God's Covenant with Abraham gave assurance that all the
blessings God purposed for mankind would come to them through his
posterity. The Jews were the natural seed of Abraham, and properly to them
belonged the promises. But when all Jews possessed of the faith of Abraham
had been privileged to come in with Jesus and become His joint-heirs in
the Messianic Kingdom, then God through St. Peter used the second Key to
the Kingdom. He threw open the door of opportunity to the Gentiles, that
they might become fellow-heirs with the Jews in the Messianic Kingdom.
Three and a half years after Pentecost the angel of the
Lord appeared to Cornelius. He told him that now God was ready to accept
his prayers and his devotion. He told him to send for St. Peter at Joppa.
From him he would hear "words" necessary to be believed in order
that he might be fully accepted of God and receive the Holy Spirit.
Three messengers were sent to fetch St. Peter. Meantime
God prepared the Apostle. He was told that what God had cleansed he should
not consider any longer unclean. St. Peter associated his dream with his
visitors, and promptly went to Cornelius' home. He found Cornelius and his
family devout and ready to hear. He proceeded to tell them the true story
of Jesus: His death, His resurrection, the call of the Church to be His
Bride class--proving their worthiness by loyalty and faithfulness even
While St. Peter was speaking, these consecrated people,
drinking in the Message, fully accepted the terms of discipleship. Then
God gave a manifestation of His acceptance of them by the gift of the
Spirit, such as was common to all Christians at the beginning of this Age.
St. Peter, astonished, then said, If these have received the Holy Spirit,
who can forbid them water baptism, which is only a symbol of their
consecration to be dead with Christ? Here Gentiles first began to be
grafted into the "Olive Tree" of Romans 11:17.