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   THE MYSTERY OF CORNELIUS THE CENTURION



Copyright 1994 - 2011 Endtime Prophecy Net

Published On : November 23, 1997

Last Updated : January 3, 2009

Some Interesting Ideas Regarding The Discipleship Of
Cornelius, A Look At Peter's Call For Salvation To The
Gentiles, And More Thoughts On Christian Discipleship




Amidst all of the evil and violent deeds perpetrated by the
Roman occupiers of Israel during the First Century can be
found one shining example of a devout man who feared the
Lord. His name is Cornelius, and his story is told in Acts
chapter ten. Upon reading the opening verses of the chapter,
we discover that Cornelius is a centurion, that is, the
captain of a band of one hundred Roman soldiers. This group
of soldiers was called the 'Italian Band' which may indicate
that they originated from Rome itself:

"There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a
centurion of the band called the Italian band," (Acts 10:1)

At the time of our story, Cornelius and the Italian Band are
stationed in the town of Caesarea northwest of Jerusalem.
Caesarea was built on the Mediterranean coast by Herod the
Great on the site of Strato's Tower, between the towns of
Joppa and Dora. It had an exellent harbour and was given the
name of Caesarea in honour of Caesar Augustus who ruled the
Roman Empire at that time. Caesarea was also the residence
of the Roman procurators, or governors, of Palestine such as
Felix and Festus. The majority of its inhabitants were
Greeks:

"And he called unto him two centurions, saying, Make ready
two hundred soldiers to go to Caesarea, and horsemen
threescore and ten, and spearmen two hundred, at the third
hour of the night; And provide them beasts, that they may
set Paul on, and bring him safe unto Felix the governor."
(Acts 23:23-24)

"But after two years Porcius Festus came into Felix' room:
and Felix, willing to shew the Jews a pleasure, left Paul
bound. Now when Festus was come into the province, after
three days he ascended from Caesarea to Jerusalem. Then the
high priest and the chief of the Jews informed him against
Paul, and besought him, And desired favour against him, that
he would send for him to Jerusalem, laying wait in the way
to kill him. But Festus answered, that Paul should be kept
at Caesarea, and that he himself would depart shortly
thither. Let them therefore, said he, which among you are
able, go down with me, and accuse this man, if there be any
wickedness in him. And when he had tarried among them more
than ten days, he went down unto Caesarea; and the next day
sitting on the judgment seat commanded Paul to be brought."
(Acts 24:27-25:6)

Given the time and setting of the Book of Acts, plus
Cornelius' level of responsibility, it might be safe to
assume that he was probably in his thirties or forties, or
maybe even older. If this assumption is correct, then it is
probable that he was a career military man, and was already
a part of the Roman military machine at the time of Jesus'
revelation to Israel. The reason I am making this point is
to validate the possibility that Cornelius' decision to
become a military man was made before he came to the
knowledge of Jesus Christ. In other words, the implication
is that, had he come to know Jesus before his induction into
the Roman forces, he might have decided against it. One
thing we do know is that he was a very devout man who
believed in God:

"A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house,
which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God
alway." (Acts 10:2)

I found this point to be very interesting due to the simple
fact that the Romans were pagans. They had a whole pantheon
of gods and goddesses; yet in writing this account, the
author of Acts, believed to be Luke, points out to us that
this man Cornelius was different. Not only he, but his
entire house believed in the one true God of Israel. I was
curious as to what might cause him to break with Roman
tradition and embrace the God of Israel. While I cannot
prove it beyond a shadow of a doubt, I suspect that this may
not be the first account we have of Cornelius in the New
Testament. In his Gospel, Luke relates a similar story of a
centurion who was stationed in Capernaum during the early
part of Jesus' ministry:

"Now when he had ended all his sayings in the audience of
the people, he entered into Capernaum. And a certain
centurion's servant, who was dear unto him, was sick, and
ready to die. And when he heard of Jesus, he sent unto him
the elders of the Jews, beseeching him that he would come
and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they
besought him instantly, saying, That he was worthy for whom
he should do this: For he loveth our nation, and he hath
built us a synagogue. Then Jesus went with them. And when he
was now not far from the house, the centurion sent friends
to him, saying unto him, Lord, trouble not thyself: for I am
not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof:
Wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee:
but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed. For I
also am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers,
and I say unto one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come,
and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.
When Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, and
turned him about, and said unto the people that followed
him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no,
not in Israel. And they that were sent, returning to the
house, found the servant whole that had been sick."
(Luke 7:1-10)

Notice the similarities between these two accounts. In both
we find a Roman centurion who believes in the God of Israel.
In Luke's account in his Gospel, we are told that this
centurion has servants. In his account in the Book of Acts,
he tells us the same thing:

"And when the angel which spake unto Cornelius was departed,
he called two of his household servants, and a devout
soldier of them that waited on him continually;"
(Acts 10:7)

From Luke's account in Acts, we also know that Cornelius led
a comfortable life in Caesarea. Being on the Emperor's
payrole, he must have been rather well off financially, and
thus was able to help out the poor considerably. In the
Gospel account, Luke tells us that this un named centurion
also went as far as to build a synagogue for the Jews. It
also appears that in both stories, this centurion is not
alone in his worship of the God of Israel. His household
servants seem to be of the same persuasion. This does not
necessarily mean that he or they believed in Jesus yet.
Remember, many people believed in God at the time, but not
all had met Jesus personally during His three year ministry.

One thing we do know is that this centurion in the Gosepl of
Luke had apparently heard of Jesus at least by word of
mouth, which is why he sent for Him in the first place. But
notice; because of this man's own humility, Luke tells us
that he doesn't come out to meet Jesus face to face; he
merely sends his servants to petition that Jesus heal his
sick servant. If this un named centurion is indeed Cornelius
who was later stationed in Caesarea further down on the
coast, it is apparent that the Lord was already working in
his life and preparing him for the events which would occur
to him in Acts chapter ten. What is also interesting about
this account in Luke is that we are not told what happens
after Jesus heals his servant. It seems to me that the
natural thing to do would be for the centurion to at least
go out to thank Jesus, if not invite Him into his house for
a meal, or to spend the night so he could hear Him speak
more. Regardless of what actually happened, considering how
devout he was, it seems to me that after this miracle, this
man must have become a believer in Jesus as the Messiah.
There is some possible evidence of this in Acts chapter ten
which I will explain in a minute. It is also noteworthy that
this account of the unidentified centurion is also mentioned
in the Gospel of Matthew. The primary difference is that in
Matthew's account, the centurion came to Jesus directly, and
Jesus marvelled at his faith when He said of him:

"...Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith,
no, not in Israel." (Matthew 8:10)

In thinking about these different aspects of Cornelius'
life, perhaps we can compare him to a modern-day pious
family man with a long career in the military. While he was
a worldly man, he did have faith in God. However, as other
chapters in the book of Acts clearly demonstrate, and as I
have shown in such articles as 'Where Are The First Century
Churches?', being a fulltime Disciple of Christ means much
more than just having a superficial faith. As the following
verses show, true Discipleship meant forsaking all and
following Jesus one hundred per cent everyday. It meant
selling everything one possessed and giving the money to the
Apostles for distribution according to each person's need:

"And all that believed were together, and had all things
common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted
them to all men, as every man had need." (Acts 2:44-45)

"Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many
as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought
the prices of the things that were sold, And laid them down
at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every
man according as he had need. And Joses, who by the apostles
was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son
of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus,
Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at
the apostles' feet." (Acts 4:34-37)

This financial plan for the Early Church was first laid down
by Jesus Himself when He said such things as:

"And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or
sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or
lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and
shall inherit everlasting life." (Matthew 19:29)

"So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all
that he hath, he cannot be my disciple." (Luke 14:33)

