Many times in the New Testament Jesus is given the title of “Christ”. The title “Christ” holds the same meaning as the Old Testament title “Messiah”. Both of these titles possess a similar meaning, “one that is anointed”.
Why are these two titles for Jesus so important? It is based on the Old Testament practice of the anointing prophets (1 Kings 19:16), priests (Nums 3:3), and kings (1 Kings 19:16). The public anointing of these office holders revealed that they have been given God’s authority and enabling to hold their perspective offices.
Based upon this Old Testament practice, understanding that Jesus was “the Anointed One” reveals to us that Jesus has received God’s authority to hold the offices of “Prophet”, “Priest” and “King”.
In this study, we will be making a quick search for proofs that Christ exercised this divine authority as Our Prophet, Our Priest, and Our King, thus proving that He truly was anointed by God.
(1) The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; (2) To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; (3) To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.
(13) When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? (14) And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. (15) He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? (16) And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
(20) Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.
(37) That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; (38) How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.
(8) But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. 9) Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.
In the Old Testament, there are many texts which speak of the Messiah, or “the Anointed One”. These texts describe the individual who will be anointed by God to perform many different earthly, and heavenly ministries…
Isa 61:1-3 – “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.”
Heb 1:8-9 – “But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.”
Jesus was anointed by his Heavenly Father with the Holy Spirit as the Spirit came down upon Him at His baptism…
Act 10:37-38 – “That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.”
So in Matthew 16:13-20 the Lord was not only emphasizing His position before the Father as “the Christ” (“the Anointed One”), but also he was emphasizing the ministries he was performing at His first coming as God’s Prophet, Priest and King.
Mat 16:13-20 – “When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.”
While on earth, and immediately afterward, Christ fulfilled all three roles that His Father had given to Him…
- Prophet – During Christ’s ministry on earth, He delivered the Father’s message to the people…
Joh 12:49 – “For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.”
Joh 14:10 – “Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.”
- Priest – During Christ’s ministry on earth, He acted as Priest making intercession and sacrifice for His people…
Joh 17:9 -16 – “I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them. And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled. And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world…”
Joh 10:11-15 – “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.”
- King – immediately following His ascension Christ was seated at His Father’s right hand and began His reign as King of King and Lord of Lords…
Mar 16:19 – “So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.”
Act 2:32-35 – “This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Until I make thy foes thy footstool.”
Folks, every time we speak of “Jesus Christ, the Messiah” we are affirming that Jesus is the promised King, Prophet, and Priest sent from God to rule, intercede for, and sacrifice Himself for God’s people.
Do we believe, with a God-given faith, that Jesus is our Christ? Has He died for us? Does He intervene for us? Does He rule over our hearts and lives?
If we can answer “yes” to all of these questions, we have been delivered from our sins and are eternally secure in Him. If we cannot say “yes” to these questions then we have to question our standing before God.
May we all come to a saving faith in Him, placing all of our trust in Him as the Prophet, Priest and King of our lives.
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“Charity never faileth: but whether [there be] prophecies, they shall fail; whether [there be] tongues, they shall cease; whether [there be] knowledge, it shall vanish away.” (1 Corinthians 13:8)
In our previous studies we have seen that there are three basic types of Accrediting Gifts which include several gifts under each type. In the above passage, we find each type of Accrediting Gift is represented by one gift from each type …
|Type Of Accrediting Gift||Gifts Included In This Type||Representative Gift Mentioned In1 Cor 13:8|
|Supernatural Revelation Of The Truth||The Word Of Wisdom, The Word of Knowledge||Word of Knowledge (or Knowledge)|
|Supernatural Indicators Of The Truth||Faith, Gifts Of Healing, Working Of Miracles, Prophecy, Discerning Of Spirits||Prophecy (or Prophecies)|
|Supernatural Proclamation Of The Truth||Divers Kinds Of Tongues, Interpretation Of Tongues||Diverse Types Of Tongues (or Tongues)|
Please note the above verse (1 Cor 13:8), which includes one representative gift from each group, makes it plain that each type of Accrediting Gift will come to an end at some point in time. We now will turn our attention to the question at what point in time will these gifts go out of existence?
