Can you explain Acts 10:44 and why the Holy Spirit fell on the Gentiles?
In Acts 10:44 Peter is at Cornelius’ house and the spirit of God falls on the Gentiles pre-baptism (while they hear the testimony of Jesus from Peter). Most commentaries suggest that this is more crucial to the argument of Jew v. Gentile and all being alike now, but how could the Holy Spirit come upon the gentiles before their baptism? A guy I am studying with is hung up on this. If you could respond fast, that would help A TON.
The Holy Spirit falling on a group of people is something which happened only twice in recorded biblical history–at Pentecost and at Cornelius’ house. This outpouring of the Holy Spirit is not a sign of salvation but a sign of the coming of the Kingdom of God. In Acts 2, it was the sign of the coming of the kingdom to the Jews, and in Acts 10 it was a sign of the coming of the kingdom and of salvation to the Gentiles. If you look at Acts 11:15-18 you will see that this is how both Peter and the apostles and other leaders interpreted the events. The Holy Spirit fell on Saul in 1 Sam 19:23 and we certainly would not think of this as a sign of his being saved! I agree with “most commentaries” that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit had to do with showing to the prejudiced Jews that salvation was for the Gentiles too. That is what Peter’s vision was about and it is what the outpouring of the Holy Spirit was about.
In Acts 10, the miraculous outpouring was followed by the baptism of the Gentiles and their salvation. I assume that it was when they were baptized that they received the indwelling Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38-39), and when they were saved.