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From Every Nation That Feareth Him
by Wayne Blank
"But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean."
"And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven." (Acts 10:9-16 KJV)
"God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth Him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with Him"
Christianity began as a Jewish religion. Jesus Christ was a Jew, nearly all of the apostles were Jews, and most of the first Christians were Jews. The only difference between them and other Jews is that they recognized the long-awaited Messiah when He came while the others didn't.
As a Jew, Peter adhered to God's dietary laws of Clean and Unclean food. As recorded in the verses above, it was while attending to his noonday prayer, with lunch very much on his mind after an arduous morning journey, that The Lord used food as an analogy for the revealing of more truth - that the Messiah was the Messiah for all people. The vision wasn't about thereafter being allowed to eat unclean food (the Book of Revelation makes clear that the clean and unclean dietary laws are permanent e.g. "Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird." Revelation 18:2 KJV), but rather that "What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common" because thereafter anyone who repents and obeys God is among the "chosen people" (see Physical and Spiritual Israel)
In Peter's own words:
"And 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 showed me that I should not call any man common or unclean ... Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth Him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with Him" (Acts 10:28,34-35 KJV)
And then an undeniable demonstration of that truth by the Holy Spirit:
"While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost [see The Holy Ghost and The Holy Spirit] fell on all them which heard the word. And 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. For they heard them speak with tongues [i.e. other Languages], and magnify God." "Then answered Peter, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days."
Fact Finder: How did baptism originate? What is the purpose of baptism in water?