What About Ananias and Sapphire?

When you teach and preach the Gospel of God’s grace and emphasize His love and his true nature and character and that he is not angry, wrathful, and judgmental but forgiving, merciful and loving like I do, I often have Christians ask, “But what about Ananias and Sapphira”?

Let’s look at those scriptures.

Acts 4:3437 NKJV

” Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need. And Joses, who was also named Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement), a Levite of the country of Cyprus, having land, sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.”

Acts 5:15 KJV

” But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, and kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. And Ananias hearing these words fell down and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all of them that heard these things. “

When I read these past people in Acts 4: 34-37 about the early church in Jerusalem and about what happened with Ananias and his wife Sapphira in Ch 5: 1-11, I am always reminded of the awful trepidation I used to have as a young believer, regarding the traditional views I was taught about how Ananias and Sapphira died under the judgment of God for lying to the Holy Spirit about the money they kept out of their offering.

Some teach that they were obviously not believers, and that judgment came on them because of that.

But this does not bear out because of the practice in the Church in Jerusalem, of people selling property and bringing the proceeds to lay it at the apostles’ feet.

Ananias and Sapphira must have been believers and have been part of the church to know about this practice.

It always bothered me! If they were judged and died because they lied about holding back some money from a free will offering that they brought, why would Peter even pointed out that the proceeds were theirs to do with as they wished.

Come to think of it, how many other people over the last 2000 years have done things like what they did, and essentially lied to the Holy Spirit.

As far as I know, there is no record of someone else being judged and killed because of lying to the Holy Spirit.

I am by no means saying that lying to the Holy Spirit has no consequences or is a good idea. Lying to anyone at any time is never a good idea under any circumstances.

When I read through this account here in Acts, what stands out to me is that there is no indication in the story or even in the language of the passage, that God or the Holy Spirit killed them.

Even though Peter knew by the Spirit what Ananias and his wife had done, does not mean that God judged them or killed them. That is purely an assumption we have made because of our religious and legalistic perception of God.

In fact, in both accounts, the scripture says that they Ananias and Sapphira “gave up the ghost.”

Acts 5:5, KJV

“And Ananias hearing these words fell down and GAVE UP THE GHOST: and great fear came on all of them that heard these things.

Acts 5:10 KJV

Then fell she down straightway at his feet and YIELDED UP THE GHOST: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband.”

I have thought about this for a long time, and especially now that I know and understand the true nature and character of God and the finished work of the Cross of Jesus Christ. Can I suggest that this is not an account of God’s judgement on two people who lied about a free will offering, but instead an account of two people who were fresh out of legalism and still under the influence of a rigid religious and legalistic belief system, of an angry God who is wrathful and needs to always be appeased. Who certainly cannot be lied to, without suffering the consequences!

I believe that Ananias and Sapphira died and gave up the ghost, because of what they believed about God and the fear which that belief system caused in the hearts. Just like in many places around the world, there are still people dying because of a deep-rooted belief system of fear that cause premature death.

I have witnessed this very thing in Africa where many people deeply believe in witchcraft. Many people there die a premature death because they have been convinced to believed that a witch doctor has put a curse on them. Many times even the medical profession will confirm that there is not a medical reason for their death.

I’m convinced that it was Ananias and his wife’s belief system that killed them. That’s why it is so important to repent and believe the truth of the Gospel of God’s Grace, Love and Goodness. What we believe can either give us life, or it can kill us.

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Arthur Meintjes

Arthur teaches the grace of God in a practical way that highlights the dignity and value of every individual in God’s sight. This emphasis creates an atmosphere of restoration—restoring our relationship with God, with our families, our neighbors, and ultimately our nation. It’s practical Grace for extraordinary living!

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