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ACTS
The continued Life of Jesus through the Apostles

CHAPTER TEN

"Just Justified"
Key Verse = Acts 10:43

  1. Cornelius Sends a Delegation 4. Peter's Sermon
  2. Peter's Vision 5. The Holy Spirit Given to the Gentiles
  3. Peter Summoned to Caesarea    


Chapter 10 is pivotal in the Book of Acts,  for it records the salvation of the Gentiles.  We see Peter using  "the keys of the kingdom" (Matthew 16:19)  for the third and last time. 
(Acts 2) He had opened the door of faith for the Jews
(Acts 8) and also for the Samaritans
(Acts 10) and now he would be used of God to bring the Gentiles into the church

This event took place about ten years after Pentecost.  Why did the Apostles wait so long before going to the lost Gentiles?  After all,  in His Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20),  Jesus had told them to go into all the world,  and it would seem logical for them to go to their Gentile neighbors as soon as possible.   But God has His times as well as His plans,   and the transition from the Jews to the Samaritans to the Gentiles was a gradual one.

The stoning of Stephen and the subsequent persecution of the church marked the climax of the Apostles' witness to the Jews.  Then the Gospel moved to the Samaritans.  When God saved Saul of Tarsus,  He got hold of His special envoy to the Gentiles.  Now was the time to open the door of faith to the Gentiles and bring them into the family of God.
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

CORNELIUS  SENDS  A  DELEGATION

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Acts 10:1 & 2
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(1) There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment,

There was in Caesarea a man called Cornelius, a centurion of the regiment which is called the Italian,

(2)  a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always.

A man righteous and God-fearing, as were all his household; who gave alms to the people abundantly, and always sought after God.


Caesarea
Caesarea is sixty-five miles northwest of Jerusalem and thirty miles north of Joppa (Jaffa).  At that time,  Caesarea was the Roman capital of Judea.
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

Cornelius
It is impossible to designate which Cornelius this was.   Cornelius was an especially common name in Rome ever since Publius Cornelius Sulla in 82 B.C. liberated 10,000 slaves,  who were enrolled in the  “gens Cornelia,”  to which he belonged.

What we DO know about this Cornelius:
(1) He was a Gentile
"Cornelius"  is a Latin name,  and shows that the man was doubtless a Roman.
The reception of the narrative of Peter (Acts 11:1-3) shows that the other apostles regarded him as a Gentile.
Acts 11:1-3
The apostles and the brothers throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. 2 So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him 3 and said, "You went into the house of uncircumcised men and ate with them."
In Acts 10:28,  Peter evidently regards him as a foreigner - one who did not in any sense esteem himself to be a Jew.
(2) He was a Centurion
A centurion was nominally in command of 100 men;
his responsibilities corresponded to those of a modern army captain,
his status was that of a non-commissioned officer.
Centurions were the backbone of the Roman army.
Polybius sums up their necessary qualifications thus:
 “Centurions are required not to be bold and adventurous so much as good leaders,  of steady and prudent mind,  not prone to take the offensive or start fighting wantonly,  but able when overwhelmed and hard-pressed to stand fast and die at their post.”
(3) He was in the Italian Regiment
The word translated "Regiment" - speírees - is the equivalent of Latin “corhors” (cohort).  A regular cohort,  the tenth part of a legion,  had paper strength of 600 men;  an auxiliary cohort usually comprised 1,000 men.  We have inscriptional evidence of the presence in Syria (69 A.D.) of the auxiliary  “Cohors 2 Italica ciuium Romanorum”  (second Italian cohort of Roman citizens).
This particular regiment was all Italian,  and very elite  (for the most part,  local men were inducted into the military forces in the outlaying provinces).
(4) He was Devout
Eusebes (NT:2152)  well-reverent, i.e. pious.
From  eu,  "well,"  and  sebomai,  "to reverence,"  the root  sebsignifying  "sacred awe,"  describes  "reverence"  exhibited especially in actions,  reverence or awe well directed.
Among the Greeks it was used of practical piety towards parents.
In the New Testament it is used of a pious attitude towards God.
(5) He feared God
Foboúmenos (NT:5399)  to terrify, frighten, to put to flight by terrifying
1. to be put to flight, to flee
2. to fear, be afraid
3. to reverence, venerate, to treat with deference or reverential obedience
(from Thayer's Greek Lexicon, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2000, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
He believed in one God,  the Creator of heaven and earth,  and had a reverence for his glory and authority,  and a dread of offending him by sin
A few Gentiles became converts to Judaism and accepted all Jewish practices,  including circumcision.  A larger number stopped short of circumcision but accepted the Jewish belief in God,  synagogue worship,  the ethical teachings of the Old Testament,  and some of the Jewish religious practices.  These people,  who were called God-fearers,  were familiar with the Old Testament in the Greek version (LXX) as it was read in the synagogues.
(from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1962 by Moody Press. All rights reserved.)
(6) He instructed his family in the ways of God
He took care to instruct his family in the knowledge which he himself had received;  and to establish the worship of God in his house.
(7) He was Charitable
Alms - eleemosune (NT:1654) - compassionateness, i.e. (as exercised towards the poor) beneficence.
A donation to the poor.
That is,  to the Jewish poor;  and did so,  no doubt,  on the same principle which actuated another centurion before him (Luke 7:5).
And he not only gave to the poor, but he gave liberally.
(8) He constantly Prayed to God
Meaning that he was in the regular habit of prayer.
He kept up stated times for prayer, and was constant to them.
(9) He was Respected by the Jews
According to verse 22,  he was highly respected by the Jewish people .

From the Amplified Bible
(1)  Now [living] at Caesarea there was a man whose name was Cornelius, a centurion (captain) of what was known as the Italian Regiment,
(2)  A devout man who venerated God and treated Him with reverential obedience, as did all his household; and he gave much alms to the people and prayed continually to God.

Acts 10:3
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(3)  About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, "Cornelius!"

Very openly in a vision about three o'clock in the afternoon he saw an angel of God who came in to him, and said to him, Cornelius.


Ninth hour
About 3 o'clock p.m.  This was the usual hour of evening worship among the Jews.

See the Parable of the Laborers in the field:
1. 3rd hour Jews at Pentecost
2. 6th hour Samaritan (half Jew and Gentile) at the well ‘He would have given thee living water.’
3. 9th hour Gentiles (Cornelius)
4. 11th hour Our day see Romans 11:17 “wild olive branch grafted in.”

A vision
The text is as plain as it can be,  that an angel of God did appear to Cornelius.  This was in a vision, i.e. a supernatural representation.

An angel of God
A heavenly messenger who either
delivers a message to humans,
carries out God's will,
praises God,
or guards God's throne.
The term "angel" is derived from the Greek word angelos which means "messenger."
Angelos and the Hebrew equivalent,  malak (which also means "messenger"),  are the two most common terms used to describe this class of beings in the Bible.  In general,  in texts where an angel appears,  his task is to convey the message or do the will of the God who sent him.  Since the focus of the text is on the message,  the messenger is rarely described in detail.
(from Holman Bible Dictionary. Copyright © 1991 by Holman Bible Publishers. All rights reserved.)

From the Amplified Bible
(3)  About the ninth hour (about 3:00 p.m.) of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God entering and saying to him, Cornelius!

Acts 10:4-6
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(4)  And when he observed him, he was afraid, and said, "What is it, lord?"
So he said to him, "Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God.

And he looked at the angel and was afraid, and he said, What is it, my Lord? And the angel said to him, Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God.

(5)  Now send men to Joppa, and send for Simon whose surname is Peter.

And now send men to the city of Joppa and bring here Simon who is called Peter:

(6)  He is lodging with Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea. He will tell you what you must do."

Behold he is staying with Simon the tanner, whose house is by the seaside.


Observed him
Greek: atenizo - Fixed his eyes attentively on him.

