Part 7 of an in-depth Bible study series on the book of Acts.
Welcome, and to take the first part of the study… remember we’ve been going through the book of Acts, we’ve seen quite a few incidents already. We’re going to be covering the last part of Paul’s life, as far as his conversion is concerned. We’re going to be seeing some other interesting scriptures and the healings and then we are going to go into chapter 10 and see in chapter 10 the conversion of the Gentiles. So, these chapters 9 and 10 are both very important chapters. And Mr. Myers is going to start off by covering Acts 9:20 Acts 9:20And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.
American King James Version×.
Thank you, Mr. Antion, and good evening everyone. We had a wonderful Holy Day season back in Minnesota. You think you have your weather challenges here, in Cincinnati, but during the Days of Unleavened Bread we had 4 inches of snow. So, that was a little bit of a challenge, but farther to the east, over in Wisconsin down towards Milwaukee they had even more snow over there. I heard even up to 8 inches. Some people had a difficult time getting home from services and some really big challenges. But then after a rainy day on the last day is was just a beautiful day, a nice sunshiney day. So, you get all kinds of weather. It is a good reminder that, here, as God’s firstfruits we are going through the difficult weather when it is turning from winter into spring. We look forward to that, as the warmer weather comes.
Alright, from what I understand, you left off at verse 20. Here’s the conversion of Paul; talk about amazing firsts in the book of Acts for the New Testament church. This was a first, a prominent individual who was just of amazing notoriety; known as a criminal among the Christians because he had just persecuted the church to no end. Can you imagine the surprise?
This is an amazing understatement here in verse 20-21. Here, after Paul is converted it says “Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God. Then all who heard were amazed,” Now, I bet they were even more than amazed. They had to have been just absolutely shocked that this man, who denied Christ vehemently, causing people to be chained and murdered; just an amazing change of events here. Not only preaching that He was the Messiah, the Christ as it says in verse 20, but that He is the Son of God. And that is a key thing as well. You might read over it very quickly but he saying He is the Savior, He is the Messiah, and rises to the level of God. And so, for someone who is a devout Jew, preaching that was certainly an amazing thing. And so everyone that heard Paul was converted was amazed “ and said, “Is this not he who destroyed those who called on this name in Jerusalem, and has come here for that purpose, so that he might bring them bound to the chief priests?” They were well aware what Paul was doing. He was there because he wanted to persecute God’s people. And God wasn’t going to allow that to happen, so He caused this dramatic conversion and caused those to realize that God is a powerful God. God can change the heart of people. And so it’s an amazing thing that God intervened for the people here, even though they knew what Paul’s purpose was.
Now we go on to verse 22 it says “But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who dwelt in Damascus, proving that this Jesus is the Christ.” And so here he is shortly after his conversion, proving it. Now that is an interesting word; if you were to look up that word, to prove. How was Paul preaching that? How was he showing that Jesus was the Christ? Well, the Jews had some understanding there. They had the scriptures. So what Paul was able to do was to bring these passages together. To take the prophesies of the Old Testament and gather all those different things together so that people could put it all together in their minds. And so this word means that, to really grab these little details and knit them together, sort them together to help someone understand all the information to come to the right conclusion. Because Paul wasn’t able to do that, he wasn’t able to do that previously but here we find that after his conversion, after receiving God’s spirit, he is able to help others begin to see. And so he confounded them. He was the one that had been without understanding before, yet here he is turning it around on even those that had been perhaps even his closest friends. Can you imagine that? And so, he confounded them, the Jews that were living there.
Now in verse 23 it says, “Now after many days were past, the Jews plotted to kill him.” This phrase “many days” can mean more than like a day or two or three. There are other passages back in I Kings where it says many days but it turns out to be 2 or 3 years. So, there could have been a passage of time in some of these passages that we have to be careful of because we are really just given a synopsis here.
We’re going to deal with the conversion of Paul and then by the time we get to verse 32 we are going to skip over to Peter and get his story for a little bit as well. So, you remember, the book of Acts deals a lot with the life of Peter at the beginning and then Paul at the end. So those two figures take precedence in the book here. So, right now we are going to focus on Paul but we are going to turn back to Peter here in a bit. Sometimes the timeline isn’t real clear of how much time has actually passed. But it’s at least a considerable while. The Jews were plotting to kill him. Well, he is a turncoat. He has gone against them.
And so it says (Verses 24-26) “Now after many days were past, the Jews plotted to kill him.Then the disciples took him by night and let him down through the wall in a large basket.” Probably reminds us of what happened at the walls of Jericho. Remember when they were let down the walls there by the basket. So, history repeating itself, in a way. It says, “And when Saul had come to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, and did not believe that he was a disciple.” Now, that wouldn’t be hard to understand, would it? I don’t know if I’d trust that guy, either. Let’s give it some time here. Let’s see if that’s really the case. But it’s interesting.
Verse 27 “But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles.” Remember, Barnabus is that son of encouragement. So, really an encourager, one that took Paul in, believed his story, listened to him, and brought him to the other apostles.
It says (Verse 28), “And he declared to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, and that He had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. So, he was with him at Jerusalem, coming in and going out.” That indicates that he was living every day there for a while. Coming in and going out is a phrase that seems to mean that; that he was living, just going through daily life there for a while. In the presence of the other apostles as well. Of course the proof becomes more obvious because what are his actions? What is his life? What is he really like? Is he just putting on a show? Or was this something that was really a change in his life? Of course, we see from the speaking that he is converted.
Verse 29 “And he spoke boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus and disputed against the Hellenists, but they attempted to kill him.”
So, this isn’t talking about any old Greeks. The Hellenists, this would be talking about the Jews who were not converted Christians, they were Hellenized Jews. You remember, way back we had the Hellenists, the widows, and the Hebrew widows. These would be Jews that were not converted, they were Hellenists of Greek heritage, Greek culture, I guess, would be a better way of saying it.
So, Paul was disputing with them and they didn’t like it a bit. So, they tried to turn it around on Paul. What was Paul trying to do to the Christians? He was trying to kill them. Well, his buddies that he left were now trying to do that to him. It says they attempted to kill him. But we see a change of heart in the brethren.
Verse 30, “When the brethren found out, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him out to Tarsus.” So, they were beginning to see that there must be a change here in this man. And so they helped him. They brought him down and it says they sent him home. Paul was from Tarsus. Paul of Tarsus. So, they sent him home to Tarsus and it seems that he was there for quite a while, maybe even 4 years he was there at that time. And then the scene changes when we get to verse 31. The story of the conversion of Paul stops at this point and then we pick up the story of how God worked in other ways as well.
Verse 31 “Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified.” I often wonder if that was because they had one of the terrorist that was terrorizing them suddenly converted. That probably was part of it, wasn’t it? And so they had peace, they were edified. “And they were walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied.”
So, you see, the church was growing. The effect of the conversion of Saul helped the church to grow. God used that and the message spread. So we see anther example of that.