In this study, we will see that this question is answered by the Word of God using several different lines of teaching which all present the same answer for us. This will be the lines of teaching that we will be studying:
I. The Coming Of “That Which Is Perfect”
II. The 70 Year Accreditation Time Span
III. The Death Of The Apostles
IV. The Supernatural Beginning / Natural Perpetuation Of God’s Workings
V. The Prophecies of False Miracles In The “Last Days”
Our texts for this lesson are:
1) And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
2) And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
3) And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
4) And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2:1-4)
14) Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:
15) Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:
16) (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)
17) Then laid they [their] hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.
18) And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money,
19) Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.
20) But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.
21) Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.
22) Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.
23) For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and [in] the bond of iniquity.
24) Then answered Simon, and said, Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me.
25) And they, when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, returned to Jerusalem, and preached the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans. (Acts 8:14-25)
44) While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.
45) 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.
46) For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,
47) Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?
48) And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.
1) And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,
2) He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.
3) And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism.
4) Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
5) When they heard [this], they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
6) And when Paul had laid [his] hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.
7) And all the men were about twelve. (Acts 19:1-7)
To begin this part of our study, I would like us to notice how the spiritual gifts were received based upon the historical accounts found in the Bible:
|Text||Description||Manner of Receipt of Gifts|
|Acts 2:1-4||Jewish Church at Jerusalem (Pentecost)||Baptism of Local Church In Holy Spirit By Christ|
|Acts 8:14-25||Jewish/Gentile Church at Samaria||Laying On Of Apostle’s Hands|
|Acts 10:44-48||Gentile Church In Cornelius House||Baptism of Local Church In Holy Spirit By Christ|
|Acts 19:1-7||Gentile Church at Ephesus||Laying On Of Apostle’s Hands|
Based upon the above breakdown of events, we can see several things:
1. Spiritual gifts were never given to a single individual, but only to local assemblies of believers
2. There were two ways that spiritual gifts were received by a local assembly:
a. Sovereign act of Christ (assembly baptized in Spirit)
b. Act of Christ through human instrument (Apostle’s hands laid upon assembly)
3. Christ baptized His assemblies in the Holy Spirit only twice (once to accredit Jewish assembly, once to accredit Gentile assembly)
4. The Apostles laid their hands on assemblies several times (two are recorded but others implied in Rom 1:10-12, 2 Cor 12:11-12 etc)
If the Lord accredited a Jewish assembly once (Jerusalem at Pentecost), and a Gentile assembly once (Cornelius church) why would the apostles continue to grant these gifts via laying on of hands? They did it to “establish” the ministries of the local assemblies (Romans 1:10-12). This involved two different aspects:
1. They did it to grant the individual churches the gifts of the Spirit which they could use to effectively fulfill their individual ministries.
2. They did it to give the assemblies’ proof of that their ministry was valid in God’s sight. Remember, at this point in time, the NT was not yet completed and there was still great disagreement concerning:
a. the local church as the house of God
b. the inclusion of Gentiles in the worship of Jehovah
By giving these gifts to the individual assemblies it would help to silence any question of their validity. I believe this is why the Apostle Paul so greatly desired to impart these gifts to other assemblies through the laying on of his hands (Romans 1:10-12)
(Please note: with the completion of the New Testament scriptures and the record of these events, churches no longer need these gifts for accreditation. Local churches are now clearly understood to be the place of worship for Christians of both Jewish and Gentile lineage based upon the preserved New Testament record.)
We have two final Scriptures that we need to examine closely…
1. The issue of 2 Corinthians 12:11-12…
Please notice that the ability to grant the spiritual gifts with the laying on of hands was exclusively given to those who help the office of Apostle. In 2 Corinthians 12:11-12, he explains to church at Corinth that he was to be considered among the “chiefest of apostles” because when he was visiting with the Corinth church that “Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.”
