In this study (which is a continuation on our previous study) we are going to look at the vision that was given Kepha. The great majority believe this vision to be their license to ignore Leviticus 11. To THEM, a “prayer” is sufficient and they can eat anything they want. Now before we continue, I wish to draw your attention to Proverbs 28: 9 which clearly states, “he who turns away his ears from hearing the Torah, even his prayer is an abomination.” So according to Scripture, you may pray all you like, it wouldn’t change a thing, what do matters to YaHUaH is that you “hear” and “obey” His Torah! That includes Leviticus 11!
A Torah clearly to be “EVERLASTING”, “ETERNAL”, “FOREVER” [^1]
Now we come to the heart of the matter. Cornelius “dedicated, and fearing ALaHYM [^2] with all his household, doing many kind deeds to the people (referring to the Yahudim) and PRAYING to ALaHYM always.”(verse 2) and it is said, “your PRAYERS and your kind deeds have come up for a remembrance before ALaHYM.”(verse 4) His prayers would have been an “abomination” to YaHUaH if he had “turn his ears from hearing the Torah”, instead, Cornelius with his entire household chose to fear YaHUaH and obey his charge – Leviticus 11 and every other Torah command otherwise his prayers would’ve been an abomination! Cornelius has send men to Yapho and send for Shimon who is called Kepha to hear words from him.(verse 22) YaHUaH knew Kepha wouldn’t leave with these men for fearing they wouldn’t keep the SANCTITY commands of the Torah which is why he was given the vision.
“and he saw the heavens opened and a certain vessel like a great sheet bound at the four corners, descending to him and let down to the earth,”(verse 11)
This was a visual display of a tallit “katan” (sheet) or (garment) which has tzitzits “fringes” on each corner. All YShRAL were commanded to wear tzitsits “fringes” on the “corners of their garments” in Numbers 15: 37-39. This vision was very significant; because the very reason YShRAL was given the command to make and to wear tzitsits is to “REMEMBER ALL THE COMMANDS (including Leviticus 11) and not search after your own hearts and your own eyes after which you went whoring”. No wonder this vision made NO SENSE to Kepha , “doubting within himself” when he saw these unclean animals on this particular sheet and heard the voice which said to him “Rise up, Kepah, slay and eat”. His response was, “Not at all, Master! Because I have never eaten whatever is common or unclean. And a voice came to him again the second time, “What ALaHYM has cleansed you do not consider common. And this took place three times, and the vessel was taken back to the heaven. And while Kepha was doubting within himself about what the vision might mean, look, the men who had been sent from Cornelius, having asked for the house of Shimon, stood at the gate.”
So before you, the reader, jump into any hasty conclusions as to what the vision might mean, consider this: When Kepha was told to “slay and eat”, he was told to perform the slaughter of a peach offering which I will explain shortly. It had but nothing to do with YaHUaH cleansing pork or lobster. We better Scripturally look at what this vision was set out to accomplish! REMEMBER: “not search after your own hearts and your own eyes after which you went whoring.”
Scripture make a clear distinction of what the “unclean animals” or rather “whatever is common or unclean” represents. We need to scripturally define what they are. The unclean animals are described in the vision in the following way, “in which were all kinds of four-footed beasts of the earth and wild beasts and creeping creatures, and the birds of the heaven.” Now carefully notice how Scripture define other “nations” to be likened to “BEAST OF THE FIELD”:
“But YaHUaH your ALaHYM shall drive out THOSE NATIONS before you, little by little. You are not allowed to destroy THEM [nations] at once, lest the BEAST OF THE FIELD [nations] become too strong for you.”Deuteronomy 7: 22
This clearly isn’t speaking about “cattle”. In the context of Scripture it’s dealing with the Nation YShRAL that should not become like other nations (verse 1-4). But since YShRAL went after these nations, disobeying Torah, and “search after their own hearts and their own eyes after which they went whoring”, Yehezqel explained, “And they were scattered because there was no shepherd. And they became food for all the BEAST OF THE FIELD [nations] when they were scattered.” Yehezqel 34:5
When YShRAL (all 12 tribes) was exiled into the nations, they were given over to their enemies who are called the “BEAST OF THE FIELD”. They became likened to the nations of the world who are described as being birds, beasts and creeping things.
Hoshea 2: 18-19 explain: “And in that day I will make a COVENANT for THEM [house of YZRAL] WITH THE BEAST OF THE FIELD, and with the FOWLS OF THE HEAVEN, and with the CREEPING THINGS of the ground: and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth, and will make them to lie down safely. And I will betroth thee unto Me forever.”
