The word which God sent, etc. - Few verses in the New Testament have perplexed critics and divines more than this. The ancient copyists seem also to have been puzzled with it; as the great variety in the different MSS. sufficiently proves. A foreign critic makes a good sense by connecting this with the preceding verse, thus: In every nation he that feared him and worketh righteousness is accepted with him, according to that doctrine which God sent unto the children of Israel, by which he published peace (i.e. reconciliation between Jews and Gentiles) by Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all; and, because Lord of all, both of Jews and Gentiles, therefore he must be impartial; and, because impartial, or no respecter of persons, therefore, in every nation, whether Judea, Greece, or Italy, he that feareth God, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.
I believe τον λογον, the word, in this verse, should be translated, that doctrine; and probably ῥημα, which we translate that word in Acts 10:37, should be omitted as it is in the Codex Bezae, and its Itala version; and if ὁν, which is in Acts 10:36, be even left out, as it is in ABC, Coptic and Vulgate, the whole may be literally read thus: As to the doctrine sent to the children of Israel, preaching the glad tidings of peace (ευαγγελιζομενος ειρηνην ) by Jesus Christ, he is Lord of all, ye know what was done (το γενομενον ) through all Judea, beginning after the baptism which John preached. Jesus, who was from Nazareth, whom God anointed with the Holy Ghost, and with mighty power (δυναμει ) went about doing good, and healing all that were tyrannically oppressed (καταδυναϚευομενους ) by the devil, for God was with him. Critics have proposed a great variety of modes by which they suppose these verses may be rendered intelligible; and the learned reader may see many in Wolfius, Kypke, Rosenmuller, and others. Kypke contends that the word Κυριος, Lord, is to be understood adjectively, and ought to be referred to λογος, and the 36th verse will then stand thus: The word which he sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ, that word has authority over all. This amounts nearly to the same sense with the expositions given above; and all proclaim this truth, which the apostle labored to establish, namely, that God intended the salvation of all men by Jesus Christ; and therefore proclaimed reconciliation to all, by him who is Lord, maker, preserver, redeemer, and judge of all. And of this the apostle was now more convinced by the late vision; and his mission from him who is Lord of all to Cornelius, a heathen, was a full illustration of the heavenly truth; for the very meeting of Peter, once a prejudiced Jew, and Cornelius, once an unenlightened Gentile, was a sort of first fruits of this general reconciliation, and a proof that Jesus was Lord of All.
The word - That is, this is the Word, or “the doctrine.” Few passages in the New Testament have perplexed critics more than this. It has been difficult to ascertain to what the term “word” in the accusative case τὸν λόγον ton logonhere refers. Our translation would lead us to suppose that it is synonymous with what is said in the following verse. But it should be remarked that the term used there, and translated “word,” as if it were a repetition of what is said here, is a different term. It is not λόγον logonbut ῥῆμα rēma- a word, a thing; not a doctrine. I understand the first term “word” to be an introduction of the doctrine which Peter set forth, and to be governed by a preposition understood. The whole passage may be thus expressed: Peter had been asked to teach Cornelius and his assembled friends. It was expected, of course, that he would instruct him in regard to the true doctrines of religion - the doctrine which had been communicated to the Jews. He commences, therefore, with a statement respecting the true doctrine of the Messiah, or the way of salvation which was now made known to the Jews. “In regard to the Word, or the doctrine which God sent to the children of Israel, proclaiming peace through Jesus Christ (who is Lord of all), you know already what was done, or the transactions which occurred throughout all Judea, from Galilee, where he commenced his ministry after John had preached, that this was by Jesus Christ, since God had anointed him,” etc. Peter here assumes that Cornelius had some knowledge of the principal events of the life of the Saviour, though it was obscure and imperfect; and his discourse professes only to state this more fully and clearly. Unto the children of Israel - To the Jews. The Messiah was promised to them, and spent his life among them. Preaching - That is, proclaiming, or announcing. God did this by Jesus Christ. Peace - This word sometimes refers to the peace or union which was made between Jews and Gentiles, by breaking down the wall of division between them. But it is used here in a wider sense, to denote “peace or reconciliation with God.” He announced the way by which man might be reconciled to God, and might find peace. He is Lord of all - That is, Jesus Christ. He is sovereign, or ruler of both Jews and Gentiles, and hence, Peter saw the propriety of preaching the gospel to one as to the other. See John 17:2; Matthew 28:18; Ephesians 1:20-22. The word “Lord” used here does not necessarily imply divinity, but only that the Lord Jesus, as Mediator, had been constituted or appointed Lord or Ruler over all nations. It is true, however, that this is a power which we cannot conceive to have been delegated to one that was not divine. Compare Romans 9:5.
Unto the children of Israel - To the Jews. The Messiah was promised to them, and spent his life among them.
Preaching - That is, proclaiming, or announcing. God did this by Jesus Christ.
Peace - This word sometimes refers to the peace or union which was made between Jews and Gentiles, by breaking down the wall of division between them. But it is used here in a wider sense, to denote “peace or reconciliation with God.” He announced the way by which man might be reconciled to God, and might find peace.