Now, if we take a minute to think about what Paul was saying, it holds a very important point for all of us. Based upon the historical accounts that we have listed above (Acts 2:,8:,10:,19:), we can see that the exercise of patience, signs, wonders, and mighty deeds were not limited to the office of Apostle. In several of these events, it is clear to see that the entire assembly of believers shared in the exercise of these gifts. These gifts WERE NOT exclusive to the office of Apostle.
So how could these gifts distinguish Paul unquestioningly as “among the chiefest of apostles”? I believe it was his ability to give these gifts to the assembly through the laying on of his hands. What he was saying was this…. When you see yourselves exercising patience, signs, wonders and mighty deeds, it is proof an Apostle was among you. The laying on of a genuine Apostle’s hands must have taken place for you to be able to do these great works of God. No counterfeit Apostle had this ability.
2. The issue of 2 Timothy 1:6-7
In this text, Paul describes the “the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands”. Here the “gift of God” Paul is describing is Timothy’s call to the ministry; the “putting on of my hands” of which Paul speaks is describing Timothy’s ordination.
Paul is not describing Timothy’s receipt of the spiritual gifts as an individual (remember the spiritual gifts are exclusively given to local assemblies, never to a single individual), but he is referring to Timothy’s calling of God and his ordination (his public separation to the gospel ministry). If we read further Paul makes it plain that, based upon the calling that was upon Timothy, Timothy was to faithfully minister the truths of God to those put under his watchcare (vs 8-12). In the context, nothing is said about the exercise of the accrediting gifts of God.
The Lord has only sovereignly baptized local assemblies in the Holy Spirit twice, once to accredit Jewish assemblies, once to accredit Gentile assemblies. There is no reason for Him to repeat this action. Nor do we find any Biblical accounts of Him repeating this.
The only other way that spiritual gifts could be received by local assemblies was through the laying on of hands of Apostolic office holders. If this is the case, as the Apostolic office holders “died off” no one was left to continue to pass these gifts on to other assemblies. Following the death of the final Apostle the only ones who exercised these gifts would be church members who had received this gift prior to the Apostle’s deaths. Once the church members “died off” the spiritual gifts would cease to exist.
So now we come to the great question…. When did the final Apostle die? Based upon human historical records the Apostle John was probably the last Apostle to die in approximately 100 AD. So, at the very latest, the deaths of the adult generation living in 100 AD would bring an end to these gifts (probably around 150 AD?). But that is assuming that the Apostles were continually granting these gifts to the assemblies until their death.
If we look closely at the Biblical text we find that the latest mention of spiritual gifts being given or exercised is found in 1 Peter which was written probably in 63 AD. If this is the case and no other gifts were granted after this timeframe, then the probable date of the end of the existence of spiritual gifts would probably be closer to 100-110 AD. So therefore, it is very highly probable the gifts ceased to exist sometime between 100 and 150 AD.
THE 100 – 150 AD TIMEFRAME FITS PERFECTLY WITH OUR PREVIOUS STUDIES ON THIS SUBJECT: “The Coming Of “That Which Is Perfect” AND “The 70 Year Accreditation Time Span”.
Additional Information (Bible Scrioptures Referenced In This Study:
The Death Of The Apostles:
10) Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you.
11) For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established;
12) That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.
11) I am become a fool in glorying; ye have compelled me: for I ought to have been commended of you: for in nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles, though I be nothing.
12) Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.
(2 Corinthians 12:11-12)
6) Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.
7) For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
8) Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;
9) Who hath saved us, and called [us] with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,
10) But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:
11) Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.
12) For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.
(2 Timothy 1:6-12)
“Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 12:4)
After coming to an understanding of the basic definition of a “spiritual gift”, we now need to examine each of the different types of spiritual gifts that God has given to man.
There are three basic types of spiritual gifts given to the Lord’s local churches:
1. Gifted Men – These are men, used by God to serve the Lord as a part of the ministry of His local assemblies.
2. Accrediting Gifts – These are the gifts whose main purpose is to establish and accredit His Word and place of worship. A secondary purpose of these gifts is to minister to others within the context of local church ministries.
3. Ministering Gifts – These are the gifts whose main purpose is to testify of Christ and His Word through the ministries of His local assemblies.
