Gevurot 10

1 0 Now a certain ish in Caesarea by name Cornelius, a centurion from what was called the Italian cohort,
2 A devout man, a yire Elohim, as was all his bais, who practiced much tzedakah for the benefit of Am Yisroel, and davened to Hashem continually.
3 Cornelius clearly saw in a chazon (vision) lav davka (approximately) at the ninth hour of the day (three o’clock in the afternoon) a malach Hashem having come to him and having said to him, "Cornelius!" [TEHILLIM 55:17]
4 And having looked intently at him and having become afraid, Cornelius said, "What is it, Adon?" The malach said to him, "Your tefillos and your giving tzedakah have ascended as a zikaron (memorial) before Hashem. [TEHILLIM 20:3]
5 "Now dispatch some anashim to Yafo and send for a certain Shimon who is also called Kefa.
6 "This one is staying with a certain Shimon, a tanner, whose bais is by the sea."
7 And, when the malach speaking to him had departed, Cornelius summoned shnayim of his household avadim and a devout chaiyal (soldier) from among the ones in his service,
8 Having explained everything, sent them to Yafo.
9 Now on the next day, as these were traveling and drawing near to Yafo, around the sixth hour (noon), Kefa went up on to the roof to daven (pray).
10 And Kefa became hungry, and was wanting to have a meal; but while they were preparing it, Kefa fell into a trance;
11 And he sees Shomayim having been opened, and a certain object descending like a large linen cloth lowered by four corners upon haAretz.
12 In this were all the fourfooted animals and remasim haAdamah (creepers of the earth) and oph haShomayim (birds of heaven, birds of the air).
13 And there came a bat kol (voice) to him, "Get up, Kefa, kill and eat!"
14 But Kefa said, "Chalilah li, Adonoi! For I have never eaten basar piggul (unclean meat) or shikkutz tameh (abominable unclean thing)." [VAYIKRA 11:4-20; 20-25; DEVARIM 14:3-20; YECHEZKEL 4:14]
15 And the bat kol came to Kefa again for a second time, "What Hashem made tahor (clean), you should no longer regard as tameh (unclean)." [BERESHIS 9:3]
16 And this happened shloshah pe’amim; and immediately the object was taken up into Shomayim.
17 Now, while Kefa was greatly perplexed within himself as to what the chazon which he saw might be, hinei, the anashim, who had been sent by Cornelius, and who had, by inquiring, found the bais of Shimon, stood at the gate.
18 And, calling out, they were asking if Shimon, the one called Kefa, is staying here.
19 And while Kefa was reflecting on the chazon, the Ruach Hakodesh said to him, "Hinei, shloshah anashim are looking for you.
20 "But get up and go downstairs and accompany them without apprehensions, for I myself have sent them."
21 And Kefa went downstairs to the anashim and said, "Hinei, I am the one whom you are seeking; for what reason did you come?"
22 And they said, "Cornelius, a centurion, an ish tzaddik, and a yire Elohim with a shem tov with all the Am HaYehudim, was directed by a malach kadosh to summon you to his bais and to hear a message from you."
23 Therefore, having invited them in, Kefa gave them hachnosas orchim (hospitality, lodging). And on the next day Kefa got up and went away with them, and some of the Achim b’Moshiach from Yafo accompanied him.
24 And on the following day, Moshiach’s Shliach Shimon Kefa entered into Caesarea, and Cornelius was expecting them, having called together his krovey mishpokhot (relatives) and close friends.
25 Now when it came about that Kefa entered, Cornelius met him, falling at his feet to pay him reverence. [DANIEL 7:14; 3:18]
