Did Peter eat unclean animals in his vision?
The command to Peter to eat unclean animals in Act 10:11-13 has been taken to mean that he ate unclean animals and therefore the Law of God was abolished by the apostle. Thus, the door for the gentiles to eat whatever they wish is opened and if Peter has broken one law, all of the rest have broken, as well, and why bother to keep all the Law.
Ironically, the history repeats itself for those who do not learn from history. As the deceiver deceived the first people to eat from the forbidden fruit, so were the gentiles deceived to eat what seems good in their own eyes. And while the first people would have the excuse that they had nothing written they could learn from, the gentiles today will have nothing to use to justify their obvious disobedience and disbelief.
We will read from chapters 10 and 11 of the Book of the Acts of the disciples of Yeshua the Messiah in which certain verses have been taken out of the entire context of these two chapters and used in the Church today to mislead the people to eat what the Creator has otherwise called abominations.
and he saw the heaven opened and a certain vessel like a great sheet bound at the four corners, descending to him and let down to the earth, in which were all kinds of four-footed beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping creatures, and the birds of the heaven. And a voice came to him, “Rise up, Kepha, slay and eat!”. (Act 10:11-13)
The righteous Cornelius and the vison from heaven
There was a Roman officer in Caesarea called Cornelius, a righteous and dedicated man who feared Elohim and was well spoken of by the entire nation of the Jews, he with all his household, doing many kind deeds to the Jews and praying to Elohim always. Most obviously, Cornelius had abandoned the Roman paganism and turned to the Hebraic faith which stood alone in the world for pure and undefiled concept of the Creator.
One day Cornelius clearly saw in a vision a messenger of Elohim who said to him, “Cornelius! Your prayers and your kind deeds have come up for a remembrance before Elohim”. And then the messenger told him to send his men for Shimon Kepha (Simon Peter). (Act 10:1-5)
And on the next day, as Cornelius’ men were on their way, Kepha became hungry and wished to eat. But, he fell into a trance and saw the heaven opened and all kinds of unclean animals descending to him. And a voice from heaven said to him to slay and eat. But Peter categorically rejected to eat unclean animals, because, as he himself said, he had never eaten what was abominable to the Creator. But, the voice said to him not to call common what Elohim had cleansed. This took place three times and the abominable creatures were taken back to the heaven. (Act 10:9-16)
And while Kepha was doubting within himself about what the vision might mean, and why Elohim would have even asked him to eat unclean animals, the men were already at the door, and the Wind of Elohim (Hebrew Ruach for “spirit”) told him not to doubt at all, for Elohim had sent them, but to go with them. As we see further in our study, Elohim began to deliver the true meaning of the vision (Act 10:17-20).
Was Peter ordered to eat unclean animals, the abomination to YHVH?
But before that, we should have noticed something peculiar in verse 20. Here Elohim told Kepha not to doubt at all, but not to doubt in what? Not to doubt in His order to eat abominable things?! Not at all!
The apostle knew and was doing the laws in the Torah of YHVH (Hebrew for “instruction” but commonly known in Christianity as “the Law”), as YHVH had commanded Israel. And he without any doubt flatly rejected to eat unclean animals — the disgusting things (pigs, shrimps, lobsters and other creeping creatures) by saying,
Not at all, Master! Because I have never eaten whatever is common or unclean”. (Act 10:14)
The apostle not only flatly rejected to break the dietary laws of YHVH, but he also categorically stated he had never eaten unclean animals. Later on, we will see that the apostle was even more unconditional in his rejection.
This controversial topic of what is and what is not food in the Scripture, we studied in the article “How far can the mankind go in eating detestable things” in Isaiah’s prophecy.
The second thing we should note here (and it may sound shocking to many) is that there is no such a thing as “unclean food” in the Scripture. The term “unclean food” cannot be found anywhere in the Scripture; “unclean food” is a contradiction in terms coined by the gentile “theologians”.
The sad thing, as the present author says, “Faith did not change Rome; Rome changed the faith”. And once Rome has changed the faith, the half-truth and half-lies influenced all Christian denominations that sprang out of the Catholicism — even to this very day.