We will continue our study of the accrediting gifts by looking at begin studying the Accrediting Gifts that involve SUPERNATURAL PROCLAMATION OF THE TRUTH.
Accrediting Gifts (Sign Gifts)
In our last lesson we began to take a look at the gift of “diverse kinds of tongues” that are found in the division of accrediting gifts involving the SUPERNATURAL PROCLAMATION OF THE TRUTH. In particular, we looked at the first time that the gift of tongues was exercised on the Day of Pentecost as recorded in Acts 2:1-24…
1. The gift was given to the local church at Jerusalem, not to believers in general (vs 1)
2. The gift was given following the local assembly being baptized IN the Spirit (not BY the Spirit) (vs 2)
3. The gift was given following the Spirit filling the church members (vs 4)
4. The gift had a visible manifestation: tongues of fire sitting on their heads (vs 3);
5. The gift had an audible manifestation: speaking in other human languages that were unknown to the speakers but known to the hearers (vs 4-11)
6. The Word of God was used to clearly explain what had taken place amid the confusion (vs 12-21)
7. The message proclaimed through the gift of tongues was proclaiming the wonderful works of their God…. His message of salvation and all that He had done for them. (vs 11-24)
Following this event, when the Bible speaks of the gift of tongues, it simply mentions the gift without a lengthy description of what we have just learned. This principle can be used with many different teachings of the Bible. This principle of Biblical interpretation is described as “The Law Of First Mention”. This principle states that “the very first time a word, doctrine or other teaching is mentioned in the Bible, usually, the Scriptures gives that word, doctrine or teaching its most complete description and meaning.” This is the case with the gift of tongues. This first reference to it has given us the detailed description of the gift which is to be applied throughout all of the other Biblical mentions of the gift.
The “Gift Of Diverse Kinds Of Tongues” Resulting From Baptism In The Spirit: At The House of Cornelius
The miraculous events that took place on the Day of Pentecost involved the local church at Jerusalem (Acts 2:1-24), a Jewish assembly of believers. This same type of event took place involving the local church that met in the house of Cornelius as well (Acts 10:1-11:18). This assembly was made up of Gentile believers.
Just as the events of the Day of Pentecost empowered and accredited the local church as the place of worship for believing Jews, the events we are about to study that took place at the house of Cornelius would be the empowering and accrediting of the local church as the worship place for believing Gentiles.
This will be our study for this lesson (Acts 10:1-11:18)…
Vs 1-2 – There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian [band], [A] devout [man], and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway.
Here we find a description of Cornelius. He is said to be:
1. a centurion of the Italian band – he was a military leader ruling over a group of 100 men from Italy
2. a devout man that feared God with all his house – his thoughts and actions were submitted to the Lord, he was motivated by a reverence for the Lord and a fear of His hand of chastening. His family was following in his footsteps of Godly living.
4. gave much alms to the people – he gave many gifts of compassion to the poor and needy
5. prayed to God always – he enjoyed consistent communion with the Lord and regular times of prayer.
Vs 3-8 – He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius. And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God. And now send men to Joppa, and call for [one] Simon, whose surname is Peter: He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side: he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do. And when the angel which spake unto Cornelius was departed, he called two of his household servants, and a devout soldier of them that waited on him continually; And when he had declared all [these] things unto them, he sent them to Joppa.
Cornelius, after receiving a command from the Lord as delivered by an angel in a vision, sends three men to Joppa to find Peter. This was done so that Cornelius might receive further instructions through the ministry of Peter.
Note that Cornelius addresses the angel of God by the title “Lord”. He recognized the great authority that the angel possessed as being one sent by God Himself. This, along with his quick obedient response to the angel’s commands, reinforces for us the great humility and desire to please the Lord that was possessed by Cornelius.
Vs 9-16 – On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour: And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance, And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. 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.
Peter, after arriving at Joppa, falls into a trance and is sent a vision from the Lord. This vision was of a sheet descending from heaven, which contained ceremonially unclean animals.
