Acts 11:6-10
Acts 11:6 (KJB)
Upon the which when I had fastened mine eyes, I considered, and saw fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.
Fastened - Looked intently
Once the blanket had lowered to Peter’s height, he was able to see that all the animals which were on it were considered unclean under the law. Peter being a Jew, would not eat any of those things or else he would be in violation of the law of God. Peter did not just give these animals a cursory view but looked intently to make sure that he was seeing that the animals before him were definitely unclean according to the law. When we look at the list of animals represented, we see they were not only unclean beasts, but this included snakes and wild beasts. Peter nor anyone in their right mind would not even approach a wild beast lest they would be killed by them.
Acts 11:7 (KJB)
And I heard a voice saying unto me, Arise, Peter; slay and eat.
Peter then tells them that after he had intently looked at all the animals which were shown to him in the vision, he then heard a voice telling him to slay the animals and eat. The words “slay” and “eat” in the Greek are both in the Imperative Mood which means that it was a command that Peter eats what is shown him. These commands left Peter no alternative but to obey.
Acts 11:8 (KJB)
But I said, Not so, Lord: for nothing common or unclean hath at any time entered into my mouth.
Peter had known it was the Lord for he responded to the voice with the title “Lord.” Peter had obeyed the law concerning what animals he was able to eat and what he was not allowed to eat. Yet, the Lord comes to him and tells him to eat, but Peter insists that these animals are common (dirty or unsanctified) and unclean (ceremonially unclean) and he has never eaten anything which was contrary to the law. Peter relates this part of the narrative because he wants those who were listening to him to know that he initially had refused to eat anything unclean according to the law.
Acts 11:9 (KJB)
But the voice answered me again from heaven, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.
Common - Unclean or defiled
The same voice had now answered Peter with another command. Peter was commanded not to call something unclean which was cleansed by God. Since the cross, the laws of the clean and unclean animals had now been done away with and all are lawful to eat.
(Mark 7:18 KJV) And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him; Jesus had taught that food entering a man’s body does not defile him but Jesus goes on and states what defiles a man:
(Mark 7:20-23 KJV) And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. {21} For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, {22} Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: {23} All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.
Sin is what defiles a man and not food. God was now ready to bring a major lesson to the Jewish Saints in Jerusalem concerning the cleansing of the Gentiles.
Acts 11:10 (KJB)
And this was done three times: and all were drawn up again into heaven.
God had done this three times to enhance the importance of the coming teaching because it was to apply to all Gentiles throughout the coming years until the last day. If Peter would have seen it once, it could have been misconstrued as a dream but God did it three time to emphasize the fact that this was a legitimate vision and was to be heeded and obeyed. The animals which Peter saw had looked the same on the outside but now they were cleansed animals. (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 each of us who are saved still look the same on the outside, the transformation has taken place on the inside. Therefore, if a person is truly saved and looks the same on the outside, does not mean they have not been saved for we cannot see the transformation of the soul as God sees it.