He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying to him, Cornelius.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)In a vision evidently.—The adverb seems added to distinguish the manifestation from that of a dream like Joseph’s in Matthew 1:20; Matthew 2:13, or of a trance like St. Peter’s (Acts 10:10) or St. Paul’s (Acts 22:17).
About the ninth hour of the day.—This was, as in Acts 3:1, one of the three hours of prayer, the hour when the evening sacrifice was offered in the Temple. Cornelius had therefore so far accepted the Jewish rules of devotion, and for him also the Law was “a schoolmaster” bringing him to Christ.Acts 10:3-6. He saw — At a time, it seems, when engaged in secret devotion; in a vision — Not in a trance, like Peter; evidently — Φανερως, manifestly and plainly, so as to leave him, though not accustomed to things of this kind, no room to suspect any imposition; about the ninth hour — That is, about three in the afternoon, which, being the hour of evening sacrifice, was chosen by him as a proper season for his devotion; an angel of God — Known to be such by the brightness of his countenance and the manner of his coming in to him: and saying, Cornelius — Calling him by his name, to intimate the particular notice God took of him. And when he looked on him — Ατενισας αυτω, having fixed his eyes on him; he was afraid — And no wonder, for the wisest and best of men have been struck with fear upon the appearance of any extraordinary messenger from heaven; and said, What is it, Lord? — As if he had said, What can this mean? for the words seem to be a sudden exclamation, and prayer to God to preserve him, and let him know what was the design of so astonishing an appearance. And he (the angel) said, Thy prayers, and thine alms — With which they have been attended; have come up for a memorial before God — Far more pleasing to him than the most fragrant incense. And dare any man say, then, that these were only splendid sins? or that they were an abomination before God? And yet it is certain, in the Christian sense, Cornelius was then an unbeliever. He had not then faith in Christ. So certain it is, that every one who seeks faith in Christ, should seek it in prayer and doing good to all men. And now — Adds the angel, since God is about to give thee a very singular proof of his love, by discovering things to thee which it is of the highest importance thou shouldst know; send, therefore, to Joppa, and call for one Simon, &c.; he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do — Two things here are remarkable, and worthy of particular attention: 1st, Cornelius is influenced continually by the fear of God; from that principle he prays and gives alms; is religious himself, and maintains religion in his family. And all this he does in such a manner as to be accepted of God therein. Nevertheless, it is now necessary he should do something further; he must embrace the Christian religion, God having now established it among men. Not, he might do this if he pleased, and it would be an improvement of his religion; but, he must do it, his doing it is indispensably necessary to his acceptance with God for the future. He that had believed the promise of the Messiah, must now believe the performance of that promise. Now God having given a further record concerning his Son than what had been given in the Old Testament prophecies, he requires men to receive that record when it is brought to them; and unless they do so, neither their prayers nor their alms can any longer come up for a memorial before him. Prayers and alms are indeed still accepted from those that believe in God and fear him, if they have not an opportunity of knowing more. But with those to whom the gospel is preached, it is necessary, in order to the acceptance of their persons, prayers, and alms, that they should believe that Jesus is the Christ, and should confide in him alone for acceptance. 2d, Though Cornelius has now an angel from heaven talking to him, yet he must not receive the gospel of Christ from this angel, nor be told by him what he ought to do, but must send for Peter to inform him. As the former observation puts a remarkable honour upon the gospel, so doth this upon the gospel ministry. It was not to angels, but to saints, persons compassed about with infirmity, that this grace was given, to preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, that the excellence of the power might be of God, and the dignity of Christ’s institution supported. And as it was an honour to the apostle, that he must preach that which an angel might not, so it was a further honour, that an angel was despatched from heaven on purpose to order him to be sent for. Observe, reader, to bring a faithful minister and a willing people together, is a work worthy of an angel, and what, therefore, the greatest of men should be glad to be employed in.Acts 9:10.
Evidently - Openly; manifestly.
About the ninth hour - About 3 o'clock p. m. This was the usual hour of evening worship among the Jews.
An angel of God - See the notes on Matthew 1:20. Compare Hebrews 1:14. This angel was sent to signify to Cornelius that his alms were accepted by God as an evidence of his piety, and to direct him to send for Peter to instruct him in the way of salvation. The importance of the occasion - the introduction of the gospel to a Gentile, and hence, to the entire Gentile world - was probably the chief reason why an angel was commissioned to visit the Roman centurion. Compare Acts 16:9-10.
the ninth hour of the day—three o'clock, the hour of the evening sacrifice. But he had been "fasting until that hour" (Ac 10:30), perhaps from the sixth hour (Ac 10:9).In a vision; not in a dream or rapture, but sensibly and plainly.
