- Christogenea Internet Radio
Previous Website Downloads:
Book of Acts Chapter 10, Part 2 - Christogenea Internet Radio 07-26-2013
In the first segment of our presentation of Acts chapter 10, we saw that non-Judaeans, meaning those who had not been circumcised into Judaism regardless of whether they were converts or had been born into it, had not yet been presented with the Gospel message by the apostles. We established this in several ways in our earlier presentation, and it is summarized in Acts chapter 11, at verse 19 where it says: “So then those who were scattered from the tribulation which happened after Stephanos had spread so far as Phoenicia and Kupros and Antiocheia speaking the Word to no one except only to Judaeans.” There is no better proof than this testimony in the Book of Acts itself, that the Ethiopian eunuch and all others to whom the Gospel was brought up to this point were indeed Judaeans dwelling in various places, but who were identified otherwise by citizenship or geography, as we have established from the evidence presented and from reading the accounts in context – rather than lifting a verse or a line or even a single word out of context and using it to support an agenda.
This chapter opens with Peter being at the house of one Simon the Tanner, who was ostensibly a pious Judaean since until this time Peter understood that Judaeans should only keep company with other Judaeans, as we see Peter attest himself at Acts 10:28 that “You know how it is unlawful for a Judaean man to join to or associate with another tribe.” One morning at the house of this Simon, Peter is hungry, and while Simon's servants are preparing his meal he goes up to the rooftop to pray. Knowing that Simon is a pious Judaean, or Peter would not have been staying at his home, it is apparent that Peter should not have been concerned over whether the meal being prepared for him was in accordance with the Scriptural food laws. However Yahweh God purposed to give Peter certain instructions in a vision, and evidently uses Peter's hunger as a device by which those instructions are presented.
Peter then sees in his vision a linen sheet depicting “all the four-footed creatures and reptiles of the earth and birds of heaven”, and he is beckoned to “offer sacrifice, and eat”. Now a vision of “all the four-footed creatures” would ostensibly contain both the clean and the unclean creatures, as they are distinguished in the law. However Peter responds “Not at all, master, because not ever have I eaten anything profane and unclean.” These are Peter's words, and not the words of God. Therefore they do not imply that Peter should eat things deemed unclean by the law. Rather, Yahweh God responded with the words “The things which Yahweh has cleansed, you do not deem profane!”
The questions which must be asked at this point are several. We see in Acts 10:17 that Peter was perplexed with this vision, but realized once the men which Kornelios (Cornelius) had sent had appeared that this was the reason for the vision and that he should accommodate them. However, can we imagine that God cleaned every beast, simply because he showed every beast to Peter on the sheet? And should we interpret the vision according to Peter's reaction, or according to Yahweh's response? As the mainstream denominations do, should we formulate our doctrine based on Peter's response, or should we rather formulate our doctrine based upon on Yahweh's instruction? Since the Word of Yahweh says at Isaiah 55:8 that “my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways”, we had better understand the vision of the linen sheet from Yahweh's answer, and not from Peter's protestation. To do that, we had better understand what are “the things which Yahweh has cleansed”. Therefore last week, giving this presentation, we cited several pertinent Scriptures from the Old Testament, all of which contained promises from Yahweh that He would cleanse the children of Israel in connection with their redemption. Here we shall repeat one instance of that promise, found in Jeremiah 33: “7 And I will cause the captivity of Judah and the captivity of Israel to return, and will build them, as at the first. 8 And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me; and I will pardon all their iniquities, whereby they have sinned, and whereby they have transgressed against me.” There are absolutely no promises of such a cleansing made to anyone else in Scripture, but to the children of Israel. On the cross of Christ Yahweh cleansed the children of Israel of their sins, according to those many prophecies which we have cited. They alone are “the things which Yahweh has cleansed”.
From ancient times, the priesthood of Israel failed to distinguish in the Law of God between the holy and the profane, and the clean and the unclean. These are all different categories. In Ezekiel chapter 22, Yahweh through the prophet is addressing the “princes of Israel” (verse 6), and the “house of Israel” (verse 18). Then Yahweh says (in verses 25 and 26): “25 There is a conspiracy of her prophets in the midst thereof, like a roaring lion ravening the prey; they have devoured souls; they have taken the treasure and precious things; they have made her many widows in the midst thereof. 26 Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shewed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them. 27 Her princes in the midst thereof are like wolves ravening the prey, to shed blood, and to destroy souls, to get dishonest gain. 28 And her prophets have daubed them with untempered morter, seeing vanity, and divining lies unto them, saying, Thus saith the Lord GOD, when the LORD hath not spoken.”
