Friday, 9 September 2022
And a voice came to him, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” Acts 10:13
The previous verse showed that “all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth” were in the object that was like a great sheet. With that remembered, it next says, “And a voice came to him.” The source of the voice is not stated, but it is certainly the Lord Jesus. This is most probable based on his reply in the next verse and what is stated between the two. And the words conveyed to Peter begin with, “Rise.”
Rather, it is an aorist participle – “Having arisen.” Peter was obviously still laying or kneeling as during his praying. And so, the voice lets him know that once he has gotten up, he is to take a particular action. After this, and calling him by his given name, the voice continues with, “Peter; kill and eat.”
This is obviously in response to his state of being “very hungry” as was seen in verse 10:10. The voice instructs Peter to look upon the vast multitude of animals without distinction and to take whatever he desired for himself.
In this, Peter is clearly being shown that the dietary laws of the Law of Moses have been annulled. He is being returned to a time when Israel did not have the law and lived under the general command of God to Noah –
“And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth, on every bird of the air, on all that move on the earth, and on all the fish of the sea. They are given into your hand. 3 Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs.” Genesis 9:2, 3
The importance of this is not to be missed because if the dietary laws are annulled, then the entire Mosaic Code is annulled. It is a single body of law, no part of which could be left unfulfilled without guilt being imputed –
“For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.” Matthew 5:18
If the dietary laws are annulled, thus meaning that the Law of Moses is annulled, then it means that the law has been fulfilled. Those of Israel who accept the completion of Christ’s work are brought out from the bondage and yoke of the law and into a new and as yet unexplained dispensation. Those who are not of Israel, and who had never been under the law, are imputed the righteousness of the law’s fulfillment because of Jesus.
This is all being seen, or at least hinted at, in the details provided in this one verse. The voice is from heaven, indicating that it is of God. It is in connection with the presentation of unclean animals to Peter, indicating they have been divinely sanctioned to be eaten, and it is given in typology of the people who already eat such animals because they are not, and never were, under the law of Moses.
Life application: The Lord would not present supposedly unclean animals to Peter and admonish him to eat them if it were a violation of His own law to do so without a particular reason for doing so. Hence, without going forward in the text, it is clear and explicit that these animals are no longer to be considered unclean.
And yet, there are innumerable teachers of the word, and even entire denominations, that adamantly state Christians are bound to the dietary restrictions of the Mosaic Law. If this is so, then they are also bound to every other precept of the law – without exception – and they must fulfill them perfectly. They have set aside the grace of Christ, and they have fallen back on a system that was never effectual in removing sin, except in the anticipation of its own fulfillment by Jesus.
Be sure to get what the meaning of grace is. It is not, “I have done and so now you must do.” Grace is unmerited favor. Salvation is solely and absolutely a work of the Lord. It is true that there are things we are told to do under the New Covenant, but these things are to be accomplished because of our state in salvation, not as a means of either earning it or maintaining it.
Lord God, thank You for the grace You have bestowed upon us through the giving of Christ Jesus. All that stood against us is now taken away because of Him. Praise You, O God, for what You have done! Amen.