Meat In The Sheet - Acts 10
“Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour:
10 And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance,
11 And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending upon him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth:
12 Wherein were all manner of four-footed beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.
13 And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat.
14 But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.
15 And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.
16 This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven.” (Acts 10:9-16)
“And the Lord said, Even thus shall the children of Israel eat their defiled bread among the Gentiles, whither I will drive them.
14 Then said I (Ezekiel), Ah Lord God! behold, my soul hath not been polluted: for from my youth up even till now have I not eaten of that which dieth of itself, or is torn in pieces; neither came there abominable flesh into my mouth.” (Ezekiel 4:13-14)
Last Shabbat I spoke about Peter’s vision of the sheet coming down from heaven with all manner of critters in it. However, I failed to hit the record button (grrrrr!) and the message wasn’t recorded. I decided, therefore, to write about it in a blog.
We’re all familiar with the passage in Acts about Peter and the sheet. The common understanding is that God was showing Peter that the Old Testament Law and its instructions/restrictions were now done away in Jesus. Therefore believers on the other side of the Cross, Peter was supposed to understand, are now free to eat whatever they want.
Years ago I heard my favorite preacher, Lester Roloff, preach about how the dietary instructions are still beneficial for God’s people now. You see, Lester believed we’re supposed to eat according to the guidelines God set forth in His Word — including the Old Testament.
He made no distinction between the Jews and what they were to eat under Law or the Christians and what they can now eat under Grace. This was a new concept for me since all the preachers I knew didn’t see it the way Lester did.
A couple of things he said have stuck with me over the past 40 years.
First he said: “You wouldn’t eat a buzzard would you? Well, a hog is in the same category as the buzzard!” I thought that made logical sense.
Second, he gave an illustration. An old preacher was invited to eat dinner with some believers. He was asked to say Grace before the meal. On the table in front of them was a ham for the meal. The preacher prayed: “God, if You can bless under Grace what You cursed under Law, GO AHEAD!” Again, that made logical sense to me.
So I embarked upon my personal journey to find out what Peter’s sheet vision was really all about.
Quite a while ago (years) I was reading through Ezekiel again when I came upon chapter 4 and verses 13 and 14. Ezekiel’s response to God sounded an awful lot like what Peter said to God. That got me wondering if there was some sort of connection/similarity between these passages.
Here’s what I concluded. Mind you now, this is original with me. I have since then, however, found a respected Christian commentator that made the same connection as I.
The sheet vision has nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with what food we are now free to eat in the new “Dispensation of Grace” (which I don’t subscribe to). It did, however, have everything to do with the coming Diaspora of God’s people and how it would affect them.
They were, for the first time in their recent history, going to be forced to live outside the Land amongst Gentiles with no access to the Temple. The destruction of the Temple, with its ramifications, would be a spiritual crisis that would rock their world.
They would have to navigate through such things as:
Living among what was commonly considered to be “unclean” people — Gentiles.
Eating “common” food.
Let me give you just one of the notes I used when I preached this. PLEASE, take the time to read it. It is very good. And, it’s not from a Hebrew Roots/Messianic source either.
Cambridge Bible Commentary Ezk. 4:13
“Eat their defiled bread] — This is the meaning of the symbol: the food which the people shall eat among the nations will be unclean. In a pathetic passage of Hosea it is said: “they shall not dwell in the Lord’s land; but Ephraim shall eat unclean food in Assyria. They shall not pour out wine offerings to the Lord, neither shall their sacrifices be pleasing unto him; their bread shall be unto them as the bread of mourners, all that eat thereof shall be polluted; for their bread shall be for their appetite; it shall not come into the house of the Lord” (ch. Ezekiel 9:3-4 R.V. marg.). A foreign land was in itself unclean (Amos 7:17), no presence of Jehovah sanctified it; all food eaten in it was also common for it was not hallowed by part of it being brought into the house of the Lord and offered to him. Food eaten among the heathen was as the bread of mourners in Israel, all who partook of it were polluted. But as the words of the prophet suggest (Ezekiel 4:14) in addition to this general uncleanness the people were forced in their straits or induced to eat many things actually prohibited by the Law, such as that which died of itself or was torn by wild beasts (ch. Ezekiel 44:31; Leviticus 17:15; Deuteronomy 14:21. Comp. Isaiah 65:4). And it is natural that in the sore famine during the siege such unclean food was eaten, as indeed more terrible practices prevailed (ch. Ezekiel 5:10).”
If you read Ezekiel chapter 4, you’ll notice that God is having Ezekiel act out the devastating effects the coming siege of Jerusalem will have on the people of God. God is trying to get His people (those already in captivity with Ezekiel and those that will face the coming siege of Jerusalem) to repent and turn back to Him. Since they won’t turn back to God and His ways, they will be dispersed among the “unclean” Gentiles eating “common” foods.
That’s the exact same thing God was showing Peter and what Peter was to make clear to the people of God in his time. They too needed to repent and turn back to Him. Otherwise, they would undergo what the folks in Ezekiel’s time went through.
I would like to submit that IS the meaning of the sheet vision.
With that said, let me say this …
Once again Satan has used slight of hand (slight of Scripture) to divert God’s people away from a core truth that he (Satan) doesn’t want them to understand.
What is that?
That God AND HIS WORD change not. They are the same yesterday, today and forever. If God doesn’t change, then God’s Word doesn’t change. — Makes logical sense … right?
The full power and effectiveness of the Bible is only possible if it remains one cohesive whole. If Satan can get us to DIVIDE the Scriptures, then he can CONQUER us! Don’t you think a master strategist would take full advantage of that? I do.
One of the fiery darts Satan has sent our way goes something like this:
“The LAW was for those disobedient Jews but GRACE is for you New Testament believers. No more food restrictions. No more crazy feasts and holidays of the Jews. Because of Jesus, you can now eat what you want and follow your own man-made holidays and traditions. After all … you don’t want to be Jews, do you?”
And so … because we’ve DIVIDED up the Word Satan has CONQUERED us.
We’re still in the Diaspora living among “unclean” people eating “common” food. — That bacon doesn’t smell quite so good now, does it?
We have to understand that all of God’s Word is still applicable within the confines and restrictions of being without the Temple and the Priesthood. Until Yeshua returns, our lives are to be directed by the Torah. Those aspects of the Torah we can’t do, we’re to leave in the hands of God.
Don’t you think Yeshua wants to clean up His Bride before He comes back for Her? Don’t you feel a little soiled? I know I could use a some sprucing up.
That’s precisely what He’s doing in our time. He’s turning back the hearts and lives of His Bride to His ways, His instructions, His Torah — Genesis to Revelation.
I beg of you to examine/test what I’ve said. There’s too much at stake not to.
God is moving. God is calling His people back to His Torah in preparation for the return of the Groom for His Bride.
Do you really want to be feasting on a buzzard when He comes back?
I TROW NOT!
Think about it.