Here in Acts chapter 10, Peter says that he had never eaten anything “common and unclean”, yet Yahweh responds by saying “The things which Yahweh has cleansed, you do not deem common (or profane, as the corresponding Hebrew word is translated in Ezekiel 22:26)!” Yahweh only mentioned what was deemed profane (or common), and this shows that Yahweh was concerned with the profane, but not necessarily with the unclean, even though the sheet contained a vision of all sorts of animals. The things that are unclean in the law are forever unclean, and they cannot be cleansed. Under no circumstances can they ever be sanctified on the altar of Yahweh. The things that are profane are clean under the law, but have not been sanctified. The works of the law, which are the rituals, were done away on the cross of Christ, however the natural laws of our God cannot be done away with. Pigs and dogs are forever unclean, and there is no way to sanctify them. However steer and sheep and other clean animals can indeed be sanctified. Ezekiel 44:23, speaking of the new temple: “And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean.”
However long that Peter was perplexed with this vision is immaterial, for he did that which was warranted and accompanied the men which the Roman centurion Kornelios had sent to him, so that he could then transmit the Gospel to them. Later, Peter indeed realized that the people to whom the Gospel was being transmitted were from the dispersions of Israel, as he writes to them in his epistle at 1 Peter chapter 2: “9 But you are an elect race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people, so that you should proclaim the virtues for which from out of darkness you have been called into the wonder of His light, 10 who at one time were 'not a people' but now are the people of Yahweh, those who 'have not been shown mercy' but are now shown mercy.” With this Peter says things that may only be said of the children of Israel. For elect race, royal priesthood and holy nation are all descriptive of the words spoken of Israel explicitly, at Exodus 19:5-6 and Deuteronomy 14:2 and 26:18. The references to those “not a people” but who are “now shown mercy” belong to a prophecy concerning the children of Israel which was made as they were being put away from Yahweh their God, in the first two chapters of the prophet Hosea. From Hosea 1:10 and 2:23: “10 Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God.... 23 And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God.” When Israel was one with Yahweh, they were holy. When Israel was put away for their idolatry, they became profane, or common. With the mercy of Christ and His sacrifice for them, in the Gospel they could once again become sanctified, as Christ said to His apostles “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you” (John 15:3).
John 17: “15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”
Hebrews 2: “11 For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,”
1 Corinthians 6: “9 Or do you not know that the unjust will not inherit the kingdom of Yahweh? Do not be led astray: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminates, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor railers, nor rapacious shall inherit the kingdom of Yahweh. 11 And these things some of you may have been, but you have cleansed yourselves; moreover you have been sanctified, moreover you have been deemed fit, in the name of Prince Yahshua Christ, and in the Spirit of our God.”
The children of Israel have been sanctified by Yahweh their God on the cross of Christ, and cleanse themselves from their sinful practices once they hear and accept the Gospel.
While in the first part of our Acts 10 presentation we have already presented some of the Old Testament scriptures promising to Israel the cleansing of their sins, there are also Scriptures which prophecy that the Spirit and the Word of God would come to Israel, and these too are promises only given to those selfsame people.
Isaiah 44: “1 Yet now hear, O Jacob my servant; and Israel, whom I have chosen: 2 Thus saith the LORD that made thee, and formed thee from the womb, which will help thee; Fear not, O Jacob, my servant; and thou, Jesurun, whom I have chosen. 3 For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring: 4 And they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water courses. 5 One shall say, I am the LORD'S; and another shall call himself by the name of Jacob; and another shall subscribe with his hand unto the LORD, and surname himself by the name of Israel. 6 Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God. 7 And who, as I, shall call, and shall declare it, and set it in order for me, since I appointed the ancient people? and the things that are coming, and shall come, let them shew unto them.” These Scriptures were fulfilled when the nations of Europe, among whom were those same people Peter wrote to in his epistle, heard and accepted the Gospel. [That Christ is the fountain of this water is evident in Jeremiah 2:13, Zechariah 14:8, John 4:10 and 7:38 and Revelation 7:17.]