26 Kefa made him stand up, saying, "Get up. I myself am only a ben Adam like everyone else."
27 And as he conversed with Cornelius, Kefa entered and finds many having assembled,
28 And he said to them, "You have da’as that it is asur (prohibited) for an ish Yehudi to associate with or to approach a nokhri (foreigner). And yet to me Hashem showed to call no one shikkutz (abomination) or tameh (unclean).
29 "Therefore, also, when summoned, I came, raising no objections. And so I ask for what reason you summoned me?"
30 Cornelius said, "Four days ago to this hour, I was davening in my bais at the ninth hour, and, hinei, a being stood before me enrobed in shining radiance,
31 "And he said, ‘Cornelius, your tefillah was heard and your tzedakah is remembered before Hashem.
32 ‘Therefore, send to Yafo and summon Shimon who is called Kefa. He is staying in the bais of Shimon the tanner by the sea.’
33 "At once I sent for you and you did well having come. Now, therefore, we all are present before Hashem to hear all the things that have been commanded to you by Adonoi."
34 And opening his mouth, Kefa said, "Omein, I have binah that Hashem is not one to show masso panim (partiality), [Dt 10:17; 2Ch 19:7; Job 34:19]
35 "But in every nation the ones who have yirat Shomayim and work Tzidkat Hashem are acceptable to him.
36 "The dvar which he sent to the Bnei Yisroel, preaching shalom through Rebbe, Melech HaMoshiach Yehoshua (Hu Adon Kol!) [Isa 52:7; Ps 107:20; 147:18 TARGUM HASHIVIM]
37 "That word, I say, you know the thing which took place throughout all Yehudah, having begun from the Galil after the tevilah of teshuva which Yochanan preached;
38 "You know Rebbe, Melech HaMoshiach Yehoshua from Natzeret, how Hashem anointed him with the Ruach Hakodesh and with ko’ach (power), and how he went about doing mitzvot and giving refu’ah shlemah to all the ones being oppressed by Samael (the devil) because Hashem was with him. [YESHAYAH 61:1]
39 "We are edim (witnesses) of all things which he did both in the countryside of Yehudah and in Yerushalayim. And they also put him to death, having hanged nivlato al haEtz (his body on the Tree, DEVARIM 21:23).
40 "This one Hashem made to stand up alive again on the Yom HaShelishi and granted to him to be visible,
41 "Not to Klal Yisroel, but to edim which had been chosen beforehand by Hashem, that is, to us who ate and drank together with him at Tish after the Techiyas HaMoshiach.
42 "Moshiach gave mitzvah to us to preach to the people and to bear solemn edut that this one is the one having been appointed by Hashem as Shofet HaChayyim v’HaMesim.
43 "To this one all the Nevi’im bear witness that through ha-Shem of him [Moshiach Yehoshua, Yeshua] everyone who has emunah in him has selicha (forgiveness) of chatta’'im (averos, sins).
44 While Kefa was still speaking these words, the Ruach Hakodesh fell upon all the ones hearing the dvar.
45 And the Messianic Jews who had come with Kefa were mishpoyel (standing in awe) that also upon the Goyim the matnat HaRuach Hakodesh has been poured out.
46 For they were hearing them speaking in leshonot and exalting Hashem. Then Kefa answered,
47 "Surely no one can refuse the mikveh mayim for these to be given Moshiach’s tevilah of teshuva who have received the Ruach Hakodesh just as we did, can he?" [Ac 2:4; cf Lk 3:16; Ac 11:16]
48 And Kefa directed for them to be given Moshiach’s tevilah of teshuva in the Shem of Moshiach Yehoshua (Yeshua). Then they asked him to remain some yamim.

