Acts 10:7-12
Acts 10:7 (KJB)
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;
Waited…continually - Remain devoted to or adhere firmly to
Cornelius did not waste any time. As soon as the angel spoke unto him, he then called two servants and a devout soldier. This word “devout” is the same word in the Greek which is used to describe Cornelius. It means “godly,” which tells us that there were others in the Roman Army who were just like Cornelius. This devout soldier was probably his aide since the passage states that he waited on him continually. He was one who Cornelius trusted because of his devotion to God and to him.
Acts 10:8 (KJB)
And when he had declared all these things unto them, he sent them to Joppa.
Here we see a commander who treated his people like friends instead of military subordinates. Instead of just giving them an order to bring back Peter, he had taken time to explain to them exactly what he was told and why he was sending for Peter. Cornelius knew that his prayers were accepted by God and knew that God had something good in store for him and that is why there was much haste in dispatching his men.
Acts 10:9 (KJB)
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:
Since Joppa was not to far away, they had started on their journey in the morning the next day. They had approached the city about noontime which is when Peter was observing one of the Jewish hours of prayer. He had ascended to the roof of Simon’s house to spend time alone in prayer. God had already told Cornelius to fetch Peter and Peter would tell him the things which he was to do. Now God was preparing Peter for the visit and also for him to learn a very important lesson which he would need throughout his years of ministry.
Acts 10:10 (KJB)
And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance,
Peter was probably done with his prayers and was enjoying the cool breeze on the roof. He had become very hungry and was ready to go downstairs and eat but at the moment when he was going to leave, he had fallen into a trance. This type of trance was not like the trance you see associated with the occult but it was a state in which the normal mind was placed in an awareness that God was present without losing consciousness. It also carries with it the meaning of astonishment or amazement. No doubt it was the Lord who placed the hunger in Peter because it was going to play a part in what Peter saw.
Acts 10:11 (KJB)
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:
As Peter looked while in the trance he saw a vessel coming to earth and it is described as a very big sheet which was tied or bound at the four corners descending to him and down to the earth. God had a great message for Peter and that is why He formulated the vision in that manner because it was to fit perfectly and without misunderstanding of what God had to teach him. Just as Jacob saw Heaven opened and a ladder descending, Peter was seeing a vision of like manner with Heaven being opened.
Acts 10:12 (KJB)
Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.
On that great sheet was all manner of animals, birds of the air, reptiles, etc. These animals had represented all the animals of the earth which were unclean under the law. Now that Christ went to the cross, the dietary laws had been done away with and whatever a person wanted to eat, would no longer render them unclean. (Lev 11:23-25 KJV) But all other flying creeping things, which have four feet, shall be an abomination unto you. {24} And for these ye shall be unclean: whosoever toucheth the carcase of them shall be unclean until the even. {25} And whosoever beareth ought of the carcase of them shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even. Notice in Leviticus 11, in the law of clean and unclean animals, God specifically mentions four footed creeping things and then in the vision of Peter, God mentions fourfooted beasts to make an association with the law. Peter was about to learn that the differences between Jew and Gentile were abolished at the cross.