Isaiah 52: “1 Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean. [Because only Israel is saved, and all Israel shall be circumcised in heart and clean in the eyes of God.] 2 Shake thyself from the dust; arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem: loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion. [Christ came to release the captives, Luke 4:18.] 3 For thus saith the LORD, Ye have sold yourselves for nought; and ye shall be redeemed without money. [On His cross.] 4 For thus saith the Lord GOD, My people went down aforetime into Egypt to sojourn there; and the Assyrian oppressed them without cause. 5 Now therefore, what have I here, saith the LORD, that my people is taken away for nought? they that rule over them make them to howl, saith the LORD; and my name continually every day is blasphemed. 6 Therefore my people shall know my name: therefore they shall know in that day that I am he that doth speak: behold, it is I. 7 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth! [The word gospel means “good tidings”, as does the original Greek word it is translated from. Paul quoted from this verse at Romans 10:15. This passage is a prophecy of the spread of the Gospel of Christ.] 8 Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the LORD shall bring again Zion. [Zion is the mountain of His people, not the geological mountain.] 9 Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem: for the LORD hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem. [Luke 1:68: “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people”.] 10 The LORD hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God. [This is alluded to at Luke 1:51. The phrase “all the ends of the earth” is an allusion to the dispersion of Israel, which we demonstrated at great length recently in a presentation of Amos chapter 3.] 11 Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the LORD. [Those who bear the “vessels of Yahweh” are only Israelites with that spirit of Yahweh bestowed upon the Adamic race (Genesis 2:7). The word “thing” was added to the text, the reference is to unclean people, for Israel was and is to be a separate people. The word “thing” was also added to the text of the King James Version where Paul later quoted this passage in 2 Corinthians chapter 6. It does not belong in either place.] 12 For ye shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight: for the LORD will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your rereward. 13 Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high. 14 As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men: 15 So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.” This, with the surrounding chapters of Isaiah, are a substantial Messianic prophecy which only includes Israel, and no other peoples. The nations and kings which were sprinkled are the nations and kings of Israel, which Israel had become in the centuries of their separation from Yahweh their God. They are the nations and kings of Paul's commission which he received in Acts chapter 9.
Peter's vision had nothing to do with food, but with people, as is fully evident in verses 19 and 20 of this chapter where it says “19 And upon Petros’ considering about the vision, the Spirit said to him: 'Behold, three men are seeking you, 20 so arising get down and go with them, not making any distinction, because I sent them.'” This is in spite of the fact that the animals and the call to eat were a device used in order to transmit that message. In God's natural law, unclean animals were deemed unfit for good reason, and since they are not fit for consumption they are unable to be sanctified upon the altar. The substance of neither animals nor men has changed since the law was given, and unclean animals are still not fit for consumption. Heaven or hell, your destination will not change for the eating, but you may very well get to it sooner for doing so. More importantly, Esau was a profane person, as Paul explained in Hebrews chapter 12, and the fruits of his profanity, which were the products of his fornication, are bastards which are unclean by the law and are not able to be sanctified. They cannot be cleansed by Yahweh or by men, since Yahweh does not change, and since men cannot persuade Yahweh to change.
In the first part of our presentation of this chapter we left off with Peter descending from the rooftop, greeting the men which Kornelios sent to find him, and inviting them into the home of Simon, where it begins at verse 23: Therefore inviting them in he lodged them.
Then on the next day arising he went with them, and some of the brethren from Ioppa went with him. 24 And the next day he entered into Caesareia. And Kornelios was expecting them, having invited together his kinsmen and the necessary friends.
The Codices Sinaiticus (א), Alexandrinus (A),Ephraemi Syri (C), Laudianus (E) and the Majority Text all have “they entered into Caesareia”; the text follows the Codices Vaticanus (B) and Bezae (D). The 3rd person singular is not unusual, since Biblical narrative most often follows only the central figure in a group.
