Acts 10:1-8-A centurion (a noncommissioned officer in the Roman army in command of 100 soldiers) named Cornelius was a devout man who feared God.
All right, he was a devout man. That means he was pious, and he was religious. Honestly religious, and he feared God. Now, the term feared God became a technical term for Gentiles. There were three kinds of Gentiles in the mind of a Jew. One kind was just the plain, old, run-of-the-mill Gentile. The other kind, and this is getting better on the scale, the other kind was a God-fearer quote. This was a Gentile who had been sick of his own religion, the immoralities and the idolatries of his own faith, and he was sick of the whole polytheistic thing, and he had come to the conclusion in his mind that the God of Israel was the true God. He actually began to pray to that God. He perhaps become involved in the worship in certain synagogues or temple, or the temple itself. Much like, you remember, the eunuch, chapter 8, whom Philip met. But he was...he was involved in the Jewish ethic. He believed in the ethics of the Old Testament, but he had never been circumcised. He was not then a full proselyte. He was what they called a God-fearer.
The third level of Gentile would be the proselyte who had come all the way to Judaism, actually gone through the act of circumcision, and fully identified himself with Israel and was considered to be a Jew in a spiritual sense. Now you have all three. Well, Cornelius is the guy in the middle. He's the God-fearer. He is not a full Jew, so he is to be considered a Gentile...but he did fear God. He was sick of the immorality and the emptiness of his own religion. He had attached himself to the Jewish religion. He didn't accept the ceremonial laws, perhaps, and the circumcision, etc., but he often attended worship, no doubt. He believed in one God and in the ethics of the Old Testament.
While he is praying at the ninth hour (3:00pm), he has a vision of an angel who tells him to send to Joppa for Simon Peter. He did as instructed…sending two servants and a soldier to Joppa.
Ryrie Study Bible 10:2 Cornelius was a semi-proselyte to Judaism, accepting Jewish beliefs and practices but stopping short of circumcision.
For information on centurions see:
Acts 10:9-The next day, Peter was on a rooftop at the sixth hour (noon) praying. He became hungry and requested some food. While they were preparing it he “fell into a trance”.
for which see AMAZE, A, No. 1, denotes "a trance" in Act 10:10; 11:5; 22:17, a condition in which ordinary consciousness and the perception of natural circumstances were withheld, and the soul was susceptible only to the vision imparted by God.
is, lit., "a standing out" (ek, "out of," stasis, "a standing"). Eng. "ecstasy" is a transliteration. It is translated "amazement" in Act 3:10. It was said of any displacement, and especially, with reference to the mind, of that alteration of the normal condition by which the person is thrown into a state of surprise or fear, or both; or again, in which a person is so transported out of his natural state that he falls into a trance, Act 10:10; 11:5; 22:17. As to the other meaning, the RV has "amazement" in Mar 5:42; Luk 5:26, but "astonishment" in Mar 16:8.
(Vine’s Expository Dictionary,
Peter is hungry and already thinking about food. God showed him a vision of both clean and unclean animals all together and told him that he could eat of both...because He had made them all holy. This happened three times. Peter tried to argue with God in his trance (Someone has said that when Jesus was alive Peter had made a living arguing with Him. Sound like anyone you know?)…saying that their Jewish law forbade them to eat animals that were ceremonially unclean.
For an explanation of Jewish Dietary Laws (Kashrut), see…
But God said that He had cleansed that which was unholy…and it was no longer unholy. This vision confused Peter. He recognized that the vision was of food…but he sensed that it had a broader application. And indeed, it did (see Acts 11:1-18). For about that time the delegation sent by Cornelius arrived and relayed the message from him requesting that Peter come to his home. They were Gentiles and Jews were not allowed to enter into the home of a Gentile because they were ceremonially unclean. As he was thinking about this the Holy Spirit told him that three men were downstairs looking for him and directed him to go with them. He was told to do so without any “misgivings”. This word means “to make a separation, or distinction between things”. In other words, Peter was to go with them as if they were his own Jewish brethren and not be judgmental because they were Gentiles. He invited them to spend the night in the home of Simon. The next day they left. Several of the other disciples went with them.
The general significance, look back there at the vision again, is this. That those clean and unclean animals represent Jew and Gentile. The Jew is represented by the clean animal. The Gentile by the unclean. And what's He saying? He's saying, "Jew and Gentile are gonna be mixed in the church." Now watch, here's the vision. The tarp or the sheet is the church. The church was born in heaven, right? The mind of God. The church came down to earth. It includes Jew and Gentile, and the significant part of the vision is that it says, "And the sheet, when it was finished, was received up into heaven." How is the church gonna be leaving this world? By the Rapture. And if the church mixed of common and uncommon, Jew and Gentile, is acceptable to God, acceptable enough to enter back into heaven, then it oughta be acceptable to us to allow Gentiles to come in. Now, you see, Peter has then learned no more barrier on dietary stuff, and, in a general sense, God accepts both in His church, which He will receive to Himself. And if God can receive the mixture, you oughta be able to, as well. So you see how his heart is being prepared for his work?
Prayer: Father, according to everything that he had been taught, Peter would not have gone with the servants of Cornelius since they were Gentiles. But You commanded him to do so and he did. Please help me to not allow my conventional wisdom, or prejudices, or perceptions, or culture to ever stop me from being obedient to Your command. Please show me clearly what Your desire is and then give me the conviction and the will to be obedient.