The Vision of Peter in Acts 10:9-16

dwight92070
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The Vision of Peter in Acts 10:9-16

Post by dwight92070 » Mon Jul 24, 2017 6:22 am

Peter clearly tells us his conclusion of this vision in verse 28: "... You yourselves know how unlawful it is 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. That is why I came without even raising any objection when I was sent for." Also in verse 34 Peter adds more to his understanding of the vision: "Peter said: 'I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him.'"

Notice that the Lord's message to Peter through this vision has literally nothing to do with the idea that God is now allowing the Jews to eat unclean animals.

Look again at the response of some of the Jewish believers in Jerusalem, who took issue with him taking the gospel to the Gentiles and eating with them. The very first thing Peter uses to defend himself is to tell them about his vision that the Lord gave him. Notice that their response was not "Oh, God is now allowing us to eat unclean animals." Rather, their understanding of Peter's vision was "Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life."

Neither Peter, Cornelius and his family, or the Jewish believers took Peter's vision in a literal sense, rather they saw that it was meant to be understood figuratively. So for Christians today to use this passage to prove that God has discarded His prohibition of eating unclean animals, is to totally misunderstand the context here.

Also, Mark said "Thus He declared all foods clean." in Mark 7:19. Assuming that Peter was there to hear Jesus' words, if he understood it to mean that Jesus no longer considered any animal unclean, as some Christians believe today, then why would Peter later object to killing and eating unclean animals seen in his vision?

Notice that Mark 7:19 says that He declared all FOODS clean, not all animals clean. Unclean animals were not food. But why would Jesus declare that all foods are clean, if they already knew that clean animals were to be eaten? Apparently some Jews were abstaining from eating even clean animals (1 Timothy 4:3), thinking maybe that they were acting more religious. Another reason could be to avoid eating meat that could have been offered to idols (Acts 21:25), even though Paul tells us clearly that he had the freedom to eat any meat (i.e. IMO, any clean animal) in 1 Corinthians 10:23-33.

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steve
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Re: The Vision of Peter in Acts 10:9-16

Post by steve » Mon Jul 24, 2017 11:16 am

Hi Dwight,

It is true that the unclean animals in Peter's vision were being used to make a point about the Gentiles. On this occasion, the issue at hand was not about food, but about people. However, in the vision, Peters literally saw unclean animals and was commanded by Jesus to eat them. Not knowing that this had anything to do with Gentiles, Peter was supposed to obey the instructions. We might think that Jesus would commend Peter for his loyalty to the kosher diet, when Peter refused. However, Jesus rebuked him, and said he should not consider as unclean anything that Jesus had declared clean.

The principle also applied to the Gentiles, but the vision still involved a command to Peter to eat unclean foods (which he would have done, had he obeyed Christ's command). If this was the wrong thing to do, then Peter's objection should not have been rebuked. The cleansing of the foods represented the cleansing of the Gentiles, but that point could not be made as an application if the first was not true.

When you say that unclean animals were not "food" you must be forgetting what God told Noah: "Every living thing that moves shall be food for you." (Gen.9:4)

You referred to 1 Timothy 4:3, but the next verse says, with reference to permitted foods: "Every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused..." (1 Tim.4:4) In view of the fact that "creature" simply means "a created thing," it is clear that "every creature of God" would include all edible things—plant or animal that God has created.

One of your arguments was that, if Jesus had meant to say all animals were kosher, in Mark 7:19, Peter would have known this and would have raised no objection when he saw the vision. But this imputes too much spiritual sophistication to Peter. Jesus had already told Peter and the disciples to go and make disciples of "all nations" (i.e., Gentiles), and Peter still required this vision, later, to let him know it was okay. The disciples seldom understood or processed the more radically unfamiliar concepts that Jesus taught them when He was with them.

No doubt, Peter and the others similarly missed this point when Jesus said to the Pharisees: "But rather give alms of such things as you have; then indeed all things are clean to you." (Luke 11:41)

The comment in Mark 7:19 about Jesus declaring all foods clean was Mark's own comment, not a quote from Jesus. Jesus had indeed implied that all foods were clean, when He said that nothing entering a man's mouth would defile a man. Mark simply pointed out to his readers the implications of this statement. Mark wrote his book a considerable time after Peter's vision of Acts 10, and (according to strong traditions) Mark even received his material from Peter himself.

It would appear that Peter, impacted by this vision, not only adopted a more generous view of the Gentiles, but also reflected back on the meaning of what Jesus had said in Mark 7. Mark, following Peter's teaching, added the commentary after recording Jesus' statement, so that the reader might not miss the implications, as Peter had done.