The Greek phrase τοὺς ἀναγκαίους φίλουςis very literally rendered “the necessary friends” here. While ἀναγκαῖος (316) is literally necessary, Thayer adds citing this verse: “connected by the bonds of nature or of friendship”, and here the King James Version has “near friends”; both of them attribute to the word a meaning it does not ever have, and Thayer practically treats the word as if it were a substitute for the noun φίλος rather than an adjective modifying φίλος, which is a friend. It is clearly evident that the “necessary friends” here are those friends which one is compelled to invite to the major events of one’s life, such as weddings or anniversary celebrations, and that Kornelios viewed Petros’ visit as such an event. The Codex Bezae (D) inserts the words “he waited” at the end of verse 24.
25 And it happened that upon the entering of Petros, Kornelios meeting with him falling at his feet worshipped.
Along with many other variations in this section of Scripture, the Codex Bezae (D)has a much longer version of this verse: “And upon the approaching of Petros to Caesareia one of the servants running ahead announced his arrival. And Kornelios leaping out then met with him, worshipped falling to his feet.”
26 Then Petros raised him saying “Stand up! I myself also am a man!”
We should not reverence any man, or seek to be reverenced by our fellow men, for we have only one Master, and we are all brothers, as Christ Himself tells us at Matthew 23:8.
27 And conversing with him he entered in and finds many gathered together, 28 and he said to them: “You know how it is unlawful for a Judaean man to join to or associate with another tribe.
The fourth century papyri P50 and the Codex Bezae (D) have “...with a man of another tribe.” This once again establishes that until Peter's vision, none of the apostles attempted to convert anyone but Judaeans, which includes the men of the Pentecost, the people of the cities in Samaria, and the Ethiopian eunuch, who was certainly not a negro. This is again corroborated at Acts 11:19, and at Acts 15:7 where Peter is recorded as having said that “Men, brethren, you know that from the first days Yahweh has chosen among you through my mouth for the Nations to hear the account of the good message and to believe.”
The statement made by Peter here was true of the ancient Israelites, that “it is unlawful for a Judaean man to join to or associate with another tribe” beginning with Exodus 19:5, and while some may protest that strangers were allowed to join themselves to Israel (i.e. Exodus 12:48), this was true only of Adamic peoples – people of the same White race as the Israelites – a distinction which is lost with the translation of several different Hebrew words into the same English word stranger, a distinction which was often lost with the translation of those words into Greek, and even a distinction which was lost as the original Hebrew language itself began to become obsolete, and in later books words were used in contexts where they had not been used in the Pentateuch. This is evident comparing certain passages of the Pentateuch with later books, such as those of Chronicles. However after the return from Babylon, Ezra and Nehemiah upheld the commands in the law and separated the Judaeans (who at that time were Israelites who returned to Judaea from captivity) from the Canaanites and other peoples of the land (Nehemiah 9, Ezra 10). Yet by Peter’s time, while his statement here was certainly still true in Scripture, it was not in practice. The Canaanite Edomites, descendants of the accursed Esau (cf. Malachi 1:1-4; Romans 9:1-13) were incorporated into the larger Judaean nation circa 130 B.C. (See Josephus’ Antiquities 13.9.1 and Strabo’s Geography 16.2.34), from which time they practiced Judaism and were considered to be Judaeans. During that period Judaeans also began proselytizing and converting all willing comers through baptism, which we discussed at length here in the first part of our presentation of this chapter of Acts, quoting from the Gospel and from John Lightfoot's commentary. So it should be apparent that the Judaeans had become exclusive on religious terms, and not on the proper terms of race, for they embraced the cursed Edomites and other converts, while they considered their fellow Adamites and the Israelites of the ancient dispersions as profane for not having been circumcised.
Now simply because Peter's statement that “it is unlawful for a Judaean man to join to or associate with another tribe” was really no longer true in practice, did not mean that Peter was not correct about the law, and did not keep it. He certainly was correct about the law and he evidently did keep it as best he could. Peter was not responsible for nor could he have controlled what had happened in Judaea in the centuries before his birth, and neither was he responsible for the actions of nor could he control the people in Jerusalem, or the government of Judaea. We have demonstrated, in our presentation of Acts chapter 5, that the apostles indeed distinguished between the “race of the high priest” and “their own countrymen”, which is evident in verses 6 and 23 of that chapter.
Yet Yahweh has explained to me not to call any man profane or unclean. 29 Wherefore having been summoned I came without contradiction. Therefore I ask, on what account have you summoned me?”