The Catholicism invented another “messiah” who came to abolish the Law of God; and another apostle “Paul” who taught against the Law of God and His Temple; this controversial topic we studied in the article “The revelation of the Messenger of YHVH” and learned that Stephanos and Shaul were falsely accused of teaching against the Torah and the Temple of YHVH; and they are still falsely accused even today.
The reader is encouraged to refer to the referenced in articles for more insight into this controversial topic.
The dietary laws in Leviticus 11 that were never abolished
Speak to the children of Israel, saying, “These are the living creatures which you do eat among all the beasts that are on the earth: … Only, these you do not eat … (Lev 11:2-4)
The sin affects not only the soul but also the whole body as the temple of the soul. When the sin came into the world through a man and spread to all generation after him, the Creator made the animals subject to corruption because of the sin of man. So, not only does the earth bring forth weeds and toxic plants (see Gen 3:18), but the animals also bear the sin the man brought into the world.
It is because of this corruption the Creator has given men the laws of the clean and unclean animals in order to separate themselves from uncleanness of the world: and this is the whole the meaning of the Torah of YHVH.
We should also note that the Creator has never called the flesh of unclean animals “food”. Never! If something is unclean, it is unacceptable to the Creator, and it is unclean by definition and it is not to be put into the mouth. YHVH goes even further in the Torah to forbid the touching of dead flesh of certain unclean animals (camel, rabbit, hare, and pig) (see Lev 11:4-8).
However, the opposite is also true: if something is called food by the Creator, by definition it is clean for us to eat. That was and it will be the Word of the Creator, in which it is said what is food and what is not food. It was the Christian religion that changed the Word of the Creator and made the people doubt.
So, why does the Creator allow us to eat certain animals and forbids us to eat others, which He called unclean animals?
While we can understand why we are forbidden to eat unclean animals such as pigs, shrimps, lobsters, catfish, and vouchers, for instance, because they eat the waste of the nature, we do not know why animals like horses, donkeys, and rabbits, which are perfect vegetarians, are forbidden and considered unclean animals. The former the Creator created to be cleaners of His creation, because they clean the waste and the dead animals, but the latter …?!
We do not know why, but what shall we say — do we need to know to obey Him? Do we walk by reasoning, or we walk by faith?
The answer we find in the end of Leviticus 11,
For I am Yehovah your Elohim, and you shall set yourselves apart. And you shall be set-apart, for I am set-apart. And do not defile yourselves with any swarming creature – the one creeping on the earth. (Lev 11:44)
And this is the reason why we obey His commands: For He is Yehovah and He said so. And that should be good enough for us to obey Him.
For the significance of the Book of Leviticus, please refer to the article of Time of Reckoning Ministry (TORM): “Which is the most important book in the Scripture?” and “Why Leviticus is the most important book“.
Peter’s vision on unclean animals was to teach something else
And the following day they all went to Cornelius who was waiting together with his relatives and close friends (Act 10:24-25). And here Kepha said what many have missed to see,
You know that it is unlawful for a Yehudi man to associate with, or go to one of another nation. But Elohim has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean. (Act 10:28)
Here the apostle made two statements: (1) it is unlawful for a Hebrew to associate with pagans [true]; (2) not call any man common or unclean [true].
The first statement, “it is unlawful for a Hebrew to associate with pagans” is true, because we should recall that Elohim commanded the Israelites not to learn how the nations worship their gods, to destroy all Canaanites and their high places of worship, and He gave them the reason why: because the nations would be as a thorn in their side. And indeed they were.
Israel did not destroy them all but left some alive who later led the chosen people into idolatry and ultimately to go into the Babylonian exile. When the Jews returned, they became so zealous to keep the faith pure and untouched by the abominations of the gentiles, that we see in the first century Judea, they kept themselves clean from any associations with them.
Israel was called to be a set-apart nation (Hebrew kadosh for “holy”), a nation of priests, a light to the gentiles. And this nation was meant to be kept pure by being set apart from the world. So, there was nothing wrong for the apostle to say to Cornelius, You know that it is unlawful for a Jew to associate with Romans. The apostle knew that and the Roman knew that, too.
However, the second statement, “not call any man common or unclean” is also true. But what did Kepha mean, when he said “any man”? Did he mean that any gentile was clean before Elohim, or he meant something quite different?
