Acts 10:13-18
Acts 10:13 (KJB)
And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat.
Peter was no doubt looking at what was on that sheet and then the command came to Peter to kill and eat. Both words “kill” and “eat” are in the Imperative mood making it a command. God knew that on that sheet was everything which was considered unclean under the law because after all, it was God who gave the law. Peter might have thought this to be a test, to see if he would be obedient to the law. Peter should have also known that God would not tempt him to sin against Him. (James 1:13 KJV) Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:
Acts 10:14 (KJB)
But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.
Peter had known that he was speaking directly to the Lord but just as those under the law, he was more obedient to the Law than he was to the voice of the Lord. He refused to eat anything on that sheet because he was obeying the Law. Peter did not eat anything unclean yet he was in Samaria with those who were considered unclean by the Jews. They had become saved but they were still circumcised under the law, so that would have been a way they would have been accepted. The idea that one needed circumcision to be saved was to become a major issue in the early church. In fact, the entire book of Galatians was dedicated to the Law versus Grace debate. Peter was not yet understanding what really happened at the cross, that Christ took sinners and made them clean before God.
Acts 10:15 (KJB)
And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.
Cleansed - Cleaned or purified
Peter then hears the response to his words that God has now considered these animals cleansed, that is, there is no longer any penalty under the law for eating these animals. God has now declared them to be clean. God was teaching Peter that the cross had changed everything and that included the dietary laws found in the Pentateuch. The voice from Heaven was now just as emphatic as the first time. The words “thou common” is in the Imperative mood making it a command. There is a major principle being revealed here. (2 Cor 5:16 KJV) Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. Just as these visible animals were no longer unclean because of Calvary, every person who becomes saved through the Lord Jesus Christ, whether Jew or Gentile, are cleansed in the eyes of God and are not to be looked down upon or considered unclean. Christ has removed the sins of the Believer and that makes their soul clean as if they have never sinned, even though we still have the sin nature dwelling in our flesh which continually harasses us. So those who have become saved that had a very sinful past are now clean in the eyes of God and readied for Heaven.
Acts 10:16 (KJB)
This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven.
For further emphasis on this, it was done three times. Just like the Lord asking Peter three times if he loved Him. We must have a little mercy on Peter here because he had lived under the law all his life and that meant it would take a little time and effort to make the living transition from the law of Moses to the law of Grace.
Acts 10:17 (KJB)
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 inquiry for Simon's house, and stood before the gate,
Simultaneous with the end of the vision which Peter saw, the men whom Cornelius dispatched were at the home of Simon. At this point Peter did not know what the exact meaning of the vision meant but he did know one thing that it was definitely symbolic of something. God’s timing of the vision was to coincide with the arrival of the men so the vision would be fresh in Peter’s mind and he would then be able to recollect the scenes of the vision. Peter did not find meaning of the vision from his own thoughts but he was about to see the practical meaning of it shortly.
Acts 10:18 (KJB)
And called, and asked whether Simon, which was surnamed Peter, were lodged there.
Called - Cry aloud, loudly call, or summon
The three men had stopped at the gate and had called out to see if Peter was still staying at Simon’s home. It is interesting to add that the sheet was lowered three times in Peter’s vision and here there were three men who were about to approach him. They called loudly to be heard by those inside and it was apparent that no one came to the door immediately. This is also a testimony to the godly personality of the Aide which Cornelius sent. If it would have been an unsaved soldier, they would have just walked into the house at will since they were occupying the land of Israel at this time. Instead they called out and waited until they received a response.