Notes and References
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Acts of the Apostles
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Acts Chapter 10
CORNELIUS AND HOUSEHOLD - THE FIRST GENTILES FILLED WITH THE HOLY GHOST
Acts 9 and 10 represent a MAJOR turning point in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Acts 9 is the appearance and calling of Saul, "The Apostle to the Gentiles" (Rom 11:13). Acts 10 is the first conversion and baptism of the Holy Spirit of a Gentile.
Is God changing His mind? NO! Why then is He seemingly changing course? He didn't. God's purpose is to bring the fullness of the Kingdom.
11I say then, Have they (Israel) stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles,...
What "FALL" is Paul (Saul) talking about regarding Israel? The crucifixion of Jesus their Christ and Mashiac, not only this but also the rejection now of their Risen Savior is the reason for their fall. It is now in this chapter 10+ years since the resurrection of the Lord. Stephen was about 7 years after. Paul was converted and spent 3 years in Arabia and Damascus before going to Jerusalem, in the last chapter. 7+3 = 10. Israel has had full opportunity to repent without excuse, but for the most part has rejected Jesus their Christ. By the end of this study you will see God gave them full 40 years before their destruction and dispersion.
How do we know these were the first Gentiles to be filled with the Holy Spirit? This chapter study should solidify your knowledge regarding this question.
- Acts 9:15 Saul will "bear my name before the Gentiles". This radical miracle on the road to Damascus would not be necessary if the gospel were already going to the Gentiles.
- Acts 11:19 they were preaching to "none but Jew only"
- We read about Philip, one of the seven, in Acts 8 not being able to baptize his converts in the Holy Spirit, but had to send for the apostles.
- Up until the persecution all the believers were in still Jerusalem and the apostles were preaching "daily in the temple" and "from house to house". Jews! No Gentile houses, because here in this chapter we will read that it was expressly forbidden.
- The apostles only addressed the Jew in their messages. "men of Israel", "brethren", "children of Abraham and the prophets", etc.
- Now here in 10:45 Peter and the six, of the "circumcision", being 7 total, were "ASTONISHED" when Gentiles were baptized in the Holy Ghost!
Can't get any clearer than that. 10+ years after the resurrection, these were the first Gentiles!
So here we are now, God is turning to the Gentile. But for what purpose? To SAVE the Jew! Let's finish the quote from Romans 11:11
11I say then, Have they (Israel) stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.
God's plan is still in full force regarding Israel.
12Now if the fall of them (Israel) be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them (Israel) the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their (Israel) fulness?
13For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:
14If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh (Israelites), and might save some of them.
15For if the casting away of them (Israel) be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them (Israel) be, but life from the dead?
Anti-Semitism is NOT from God in any way shape or form!
20Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:
21For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.
25For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
26And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
27For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.
In this epistle of Romans, Paul expounds on the relationship of God and Israel. Paul refers to a "FALL", which is the reason the Gentiles are receiving the Gift of the Holy Spirit of purification and sanctification and Grace for the remission of all sins.
1There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band,
2A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway.
3He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius.
A Roman Centurian is the captain of one hundred men. He was praying at the ninth hour, the hour of prayer, which is about 5 pm depending on the season and how long the days are.
Attributes of Cornelius:
- devout man
- feared God and all his house
- gave "much alms"
- prayed always
4And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.
5And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter:
6He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side: he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do.
God sent an angel to Cornelius- why?
- because of prayer
- because of alms
7And when the angel which spake unto Cornelius was departed, he called two of his household servants, and a devout soldier of them that waited on him continually;
8And when he had declared all these things unto them, he sent them to Joppa.
9On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour:
10And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance,
11And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth:
12Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.
13And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat.
14But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.
15And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.
16This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven.
Animals that are unclean or unlawful to eat: (I used New King James version just for the understanding of the animal species.)