A voice says “Rise, Peter; kill, and eat “. Instead of immediately obeying the voice of the Lord, Peter questions Him, “Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.” The Lord responds to Peter three times, reassuring him that he should partake of the animals. His explanation was “What God hath cleansed, [that] call not thou common.”
What was this all about?
This was the Lord’s way of preparing Peter to go to the Gentile church in Cornelius’ house to accredit their ministry. The animals in the vision were unclean based upon the Jewish ceremonial laws, and therefore could not be eaten. However, based upon the Lord’s command, Peter was to no longer obligated to keep the ceremonial laws which had been fulfilled by Christ during His earthly ministry. It was now Peter’s responsibility to simply obey the instructions of the Lord with no regard to the OT ceremonial laws.
In much the same way, in the OT ceremonial laws of worship, the Gentiles were looked upon as unclean and unable to participate in the temple services. However, now through Christ, by virtue of His death on the cross, Gentiles were given equal access to the worship of God. As the servants of Cornelius (all of whom were Gentiles) approached, Peter was to recognize the worship taking place in the Gentile house of Cornelius was a genuine group of believers who had access to the same saving work of Christ as Jewish believers.
Vs 17-23 – Now while Peter doubted in himself what this vision which he had seen should mean, behold, the men which were sent from Cornelius had made enquiry for Simon’s house, and stood before the gate, And called, and asked whether Simon, which was surnamed Peter, were lodged there. While Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee. Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them. Then Peter went down to the men which were sent unto him from Cornelius; and said, Behold, I am he whom ye seek: what [is] the cause wherefore ye are come? And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by an holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee. Then called he them in, and lodged [them]. And on the morrow Peter went away with them, and certain brethren from Joppa accompanied him.
Peter (along with others from Joppa) in obedience to the Spirit’s leadership, and an understanding of the vision that he had just received, meets the men sent by Cornelius and accompanied them to Caesarea where Cornelius lived.
Vs 24-33 – And the morrow after they entered into Caesarea. And Cornelius waited for them, and had called together his kinsmen and near friends. And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped [him]. But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man. And as he talked with him, he went in, and found many that were come together. 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 shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean. Therefore came I [unto you] without gainsaying, as soon as I was sent for: I ask therefore for what intent ye have sent for me? And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing, And said, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God. Send therefore to Joppa, and call hither Simon, whose surname is Peter; he is lodged in the house of [one] Simon a tanner by the sea side: who, when he cometh, shall speak unto thee. Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God.
At Peter’s arrival, Cornelius fell at his feet, again showing the great respect and submission that he held toward a messenger of his Lord. Then both Peter and Cornelius recount the events leading up to their meeting.
Vs 34-43 – 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. The word which [God] sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:) That word, [I say], ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree: Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly; Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, [even] to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead. And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God [to be] the Judge of quick and dead. To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.
Based upon the vision he had received, now understands that Gentiles can be saved and worship equally with the Jews within a local church setting. This motivates him to share the gospel with the Gentiles in Cornelius’ house. He does this by sharing with them a quick summary of the earthly ministry of Christ at His first coming. Notice this account includes all the parts of the gospel message: Christ’s death, burial, resurrection, and the witnesses to that resurrection.
Vs 44-46a – While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost 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, and magnify God.
Following the presentation of the gospel message the Holy Spirit “fell” on all those that were present in the house. In Acts 11:15-17, Peter clearly declares that this is the same type of event that took place at Pentecost (Acts 2:). In other words, baptism in the Spirit along with gift of tongues (including both a visible aspect [tongues of fire] and an audible aspect [languages unknown to the speaker]) were now being experienced by the Gentiles in Cornelius’ house.
The other Jews accompanying him were “astonished”. Why? Because they recognized this event was of the same type as Pentecost. Therefore, it was an accreditation and empowerment of this Gentile church. It was proof to them that Gentiles could now be equal recipients of salvation and especially membership and worship of the Lord within a local church.
Vs 46b-48 – 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.
The logical result of this accreditation of the Gentile believers was to allow them to be baptized in water and form a local church body.
