Acts 17:31-34
Acts 17:31 (KJB)
Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.
The reason that God is now calling His people to repentance is because He hath appointed a day when the entire world will be judged and that includes all those who placed their trust in idols. This judgment is going to take place on the last day and the one who is going to be the judge of all mankind is going to be the Lord Jesus Christ. (John 5:22 KJV) For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: The assurance that judgment is coming is given by the fact that He raised the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead and that means He is deity. This fact also means that what He has written and prophesied is true and will come to pass. We do not know what day the Lord is going to return, but we can be sure that it will happen and we are to be ready for His return.
Acts 17:32 (KJB)
And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter.
What we see here are the two typical attitudes which Paul had faced. The first one was that they mocked him because of his teaching on the resurrection. The second attitude was that they will hear him again on this. Felix made the same mistake with Paul. (Acts 24:25 KJV) And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee. He postponed hearing the truth just like these people on Mars Hill did. It is not known if Paul was able to come back and speak to them again. Sometimes we only get one hearing of the Gospel and that is it. These philosophers did not realize the urgency of the Gospel as it seemed their whole life was just speaking philosophy and philosophy just leads to more confusion and diversion from truth.
Acts 17:33 (KJB)
So Paul departed from among them.
So they had enough of the hearing of the Gospel, so Paul had departed from them and I am sure he gave them much to ponder in their philosophical ways.
Acts 17:34 (KJB)
Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed: among the which was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them.
Sometimes it may seem that our Gospel presentation may be falling on deaf ears but God’s word never comes back void. No doubt there were some of God’s Elect in the group as we see that some had believed. Dionysius was a member of the Supreme Court of Athens who believed Paul. Dionysius was named after Dionysius, the god of the grape harvest. The name “Dionysius” means “divinely touched of the god of wine.” I wonder if after he became saved, that he changed his name, since it had an idolatrous meaning. Then the Scripture also mentions “Damaris” whose name means “heifer” and it was used to denote a young woman. Samson had used that term in reference to Delilah. (Judg 14:18 KJV) And the men of the city said unto him on the seventh day before the sun went down, What is sweeter than honey? and what is stronger than a lion? And he said unto them, If ye had not plowed with my heifer, ye had not found out my riddle. She must have been a woman of distinction since she was mentioned. There are some who believe that she was the wife of Dionysius but there is no evidence to support it. Both of these are only mentioned here and that is it. Then there were others who had believed and had joined themselves to the Apostle Paul. So Paul’s time was not wasted because sometimes the one we are speaking to may not be listening, but someone else might be listening whom God has qualified to hear the Gospel.