with Noah after the flood, of which it is described as a soothing aroma to Adonai. Just a though, complete speculation, but why would the sacrifice of animals, any animals, be looked upon as favorable and be described as a soothing aroma in God’s nose if it was never intended for people to eat animals in the first place? It is something to think about and something that is very well supported by the record in Genesis.
Since Abel was tending sheep, some of which we know were slaughtered for sacrifice, and since we know that Noah knew the difference between clean animals and unclean animals before the flood, it would appear that the possibility exists that certain animals were already being used as a source of food prior to the flood.
With these things in mind, it is not unreasonable to think that animals would have been permitted as food at some point even if man had not sinned in Eden and even if they were not immediately permitted on the day God told Adam that he could eat from every edible plant in existence with the exception of one.
What happens is established religion comes to a certain conclusion that becomes generally accepted by the masses, because the masses historically have not taken the time to study the Bible for themselves, and so they merely assume that these conclusions are correct without ever questioning them. This is how a consensus orthodoxy is developed. Then, when someone stands up to challenge a long-held belief or tradition, that person is met with resistance… even when the people know deep down that the “resistor” is correct.
I have experienced this numerous times with people who oppose my teachings on the topic of clean and unclean things, but never seem able to provide a comparable rebuttal to these teachings. While many see the facts and decide to make that positive change in their life to simply obey the Bible on this issue, there are those who hold tight to the “traditions of the elders of modern Christian faith” and insist that I am wrong. I have often asked them to prove me wrong, and nobody has yet to do this.
This has not happened once or twice either, there is a growing multitude of people who I have had such interactions with from various ministry groups. I once even had a rather interesting discussion with a solid Lutheran man. But I will not go into that right now.
I have had discussions with Pastors of Christian Churches who will fight and use passages like Acts 10 to justify eating pork, even when I present the facts to them, but they will speak out strongly against getting a tattoo. The only place in the entire Bible that says not to get a tattoo is in the “Old Testament”, specifically in the Torah, and more specifically exclusively in the “Laws of Moses” (see Leviticus 19:28, TLV). While I agree that the plain reading of the text lends it a wise decision to simply not get a tattoo, the context of the passage may indicate that this was a prohibition of a pagan worship practice and not quite the same thing as the modern day tattoo. But to oppose tattoos and accept eating unclean things is about as hypocritical and possibly heretical as it gets. (For the record, I do hold a conclusion that The Bible is clearly opposed to getting tattoos, which I go into great detail on in an article titled The Mark Of God.)
This is the exact problem that has happened in regard to Acts 10. While there are groups that hold views that favor what I have shared in this message about the text, there are still masses who have been educated by the mainstream Christian Church to think that this passage somehow justifies eating things that God said from the very beginning were not to be eaten.
The Christian Church has become that serpent in the tree whispering in the ears of gullible parishioners, “Hath God said?” (see Genesis 3:1, TLV) Any time you hear a Christian, whether a full-time minister or simply your Christian buddy, say anything that questions God’s instructions (Torah) it should be an instant red flag. If you here someone talk about what something means to them, you should raise up your defensive shields against those words.
It doesn’t matter what someone’s opinion is, what does the Bible say? When these people say these types of things, just remember that the Book is right, and they are WRONG. And that includes anyone who will preach that the Book is right and “they” are wrong, but then when the opportunity comes to draw a crowd in they throw that mindset out the window and trade it for acceptance and compromise of things that they know are wrong simply to fill the seats in their Church.
Now look, I am not saying this to “lash out” at anyone or call anyone a hypocrite or heretic simply because they did something they probably shouldn’t have done. It doesn’t matter whether it is a personal and private thing or if it is the Pastor of a Church large enough to be classified as a “megachurch” using methods that may go against Torah to bring people into the Church. If it’s wrong, it’s wrong. It’s just that simple.
What we need to realize is that just like the errors that have been touted for centuries by Christians regarding the vision Peter had, recorded in Acts chapters 10 and 11, all current interpretations of the Scripture must be reviewed and scrutinized. The lies and deceptions go deep. Until the majority of Believers realize that the Bible was written by Hebrew people who serve the Hebrew God and all of the events described within the text of Scripture were surrounded by Hebrew culture… a culture that is influenced by what is written… then we will continue to be trapped by these lies.
Unfortunately, what we are battling is a worldview that claims that the Bible is a Christian book about a Christian God and that our culture should influence the way we interpret the text. None of this is true, and until we realize that we have no chance of combating this ultimate deception of the enemy.
Until we move past the 500 year old history of modern Christianity, and until we move past the 1,800 year old history of Roman Catholicism that gave rise to the 500 year old modern Christian religion, and go all the way back to the first century and look at the Apostles and Believers for who they were, we will never be able to have a correct view of Scripture. Who were they? They were Hebrew people who served the Hebrew God and understood the Word of God from a cultural perspective that was born from the Scripture: The Hebrew Culture.
