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Acts 17:26

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

And hath made of one blood - All the families of mankind are descended from one origin or stock. However different their complexion, features, or language, yet they are derived from a common parent. The word blood is often used to denote “race, stock, kindred.” This passage affirms that all the human family are descended from the same ancestor; and that, consequently, all the variety of complexion, etc., is to be traced to some other cause than that they were originally different races created. See Malachi 2:10. The design of the apostle in this affirmation was probably to convince the Greeks that he regarded them all as brethren; that, although he was a Jew, yet he was not enslaved to any narrow notions or prejudices in reference to other people. It follows from the truth here stated that no one nation, and no individual, can claim any pre-eminence over others in virtue of birth or blood. All are in this respect equal; and the whole human family, however they may differ in complexion, customs, and laws, are to be regarded and treated as brethren. It follows, also, that no one part of the race has a right to enslave or oppress any other part, on account of difference of complexion. No one has a right because:

He finds his fellow guilty of a skin

Not colored like his own; and having power

T‘ enforce the wrong, for such a worthy cause to

Doom and devote him as his lawful prey.

For to dwell … - To cultivate and until the earth. This was the original command Genesis 1:28; and God, by his providence, has so ordered it that the descendants of one family have found their way to all lands, and have become adapted to the climate where he has placed them.

And hath determined - Greek: ὁρίσας horisasHaving fixed, or marked out a boundary. See the notes on Romans 1:4. The word is usually applied to a field. It means here that God “marked out,” or “designated in his purpose,” their future abodes.

The times before appointed - This evidently refers to the dispersion and migration of nations. And it means that God had, in his plan, fixed the times when each country should be settled, and the rise, the prosperity, and the fall of each nation. The different continents and islands have not, therefore, been settled by chance, but by a wise rule, and in accordance with God‘s arrangement and design.

And the bounds of their habitation - Their limits and boundaries as a people. By customs, laws, inclinations, and habits he has fixed the boundaries of their habitations, and disposed them to dwell there. We may learn:

(1)That the revolutions and changes of nations are under the direction of infinite wisdom;

(2)That people should not be restless and dissatisfied with the place where God has located them;

(3)That God has given sufficient limits to all, so that it is not needful to invade others; and,

(4)That wars of conquest are evil.

God has given to people their places of abode, and we have no right to disturb those abodes, or to attempt to displace them in a violent manner. This strain of remark by the apostle was also opposed to all the notions of the Epicurean philosophers, and yet so obviously true and just that they could not gainsay or resist it.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Here we have a sermon to heathens, who worshipped false gods, and were without the true God in the world; and to them the scope of the discourse was different from what the apostle preached to the Jews. In the latter case, his business was to lead his hearers by prophecies and miracles to the knowledge of the Redeemer, and faith in him; in the former, it was to lead them, by the common works of providence, to know the Creator, and worship Him. The apostle spoke of an altar he had seen, with the inscription, "TO THE UNKNOWN GOD." This fact is stated by many writers. After multiplying their idols to the utmost, some at Athens thought there was another god of whom they had no knowledge. And are there not many now called Christians, who are zealous in their devotions, yet the great object of their worship is to them an unknown God? Observe what glorious things Paul here says of that God whom he served, and would have them to serve. The Lord had long borne with idolatry, but the times of this ignorance were now ending, and by his servants he now commanded all men every where to repent of their idolatry. Each sect of the learned men would feel themselves powerfully affected by the apostle's discourse, which tended to show the emptiness or falsity of their doctrines.
Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Hath made of one blood - In AB, some others, with the Coptic, Ethiopic, Vulgate, Itala, Clement, and Bede, the word αἱματος, blood, is omitted. He hath made of one (meaning Adam) all nations of men; but αἱμα, blood, is often used by the best writers for race, stock, kindred: so Homer, Iliad, vi. ver. 211:

Ταυτης τοι γενεης τε και αἱματος ευχομαι ειναι .

I glory in being of that same race and blood.

So Virgil, Aen. viii. ver. 142, says;

Sic genus amborum scindit se Sanguine ab uno.

Thus, from one stock, do both our stems divide.

See many examples of this form in Kypke. The Athenians had a foolish notion that they were self-produced, and were the aboriginals of mankind. Lucian ridicules this opinion, Αθηναιοι φασι τους πρωτους ανθρωπους εκ της Αττικης αναφυναι, καθαπερ τα λαχανα . The Athenians say that the first men sprung up in Attica, like radishes. Luc. Philo-pseud. 3.