What is it, Lord?
This is the expression of surprise and alarm.  The word  "Lord"  could have been translated  "sir," since there is no evidence that this is an address to God,  and still less that he regarded the personage present as the Lord.  It is such language as a man would naturally use who was suddenly surprised;  who should witness a strange form appearing unexpectedly before him;  and who should exclaim,  "Sir, what is the matter?"

Come up for a memorial
Are remembered before God.  They were an evidence of piety toward God,  and were accepted as such.
Though he had not offered sacrifice according to the Jewish laws;  though he had not been circumcised;  yet,  having acted according to the light which he had,  his prayers were hard,  and his alms were accepted.  This was done in accordance with the general principle of the divine administration,  that God prefers the offering of the heart to external forms;  the expressions of love to sacrifice without it.  This he had often declared, 1 Samuel 15:22,  Hosea 6:6; Ecclesiastes 5:1.
1 Samuel 15:22
Samuel said, "Which does the LORD prefer: obedience or offerings and sacrifices? It is better to obey him than to sacrifice the best sheep to him.      (TEV)
Hosea 6:6
I want your constant love, not your animal sacrifices. I would rather have my people know me than burn offerings to me.      (TEV)
Ecclesiastes 5:1
Be careful about going to the Temple. It is better to go there to learn than to offer sacrifices like foolish people who don't know right from wrong.      (TEV)
It should be remembered, however, that Cornelius was not depending on external morality.  His heart was in the work of religion.  It should be remembered,  further,  that he was ready to receive the gospel when it was offered to him,  and to become a Christian.  In this there was an important difference between him and those who are depending for salvation on their morality in Christian lands.  Such people are inclined to defend themselves by the example of Cornelius,  and to suppose that as he was accepted BEFORE he embraced the gospel,  so they may be without embracing it.  But there is an important difference in the two cases.  For:
(1) There is no evidence that Cornelius was depending on external morality for salvation.
His offering was that of the heart,  and not merely an external offering.
(2) Cornelius did not rely on his morality at all.
He feared God;  he prayed to him;  he exerted his influence to bring his family to the same state.  Moral people do neither.  "All their works they do to be seen of men";  and in their heart there is  "no good thing toward the Lord God of Israel."
(3) Cornelius was disposed to do the will of God as far as it was made known to him.
Where this exists there is religion.  The moral man is not.
(4) Cornelius was willing to embrace a Savior when he was made known to him.
The moral man is not.  He hears of a Savior with unconcern;  he listens to the message of God's mercy from year to year without embracing it. 
In all this there is an important difference between the merely moral man and the Roman centurion;  and while we hope that there may be many in pagan lands who are in the same state of mind that he was - disposed to do the will of God as far as made known,  and therefore accepted and saved by his mercy in the Lord Jesus,  yet this cannot be adduced to encourage the hope of salvation in those who do know his will,  and yet will not do it.

Lodging with Simon
He remains as a guest at his house. See Acts 9:43.

By the sea-side
Joppa was a seaport on the Mediterranean.  Tanneries are erected on the margin of streams or of any body of water to convey away the filth produced in the operation of dressing skins.

From the Amplified Bible
(4)  And he, gazing intently at him, became frightened and said, What is it, Lord? And the angel said to him, Your prayers and your [generous] gifts to the poor have come up [as a sacrifice] to God and have been remembered by Him.
(5)  And now send men to Joppa and have them call for and invite here a certain Simon whose surname is Peter;
(6)  He is lodging with Simon a tanner, whose house is by the seaside.

Acts 10:7 & 8
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(7)  And when the angel who spoke to him had departed, Cornelius called two of his household servants and a devout soldier from among those who waited on him continually.

And when the angel who spoke to him had departed, Cornelius called two of his household and a soldier who believed in God and was obedient to him,

(8)  So when he had explained all these things to them, he sent them to Joppa.

And he related to them everything that he had seen, and sent them to Joppa.


When the angel...departed
Immediately doing as directed,  and thus showing the simplicity of his faith.  In all probability he dispatched the messengers the same evening.
(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1997, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Household servants
These were in a rather special category of servants or slaves in that they were closely related to the affairs of the household and were obviously trusted individuals.  It would be important,  therefore,  to avoid using some general term for slaves of servants,  for Cornelius was obviously very particular in the choice of persons to whom he would commit this important task.  It might even be possible to employ an expression such as  "personal servants."
(from the UBS Handbook Series. Copyright (c) 1961-1997, by United Bible Societies)

A devout soldier
A pious man.  This is an instance of the effect of piety in a military officer.  Few people have more influence;  and in this case the effect was seen not only in the piety of his family,  but of this attending soldier.

It has already been remarked that Cornelius had taken care to instruct his family in divine things;  and it appears also that he had been attentive to the spiritual interests of his regiment.  We do not find that it was then,  even among the Romans,  considered a disgrace for a military officer to teach his men lessons of morality,  and piety toward God,  whatever it may be in some Christian countries in the present time.
(from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1996, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Sent them to Joppa
It has been properly remarked,  that from Joppa,  Jonah was sent to preach to the Gentiles of Nineveh (Jonah 1:1);  and from the same place Peter was sent to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles at Caesarea.
(from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1996, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

From the Amplified Bible
(7)  When the angel who spoke to him had left, Cornelius called two of his servants and a God-fearing soldier from among his own personal attendants.
(8)  And having rehearsed everything to them, he sent them to Joppa.



PETER'S  VISION

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There was then a distinction between clean and unclean,  indicated by the calling of Abraham,  but more explicitly by the Levitical rites and laws;  yet appointed from the beginning,  for we read of it in the time of Noah;  a distinction applicable to men,  to food,  to dwellings,  to land,  to animals.  This distinction was made by God for special ends,  but at Jesus Christ’s death the distinction had served its purpose.  God interposed,  and threw down the middle wall of partition:
1. Not rejecting the Jew,
yet accepting the Gentile.
2. Not obliterating national distinctions,
but making these no longer of any importance,  and attaching to them no spiritual or religious privilege.
3. Without lowering the Jew,
He lifted up the Gentile.
4. Not making the Jew unclean,
but the Gentile clean.

Acts 10:9
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(9)  The next day, as they went on their journey and drew near the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray, about the sixth hour.

The next day, while they were on their journey, drawing near to the city, Simon Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about noontime.


As they went
Caesarea was about 35 miles north of Joppa and could not be reached in one day.  Cornelius received the vision at 3:00 p.m. (Acts 10:3);  so if they started on the journey shortly after that they would reach Peter by noon.

On the housetop
Many homes had a flat roof which was reached by a stairway from outside.

The small room in the second story,  or on the roof of the house,  was the usual place for retirement and prayer. See the notes on Matthew 9:2.  Even when there was no room constructed on the roof,  the roof was a common resort for retirement and prayer.  Around the edge a battlement or parapet was commonly made,  within which a person could be quite retired from public view.  "At Jaffa,  the ancient Joppa,"  says Prof. Hackett (illustrations of Scripture, p. 81),  "where Peter was residing at the time of his vision on the house-top,  I observed houses furnished with a wall around the roof,  within which a person could sit or kneel without any exposure to the view of others,  whether on the adjacent houses or in the streets.  At Jerusalem I entered the house of a Jew early one morning,  and found a member of the family,  sitting secluded and alone on one of the lower roofs,  engaged in reading the Scriptures and offering his prayers."

Dr. Thomson (Land and the Book, vol. i.p. 52) says of these roofs,  "When surrounded with battlements,  and shaded by vines trained over them,  they afford a very agreeable retreat,  even at the sixth hour of the day - the time when Peter was favored with that singular vision,  by which the kingdom of heaven was thrown open to the Gentile world."