In chapter 1, Hoshea explains how the Northern Kingdom of YShRAL is prophetically given the name ( יןרעאל ) YZRAL in their exile amongst the nations. (verse 4) YZRAL means “ALaHYM will sow” or rather “AL will scatter” as appose to the Hebrew word ( ישראל ) YShRAL meaning “overcome with AL”. Then in chapter 2, he explains how a Covenant was made “FOR YZRAL WITH the” nations of the world who are described as being birds, beasts and creeping things. At first, the vision made NO SENSE to Kepha, but carefully notice what he says AFTER YaHUaH has shown him what this vision was set out to accomplish. “And he said to them, “You know that a YaHUDi man is not allowed to associate with, or go to one of another race. But ALaHYM has shown me that I SHOULD NOT CALL ANY [what?] MAN COMMON OR UNCLEAN.”(verse 28) “but in every NATION,[birds, beasts and creeping things] he who fears Him and work righteousness [obeying Torah] is accepted by Him.”(verse 35)
Kepha eventually understood in no uncertain terms that ALaHYM was referring to the NATIONS (birds, beasts and creeping things) whom YaHUaH has made clean through the atoning work of Messiah. They could now have TABLE FELLOWSHIP because Messiah has made PEACE between those “near” (referring to the Southern Kingdom) and those “far off” (referring to the Northern Kingdom amongst the nations) see Ephesians 2:13-18
This vision had but everything to do in explaining the partition of the barrier between the Northern Kingdom (YShRAL) and the Southern Kingdom (YaHUDaH) that is now removed through the blood of Messiah.
So when Kepha was told to “slay and eat”, “that which ALaHYM has cleansed”, he was told to perform the slaughter of a PEACE offering as an example set by Ya’aqob.
“And Ya’aqob slaughtered a slaughtering on the mountain, and called his brothers TO EAT BREAD. And they ate bread and spent the night on the mountain” Bereshith (Genesis) 31:54
The slaughter of killing of a sacrifice was for the purpose of having a COVENANT meal – in this case with the house of YShRAL the Northern Kingdom, with Cornelius and his household. Prior to this event, “YaHUShA took BREAD, and having blessed, broke and gave it to the taught ones and said, ‘Take eat, this is My body (sacrifice)’”(Mattiyahu 26: 26) Then there was those men from the YaHUDim who “continuing steadfast in the teachings of the emissaries and in the FELLOWSHIP, and in the BREAKING OF BREAD, and in prayer.”(Acts 2:42) “And day by day, continuing with one mind in the set apart place, AND BREAKING BREAD from house to house,”(verse 46) prior to the vision and revelation that was given Kepha whom at that time wouldn’t even “associate with or go to one of another race” according to a YaHUDim TRADITION for fear that they wouldn’t be keeping the SANCTITY laws of the Torah.
No wonder Kepha were rebuked by Sha’ul for getting caught up in a form of hypocrisy. Galatiyim (Galatians) 2: 11-13
For Kepha to have received the revelation about the Covenant FOR YZRAL WITH the nations (whom are described as being birds, beasts and creeping things), whom delivered the decision to the brethren (Acts 15: 30-35) about this good news. For them, Kepha and Barnaba to have stood with Sha’ul and agreed with this good news and then to withdraw from keeping company with the nations out of concern for what those of the “circumcision”(YaHUDim) might say or do was quite hypocritical. Because it was known to everyone that he was chosen by YaHUaH to first bring the good news to the Northern Kingdom together WITH the nations (Acts 10) where he was at that time willing to FELLOWSHIP with them and defended it in Acts 11.
This obviously caused confusion amongst the nations, which was contrary to the decision that was made beforehand. So Sha’ul explained: “But when I saw that they are not walking straight according to the truth of the good news, I said unto Kepha before them all, If you, being a YaHUDi,[following Torah] live as the nations (whom are described as being sinners) and not as the YaHUDim [who follow Torah], why do you compel nations to live as Yahudim? We, YaHUDim by nature, and not nations as sinners,…” Galatiyim (Galatians) 2: 14-15
Now there are some who like to interpret this as if Sha’ul in essence were saying, “If you are a YaHUDim and have rightly abandoned the law living like the nations, why do you compel the nations to keep the law like the YaHUDim by only eating with the YaHUDim?” Due to this interpretation, it is commonly understood that this is a passage that support the doctrine of the Torah (law) being abolished. But verse 15 exposes the fallacy of this interpretation when Sha’ul CONTRASTS the YaHUDim with nations and identifies the nations as being SINNERS (i.e. transgressing Torah). So while many think that Sha’ul’s statement of Kepha “living after the manner of Nations” was a positive one, it is actually a negative one because in verse 15 Sha’ul says we are not “nations as sinners”!
So a more accurate interpretation of Shaul’s words unto Kepha would sound more like, “how are you ever going to bring the nations whom are described as sinners who transgressing Torah into living righteous lives when you are an acting sinner “torah breaker” yourself” following after a manner of a man made tradition?”