Verse 32 “Now it came to pass, as Peter went through all parts of the country, that he also came down to the saints who dwelt in Lydda.” So we are like 20 or 25 miles from Jerusalem.
And here we find another example of a story of healing it says verse 33, “There he found a certain man named Aeneas, who had been bedridden eight years and was paralyzed. And Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus the Christ heals you. Arise and make your bed.” Then he arose immediately.” So here we have a saint, a member you might say, a certain man who had been bedridden. I always kind of laugh at this a little bit because Peter said “arise, make your bed” I guess if you were in bed for 8 years it would be about time to make your bed. So, he got up. Now, it is interesting that this particular healing, was it a healing that was done by faith? This Aeneas, are we told about his great faith? Anything to that extent? We were really not told much about that. So it seems that this is pointing more to the gift of healing that God had given Peter. That this was evidence of the fact that God was with them. And it was one way that the gospel could be spread, by fantastic signs that the apostles were able to do. We read about that earlier, signs and wonders by the apostles’ hands. Certainly healing would be one of those things. So, this Aeneas was healed.
And we see the result in verse 35, “So all who dwelt at Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord.” And so there was a way to preach the gospel and this gift of healing that God gave Peter was one of those things. What an amazing miracle! A first, in a way, that people could turn and see God doing fantastic things.
So that was an amazing miracle that helped people to see that God was working, God was with this church, God was with Peter. And there was no doubt about it, seeing these fantastic things happening by the hands of the apostles.
Alright, Verse 36 “At Joppa there was a certain disciple named Tabitha, which is translated Dorcas.” Or literally it means a doe or a gazelle. I kind of like that phrase better. These days, if you are called a dork, it is probably not the best thing. Giselle or Gazelle sounds much nicer, doesn’t it? So, it could be translated that way, as well, “ This woman was full of good works and charitable deeds which she did. But it happened in those days that she became sick and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room.” I often wonder, why would this be included here? Isn’t that just a normal thing? People died all the time. I often think, if you go over to Thessalonians, and how concerned they were of the death of the saints. They were worried about that, they were maybe expecting Christ to return sooner than He has and there was concern, well, what about those who die in the faith? What happens to them? So, perhaps that was on their minds here as they dealt with the situation of a faithful woman who was certainly one who people knew and loved. And she died. Why would God allow that to happen? And so, God dealt with that situation in a powerful way.
It says, in verse 38 “And since Lydda was near Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent two men to him, imploring him not to delay in coming to them. Then Peter arose and went with them. When he had come, they brought him to the upper room. And all the widows stood by him weeping, showing the tunics and garments which Dorcas had made while she was with them.” What a wonderful way to serve God’s people! You preach the gospel by sewing. Giselle proves that, yes. Sewing, serving, giving are certainly ways to serve the people of God and the way she did that was by helping others. The charitable deeds is what it said just a few verses back. What a wonderful thing. Can you imagine the scene? They are showing each other. “look what she made me!” Displaying those things, talking about those things, it must have been quite a witness that she was a godly person.
Now, Peter deals with the situation, here under God’s inspiration in verse 40 “But Peter put them all out, and knelt down and prayed. And turning to the body he said, “Tabitha, arise.” And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up. Then he gave her his hand and lifted her up; and when he had called the saints and widows, he presented her alive.” God resurrected her, gave her back physical life. So she was resurrected back to a physical being here, not spiritual. She is not taken up to heaven or anything like that. She sat up, she opened her eyes, she was a human being, she was alive again.
It’s an interesting situation here where he says “Tabitha, arise”. The words that he used there were very similar to the words that you would have heard Jesus Christ Himself say. You might want to turn there, if you hold your place here, go back to Mark 5 for just a second. In Mark 5 Christ used very similar words when He healed Jara’s daughter. Jara’s daughter had died and they called to Christ. Jesus comes and He heals this little girl.
Mark 5:39 Mark 5:39And when he was come in, he said to them, Why make you this ado, and weep? the damsel is not dead, but sleeps.
American King James Version× Christ came in and said to the people; “When He came in, He said to them, “Why make this commotion and weep? The child is not dead, but sleeping.” They were whining and moaning (they probably had professional mourners there) and Christ told them the child was just sleeping – because Christ was about to resurrect her, physically. “And they ridiculed Him. But when He had put them all outside, He took the father and the mother of the child, and those who were with Him, and entered where the child was lying.” Ah! That’s what Peter did. “Then He took the child by the hand, and said to her, “Talitha, cumi,” which is translated, “Little girl, I say to you, ‘Arise.’” Now Peter spoke those same words, in Aramaic, like Christ did but instead of Talitha, it was Tabitha. Remember Dorcus’ name was Tabitha. “Tabitha arise!” So the difference between those two is only one letter. Interesting! Kind of an interesting sidebar. So he seemed to be following the example that Christ set. Christ resurrects Jara’s daughter and Peter did the same with Tabitha, almost to the T – with that same example. Of course the result was the same. Jara’s daughter was resurrected by the power of God’s spirit through Jesus Christ and through the power of Jesus Christ we see that same example here in Chapter 9 in the book of Acts.
So Tabitha is resurrected, she is brought back to life and in verse 42 [of Acts 9] “And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed on the Lord.” So it wasn’t just the fact that the power was shown, that this lady could be resurrected. It wasn’t just that power that was being shown when Aneus was resurrected. It was for a purpose. More than just the resurrection of those two individuals. It was so that the gospel could be preached so that people could have their minds open to the truth of God. And so both of these people were resurrected so that the gospel could be spread in Tarsus. And so, obviously it had its effect. Many believed on the Lord. It helped them put all those pieces together. Like Paul proving that Jesus was the Son of God, that He was the Messiah. These facts, these circumstances, they are understanding, they are starting to knit together with the truth so that they can be converted. And so this resurrection was a powerful witness of God to the people and to those that had a little bit of understanding and then came to believe.
So, verse 43 we end that chapter; “So it was that he stayed many days” talking about Peter “ in Joppa with Simon, a tanner.” So, here is Peter staying with a tanner at the end of this chapter. Which seems like a minor point, but in actuality it seems to be setting up the story for chapter 10. Because, if you think back to the Jews, being a tanner was not the most favored occupation to be in because you are not supposed to be handling dead bodies. You now, they are defiled, they are unclean, and you don’t want to be doing that sort of thing so you certainly wouldn’t want to stay with one. If you had to deal with one maybe you could put up with that but you wouldn’t want to stay with one. But here, at the end of the chapter, we see that Peter stays, it says many days, with this tanner. And so it seems to be suggesting, maybe, that Peter was trying to have his mind open to new things that God was about to show him.