The words “not to call any man profane or unclean” are the words of Peter, and reflect how he initially interpreted the vision. This does not negate the words of Yahweh God, which Peter repeats in Acts chapter 11, where it is recorded again that He said “The things which Yahweh has cleansed, you do not deem profane!” The Book of Acts is a book of transition, as we shall see again both here and in Acts chapter 11. It took the apostles quite some time to reconcile all of these events which occurred in relation to Christ with the context of Moses and the Prophets, and the Old Testament scripture was their constant guide and therefore cannot be dismissed. The proof of their transition, and the proof of their reliance and continued faith in the Old Testament Scriptures, is found both in the later chapters of Acts and in the epistles of these same apostles. The apostles were men, as Peter himself has said here, and they too were learning as they progressed through life.
30 And Kornelios said “From four days ago about this hour, the ninth, I was praying in my house, and behold, a man stood before me in a shining garment.
The ninth hour is 3 PM, where the Codex Bezae (D) has “From the third day until the present hour” and then along with the fourth century papyrus P50 and the Majority Text it reads “I was fasting and praying at the ninth hour”, although there are some variations among those manuscripts in the exact wording. The Codex Laudianus (E) has “I was fasting and praying from the sixth hour until the ninth”; the text of the Christogenea New Testament here agrees with the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Alexandrinus (A), Vaticanus (B) and Ephraemi Syri (C).
As we have before explained, Kornelios received his vision first, and in order for it to be effective Peter also had to receive a vision, so that he would accept the men which Kornelios was instructed to send to him. Likewise, in Acts chapter 9, Ananias and Paul both had to receive corresponding visions, through which Yahweh introduced the two men. With this in mind, if someone ever comes and says that he saw you in a vision and has a message for you, if you had not also received one telling you what to anticipate then you should be highly suspicious of that person.
31 And he said ‘Kornelios, your prayer is heard and your acts of charity are remembered before Yahweh. 32 Therefore send to Ioppa and summon Simon who is called ‘Petros’. He is a guest in the house of Simon a tanner by the sea.’
The Codices Ephraemi Syri (C), Bezae (D), Laudianus (E) and the Majority Text insert into the dialogue at the end of this verse the words “who coming shall speak to you.” The text follows the third century papyrus P45 and the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Alexandrinus (A) and Vaticanus (B). It often seems that early scribes would sort of borrow phrases from other portions of Scripture where the same events were described, but which varied slightly, to fill out the versions of accounts as they were related in various places.
33 Therefore at once I sent to you, and you coming have done rightly.
Kornelios is very confident concerning the nature of his vision, that it was indeed from God and that Peter did rightly to comply.
Therefore now we all before Yahweh are ready to hear all the things having been prescribed to you by the Prince.”
The third century papyrus P45 and the Codices Sinaiticus Alexandrinus (A) and Ephraemi Syri (C) have “from the Prince.” The Majority Text has “by God (or Yahweh).” The text followsthe Codices Sinaiticus (א), and Vaticanus (B), and Laudianus (E). The Codex Bezae (D) has the entire verse: “Therefore at once I sent to you summoning you to come to us, and you coming quickly have done rightly. Therefore now we all before you are willing to hear from you the things prescribed to you from Yahweh.”
34 And Petros opening his mouth said “With truth I comprehend that Yahweh is not a respecter of the stature of persons, 35 but in each nation he fearing Him and performing righteousness is acceptable to Him. 36 He sent the account to the sons of Israel preaching the good message of peace through Yahshua Christ, who is Prince of all.
As for the phrase “but in each nation”, where the King James Version has “every nation”: the Greek word παντί is the Dative singular of πᾶς (3956), which is “all, the whole”, and as Liddell & Scott explain it also has an idiomatic usage equivalent to ἕκαστος (1538), which is “each, every”. [See Liddell & Scott, πᾶς, A., III.] If the words were plural then they should be translated “all nations” or “every nation”, as the plural of the Greek word πᾶς is more naturally used. This seems to be a minor difference, however a consistently proper reading of the Greek eliminates many of the universalist nuances given to the Scripture by the translators.
