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Vol.  10  No. 8 August 2008  Page 20
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Since You Asked By Louis Rushmore

Names may be included at the discretion of the Editor unless querists request their names be withheld. Please check our Archive for the answer to your question before submitting it; there are over 1,000 articles in the Archive addressing numerous biblical topics. Submit a Question to GGO.

Louis Rushmore

Cornelius' Prayer

A discussion came up in our Sunday morning bible class regarding Acts 10 and Cornelius’ conversion. Although he was not a “Jew,” verse 2 states he was: “A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway.” …How can I explain John 9:31 that states “Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth” if Cornelius had not been baptized under the new Testament that went into affect when Christ died on the cross? ~ Keven Endsley

    The following verses illustrate the attitude of God toward two types of souls who might appeal to him. “The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry” (Psalm 34:15). “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” (Psalm 66:18). “Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD” (Proverbs 1:28-29). “The LORD is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous” (Proverbs 15:29). “Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard” (Proverbs 21:13). “He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination” (Proverbs 28:9). “Then shall they cry unto the LORD, but he will not hear them: he will even hide his face from them at that time, as they have behaved themselves ill in their doings” (Micah 3:4). Cornelius was clearly not of the one group and as clearly one who possessed the qualities of the other group.

    Now, remember that God authored two systems of religion before the introduction of Christianity: Patriarchy and Judaism. God introduced Judaism to a small segment of the human population, the small nation of Israel. The rest of mankind remained under and amenable to the other God-authored form of religion: Patriarchy. Initially, Christianity was introduced to those amenable to Judaism—primarily the Jews and some Gentiles who had proselyted to Judaism (Acts 2). Later, Christianity was introduced to the Samaritans, whose ancestry was a mixture of Jews and non-Jews (Acts 8). Lastly, Christianity was introduced to Gentiles at the house of Cornelius (Acts 10).

    By Acts 10, Christianity had been introduced to each class of people, making all classes of people (i.e., Jews, part Jews and non-Jews) amenable to Christianity. Previously, all mankind was amenable to Patriarchy until God introduced Judaism to Israel, at which time only Israel was bound by Judaism, and whereas people outside Israel were still bound to Patriarchy; God did not leave people outside Israel without divine law. The Jews were amenable to Judaism until Christianity was introduced to them. Likewise, Gentiles were amenable to Patriarchy until Christianity was introduced to them (as a class of people).

    People living under Patriarchy worshipped God according to the prescriptions of Patriarchy. People living under Judaism worshipped God according to the prescriptions of Judaism. Today, of course, all people are obligated to worship God according to the prescriptions of Christianity, because both Patriarchy and Judaism have been replaced with Christianity.

    Cornelius, being a Gentile and not a Jew, I believe, was amenable to Patriarchy at the time of his prayer. He was a good specimen of a Patriarchal worshipper when he prayed, and at which time God decided to introduce Christianity to those still living under Patriarchy.

    If, however, this is not the case (and it is not a critical issue now since all people living today live in the Christian dispensation 2,000 years this side of the commencement of Christianity), Cornelius would at least be an instance of the one kind of prayer that in a sense to which God will respond (in our day, providentially) by providing one an opportunity to hear the Gospel of Christ. God may not have heard Cornelius’ prayer in the sense of accepting him as a child of God, but rather being aware of Cornelius’ prayer, nevertheless responded by sending opportunity to him.

Between the Cross and Pentecost

Was there a 50 day “Grace Period” between Jesus’ death on the cross and the day of Pentecost, so if any righteous God fearing Jews or Gentiles such as Cornelius would have died before hearing the gospel, they would still be saved? Also, if that be the case and to be fair, would that “grace period” need to be extended longer until everyone on earth had a chance to hear the gospel as stated in Colossians 1:23. ~ Keven Endsley, Roanoke, TX

    No, there was not a grace period between the cross and Pentecost. However, another circumstance prevailed between the cross and Pentecost that does not lend itself to application at any time beyond Pentecost of Acts 2. Whereas the Old  Testament (namely, Judaism, Romans 7:6-7) was nailed to the cross of Christ (Colossians 2:14) 50 days before the Acts 2 Pentecost, the effect and benefit of the cross of Christ was unknown to the world until proclaimed by the apostle Peter in the first recorded Gospel sermon. Judaism effectively continued, then, until the birthday of the church in Acts 2. In a sense, this is comparable to USA politics of selecting the nation’s next president; the new president is elected in November, but he is not inaugurated as president until months later. Christianity was not inaugurated at the cross of Christ, but rather on the birthday of the church in Acts 2.

    Cornelius was not approached with the Gospel of Christ until 10 years after the birthday of the church in Acts 2. From that time forth, the final class of people to receive the news of the Gospel of Christ (Gentiles, Acts 10) were forever amenable to Christianity versus, in the case of the Gentiles, Patriarchy. The Jews were no longer bound by Judaism after Acts 2; likewise, the Samaritans became amenable exclusively to Christianity after Acts 8. By the time the apostle Paul declared that the Gospel had been preached to the whole world (Colossians 1:23), all classes of humanity had been apprised of the Gospel (i.e., Jews, Samaritans and Gentiles). Since the first century, everyone has been amenable exclusively to the Gospel of Christ (Christianity).

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