Thank you. I thought I’d make a couple of comments on how interesting it is, about the resurrection of this lady. You know, if you’ve ever been to a funeral, wouldn’t it be shocking for the person that is there in that casket to start knocking on the top of the casket? You hear this knock, knock, knock on the casket and “where is that coming from?” and then you open it and there is this person there after they shut it on them. Also, that person gets to see who attended their funeral. How few people ever get to see who came to their funeral? And here, Tabitha, or Dorcas, gets a chance to see who came to her funeral. I thought it was an amazing chapter. And it is amazing that God can raise the dead. I often think, one of these times, when I am sitting at a funeral that maybe God will do that again. You can just imagine the shock. Can you imagine the shockwaves that would go through when some of us go to visit a funeral home – maybe one of our brethren has died – and all types of rooms have bodies in them – and we walk in and God gives us that power to heal or raise the dead? And people are raised. Can you imagine they get up off where they are being laid out and all of the sudden, rather than having all of their blood drawn from them, blood goes into them, and they stand up? Can you imagine in these different rooms people come walking out of the rooms? You’d probably have a few morticians quit! You’d probably also have a lot of people wondering what on earth is going on! Talk about news! When dead people rise, that is news! And, to my knowledge, I think Peter raised one. This is the one – and Paul raised one. Remember the guy that fell off the loft and died and all laid hands on him? Paul was preaching too long. He was sitting up on the loft. That’s a good warning: Don’t fall asleep when somebody’s preaching. He fell off the loft and was raised from the dead. And then in the Old Testament, we’ve got two but I believe Jesus Christ raised three. He did three, Old Testament has two and New Testament has two.
So, it is interesting – the power and might of God. God can do anything. God can heal anything at any time. Just to say the word. You know, as Mr. Myers brought out so aptly, this is not a matter of people asking God to do it. It is about Peter having the confidence to say to someone, ”Be healed. Rise and walk. Get up. You’re ok. Take up your bed and walk.” This is amazing. This is not us asking. In some cases, it has nothing to do with the faith of that person. It has a lot to do with the power of God.
So, it is truly amazing scriptures when we read them. Lets go to Chapter 10. And, by the way, it shifts now. We introduced Paul but now it shifts back to Peter. Peter is in the limelight again. And Chapter 10 is called a pivotal chapter because here we find the Gentiles being converted. And I am thankful for Acts 10 because I’m a Gentile. I am thankful of Acts 10 because of what happened there. God opened salvation to the Gentiles.
Acts 10:1 Acts 10:1There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band,
American King James Version×; “There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment,” Or, in the Old King James it is call the Italian band. So, they a band, an orchestra, a chorale, he was in the Italian band. So this man was not only a soldier, but he probably played a tuba or something. He was in the Italian band. Maybe an accordion, I don’t know what he played but he was a part of the Italian band. It is important to know that a Centurion almost always in scripture is looked upon very highly. It was a Centurion that said “truly this is the son of God”or “this was the son of God”. Centurions are usually good people.
I want to read to you a couple of quotes before we go too much farther. We could understand better, before we read too much further into this, if we read on pages 78 and 79 in Acts of The Apostles by William Barkley (his daily Bible study series). It says, “the 10th chapter of Acts tells a story that is one of the great turning points in the history of the church. For the first time a Gentile is admitted into the church, at least that opens up Gentiles. There is some question about some of the names of some of the early apostles and even some of the early deacons. But it says, “Since Cornelius is so important in Church history, let’s gather together what we can learn about him. Cornelius was a Roman Centurion, stationed at Caesarea, the headquarters of the government of Palestine. The word which we have translated “battalion” is the Greek word for cohort. So, he translates it, there was a man in Caesarea named Cornelius. He was a Centurion in the battalion. So this says he was a Centurion of what was called the battalion regiment. So, he puts it this way, the word which we have translated “battalion” is the word for “cohort”. In the Roman military it was set up so that first of all was a legion, this was a force of about 6,000 men. Therefore is was the equivalent of roughly an Army division. In every legion there were 10 cohorts. And a cohort had roughly 600 men. And that comes near to the size of a battalion. And then the cohort was divided into centuries, over each century there was a centurion. So, a centurion usually looked after about 100 men. The century there was roughly equivalent to a company. Parallel to the centurion in our military organization is a company sergeant major. So that is basically what a Centurion would have been. Centurions were the backbone of the Roman army. An ancient historian describes the qualifications of a centurion like this “Centurions are desired not to be overbold and reckless. So much as good leaders.” You don’t want them to be quick on the draw with itchy trigger fingers. You want them to be good leaders of steady and prudent mind, not prone to take offensive, to start fighting wantonly. But able, when overwhelmed or hard pressed to stand fast and die at their posts. Cornelius was a man who, first and foremost, knew what courage and loyalty were.
So, here you have this man who has a natural tendency, you might say, toward being patient and calm, toward being thoughtful, toward being well reasoned. So notice what it says of him, because this is an amazing man.
He says in verse 1 again (repeating) “There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment,” So he was over this small section, a century, about 100 men. He belonged to the larger regiment, as he calls it here.
Verse 2; “a devout man” one who was devoted. “and one who feared God” Interesting “with all his household, “ what does that tell you? This man not only was a leader in the Roman government, this man was a leader at his home. This man’s family believed, too. He was a leader in his family. Notice what else, “who gave alms generously to the people,” Now, most Roman soldiers could come along and say “GIMME! Or have a lance!” So, they can extract from the people and many did. But here’s a Roman soldier, a Centurion at that, who actually gives to the people. A Gentile giving to the Jews? Those were the people that he was over. A Gentile who gave to the Jews “and prayed to God always.” Sometimes those who served multiple gods and goddesses got a little tired of the immoral practices that were surrounding those particular individuals, and their religion. And they longed for a religion that had some value.
Oh, I remember, back in the 60’s, mid 60’s! We got so many new letters from people wanting something different from what they were taught. You see that was the time of the liberalization of a lot of things where they were not believing the Bible, they were saying that’s a legend, that is a myth, that’s not true, you can’t believe that, don’t do the law. And a lot of these people were saying, “what’s going on with my religion?” And I can’t tell you how many people we visited. We’d sit in their homes and they were delighted to hear that Gods’ word was valid, stood firm, and when you lived it, you tasted of it, you saw it was good. They wanted something that had teeth. They didn’t want some sort of milktoast pansy religion. They wanted truth. They wanted it taught to them clearly and plainly. And, I’ll tell you, churches grew back then. It wasn’t about numbers. We went out in 1964 over Buffalo and Toronto. It wasn’t but about two years and I had two assistants. I didn’t ask for them. They just sent them to me because the churches there had grown to like 380 and 420. We had almost 800 from starting out with about 140 and 200. God gave great growth but a lot of it was because you had individuals out there who were not teaching God’s way of life. And when God’s way of life was introduced to people they recognized it. It rang true. I mean, we had like three spokesman’s clubs, almost 90 men in spokesman’s club every week. We had Bible Study. People drove 150 miles to come to Bible study after they were at spokesman’s club the night before. And we had Bible study every week. Every Tuesday night, we had Bible Study. And those people came. There was a love for God’s word and a love for Gods way.