He is Lord of all - That is, Jesus Christ. He is sovereign, or ruler of both Jews and Gentiles, and hence, Peter saw the propriety of preaching the gospel to one as to the other. See John 17:2; Matthew 28:18; Ephesians 1:20-22. The word “Lord” used here does not necessarily imply divinity, but only that the Lord Jesus, as Mediator, had been constituted or appointed Lord or Ruler over all nations. It is true, however, that this is a power which we cannot conceive to have been delegated to one that was not divine. Compare Romans 9:5.
Peace Found in Cherishing Meekness—The soul finds rest only in cherishing meekness and lowliness of heart. The peace of Christ is never found where selfishness reigns. The soul cannot grow in grace when it is self-centered and proud. Jesus assumed the position that man must take in order that the peace of Christ may abide in the heart. Those who have offered themselves to Christ to become His disciples must deny self daily, must lift up the cross and follow in the footsteps of Jesus. They must go where His example leads the way.—Letter 28, 1888 1MCP 45.2Read in context »
The seventy weeks, or 490 years, especially allotted to the Jews, ended, as we have seen, in A.D. 34. At that time, through the action of the Jewish Sanhedrin, the nation sealed its rejection of the gospel by the martyrdom of Stephen and the persecution of the followers of Christ. Then the message of salvation, no longer restricted to the chosen people, was given to the world. The disciples, forced by persecution to flee from Jerusalem, “went everywhere preaching the word.” “Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.” Peter, divinely guided, opened the gospel to the centurion of Caesarea, the God-fearing Cornelius; and the ardent Paul, won to the faith of Christ, was commissioned to carry the glad tidings “far hence unto the Gentiles.” Acts 8:4, 5; 22:21. GC 328.1
Thus far every specification of the prophecies is strikingly fulfilled, and the beginning of the seventy weeks is fixed beyond question at 457 B.C., and their expiration in A.D. 34. From this data there is no difficulty in finding the termination of the 2300 days. The seventy weeks—490 days—having been cut off from the 2300, there were 1810 days remaining. After the end of 490 days, the 1810 days were still to be fulfilled. From A.D. 34, 1810 years extend to 1844. Consequently the 2300 days of Daniel 8:14 terminate in 1844. At the expiration of this great prophetic period, upon the testimony of the angel of God, “the sanctuary shall be cleansed.” Thus the time of the cleansing of the sanctuary—which was almost universally believed to take place at the second advent—was definitely pointed out. GC 328.2
Miller and his associates at first believed that the 2300 days would terminate in the spring of 1844, whereas the prophecy points to the autumn of that year. (See Appendix.) The misapprehension of this point brought disappointment and perplexity to those who had fixed upon the earlier date as the time of the Lord's coming. But this did not in the least affect the strength of the argument showing that the 2300 days terminated in the year 1844, and that the great event represented by the cleansing of the sanctuary must then take place. GC 328.3Read in context »
Peter related the plain interpretation of these words, which was given him almost immediately in his summons to go to the centurion and instruct him in the faith of Christ. This message showed that God was no respecter of persons, but accepted and acknowledged all who feared Him. Peter told of his astonishment when, in speaking the words of truth to those assembled at the home of Cornelius, he witnessed the Holy Spirit taking possession of his hearers, Gentiles as well as Jews. The same light and glory that was reflected upon the circumcised Jews shone also upon the faces of the uncircumcised Gentiles. This was God's warning that Peter was not to regard one as inferior to the other, for the blood of Christ could cleanse from all uncleanness. AA 193.1
Once before, Peter had reasoned with his brethren concerning the conversion of Cornelius and his friends, and his fellowship with them. As he on that occasion related how the Holy Spirit fell on the Gentiles he declared, “Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as He did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?” Acts 11:17. Now, with equal fervor and force, he said: “God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as He did unto us; and put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?” This yoke was not the law of Ten Commandments, as some who oppose the binding claims of the law assert; Peter here referred to the law of ceremonies, which was made null and void by the crucifixion of Christ. AA 193.2
Peter's address brought the assembly to a point where they could listen with patience to Paul and Barnabas, who related their experience in working for the Gentiles. “All the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them.” AA 194.1Read in context »
The angel, after his interview with Cornelius, went to Peter, in Joppa. At the time, Peter was praying upon the housetop of his lodging, and we read that he “became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance.” It was not for physical food alone that Peter hungered. As from the housetop he viewed the city of Joppa and the surrounding country he hungered for the salvation of his countrymen. He had an intense desire to point out to them from the Scriptures the prophecies relating to the sufferings and death of Christ. AA 135.1
In the vision Peter “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: wherein were all manner of four-footed beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean. And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven.” AA 135.2
This vision conveyed to Peter both reproof and instruction. It revealed to him the purpose of God—that by the death of Christ the Gentiles should be made fellow heirs with the Jews to the blessings of salvation. As yet none of the disciples had preached the gospel to the Gentiles. In their minds the middle wall of partition, broken down by the death of Christ, still existed, and their labors had been confined to the Jews, for they had looked upon the Gentiles as excluded from the blessings of the gospel. Now the Lord was seeking to teach Peter the world-wide extent of the divine plan. AA 135.3Read in context »