Ananias and Sapphira

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Daniel David, Dec 8, 2003.

  1. Daniel David

    Daniel David
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    I just want to bring these two up real quick.

    My wife is going to do a bible study tomorrow morning and asked me if she should include anything about these two. I mentioned to her that the Scriptures NEVER say or even indicate that this couple was saved. In fact, one could argue just as well for their lost condition.

    Anyway, on another thread, IFB tries to use them as an example of "backslidden" christians who died in that state.

    Can anyone prove they were saved? If not, I suggest we remove them from the list of Christians who didn't know how to act.
     
  2. Daniel David

    Daniel David
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  3. Pete Richert

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    The Bible makes no statement one way or the other whether they were true believers. Either way, it is not the point of the story. The point of the story is being honest with God, as Ananias had full rights to give whatever amount he choose while instead he gave only some and lied about the amount.

    I don't think it matters if they were saved or not, either way God punished them with death for their sin. Their eternal destination rested on their beliving in Jesus but their punishement on earth was based on their sin. I don't think it affects either position as MacArthur (nor anyone in his camp) does not argue that Christians become perfect, or even that they reach their state of maturity overnight, but over a lifetime.

    Personally though, I do not think they were true believers. But as I said, it is speculation one way or another. Thankfully God has not treated all such similar lies in the future with the same punishment as I would be dead.
     
  4. Sularis

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    Ananias and Sapphira - Christians - thus saved

    why would God punish non-believers for lying?

    However if Christian, it makes more sense
     
  5. Daniel David

    Daniel David
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    Sularis, you are using your predetermined beliefs to determine something though.

    Why do I have to know why God punished them for lying? Are you saying he doesn't punish people today for lying?
     
  6. Ray Berrian

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    In all my years I never imagined that the two from Acts 5:1-11 could be anything other than a true believer. Why would two unsaved people be giving anything to the ministry of our Lord? My honest question that I am setting forth is, 'Why does it seem that true Christians appear to be getting away with things and are not judged by the Lord with the same quickness and severity?'

    I know that no one gets away with sin being a Christian but in Acts Ananias and Sapphira seemed to have the hammer dropped on them immediately.

    The Scripture declares that great, fear went through the church and probably was an example to the first members of the church.
     
  7. Pete Richert

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    God punished unbelievers for a variety of sins throughout the whole Bible.

    Even so, I agree with DD, it is not valid to believe we must understand why God would do something in order to validate that He did.

    Why, why not? Speculation both ways. But I do know of many people today who give to churches, religous orgainizations, and even missions who our unbelievers today, probably to make themselves feel better. It seems natural to believe they were doing out of pride, as they wanted to be noticed for giving all that they had like others had. Still, just speculation.

    God is free to punish in any way He sees fit. I think I agree with you that the severity was to help set un example in an extradarny time.

    The point is this. The Bible does not affirm one way or another whether the were believers, because the point of the story was NOT to teach about how believers could sin or not sin. The point was about lying about how much he gave. It would be a sin for a Christian or a non Christian. To take the story, assume they are Christians, and then build the doctrine that Christians can sin even to the point of being judged to death is to read into the story. Maybe it is true, maybe it is not.

    It is the same when people postulate how old Mary was when she was pregnent (from the culture), and then make whole sermons around her age, and try to impress 14 year old (or whatever this preacher determines her age) where the text makes no mention of that. Isn't there enough in Mary's character to honor her for. She probably was 14, but maybe she wasn't. Maybe she was 18. Maybe she was a really late bloomer and was 23. The text simply doesn't say so we can not INFALLIABLY teach truths off this speculation.
     
  8. Wisdom Seeker

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    It doesn't matter to me if they were saved. And I don't think it really matters to the object lesson being taught in the Bible. I don't think the lesson was to teach that saved Christians should'nt lie...but that no one should lie.

    Interesting how many lessons are centered around greed isn't it?
     
  9. Charles Meadows

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    This is a really good question!!