Now to address the Greek word προσωπολήμπτης, which in this form occurs only here in the New Testament, and which in the Christogenea New Testament is a respecter of the stature or status of persons. The related word προσωπολημψία appears three times in the epistles of Paul and also in James chapter 2, which defines the word well. Many commentators would insist that the use of these words in Scripture somehow proves that Yahweh God does not distinguish between the races, however that assertion is contradicted in many places. As James illustrates in the second chapter of his epistle, this idea rather describes such a difference as that between a wealthy man and a poor man, and he gives a lengthy example:
James 2: “1 My brethren, do not with respect of the stature of persons hold the faith of our Prince Yahshua Christ of honor. 2 For if perhaps a man should enter into your assembly hall with a gold ring in a shining garment, and a beggar should enter in a filthy garment, 3 then you should look upon he wearing the shining garment and say 'You sit here comfortably', and to the beggar you should say 'You stand there', or 'Sit beneath my footstool', 4 have you not made a distinction among yourselves and become judges of evil reasonings? 5 Listen, my beloved brethren: has Yahweh not chosen the beggars in society to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? 6 But you dishonor the beggar? Do the wealthy not exercise power over you, and they themselves drag you into trial? 7 Do they themselves not blaspheme the good name labeled upon you?”
The “stature [status] of persons” here had nothing to do with race, since both Romans and Judaeans were at the time racially indistinguishable except for their status, which included their dress and customs such as circumcision. Flavius Josephus, in Book 12 of his Antiquities of the Judaeans, explains that if the Judaeans hid the circumcision of their genitals, they could “appear to be Greeks” even if they were naked (Antiquities 12:241). Notice that James compares the treatment of the wealthy to the poor, and says that by discriminating against the poor “have you not made a distinction among yourselves and become judges of evil reasonings?” With this language, James affirms that the wrongful distinction being made is among the recipients of his epistle, and not between those recipients and any outsiders. James' epistle is addressed to the “twelve tribes scattered abroad”, and to nobody else. Therefore he is telling those people that they should not discriminate amongst themselves. The phrase “respecter of persons” must be understood within the context of all of the promises of Scripture which are exclusive to Israel, and the commandments that Israel is to remain exclusive, found in the New Testament in such places as 2 Corinthians chapter 6 and 1 Peter chapter 2. This word προσωπολήμπτης and the related words and relevant phrases are not to be understood in contradiction to the promises and commandments. Therefore it is a respecter of the status of persons, and it has nothing to do with race, for the non-Adamic races are never included in the covenants of Israel, Old Testament or New. While Peter mentions “each nation”, he then says that Yahweh God “sent the account to the sons of Israel”, and Peter never intends to transgress that statement, because the Scripture cannot be broken.
37 You know the report which came throughout the whole of Judaea beginning from Galilaia with the immersion which Iohannes proclaimed: 38 Yahshua from Nazareth, how Yahweh anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, who passed through [this phrase is translated very literally; the third century papyrus P45 has “who went about”] doing good deeds and healing all those being overpowered by the False Accuser, since Yahweh was with Him.
Peter is confident that these Romans, who must have been in Judaea for considerable time, had heard of John the Baptist and of Yahshua Christ. Reports of the things which transpired in relation to these men and the ministry of Christ, as well as His crucifixion and resurrection, must have circulated far and wide, and they must have persisted among the people until the time when Christianity finally became the accepted religious paradigm of the greater society.
Here Peter sees those who were sick as having been “oppressed of the devil”, as the King James Version has the phrase in Acts 10:38. It may have been translated “all those being ruled over by the Devil”, the Codex Laudianus has “Satan”, or “the Adversary”. At Luke 11:52 Christ tells those supposing to be teachers of the Law of God: “Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.” The entire world, or society, is in a state of wickedness, as the apostle John says (1 John 5:18) “the whole world lieth in wickedness”. In Luke and in Matthew, in chapter 4 of each Gospel, we learn that the “devil”, or False Accuser, as I am wont to literally translate the word diabolos, rules over “all the kingdoms of the world”.
It is evident that illness and disease and all of the plagues of man were seen as having come from the fall of Adam and the events described in Genesis chapter 3, since the devil, or False Accuser, is one and the same as the serpent, and also those original “fallen angels” which revolted from Yahweh God, as it is described in Revelation chapter 12. These are the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and with Adam's fall they rule this world unto this day. The deceit of these people, and the fallen state of Adamic man, are the reasons why we have sickness and death in the world today.