Sixth hour
Twelve o'clock (at noon).
The Jews had two stated seasons of prayer,  morning and evening.  But it is evident that the more pious of the Jews frequently added a third season of devotion,  probably at noon.
Thus, David (Psalm 55:17) "Evening and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud." Thus, Daniel "kneeled upon his knees three times a day and prayed,"
And Daniel (Daniel 6:10) "kneeled upon his knees three times a day and prayed,"
It was also customary in the early Christian church to offer prayer at the third,  sixth,  and ninth hours (Clem. Alex. as quoted by Doddridge).  Christians will,  however,  have not merely stated seasons for prayer,  but they will seize upon moments of leisure,  and when their feelings strongly incline them to it,  to pray.

From the Amplified Bible
(9)  The next day as they were still on their way and were approaching the town, Peter went up to the roof of the house to pray, about the sixth hour (noon).

Acts 10:10-12
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(10)  Then he became very hungry and wanted to eat; but while they made ready, he fell into a trance

And he became hungry, and wanted to eat; but while they were preparing food for him, he fell into a trance.

(11)  and saw heaven opened and an object like a great sheet bound at the four corners, descending to him and let down to the earth.

And he saw the heaven open and something fastened at the four corners, resembling a large linen cloth, was let down from heaven to the earth;

(12)  In it were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air.

And there were in it all kinds of four-footed beasts and creeping things of the earth and birds of the air.

 

From Peter's Account

To the Jewish Believers at Jerusalem
Acts 11:5 & 6

"I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision. I saw something like a large sheet being let down from heaven by its four corners, and it came down to where I was.  I looked into it and saw four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, reptiles, and birds of the air. "

While they made ready
That is,  preparing a meal - it would seem that this was the customary hour of dining.  The Hebrews,  Greeks,  and Romans,  however,  had but two meals,  and the first was usually taken about ten or eleven o'clock.  This meal usually consisted of fruit,  milk,  cheese,  etc.  Their principal meal was about six or seven in the afternoon,  at which time they observed their feasts.  See Jahn's Bible. Archaeol. Section 145.

A trance
Ekstasis (NT:1611) ecstasy

The word  "trance"  here is from a Greek word which literally means "to stand out of,"  and is brought over into our language in the word "ecstasy."  The experience which both of these apostles (Peter, here, and John in Revelation 1:10)  went through was that of being so absolutely controlled by the Holy Spirit,  that their physical senses of sight,  hearing,  feeling,  were not registered so far as any recognized impressions were concerned.  It was as if they were temporarily outside of their bodies.  The control of the Holy Spirit over their faculties was such that He could give them the visions they had,  Peter,  the vision of the sheet let down from heaven,  John,  the prophetic visions of the Revelation.
(from Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament, Copyright 1940-55 by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. Copyrights © renewed 1968-73 by Jeannette I. Wuest. All rights reserved.)

Saw heaven opened
As Steven saw when he gazed into heaven in Acts 7:56.
This language is derived from a common mode of speaking in the Hebrew Scriptures,  as if the sky above us was a solid,  vast expanse,  and as if it were opened to present an opportunity for anything to descend.  It is language that is highly figurative.

Sheet
Originally  "fine linen;"  later,  "sail-cloth"  or a  "sail."  Dr. J. Rawson Lumby suggests that the word,  "applied to loose,  bellying sails of ships,"  may indicate that the form of vessel which appeared to Peter  "recalled an image most familiar to his previous life - the wind-stretched canvas of the craft on the Lake of Galilee" ("Expositor," iii., 272).
(from Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Four corners
A symbol of totality,  and often of the entire world  (as in Isaiah 11:12;  Ezekiel 7:2;  Revelation 7:1;  Revelation 20:8).
Isaiah 11:12 Speaking of the entire world
He will set up a banner for the nations, and will assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.
Ezekiel 7:2 Speaking of the entire land
And you, son of man, thus says the Lord God to the land of Israel:
'An end! The end has come upon the four corners of the land.'
 
Revelation 7:1 Speaking of the entire world
After these things I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth,
 
Revelation 20:7 & 8 Speaking of the entire world
Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth,

All kinds
Every species of quadrupeds,  whether wild or domestic;  all reptiles,  and all fowls.
Consequently,  both the clean and unclean were present in this visionary representation:  those that the Jewish law allowed to be sacrificed to God, or proper for food;  as well as those which that law had prohibited in both cases:  such as the beasts that do not chew the cud; fish which have no scales;  fowls of prey,  and such others as are specified in Leviticus 11.
(from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1996, 2003, 2005 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

From the Amplified Bible
(10)  But he became very hungry, and wanted something to eat; and while the meal was being prepared a trance came over him,
(11)  And he saw the sky opened and something like a great sheet lowered by the four corners, descending to the earth.
(12)  It contained all kinds of quadrupeds and wild beasts and creeping things of the earth and birds of the air.

Acts 10:13 & 14
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(13)  And a voice came to him, "Rise, Peter; kill and eat."

And there came a voice to him, saying Simon Peter, rise; kill and eat.

(14)  But Peter said, "Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean."

But Simon Peter said, Far be it, my Lord; for I have never eaten anything which was unclean and defiled.

 

From Peter's Account

To the Jewish Believers at Jerusalem
Acts 11:7 & 8

"Then I heard a voice telling me, 'Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.'
"I replied, 'Surely not, Lord! Nothing impure or unclean has ever entered my mouth.' "

Kill
thuo (NT:2380) to rush (breathe hard, blow, smoke), i.e. (by implication) to sacrifice

There are 6 words in the New Testament translated kill:
1. phoneuo (NT:5407) to kill, slay, murder; to commit murder  (Matthew 5:21)
2. apokteino (NT:615) to kill outright; figuratively, to destroy  (Matthew 17:23)
3. thuo (NT:2380) to rush (breathe hard, blow, smoke), i.e. (by implication) to sacrifice  (Acts 10:13)
4. anaireo (NT:337) to take up; by implication, to take away (violently), i.e. abolish, murder  (Acts 9:23)
5. diacheirizomai (NT:1315) to handle thoroughly, i.e. lay violent hands upon  (Acts 26:21)
6. sphazo (NT:4969) to slay, slaughter, butcher  (Revelation 6:4)

Clarke observes:
Sacrifice and eat.  Though this verb is sometimes used to signify the slaying of animals for food,  yet,  as the proper notion is to slay for the purpose of sacrifice,  it appears to me to be better to preserve that meaning here.  Animals that were offered in sacrifice were considered as given to God;  and,  when he received the life,  the flesh was given to those who offered the sacrifice,  that they might feed upon it;  and every sacrifice had in it the nature of a covenant;  and covenants were usually made by eating together on the flesh of the sacrifice offered on the occasion,  God being supposed to be invisibly present with them,  and partaking of the feast.
(from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1996, 2003, 2005 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Not so
Oudamos (NT:3760)  strongly emphatic negation - 'no indeed,  by no means,  most certainly not.'

Common or unclean
koinos (NT:2839) Common - unholy, profane - ordinary, belonging to the generality, hence the application to religious practices of Gentiles in contrast with those of Jews; or of the ordinary people in contrast with those of the Pharisees; hence the meaning "unhallowed, profane,"  Levitically unclean.
akathartos (NT:169) Unclean - foul, impure - in a ceremonial sense, that which must be abstained from according to the Levitical law.

When commanded to kill some of these animals and eat,  Peter replied that to do so would mean violating the Jewish ritual law against eating unclean foods (Leviticus 11).  Furthermore,  clean animals had to be prepared in such a way that the blood did not remain within the carcass.  Although Peter was a Christian,  he was also a good Jew,  who did not violate Jewish dietary rules.
(from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1962 by Moody Press. All rights reserved.)