To dwell on all the face of the earth - God in his wisdom produced the whole human race from one man; and, having in his providence scattered them over the face of the earth, by showing them that they sprang from one common source, has precluded all those contentious wars and bloodshed which would necessarily have taken place among the nations of the world, as each in its folly might have arrogated to itself a higher and more excellent origin than another.

And hath determined the times before appointed - Instead of προτεταγμενους καιρους, the times before appointed, ABDE, and more than forty others, with both the Syriac, all the Arabic, the Coptic, Ethiopic, MS. Slavonian, Vulgate, and Itala, read προστεταγμενους καιρους, the appointed times. The difference between the two words is this: προτασσειν signifies to place before others; but προστασσειν is to command, decree, appoint. The προστεταγμενοι καιροι, are the constituted or decreed times; that is, the times appointed by his providence, on which the several families should go to those countries where his wisdom designed they should dwell. See Genesis 10:5-32; and see Pearce and Rosenmuller.

And the bounds of their habitations - Every family being appointed to a particular place, that their posterity might possess it for the purposes for which infinite wisdom and goodness gave them their being, and the place of their abode. Every nation had its lot thus appointed by God, as truly as the Israelites had the land of Canaan. But the removal of the Jews from their own land shows that a people may forfeit their original inheritance, and thus the Canaanites have been supplanted by the Jews; the Jews by the Saracens; the Saracens by the Turks; the Greeks by the Romans; the Romans by the Goths and Vandals; and so of others. See the notes on Genesis 11:1-32 (note).

Ellen G. White
Prophets and Kings, 369

The marvelous providences connected with Israel's deliverance from Egyptian bondage and with their occupancy of the Promised Land led many of the heathen to recognize the God of Israel as the Supreme Ruler. “The Egyptians shall know,” had been the promise, “that I am the Lord, when I stretch forth Mine hand upon Egypt, and bring out the children of Israel from among them.” Exodus 7:5. Even proud Pharaoh was constrained to acknowledge Jehovah's power. “Go, serve the Lord,” he urged Moses and Aaron, “and bless me also.” Exodus 12:31, 32. PK 369.1

The advancing hosts of Israel found that knowledge of the mighty workings of the God of the Hebrews had gone before them, and that some among the heathen were learning that He alone was the true God. In wicked Jericho the testimony of a heathen woman was, “The Lord your God, He is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.” Joshua 2:11. The knowledge of Jehovah that had thus come to her, proved her salvation. By faith “Rahab perished not with them that believed not.” Hebrews 11:31. And her conversion was not an isolated case of God's mercy toward idolaters who acknowledged His divine authority. In the midst of the land a numerous people—the Gibeonites—renounced their heathenism and united with Israel, sharing in the blessings of the covenant. PK 369.2

No distinction on account of nationality, race, or caste, is recognized by God. He is the Maker of all mankind. All men are of one family by creation, and all are one through redemption. Christ came to demolish every wall of partition, to throw open every compartment of the temple courts, that every soul may have free access to God. His love is so broad, so deep, so full, that it penetrates everywhere. It lifts out of Satan's influence those who have been deluded by his deceptions, and places them within reach of the throne of God, the throne encircled by the rainbow of promise. In Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, bond nor free. PK 369.3

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Ellen G. White
The Great Controversy, 324

When, therefore, he found, in his study of the Bible, various chronological periods that, according to his understanding of them, extended to the second coming of Christ, he could not but regard them as the “times before appointed,” which God had revealed unto His servants. “The secret things,” says Moses, “belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever;” and the Lord declares by the prophet Amos, that He “will do nothing, but He revealeth His secret unto His servants the prophets.” Deuteronomy 29:29; Amos 3:7. The students of God's word may, then, confidently expect to find the most stupendous event to take place in human history clearly pointed out in the Scriptures of truth. GC 324.1

“As I was fully convinced,” says Miller, “that all Scripture given by inspiration of God is profitable (2 Timothy 3:16); that it came not at any time by the will of man, but was written as holy men were moved by the Holy Ghost (2 Peter 1:21), and was written ‘for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope’ (Romans 15:4), I could but regard the chronological portions of the Bible as being as much a portion of the word of God, and as much entitled to our serious consideration, as any other portion of the Scriptures. I therefore felt that in endeavoring to comprehend what God had in His mercy seen fit to reveal to us, I had no right to pass over the prophetic periods.”—Bliss, page 75. GC 324.2

