christine's bible study

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever. Isa 40:8

clean and unclean food, acts 10

Now the next place in the New Testament that is often used to show that all foods have now been declared clean, is Acts 10. I am not going to reproduce the whole chapter here, but everyone should go read it before we continue – the whole chapter, it won’t take long!

Here are the pertinent verses. First while Peter was having his vision:

“In it were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. And a voice came to him, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” But Peter said, “Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.” And a voice spoke to him again the second time, “What God has cleansed you must not call common.” Act 10:12-15

First, I just want to point out, that this incident took place 3-1/2 years after Jesus rose from the dead. In those 3-1/2 years, Peter continued to obey the dietary laws. Notice he says that he has never eaten anything common or unclean? He is going by the definition of clean and unclean food, given in the Torah (Lev 11). The resurrection of Jesus did not change Peter’s eating habits. If the theology is, now that Jesus has been crucified and raised from the dead, the Law has been done away with and Jesus has declared all foods clean, what was Peter doing still obeying the dietary laws for 3-1/2 years?

But, be that as it may, people read the voice’s response, that what God has cleansed you must not call common, and conclude that God has now declared all foods clean (besides the times that Jesus was supposed to have declared all foods clean). But is that what the voice meant or that Peter understood?

“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.” Act 10:17

Whoa, hold up, hasn’t it already been decided that we know what the vision meant – that God had now declared all FOODS clean? But Peter, for some reason, was wondering within himself what the vision meant. It appears he did NOT assume that what the vision meant, was that all FOODS were now clean. Now go ahead a little bit in the story, after Peter decides to accompany the men …

“And the following day they entered Caesarea. Now Cornelius was waiting for them, and had called together his relatives and close friends. As Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. But Peter lifted him up, saying, “Stand up; I myself am also a man.” And as he talked with him, he went in and found many who had come together. 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. Therefore I came without objection as soon as I was sent for. I ask, then, for what reason have you sent for me?” Act 10:24-29

Peter figured out what the vision meant! God was trying to show him, that He had cleansed the Gentiles, and that Peter was no longer to consider that any MAN is unclean for a Jew to associate with. We know this is the correct interpretation of the vision, because while Peter was preaching, even before he got to the altar call, the Holy Spirit fell on all the Gentiles, and Peter knew it because they started speaking in tongues, as Peter and the rest of the disciples had on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2.

So far the Scriptures all agree – Jesus and Peter did not preach that all foods were now clean. But this is not the end of Acts or the Epistles! So we will keep going until we have unturned every instance where the issue of clean or unclean foods is called into question …

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One response to “clean and unclean food, acts 10

  1. Pingback: acts « christine's bible study

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