A lion called Integrity.
Tuesday, 30 August 2022
About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, “Cornelius!” Acts 10:3
Note: You can listen to today’s commentary courtesy of our friends at “Bible in Ten” podcast. (Click Here to listen)
You can also read this commentary, with music, courtesy of our friends at “Discern the Bible” on YouTube. (Click Here to listen), or at Rumble (Click Here to listen).
The first two verses of Chapter 10 described the man, Cornelius, and the caliber of person he was. He was truly a man who desired to be pleasing to God, and he desired to be granted His mercy. That can be inferred from the description of him. Now the narrative will reveal that God has read his heart. This begins with the words, “About the ninth hour of the day.”
This would be at 3 pm. It is the time of Israel’s evening sacrifice, and it is the hour that Christ died on the cross –
“Now it was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. 45 Then the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two. 46 And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, ‘Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’ Having said this, He breathed His last.” Luke 23:44-46
For a fuller description of the significance of this time, refer to the comments in Acts 3:1. There is nothing to suggest that Cornelius was either a proselyte or that he was following the customs of the Jews by praying at this hour. Rather, the previous verse clearly said that he “prayed to God always.” The importance of the hour is to connect it with other events that occurred at this hour in Scripture. Like days of the year, times of the day often bear significance and are used repeatedly to reveal patterns. Next, Luke records, “he saw clearly in a vision.”
The word translated as vision is horama. It was used once by Matthew after the transfiguration. All eleven other uses are found in Acts. It is something that is gazed at, and it is normally supernatural in nature. Cornelius is not asleep, but rather it is as if he is looking through a portal into another dimension. In his vision, he saw “an angel of God coming in.”
The sense of the verb is wrong. The word translated as “coming in” is an aorist participle, “having come.” Cornelius was praying and then there was someone there. As for the word aggelos, or angel, it means a messenger. It can refer to a supernatural being or a human. It is someone sent carrying a message. In this case, he is being sent from God. With that, the verse finishes with, “and saying to him, ‘Cornelius!’”
Again, it is an aorist participle, “and having said to him, ‘Cornelius.’” The sense is that Cornelius was in prayer and may have had his eyes closed or was mentally fixated on his prayer. Suddenly, and without any motion, someone came in and has spoken his name. This is what sets up the reaction coming in the next verse.
Life application: With another interesting and divinely appointed event recorded, it is good to be reminded that the verses in Acts are descriptive in nature. What is recorded about Cornelius’ meeting prescribes nothing. It is simply a record of what transpired, and there is a reason that it has come about.
Without getting too far ahead, the events that took place were necessary to cause the subsequent events to come about. This is especially so with Peter’s trance that will also be recorded in this chapter. But the coming of the messenger to Cornelius is needed to support and confirm what Peter needs to know.
Peter was a Jew, and he was learning about the significance of Christ’s work. He will learn more about it in his encounter with Cornelius. Now, this information is known. It is recorded in Scripture, and there does not need to be a repeat of it in every jungle or grassland, or in every Buddhist or Islamic city. We should neither expect visions and trances, nor are they necessary. The word is recorded, it tells us what we need to know, and it is sufficient for our learning and instruction.
Be wary of anyone who claims they have had an encounter with an angel or with the Lord Himself. Millions have been deceived by such people. Think of Mormonism! Today, there are over sixteen million Mormons. And there have been Mormons for almost two hundred years. Their religion is based on a lie spoken by Joseph Smith concerning an angelic visitation.
This is not an exceptional thing either. Consider the Seventh Day Adventists! There are about twenty-five million members in about ninety-five thousand churches. It is one of the fastest growing and most widespread churches on the planet. And yet it is based on the false visions of Ellen G. White.
There is no need for such things because we have the word of God. Hold fast to it. Trust in Christ alone as He is revealed in Scripture. And save your time concerning that sensational video, movie, or book. You are wasting it if you dive in. Instead, dive into the Bible daily. Get your fill of God’s word!
Glorious God Almighty, thank You for Your precious word. Help us to be rightly focused on what it says and keep us from people that would direct our attention away from it and to that which is of no value. Your word is a light to our feet. It is a lamp for our path. Help us to use it as the illumination for our walk in Your presence for all our days. Amen.