Utah landscape. Looks like a great flood happened here…
Thursday, 27 October 2022
Now this was done three times, and all were drawn up again into heaven. Acts 11:10
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).
Peter had just noted that for a second time the voice had said, “What God has cleansed you must not call common.” Having said that, he continues by saying, “Now this was done three times.”
It may or may not be a coincidence that the next verse will specifically note that three men from Cornelius will arrive at the door. Not only was the event seen three times, confirming that it was a purposeful and determined incident, but having three Gentiles arrive just then may confirm to Peter that he should pay heed to the vision. As for the great object filled with the animals of the earth, Peter next says, “and all were drawn up again into heaven.”
In Acts 10:16, the word analambanó was used. It means “to take up,” such as when Christ was taken up into heaven in Acts 1:2. Luke now uses the word anaspaó. That signifies “to pull up,” or “to draw up.” It is used only one other time, also by Luke –
“Then He answered them, saying, ‘Which of you, having a donkey or an ox that has fallen into a pit, will not immediately pull him out on the Sabbath day?’” Luke 14:5
One might challenge the reliability of the text because of this, claiming that the use of two words shows an inconsistency. But there is no reason for this. Luke was the one to describe the events of Acts 10 as they were conveyed to him. Peter is now the one to describe what he saw in Acts 11. Rather than demonstrating an inconsistency, it shows that the use of the words is a recounting that is being described as anyone would do it, using words familiar to the mind at the time.
Of the words of Jesus just cited from Luke 14, the same thought is found in Matthew 12 using a completely different set of words to describe what he said –
“Then He said to them, ‘What man is there among you who has one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it out?’” Matthew 12:11
Rather than an inconsistency, we have a personal eyewitness being relayed by two different sources using words that are appropriate to their mental state at the time. Any person might at one time say, “I saw the object pulled up to heaven.” The next time he describes the event, he might say, “I saw the object drawn up to heaven.” What is seen here is the recording of a natural discourse as it would normally occur.
Life application: Someone trying to tear apart the Bible would naturally claim that the use of various words when describing a single account shows an inconsistency. And yet, that same person would say, “Those two accounts are just copied, one from the other,” when they were identical. There is no winning with someone like that.
God has allowed man’s moods, predispositions, and current state of mind to enter into His word as it was conveyed by those who wrote it out. It is thus a living and active word that reflects more than just a set and rigid state of mind. Rather, it demonstrates to us a beauty all its own.
When a person plays a song on a guitar, it would become stagnant and boring to play the exact same notes every single time. Rather, a great player will take the original song and follow it while also adding in various personal notes. As such, it will be uniquely played even while it is the same song that has been played all along.
The Bible allows for something comparable when similar accounts are relayed to us. And yet, despite this, the exact intent of God is conveyed through His inspiration. We have the very words of God that reflect the very heart of His chosen instruments for conveying that word. Rejoice in the beauty of this word all your days. When you read the psalms of David, you can know that David is the author, even though you can also know that God is the ultimate inspiration and Author behind what is written. Think about this and revel in this precious and sacred word.
Heavenly Father, our hearts rejoice at the beauty of Your word. It is a treasure to come to and to consider from day to day. We are filled with hope, inspiration, joy, and more as we move from page to page. We can be angry at that which angers You. We can be molded into godly people through it. There is so much life and beauty in Your word. Thank You for this precious word. Amen.