• Welcome to Talk Jesus Christian Forums

    Celebrating 20 Years!

    A bible based, Jesus Christ centered community.

    Register Log In

Opinions sought

Me and a friend are debating an event that occurs in Acts. I am curious to hear people's opinions about Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5:1-11. Specifically I am wondering what you think about what caused their deaths. I figure the more input I get on the topic the more I can put this story into perspective.
Thanks in advance and God Bless!
I have a theory on this...but it's only a theory.

What were Annanis and Sapphira really guilty of? It wasn't that they kept back some of the money for themselves...they were perfectly entitled to do that, (Acts 5:4) it was the fact that they lied about it to God - the Holy Spirit. (compare Acts 5:4 to Acts 5:9)

My theory is that Annaias and Sapphira were trying to look more spiritual than they really were. We can be guilty of this in so many ways. We need to guard against any hypocracy and be true and faithful in our Christian walk.
I would also say it was because they Lied, as it is written
in verse 4 'you have not lied to men but to God'
as for the way they died surely it could only have been
the power of God struck them down.
If things worked like that today just imagine eh?
It makes me think that God was more 'present' for want
of a better description, in those times, I wonder why!
I know the 'world' has turned away from God and the
scriptures, things are getting worse in it as you look
around, makes me remember about God sending the flood
and Noah and his Ark being built, that has always enthrawled
me greatly, not that everyone perished but that account
of happenings at that time, remarkable. Praise God.
Yes they lied, but in the passage there is an implied expectation that members of the congregation were expected to share their personal assets with eachother. It appears that the property in question had been contributed to the congregation for their mutual benefit.... maybe in the same way people today give property or stocks to churches.

So in essence, the property belonged to the congregation .... thus when the property was sold the congregation expected the money to be given to them. A & S commited a number of transgressions.

1. They dishonored their pledge to God and the church
2. One might say that since property was commited to the church to begin with, they actually stole money from the church.
3. When caught in the act, they lied to try to protect themselves.
‘And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things common; and sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need’ (Acts 2:43-45).

In these few lines we have compressed that which is expanded in Acts 3, 4, and 5. In those chapters we have recorded the prophetically significant miracle of healing, and the equally significant miracle of judgment that caused‘great fear’ to come upon all the church. There is also a fuller statement concerning the having of things in common in Acts 4:32-37, which compels us to ask whether the selling of possessions and community of goods was not a real part of the meaning and purpose of Pentecost. There have been companies of believers who, taking Pentecost as their basis, have sought consistently to follow out its practice, but the having of all things in common does not seem to have captured their mind in the same way as has the gift of tongues. Yet how can one speak of continuing ‘in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship’ without realizing that this koinonia (fellowship) refers to and is expressed by the having of all things in common (eichon hapanta koina)?

Turning to Acts 4:32-37, we observe that there is a restatement of this ‘fellowship’, and as in Acts 2:24-46, so here, the account of this new state of affairs is punctuated by reference to the witness of the apostles to the resurrection of the Lord. The reader will see that verse 33 of Acts 4 is, as it were, slipped in and breaks the flow of the narrative. This however is as intentional as the equally strange insertion found in Acts 1:13. The resurrection of the Lord, as testified by the apostles, was intimately associated with the restoration of the Kingdom to Israel, and to the time of the restitution of all things which had been spoken by the prophets. No Jew would need to be told, that just as the feast of Pentecost with its emphasis upon the word ‘fifty’ was a recurring annual reminder of the day of Jubilee, so the final prophetic fulfilment of all that Pentecost stood for would be the real, great Jubilee toward which all prophecy pointed. Believing therefore the ‘apostles’ doctrine’, these believers put their faith into practice. If the Jubilee was near, all would receive their own inheritance, all forfeitures would be cancelled, all buying and selling of land and possessions would come to nought; consequently, although no one could sell or buy his inheritance, he could sell whatever else he had purchased, and use the proceeds for the common good, while awaiting the Lord from heaven. The case of Barnabas is specially mentioned. He was a Levite, and ‘having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet’ (Acts 4:37). In Jeremiah 32:6-14 we have the case of Jeremiah (who, like Barnabas, was of the priestly tribe). He bought land to demonstrate his faith in the Lord’s promised restoration (Jer. 32:15), and Barnabas sold land to demonstrate the same conviction. The law that governed the sale of land is found in Leviticus 25. The voluntary act of Barnabas in selling his acquired land and placing the proceeds at the apostles’ feet is in direct contrast with the action of Ananias. He, too, sold a possession; he, too, laid the proceeds at the apostles’ feet, but with the difference that he kept bac k part of the price, while pretending that he had given all. The apostle makes it quite clear that there was no compulsion about the selling of the land when he says, ‘While it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power?’ Ananias sinned in that he lied to the Holy Spirit. The sin of Ananias was the sin of Achan. You will find that the very words of Achan in Joshua 7:1 are used of Ananias. The LXX reads enosphisanto apo tou anathematos, ‘appropriated for themselves a part of that which was devoted’. Acts 5:2,3, twice applies this peculiar expression to Ananias and Sapphira: ‘kai enosphisato apo tes times‘ ‘and kept back part of the price’.