One thing which is apparent from Acts chapter ten, is that
Cornelius was a man well-loved by God. It is for this very
reason that He sent an angel to prepare Cornelius for
Peter's visit:

"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. And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and
said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers
and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God. And
now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname
is Peter:" (Acts 10:3-5)

It is in this same chapter while the servants of Cornelius
are on their way to Joppa to find Peter, that the Lord
reveals to Peter the true depth of His Sacrifice on the
Cross. As Jesus said in the Gospel of John:

"And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men
unto me." (John 12:32)

Up until the time of his vision, Peter and the other
Disciples had not yet fully understood that Salvation was
meant for all men, regardless of their ethnic heritage; and
this is why the Lord had to give Peter a special revelation
in order to teach him this valuable lesson:

"On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh
unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about
the sixth hour: And he became very hungry, and would have
eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance, And
saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him,
as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and
let down to the earth: Wherein were all manner of fourfooted
beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things,
and fowls of the air. And there came a voice to him, Rise,
Peter; kill, and eat. But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I
have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. And
the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God
hath cleansed, that call not thou common. This was done
thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven."
(Acts 10:9-16)

In speaking of his miraculous vision on the following day
after arriving at the house of Cornelius, Peter said in
part:

"...Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that
is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another
nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any
man common or unclean...Of a truth I perceive that God is no
respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth
him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him."
(Acts 10:28b, 34b-35)

During the course of witnessing to Cornelius and his
household, Peter says something which makes clear that they
already know about Jesus Christ and the Salvation He brings.
This could be an indication that Cornelius was indeed the un
named centurion mentioned by both Matthew and Luke in their
Gospels:

"The word which God sent unto the children of Israel,
preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:) That
word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all
Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John
preached;" (Acts 10:36-37)

Notice Peter specifically says, 'ye know'. In other words,
Cornelius and his family are not ignorant of who Jesus is;
after all, not only did the word of His miracles travel
throughout all of Judea, but it began in Galilee. This point
is very interesting because it is exactly in Capernaum of
Galilee where the story of the un named centurion took
place. This may merely be a coincidence, but I am not
convinced that it is so. It may very well be that Cornelius
was stationed in Capernaum at the time. But that is not all.
While Peter was witnessing to Cornelius and all of his
household, much to the surprise of the believing Jewish
Disciples of the circumcision who accompanied Peter, the
Holy Ghost fell upon Cornelius and his household, and they
begin to magnify the Lord and speak in tongues:

"While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on
all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision
which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter,
because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of
the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and
magnify God..." (Acts 10:44-46)

Notice that there is no talk here of Cornelius and his
family getting saved first. There is no talk of them first
acknowledging the Lord as their Saviour. Peter is simply
witnessing to them, and the next thing they know, these
Gentiles are filled with the Holy Ghost and speaking in
tongues! It is AFTER this occurs that the chapter ends with
Cornelius and his family being water baptized, and Peter and
his companions remaining with them for a few days:

"Can any man forbid water, that these should not be
baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?
And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the
Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days."
(Acts 10:47-48)

So the question arises: Was their Salvation and being filled
with the Holy Ghost a simultaneous occurrence, or could it
be that Cornelius and his family were ALREADY saved since
Mathtew's and Luke's first accounts in their Gospels when
Jesus healed the servant of the un named centurion? This
seems highly possible to me, but again, I cannot prove it
beyond a shadow of a doubt. Furthermore, it doesn't seem to
me that they would be filled with the Holy Ghost, and then
be saved afterwards through water baptism. My understanding
of the Scriptures is that the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is
usually, but not always, a secondary event following
Salvation. Notice that this particular water baptism was
simply a symbolic act of the true baptism of the Holy Spirit
which had ALREADY occurred. As I have made clear in other
articles such as 'Water Baptism: Is It Necessary?', I
personally do not believe that water baptism is necessary
for Salvation. Our Salvation is based upon our faith in the
Sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and NOT upon a physical act. As
Paul clearly teaches, Salvation which is based on anything
other than simple faith in the Blood of Jesus Christ, is not
a Salvation of Grace, but rather a Salvation of Works:

"And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise
grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no
more grace: otherwise work is no more work." (Romans 11:6)

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of
yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any
man should boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9)

One other interesting point worth mentioning is that this
whole incident was a total act of faith on both the parts of
Peter and Cornelius. Cornelius had no idea why he was told
to send for Peter. He simply obeyed what had been shown to
him in his vision. In like manner, for Peter to even
consider ministering to Gentiles was a great step of faith
which the Lord had to first confirm to him by the heavenly
vision of the sheet full of unclean animals. This whole
event was so out of the ordinary, that after Peter had
returned to Jerusalem, the legalistic Jewish Disciples who
still believed that circumcision was necessary for
Salvation, confronted him regarding the events in Caesarea:

"And the apostles and brethren that were in Judaea heard
that the Gentiles had also received the word of God. And
when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the
circumcision contended with him, Saying, Thou wentest in to
men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them." (Acts 11:1-3)

After relating the entire incident to them, Peter summed up
his words with the following:

"And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on
us at the beginning. Then remembered I the word of the Lord,
how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye
shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost. Forasmuch then as God
gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on
the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand
God? When they heard these things, they held their peace,
and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the
Gentiles granted repentance unto life." (Acts 11:15-18)

Peter was basically saying, 'Hey look fellows; I was as
surprised as you are now; but who am I to question the
workings of the Lord?' Beyond the events described in Acts
chapter ten, I cannot say with any degree of certainty what
happened to Cornelius and the rest of his household in
Caesarea after they had received the Holy Spirit. The
Scriptures are silent on this matter. Upon reading the
account of Acts chapter ten, my initial impression was that
due to his position of wealth, status and comfortable
living, it probably would have been very difficult for
Cornelius to forsake all; much like the young rich man who
went away grieved after Jesus told him to forsake all and
follow Him. However, I was reminded again of a few verses I
have often quoted before:

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your
ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher
than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my
thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:8-9)

"And we know that all things work together for good to them
that love God, to them who are the called according to his
purpose." (Romans 8:28)

If there is one thing I have learned over the years, it is
that God does not make mistakes. Everything which happens in
the life of a Christian is for a reason. God is trying to
teach us something, or to move us in a specific direction,
or to get us to do something for Him. The fact that the
unidentified centurion is mentioned in two of the Gospels is
significant. Out of the many people which Jesus healed
during His short Earthly ministry, why was this centurion
mentioned, while other miracles were overlooked? My feeling
is that perhaps Jesus wanted to leave this man with a strong
impression because He knew that some time later in his life,
this centurion would become a faithful witness and Disciple
after he had received the Holy Ghost. We need to remember
that Jesus had a long-term vision. This is clearly evident
in the signs of the Endtime which He shared with His
Disciples in such chapters as Matthew twenty-four and Luke
twenty-one. But as far as planting the seed of the Word of
God is concerned, in the Book of Isaiah we are told:

"So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it
shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that
which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I
sent it." (Isaiah 55:11)

We are not given any clear indication of how much time
passed between the story of the unidentified centurion in
the Gospels, and the story of Cornelius in the Book of Acts.
Considering that the first story occurred in Capernaum
during the early part of Jesus' ministry, and the second
story occurred after the Day of Pentecost following Jesus'
Ascension into Heaven, I think that it is reasonable to
assume that some three years or more may have lapsed.
Sometimes it takes time for the Word of the Lord to produce
the fruit that He desires of it. Could the story of
Cornelius be one such case?