And this is the second shocking moment.
In the very beginning of the story, we are told the kind of person Cornelius was: dedicated and fearing Elohim righteous gentile who with all his household was doing many kind deeds to the Jews and praying to Elohim always.
Cornelius met him and fell down at the apostle’s feet and bowed together with all his relatives and close friends (understand, Romans). The Cornelius we see here was not a pagan gentile; he was not only a righteous man in the eyes of YHVH, but he was well spoken of by the entire nation of the Jews. And that was the exact Roman Apostle Shaul (Paul) wrote about in his letter to the Romans (see Rom 2:10).
In other words, Cornelius was accepted by the Jews as one of them. His kind deeds towards the Jews were remembered before Elohim and he was declared righteous (Act 10:31). Because we know what the Torah says: the non-natives shall be like the natives and there shall be one law for the natives and non-natives (see Num 9:14, Num 15:15). This is important to recall in order to understand the words of the apostle,
Truly I see that Elohim shows no partiality, but in every nation, he who fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him. (Act 10:34-35)
Truly the apostle meant the Torah when he stated that Elohim shows no partiality (see Deu 1:17, Deu 10:17) and accepts him who works righteousness.
The inconvenient truth comes when Shaul said, “the righteous shall live by faith” (Rom 1:17) quoting the Torah (Lev 18:5) and the prophet (Hab 2:4), he meant that the righteous shall live his life by the faith he exercises. And Apostle Ya’akov (James) confirmed this in his letter that faith alone is unable to save. (Jas 2:14) and he concludes that the faith without the works is dead (Jas 2:20) Read also Jas 2:15-18.
What works Ya’akov is talking about here when he asked, Was not Avraham our father declared right by works when he offered Yitschak? Do you see that the faith was working with his works, and by the works the faith was perfected? … You see, then, that a man is declared right by works, and not by faith alone. (Jas 2:21-24) Read also (Jas 1:22-25)
And this is the stumbling block before many: the misunderstood concept of faith. But what is faith we may ask? Is faith just a mental exercise or something we do?
The problem is that some writings of Shaul have been taken out of their proper context of the whole Scripture and others were completely voided. The Messiah and the apostle have said that not the hearers but the doers of the Law will be declared righteous, as we read in Mat 7:24-27, Luk 6:46-49, Luk 8:21, Rom 2:13, Heb 4:11, Rev 22:14.
Read more about how Paul was misunderstood, or intentionally misinterpreted.
Peter declared the Messiah to the gentiles
And that point the apostle began to proclaim the Good News of peace through Yeshua the Messiah (Act 10:36-43); the Good News that had been proclaimed as early as the time of Avraham who was the first to announce it,
And the Scripture, having foreseen that Elohim would declare right the nations by faith, announced the Good News to Avraham beforehand, saying, “All the nations shall be blessed in you”. (Gal 3:8)
Here Shaul quoted the Torah (Gen 12:3) when he said that “All the nations shall be blessed in you” (Hebrew “grafted in”). We find in Romans 11 that the apostle called the [righteous] gentiles “grafted into the olive tree of Israel”, not the other way around as the Christianity teaches.
But, when the Good News was announced to our father Avraham, because we know nothing in the Scripture about Avraham and the Seed that would come out from him? Actually, we do know and we studied this in the article “To foresee Yeshua the Messiah“.
But we should also recall that the Good News was announced even before the father Avraham, as early as the creation of the world, when Elohim made the first promise of the Messiah.
And I put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed. He shall crush your head, and you shall crush His heel. (Gen 3:15)
And this is the first verse of the promised Savior; it is not Mat 1:1 but Gen 3:15. The Gospel began right there with the promise that the day would come when the Messiah would crush the head of the serpent. When the satan heard that, he went immediately to do his work to nullify what Elohim had just said and his first step was to get killed Avel in order to break the line of righteous men.
Then, he tried to kill our father Ya’akov (Jacob) by the hand of Eisav, and Mosheh (Moses) by killing all male babies in the Niles, and all Jews by the hand of the evil Haman, and ultimately Yeshua by the hand of Herod. And since all attempts to break the line of the coming of the Seed of the woman had failed, he sent Him on the execution stake, and he failed again in His resurrection.