Peter saw all kinds of creatures,  both clean and unclean and was commanded to kill and eat.  His  "Not so, Lord!" reminds us of Matthew 16:22,  where he told Christ not to go to the cross.   Anyone who says  "Lord"  cannot say  "Not so!"  If He is truly Lord,  we must obey Him.
(from Wiersbe's Expository Outlines on the New Testament. Copyright © 1992 by Chariot Victor Publishing, an imprint of Cook Communication Ministries. All rights reserved.)

From the Amplified Bible
(13)  And there came a voice to him, saying, Rise up, Peter, kill and eat.
(14)  But Peter said, No, by no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common and unhallowed or [ceremonially] unclean.

Acts 10:15 & 16
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(15)  And a voice spoke to him again the second time, "What God has cleansed you must not call common."

And again the voice came to him a second time, What God has cleansed, you should not call unclean.

(16)  This was done three times. And the object was taken up into heaven again.

This happened the third time; then the cloth was lifted up to the heaven.

 

From Peter's Account

To the Jewish Believers at Jerusalem
Acts 11:9 & 10

"The voice spoke from heaven a second time, 'Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.'  This happened three times, and then it was all pulled up to heaven again. "

Perhaps Peter would suppose that the design of this vision was to instruct him that the distinction between clean and unclean food,  as recognized by the Jews,  was about to be abolished.  But the result showed that it had a higher and more important design.  It was to show him that they who had been esteemed by the Jews as unclean or profane - the entire Gentile world - might now be admitted to similar privileges with the Jews.  That barrier was robe broken down,  and the whole world was to be admitted to the same fellowship and privileges in the gospel.

Why did God use a vision about food to teach Peter that the Gentiles were not unclean?
1. For one thing,  Peter was hungry,  and a vision about food would certainly  "speak to his condition."
2. Second,  the distinction between  "clean and unclean foods"  was a major problem between the Jews and the Gentiles in that day.  In fact,  Peter's Christian friends criticized him for eating with the Gentiles!  (Acts 11:1-3)  God used this centuries-old regulation to teach Peter an important spiritual lesson.
3. A third reason goes back to something Jesus had taught Peter and the other disciples when He was ministering on earth (Mark 7:1-23). 
Mark 7:14-16
When He had called all the multitude to Himself, He said to them, "Hear Me, everyone, and understand:  There is nothing that enters a man from outside which can defile him; but the things which come out of him, those are the things that defile a man. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear!"     (NKJV)
At that time,  Peter did not fully understand what Jesus was saying,  but now it would all come together.  God was not simply changing Peter's diet;  He was changing His entire program!  The Jew was not  "clean"  and the Gentile  "unclean,"  but both Jew and Gentile were  "unclean"  before God!  "For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that He might have mercy on all"  (Romans 11:32).  This meant that a Gentile did not have to become a Jew in order to become a Christian.
 (from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

Ephesians 2:11-18
Therefore remember that you,  once Gentiles in the flesh — who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands — that at that time
you were without Christ,
being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel
and strangers from the covenants of promise,
having no hope
and without God in the world.
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
For He Himself is our peace,
who has made both one,
and has broken down the middle wall of separation,
having abolished in His flesh the enmity,
that is,  the law of commandments contained in ordinances,  so as to
create in Himself one new man from the two,
thus making peace,
and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross,
thereby putting to death the enmity.
And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near.  For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.     (NKJV)

Galatians 3:27-29
For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
There is neither Jew nor Greek,
there is neither slave nor free,
there is neither male nor female; 
for you are all one in Christ Jesus.  And if you are Christ's,  then you are Abraham's seed,  and heirs according to the promise.    (NKJV)

Steeped in Jewish tradition and filled with certain biases,  Peter was convinced his views on the Gentiles were correct.  It took a three-part heavenly vision for God to change Peter's mind.  One of the most basic and practical lessons from this encounter is that when God speaks,  we must not challenge what he says.  Doubting God is the rebellion of Eden.  When God says something is so,  we must not debate with him.  The right response is humble submission to his revealed truth.
(from Life Application Bible Copyright © 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991 by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.).

From the Amplified Bible
(15)   And the voice came to him again a second time, What God has cleansed and pronounced clean, do not you defile and profane by regarding and calling common and unhallowed or unclean.
(16)  This occurred three times; then immediately the sheet was taken up to heaven.



PETER  SUMMONED  TO  CAESAREA

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Acts 10:17-20
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(17)  Now while Peter wondered within himself what this vision which he had seen meant, behold, the men who had been sent from Cornelius had made inquiry for Simon's house, and stood before the gate.

Now while Simon Peter was bewildered, wondering in himself what the vision he had seen should mean, the men who were went by Cornelius arrived, and enquired for the house in which Simon Peter had been staying, and they came and stood at the door of the courtyard.

(18)  And they called and asked whether Simon, whose surname was Peter, was lodging there.

And from there they called and asked if Simon who is called Peter stayed there.

(19)  While Peter thought about the vision, the Spirit said to him, "Behold, three men are seeking you.

While Simon Peter meditated about the vision, the Spirit said to him, Behold, three men seek you.

(20)  Arise therefore, go down and go with them, doubting nothing; for I have sent them."

Arise, go down and go with them, without doubt in your mind; for I have sent them.

 

From Peter's Account

To the Jewish Believers at Jerusalem
Acts 11:11 & 12a

"Right then three men who had been sent to me from Caesarea stopped at the house where I was staying.  The Spirit told me to have no hesitation about going with them."

Wondered
Diaporeo  (NT:1280)  to be thoroughly perplexed

In all this we find an admirable display of the economy of Providence.
Cornelius prays, and has a vision - which prepares him to receive instruction from Peter:
Peter prays, and has a vision - which prepares and disposes him to give instruction to Cornelius.
While he is in doubts and perplexity what the full meaning of the vision might be,  the messengers,  who had been dispatched under the guidance of a special Providence,  came to the door;  and the Holy Spirit gives him information that his doubts should be all cleared up by accompanying the men who were now inquiring for him.  How exactly does everything in the conduct of Providence occur;  and how completely is everything adapted to time,  place,  and occasion!
(from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1996, 2003, 2005 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Gate
The word here rendered  "gate,"  puloona  (NT: 4440)  refers properly to the porch or principal entrance to an Eastern house.

Doubting nothing
No explanation of the vision has been offered.  But Peter is bidden to obey certain directions –
TO DO SOMETHING,  and  IN THE DOING  all his questions about the vision were to be resolved.
Here is the same principle we meet at every step in the histories of the Old and New Testaments.   It is that
OBEDIENCE  leads to  KNOWLEDGE.
“We shall know IF WE FOLLOW ON.”   If any one wills to do God’s will,  he shall know.
In what follows we find this principle again verified.
Both Peter and Cornelius, in their implicit following of the Spirit's directions,  learn that which they desire to know,
and with knowledge receive larger grace.

From the Amplified Bible
(17)  Now Peter was still inwardly perplexed and doubted as to what the vision which he had seen could mean, when [just then] behold the messengers that were sent by Cornelius, who had made inquiry for Simon's house, stopped and stood before the gate.
(18)  And they called out to inquire whether Simon who was surnamed Peter was staying there.
(19)  And while Peter was earnestly revolving the vision in his mind and meditating on it, the [Holy] Spirit said to him, Behold, three men are looking for you!
(20)  Get up and go below and accompany them without any doubt [about its legality] or any discrimination or hesitation, for I have sent them.

Acts 10:21-23
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(21)  Then Peter went down to the men who had been sent to him from Cornelius, and said, "Yes, I am he whom you seek. For what reason have you come?"

Then Simon Peter went down to the men and said, I am the man you seek.  What is the purpose of your mission?

(22)  And they said, "Cornelius the centurion, a just man, one who fears God and has a good reputation among all the nation of the Jews, was divinely instructed by a holy angel to summon you to his house, and to hear words from you."