And here’s a man that sees in his religion, the religion of Rome, the worship of gods and improper worship and he sees not a lot of fiber. And so he prayed to God always. As a devout man, prayed to God, led his family, and was generous. For those, he could have been cruel. I wonder if that’s why some of the scholars compare him to the Centurion back in Luke that Christ said had such great faith. Some have said it might even be the same man. WE don’t know that, but it is kind of interesting when you look at the characteristics of what he was like – pretty amazing! It could have been that same one or just a characteristic of Centurions. I was reading somewhere that Centurions always in scripture seem to be good men.
Verse 3 “About the ninth hour of the day” So here we are 9th hour of the day, that would be about 3 “he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, “Cornelius!” So, here’s this faithful man and an angel appears. And angels almost always appears like men. There is only 1 scripture where an angelic appearance alludes to the form of a woman but it doesn’t say angel. That’s where the woman with wings comes to cart off this laden, this basket full of sin in the book of Zechariah. So, only one, and it doesn’t really call them angels, 2 women with wings come and carry this off. No other place, but when the angels appeared to Abraham, they appeared as men. And usually when angels appear, scripturally, it identifies them as men.
So, likely, he saw this man come to him, very bright man.
Verse 4; “And when he observed him, he was afraid, and said, “What is it, lord?” He didn’t say “what is it my lady” another clue. It was likely a man. What is it, lord? What do you want? He was scared. It frightened him. It just all of the sudden appeared and called his name. “So he said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God.” You know what is interesting? You think God doesn’t hear the prayers of some people because they are not converted? If God paid attention to this unconverted Gentile Roman soldier, noticed what he did, how much more so would he notice what you and I do? God is aware. God pays attention. Because notice it says “your alms have come up as a memorial before God.” God has remembered what you do. God has seen what you do. God knows what you are doing.
Verse 5; “ Now send men to Joppa,” and, by the way, Joppa is a nice little town outside of Tel Aviv now. Not far from Tel Aviv. I remember it well because we got lost there. My wife even came to tears because they had so many one way streets and every time you missed what you thought was your turn you had to go a long way and you can’t see the street names until you come to the side of the building and “there it is! To late! We can’t turn now!” . And so we’d go back and go the other way and I’d say “ok, dear, where do we go now?” We were trying to go back to Jerusalem. She was trying to read this Israeli map, which wasn’t exactly easy, either. And just as we got close we’d go on by again. We went up and down the streets in Joppa. I tell you, Joppa does not leave a good taste in my mouth today. But I did remember that is where Peter had this experience and also where Jonah set sail to depart from God, tried to run away from God. It didn’t leave a good taste in his mouth, either. Last part of verse 5 says; “Send men to Joppa, and send for Simon whose surname is Peter.” So gives him his name.
Verses 6-7; “ He is lodging with Simon, a tanner,” Now tanners, in Leviticus 25, says they shouldn’t be touching bodies. “whose house is by the sea.” Some will say, Barkley puts in there, that when a person was a tanner they were perpetually unclean. They were considered, that’s it, these guys will never be clean again, ceremoniously unclean. You are always touching dead animals, you are working with them all the time. So, you are perpetually unclean. But, it also shows you Peter’s attitude. Why would Peter, this righteous Jew, be staying with a guy who is unclean? So it is showing you that he is starting to change his mood. He is lodging with Simon the tanner whose house it by the sea. “He will tell you what you must do. 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.” So he called 2 of his faithful servants, he called a soldier to accompany them. And he told them to get your garments and go to this house. Now notice he doesn’t give him any numbers. Go to the guy that lives by the sea. But, probably LOTS of people live by the sea. OK, but maybe you won’t see a lot of skin drying and dead bones out there. Probably a pretty good clue where he is.
Then in Verse 8; “ So when he had explained all these things to them, he sent them to Joppa.” So, he explained what happened, what he was supposed to do, they were supposed to go and find Simon Peter at the home of Simon, the Tanner.
Verse 9-10; “The next day, as they went on their journey and drew near the city,” Peter wasn’t at home at this time. “Peter went up on the housetop” maybe it was at the same place. “to pray,” Apparently there weren’t very many people there because it is Simon, the tanner’s house. He is busy trying to tan the hides and get them ready, cut them and assemble whatever he is making them into. So, Peter went up on the housetop to pray. He’s not trying to pray in public. Certainly Psalms 55:15 Psalms 55:15Let death seize on them, and let them go down quick into hell: for wickedness is in their dwellings, and among them.
American King James Version×says even morning noon and night I will pray to you. So he is praying at noon. So he goes up there to pray. Of course, noontime he is hungry.” about the sixth hour. Then he became very hungry” well, sometimes hunger really gets the best of you. You say, I am really hungry. Like we say we are really hungry when we are driving. We finally stopped and we broke down, we had a hamburger on the way back. It was after the Days of Unleavened Bread, but we had our hamburger. We almost ordered a hamburger without the bun on the way there. Give me a hamburger without the bun, put it on matzo, too much crackers and crumbs falling. So, anyway he gets up there to pray and he gets hungry. “ and wanted to eat; but while they made ready, he fell into a trance.” So now he is having a problem, he is in the trancelike state. Verse 11; “ and saw heaven opened” Now, he’s hungry “and an object like a great sheet bound at the four corners, descending to him and let down to the earth.” So, I have a handkerchief up here, I can maybe illustrate this. It is clean, just wiped my glasses with it. Okay, so you say, you have this sheet coming down with animals popping out of it at each side. IT’s filled with animals. HE sees this sheet coming down.
Verse 12; “ In it were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air.” So, not only 4 footed animals but creeping things. I don’t know, snakes, lizards, skunks, elephants, tigers, and porcupine. All filled in this particular, whatever those animals were, that particular region.
And, by the way, when my wife and I were able to go to the Biblical zoo, when we stayed in Jerusalem, you go through and could walk through and there are signs that tell you where in the Bible you could find the scripture that refers to that particular animal. So, it was interesting that they didn’t have the seven heads and ten horns one. I didn’t see that one there but I saw a lot of the other ones. But anyway, he sees all these animals coming down and birds of the air and everything.
Verse 13; “ And a voice came to him, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” Now what was Peter’s desire? Lord, I’ve been waiting for this for a long time. Bring out the ham, I can’t wait. Where is that shrimp? I can’t wait. Where are the lobsters? I can’t wait. Where’s the porkchops? I can’t wait. Where is the rabbit? I can’t wait. He didn’t say that. The voice said, “Rise, Peter, Kill and Eat”
Verse 14; “ But Peter said, “Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.” Now, mind you, this is about 6 years after the law was done away, supposedly. Peter wasn’t a very good student of Jesus. Jesus taught them for 3 ½ years. He did not hear that it was ok after I die to start diving into all kinds of foods and meats that are not clean. Was this ceremonial only? I don’t think so. I know so. It was not. “But Peter said, “Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.” But it didn’t stop there.