The prophecy which seemed most clearly to reveal the time of the second advent was that of Daniel 8:14: “Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” Following his rule of making Scripture its own interpreter, Miller learned that a day in symbolic prophecy represents a year (Numbers 14:34; Ezekiel 4:6); he saw that the period of 2300 prophetic days, or literal years, would extend far beyond the close of the Jewish dispensation, hence it could not refer to the sanctuary of that dispensation. Miller accepted the generally received view that in the Christian age the earth is the sanctuary, and he therefore understood that the cleansing of the sanctuary foretold in Daniel 8:14 represented the purification of the earth by fire at the second coming of Christ. If, then, the correct starting point could be found for the 2300 days, he concluded that the time of the second advent could be readily ascertained. Thus would be revealed the time of that great consummation, the time when the present state, with “all its pride and power, pomp and vanity, wickedness and oppression, would come to an end;” when the curse would be “removed from off the earth, death be destroyed, reward be given to the servants of God, the prophets and saints, and them who fear His name, and those be destroyed that destroy the earth.”—Bliss, page 76. GC 324.3

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Ellen G. White
Christ's Object Lessons, 386

The glory of heaven is in lifting up the fallen, comforting the distressed. And wherever Christ abides in human hearts, He will be revealed in the same way. Wherever it acts, the religion of Christ will bless. Wherever it works, there is brightness. COL 386.1

No distinction on account of nationality, race, or caste, is recognized by God. He is the Maker of all mankind. All men are of one family by creation, and all are one through redemption. Christ came to demolish every wall of partition, to throw open every compartment of the temple, that every soul may have free access to God. His love is so broad, so deep, so full, that it penetrates everywhere. It lifts out of Satan's circle the poor souls who have been deluded by his deceptions. It places them within reach of the throne of God, the throne encircled by the rainbow of promise. COL 386.2

In Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, bond nor free. All are brought nigh by His precious blood. (Galatians 3:28; Ephesians 2:13.) COL 386.3

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Ellen G. White
Education, 174

God has revealed in His law the principles that underlie all true prosperity both of nations and of individuals. “This is your wisdom and your understanding,” Moses declared to the Israelites of the law of God. “It is not a vain thing for you; because it is your life.” Deuteronomy 4:6; 32:47. The blessings thus assured to Israel are, on the same conditions and in the same degree, assured to every nation and every individual under the broad heavens. Ed 174.1

The power exercised by every ruler on the earth is Heaven-imparted; and upon his use of the power thus bestowed, his success depends. To each the word of the divine Watcher is, “I girded thee, though thou hast not known Me.” Isaiah 45:5. And to each the words spoken to Nebuchadnezzar of old are the lesson of life: “Break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by showing mercy to the poor; if it may be a lengthening of thy tranquility.” Daniel 4:27. Ed 174.2

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Ellen G. White
The Desire of Ages, 403

The Saviour's visit to Phoenicia and the miracle there performed had a yet wider purpose. Not alone for the afflicted woman, nor even for His disciples and those who received their labors, was the work accomplished; but also “that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through His name.” John 20:31. The same agencies that barred men away from Christ eighteen hundred years ago are at work today. The spirit which built up the partition wall between Jew and Gentile is still active. Pride and prejudice have built strong walls of separation between different classes of men. Christ and His mission have been misrepresented, and multitudes feel that they are virtually shut away from the ministry of the gospel. But let them not feel that they are shut away from Christ. There are no barriers which man or Satan can erect but that faith can penetrate. DA 403.1

In faith the woman of Phoenicia flung herself against the barriers that had been piled up between Jew and Gentile. Against discouragement, regardless of appearances that might have led her to doubt, she trusted the Saviour's love. It is thus that Christ desires us to trust in Him. The blessings of salvation are for every soul. Nothing but his own choice can prevent any man from becoming a partaker of the promise in Christ by the gospel. DA 403.2

Caste is hateful to God. He ignores everything of this character. In His sight the souls of all men are of equal value. He “hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; that they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after Him, and find Him, though He be not far from every one of us.” Without distinction of age, or rank, or nationality, or religious privilege, all are invited to come unto Him and live. “Whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference.” “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free.” “The rich and poor meet together: the Lord is the Maker of them all.” “The same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon Him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Acts 17:26, 27; Galatians 3:28; Proverbs 22:2; Romans 10:11-13. DA 403.3

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