4 And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.
Cornelius was not a Gentile pure and simple. He was a Roman centurion who had discarded the Pagan mythology of Rome for the God of Israel, among whose people he was stationed, as shown by his prayer to Him; and who had identified himself closely with the Jews, as indicated in his "much alms" to them.
For such, there was provision under the law:
"When a stranger shall sojourn with thee and will keep the passover of the Lord, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it, and he shall be as one that is born in the land" (Ex. 12:48, 49; Num. 9:14; 15:15, 16).
This class of appreciative stranger to which Cornelius belonged, is thus addressed in Isaiah 56:3-7;
"Neither let the son of the stranger that hath joined himself to the Lord speak, saying, The Lord hath utterly separated me from his people . . I will bring them to my holy mountain and make them joyful in my house of prayer."
Devout Gentiles, who cast away the gods of the heathen and "joined themselves to the Lord," were known as "proselytes" (Acts 2:10), and were allowed to worship at Jerusalem, as in the case of the eunuch to whom Philip preached the word (Acts 8:27).
A court in the temple was provided for them, and known as "the court of the Gentiles." The "proselytes of the gate," as they were called, were recognised worshippers. They approached God in the only way open to the Gentiles at that time. God never has shut His ear against those who have come to Him in the way appointed.
But a wider gate was opened when Peter was commissioned to announce, in connection with the case of Cornelius, the abolition of "the middle wall of partition;' and the free admission of the Gentiles, upon the terms then disclosed, as
"fellow heirs of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ by the Gospel" (Eph. 3:6).
All Gentiles are at liberty to partake of "the promise in Christ by the gospel, " but in no other way. Such as are inclined to take "heart of grace" from the case of Cornelius must remember that Cornelius was in the right way, so far as it was possible for a Gentile to be. Therefore, his prayers were heard and the way of life opened to him by an angel.
The Christadelphian, July 1898
28 And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.
"The swine, because it divideth the hoof, yet cheweth not the cud, is unclean unto you: ye shall not eat of their flesh, nor touch their dead carcase" (Deut. 14:8).
It is a little singular that this should be the particular animal that jars on Jewish susceptibility and appeals to Gentile gastronomy. The law of God made many creatures unclean besides the pig, and condemned many things besides the eating of swine's flesh. Yet we hear little of these others, and see no concern for the will of God in a hundred other matters of which He has spoken, which is proof that it is not regard for the will of God, but zeal for a human crotchet, that is at the bottom of this pork and anti-pork controversy. Concern for the will of God would show itself in everything that God has expressed His mind about.
Still, it is dramatically interesting that a creature that symbolizes indifference to the will of God in combination with executive efficiency in matters in general should be the creature that, above all others, God's nation is known for detesting, and that the Gentiles should be distinguished for championing--not that either of them wittingly play their part with reference to the significance involved.
The Jew opposes the use of pork more than other things forbidden because the Gentile contends more for that than for other forbidden animals. But the fact remains that the one creature of all the unclean creatures that is the bone of contention between Jew and Gentile, is the one that represents the moral combination that is the most odious to God: neglect and indifference to His will in association with cleverness and efficiency in human directions. It is rather interesting and pretty that it should be so, though the nature of the situation is not discerned among the parties to the strife.
The hygienic (that is, the merely human) bearing of the controversy is the least important. It is an affair of digestive capacity merely. For those who can turn pork into flesh and blood without too great a stress on the gastric powers, pork is as good as any other form of food. But in the artificial life of modern times, few have the robustness of stomach needful to cope with its fibrous density, and to chemically quench its febrile tendencies. Therefore for most people, it is best left alone. But this is a question of individual judgment and experience, and not of divine law.
Divine law would leave no liberty whatever. A thing forbidden would be a thing unlawful to touch, even if "good for food, and pleasant to the eyes, and much to be desired to make one wise". But pork is not forbidden. It was forbidden to the Jews, but the law that forbade it has been done away (2 Cor. 3:7-11, 14; Col. 2:14-17; Gal. 4:21-31; 5:1-4, Heb. 9:9-12). The rule now in vogue among the friends of Christ is the one formulated by Paul: "Every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer" (1 Tim. 4:4). He says this in contrast to those who should arise among the brethren "commanding to abstain from meats",
Law of Moses Ch 29
31 And said, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God.
Is prayer by the unbeliever not heard ?