3"You shall not eat any detestable thing. 4These are the animals which you may eat: the ox, the sheep, the goat, 5the deer, the gazelle, the roe deer, the wild goat, the mountain goat, the antelope, and the mountain sheep. 6And you may eat every animal with cloven hooves, having the hoof split into two parts, and that chews the cud, among the animals. 7Nevertheless, of those that chew the cud or have cloven hooves, you shall not eat, such as these: the camel, the hare, and the rock hyrax; for they chew the cud but do not have cloven hooves; they are unclean for you. 8Also the swine is unclean for you, because it has cloven hooves, yet does not chew the cud; you shall not eat their flesh or touch their dead carcasses.
9"These you may eat of all that are in the waters: you may eat all that have fins and scales. 10And whatever does not have fins and scales you shall not eat; it is unclean for you.
11"All clean birds you may eat. 12But these you shall not eat: the eagle, the vulture, the buzzard, 13the red kite, the falcon, and the kite after their kinds; 14every raven after its kind; 15the ostrich, the short-eared owl, the seagull, and the hawk after their kinds; 16the little owl, the screech owl, the white owl, 17the jackdaw, the carrion vulture, the fisher owl, 18the stork, the heron after its kind, and the hoopoe and the bat. 19Also every creeping thing that flies is unclean for you; they shall not be eaten. 20You may eat all clean birds.
21"You shall not eat anything that dies of itself; you may give it to the alien who is within your gates, that he may eat it, or you may sell it to a foreigner; for you are a holy people to the LORD your God. You shall not boil a young goat in its mother's milk.
- No bacon wrapped shrimp!
- No milk gravy with goat meat.
- No cotton tail.
- No catfish.
- No crab.
- No lobster.
- No pork chops.
- No pork roast.
- No ham for Easter!
Oh how we love to pick and choose which laws of Moses to follow and those to set aside for our own convenience! How dysfunctional our Christian churches have become, demanding tithes of the widow, the stranger, and the fatherless. Deut 26:12
25Then shalt thou turn it into money, and bind up the money in thine hand, and shalt go unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose:
26And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever THY soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the LORD thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household,
27And the Levite that is within thy gates; thou shalt not forsake him; for he hath no part nor inheritance with thee.
28At the end of three years thou shalt bring forth all the tithe of thine increase the same year, and shalt lay it up within thy gates:
29And the Levite, (because he hath no part nor inheritance with thee,) and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, which are within thy gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied; that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hand which thou doest.
In fact the tithes were to be distributed, by the tither, to:
- the Levite (there are no Levites in the church)
- the widow
- the stranger
- the fatherless.
And the tither eats of the tithe (partakes in the abundance with thanksgiving) before the Lord!
10And now, behold, I have brought the firstfruits of the land, which thou, O LORD, hast given me. And thou shalt set it before the LORD thy God, and worship before the LORD thy God:
11And thou shalt rejoice in every good thing which the LORD thy God hath given unto thee, and unto thine house, thou, and the Levite, and the stranger that is among you.
12When thou hast made an end of tithing all the tithes of thine increase the third year, which is the year of tithing, and hast given it unto the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, that they may eat within thy gates, and be filled;
If you are not doing all of this above, don't say you are tithing, because you are not. Moving on - enough thoughts from the law of Moses.
Peter refused 3 times! God said, "What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common". We can be so set in our ways that even a voice from heaven cannot shake us from our doctrine. How sad is that?
17Now while Peter doubted in himself what this vision which he had seen should mean, behold, the men which were sent from Cornelius had made inquiry for Simon's house, and stood before the gate,
18And called, and asked whether Simon, which was surnamed Peter, were lodged there.
19While Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee.
20Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them.
21Then Peter went down to the men which were sent unto him from Cornelius; and said, Behold, I am he whom ye seek: what is the cause wherefore ye are come?
22And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by an holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee.
23Then called he them in, and lodged them. And on the morrow Peter went away with them, and certain brethren from Joppa accompanied him.
