While visiting a tanner’s house in Jaffa, Peter went up on the roof to pray. It was midday and he was hungry. As he prayed he was shown a strange vision:

The sky opened up, and an object like a great sheet coming down, lowered by four corners to the ground, and there were in it all kinds of four-footed animals and crawling creatures of the earth and birds of the air. A voice came to him, “Get up, Peter, kill and eat!” But Peter said, ‘By no means, Lord, for I have never eaten anything unholy and unclean.’ 15 Again a voice came to him a second time, “What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy.” (Acts 10:11-15 NASB)

Since this vision contained a mix of clean and unclean animals that Peter was commanded to “slaughter and eat,” some New Testament interpreters wrongly interpret this vision in terms of food, so that God’s command to Peter marks the divine abolishment of differences between clean and unclean animals detailed in the kosher food laws (cf. Lev 11; Deut 14). But Peter knew the vision was not about food. He explains to the non-Jewish Cornelius that it was unlawful “for a man who is a Jew to associate with a foreigner or to visit him; and yet God has shown me that I should not call any man unholy or unclean” (Acts 10:28 NASB).

Like many first-century Jews, Peter saw Gentiles as κοινὸν καὶ ἀκάθαρτον (koinon kai akatharton) “unholy and unclean.” Contact with non-Jews was not explicitly prohibited in the Torah. However, first-century Gentiles were idol-worshippers who did not live their lives in accordance with God’s ways revealed to Israel in the Torah. Speaking of the idolatrous tendencies of the Gentiles, a Jewish author writing two centuries before Yeshua warns:

“Separate yourself from the Gentiles, and do not eat with them, and do not perform deeds like theirs. And do not become associates of theirs. Because their deeds are defiled, and all of their ways are contaminated, and despicable, and abominable. They slaughter their sacrifices to the dead, and to the demons they bow down. And they eat in tombs. And all their deeds are worthless and vain.” (Jubilees 22:16-17)

In Acts 11:3 Peter’s friends shamed him for socializing with Gentiles, but after they heard Peter’s report they “glorified God, saying, ‘Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life’” (Acts 11:18 NASB). God did not cleanse unclean foods in order to make them acceptable for Jewish consumption; rather, God cleansed those of the nations who hear his voice!

BEGIN YOUR JOURNEY OF DISCOVERY

74 COMMENTS

  1. Good evening i really would like to take the courses but i I'm not able to for now i honestly love every bit of of i read it just broaden my understanding of the Bible and i can teach it in my ward during prayer meetings tx
  2. Peter's vision indeed was symbolic of the gentile/Jew relationship....but it is ALSO about animals and food. The Old Mosaic law is done away with Jews TODAY should not attempt to follow Kosher or Mosaic law issues...you are free....quit trying to follow Christ AND trying to keep Kosher/Laws...Do's and Dont's. The Law was a curse and a teacher....it taught the jews and mankind that man can NOT follow a law and be holy. It was a curse because ALL fail it..and all break it..and the consequence is DEATH. Rely on Christ's sacrifice...he paid the price..we are under his grace..that saves us PERIOD..no actions or following of any law ...man made or previously God given laws do NOT save...God the father made it clear that now and eternally salvation is freely given ( from him ) Grace by faith..not by works or law. Food is food...Paul said so in the new testament... You wanna eat meat sacrificed to false god's ?? ( as the bible verse points out ) or You wanna eat pork ?? go ahead , food is for man...man is not for food. Man was not for the Sabbath...the Sabbath rest ( Christ IS the Sabbath Rest ) ..is for man. Hope this helps. Jewish teaching is so enlightening to many New testament passages..but one point I see over and over is that Jews , once believers STILL want to follow Jewish law. Yes...they certainly remain Jews...but the law and Kosher is done away with for ever.
    • Dear Shawn, wow... I disagree with your premise entirely and on many levels. If non-Jews are not obligated to follow Torah and kashrut and etc... (no problem with that). If you say they are "free", then, logically the Jews be "just as free". But freedom is a two-way road and that means we are free to follow as much Torah as we desire. Telling Jews they are not allowed to follow the Torah is not really freedom. Is it? Here is where I wish you re-think your ideas, Shawn. Messiah did not come to free us from the Torah but from sin. Torah is not sin. It is good and it is a gift from our Father. A good Father does not give curses to his children. Right? And he gave Torah to us, on purpose, and forever. I can quote dozens of verses, but then you read them already. :) What we disagree on is not the Bible, but on how it is understood.

      + More answers (20)
    • Shawn,
      Most people believe that dietary laws were a restriction for a certain group of people as part of some religious right or rituals (i.e: Jews, Muslims, Hindus, ect). Were there dietary laws before the Aaronic priesthood? Were there dietary laws in the Ancient days before the flood? Noah filled the Ark with clean and unclean animals...did he not?
      When looking at the dietary laws from just a medical and health stand point, refraining from the eating of the flesh of scavengers, both mammal and sea creatures, we are not exposed to the toxins, germs, and parasites these animals carry. Not eating meat with diary prevents our bodies from dehydrating itself, drawing water from the body to digest and break down the proteins of the meat. Would not the Creator of these physical bodies teach the created how to best maintain these vessels? Just a thought...

      + More answers (1)
    • Sorry but this is absolutely wrong thinking. This vision had nothing to do with food. The text clearly shows this. Jesus NEVER did away with any of the Torah, he in fact fulfilled every part of it.