    I'd say that Ananias and Sapphira had to be believers. Why else would they be giving the money to Peter? Barnabas had just sold a piece of property and given Peter the cash - this is meant to follow that incident - but to be a little different. Thus the lesson learned!! Notice that after this happened that fear came on the community. Luke intends specifically to show the effect that sin has on the church - very disruptive!! A very good discussion of this can be found in J A Fitzmyers commentary on Acts. [​IMG]
     
  10. Watchman

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    When I first saw those names on this topic, I thought, "Here we go!"
    It occurs to me that any debate on the spiritual condition of these two is purely speculation.
    The question is: Is it POSSIBLE for two saved people to have done this?
    It is hard to believe that the man that wrote, "The Lord is my shepard..." did what he did.
    Jonah was told to go to Ninevah, but went the opposite way.
    Mark started on a missionary journey, but, apparently, when the going got tough, turned back. Yet he was used by God to write one of the Gospels.
    If a parent, watching his or her children in the back yard, and one is misbehaving, does not go out and shoot the child. The parent will take the child inside and the child will suffer loss of priveliges. The spiritual equivelent is loss of this life and loss of reward.
    But rather this is what happened, or they were lost, we just don't know.
     
  11. Pete Richert

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    God punished unbelievers for a variety of sins throughout the whole Bible.

    Even so, I agree with DD, it is not valid to believe we must understand why God would do something in order to validate that He did.

    Why, why not? Speculation both ways. But I do know of many people today who give to churches, religous orgainizations, and even missions who our unbelievers today, probably to make themselves feel better. It seems natural to believe they were doing out of pride, as they wanted to be noticed for giving all that they had like others had. Still, just speculation.

    God is free to punish in any way He sees fit. I think I agree with you that the severity was to help set un example in an extradarny time.

    The point is this. The Bible does not affirm one way or another whether the were believers, because the point of the story was NOT to teach about how believers could sin or not sin. The point was about lying about how much he gave. It would be a sin for a Christian or a non Christian. To take the story, assume they are Christians, and then build the doctrine that Christians can sin even to the point of being judged to death is to read into the story. Maybe it is true, maybe it is not.

    It is the same when people postulate how old Mary was when she was pregnent (from the culture), and then make whole sermons around her age, and try to impress 14 year old (or whatever this preacher determines her age) where the text makes no mention of that. Isn't there enough in Mary's character to honor her for. She probably was 14, but maybe she wasn't. Maybe she was 18. Maybe she was a really late bloomer and was 23. The text simply doesn't say so we can not INFALLIABLY teach truths off this speculation.
     
  12. Daniel David

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    The sad thing is that countless sermons have been preached about them being bad christians or whatever. Such a preacher has cast off his duty for a popular sermon (at least in his mind).
     
  13. Daniel David

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    I personally believe they were lost. There are two reasons for my belief:

    1) Acts 5:3 - But Peter said, "Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself?

    How many Christians can be filled by Satan?

    2) Everyone feared, inside and outside the church.

    I think it sent a message to the unbelievers to not mess with God. That is why even the unbelievers feared. A & S tried to gain favor through deceit and Peter told them to drop dead.
     
  14. Dr. Bob

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    Waited to answer this one, then Daniel stole my thunder!

    I believe they committed the unpardonable sin against the Holy Spirit and were thus judged publically like Aaron's boys Nadab and Abihu (who went to hades).

    Unsaved. LOTS of people were intrigued by the spiritual gifts - healing, raise dead, tongues - some even offered money to buy that power.

    A&S were trying to look like the real thing; their heart showed they were not.
     
  15. Daniel David

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    Dr. Bob, isn't it interesting that Peter used the same phrase on ole' Anni that Jesus used on Judas?
     
  16. Sularis

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  17. HankD

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    KJV Matthew 26:74 Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew.

    ...for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.
     
  18. Chet

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    Can someone show me in this text that God is the one who zapped them for lying?
     
  19. Charles Meadows

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    But...

    It doesn't say God killed them; it just says, "gave up the ghost". They could have died form heart attacks etc!! Also, why would Peter have asked them why they let Satan in? Finally, the story is strange if they were not memebers of the church. Is the message that God kills bad people? History has answered that one already! It seems that this is meant to show the result of sin in the church. I'll amend my prior post and say they had to be members of the church community. Whether they were true believers certainly seems questionable! ;)
     

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