Paul of Tarsus explains this in Romans chapter 5, where he says that “just as by one man sin entered into the Society, and by that sin death, and in that manner death has passed to all men, on account that all have done wrong”, and he is referring to Adam and his descendants. Then Paul says that “in the transgression of one many die”, and “in the transgression of one, death has taken reign through that one”, still referring to Adam, with the “many” again referring to his descendants. And then Paul says that “in life they”, meaning all Adamic men, “ will reign through the one, Yahshua Christ”, which he explains is the gift of favor of God which He has in store for Adamic man. Then Paul again says “So then, as that one transgression is for all men for a sentence of condemnation, in this manner then through one decision of judgment for all men is for a judgment of life”, where we see again that all Israel shall be saved. Finally Paul says in this regard “Therefore even as through the disobedience of one man”, meaning Adam, “the many”, meaning the sons of Adam, “were set down as wrongdoers, in this manner then through the obedience of One” meaning Christ, “the many”, meaning the sons of Adam, “will be established as righteous” (cf. Romans 5:12, 15, 18, 19).
While it is not the main purpose of his message in 1 Corinthians chapter 11, Paul of Tarsus makes a statement concerning how Christians should hold themselves in distinction to others, and if they do not, their health shall indeed suffer for it. Here is one respect where the teachers of the law failed, by not distinguishing the clean and the unclean, the common and the holy. Here from the Christogenea New Testament, from 1 Corinthians 11:27-32: “27 Consequently, whoever would eat the wheat-bread or drink the cup of the Prince unworthily, will be liable of the body and blood of the Prince. 28 But a man must scrutinize himself, and thus from of the wheat-bread let him eat, and from of the cup let him drink. 29 For he that is eating and is drinking, eats and drinks condemnation for himself, not distinguishing the body. 30 For this reason there are among you many feeble and sickly, and plenty have fallen asleep. 31 If then we had made a distinction of ourselves, perhaps we would not be judged. 32 But being judged, by the Prince we are disciplined, in order that we would not be condemned with the Society.” One chapter earlier, in 1 Corinthians chapter 10, Paul explained to the Corinthians that they were descended from the Old Testament Israelites, and indeed, history shows that they were. Here Paul explains that the world is condemned, and the children of Israel are to be granted mercy, but that they would have less disease and premature death if they made a distinction of themselves in the world. The statement that Christians would not be condemned with the world is the significance of the exclusive promise of salvation to Israel, only descendants of ancient Israel properly being Christians.
39 And we are witnesses of all which He [meaning Yahshua Christ] did both in the land of the Judaeans and in Jerusalem, whom they then had killed, hanging upon a tree. 40 Him Yahweh raised in the third day and offered Him to be manifest 41 not to all the people, but to those witnesses chosen beforehand by Yahweh, to us, we who ate together and drank together with Him after His resurrection from the dead.
Peter did not need to describe at length the things which Christ had done, because as we have seen, these Romans must have already heard all of these reports. Rather, Peter only attests to them that he and his companions were among the original witnesses of the ministry of Christ. This also indicates that at least some of the original disciples, and perhaps some of the twelve, were among those men who accompanied Peter from Joppa.
The Codices Bezae (D) and Laudianus (E) have “forty days after His resurrection”, and though varying slightly each uses the customary alphabet symbol for forty, μ', rather than spelling the word out. Everywhere in Luke’s writing numbers are spelled out, except in various differences among a minority of manuscripts, especially the Codex Bezae (D). Of course, the first Christian Pentecost and the dispensation of the Spirit was roughly 47 days after the Resurrection.
42 And He instructed us to proclaim and to affirm to the people that it is He [meaning Christ] who is appointed Judge of the living and the dead by Yahweh. 43 To this did all the prophets witness: all those believing in Him are to receive remission for errors through His Name.”
Peter's appeal to the prophets can only be in the context of what the prophets had said, that all those of Israel would receive this remission of their sins, both Israel of the remnant in Judaea, and uncircumcised so-called “lost” Israel which had long since divided into many nations. There is nowhere in the prophets where it is implied that people who are not descended from the ancient Israelites can share in these things. Isaiah 45:25: “In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.”
