Acts 10 & 11 does away with God's dietary instructions... or do we have our wires crossed?
So often believers today think that God loves them and is concerned about everything they do, except what they eat. Our Father wants the best for us in our spiritual lives, in our relationships, work, etc. but when it comes to food, not so much.
Many use the account of Peter's vision to try and prove God's dietary insctructions found in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14 have been done away with. Since we are called to be like the Bereans, let us study this matter to see if it is true.
The majority of people who use Peter's vision quote the following...
"Then he became very hungry and wanted to eat; but while they made ready, he fell into a trance 11 and saw heaven opened and an object like a great sheet bound at the four corners, descending to him and let down to the earth. 12 In it were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. 13 And a voice came to him, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” 14 But Peter said, “Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.” 15 And a voice spoke to him again the second time, “What God has cleansed you must not call common.”
Now if this was the only thing that happened, then yes we might take this as a conclusion of the Father's dietary instructions, but there is much more to consider. There are questions we have to ask, like 'What did Peter have to say about all this?' Let find out and read what Peter said about this vision...
"Then he (Peter) said to them (Cornelius' household), “You know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation (man-made tradition of men). But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean. 29 Therefore I came without objection as soon as I was sent for. I ask, then, for what reason have you sent for me?” Acts 10:28-29
Notice this VERY important comment by Peter... BUT GOD HAS SHOWN ME THAT I SHOULD NOT CALL ANY MAN COMMON OR UNCLEAN. In other words the vision was not about food but rather that gentiles were consider 'unclean' when they were not. Also notice there is NO mention of anything about God's dietary instructions being done away with. You see at that time the Jews thought salvation was only for them. If we continue reading we see that Peter preached the gospel and it resulted in something very special...
"While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. 45 And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God." Acts 10:44-46
This was an unprecedented event. Not only was the gospel preached and received by the gentiles, the gift of the Holy Spirit was given to them as well. Peter even gives an account of this here...
"And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning. 16 Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, ‘John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17 If therefore God gave them the same gift as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God?” Acts 11:15-18
Even when those who held to the man-made tradition/law of "eating with a gentile is a sin and makes one unclean" but still believed in the Messiah, Peter told them what happened...
"If therefore God gave them the same gift as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God?” 18 When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, “Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.” Acts 11:17-18
Notice there is absolutely NO mention of God's dietary instructions being revoked or done away with. At no time do we see Peter teaching after this time that Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14 were no longer valid instructions from the Father. Rather it was that salvation came to the Gentiles with proof the Holy Spirit being poured out upon them! So when we look at Peter's vision from the Father we have to ask, why did He did it that way?
Teaching in a Hebrew mindset
What most people today don't understand is that the Hebrew mindset and way of teaching is vastly different than what we experience here in the United States. In the U.S. we are don't care about the other person, we only care about being right. We don't care about letting others save face, or letting the scriptures instruct them - rather many use the scriptures to prove they are more 'holy' or have more authority than others and that is not how the Father wants us to act. Remember when He told everyone should be treated the same, without partialilty in all the scriptures. When the Father gave Peter the vision it was to solidify His commandments and that they do not change, for He Himself said "I change not" ref. Malachi 3 & that He is the same yesterday, today and forever ref. Hebrews 13:8. This way of teaching is foreign to most people today but it was commonplace back then.
Now I experienced this type of teaching technique when I working with an electrician. I was learning how install electrical devices in a commercial building, but I accidently switched two wires and had connected them in the wrong place. The electrican who was teaching me saw the error and said "Where is the hot wire supposed be hooked up to?" I replied with the correct answer. He asked me again "Where is the hot wire supposed to be hooked up to?".
I almost gave him the same answer but then I checked my work. What he did was allow me to save face and correct the situation instead of doing what I thought was right. Yea the electrician could have cussed me out and belittled me but he focused on the electrical code that tells you exactly how these things are supposed to be installed. By concentrating on that instead of what I thought was right, the devices were installed correctly.
In the same manner our Father took the time with Peter and had him focus on the commandments that never change. In doing this Peter was not swayed by the man-made laws and traditions of men that had infected the faith.
The Test of Time: What do we see in the Future?
Another consideration that many believers do not take into account is the future. If our Father is the same, yesterday and forever; and He does not change, then we can use this to test things such as whether or not the dietary instructions have been done away with. Here is a simple test...
If God's dietary laws have been done away, then we should not see any reference to them in the writtings of the prophets, especially in prophesies that deal with future times. If we do not see any then its a huge indicator that His dietary instructions have ceased and we can eat anything we want. So let us check the following.
Isaiah 65:4 "Who sit among the graves, And spend the night in the tombs; Who eat swine’s flesh, And the broth of abominable things is in their vessels;"
Isaiah 66:17 “Those who sanctify themselves and purify themselves, To go to the gardens after an idol in the midst, eating swine’s flesh and the abomination and the mouse, shall be consumed together,” says the Lord."
Now all theologians agree that Isaiah 65 and 66 is about a time which is still in our future - if that is true, then why do we see God's dietary laws still in effect? Simple, they were never done away with. Perhaps Yeshua/Jesus knew that people would try to do away with the commandments which were given for our benifit and blessing when He said...
"Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 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 5:17-18
Since Heaven and Earth are still here, so too are the Father's dietary instructions. So the next time someone trys to tell you the Father's dietary instructions have been done away with because of Peter's vision in Acts 10 & 11, fill them in on the truth. Shalom, Stephen