They said to him, A man called Cornelius, a righteous and God-fearing centurion of whom all the Jewish people speak well, was told in a vision by a holy angel to send and bring you to his house and to hear words from you.

(23)  Then he invited them in and lodged them.  On the next day Peter went away with them, and some brethren from Joppa accompanied him.

So Simon Peter brought them into the place where he was staying and welcomed them. The next day he arose and went with them, and a few men from amongst the brethren of Joppa accompanied him.

 

From Peter's Account

To the Jewish Believers at Jerusalem
Acts 11:12b

"These six brothers also went with me, and we entered the man's house."

Brethren from Joppa
There were 6 of them – Chapter 11:12 (these six brethren accompanied me).  Peter knew he would be called into question about his actions, and he was wise to take witnesses.  In fact,  this was double the amount required by the Law and by the Lord (Deuteronomy 17:6;  Deuteronomy 19:15;  Matthew 18:16), where "two or three witnesses" were specified.

Altogether,  there were 10 who made the trip north from Joppa to Caesarea – verse 7;  there were 3 from Cornelius;  Peter,  and the 6 Christians he took with him.

From the Amplified Bible
(21)  Then Peter went down to the men and said, I am the man you seek; what is the purpose of your coming?
(22)  And they said, Cornelius, a centurion (captain) who is just and upright and in right standing with God, being God-fearing and obedient and well spoken of by the whole Jewish nation, has been instructed by a holy angel to send for you to come to his house; and he has received in answer [to prayer] a warning to listen to and act upon what you have to say.
(23)  So Peter invited them in to be his guests [for the night]. The next day he arose and went away with them, and some of the brethren from Joppa accompanied him.

Acts 10:24-26
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(24)  And the following day they entered Caesarea. Now Cornelius was waiting for them, and had called together his relatives and close friends.

And the next day they entered Caesarea.  And Cornelius was waiting for them, and all his relatives and also his dear friends were assembled with him.

(25)  As Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him.

And just as Simon Peter was entering, Cornelius met him and threw himself at his feet and worshipped him.

(26)  But Peter lifted him up, saying, "Stand up; I myself am also a man."

But Simon Peter raised him, saying, Stand up; I am but a man also.


The following day
Four days were occupied before Peter met Cornelius at Caesarea.
Day 1 vs. 3 On the first the angel appeared to Cornelius.
Day 2 vs. 9 On the second the messengers arrived at Joppa.
Day 3 vs. 23 On the third, Peter returned with them.
Day 4 vs. 24 On the fourth they arrived at Caesarea.

Waiting
Prosdokao  (NT:4328)  to expect something to happen, whether good or bad - 'to expect, to anticipate, expectation.'

Wuest translates:  "Now, Cornelius was looking for them with eager expectation and hope."

Relatives and close friends
It appears that he had collected the whole circle of his intimate acquaintances,  that they also might profit by a revelation which he expected to come immediately from heaven;  and these amounted to many persons (vs 27).
(from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1996, 2003, 2005 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Fell down ... and worshipped
Fell down Pesoón - from pipto (NT:4098) to prostrate oneself
Worshipped proskuneo (NT:4352) to make obeisance, do reverence to

Proskuneo - (meaning to kiss, like a dog licking his master's hand);  to fawn or crouch to, i.e. (literally or figuratively) prostrate oneself in homage (do reverence to, adore):
(Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

Pipto
with proskuneo used together -
In connection with the worship of deity
(Matthew 4:9; Acts 10:25; 1 Corinthians 14:25)
Alone, in face of Jesus, to emphasize a petition, to express gratitude, or to show respect
(Mark 5:22; Luke 17:16; John 11:32)
Jesus himself adopts this attitude in prayer
(Matthew 26:39)
(from Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, abridged edition, Copyright © 1985 by William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. All rights reserved.)

Cornelius had been brought up a pagan and was accustomed from boyhood to seeing divine honors rendered to heroes.  He no doubt thought Peter was an angel of a higher order,  being sent for by an ordinary angel.  It was not strange then that he would bow to Peter.
(Dake's Annotated Reverence Bible, Finis Jennings Dake, Dake Publishing, Lawrenceville, GA)

Lifted him up
An expression for  "caused him to stand up."  In saying that he was only a man Peter is obviously emphasizing that he is not an angel and therefore does not merit any kind of special regard or worship
(from the UBS New Testament Handbook Series. Copyright © 1961-1997, by United Bible Societies.)

From the Amplified Bible
(24)  And on the following day they entered Caesarea. Cornelius was waiting for and expecting them, and he had invited together his relatives and his intimate friends.
(25)  As Peter arrived, Cornelius met him, and falling down at his feet he made obeisance and paid worshipful reverence to him.
(26)  But Peter raised him up, saying, Get up; I myself am also a man.

Acts 10:27 & 28
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(27)  And as he talked with him, he went in and found many who had come together.

And after he had talked with him, he went in and found a great many people had come there.

(28)  Then he said to them, "You know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation. But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean.

So he said to them, You know well that it is unlawful for a Jew to associate with a stranger who is not of his tribe; but God has showed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.


He probably met him at the door, or at a small distance from the house. It was an expression of joy thus to go out to meet him.
(From Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

Unlawful ... to keep company
This was not categorically forbidden;  but it did render a Jew ceremonially unclean,  as did even the entering of a Gentile building or the handling of articles belonging to Gentiles.  The most ordinary kinds of food such as bread,  milk or olive oil,  coming from Gentiles,  might not be eaten by strict Jews,  not to mention flesh,  which might have come from an unclean animal or from one sacrificed to a pagan deity,  and which in any case contained blood.  Hence,  of all forms of relationships with Gentiles,  to accept their hospitality and sit at table with them was the most intolerable.

There is no Old Testament regulation forbidding such social contact with Gentiles,  though the rabbis had added it and had made it binding by custom.  There is nothing more binding upon the average person than social custom.  Upon coming from the market,  an orthodox Jew was expected to immerse himself to avoid defilement (Edersheim, Jewish Social Life, pp. 26-28; Taylor's Sayings of the Jewish Fathers, pp. 15, 26, 137, second edition).   It is that middle wall of partition between Jew and Gentile (Ephesians 2:14) which Jesus broke down.
(from Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1997, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament. Copyright © 1985 by Broadman Press.)

The Jews professed to ground this prohibition on the law of Moses;  but there is no direct command in the Mosaic law forbidding Jews to associate with those of other nations.  But Peter's statement is general,  referring to the general practice of the Jews to separate themselves in common life from uncircumcised persons.  Juvenal says that the Jews were taught by Moses  "not to show the way except to one who practices the same rites,  and to guide the circumcised alone to the well which they seek"  (Sat., xiv., 104:, 105).
(from Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

A Comparison
 
Paul  (The Apostle to the Gentiles)
Cornelius  (The Door opens to the Gentiles)
1.
Originally, a devout Jew, persecuting the church of Christ.
 A Gentile heathen, yet worshipping the true God.
2.
Great knowledge about the Law of God, but mind closed to further revelation.
Not much knowledge about the Law, but seeking more Truth from God.
3.
Jesus appears to him in the midst of his persecutions.
An angel of God comes to him in the midst of his
prayers.
4.
Saul, taught to question, and pick at the fine points of the Law, asks the Lord to identify Himself.  “Who are you, Lord?”
Cornelius, taught to take orders without question, recognizes the higher authority, and is ready to obey.  “What is it, Lord?”
5.
Directed to Ananias, a human agent, for further instruction.
Directed to Peter, a human agent, for further instruction.
6.
Ananias had a mental block about Saul that God had to remove.
Peter had a mental block about Cornelius that God had to remove.
7.
Filled with the Holy Ghost.
Filled with the Holy Ghost.

NOTE:  They were completely different until #4,  when they each yielded to Jesus Christ,  and then they were brought closer and closer until they were each filled with the same Spirit,  and made one in the Lord,  brothers in Jesus Christ.

