‘“And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their pre-appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’ Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising. Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead (Acts 17:26-31).”’
In the current climate of unrest with passions raging over the perceived differences between people of different nations, the above passage from Scripture is dynamite! Because it blows the debate apart, and reveals the truth.
Although there are contrasting circumstances between the haves and the have nots, injustices, exploitation, oppression, cruelty and all sorts of inhumane acts, God rules the nations (2 Chronicles 20:6), and He is a God of justice (Deuteronomy 32:4). In His own time He will make all things right. Our role is to love one another (John 13:34; Romans 13:8; 1 John 4:7), and those who hate us (Luke 6:27), and not to judge (Matthew 7:1).
*Equality is a concept and an ideal, which is not possible in the reality of this fallen and cursed world (Genesis 3:17-19). There has never been equality, and there never will be in this life; for we are born unequal. We enter life in different circumstances, and each one of us is different. However, in the sight of God we are all of equal worth (Matthew 20:1-16), but we shall not fully experience that equality until after our resurrection (Luke 20:36).
What these words from Acts 17 tell us, is that we are the offspring of one person, namely Adam, and God has determined (v 26) the circumstances of our lives, where we shall live, the people we shall meet and all aspects of our lives. Crucially, and importantly, He has made us in such a way that we can ‘grope’ for Him who is not far off (v 27).
God is within our reach. In fact we ‘live’ in Him, and we are ‘His offspring (v 28).’ We are made in His image (Genesis 1:26). The colour of our skin, our gender, our sexual orientation, our likes and dislikes, our philosophies and beliefs, none of these things change the fact that all of us are made in the image of God.
Although the Book of Acts was written some 2,000 years ago, the words of the passage above from Chapter 17, are bang up to date, because we are living in ‘times of ignorance (v 30).’
People are oblivious of God. Most don’t want to know or acknowledge Him, and they are not at all motivated to search for Him, but He has graciously ‘overlooked’ (v 30) the sins of past generations, because it is His will of decree and desire to bring a full harvest into His kingdom (Revelation 14:14-16). Not one of the redeemed shall be left out.
Acts 17:31 confirms, ‘He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained.’ On that day, no unrepentant sinner will be overlooked. None shall escape His judgment of condemnation(cf. Isaiah 66:16; 24; Revelation 14:17-20).
God’s Preordination and Judgment of the Nations
God from before the creation of the earth predestined(cf.Romans 8:29, 30;(Ephesians 1:5;) a sequential order for the unfolding of history, and part of that order was and is the rise and fall of nations (Genesis 10 and 11). Sometimes I think we overlook the importance and significance of nations; for if God had not brought them into being He could not have chosen one for Himself, i.e., the nation of Israel, His **special people (Deuteronomy 7:6).
On the great day of the Lord (Zephaniah 1:14; Joel 2:31; 2 Peter 3:10), people of God’s special nation will be found not guilty of treason and rebellion against Him, but those outside will be judged (cf. 1 Corinthians 5:12) and condemned, as Joel has warned them: ‘Let the nations be awakened, and come up the Valley of Jehoshaphat; for there I will sit to judge all the surrounding nations. Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, go down; for the winepress is full, the vats overflow – for their wickedness is great (Joel 3:12, 13).”
In the fleeting moments left for the devil before his demise (Revelation 12:12), he is jubilant as he works havoc among the nations (Ephesians 2:2). We see and experience the misery, pain and death he brings (1 Peter 5:8). He sows seeds of discord and of hate, and his followers scatter their sinful ‘whispers’ (cf. Psalm 41:7; Romans 1:29) to the winds of dispersion. These murmurings of deception (cf. 2 Corinthians 11:3) and lies are disseminated through the ether of the Internet, TV, radio and other media, and they bear the fruit of destruction (cf. Job 2:3). They come from evil tongues (James 3:6).
However, God’s pure and holy word stands: ’The nations shall see and be ashamed of all their might; they shall put their hand over their mouth; their ears shall be deaf. They shall lick the dust like a serpent; they shall crawl from their holes like snakes of the earth. They shall be afraid of the Lord our God, and shall fear because of You (Micah 7:16, 17).’
A Way Out
There is a way out from being under the fear of God; for He has provided a way (John 14:6) of escape from hell. It is to believe and trust in His Son (3:16; 20:31) who gave Himself as a sacrifice to pay for the sins of the world, and to set His nation of believers free (8:36).
He said,‘“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you (Matthew 6:33).’”
Has God called (1 Corinthians 1:24) you into His kingdom, a nation of nations (Revelation 21:24), the real Israel of God (Galatians 6:16), the true church of Jesus Christ (cf. 2 Thessalonians 1:1), in whom His blessed and holy saints dwell (Revelation 21:23-26)? Jesus is the kingdom! He invites you to come to Him (Matthew 11:28).
His Justice Will be Done.
King Solomon wrote: ’He will judge Your people with righteousness, and your poor with justice (Psalm 72:2).’
Isaiah prophesied, “He shall judge between the nations, and rebuke many people; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore (Isaiah 2:4).”
God’s word gives us the good news there will be a new heaven and a new earth (Revelation 21:1) where righteousness will reign and His nation of nations will walk in His light there (vv. 23, 24).
The devil, the beast, the false prophet, and all the wicked will be thrown into the lake of fire (20:10, 15), but those who love God will dwell with Him forevermore (John 3:16; 17:24).
**Biblical Perspective – God’s People