WHAT IF GOD HAD NOT SENTENCED TO DEATH
ANANIAS AND SAPPHIRA?
The Church had just been established and
confirmed by an undeniable manifestation of divine power. Hundreds had
been converted, and God showed His great power by allowing the newly
converted to speak in other tongues and to prophesy.
the many who were converted, there were two disciples by the name of
Ananias and Sapphira. They sold their possessions and brought some
of the proceeds to the apostles making all believe that they were giving
all they had. Peter decreed that, because they had been lying to the
Holy Spirit they were to die publicly. The result of their public death
was that “great fear came upon all the church, and upon all who heard
these things” (Acts 5:11).
But what if
God had forgiven Ananias and Sapphira? What if He had shown mercy to
them and had not allowed the church to experience such a shocking and
traumatic event, immediately after having experienced unspeakable joy?
rose to Heaven, Jesus had asked his disciples to go to Jerusalem and
promised them that there they would have received a very special gift:
the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8). Christ kept His promise and, on the day of
Pentecost, “there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty win,
and it all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them
cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they
were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other
tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2: 2-4).
result was excitement and great bonding. Many sold their possessions and
gave the proceeds to the apostles, so that the needs of the brethren
would be looked after (Acts 4:34-35).
such astonishing power must have totally awed the disciples. They were
clearly the chosen ones, and God was making it evident to all in
Jerusalem with undeniable signs. Feeling favored could have now led to a
spiritually superior and, perhaps, even a slack attitude. Some,
probably, did not yet understand that being chosen also meant carrying
the great responsibility of being God’s righteous representatives. They
had not been chosen to simply enjoy the spiritual benefits of their
calling, but to shine on God’s behalf.
Sapphira rejected righteousness and adopted deceit. Because of this, God
decreed that they receive a most stern punishment: death. Their death
was also to be a warning to all that the new way was not to be taken
lightly. Thus, God allowed fear to fall upon the whole group. To make
sure the message would remain for all Christians to remember, the story
was included in the Holy Scriptures.
this was an ideal opportunity to sober up the Church and to make them
remain conscious of the fact that, though God gives much, He demands
much as well. Consequently, God was going to watch the actions and
attitudes of each and every one of them. The message was to be loud and
clear for all to hear and not forget, that “It is a fearful thing to
fall into the hands of the Living God” (Hebrews 10:41).
began with great signs and wonders. The first Christians were the
recipients of great gifts and great accompanying joy. God saw fit to
allow the death of Ananias and Sapphira to sober up the Church and to
remind the newly-converted Christians that, though the great God gives
great gifts, He also demands total submission. That lesson is as valid
today as it was in thirty-one A.D.
IS GOD CRUEL? -- An In-Depth Analysis of God's
Apparent Acts of Cruelty in the Bible
CLICK ON TOPICS
BELOW FOR A THOROUGH ANALYSIS
Sodom and Gomorrah
Destruction of Canaanites
David's Punishment for the Census
Removal of Foreign Wives
Ananiah and Sapphira
Catastrophes of Last Days
LITERATURE FROM UCG.ORG
(No Follow up)
Why Does God Allow Suffering?
IS GOD CRUEL?