This was definitely a very convicted statement to Kepha that exposed his hypocrisy. So rather than Sha’ul’s rebuke being proof that a Gentile should not keep the Torah, it was simply a rebuke that Kepha himself was transgressing the Torah (1 Yochanan 3: 4) when he chose to fear man over YaHUaH, pretend he was going along with the false good news, and play the hypocrite. So the question wasn’t, “Why are you there trying to get the nations (Torah breakers) to live like YaHUDim (Torah keepers)?” as if to ask, “Don’t you know the law is abolished?” The real question was, “How can you ever compel the nations to keep the Torah (like YaHUDim’s suppose to) if you are a sinner yourself?”
Clearly the vision that was given Kepha had but NOTHING to do with YaHUaH telling Kepha that it was OK for him to eat unclean foods. In this study I hope you came to the realization that ALaHYM was referring to THOSE in the NATIONS (birds, beasts and creeping things) WHO FEARS HIM, AND WORK RIGHTEOUSNESS whom He has made clean through the atoning work of Messiah YaHUShA. And that we can now have TABLE FELLOWSHIP (1 Corinthians 10: 16-17 especially verse 17) with them – REMEMBER: “but in every NATION,[birds, beasts and creeping things] he who fears Him and work righteousness [obeying Torah] is accepted by Him.”(verse 35). YaHUaH ALaHYM is not a man that He should change and so His commandments including Leviticus 11 is set in concrete and the vision is merely showing us that THOSE WHO 1.) Fear YaHUaH and THOSE WHO 2.) work righteousness which is to obey Torah is accepted by Him and therefore we should not consider THEM common or unclean.
May YaHUaH continue to bless you in your studies.
[^1]: 1 Chronicles 16:15; 16:16-17; Psalm 119:44, 89, 97; Yshayahu 24:5; Luqas 21:33; Malaki 3:6; Hebrews 13:8 to name but a few
[^2]: I wish to give you some “insight” to the word “ALaHYM”, as used throughout the Scriptures which is the plural of the Hebrew word “AL” which was unfortunately substituted ( not translated ) in many English translations as “God”. The descendants of Esau take it for the Name of the most high but in retrospect its merely pertaining to a title of the most high and therefore unfortunately dismissed by many due to ignorance. The “Aleph” (A) is the first letter of the Alephbet (Alphabet) and in Ancient Hebrew pictographic script written in the form of an ox head representing the “strength” of the ox and the “Lamed” (L) in the form of an shepherd staff representing “authority” since Hebrew is a “doing” language its not so much representing the staff itself, but more however what it represents or what it does. In Ancient times, a king would wear the horns of an ox as a sign of his strength and carry a staff (scepter) as a sign of authority. When the meaning of both these pictographic letters are combined the original definition of the word “AL” is found as “one of Strength and Authority”. And so YaHUaH said unto Moshah, “See I have ‘nathan'(strongs H5414) GIVEN YOU ALaHYM unto Pharaoh:…” Exodus (Shemoth) 7: 1 He has given him WHAT? The answer: “ALaHYM”. And so Moshah wanted surety, thus YaHUaH said, “What is it in your hand?” and he said, “A staff” ( Exodus 4:2,3 ) an ordinary staff given to Moshah turned it into an instrument of power and authority (the Aleph). But what about the horns or the “ox head” representing the strength of the ox? Carefully note: “And it came to pass when Moshah came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of the testimony in Moshah’s hand, when he came down from the mount that Moshah knew not that THE SKIN OF HIS FACE SHONE by reason of his speaking with him. And when Aaron and all the children of YShRAL saw Moshah, behold, THE SKIN OF HIS FACE SHONE; and they were afraid to come nigh him.” ( Exodus 34: 29,30 ) According to the above verse, there was a physical change in Moshah which created fear in the people. In the English one might think it was just light coming off him that generated this fear? But the Hebrew says something different! “Skin of his face” is a poor translation. The Hebrew word “shone” is “qaran” which literally means “to have horns” representing the “strength” of the ox as YaHUaH promised He will give! He promised Moshah “ALaHYM” – the “ox head” and the “staff” not just the staff! Interestingly, many paintings and sculptures of Moshah depicts him with horns. Could it be that Michelangelo and others had some sort of “insight” which has gone forgotten in modern times? Since there are other Hebrew words meaning “to shine” and if that was what the author had intended, he would have used one of those. Instead he deliberately chose to use the word “qaran” to show Moshah was indeed one of “strength and authority”! This is a good example to show how translators have deliberately departed from the original intent, perhaps out of fear not to offend the Western reader or simply to translate the text in a manner that could makes sense to them. No matter what their motives was, I believe YaHUaH the real author was pretty sure about which words He wanted to be used, so with that in mind, I hope you will enjoy this teaching with clarity and thirst for more insight and understanding and in the same be made white and refined since Dani’AL said, “And those who have INSIGHT shall shine like the brightness of the expanse and those who lead many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever” and a few sentences later he said, “Many shall be cleansed and made white and refined. But the wrong shall do wrong – and none of the wrong shall understand, BUT THOSE WHO HAVE INSIGHT SHALL UNDERSTAND!”