Gevurot 10 Commentary

Chapter 10

Cornelius directed to send for Peter. (1-8) Peter's vision. (9-18) He goes to Cornelius. (19-33) His discourse to Cornelius. (34-43) The gifts of the Holy Spirit poured out. (44-48)

Verses 1-8 Hitherto none had been baptized into the Christian church but Jews, Samaritans, and those converts who had been circumcised and observed the ceremonial law; but now the Gentiles were to be called to partake all the privileges of God's people, without first becoming Jews. Pure and undefiled religion is sometimes found where we least expect it. Wherever the fear of God rules in the heart, it will appear both in works of charity and of piety, neither will excuse from the other. Doubtless Cornelius had true faith in God's word, as far as he understood it, though not as yet clear faith in Christ. This was the work of the Spirit of God, through the mediation of Jesus, even before Cornelius knew him, as is the case with us all when we, who before were dead in sin, are made alive. Through Christ also his prayers and alms were accepted, which otherwise would have been rejected. Without dispute or delay Cornelius was obedient to the heavenly vision. In the affairs of our souls, let us not lose time.

Verses 9-18 The prejudices of Peter against the Gentiles, would have prevented his going to Cornelius, unless the Lord had prepared him for this service. To tell a Jew that God had directed those animals to be reckoned clean which were hitherto deemed unclean, was in effect saying, that the law of Moses was done away. Peter was soon made to know the meaning of it. God knows what services are before us, and how to prepare us; and we know the meaning of what he has taught us, when we find what occasion we have to make use of it.

Verses 19-33 When we see our call clear to any service, we should not be perplexed with doubts and scruples arising from prejudices or former ideas. Cornelius had called together his friends, to partake with him of the heavenly wisdom he expected from Peter. We should not covet to eat our spiritual morsels alone. It ought to be both given and taken as kindness and respect to our kindred and friends, to invite them to join us in religious exercises. Cornelius declared the direction God gave him to send for Peter. We are right in our aims in attending a gospel ministry, when we do it with regard to the Divine appointment requiring us to make use of that ordinance. How seldom ministers are called to speak to such companies, however small, in which it may be said that they are all present in the sight of God, to hear all things that are commanded of God! But these were ready to hear what Peter was commanded of God to say.

Verses 34-43 Acceptance cannot be obtained on any other ground than that of the covenant of mercy, through the atonement of Christ; but wherever true religion is found, God will accept it without regarding names or sects. The fear of God and works of righteousness are the substance of true religion, the effects of special grace. Though these are not the cause of a man's acceptance, yet they show it; and whatever may be wanting in knowledge or faith, will in due time be given by Him who has begun it. They knew in general the word, that is, the gospel, which God sent to the children of Israel. The purport of this word was, that God by it published the good tidings of peace by Jesus Christ. They knew the several matters of fact relating to the gospel. They knew the baptism of repentance which John preached. Let them know that this Jesus Christ, by whom peace is made between God and man, is Lord of all; not only as over all, God blessed for evermore, but as Mediator. All power, both in heaven and in earth, is put into his hand, and all judgment committed to him. God will go with those whom he anoints; he will be with those to whom he has given his Spirit. Peter then declares Christ's resurrection from the dead, and the proofs of it. Faith has reference to a testimony, and the Christian faith is built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, on the testimony given by them. See what must be believed concerning him. That we are all accountable to Christ as our Judge; so every one must seek his favour, and to have him as our Friend. And if we believe in him, we shall all be justified by him as our Righteousness. The remission of sins lays a foundation for all other favours and blessings, by taking that out of the way which hinders the bestowing of them. If sin be pardoned, all is well, and shall end well for ever.

Verses 44-48 The Holy Ghost fell upon others after they were baptized, to confirm them in the faith; but upon these Gentiles before they were baptized, to show that God does not confine himself to outward signs. The Holy Ghost fell upon those who were neither circumcised nor baptized; it is the Spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing. They magnified God, and spake of Christ and the benefits of redemption. Whatever gift we are endued with, we ought to honour God with it. The believing Jews who were present, were astonished that the gift of the Holy Ghost was poured out upon the Gentiles also. By mistaken notions of things, we make difficult for ourselves as to the methods of Divine providence and grace. As they were undeniably baptized with the Holy Ghost, Peter concluded they were not to be refused the baptism of water, and the ordinance was administered. The argument is conclusive; can we deny the sign to those who have received the things signified? Those who have some acquaintance with Christ, cannot but desire more. Even those who have received the Holy Ghost, must see their need of daily learning more of the truth.

Gevurot 10 Commentaries