Cornelius is such an example where the Father does hear such prayers but He does not forgive sins of those who have not entered the waters of baptism according to the One Faith and One Hope of Israel and believe and remain obedient to this high calling....this is a question we often ask of baptismal candidates - In what way will your relationship to God change after baptism?
We do not pray for the well being, personal success or long life of individuals who rule over us (because we do not know the mind of the Father regarding them) - He may determine to remove a World leader at his own behest or cut their life short to fulfil His own desires...we are told those in ignorance are like the beasts that perish and the Father simply winks at those in ignorance Acts 17:30
We are told NOT to bid God speed to those who teach another doctrine (being accursed by God Gal 1:8)
see 2 John 1:10-11
What we pray for is to live under the government of those who rule over us in 'harmony and peace' in order to worship the Lord without impediment.
The Lord prayed for his brethren (the beloved people of God) with the hope they would be healed of their spiritual blindness...as he said "they know not what they do".....in part this prayer was answered and the Gospel message was taken to the people by Peter and others and some were saved from the destruction of AD 70.....and embraced Christ and were baptised...many may find a place in the Kingdom of God !! We pray that the blindness of the Jews will be removed and they will accept their Messiah.....it is also appropriate to pray for the Peace of Jerusalem !!
Likewise we pray for those today who are blinded by the false religions and who sadly live under a great delusion that they can worship the Lord in any way they see fit 2 Thes 2:11
Those who propagate this absurdity have kept the people in blindness - whereas we have opportunity to open their eyes to the light of the true Gospel - and we pray that our preaching efforts will bring success !
We pray they forsake Christianity and all its blasphemies of infant baptisms, triune God heads, eternal hell torments, Holy Spirit possession, immortal arch rivals roaming the underworld frustrating Gods purpose, and Evolutionary tales demeaning His masterpiece MAN who was made after his own image..... etc .
Prayer is for worship as well - BUT we are told clearly those who Worship the Lord must worship him in spirit and in Truth John 4:23-24 - only these please the Lord. Examples such as the account of Cain and Abel demonstrates this.. False worship is a detestable thing to God and why the incense to be offered was to be precisely arranged according to His guidelines and why this is a strong lesson about Prayer for us to heed - why? Rev 5:8 provides the answer.
Bro Trevor A Snow
37 That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached;
38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the holy spirit and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.
'...with the holy spirit and with power'...
A man might be anointed with the Spirit and not with power, as in the case of David, upon whom, on the day of his anointing by Samuel, "the Spirit of the Lord came from that day forward" (1 Sam. xvi. 13), and who was yet not endowed with power to work wonders, like Elijah and Elisha.
It is not strictly accurate to say that the Spirit is the power of God. Power results from the action of the Spirit, but is separable from the Spirit itself, which can be quiescent. The Spirit is the primary and eternal element.
The character of its manifestations are according to the will of God, as Paul declares in 1 Cor. xii. 2.
It may take the form of power to cure disease, or to speak with tongues, or to prophesy; or it may take the form of power to discern and utter wisdom merely. Jesus was anointed with the Holy Spirit in measureless bounty, and with power to work all manner of "miracles, wonders and signs" which God did by him, as Peter declared on the day of Pentecost.
The Christadelphian, June 1894. p233
48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.
For a sinner, then, affectionately believing the truth, to be "immersed for the name," is for him to be added to the name of Deity; that, when that Divine Name is complete, he with Jesus may be manifested in power and great glory. "The righteousness of God through Jesus Christ's faith is for all and upon all the believing" (Rom. iii. 22).
This manifestation is the ultimate purpose of his addition to this name; but there is also a present reason and advantage resulting therefrom. "Be every one of you," said Peter, "immersed upon the Name of Jesus Anointed INTO remission of sins." When added to the name, the immersed believer is "IN the name" (Acts x. 48) as a man is in a robe when he has put it on.
The name is regarded as a covering by which his "sin is covered" (Psal. xxxii. 1,2). Now, immersion is the divinely appointed action by which a true believer is, and a true believer only can be, united, added, or married to the name; and in order to this, that he may be "in the name," it is appointed for him to be immersed "eis INTO, or for, the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit" -- a formula which is equivalent to the phrase, "the Name of Jesus Anointed;" for Jesus Anointed is the Father manifested in the Son, Jesus, by Holy Spirit; in other words, DEITY MANIFESTED IN FLESH.
The believing and rejoicing sinner, then, who has followed the example of the Samaritans in faith and practice (Acts viii. 12) is immersed in water "upon," "for" and "into" the name, which is the same as being immersed into remission of sins.
Eureka - 'The Name'.