And after the satan understood his mistake, he began revenge against the chosen people through the Roman exile, the Christian persecutions and forced conversions, the Holocaust and pogroms.
And he failed again, because Israel did not vanished in history but returned to the Promised Land for the dismay of the world never to be uprooted again.
But, the satan had another plan in which he did not fail. Along with his attempts to get killed all righteous men through whom the Messiah would come, he also went out to counterfeit the real things with fake ones. We read from the prophecy in Daniel concerning the deceiver,
and it speaks words against the Most High, and it wears out the set-apart ones of the Most High, and it intends to change appointed times and law, and they are given into its hand for a time and times and half a time. (Dan 7:25)
The satan did deceive the gentiles to change the faith they received through the apostles. He intended and succeeded in changing the laws of YHVH and His appointed times, and even to get them abolished. But, he succeeded in his plot only in the minds of the gentiles.
The unchanged appointed times of YHVH, which we studied in the series of articles The Appointed Times of YHVH and how His Messiah has fulfilled them cannot be changed, because the satan does not have the power and the authority to do it.
But, the time will come when the faithful will be given into his hands for three and half years of Jacob’s troubles aka the Tribulation, and this we studied in the series of articles The Revelation from YHVH.
But who are those set-apart whom the satan will go after and what are the two things one needs to get saved? Read more here.
And while Kepha was still speaking these words, the Set-apart Wind fell upon all those hearing the word. And those of the circumcision, who believed [in Yeshua the Messiah] and came with the apostle, were astonished, because the gift of the Set-apart Wind had been poured out on the righteous Romans, as well (Act 10:44-45). And from that moment on they became former gentiles, as the Apostle Shaul called them in his letters, “once you were gentiles” (see 1Co 12:2, Eph 2:11).
And the apostles who were in Judea heard that the gentiles also received the word of Elohim, as the apostle reiterated all that happened to him in the vision and in his encounter with the righteous Cornelius.
In his testimony before the brothers, Kepha said that whatever is common or unclean has never entered into my mouth,
And I heard a voice saying to me, “Rise up, Kepha, slay and eat!” But I said, “Not at all, Master! Because whatever is common or unclean has never entered into my mouth. (Act 11:7-8)
And having heard his report, they all praised the Father, saying,
Then Elohim has indeed also given to the nations repentance to life. (Act 11:18)
Then, those who were scattered because of the persecution passed through to Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except the Jews only. (Act 11:19)
In conclusion of the controversial topic of eating unclean animals, (1) we need to see that Peter’s vision was not about revoking the dietary laws in Leviticus 11, as taught in the Church, but how to introduce righteous non-natives to the Way [the sect of the early believers of Yeshua the Messiah, see Act 9:2, Acts 19:9, Act 19:23, Act 24:14, Act 24:22]; (2) Cornelius was called a righteous man and was accepted in the Jewish community before he had even known the Messiah (see Act 10:36-43) and be immersed (see Act 10:47-48).
In Time of Reckoning Ministry, we have the reason to believe that the act of coming the Set-apart Wind of Elohim on Cornelius and the other righteous Romans was decisive moment in the decision of the Jerusalem Council on how to accept the righteous gentiles in the community of the believers in Yeshua the Messiah, The Way. This we studied in the article “Jerusalem Council and how its decision was distorted by the Church“.
We also believe that what Apostle Shaul wrote in chapters 9, 10, and 11 was concerning those Romans and gentiles who were once grafted in the olive tree of Israel but boasted against the natural branches of Israel,
And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, have been grafted in among them, and came to share the root and fatness of the olive tree, do not boast against the branches. And if you boast, remember: you do not bear the root, but the root bears you! (Rom 11:17-18)
Therefore, by now it should have become obvious that Shimon Kepha had never eaten abominable things before and after his vision from heaven. Neither had the other apostles eaten any unclean animals. They were all Torah-observant believers in Yeshua the Messiah and that is why they were expelled from the Jewish community, because the Pharisees could not admit that one could be Torah-observant and also believer in Yeshua the Messiah: a fact hard to swallow even today.
May we merit seeing the coming of our Mashiach speedily in our days.