Posted by: biblestudyseattle | March 5, 2013

Ananias & Sapphira

Acts 5:1-11 details an interesting story in the early church. 

“But a man named Anani′as with his wife Sapphi′ra sold a piece of property, and with his wife’s knowledge he kept back some of the proceeds, and brought only a part and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, “Anani′as, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back part of the proceeds of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? How is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.” When Anani′as heard these words, he fell down and died. And great fear came upon all who heard of it. The young men rose and wrapped him up and carried him out and buried him.

After an interval of about three hours his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. And Peter said to her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much.” And she said, “Yes, for so much.” But Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? Hark, the feet of those that have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” Immediately she fell down at his feet and died. When the young men came in they found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. And great fear came upon the whole church, and upon all who heard of these things.”

This happened shortly after Pentecost and made everyone take Christianity serious.  A similar episode happened with two of Israel’s priests in the time of Moses:

“Then Aaron lifted up his hands toward the people and blessed them; and he came down from offering the sin offering and the burnt offering and the peace offerings.  And Moses and Aaron went into the tent of meeting; and when they came out they blessed the people, and the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people. And fire came forth from before the Lord and consumed the burnt offering and the fat upon the altar; and when all the people saw it, they shouted, and fell on their faces.  Now Nadab and Abi′hu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer, and put fire in it, and laid incense on it, and offered unholy fire before the Lord, such as he had not commanded them.  And fire came forth from the presence of the Lord and devoured them, and they died before the Lord. Then Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord has said, ‘I will show myself holy among those who are near me, and before all the people I will be glorified.’” And Aaron held his peace.”   Leviticus 9:22-10:3

Are these two stories linked?  The Israelite priests required seven full days to be annointed.  On the eighth day they began their actual service, culminating in the Lord appearing to all the people.  This is precisley when two priests knowlingly profaned the offering in front of all the people.  Similarly, after Pentecost, representing the Jubilee (50th day), Ananias & Sapphira try to knowlingly cheat and subvert the early church.  God dealt swiftly and severely in both instances.  These cases are pictures of second death.  When the great Eighth day or Jubilee (50,000th year) comes, there will probably be some who knowingly and publicly try to subvert God’s ways in front of all the people, and they will be dealt with most severely!

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