When Paul said, "I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean" (Rom.14:14), he was probably referring to what the Lord Jesus had said in Mark 7.

dwight92070
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Re: The Vision of Peter in Acts 10:9-16

Post by dwight92070 » Mon Jul 24, 2017 9:32 pm

Hi Dwight,

It is true that the unclean animals in Peter's vision were being used to make a point about the Gentiles. On this occasion, the issue at hand was not about food, but about people. However, in the vision, Peters literally saw unclean animals and was commanded by Jesus to eat them. Not knowing that this had anything to do with Gentiles, Peter was supposed to obey the instructions. We might think that Jesus would commend Peter for his loyalty to the kosher diet, when Peter refused. However, Jesus rebuked him, and said he should not consider as unclean anything that Jesus had declared clean.
Dwight speaking: So let's imagine that Peter obeys the instructions. How would Peter kill them? Was there a sword or a bow and arrow provided in the vision? Or was he to strangle them with his bare hands? Then, of course, he would need to drain the blood. Then he would need to start a fire and get some kind of cooking pan to cook them in, wait for them to cool down somewhat, and then eat all of them. So the vision would have to include firewood, some way to start the fire and some kind of cooking pan. Let's see, there were "all kinds of four-footed animals and crawling creatures and birds of the air." and he was instructed to eat them. So I hope he had a big appetite, because even to eat just one of "all kinds of four-footed animals", etc. he would be quite full when done. Then, after he is done, the Lord tells him that just as he is now free to eat and has eaten many unclean animals, even so he is now also free to visit and associate with Gentiles.

Dwight speaking: Really, Steve? I don't think so. The Lord knew how Peter would answer and I don't believe He ever intended for Peter to really kill and eat those unclean animals. The vision was to teach Peter about how God had accepted the Gentiles. It was never about food. If Peter was disobeying the Lord, He did it three times and would need to confess his sin and ask God's forgiveness. We are never told that he did that, because he did not sin at all, as you suggest. The Lord was not rebuking him, he was revealing to him a truth that he had not grasped yet.
The principle also applied to the Gentiles, but the vision still involved a command to Peter to eat unclean foods (which he would have done, had he obeyed Christ's command). If this was the wrong thing to do, then Peter's objection should not have been rebuked. The cleansing of the foods represented the cleansing of the Gentiles, but that point could not be made as an application if the first was not true.

When you say that unclean animals were not "food" you must be forgetting what God told Noah: "Every living thing that moves shall be food for you." (Gen.9:4)
Dwight speaking: Peter was not living under the commands given to Noah. Even though he was a new creature in Christ, he was still used to following the commands given in the Mosaic Law and Leviticus 11 makes it very clear that unclean animals were not food for them. I know we are no longer under the law, nor was Peter, but to the Jew, unclean animals were not food. I do not believe that if we eat unclean animals today, as Christians, that we are guilty of sin, because we are not under the law. But I do not see where the designation of clean and unclean animals has been removed under the New Covenant. My personal belief is that unclean animals are often bad for our health.

Dwight speaking: I think there is more to Genesis 9:4 than you suggest, but I don't pretend to understand it. Remember the designation of clean and unclean animals existed even before the flood. Possibly it existed even shortly after the fall - we don't know. In other words, it was not just a Mosaic Law thing. It preceded that. Also, in Genesis 1:29-30, God tells Adam what food He had provided for him and for the animals. In the same way, in Genesis 9:3, could it be possible that He was telling Noah what food He had provided for him and for the animals? In other words, could "every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you" (and the animals) be a possible way to understand that? That is to say, you (Noah) can eat clean animals and plants, etc, which were spoken of in Genesis 7 and 8, and the animals are free to eat plants or other animals - clean or unclean.

Dwight speaking: Steve, if you believe that Genesis 9:4 means that Noah was free to eat any and all animals, then wouldn't the designation of clean and unclean animals cease to exist at that point? Wouldn't that also mean that it would be okay to offer an unclean animal as a sacrifice to God?

You referred to 1 Timothy 4:3, but the next verse says, with reference to permitted foods: "Every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused..." (1 Tim.4:4) In view of the fact that "creature" simply means "a created thing," it is clear that "every creature of God" would include all edible things—plant or animal that God has created.

