This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven. Acts 10:16This vision of Peter's and the series of events that ensued are of like kind as the convicting revelation Peter brought forth at the beginning of the Pentecost church age chronicled in Acts chapter 2. Both relate to us critical details of the commencement of, and to discerning students prophesy critical details of the conclusion of this present era. How blessed we are to be included in the Lord's marvelous plan of redemption! What grace has been poured forth upon the Jew and Gentile alike! What a privilege we have to be the recipients of such grace, to have these blessings flow out from the depths of the Lord's treasure chest of knowledge!
I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision. I saw something like a large sheet being let down from heaven by its four corners, and it came down to where I was. 6 I looked into it and saw four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, reptiles, and birds of the air. 7 Then I heard a voice telling me, 'Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.' 8 "I replied, 'Surely not, Lord! Nothing impure or unclean has ever entered my mouth.' 9 "The voice spoke from heaven a second time, 'Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.' 10 This happened three times, and then it was all pulled up to heaven again. Acts 11:5-10Peter understood that the creatures he saw in the sheet represented the Gentiles and that God was making them clean. The way the gentile church is represented in the vision is very odd, isn't it? How curious! Why these particular creatures and why in a sheet? And, too, we might ask why they were let down from heaven and then taken back up? And why three times??? My friend, there is nothing trivial or irrelevant in the Bible. I submit to you that the vision represents the rapture of Gentile Church on the third day. If you have taken the time to read the article I recommended, and /or have insight from the Lord, you know it is as I have said.
So the LORD said, "I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth--men and animals2, and creatures 3 that move along the ground, and birds of the air--for I am grieved that I have made them. Genesis 6:7Peter would have recognized the creatures he saw in the vision as the epitome of uncleanness. In striking contrast, the symbolism of the vessel in which they were seen is at the opposite end of the "cleanness" scale. They are, in fact, polar opposites!4
So the priest who is anointed and ordained to serve as priest in his father's place shall make atonement: he shall thus put on the linen garments, the holy garments, Leviticus 16:32In Revelation, the symbolism is given thusly.
Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear." (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.) Revelation 19:8Some very interesting allusion is made in the linen cloth being let down by its four corners. This makes reference to the four corners of the earth, from whence those from every nation have come into the church. This feature of the context points also to two symbols that must have been very familiar to Peter. One is the holy altar upon which sacrifice was offered UP to God.
Build an altar of acacia wood, three cubits high; it is to be square, five cubits long and five cubits wide. 2 Make a horn at each of the four corners, so that the horns and the altar are of one piece, and overlay the altar with bronze. Exodus 27:1-2The tassels correspond with the horns. Continuing in the same rich vein, the other symbol speaks volumes! Consider the command given in Numbers 15:38-41.
Speak to the Israelites and say to them: 'Throughout the generations to come you are to make tassels on the corners of your garments, with a blue cord on each tassel. 39 You will have these tassels to look at and so you will remember all the commands of the LORD, that you may obey them and not prostitute yourselves by going after the lusts of your own hearts and eyes. 40 Then you will remember to obey all my commands and will be consecrated to your God. 41 I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt5 to be your God. I am the LORD your God.'Observe that this was twice said to serve as a remembrance, to remind one of all the Lord's commands. This must surely have come to Peter's mind during the vision! The purpose for the reminder is for the one reminded to walk in holiness, being consecrated to God through obedience. What results, then, are righteous acts. This is what the linen itself signifies, so the emphasis on holiness and consecration is further amplified. Regarding this garment which is traditionally four-cornered, notice that the tassels are said to be there to look at. What will be seen is the blue cord - blue being the color of the sky and a widely recognized symbol of heaven. In the vision, Peter saw this remarkable vessel being let down from and being drawn back up into the - what? The sky6- heaven!
After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree. Revelation 7:1Compare Acts 10:11 closely.8
He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet (linen cloth; sail) being let down to earth by its four corners.Are you following these recurring themes? Watch this develop. Here are the next three verses that follow in Revelation.
Then I saw another angel coming up from the east, having the seal of the living God. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea: 3 "Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God." 4 Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel. Revelation 7:2-4I've been presenting evidence that will build to show that the vision is a prophetic revelation of the gentile church age and resurrection on the third day. When the vessel with the gentile church is "the third time" taken up into heaven, this particular "rapture" must correspond with the sealing of the 144,000. If you have been led here to read in the spirit, this unraveling thread of revelation should seem so familiar! Open our ears Lord, that we may hear and understand!
4: As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.Each of the parables are like riddles which find their solution when you understand their relevant time periods and symbolism. Consider another "birds of the air" parable in Matthew 13; verses 31 and 32.
19: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path.
He told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. 32 Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches."The man of the parable who planted the smallest seed is The Sower, Y'shua. This mustard tree has birds of the air coming to perch in its branches. The symbolic meaning has already been established for us quite plainly, remember? The mustard tree is the church. The mustard seed's growth into a tree is inappropriate for an herb type plant which, if you study the mustard plant, proliferates in number without ever becoming tree-like. This is then a picture of a perverted and corrupted tree, ahem - church, somehow appearing as more than it should be, though planted by the Lord himself. The church and the birds of the air are connected here and in Peter's vision - AND in the book of Daniel's fourth chapter's account of King Nebuchadnezzar.
These are the visions I saw while lying in my bed: I looked, and there before me stood a tree in the middle of the land. Its height was enormous. 11 The tree grew large and strong and its top touched the sky; it was visible to the ends of the earth. 12 Its leaves were beautiful, its fruit abundant, and on it was food for all. Under it the beasts of the field found shelter, and the birds of the air lived in its branches; from it every creature was fed. Daniel 4:10-12In verses 20-22, Daniel reveals that Nebuchadnezzar is the tree. Nebuchadnezzar was King of Babylon and, representing Babylon, is a picture of the Babylon church just as in Matthew 13 and Acts 10. The generous Babylon tree whose "dominion extends to distant parts of the earth" (Daniel 4:22) and which has the birds-of-the-air / evil one's thieving demons nesting in its branches is clearly the Roman Catholic church with her twin sister Protestantism. This is the whole lump which has been leavened, (sin / hypocrisy) according to Matthew 13:33, which continues the Matthew 13 trend of revealing the nature of this church age.
He told them still another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough."A woman is a popular symbol of a church. Dough is also a symbol of the church. (remember Shavuot - the two leavened loaves made from one lump - baked with fire?) And so we see that the church has been known to be as she is from the beginning. It is all in the plan of the sovereign Lord. But yet, from out of her shall a remnant be saved with a greater salvation. Herein is the continuing great mercy of God. What an awesome plan!