Peter explained to Cornelius and his company that Jewish law made it  "taboo"  for a Jew to associate with or visit people of another nation.  However,  God had now so lifted Peter out of his Jewish scruples that he could no longer look upon any man as ceremonially common or unclean and therefore unfit for social fellowship.  God had made his will so clear to Peter that he had accompanied the servants of Cornelius without any objection,  a thing he would not have done as a Jew.
(from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1962 by Moody Press. All rights reserved.)

From the Amplified Bible
(27)  And as [Peter] spoke with him, he entered the house and found a large group of persons assembled;
(28)  And he said to them, You yourselves are aware how it is not lawful or permissible for a Jew to keep company with or to visit or [even] to come near or to speak first to anyone of another nationality, but God has shown and taught me by words that I should not call any human being common or unhallowed or [ceremonially] unclean.

Acts 10:29-33
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

 (29)  Therefore I came without objection as soon as I was sent for. I ask, then, for what reason have you sent for me?"

This is why I came at once when you sent for me; but now let me ask you, for what reason have you sent for me?

(30)  So Cornelius said, "Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing,

Then Cornelius said to him, Four days I have been fasting; and at three o'clock in the afternoon while I was praying in my house, a man dressed in white garments stood before me,

(31)  and said, 'Cornelius, your prayer has been heard, and your alms are remembered in the sight of God.

And said to me, Cornelius your prayer has been heard, and your alms are a memorial before God.

(32)  Send therefore to Joppa and call Simon here, whose surname is Peter. He is lodging in the house of Simon, a tanner, by the sea. When he comes, he will speak to you.'

But send to the city of Joppa and bring Simon, who is called Peter; behold he is staying in the house of Simon the tanner, by the seaside; and he will come and talk with you.

(33)  So I sent to you immediately, and you have done well to come. Now therefore, we are all present before God, to hear all the things commanded you by God."

At that very time I sent for you, and you have done well to come. Behold we are all here present before you, and we wish to hear everything commanded you from God.

 

From Peter's Account

To the Jewish Believers at Jerusalem
Acts 11:13 & 14

"He told us how he had seen an angel appear in his house and say, 'Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter.  He will bring you a message through which you and all your household will be saved.' "

The remarkable thing in this section is Peter's question,  "I ask, therefore, for what intent ye have sent for me?"
Didn't Peter know that he had been summoned there to preach the Gospel?  Had he forgotten the Acts 1:8 commission to go to "the uttermost part of the earth"?  Today, we can look back at developing events in the church and understand what God was doing,  but it might not have been that easy had we been living in the midst of those events.  In fact,  the Jerusalem church questioned Peter about his actions (Acts 11:1-18),  and later called a conference to deal with the place of the Gentiles in the church (Acts 15).
Cornelius rehearsed his experience with the angel and then told Peter why he had been summoned:  to tell him,  his family,  and his friends how they could be saved (Acts 11:14).  They were not interested Gentiles asking for a lecture on Jewish religion.
They were lost sinners begging to be told how to be saved.
Some important truths must be emphasized:
First The idea that  "one religion is as good as another"  is completely false.
Those who tell us that we should worship "the God of many names" and not "change other people's religions" are going contrary to Scripture.
 "Salvation is of the Jews" (John 4:22), and there can be no salvation apart from faith in Jesus Christ, who was born a Jew.
Cornelius had piety and morality, but he did not have salvation.
Some might say, "Leave Cornelius alone! His religion is a part of his culture, and it's a shame to change his culture!" God does not see it that way.

Apart from hearing the message of the Gospel and trusting Christ -
Cornelius had no hope
.

Second The seeking Savior (Luke 19:10) will find the seeking sinner (Jeremiah 29:13 "And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.").  Wherever there is a searching heart, God responds.  This is why it is essential that we as God's children obey His will and share His Word.  You never know when your witness for Christ is exactly what somebody has been waiting and praying for.
Third Peter certainly was privileged to minister to a model congregation.
They were all present
They all wanted to hear the Word
They all listened
They all believed
They all obeyed
What more could a preacher ask?
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

From the Amplified Bible
(29)  Therefore when I was sent for, I came without hesitation or objection or misgivings. So now I ask for what reason you sent for me.
(30)  And Cornelius said, This is now the fourth day since about this time I was observing the ninth hour (three o'clock in the afternoon) of prayer in my lodging place; [suddenly] a man stood before me in dazzling apparel,
(31)  And he said, Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and harkened to, and your donations to the poor have been known and preserved before God [so that He heeds and is about to help you].
(32)  Send therefore to Joppa and ask for Simon who is surnamed Peter; he is staying in the house of Simon the tanner by the seaside.
(33)  So at once I sent for you, and you [being a Jew] have done a kind and courteous and handsome thing in coming. Now then, we are all present in the sight of God to listen to all that you have been instructed by the Lord to say.



PETER'S  SERMON

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Acts 10:34 & 35
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(34)  Then Peter opened his mouth and said: "In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality.

Then Simon Peter opened his mouth and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons;

(35)  But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.

But among all people, he who fears him and works righteousness is accepted with him.


No partiality
The word used here denotes "the act of showing favor to one on account of rank, family, wealth, or partiality arising from any cause." It is explained in James 2:1-4.
James 2:1-9
My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality.  For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, "You sit here in a good place," and say to the poor man, "You stand there," or, "Sit here at my footstool,"  have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?
Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?  But you have dishonored the poor man. Do not the rich oppress you and drag you into the courts?  Do they not blaspheme that noble name by which you are called?
If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," you do well;  but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors.
A judge is a respecter of persons when he favors one of the parties on account of private friendship, or because he is a man of rank, influence, or power, or because he belongs to the same political party, etc.  The Jews supposed that they were especially favored by God.   And that salvation was not extended to other nations, and that the fact of being a Jew entitled them to this favor. Peter here says that he had learned the error of this doctrine, and that a man is not to be accepted because he is a Jew, nor to be excluded because he is a Gentile. The barrier is broken down; the offer is made to all; God will save all on the same principle; not by external privileges or rank, but according to their character.

The same doctrine is elsewhere explicitly stated in the New Testament, Rom 2:11; Eph 6:9; Col 3:25.
Romans 2:8-11
But to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness — indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek;  but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
For there is no partiality with God.
Ephesians 6:9
And you, masters, do the same things to them, giving up threatening, knowing that your own Master also is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.
Colossians 3:25
But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality.
It may be observed here that this does not refer to the doctrine of divine sovereignty or election.  It simply affirms that God will not save a man because he is a Jew,  or because he is rich,  or learned,  or of elevated rank,  or on account of neither external privileges;  nor will he exclude a man because he is destitute of these privileges.

The doctrine may be thus stated:
(1) The barrier between the Jews and Gentiles was broken down.
(2) All people thus were placed on a level none to be saved by external privileges, none to be lost by the lack of them.
(3) All were guilty (Romans chapters 1-3), and none had a claim on God.
(4) If any were saved, it would be by God s showing mercy on such of this common mass as he chose. See Rom 3:22; 10:12; Gal 2:6.
Romans 3:21-23
But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference.
Romans 10:12-13
For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For "whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved."
Galatians 2:6
But from those who seemed to be something — whatever they were, it makes no difference to me; God shows personal favoritism to no man.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

From the Amplified Bible
(34)  And Peter opened his mouth and said: Most certainly and thoroughly I now perceive and understand that God shows no partiality and is no respecter of persons,
(35)  But in every nation he who venerates and has a reverential fear for God, treating Him with worshipful obedience and living uprightly, is acceptable to Him and sure of being received and welcomed [by Him].

Acts 10:36-38
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(36)  The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ — He is Lord of all —

For God sent the word to the children of Israel, preaching peace and tranquility be Jesus Christ; he is the Lord of all.