Dwight speaking: Not everything created by God was meant to be eaten. In verse 3 marriage is mentioned - we don't eat marriage. By your reasoning we should also be eating rocks, mountains, trees, etc. all created by God. NASV says "For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude ...and prayer." This not only includes living creatures, but all of God's creation. I don't reject giraffes or hippos, but that doesn't mean I was meant to eat them.
One of your arguments was that, if Jesus had meant to say all animals were kosher, in Mark 7:19, Peter would have known this and would have raised no objection when he saw the vision. But this imputes too much spiritual sophistication to Peter. Jesus had already told Peter and the disciples to go and make disciples of "all nations" (i.e., Gentiles), and Peter still required this vision, later, to let him know it was okay. The disciples seldom understood or processed the more radically unfamiliar concepts that Jesus taught them when He was with them.


Dwight speaking: Obviously the events in Acts took place after the events in the gospels. You may be right that the apostles were not fully understanding everything, when with Jesus. Do you think that they understood Jesus when He said it was not a good thing to give your son a snake or a scorpion, when he asks for a fish or an egg? That seems quite easy to grasp to me. Apparently a fish or an egg were food, but a snake or a scorpion were not.

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jasonmodar
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Re: The Vision of Peter in Acts 10:9-16

Post by jasonmodar » Mon Jul 24, 2017 10:47 pm

Hi Dwight,

In your original post you said:
Notice that the Lord's message to Peter through this vision has literally nothing to do with the idea that God is now allowing the Jews to eat unclean animals.
This seems to be your thesis. No one, Jew or otherwise, is allowed to eat unclean animals.

Then, in your response to Steve, you said:
I know we are no longer under the law, nor was Peter, but to the Jew, unclean animals were not food. I do not believe that if we eat unclean animals today, as Christians, that we are guilty of sin, because we are not under the law. But I do not see where the designation of clean and unclean animals has been removed under the New Covenant.
If it's not a sin, then why are you so seemingly intent on proving we can't eat formerly unclean animals?

Also, you say we're not under the law but also claim that clean and unclean animals are not removed from the New Covenant. Which is it? Does that part of the law still apply or not?

dwight92070
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Re: The Vision of Peter in Acts 10:9-16

Post by dwight92070 » Tue Jul 25, 2017 7:28 am

jasonmodar wrote:Hi Dwight,

In your original post you said:
Notice that the Lord's message to Peter through this vision has literally nothing to do with the idea that God is now allowing the Jews to eat unclean animals.
This seems to be your thesis. No one, Jew or otherwise, is allowed to eat unclean animals.


Then, in your response to Steve, you said:
I know we are no longer under the law, nor was Peter, but to the Jew, unclean animals were not food. I do not believe that if we eat unclean animals today, as Christians, that we are guilty of sin, because we are not under the law. But I do not see where the designation of clean and unclean animals has been removed under the New Covenant.
If it's not a sin, then why are you so seemingly intent on proving we can't eat formerly unclean animals?

Dwight speaking: What you eat or don't eat is up to you. I'm simply saying that I don't see where the New Covenant suddenly erases the designation of clean and unclean animals.

Also, you say we're not under the law but also claim that clean and unclean animals are not removed from the New Covenant. Which is it? Does that part of the law still apply or not?
Dwight speaking: Once again, remember that the designation of clean and unclean animals preceded the law. We learn that from the story of Noah. But when the law came, it did give more specific details about this designation. Apparently these details were given to Noah, maybe even to Adam and Eve after the fall, so that they could offer up clean animal sacrifices, as Noah did. So what I am saying is that it appears that the law didn't affect this designation, other than to reinforce it, and that the New Covenant removes the necessity to keep this designation (to be saved). But I believe there is wisdom in eating clean animals vs. unclean even today, not to be saved, nor to keep the law, but for our physical health. But I do not condemn any Christian who believes otherwise and I hope they will not condemn me.

dwight92070
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Re: The Vision of Peter in Acts 10:9-16

Post by dwight92070 » Tue Jul 25, 2017 9:00 am

If you believe that's all animals are now clean, then where do you draw the line? I don't know about you but the idea of eating worms or beetles or lice or mosquitoes or house flies or mice or rats or lizards repulses me. By the way, they were detestable to the Lord too and abhorrent. Leviticus 11:10-11 We accept God's opinion on many things found in the law. Why is it that we don't accept His opinion about unclean animals? I know, in many cultures around the world, they may not think twice about eating all those things. I would venture to say that those are usually uncivilized people groups or pagan cultures. And in those places, disease, sickness, germs, and deformities are rampant. Yes, I know they don't have the medical knowledge that we do, but I believe their diet has a lot to do with their plight. You can wash a housefly or a rat or a beetle as much as you want, it still remains detestable and abhorrent, when it comes to eating them. Our preferred unclean animals, of course, are the pig and the lobster. They don't bother us. But could it be that they are just as unhealthy for us as a housefly or a worm or a rat?