Putting all of these different pieces of the puzzle
together, I personally feel that the Lord must have had
something very special for Cornelius to do. I don't think
that He would allow a man of such great faith, which He
clearly recognized by His own comment, to simply slip out of
His hands, particularly when the number of laborers at that
time were so few:

"Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great,
but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the
harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his
harvest." (Luke 10:2)

It is obvious to me that Cornelius was called by the Lord
for some task. If we accept that Matthew and Luke were
indeed referring to Cornelius in their Gospels before this
event in the Book of Acts, then this is even more evidence
that the Lord had been working in the life of Cornelius for
some time. I have even considered the possibility that had
the unidentified centurion gone out to meet Jesus face to
face that day, perhaps he would have made a serious decision
to follow the Lord right then and there. Personally, I can't
imagine anyone so full of faith as Jesus said this man was,
who witnessed a miracle by the hand of the Master, who would
not want to dedicate his life to preaching His message in
humble gratitude for having healed his servant.

In thinking about the amazing events in Acts chapter ten, we
need to ask ourselves: How often is it that people receive a
heavenly visitation? The Scriptures seem to indicate that
such events are reserved for those who have a very special
calling from the Lord such as Moses, Gideon, Joseph and
Mary, Zechariah, John the Baptist, Paul, etc. Another point
worth considering is that Peter was the chief of the
Apostles, yet the Lord didn't think him too big or too busy,
or too important to send to these lowly Gentile believers.
In fact, the Lord specifically gave Peter his vision to
convince him of the importance of his mission to Caesarea.
The Lord knew that Cornelius and his family were an
important part of His overall plans. Another fact to
consider is that this family received the gift of the Holy
Ghost. This is very important. What is the whole purpose of
the Holy Ghost? Is it to continue in our regular dull
existence living selfishly? Of course not! We find a very
clear answer in the first chapter of the Book of Acts:

"But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is
come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in
Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the
uttermost part of the earth." (Acts 1:8)

The whole purpose of receiving the Holy Spirit is to give us
the power to be witnesses for Christ. It is to give us the
power to go into all the world to preach the Gospel to every
creature. Based on the importance of Peter's mission to
Caesarea, and the fact that the Lord had to convince him of
its importance by giving him a special vision, plus the
unique way in which the Lord prepared Cornelius for this
visit by the leader of the Early Church, I prefer to believe
that after having received the Holy Spirit, Cornelius made
the right choice to follow the Lord all the way. In fact, I
would venture to say that, following the pattern of the
First Century Church, he probably began a church in his own
home beginning with his own family and servants. As I
pointed out in 'Where Are The First Century Churches?, this
is where the first churches were located, in the private
homes of the followers. Granted, the idea that Cornelius may
have started a church in his home is only conjecture on my
part, but to think otherwise is to suggest that God wasted
His time in setting things up the way He did if Cornelius
just went back to his same old lifestyle. As I have stated
before, when we accept the Lord and His Holy Spirit, we
become a new man, a new creature in Christ Jesus, with new
goals and new aspirations:

"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature:
old things are passed away; behold, all things are become
new." (2 Corinthians 5:17)

"Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death:
that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory
of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of
life." (Romans 6:4)

This 'newness of life' is not just something which begins
after we have been resurrected into our new glorified
bodies; but rather it is something which can and should
begin here in this life the minute that we accept the Lord
as our personal Saviour. If we accept the Lord and then
continue living our same selfish lives business as usual,
then something must be wrong somewhere, in my view. As is
made clear in the Epistles, the gifts and calling of God are
without repentance. In other words, no one is ever going to
be sorry for having chosen to follow the Lord. Likewise,
faith without works is dead. If we truly believe, then there
will be a notable change in our lives as we try our best to
follow the Lord:

"For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance."
(Romans 11:29)

"For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith
without works is dead also." (James 2:26)

Once we become Christians, the Lord wants us to become
fruitful branches that bear new fruit for the Kingdom of
Heaven. Jesus spoke about this on many occasions such as in
the Gospel of John when He said:

"I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every
branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and
every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may
bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word
which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As
the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in
the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the
vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in
him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye
can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth
as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast
them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me,
and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it
shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that
ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples."
(John 15:1-8)