(37)  that word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee after the baptism which John preached:

And you also are familiar with the news which was published throughout Judea, which sprang from Galilee, after the baptism preached by John,

(38)  how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.

Concerning Jesus of Nazareth whom God anointed with the Holy Spirit and with power, and who, because God was with him, went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil.


Word
Verse 36 logos (NT:3056) word - something said; by implication a topic (subject of discourse)
Verse 37 rhema (NT:4487) word - an utterance; by implication, a matter or topic

Vincent suggests that
"word" in verse 36 is The message itself.
"word" in verse 37 is The contents of the message:  the  "report or history"  which it proclaimed.

Peace through Jesus Christ
eirene (NT:1515)  To set at one again, to join, to bind together that which was broken

The Messiah came to Israel, and the Word was preached to Israel.  Until now, the Jews had nothing to do with the Gentiles - nor did the Jewish believers in the young church.
It was never God's plan to offer salvation only to the Jews exclusively.
It was always God's plan to offer salvation to everyone who believes (Romans 1:16).
When Adam sinned, mankind was separated from his Creator.
When Abraham was called out, there was a separation between his descendants and the rest of mankind.
God separated Abraham, then Isaac, then Jacob (Israel) to create a people that was to be a channel through whom He would bring salvation to the world.
Jesus Christ brought peace - reconciliation - joined together again
Through Jesus Christ the creation (mankind) was reconciled with the Creator.
Through Jesus Christ the Jews and Gentiles are joined again as "one new man" (Ephesians 2:15).
  
Romans 1:16
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.

He is Lord of all
That is,  Jesus Christ.  He is sovereign,  or ruler of both Jews and Gentiles,  and hence,  Peter saw the propriety of preaching the gospel to one as to the other.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
  
1 Corinthians 12:13
For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body — whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free — and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.

The word you know
Peter reminds his Gentile audience that the main facts concerning Jesus and the gospel were known to them.

They knew the several matters of fact relating to this word of the gospel sent to Israel.
(1) They knew the baptism of repentance which John preached by way of introduction to it,  and in which the gospel first began, Mark 1:1.
They knew what an extraordinary man John was,  and what a direct tendency his preaching had to prepare the way of the Lord.
They knew what great flocking there was to his baptism, what an interest he had, and what he did.
(2) They knew that immediately after John's baptism the gospel of Christ,  that word of peace,  was published throughout all Judea,  and that it took its rise from Galilee.
The twelve apostles,  and seventy disciples,  and our Master himself,  published these glad tidings in all parts of the land;  so that we may suppose there was not a town or village in all the land of Canaan but had had the gospel preached in it.
(3) They knew that Jesus of Nazareth,  when he was here upon earth,  went about doing good.
They knew what a benefactor he was to that nation,  both to the souls and the bodies of men;  how he made it his business to do good to all,  and never did hurt to any.
(4) They knew more particularly that he healed all that were oppressed of the devil,  and helped them from under his oppressing power.
By this it appeared not only that he was sent of God,  as it was a kindness to men,  but that he was sent to destroy the works of the devil;  for thus he obtained many a victory over him.
(5) They knew that the Jews put him to death;  they slew him by hanging him on a tree.
When Peter preached to the Jews,  he said whom you slew;
but now that he preached to the Gentiles it is whom they slew.
(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

From the Amplified Bible
(36)  You know the contents of the message which He sent to Israel, announcing the good news (Gospel) of peace by Jesus Christ, Who is Lord of all —
(37)  The [same] message which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, starting from Galilee after the baptism preached by John —
(38)  How God anointed and consecrated Jesus of Nazareth with the [Holy] Spirit and with strength and ability and power; how He went about doing good and, in particular, curing all who were harassed and oppressed by [the power of] the devil, for God was with Him.

Acts 10:39-41
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(39)  And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they killed by hanging on a tree.

And we are witnesses of all things which he did throughout the land of Judea and in Jerusalem. This very one the Jews nailed on a cross and killed him;

(40)  Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly,

Him God raised on the third day and made him seen openly;

(41)  not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, even to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead.

Not to all the people, but to us who have been chosen by God to be his witnesses, for we did eat and drink with him after his resurrection from the dead.


We are witnesses
Because they had had no more certain information concerning this Jesus, Peter declares to them his resurrection from the dead, and the proofs of it, that they might not think that when he was slain there was an end of him. Probably, they had heard at Caesarea some talk of his having risen from the dead; but the talk of it was soon silenced by that vile suggestion of the Jews, that his disciples came by night and stole him away.
(1) The power — by which he arose is incontestably divine
Him God raised up the third day,  which not only disproved all the calumnies and accusations he was laid under by men,  but effectually proved God's acceptance of the satisfaction he made for the sin of man by the blood of his cross.
He did not break prison,  but had a legal discharge.  God raised him up.
(2) The proofs — of his resurrection were incontestably clear
God showed him openly.
He gave him to be made manifest,  to be visible,  evidently so;  so he appears,  as that it appears beyond contradiction to be him,  and not another.
But,  though all the people did not see him,  a sufficient number saw him to attest the truth of his resurrection.  The testator's declaring his last will and testament needs not to be before all the people;  it is enough that it be done before a competent number of credible witnesses;  so the resurrection of Christ was proved before sufficient witnesses.
They had not a sudden and transient view of him,  but a great deal of free conversation with him
They did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead.  This implies that they saw him eat and drink.  This proved that he had a true and real body.
(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

From the Amplified Bible
(39)  And we are [eye and ear] witnesses of everything that He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. And [yet] they put Him out of the way (murdered Him) by hanging Him on a tree;
(40)  But God raised Him to life on the third day and caused Him to be manifest (to be plainly seen),
(41)  Not by all the people but to us who were chosen (designated) beforehand by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead.

Acts 10:42 & 43
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(42)  And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead.

And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that it is he who was ordained by God to be the judge of the living and of the dead.

(43)  To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins."

Of him all the prophets testified that whosoever believes in his name shall receive remission of sins.


He commanded us to preach
The command to preach the Good News of salvation was the last thing Jesus said to them before He ascended into heaven (Mark 16:15-16Acts 1:8).

Judge the living and the dead
Romans 14:9-12
For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living.  But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.  For it is written:
"As I live, says the Lord,
Every knee shall bow to Me,
And every tongue shall confess to God."
So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.
Revelation 20:11-12
Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.

To Him all the Prophets witness
As Jesus Christ was the sum and substance of the law and the Mosaic dispensation,  so all the prophets bore testimony,  either directly or indirectly,  to him;  and,  indeed,  without him and the salvation he has promised,  there is scarcely any meaning in the Mosaic economy,  nor in most of the allusions of the prophets.
(from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1996, 2003, 2005 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Through his name
As in the Lord's prayer:  not simply the title,  but all that is embraced and expressed by the name:  Christ's  "entire perfection, as the object revealed to the believer for his apprehension, confession, and worship" (Meyer).
(from Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
 
Romans 10:11-13
For the Scripture says,
"Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame."
For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him.   For
"whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved."

Whoever believes
Peter's sermon is our first example of preaching to the Gentiles.  It contains very little reflection upon the meaning of the person of Christ,  no emphasis upon his pre-existence,  incarnation,  and deity,  nor on the atoning character of his death.  It is indeed a  "primitive Christology,"  and consists primarily of the proclamation of the facts of Jesus' death,  life,  and resurrection,  and the appeal to believe on him for the forgiveness of sins.
(from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1962 by Moody Press. All rights reserved.)

From the Amplified Bible
(42)  And He charged us to preach to the people and to bear solemn testimony that He is the God-appointed and God-ordained Judge of the living and the dead.
(43)  To Him all the prophets testify (bear witness) that everyone who believes in Him [who adheres to, trusts in, and relies on Him, giving himself up to Him] receives forgiveness of sins through His name.