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steve
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Re: The Vision of Peter in Acts 10:9-16

Post by steve » Tue Jul 25, 2017 3:37 pm

Dwight,

I answered you as I would answer a man interested in knowing the truth and interested in biblical exegesis. Your response tells me that, on this matter, you do not appear to be the man I had in mind. If neither Jesus, Peter nor Paul will be permitted to change your mind, no matter how plainly they speak against your view, I am sure that I cannot either.

It is not the case that anything in the New Testament supports your idea that Christians are to keep a kosher diet, and many things in the New Testament contradict it. It is really simple to understand the relevant texts, for those who have no agendas or pet doctrines to support. It must be very stressful for someone to live under the pressure of needing to find counterintuitive meanings to so many plain statements of scripture.

Of course, I do not object to you limiting your diet to those things that you think are healthy, or which you do not find disgusting. I will follow the same policy.

dwight92070
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Re: The Vision of Peter in Acts 10:9-16

Post by dwight92070 » Tue Jul 25, 2017 7:49 pm

steve wrote:Dwight,

I answered you as I would answer a man interested in knowing the truth and interested in biblical exegesis. Your response tells me that, on this matter, you do not appear to be the man I had in mind. If neither Jesus, Peter nor Paul will be permitted to change your mind, no matter how plainly they speak against your view, I am sure that I cannot either.
Dwight speaking - That is really a low blow. Just because I come to a different conclusion than you, after looking at all the scriptures, you resort to demeaning and insulting me. You are not showing Christian love but impatience and anger. Given that this issue is not an essential doctrine, you have over-reacted by not allowing me the freedom of understanding the scripture without coming to the same conclusion that you have.
It is not the case that anything in the New Testament supports your idea that Christians are to keep a kosher diet, and many things in the New Testament contradict it. It is really simple to understand the relevant texts, for those who have no agendas or pet doctrines to support. It must be very stressful for someone to live under the pressure of needing to find counterintuitive meanings to so many plain statements of scripture.


Dwight speaking - Another unnecessary low blow. I have no agenda or pet doctrines. I simply try to get the true meaning from the text. If your conclusion is different than mine, why does that upset you to the point of insulting me? I find it telling that instead of answering any of my last points with scripture, you resort to insults. Is that because you don't have any answers or because I am not worth your time to even talk to (because I have an agenda)?
Of course, I do not object to you limiting your diet to those things that you think are healthy, or which you do not find disgusting. I will follow the same policy.

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steve
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Re: The Vision of Peter in Acts 10:9-16

Post by steve » Wed Jul 26, 2017 3:45 pm

It seems that, increasingly, people are claiming that I insult them. Is this really happening? I call the issues as I see them. I try to avoid making personal comments, though I call those as I see them also. Anyone is free to do the same toward me. I believe in frank dialogue, including frank rebuke, when it is called for.

Nobody has received a rebuke from me for simply reaching different conclusions from my own. I do point out the disingenuousness of people when they do end-runs around every scripture presented to them, rather than seeking to exegete and understand them. When this is one's approach, it becomes difficult to see that person as an honest correspondent. Sorry.

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Re: The Vision of Peter in Acts 10:9-16

Post by Si » Fri Jul 28, 2017 4:33 pm

steve wrote:It seems that, increasingly, people are claiming that I insult them. Is this really happening? I call the issues as I see them. I try to avoid making personal comments, though I call those as I see them also. Anyone is free to do the same toward me. I believe in frank dialogue, including frank rebuke, when it is called for.

Nobody has received a rebuke from me for simply reaching different conclusions from my own. I do point out the disingenuousness of people when they do end-runs around every scripture presented to them, rather than seeking to exegete and understand them. When this is one's approach, it becomes difficult to see that person as an honest correspondent. Sorry.
You made it personal by going after what kind of man you perceived he was, and now by calling him disingenuous. People can be in error and genuinely believe that error and present it honestly and in good faith. That is not the same as being dishonest or disingenuous. Also, some people are more skilled at dialogue and debate than others. Just because someone doesn't reply to your satisfaction or standards doesn't make them dishonest or of poor character. You don't know a person's heart, especially on a semi-anonymous platform such as an online forum.

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