Swords to Plowshares

Promoting a faith-based love for all creation.

Why in Acts 10 did God tell Peter, “Arise, Peter, kill and eat”?

This passage is showing Peter that God doesn’t see anyone as unclean and that salvation is not only for Jews but also for Gentiles (Romans 3:29). The meaning of the vision became clear to Peter when he went and visited Cornelius, who is a Gentile, given that Jews were forbidden to eat with Gentiles because they were seen as “unclean”. Peter explains the vision within the text when he says to Cornelius and his household, “You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with or visit a Gentile. But God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or unclean” (Acts 10:28). The reason the vision makes sense and was significant is because Peter saw it as unclean to kill and eat the animals in the vision. Notice he did not kill the animals but instead preached that Jesus died not only for Jews but also for Gentiles. He understood the purpose of the vision, that it had nothing to do with food and everything to do with people. This is why God did not show any sign of displeasure in Peter’s refusal to kill and eat. Peter passed God’s test, understood the vision, and fulfilled the inspired calling which had enormous significance for salvation of Gentiles. Even on that visit to the home of Cornelius, all who heard Peter’s words received the holy spirit.

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