Why did God tell Peter that the unclean animals were clean?



I was wondering about something from the Bible: In Acts 10 when Peter is on a flat roof praying and then in a trance, he sees a sheet let down by its four corners from the sky, and then God tells Peter to get up, kill them, and eat them. Peter replies that he does not eat anything that the Jewish laws state is unclean or impure. Then God speaks again and says not to call anything unclean or impure if God has made it pure. That was repeated three times, too. Then the sheet was taken back up into the skies by its corners. So my question is: does this mean that all those animals that were unclean on earth are now clean to eat on earth? Or does it mean that those animals were from heaven and they were only clean to eat if they are from heaven and not from earth because God only made the animals from heaven clean? So did He make all the animals on earth clean to eat too and not just the ones from heaven?


To understand, I need you to recall that the Old Law was only given to the Israelites (the Jews). "And Moses called all Israel, and said to them: "Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your hearing today, that you may learn them and be careful to observe them. The LORD our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. The LORD did not make this covenant with our fathers, but with us, those who are here today, all of us who are alive"" (Deuteronomy 5:1-3). This caused a separation between the Jews and the Gentiles. The only way to change this situation was to replace the Old Law with a new law. "Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh--who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands-- that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father" (Ephesians 2:11-18).

This was the point God was trying to get through Peter's head. Peter was a Jew. He didn't have anything to do with Gentiles. But he wasn't considering the fact that the law had changed. Commenting on his vision, Peter said, "Then he said to them, "You know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation. But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean" (Acts 10:28). The laws for uncleanness was a unique feature of the Old Law and was a good representation of the law.

But as a side-effect of the changing law was the fact that the laws regarding unclean animals are no longer in effect.

  • "And He said to them, "Are you so lacking in understanding also? Do you not understand that whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile him, because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and is eliminated?" (Thus He declared all foods clean.)" (Mark 7:18-19).
  • "So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ" (Colossians 2:16-17).
  • "For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving" (I Timothy 4:4).

By the way, animals are of this physical world. There is no mention of animals in heaven.


Thank you so much! I am so relieved about your answers! And thank you for putting so much time and effort into your answers for people you don't know a whole lot about! You explain so much to everyone who asks! I'm very glad that you made this web site for everyone. Keep up the good work!

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