Just look around. Modern American culture is as far removed from the ways of the Bible as is possible. How in the world can we possibly think that it’s OK to interpret a Hebraic Bible from the perspective that comes from an American mindset? We must renew our minds, take on the mind of our Messiah, who was Himself a Hebrew.
As I bring this message to an end, because of the level of misinterpretation and the complexity of this study, I want to take just a moment to recap what I shared. These are the main points that were brought out in this study and are detailed above regarding Peter’s vision from Acts 10.
1. There is a difference between the words “common” and “unclean” from the text. Common refers to something that is deemed unfit through man-made religious tradition. Unclean refers to something that is deemed unfit under Torah, the Word of God.
2. Peter gave the interpretation of the vision multiple times, and never once did he conclude that God was telling him it’s now OK to eat pigs or other things that are deemed unclean in Torah.
3. If it was OK to eat unclean things under the New Covenant, then Peter would have already known that over a decade prior when Yeshua “declared all foods clean”. However, in that passage Yeshua was addressing a tradition that said (clean/kosher) foods were made unclean (common, the Greek word used in Mark 7:2 is also “koinos”) because of not following the tradition of the elders to ritually wash the hands before partaking. The passage had nothing to do with meats deemed unclean under Torah and the argument does not stand up when compared with the same account as recorded in Matthew 15.
4. God was telling Peter to take the Gospel to the Gentile people. Whether this was to tell Peter to stop being bigoted towards Gentiles himself, to tell him it’s OK to go against a law of society in order to obey the Word of God, or some combination of both, the bottom line is that the vision was intended to open the eyes of Peter to God’s will that all men be able to receive salvation.
5. There are no other visions or dreams that appear to be given a literal interpretation. This includes there being no other dreams being allowed a literal interpretation in addition to the spiritual lesson given. To claim that Peter’s vision in Acts 10 was given, whether in whole or in part, to deem unclean foods to now be clean goes against the pattern seen in every other dream and vision we know about in Scripture and through the claims of modern day Christian ministers who cite their own dreams and visions. I know of no minister today who would dare claim to have a dream or a vision that changes something the Bible says or abolishes an instruction given in Scripture. Peter’s vision stands alone as the one dream/vision known in Jewish-Christian faith to be attributed such power to change the Bible and abolish a commandment given in Torah.
6. If Acts 10 is giving permission to eat unclean animals, then that means Peter interpreted the vision wrong and the door of salvation was wrongly extended to the Gentiles. This would likely mean that Gentiles cannot be saved, and so the acceptance of eating unclean things justified by this passage potentially becomes a denial of one’s own salvation.
7. The whole idea of it being OK to eat what God had forbidden is nothing more than a repeat of what took place in Eden. People who don’t seem to know any better fall victim to the old trick of Satan saying, “Did God really say…?” This is a trick that from the very beginning used food as the subject material for the deception.
The bottom line is that nothing in the Bible overturns instructions that God Himself gave, especially those that are linked directly to the design of life and Creation. I have pointed out in previous messages how eating unclean animals is consistently harmful to human health. I have also further pointed out in the past how eating unclean animals seems to have a direct link to the demise of life on Earth.
The modern Christian interpretation of Acts 10 is wrong on so many levels. Remember, God is not a God of confusion, but shalom (1 Corinthians 14:33). If God were to overturn any commandment, instruction, guidance, dictate, decree, etc. that He had previously given to His people, it would be perfectly clear in the text. We wouldn’t need to stretch Scripture to give meaning to something that is not there. We would not have to ignore the interpretation of a vision that is given in Scripture to offer up a different interpretation. If God, the God who is not the author of confusion, were to overturn the Dietary Laws (or any other instruction), it would be written very plainly in the Bible, something to the effect of: “The Dietary Laws previously given are now overturned, voided, abolished, and obsolete. You can now eat pigs, all sea creatures, all birds, and every animal previously forbidden. It is no longer an abomination to eat them.” No such passage exists, therefore we must conclude the only logical conclusion, which is that these instructions are still in place and we, as Believers in Yahweh and followers of Yeshua Messiah, are expected to obey them.
Probably 10 or 12 years ago I heard a popular televangelist say that God cannot bless you beyond your last act of disobedience. That is a statement I have heard other preachers repeat many times since. Perhaps you don’t agree with every point I made in this message, but certainly something struck a cord with you. On the other hand, maybe you are still not at all convinced. Even if you are still so inclined to use vague statements from “New Testament” writings to somehow override clear commandments given by God Himself, there is still one looming question that I pray haunts your spirit from this day forward, lest it jump up and stare you in the face when you stand before God at the Judgment: What if you’re wrong?
~Blessings and Shalom~
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