44 As Petros was speaking these sayings the Holy Spirit fell upon all of those hearing the Word. 45 And those believers of the circumcision, as many as had come with Petros, were astonished that also upon the nations is the gift of the Holy Spirit poured out. 46 For they heard them speaking in languages and extolling Yahweh. Then Petros responded 47 “Is any man able to forbid water for them, not to be immersed, who received the Holy Spirit even as we?” 48 And he commanded them to be immersed in the Name of Yahshua Christ. Then they asked him to abide for some days.
Notice that the Holy Spirit descended on these people without any water baptism having yet taken place. It took Peter himself some time to realize what had happened here, and when he does realize it, he also realizes and professes the implications. Peter says in Acts 11: “15 And with my beginning to speak the Holy Spirit fell upon them, even as also upon us in the beginning. 16 Then I remembered the saying of the Prince as He spoke: ‘Indeed Iohannes immersed in water, but you shall be immersed in the Holy Spirit.’” For this very reason, this is the last time that water is used in relation to baptism in the New Testament. The Book of Acts is a book of transition, and this was indeed one of those transitions.
The baptism of John was a baptism of cleansing in water that was instituted before the cross of Christ, and it was a matter prophesied in Malachi chapter 3. It had implications in fulfilling the law in relation to the proper sacrifice of the Lamb of God: for both the priests and the sacrifice had to be cleansed, and John the Baptist was appointed to conduct that cleansing. From this point on, water is not again mentioned in connection with baptism, anywhere in the rest of Acts. Rather, when Priscilla and Aquila had first encountered Apollos, who had only known the baptism of John, which was a baptism in water, they corrected him, as we read in the last verses of Acts chapter 18: “24 And a certain Judaean name Apollos, an Alexandrian by birth, a learned man, arrived in Ephesos, who was capable in the writings. 25 He was instructed in the way of the Prince and being fervent in spirit he spoke and taught precisely the things concerning Yahshua, knowing only the immersion of Iohannes. 26 And he began to speak openly in the assembly hall. And Priskilla and Akulas hearing him took him aside and more precisely exhibited the way of Yahweh to him. 27 And upon his wishing to pass through to Achaia, the brethren wrote to the students urging them to accept him, who arriving greatly helped those who believed through favor. 28 For vigorously did he thoroughly confute the Judaeans in public, exhibiting through the writings Yahshua to be the Christ.” With this we see that the baptism of John in water was not considered to be the precise way of Yahweh – for the need for such a baptism had passed.
Likewise, when Paul had later encountered certain men who knew only the baptism of John, we see this account in Acts chapter 19: “1 And it came to pass, with Apollos being in Korinth, Paul had passed through the highlands to come down into Ephesos and finding certain students 2 then said to them 'So believing have you received the Holy Spirit?' And they to him 'Rather we have not heard if there is a Holy Spirit.' 3 And he said 'In what have you been immersed?' And they said 'In the immersion of Iohannes.' 4 Then Paul said 'Iohannes immersed with an immersion of repentance for the people saying in Him coming after him that they should believe, that is in Yahshua.' 5 And hearing they were immersed in the Name of Prince Yahshua, 6 and with Paul’s laying hands upon them came the Holy Spirit upon them, and they spoke in languages and prophesied. 7 And they were in total about twelve men.”
Therefore at Ephesians 5:25-26 we read that “Christ has also loved the assembly, and had surrendered Himself for it, 26 in order that He would consecrate it, cleansing it in the bath of the water in the word.” And at I Peter 3:21 we read that it is “Not a putting away of the filth of the flesh but a demand of a good conscience for Yahweh, through the resurrection of Yahshua Christ” which is important. Paul says at Ephesians 4:5 that we have one baptism, and it is evident that such a baptism is in His death, for which we may compare Luke 12:50 where Christ states that “Now I have an immersion to be immersed in” with Romans 6:3 where Paul states that “Or are you ignorant that as long as we are immersed in Christ Yahshua, into His death we are immersed?” Yahshua prays at John 17:7 for Yahweh to “17 Sanctify them in the truth. Your Word is truth.” The children of Israel sanctify themselves upon receiving that truth, because Yahweh has cleansed them on the cross of Christ, and no immersion conducted by men can augment that cleansing.