The idea for this article came about as a result of someone
challenging my view in which I stated that one cannot serve
in the Lord's Army and man's army at the same time. One
cannot follow Jesus' commandment to save lives while at the
same time he destroys lives through the mandates of some
Earthly government or military force. To refute my
statements, the example of Cornelius was offered to show
that one can serve in the military and still serve the Lord.
The purpose of this article then has been to show that it is
quite possible that after being filled with the Holy Spirit,
Cornelius may very well have chosen to leave his old
military life behind, in order to embark on a new life of
winning souls into the Lord's Kingdom. When Jesus called
Simon and Andrew, this is exactly what they did:

"And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren,
Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net
into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them,
Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they
straightway left their nets, and followed him."
(Matthew 4:18-20)

When the Lord came upon James and John, who were also
fishermen, and called them to follow Him, they likewise
dropped everything on the spot to do exactly that:

"And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James
the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with
Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called
them. And they immediately left the ship and their father,
and followed him." (Matthew 4:21-22)

Matthew the tax collector also did not hesitate when it came
time for him to make his decision:

"And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named
Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto
him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him."
(Matthew 9:9)

In some cases, the Lord had to use more drastic measures.
Such was the case with Saul of Tarsus whom the Lord not only
knocked off of his horse, but blinded him for three days as
well. This is more fully discussed in the article 'Biblical
Cafeteria Or The Whole Course? Part One'. Considering these
examples, I don't see how Cornelius could have done
otherwise after the Lord had sent an angel to him, plus
given Peter his heavenly vision. What other signs than those
could he have possibly needed to realize that the Lord was
calling him into special service?

For those who continue to challenge my speculations, I
return the challenge and ask you to prove otherwise. Prove
to me through the Scriptures that Cornelius retained his
position as a centurion. After such a miraculous in-dwelling
of the Holy Spirit which resulted from two supernatural
events, how could he even think about continuing to partake
of the sins of the evil Roman Empire by serving in its army?
As a Christian, how could Cornelius possibly participate in
the slaughter of thousands of Jews and Christian Jews in
Jerusalem which occurred some years later? From my
perspective, there is no way that Cornelius could have
continued in his same occupation afterwards. He must have
left his old life behind in obedience to the Lord's
commandment:

"And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach
the gospel to every creature." (Mark 16:15)

While my conclusion is based partially on conjecture, the
scriptural evidence seems to support this view. God does not
make mistakes. He had a plan for Cornelius, and I believe He
fulfilled it in him. Looking at my own life, and the lives
of many others I have known who have been truly touched by
God's Spirit, I know how the Lord works. It is very
difficult for devout Christians to resist God's Spirit
working in their lives. Based on the description of
Cornelius in Acts chapter ten, and possible links to him in
the Gospels, I believe he was one such faithful man who
heard the Lord's calling and followed it without giving it
second thought. I believe he hung up his Roman sword and
took the Sword of the Spirit and began fighting the good
Fight of Faith. He forsook his profession as a soldier of
Rome, and entered a new profession as a soldier in the army
of Jesus Christ preaching the Gospel of the Good News of
Salvation:

"Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life,
whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good
profession before many witnesses." (1 Timothy 6:12)

"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper
than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing
asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow,
and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the
heart." (Hebrews 4:12)

Can you prove otherwise? To those young Christians who are
considering joining the military service, I present this
challenge to you: Instead of giving your life to Satan and
man's armies, won't you please consider giving your life and
your body to Christ so that He can use you to bring new life
and new hope to the lost?:

"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God,
that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy,
acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And
be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the
renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good,
and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." (Romans 12:1-2)

"If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy;
for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are."
(1 Corinthians 3:17)

"What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy
Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not
your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify
God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."
(1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

I pray that this article has been an inspiration and a
blessing to many. The choice is yours. What will YOU do?

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