Verse 15-16: “ And a voice spoke to him again the second time, “What God has cleansed you must not call common. This was done three times. And the object was taken up into heaven again.”And notice, this was done 3 times. And the object was taken up again into heaven. Taken up and all the animals with it. Now what is interesting about this is three times he was told rise, Peter, kill and eat. Peter said three times, Not so, Lord, I have never eaten anything common or unclean. And three times it was said, don’t call what God has cleansed common or unclean. But it never says he ate it!
Verses 17-20, this is interesting; ”Now while Peter wondered within himself what this vision which he had seen meant,” By the way, this is when, many theologians believe, God cleansed the meat. It is telling Peter it is clean, they say. Peter didn’t know that! It happened to Peter, he was taught by Jesus Christ. Peter was wondering, What does this mean? I can’t believe I am being told to eat unclean meat. He doubted. He wondered what this was supposed to mean. Right while he was wondering that “behold, the men who had been sent from Cornelius” the two household servants plus the guard arrived “ had made inquiry for Simon’s house, and stood before the gate.” Mind you , he’s up on the rooftop, right? “And they called and asked whether Simon, whose surname was Peter, was lodging there.While Peter thought about the vision,” Still trying to understand, what does this vision mean? Man, this is powerful! All these animals descend, all these animals chirping and barking and bleating, and whatever else they were doing. Well, there were no bleating ones but braying and he says “what am I supposed to do, Lord?” He doesn’t know. He doesn’t understand what the meaning of this is. He is still wondering about it. While he was wondering Peter thought about it and “the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are seeking you.Arise therefore, go down and go with them, doubting nothing; for I have sent them.” Three men are there. Now, I don’t know how the spirit talks to him. I don’t know. Was it God saying it through the spirit? Does a voice come through, through the spirit? We know that nowhere in the Bible does the spirit appear as a person. It appears like a dove. It doesn’t say a dove, but LIKE a dove. Also water, and oil, and fire picture the Holy Spirit but nothing human. So, it is the power of God, it is the awesome might of God and how He did it through the spirit, whether it inspired him to hear that, I don’t know. Did voices come through it? Sure. “ Behold, three men are seeking you. Arise therefore, go down and go with them, doubting nothing; for I have sent them.” The three men down there, you should go with them, wherever they take you. Don’t worry, don’t have any doubts in your mind.
Verses 21-22; "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?” Tell me why you’re here. ”And they said,” again, look at what they repeat about Cornelius, “Cornelius the centurion, a just man,” wow! What an awesome person. “one who fears God and has a good reputation among all the nation of the Jews,” What a nice man. He was a soldier. He could have gouged those Jews, he could have taken from them. He could have extracted from them anything he wanted. He could have threatened punishment. There were enslaved people. He could have taken anything away and here he is giving to people. “was divinely instructed by a holy angel to summon you to his house, and to hear words from you.” So, he was asked, the angel appeared to him. And my boss is a good guy, he will take good care of you. Don’t worry, don’t fear.
So, verses 23-26; “Then he invited them in and lodged them” That is another thing. What is he doing, taking Gentiles into his home? Or into his lodging, into the home of Simon the tanner. I guess it doesn’t matter, Simon is already unclean. Wouldn’t hurt to bring a few more unclean people in. But here he is taking Gentiles into his home, into the place where he is lodging. He invited them in and he lodged them, kept them overnight. “On the next day Peter went away with them, and some brethren from Joppa accompanied him.” I think it was 10 people, total. “And the following day they entered Caesarea.” Long journey. “Now Cornelius was waiting for them,” Now, Cornelius is pretty excited about this. He’s been praying to God, he’s been doing what he knows he should do and God answers him and God reveals He is going to work with him. And so they come to Cornelius, he had been waiting “and had called together his relatives and close friends.”
Sometimes I’ve been ambushed when I go in thinking I am going to see only one person and you have a whole living room full of people waiting to see you. I remember one such person in Buffalo, New York. He was a barber, he was, I think, of the Italian band, too, at that time. He was an Italian and he had all types of people there, literally after that visit there we had about 10 people come to church. Some of those 10 people stuck. Some of them did not. But theywere all excited to hear the word of God, based on him. He wanted to hear it. And even though he left before some of the others did, some of the others stayed. I think it was about 10 or 12 people came to church. Buffalo had a surge of growth really fast, on one evenings visit there were all sitting there in the living room waiting. As I told the brethren here on the Sabbath, or maybe it was here. Yes, it was here on the first Holy day. I never worry about going in on a visit because you can’t pull a scripture out that I don’t believe. Well, what about this scripture? Oh, I believe that. What about this one? I believe that one, too. You can’t pull a scripture out that I don’t believe. I may not understand every one of them but I believe them. I believe it. God wrote it, I believe it. It was inspired by Him.
So, here he goes, he has all these people there. “And as Peter was coming in Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshipped.” He didn’t just bow, he fell down and worshipped. Do you remember? What would you to for Caesar? What would you do to some of the other leaders? Maybe kiss their ring or whatever else. “But Peter lifted him up, saying, “Stand up; I myself am also a man.” I am a man like you, don’t do this! You are giving me an inordinate amount attention. Don’t do this. So they had him stand up to them and in verse 27; ”And as he talked with him, he went in and found many who had come together.” So, he meets him at the door, he falls down, he lifts him up, no don’t do that! In Revelation 22:8-10 Revelation 22:8-10  And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which showed me these things.
 Then said he to me, See you do it not: for I am your fellow servant, and of your brothers the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.
 And he said to me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand.
American King James Version×You have angels doing the same thing. Don’t do that! Worship only God. You don’t worship angels, you don’t worship people. You worship God.
Verse 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.” Do you know what verse 28 is? The key, the answer. The answer to what his question was in verse 14. Look at verse 14 “I have never eaten anything common or unclean” Of course, what God has cleansed, don’t call common or unclean. Peter wondered, what is the meaning of this? In verse 28, now he knows the meaning. ”But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean.” In my old Bible I have a line drawn across from verse 15 over to verse 28. Want to know the meaning? Don’t call any MAN common or unclean. It is not talking about what you eat. You don’t eat everything that walks. Porcupine might be good for toothpick holders but it wouldn’t be a great dinner. I don’t think. I have never had porcupine. Tastes like chicken? Haha, some of these people over here have had it already. Hmmmm. They were pagans in their past days. Not me, I was semi-converted in my teens.
Verses 29-33; “ Therefore I came without objection as soon as I was sent for. I ask, then, for what reason have you sent for me?” Why am I here? ”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, and said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard, and your alms are remembered in the sight of God. 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.’ 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.” So, what do you want me to do? What you want me to do, Cornelius said. Tell us the word of God.
Mr. Myers, do you want to pick it up? Continue from here?