About the ninth hour; their ninth hour was with us about three o’clock in the afternoon; being the ordinary time for the evening sacrifice; and, by consequence, their time of prayer, Acts 3:1. And this devout man doth not seek God’s face in vain; Cornelius had been faithful in a little, and God would give him much; rather than he should want further instruction, who had improved what he had already, God here sends an angel, and soon after an apostle unto him.
an angel of God coming to him; into the room where he was at prayer:
and saying unto him, Cornelius; he called him by his name, to let him know that he knew him, as angels are very knowing spirits; and to express his affection and friendship to him, and that he was a messenger, not of bad, but of good news to him; as well as to engage his attention to him; for he might be so intent at his devotion, that had he not called him by name, he would not have minded him.He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Acts 10:3. Εἶδεν is the verb belonging to ἀνὴρ … Κορνήλ., Acts 10:1, and ἑκατοντ.… διαπαντός is in apposition to Κορνήλ.
The intimation made to Cornelius is a vision in a waking condition, caused by God (during the hour of prayer, which was sacred to the centurion on account of his high respect for Judaism), i.e. a manifestation of God made so as to be clearly perceptible to the inner sense of the pious man, conveyed by the medium of a clear (φανερῶς) angelic appearance in vision, which Cornelius himself, Acts 10:30, describes more precisely in its distinctly seen form, just as it at once on its occurrence made the corresponding impression upon him; hence Acts 10:4 : ἔμφοβος γενόμ. and τί ἐστι, κύριε. Comp. Luke 24:5. Eichhorn rationalized the narrative to the effect that Cornelius, full of longing to become acquainted with the distinguished Peter now so near him, learned the place of his abode from a citizen of Joppa at Caesarea, and then during prayer felt a peculiar elevation of mind, by which, as if by an angel, his purpose of making Peter’s acquaintance was confirmed. This is opposed to the whole representation; with which also Ewald’s similar view fails to accord, that Cornelius, uncertain whether or not he should wish a closer acquaintance with Peter, had, “as if irradiated by a heavenly certainty and directed by an angelic voice,” firmly resolved to invite the apostle at once to visit him
ὡσεὶ περὶ ὥρ. ἐνάτ. (see the critical remarks): as it were about the ninth hour. Circumstantiality of expression. See Bornemann in loc.Acts 10:3. εἶδεν: there is no ground for explaining away the force of the words by assuming that Cornelius had formerly a longing to see Peter.—φανερῶς: “openly,” R.V.; manifeste, Vulgate. The words plainly are meant to exclude any illusion of the senses, not in a trance as in Acts 10:10, cf. Acts 22:17; only here in Luke’s writings, cf. 2Ma 3:28.—ὡσεὶ (περί): the ὡσεί, as Blass points out, intimates the same as περί—the dative which is read here by Chrysostom (omit περί) is sometimes confused with the accusative in the sense of duration of time, see Blass on Acts 10:30, and Acts 8:11 (for the accusative see John 4:52, Revelation 3:3), and Gram., p. 93. Cornelius observed without doubt the Jewish hours of prayer, and the vision is represented as following upon, or whilst he was engaged in, prayer, and in answer to it.3. He saw in a vision evidently [openly] i.e. he was not in a trance, as we read afterwards concerning Peter, but was employed in prayer when the angel appeared. See below, Acts 10:30.
about the ninth hour of the day] This was the hour for evening prayer see Acts 3:1. So we can see that Cornelius had adopted the Jewish hours of prayer.Acts 10:3. Ἐν ὁράματι, in a vision) not in an ecstasy, as Peter.—φανερῶς, manifestly) So that it could not be a deception of the senses which was disturbing Cornelius, who was not accustomed to such things.—ἐννάτην, the ninth) This is about our third hour (three o’clock) in the afternoon: a time in which the senses are wont to be fresh and lively.Verse 3. - Openly for evidently, A.V.; as it were about for about, A.V. and T.R.; unto for to, and to for unto, A.V. Openly; or, evidently (φανερῶς), indicates the distinctness and certainty of the vision. It was, as Meyer says, a clear angelic appearance; there was no indistinctness or confusion about it, and consequently it left no kind of doubt in the mind of Cornelius. An angel; or rather, the angel; the addition of God defines it (see Acts 5:19, note).
See on Acts 7:31.
Better, clearly or distinctly, as opposed to a fancy.
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