    • + More answers (1)
  3. I really appreciate this article. Thank you. .. Years ago I just read the first part, with the vision, and didn't understand it very well. Only later in my twenties did I read the entire story at once and at last understood the part in Acts 10:28 where he says what he learned from the vision. At this point in my life I have made it a point to read entire books of the bible in one sitting. By doing so I have greatly increased my ability to understand the continuity of what I'm reading.
    • Jonathan, this is the best thing anyone can do... read a book of the Bible in one sitting. A sure way to avoid taking God's words out of contexts. The big picture is so important.
    • Israel Bible Center equips you with the tools you need to enter into the Jewish world of Scripture. We provide first-rate teaching, and the opportunity to learn from some of the world’s top scholars. As a student, you will be able to interact personally with our teaching faculty, and gain access to hundreds of hours of Bible courses, including The Stories of Jewish Christ: Among the Rabbis and . Become a part of the community of teachers and students at Israel Bible Center today!
  4. I have been receiving emails with studies for quite some time now. However, when I click on the study to read it, only part of the study is shown. When I click on the message, "To finish reading this article and to gain access to all Israel Bible Center resources, register by clicking HERE NOW". I cannot find the article. Can you please email me and let me know how I can finish reading the article. Shalom Sheldon
    • You will always find articles in the appropriate section of our website "magazine". Also, use the search function (top right corner)

      + More answers (2)
    • Israel Bible Center equips you with the tools you need to enter into the Jewish world of Scripture. We provide first-rate teaching, and the opportunity to learn from some of the world’s top scholars. As a student, you will be able to interact personally with our teaching faculty, and gain access to hundreds of hours of Bible courses, including The First Commandment: Deuteronomy in the Gospels and . Become a part of the community of teachers and students at Israel Bible Center today!
  5. If contact with non-Jews was not prohibited in the Torah, did Roman law forbid Jews to associate or visit people of another nation?

    • + More answers (2)
    • We are very happy that you’ve joined our discussion forum. Would you believe that these articles are only a taste of what Israel Bible Center has to offer? We also provide comprehensive teaching on a variety of biblical, historical, and cultural topics. You might begin with Biblical Hebrew I: First Steps or . You’ll be amazed at the Jewish world that awaits you. Don’t delay another minute: enroll now!
  6. After Peter had this vision; If we read further down the same chapter in acts we see that Peter met some men that was sent to him by Cornelius a roman centurion (acts 10:21-22).

    Going with them to Caesarea, meeting Cornelius and then preaching to Cornelius’s household.
    “While Peter was speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit has been poured out on the Gentiles also..” (acts 10:44-45)
    God was telling Peter to spread the gospel (Good News) to all people’s.
  7. Mk. 7, Jesus declared all foods clean. The Mosaic Covenant was finished, completed perfectly in Christ.
    1Tim. Paul warns Timothy not to listen to myths & prohibitions of foods that God has declared clean.
    Paul always was fighting w/ those who would place Christians back under the Law of Moses which had been fulfilled & passed away in Jesus Himself.

    I get the context of this passage, but the idea that there are dietary laws still in place sent red flags flying everywhere. I know-- the warning to Paul at Jerusalem not to eat of animals strangled nor to eat their blood. Paul also made a Nazarite vow, a thing Jesus said not to do. We must remember that this is a transition period from the Old to the New Covenant age. Also, no other dietary restrictions were placed on Paul. I can live w/ that. But no pork, no shrimp, no wolf eel? Oy....
    • Dear Stravo, lets set a couple of things straight... Mk 7 is not about food, but about handwashing and Pharisaic teaching on the transmission of impurity through hands. Disciples were not eating pork or eel but bread with unwashed hands (read in context) 1 Tim 4 warning has nothing to do with Jewish teachings. Jews do not teach to follow the doctrines of demons, do not teach to lie, and do not prohibit marriage. And Jews are not the only people in the world who have food prohibitions. Paul has someone else in mind. (read in context). Here is the bomb... Torah limits what Jews eat, but not the rest of the world! So no worries. No new rules about food for the nations of the world who follow one God, besides the prohibitions of idol-sacrificed food and blood (Acts 15). But also keep in mind that Jesus did not die to expand the menu options for Israel. That was not the goal of redemption.

      + More answers (2)
  8. the vision of Peter, always reminds me of being friendly to all people no matter who they are. because we are all from the Lord and God has taught all of us that we are equal and the same. We have a tendency to forget that. God did not make us different we made ourselves different. like the man who was robbed on his way to Jericho and left in the road to die. there was a holy man who look and then continued on his way and then a levite who looked at the man and then continued his way but when the samertian man seen him he had compassion on the man and put him on his animal and took him to the inn and paid for his care and told the inn keeper that he would pay what ever was over the amount. this shows compassion just like the time Peter went to Cornelius home because God showed Peter that he was the same as Cornelius in the fact he was a follower of Jesus and and brother to Peter in Christ.
    • I agree, Debbie. Only when Peter went to see Cornelius he did not yet believe in Jesus. That is why Peter was sent, to witness and to tell him about the Messiah.
    • Israel Bible Center equips you with the tools you need to enter into the Jewish world of Scripture. We provide first-rate teaching, and the opportunity to learn from some of the world’s top scholars. As a student, you will be able to interact personally with our teaching faculty, and gain access to hundreds of hours of Bible courses, including The Stories of Jewish Christ: Among the Rabbis and . Become a part of the community of teachers and students at Israel Bible Center today!
Load more comments

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your name here
Words left: 50
Please enter your comment!