Sure! One of the interesting things there is the emphasis that is put on the reputation of Cornelius. If you go back to verse 22 you see that Corneluis has a good reputation among all of the nations of the Jews. So, should we have relationships outside of the church? Some would say, No, we shouldn’t. But, wait, this man had a good reputation among the Jews who are outside his realm. And it made a difference later on as we get into the story. How about your relatives and friends? Do you talk with them, when there is an opportunity? Do you talk about the truth? Do you talk about God’s way. When you are asked about the hope that lies within do you take those opportunities when we have them?
Cornelius must have talked about those kinds of things because verse 24 says they gathered together his relatives and close friends. So, they must have been talking about those things, they must have been on his mind. It talked about him being a God fearer. There is a special group of people like this, it talks about them in the book of Acts. The God fearers…those that feared God. There seemed to be a special class of Gentiles who almost proselytes of the Jews. So, they had a certain amount of belief that they believed in God, no doubt by the behavior. And God worked with them and called them. And so it is an interesting circumstance that this comes to play in this whole story as we draw to the conclusion that his family and his friends are there. And maybe it all began because of his example. Because of his relationship with God as God was working with him. And so his household and his servants were there, as well. In fact the servant of Cornelius, as well, is one of the reasons that they think it is the same fellow as back in Luke, because it was his servant that was sick, that needed healing. And it said his servant was…well, where was it? It was back in verse 7 of chapter 10. “Cornelius called 2 of his devout servants and a soldier from among those that waiting on him continually.” Remember, it was his servant, his fellow soldier that was the one who was sick. So maybe that gives a little more credence for that idea.
But, as we take the story a little bit further, verse 34; ‘Then Peter opened his mouth” He begins to explain things and this is a great example, here at the end of the chapter, on how he is really preaching the truth. He is presenting the gospel to Cornelius’s family and friends.
Let’s see if we can pick up these different facets as we go along here from verses 34-35; “ Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality.” Taking that even a step further. Not anything common or unclean but God loves everyone. God loves the world. He is getting to that point. There is no partiality. “But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.” Now, of course, you have to understand that if you fear God and if you are righteous, if you believe God then that means you are going to obey God because God opens you mind. It is not just well I fear God, I keep Him in respect or awe and I accept Him and everything is fine or wonderful…what are you DOING? Is your belief shown in your obedience, in your way of life. All those things work hand in hand. You work righteiousness you are putting on Christ. You are putting on His character. That makes us acceptable.
It leads us to the point of conversion where we can repent and change and grow. Verse 36; “ The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ—He is Lord of all—“ So here is one of those facets of what Peter is explaining here. He is preaching Christ. He is preaching how Christ IS the messiah, how He is Lord of all. Romans talks about how Christ is Lord of all. And so he preaches the gospel message beginning with Christ.
Verse 37; “ that word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee after the baptism which John preached:” He is reminding them of the story of Christ. “ 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. 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.” SO, he is preaching Christ and I don’t think he just means that the disciples were witnesses of those things. If Cornelius was in the army back then he was probably a witness to those things as well. Maybe the family and friends were witnesses. This is something you couldn’t keep hidden. This was huge news. It would have been across CNN and FOX news all over the world today. And so they knew about these things. They were witnesses. IF they didn’t see it by themselves, by their own witness account, others would have told them about it. So, they knew it, they understood it. Now they were putting those facts together and it says he was hung. He was killed literally by hanging in a tree. They put nails in his feet and hands and he hung there by that means.
Verse 40; “ Him God raised up” So, now we are moving to the resurrection. “God raised Him up on the third day, and showed Him openly,” By the many appearances that he made. In fact we rehearsed some of those over the last few days because those appearances were during the Days of Unleavened Bread. Fantastic appearances that were witnesses of those accounts. And then he goes on in
Verse 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.” That’s a remarkable statement there, they ate and drank with Him. It seems to refer to eating and drinking. We ate and drank, at the Passover, the body and blood of Christ. He was revealed to them in the eating of bread to those who were walking on the road when they finally got there. An interesting phrase to kind of rehearse a little bit. If you want to do a little research into it. There are amazing implications there of the body and blood of Jesus Christ. And then talking about how he rose.
Verse 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.” Now he’s talking about sin. Sin has to be dealt with when you preach the gospel. People have to repent, they have to change. He is judge of the living and the dead, that was part of who He was all about.
Verse 43: Look at your history “ To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.” And, so, forgiveness and repentance are vital parts of the gospel message. And so here, Paul is giving it to them in a nutshell. Here is what the message is. That’s what we do today. We preach that same word. And we do it in the same way, maybe different words but the same message is being preached. That forgiveness of sin can only come through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. That is really fresh on our minds right now after coming through the Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread, recommitting ourselves to our calling. What a powerful thing this is. And so that must have been like sparks going off in their brains as they think about how the prophets spoke about forgiveness of sin. And I am sure some of those passages would come to mind and some of those examples that they were familiar with. And so they would have been just illuminated right before them. So, then and amazing miracle takes place.
Verse 44 (remember the book of Acts has amazing things that happen for the first time and sometimes the only time they ever happen in scripture. And here is a great example of that.) “While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished,” Why would they be astonished? Well it had to be more than that they were filled with God’s spirit and that was it. But there must have been some evidence of that fact. It must have been obvious that God’s spirit was coming upon them. “as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also.”
So, if you look down just a little bit to chapter 11 verse 15. We will sneak ahead for just a moment. Here we see that Peter is explaining what had happened a little bit later. It says in verse 15: “And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them,” Now we get some more information. “as upon us at the beginning.” So, he seems to refer back to Acts chapter 2 at Pentecost when God’s spirit was poured out on the apostles and God’s people then. It must have been a similar thing. It doesn’t say it was exactly the same, it says AS, a word that seems to indicate that there are some similarities. There must have been some evidence, some visual recognition that God’s spirit was being poured out on the Gentiles. Just think about it, how much more obvious could it be if Peter was questioning it and if other apostles, the disciples, were questioning it, thinking how it was similar to what happened to them. Can we deny the fact that God is not partial? Can we deny the fact that God is calling the Gentiles? Look, it is just like what happened to us.
So, God made it pretty obvious so that even people like me could get it. God is doing something special. He is opening up salvation to the Gentiles, to those who he would call. So, he pours out his spirit on the Gentiles.
Verse 46; “For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God.” SO, there are some similarities that are happening back at Pentecost, as well. “Then Peter answered,” Look at the evidence. Look at this powerful evidence. “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” So, you see, the order is reversed, isn’t it? See, normally you are washed in the water, sins are forgiven, you come up out of the water, THEN you receive God’s spirit. Then to make such a powerful impact and impression God gave them His spirit first, and then, of course, it would be logical. They have God’s spirit. Shouldn’t we baptize these people? Of course, the answer is YES, absolutely. You couldn’t argue with that fact. So, shouldn’t they be baptized? Yes!
Verse 48; “And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days.”
