Ananias And Sapphira

by David J. Stewart | July 2012

       What was the sin of Ananias and Sapphira? Why did Peter have them killed? I think the best way to interpret the Scriptures is with the Scriptures. In Deuteronomy 23:21-23...

Deuteronomy 23:21-23, “When thou shalt vow a vow unto the LORD thy God, thou shalt not slack to pay it: for the LORD thy God will surely require it of thee; and it would be sin in thee. But if thou shalt forbear to vow, it shall be no sin in thee. That which is gone out of thy lips thou shalt keep and perform; even a freewill offering, according as thou hast vowed unto the LORD thy God, which thou hast promised with thy mouth.”

The Biblical account of Ananias and Sapphira evidence the critical importance of keeping one's VOWS. In this adulterous and wicked generation of breaking wedding vows on a whim, this Biblical truth needs to be preached more than ever. Ananias and Sapphira had vows

Acts 5:1-11, “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 them that heard these things. And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him. And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in. And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much. Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out. 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. And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.

The Bible says that this shady couple vowed to sell a piece of property and give the entire sum to the Church. Proverbs 6:2, “Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, thou art taken with the words of thy mouth.” AFTER making their vow before God (and in effect to God), they got greedy and changed their mind. So they sold the property and kept back part of the money for themselves. Peter somehow knew what they had done (perhaps because he knew the value of comparable properties). Peter worked as a fisherman, which meant he was somewhat of a businessman.

Consider the stern admonition from the Scriptures not to be hasty to make promises...

Ecclesiastes 5:2-6, “Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few. For a dream cometh through the multitude of business; and a fool's voice is known by multitude of words. When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay. Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin; neither say thou before the angel, that it was an error: wherefore should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of thine hands?”

This ought to be one of the most frightening passages of Scripture in God's Word. The Lord has NO PLEASURE IN FOOLS. The Bible has MUCH to say about the evils of the tongue. James 3:8 tells us that the tongue is an unruly evil full of snake poison. God gave us teeth as a cage to contain the wild tongue.

The truth of the matter is that we DON'T know all the details. Albeit, I believe that the Holy Spirit gave Peter divine insight into the matter, because Peter wouldn't pronounce the death sentence upon them if he weren't absolutely certain. Neither Ananias nor Sapphira admitted to being guilty. They didn't get a chance! The Bible says that upon hearing Peter's word they dropped dead. It appears that God wanted to send a message throughout the Church not to lie to God. Acts 5:11 says that GREAT FEAR CAME UPON ALL THE CHURCH. I'd imagine that people's interest in the real-estate market dropped considerably after that! It is a serious matter when a person disregards their vows before God.

I cannot help but think of all the sinful divorce in America today. In southern California alone, the divorce rate has skyrocketed to 75.54%!!! It's been in the news in June of 2012 that actor and Scientologist, Tom Cruise was making a movie called OBLIVION in Iceland when his wife filed for divorce in New York. It must have felt like oblivion to the poor guy. Well, poor in spirit. According to U.S. Weekly, Tom Cruise flew on his 50th birthday from Reykjavik airport to L.A. to his $30 million Beverly Hills mansion. All the money in the world can't buy loyalty from a wife.

Solomon said he couldn't find one just woman out of one thousand (Ecclesiastes 7:20,28). Katie Cruise (Holmes) filed for divorce on June 28, 2012 and requested sole and physical custody of their six-year-old daughter Suri Cruise. That's the wicked way of the world today, stab your spouse in the back while they're out of the country! No wonder Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 7:26, Ecclesiastes 7:26, “And I find more bitter than death the woman, whose heart is snares and nets, and her hands as bands: whoso pleaseth God shall escape from her; but the sinner shall be taken by her.”

Just like Ananias and Sapphira, people break their vows left and right today. God holds people accountable for their words (Hebrews 12:36). Divorce is a serious sin. There are NO Biblical grounds for divorce. Jesus taught in Matthew 19:8 that only by the HARDNESS of one's heart does divorce happen. In nearly every divorce, one or both spouses accuse each other of sins in an attempt to justify their wicked decision to quit their marriage vows and divorce. Jeremiah 3:20 says that God hates divorce, and again in Malachi 2:16. Divorce is rooted in self-righteous hypocrisy, plain and simple.

May we as believers keep our vows or not make them. Ecclesiastes 5:7 says that vows made to men are made to God, so don't make promises you can't or won't keep. END

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