In this Health Tip we will pick up where we left off in last week’s Health Tip, where we were talking about the animals God called “clean” and “unclean” in Genesis 7:2 and about which He gave instruction in Leviticus chapter 11. However, instead of continuing through the Old Testament examining the few verses that pertain to “What Does God Tell Us We Should Eat,” I am going to jump forward to Acts 10 in the New Testament, which deals with the very subject of last week’s Health Tip, pertaining to animals God considered “clean” and “UNCLEAN.” This Scripture found in Acts 10 is used by some Christians to refute the principles of the Hallelujah Diet. They try to tell us that this Scripture is "clear evidence that God has changed His mind" about certain foods being unclean – and that this Scripture proves we can eat whatever we want to today. But is that what this Scripture in Acts 10 in saying?
“There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius . . . a devout man, and one that feared God . . . he saw in a vision . . . an angel of God coming in to him, and saying . . . send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter. . . he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do.” ~ Acts 10:1-6Cornelius was a godly man, a centurion in the Roman army, who had a desire to follow God’s will for his life. God comes to Cornelius in a vision and tells him that he should send servants to Joppa, to a house by the seaside, and ask for a man named Peter, who would instruct him further about God’s will for his life. Obediently, Cornelius instructs his servants to go to Joppa to find Peter, a man who will give Cornelius further light concerning God’s will for his life:
“On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray . . . and he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but . . . he fell into a trance, and saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending upon him . . . wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts . . . " ~ Acts 10:9-12This is so beautiful! Here we find a gentile who is seeking God (who, because of his non-Jew heritage was considered to be "unclean" by Jewish traditions), being instructed by God to send for Peter — a Jew. And what was God’s purpose for sending Cornelius’s servants to Peter?
“He shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do." ~ Acts 10:6Because Cornelius was what the Jews considered an "unclean" gentile, Peter, being a Jew, would never have received his servants or gone to his house unless God had prepared Peter’s heart first. In order to prepare Peter's heart to receive these "unclean" gentiles, God uses a vision of some Old Testament unclean animals:
“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 or unclean. . . " ~ Acts 10:13-15Wow, isn’t this exciting! Just before those servants of Cornelius arrive at Peter’s house, God is preparing Peter’s heart to receive these unclean gentiles. Without this vision from God, Peter would have refused to go to Cornelius. And by the way, how could anyone interpret this vision to mean that here God was giving Christians today, permission to eat pork? There is absolutely nothing in these verses to indicate that this vision had anything whatsoever to do with what we should or should not eat.
“Now while Peter doubted in himself what this vision which he had seen should mean, behold, the men which were sent from Cornelius had made enquiry for Simon’s house, and stood before the gate. And called, and asked whether . . . Peter, were lodged there . . . while Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee. Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them.” ~ Acts 10:17-20Here we learn that while Peter was trying to determine what message God was trying to convey through this vision, there is a knock at the door and the Spirit tells Peter to go with these servants of Cornelius: “Doubting nothing: For I have sent them." (Acts 10:20)
“Then Peter went down to the men which were sent unto him from Cornelius; and said, Behold, I am he whom ye seek: what is the cause wherefore ye are come? And they said, Cornelius, a centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by an holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee.” ~ Acts 10:21-22Because of the vision, Peter receives them into his house, and learns from them that they want Peter to go with them to Cornelius’ house so that he, Cornelius, can hear “words of thee.” (Acts 10:22)
“On the morrow Peter went away with them . . .” And “after they entered into Caesarea . . . Cornelius waited for them and had called together his kinsmen and near friends. And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshiped him. But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man.” ~ Acts 10:23-26In this portion of Scripture, we learn that because of the vision God gave Peter, Peter journeyed to Cornelius’ house and here is what transpired when Peter got there:
“And as he talked with him, he went in, and found many that were come together. And he said unto them . . . 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.” ~ Acts 10:27-28From this Scripture we learn clearly the purpose of the vision God gave to Peter regarding the unclean animals. God was preparing Peter’s heart so that he would not turn away taking the Gospel message of redemption to Cornelius’ house. Because in this Scripture it is made abundantly clear that the purpose of that vision was: “but god hath shewed me that i should not call any man common or unclean.” (Acts 10:28) Clearly, these verses had absolutely nothing to do with food! I won’t take the space to share what transpired next, but get your Bible and read the rest of Acts 10, beginning with verse 29. However, I will close with a few of the most pertinent verses in this chapter:
“Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: but in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. The word which God sent unto the children of Israel preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (He is LORD of all)” ~ Acts 10:29, 34-36And so, Peter told them about Jesus, and as a result of the vision God had given Peter concerning the unclean animals, Peter being obedient to God, took the Gospel to the unclean gentiles. And what was the result of Peter’s obedience?
“And they of the circumcision (Jews) which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the gentiles also was poured out the gift of the holy ghost.” ~ Acts 10:46As we conclude this portion of Scripture, you tell me what had Peter come to understand the vision to mean... Do you really believe that God was telling Peter here that it was all right to eat anything, because God had made all previously unclean foods, clean and healthy? Absolutely NOT! Rather, Peter understood the vision to mean that he wasn’t to look upon any Gentile as unclean or common anymore. Here God was showing Peter that he should take the Gospel to Cornelius, the unclean gentile, and to his household. So you see, this vision hasn’t anything whatsoever to do with food, nor with what foods Peter (or we) should eat or not eat. This Scripture is talking about people and how God accepts those who will turn to Him – no matter what their nationality or religious background! AMEN! So next time someone tries to tell you that in Acts 10 God gave us permission to eat the flesh of an animal, whether it be clean or unclean, show them from the Scriptures that God never said any such thing! To be continued . . . . Next week, the good Lord willing and if the creeks don’t rise too high we will return with another exciting issue of the Hallelujah Health Tip. Trust you will join us and that you will share these Health Tips with friends and loved ones.