So, here we have the powerful example of Cornelius and his family. Seems like his friends and relatives, it fell on all of those that God was working with. And by the power of God a tremendous miracle takes place and, in many ways, just think of the miracle that just took place. A miracle in Peter’s understanding. He didn’t understand to this level, up to this point. So, his mind was opened. God caused that miracle. The miracle in Cornelius’s life! He was a God fearer. And yet wasn’t to the point that God wanted him. God used him and his family and friends to be the first. And so it was a miracle in Corneluis’s understanding. Look at the change from falling down and worshipping Peter to having the Holy Spirit and God living in him. Such powerful examples here of amazing miracles.
I just want to comment on a couple things about this particular incident. First of all, this wasn’t the first time that Gentiles heard the word of God. You know, Philip went to Samaria and there were people converted there. And so, there could have been some Gentiles but in a way that was absolutely astounding and opening the doors, as my Scofield Bible puts it this way, through Peter’s experience with Cornelius, it is made plain that the norm for this age for both Jews and Gentiles is for the Holy Spirit to be given to them. So, you know, without delay, human nature or anything else. And so it is showing putting them, the Gentiles, close to a par, they didn’t have the tongues of fire on their heads to speak with other tongues. Now some could say, See, that’s what you should do. You should speak with other tongues, because this is baptism and tongue speaking. When tongue speaking first began in the US I think it was 1906 or 1901. Agnes Osmond was the first person to ever speak in tongues that they have recorded in America. And this Bible preacher in the Holiness tradition, kind of like a Methodist minister, over in Kansas, I believe it was, encouraged his whole group to study the Bible and find out if there was any sign given to show that you had been converted. Was there any sign given? So when you study the scriptures you find these people were baptized and spoke in tongues. Then you find these people who were baptized and they spoke in tongues. So, therefore, not too many, but a couple times, at least two or three, shouldn’t you expect to speak in tongues? So, let’s see if we can try to make this happen. And so they did. And finally this woman did it. And they spoke in, what they call, tongues. Now, what we see here are languages. We see these people, probably in their language, maybe Italian or, maybe, they were speaking Latin, in their own language, they were speaking out – whatever language – maybe in Aramaic, which they didn’t know very well, maybe in Hebrew, which they didn’t know very well – but they were speaking in those languages. It was an obvious sign that God had just done something pretty miraculous for them. How can you know that you have the Holy Spirit today? By making your lips move or by something making your lips move. You know what is interesting today is, that those speaking in tongues generally, almost universally, do not know what they are saying. It happens. Most of them don’t even control it. Some have gone beyond and do control it. But, in general, people do not control it. It happens to them and it just keeps on going. And when they are done they don’t know what happened. It is something like you almost have to abandon your normal senses for this to happen to you. And when this woman first spoke, see, they said “there it is, there is proof”. What is the proof of a tree being on orange tree? Having Tropicana bottles hanging on it is what I would say. If this is an orange tree, could I sneak in and tie a banana on it? Give it a gift. I want to give this orange tree a gift of banana! You come say “Here’s a banana tree!” Or do you say “no, that’s just a gift”? What’s the proof of this tree is what fruit does it bear? So what’s the proof that somebody has the Holy Spirit? Galations 5:22-23. Are they bearing these fruits? Because that is what Christians bear if they have the Holy Spirit. Now, I am not demeaning the gift of speaking in tongues, it would be wonderful sometimes. When God gets ready to give it, He’ll give it. It is a gift. It is available. When He is ready to give it. But it is not something that you conjure up. It is something that is a gift from God, along with the gift of wisdom, along with the gift of healing, along with the gift of faith, along with the gift of discernment; those are all gifts that come from God that He can give to any one of us. But it’s not done for just a parade, that I am (in 1 Corinthians 14 you can read the whole chapter) it is not a sign to the believers. It is supposed to be a sign to the unbelievers. Now, if I start speaking in another language you say “cool! Antion is speaking in another language” but what language is it? You don’t know. Well, it sure sounded good. I don’t know what he said but he sure can speak that language. What good does that do you? Nothing! No good! But is there were somebody Greek here and needed to hear in Greek and I could speak it and Greek was coming out of my mouth to him. You are hearing me in English and he is hearing me in Greek…now that is pretty nice. But only God can do that. I can’t do that. The original miracle was that they could hear. They could hear, each one in his own language. And while the prophets understood what they were saying. 1 Corinthians also says the spirit of the prophets, the mind is subject to them. They know what they are saying. They aren’t babbling on and on and have to have somebody get up and interpret them. Because nobody knows what they are saying. If I stand here using the gift of tongues, if I am gifted in speaking in Arabic and I start speaking to you in Arabic you are not going to learn anything unless somebody is there to interpret. But why would I even do that to you? In Corinthians they were using the gift of tongues to show off. And Paul said, “You can’t do that unless you have somebody that is going to interpret.” You can’t do that. The audience needs to know what you’re saying. So, this section has been used to say, well, you know what; people need to have the proof. But it is not proof, it is a gift. No question, it is a gift. It is a valid tongue; it is not some type of babbling. And it is a gift from God to be used for a purpose. This purpose was to show, this was just like it was at Pentecost. People have a valid conversion. I will turn it over to Mr. Myers.
We have some questions. Did you have some comments?
One of the interesting things is that the word “tongues” can actually be translated “dialects” as well, which is more specific than just a foreign language, but areas. You know, in German there are different dialects of German and so it could be used specifically, it points even further. It is a language not just some gibberish or anything like that. Verse 46 says it was used to magnify God. Used for Godly purposes as well.
Alright, I will take this one while you are there, as well. This came in before. It is a long one, but I will try to summarize it for you. It talks about Bollinger’s companion Bible. Bollinger makes the following statement about John 21. The first day of the week equals on the first day of the Sabbaths. The word day is rightly supplied as mia as feminine so it must agree with the feminine noun understood, while Sabbaton is neuter. Luke 24:1 Luke 24:1Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came to the sepulcher, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.
American King James Version×has the same, Matthew reads “toward dawn on the first day, or the Sabbaths” and Mark 16:2 Mark 16:2And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came to the sepulcher at the rising of the sun.
American King James Version×says very early on the Sabbaths. The expression in not a Hebraism, Sabbaths should not be rendered week, which is referenced to, in some cases. The first day is the first day of the days for reckoning the seven Sabbaths of Pentecost. And when do you do that? On the morrow after the Sabbath. That is when you begin counting. It is also when the wave sheaf offering would have been presented. So, what this person is pointing out is ,on this day, therefore, the Lord became the firstfruits of God’s resurrection harvest. Now, if this is correct, then the world has really been duped into believing the obvious from a wrong translation. I find this fascinating and would like your opinion on it.
I have also heard that. In fact, I have written in my Bible, “Sabbaths”. To me, it seems another proof that God never intended to do away with the holy days. Counting the Sabbaths demonstrates how the Greek translation goes along with what has already been written in God’s word about the holy days in Leviticus 23. This should be enough proof to the Sunday keeping world that the phrase “first day of the week” should have been rendered “first of the Sabbaths,” and “on the first day of counting the Sabbaths toward Pentecost.” So thank you for bringing that to our attention. I think it is a pretty valid argument. Study on it. Check it out.