It is very important to notice that the Jews who saw this event did not simply interpret the event as proof that Gentiles could be saved. They also recognized this accreditation involved the allowance of the worship of Gentiles within the local assembly. It is this truth that caused them to allow the Gentile believer’s baptism and formation of the local assembly. If they had only seen this event as an accreditation of Gentile salvation, there would be no reason for them to allow the Gentiles to then be baptized and form a local church.
So again, we must stress, what originally took place at Pentecost, and later in the house of Cornelius was not simply the accreditation of the gospel going to the Gentiles. It was, most importantly, the accreditation of the local assembly as the worship place of Jehovah in New Testament times for the Gentile believer. It goes against the context of both these accounts to look at these as accrediting believers, but must be interpreted within the context of the assembly of believers and the accrediting and empowering of those assemblies.
1) And the apostles and brethren that were in Judaea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God.
2) And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended with him,
3) Saying, Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them.
Some of the Jewish believers that had heard of Peter’s visit to Capernaum, was critical of Peter’s work among them. To respond to their criticisms, Peter shares with them the events that had taken place…
4) But Peter rehearsed [the matter] from the beginning, and expounded [it] by order unto them, saying,
5) I was in the city of Joppa praying: and in a trance I saw a vision, A certain vessel descend, as it had been a great sheet, let down from heaven by four corners; and it came even to me:
6) Upon the which when I had fastened mine eyes, I considered, and saw fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.
7) And I heard a voice saying unto me, Arise, Peter; slay and eat.
8) But I said, Not so, Lord: for nothing common or unclean hath at any time entered into my mouth.
9) But the voice answered me again from heaven, What God hath cleansed, [that] call not thou common.
10) And this was done three times: and all were drawn up again into heaven.
To being, Peter shared with them the Godly vision that he had received. It was this vision that explained to Peter that Gentiles would now be included in salvation and the worship of the Lord within local assemblies.
11) And, behold, immediately there were three men already come unto the house where I was, sent from Caesarea unto me.
12) And the Spirit bade me go with them, nothing doubting. Moreover these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered into the man’s house:
13) And he shewed us how he had seen an angel in his house, which stood and said unto him, Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon, whose surname is Peter;
14) Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved.
15) And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning.
Next, Peter shared with them his contact with those in Cornelius’ house and the baptism in the Holy Spirit that the Lord had performed in their midst. It was the vision that sanctioned Peter’s visit to the Gentiles and it was the baptism in the Spirit that sanctioned their salvation experience and, especially, their membership in the assembly that would meet in Cornelius’ house.
16) Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.
Peter then shares with them that this event, along with the Pentecost experience, was a fulfillment of a prophecy spoken by the Lord Himself in Acts 1:4-5. This being another proof of the validity of Peter’s experiences and his ministry to the Gentiles.
17) Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as [he did] unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?
18) When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.
Once the Jewish believers came to a greater understanding of the works that had taken place, they too acknowledged that the inclusion of Gentiles to salvation and worship was unquestioningly of God.
Note: With the fulfillment of this event in combination with the events that took place on the Day of Pentecost, we have both the Jewish local assembly and the Gentile local assembly accredited. This falls in line with the other places of worship that had been established by God throughout history. In every case, the worship places of the Lord are only accredited once. Each accreditation was included in the historical record of the Word of God. Therefore, no other accreditation is needed. By faith, followers of the Lord can open the Scriptures and know these are the God-chosen places of worship based upon the occurrence of these events in history.
The accreditation of each worship place throughout history:
1. The Tabernacle: Exodus 40:34-35
2. The Temple: 1 Kings 8:10-11
3. The Local Assembly for Jewish Worship: Acts 2:1-24
4. The Local Assembly for Gentile Worship: Acts 10:1-11:18
In our next study, we will look at other times in the Bible that this same gift of tongues was exercised within local assemblies.
Accrediting Gifts (Sign Gifts)
And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?
And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this? Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine. But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.
The “Gift Of Diverse Kinds Of Tongues” Exercised In The House of Cornelius
Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.
And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the LORD, So that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of the LORD.
And, being assembled together with [them], commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, [saith he], ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.