THE  HOLY  SPIRIT  GIVEN  TO  THE  GENTILES

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Acts 10:44-46
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(44)  While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word.

While Simon Peter spoke these words, the Holy Spirit descended on all who heard the word.

(45)  And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also.

And the Jewish converts who had come with him were seized with amazement because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out on the Gentiles also;

(46)  For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God.   Then Peter answered,

For they heard them speak with different tongues, and magnify God.

 

From Peter's Account

To the Jewish Believers at Jerusalem
Acts 11:15

"As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came on them as he had come on us at the beginning."

The Holy Spirit fell
Peter was just getting started in his message when his congregation believed and the Holy Spirit interrupted the meeting.
The Holy Spirit was giving witness to the six Jews who were present that these Gentiles were truly born again.  After all,  these men had not seen the vision with Peter and come to understand that the Gentiles were now on an equal footing with the Jews.
This was an event parallel to Pentecost:  the same Spirit who had come on the Jewish believers had now come on the Gentiles.  No wonder the men were astonished!
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

Those of the circumcision
From this point Luke distinguishes Christians into two classes
those of the Circumcision believing Jews
those of the Uncircumcision believing Gentiles or Greeks
(from Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

For they heard them speak with tongues
In other languages than their own native tongue.

This sudden manifestation of the Holy Spirit's power on uncircumcised Gentiles was probably necessary to convince Peter and the six brethren of the circumcision that God had opened the door wide to Gentiles.  It was proof that a Gentile Pentecost had come and Peter used it effectively in his defense in Jerusalem (Acts 11:15).
(from Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1997, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament. Copyright © 1985 by Broadman Press.)

This is why they knew the Gentiles had received the same Spirit baptism that they had received about eight years before at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-11).  This experience proves that
The Holy Spirit baptism may be given to men at the time of their conversion,  as in the case of
Paul (Acts 9:17-18).
The Holy Spirit baptism may be received long after conversion,  as in the case of
the disciples at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-11),
the Samaritans (Acts 8:12-23),
the Ephesians (Acts 19:1-7).
The Holy Spirit can be received before water baptism,  as in the case of
Jesus (Matthew 3:16-17),
the disciples at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-11),
the Samaritans (Acts 8:4-23),
the Ephesians (Acts 19:1-7).
(Dake's Annotated Reverence Bible, Finis Jennings Dake, Dake Publishing, Lawrenceville, GA)

From the Amplified Bible
(44)  While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all who were listening to the message.
(45)  And the believers from among the circumcised [the Jews] who came with Peter were surprised and amazed, because the free gift of the Holy Spirit had been bestowed and poured out largely even on the Gentiles.
(46)  For they heard them talking in [unknown] tongues (languages) and extolling and magnifying God. Then Peter asked,

Acts 10:47 & 48
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(47)  "Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?"

Then Simon Peter said the them, Can any man forbid water, that these people who have received the Holy Spirit, just as we have, should not be baptized?

(48)  And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days.

And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. And they urged him to remain with them a few days.


Can anyone forbid water
This is a sort of challenge thrown out to his own six Jewish brethren,  who might be supposed to object to the recognition of their Gentile brethren without circumcision.  A great principle is here expressed.  He does not say,  'Having received the Spirit,  what need have they of water!'  But,  'Having received the supernatural seal of real discipleship,  who can refuse them the visible token of it!'
(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Peter at once recognized that the Gentiles should be brought into the fellowship of the church,  and he therefore commanded that Cornelius and his family be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.
(from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1962 by Moody Press. All rights reserved.)

Though they were Gentiles,  yet,  having received the Holy Ghost,  they might be admitted to baptism.  The argument is conclusive;
Can we deny the sign to those who have received the thing signified?
Are not those on whom God has bestowed the grace of the covenant plainly entitled to the seals of the covenant?
Surely those that have received the Spirit as well as we ought to receive baptism as well as we;
for it becomes us to follow God's indications, and to take those into communion with us whom he hath taken into communion with himself.
(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

These Gentiles were not saved by being baptized,  they were baptized because they gave evidence of being saved.  Sinners have always been saved by faith,  that is one principle God has never changed.  But God does change His methods of operation,  and this is clearly seen in Acts chapters 1-10.  The experience of Cornelius and his household makes it very clear that baptism is not essential for salvation.  From now on,  the order will be:  hear the Word,  believe on Christ and receive the Spirit,  and then be baptized and unite with other believers in the church to serve and worship God.
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

Many years ago,  I heard a testimony from a man who is from India and of course spoke the different languages of his native land.  He as a preacher was in a small Kentucky Pentecostal Church and he heard a person speaking in one of the little known languages of India,  which he understood.  The person was praising God.
So I state that tongues are a present manifestation of the Holy Spirit in our day.
Paul the Learner

In the name of the Lord
That is,  in the name of Jesus Christ;  which implied their taking upon them the public profession of Christianity,  and believing on Christ Jesus as their Savior and Sovereign;  for,  as they were baptized in his name,  they professed thereby to be his disciples and followers.
(from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1996, 2003, 2005 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

KEYS TO MAKING A DIFFERENCE


Peter and Cornelius provide a great lesson for believers who want to make a real difference in the world.  See the following acronym for world:
Walk closely with God. (Acts 10:1-4, 9)
The text carefully reports on the quality of the spiritual life of Cornelius and the explicit time of prayer
of both Cornelius and Peter.  Both were devout men,  apparently with a regular,  consistent habit of
walking with God,  praying to God,  and expecting God to work in their lives.  The reason they both
were involved in the work of God — Cornelius as the first genuine Gentile convert;  Peter as the human
instrument in opening the door to the Gentiles — was that they were both in the habit of walking with,
talking to,  and hearing from God on a regular basis.
Obey God. (Acts 9:39, 43; 10:8, 23-25, 28-29)
A predisposition to obedience that comes from a deep relationship with God marked both these men.
Cornelius got  “found,”  and Peter had the privilege of finding him because they responded positively to
God’s command.  We will not be involved in real world change if we have a predisposition to disobey.
To be habitually disobedient is to be habitually useless for the real work of God.
Reach out to people outside your comfort zone. (Acts 9:32-43; 10:5-6, 20, 25, 48)
It is hard to feel what Peter would have felt about moving into the Gentile world.  He was going against
that with his move to Lydda,  then Joppa,  then to the leatherworker’s house,  and certainly with
Cornelius.  The Jewish part of him would balk at every turn,  every doorstep,  every meal.  But Peter
understood the great commission and was committed to spreading the Word to whomever God was
calling.  How readily do you move outside the confines of your safe relationships?  That’s where the
lost are and where God wants us to be.
Look for those God is reaching or softening. (Acts 9:32-43; 10:19, 22-23)
This constant theme of Acts shows that God is working,  and we must find out where and with whom,
and get in on it.
Disregard the criticism. (Acts 10:13-14, 20, 28; 11:1-3, 18)
Jewish culture was resistant;  Peter himself was resistant;  the church was resistant,  critical,  skeptical.
But Peter,  Cornelius,  Peter’s traveling companions,  and ultimately the church itself overcame the
resistance to be a part of what God wanted to do.  God was moving,  spreading his message by
softening and wooing hearts,  by awakening souls.
(Tyndale Handbook of Bible charts and maps, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. Wheaton, IL)

With this event the period of transition in the early history of the church comes to an end.  Believers among the Jews,  Samaritans,  and Gentiles have all received the Spirit of God and are united in the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13; Galatians 3:27).
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

From the Amplified Bible
(47)  Can anyone forbid or refuse water for baptizing these people, seeing that they have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?
(48)  And he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ (the Messiah). Then they begged him to stay on there for some days.



(End of Chapter Ten)

  

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