Ready for another one? Yeah, it is a short little question: Are any of the men from the Old Testament going to be in the first resurrection? If so, have they already accepted Christ as their savior?
Well, Abraham was father of the faithful, it tells us. Christ said that if they don’t speak according to the law and the prophets there is no truth in them. There is a passage; I think it is in 1 Peter that talks about some of those in the Old Testament, as well, having the Spirit of Christ. Yeah. I think it is 2 Peter 1:20 2 Peter 1:20Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
American King James Version×or 1 Peter 1:20 1 Peter 1:20Who truly was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,
American King James Version×. Sounds right.
1 Peter 1:11 1 Peter 1:11Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.
American King James Version×. Yeah, there it is. Yeah, it talks about it in verse 10: “Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, 11 searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.” And so the indication here is that they had God’s spirit. Certainly we could read many examples of that when you talk about David or Elijah. I mean you can go right down the list of those. We are not given a whole lot of information on how much they understood. Well, if they were searching, it sounds like what we are doing – searching and trying to grow. If they had the Spirit of God they are putting on Christ in that regard and certainly some of them had a personal relationship with Christ – you know, face to face. Abraham talked with Christ. Jacob wrestled with Christ. And so, there were certain things that they had that we don’t have. And so I don’t think that we could say that they are not going to be in the first resurrection. It is hard to say exactly how much they understood on each individual case, but if they had God’s Spirit, and they died as faithful followers, they will be in the first resurrection.
Hebrews 11:1-14 Hebrews 11:1-14  Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
 For by it the elders obtained a good report.
 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
 By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaks.
 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.
 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing where he went.
 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:
 For he looked for a city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
 Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.
 Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.
 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.
American King James Version× says “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek another country.” So they looked for the Kingdom of God. They didn’t have Jesus Christ as we know Jesus Christ. They had the one that became Jesus Christ. They even prophesied of what he was going to do when he came. They didn’t realize and put it all together, necessarily. As Matthew 13 says “blessed are your eyes for many righteous men would have liked to have seen what you see and cannot see.” But I think God gives them a pass on that because, certainly, Abel is talked about as a hero of faith. Noah is hero of faith. Abraham is a hero of faith. A lot of women and men are described throughout the book of Hebrews chapter 11. It talks about them and it talks about those individuals who will be there – God, having provided some special thing for us that they, without us, should not be made perfect. It seems like they are going to be made. I don’t know what the exception is. I don’t know what...could they believe the gospel? Did they hear the gospel? If the gospel didn’t come until Jesus Christ, you know, brought it? But they are hearing what the gospel is about. It is about a Kingdom of God. They were hearing what it is about. Jesus Christ, the person of Jesus Christ. So, yes, they will be there. How? That will be up to God. You know what? I have learned a long time ago that I don’t care who is there. I just hope I make it. And if I am there, I am going to be happy with whoever is there, even if I didn’t think they should be there. Actually, if I didn’t think they should be there when I am there, I probably won’t be there. I had better be gracious enough to accept whoever God wants. And here is another thing, I can’t tell God what to do and neither can you. God can do anything He wants. Don’t tell Him what to do.
Okay, here is one other question real quickly. It talks about Acts. It says here: About 10 years ago I read the book of Acts15:19-20. It seems to indicate that there are four issues of purity that demand immediate conformity: abstain from pollution of idols, abstain from fornication, abstain from what is strangled, and abstain from blood. I have researched these four issues, clearly understanding the first two. However the last two led me to assume that only kosher meats are to be eaten for the reason that the clean animal’s throat is cut and the blood is drained. I have not been successful in finding written documents on UCG’s website or any other Bible to discuss whether we are or not required to eat kosher meats.
We do not require you to eat kosher meats. From my understanding, most animals that are killed are drained. They may not be drained under rabbinic supervision, which you pay a little extra for him to be standing there watching the blood drain out, but it is my understanding that they are drained. I will not eat an animal that is strangled. I will not eat an animal that dies of itself. There was a big deer that died on our front yard this fall and I had to pay $200 to have someone remove it. Big Deer! I am not going to drag this deer off. Put it in a bag? What am I going to do? Take a chainsaw to it and cut this thing up and put it in a bag? I am not going to do it! I am not going to eat something that dies on its own. If I hit a deer on the highway, too bad! By the time you get to him, his blood is starting to go through his body. That’s why you have to do it properly. You have to drain them properly. What about people who kill deer in the wild? Do they call a rabbi to come out and watch the blood come out? No, they don’t. They know what to do. They know how to take care of it out there. And some people think that the fluid that they get off meat, when they first open up a package of meat, they think that is blood in there. It is not blood, it is just fluid that is in there. “It’s not bled.” They wash the meat. You don’t have to do that. Alright? So, to my knowledge we have no article on it that says don’t. My conclusion is as follows; “the Sabbath and Holy days were forever instituted long before the Law of Moses and the New Testament. And, likewise, the drinking of blood was forbidden – absolutely not supposed to drink blood. No blood sausage, no blood, and things. And the New Testament book concludes with the apostles and elders to abstain from it. Therefore we are to eat kosher meats. You are to eat meats that are properly bled. If you want to go watch every butcher to see how he does it. You are welcome to. Or you can do kosher meat. There is no provision. You want to do kosher meats all the time? Good for you, if that’s what you want to do – if they mean clean animals, as designated by the Bible. Sometimes people will say kosher when they are thinking of not necessarily the Jewish side of things. But, they are thinking a rabbi has to oversee it for it to be kosher meat. Now, we do have literature on the site, if you look it up. We have a booklet on clean and unclean meats, there are many articles, if you just do a search on ucg.org just type in clean and unclean and you will have hundreds of references or material that you can look up and read about Leviticus 16 and some of the standards that God gives us on what is clean and unclean and how that fits with Acts 15 as well.
Do you have any other ones? No, the other one was just a comment. OK, well, we certainly thank you for tuning in tonight and, let’s see, our next study is going to be May 7th. It is what we call here a super Sabbath. It will be here in the afternoon. 2:30 in the afternoon on the Sabbath. That morning we will have our regular combined Sabbath services here at 11:00 and that will be cybercast and then our cybercast for the Bible study that day will be at 2:30 in the afternoon. And then the regular biweekly Bible study will take place 2 weeks from tonight. So, we thank you for coming, thank you for tuning in. And we wish you a wonderful rest of the week. I will be heading out to Denver. I appreciate your prayers. I will be there for the Sabbath, say hi to the people out there. We have a charity auction coming up on Sunday May 1st and certainly hope that we have a good turnout for that, raising money for the Zimbabwe education fund. Our students have worked really hard. Classes begin tomorrow. But students don’t have to be here until 10:30 because we don’t have a morning module yet but Dr. Ward is coming. He will be here for the following week to help teach. So, anyway, we’ll have Mr. Myers tomorrow at 10:30. Take care and have a wonderful evening. Thanks for coming. Goodnight.