Acts 11:12 - says six men traveled with Peter - seven in total. How interesting that SEVEN witnesses were present for this event. Seven, being complete or full. No doubts could be raised at seven witnesses telling of the same miracle.
24And the morrow after they entered into Caesarea. And Cornelius waited for them, and had called together his kinsmen and near friends.
25And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him.
26But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man.
27And as he talked with him, he went in, and found many that were come together.
28And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.
Peter saying, "it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation", makes it perfectly clear, no Gentile was in the assemblies of the Jewish believers. The ONLY reason he is there was because of the vision sending him. Just from these verses we know the commission of the apostles to preach Jesus to the ends of the earth was to JEW ONLY. Also God did not say not to call "any man" common, but "What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common". Gentiles are unclean. But when the Holy Spirit baptizes you with His purifying Spirit of fire, you are now CLEAN!
29Therefore came I unto you without gainsaying, as soon as I was sent for: I ask therefore for what intent ye have sent for me?
30And 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,
31And said, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God.
32Send therefore to Joppa, and call hither Simon, whose surname is Peter; he is lodged in the house of one Simon a tanner by the sea side: who, when he cometh, shall speak unto thee.
33Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God.
34Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:
35But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.
This word nation is not a country with borders or boundries, but nationality or ethnicity. G1484 ethnos.
36The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)
37That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached;
38How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.
39And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree:
"Whom they slew", not "ye" as Peter previously accused Israel as partakers of Jesus' death.
40Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly;
41Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead.
42And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.
43To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.
I am stopping here. The word "whosoever" is NOT just anyone of any nationality, but whosoever of the Jews. Read it in context! Peter said about Jesus, "he commanded us to preach unto the people", the 'people' would be the people of the same race or nationality, Jews! We read this in Acts 4:27 and discussed who 'people' were in Psalms 2.
44While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.
45And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.
46For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,
47Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?
48And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.
The Gentiles in these verses did not follow the pattern! The pattern being for a Gentile would be:
- follow the all the laws of Moses - become a proselyte
- believe in Jesus as Mashiac or Christ
- ceremonial cleansing - water baptism
- baptized in the Holy Spirit
No! These Gentiles:
- heard the Word
- were baptized in the Holy Spirit
The Jewish believers were "ASTONISHED"! Of course, this did not prevent Peter from causing them to immediately be baptized in water, which is purely ritual or ceremony at this point.
It was only right and fitting that Peter would be the first one to preach to the first Gentile believers and witness their baptism with the Holy Spirit. Peter was the one Jesus promised the "keys of the kingdom".
Matthew 16:19 (Jesus speaking to Peter)
19And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
It was Peter who opened the door to the Gentiles, and wide open it had flung! The Apostle Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, is being prepared, and now a flood gate of grace is opened for him to rush through.
Peter does not immediately begin preaching Christ to all men, but returns to Jerusalem (Acts 11:2). I do not believe he realized at this point the door he had just opened. Cornelius was a Holy Ghost filled Gentile. What does a Jew do with him now? Will he be accepted by the Jewish believers as cleansed by God? No! We will see in Acts chapter 11 that this Gentile conversion is not treated as the new norm, but as an anomaly. The twelve apostles were commissioned to go preach to the whole house of Israel, not to Gentiles. That is what they continued, in Jerusalem.
Obviously good works did not save Cornelius. Cornelius had faith. Faith to pray. Faith to do good works and charity without expectation. He believed in the one true God and God reached down and saved him. Although not accepted by God's people, he was 'devout' anyway. It was the name of Jesus Christ that brought salvation to Cornelius and his house.
Every Christian should remember Acts 10:44 because this is your birthday!
So therefore, because of this chapter in Acts, we can believe that salvation is for all people, the salvation by the faith in Jesus Christ. That He died for our sins, was crucified, buried, and rose from the dead. That through his resurrection He sent His Holy Spirit as the seal of promise, that we might have everlasting life!