Great fear seized the whole church

Acts 4:32 – 5:11 is one of my favorite New Testament stories.1

Ananais at homeAnanias and his dear wife Sapphira belonged to one of the first Christian churches headed by Jesus’ disciple, Peter.  The church was unique in that the members shared their money with each other and thus cared for their poor.  One day, after selling a parcel of their land, Ananias and Sapphira decided to give away a portion of the sales to Peter’s church.  They did not want to give the full amount that Peter wanted but they wanted to give up some of their money to help the poor.

Ananias gives money to PeterSo Ananias was happy to share some of his money with the growing church and gladly brought the money to Peter the great apostle.

Peter is Angry

But Peter was lethally angry with Ananias because the amount of money was short of what Peter expected.    Peter accused Ananias of lying to him God.

Ananias Dies

And immediately Ananias fell dead – killed by the Holy Spirit (but no autopsy was reported).  Yet the work of the Holy Spirit was not yet finished.

Sapphira gets caught

When Ananias was late coming home, Sapphira went to Peter to see where her husband was.  Peter accused Sapphira of helping her husband in  holding back some of the money that Peter wanted.  He told her.  “How could you agree to test me the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.”

Ananias and Sapphira's graves

Then Sapphira fell dead too, killed by the Holy Spirit for not paying her full tithe to the growing Church of the loving Lord Jesus.  Of course, though this caused distress, all knew that Ananias and Sapphria deserved their deaths for lying to  Peter The Holy Spirit and holding back their tithes.

God sees and hears everything we do

Then “Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about the events.”  But that was OK because it taught all future believers a valuable lesson.

For those who want the Biblical Passages, here is the portion from Acts 5 (NIV):

Ananias and Sapphira

1Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. 2With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet.

3Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? 4Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God.”

5When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. 6Then the young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him.

7About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8Peter asked her, “Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?”
“Yes,” she said, “that is the price.”

9Peter said to her, “How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.”

10At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.

___________________

Notes:
1) Pictures are actually taken from this Christian site.  OK, my narative is a little different.  But go check out the cartoons there to help educate the Christian Children about their god.

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7 Comments

Filed under Humor

7 responses to “Great fear seized the whole church

  1. Ian

    This is my favorite story for Christians who like to tell you that God was only nasty vindictive and murderous in the ‘old covenant’ and that Jesus came to show a different way.

    Nope, cross God and you’re dead. Or at least you would be if it were true!

  2. Cally

    It’s funny how different people look at stories differently.

    It reminds me of the wolf and child fable I told my children on the way to work today. One of their favorite stories.

    In the fable the boy was playing in the forest while his father was working in the yard. The boy thought it would be funny to play a trick on his father by pretending that a wolf was attacking him. The caring father obviously ran to the boy. The boy did this three times, the third time there really was a wolf and the father needed to get the boy to the hospital because he did not get there in time. The boy thought lying was a good joke to play on people.

    When I read this story it told me that telling the truth was more important than lying. And that God would actually kill people who lie.

    However, reading if from this perspective and with the understanding of the modern day church I can see where one might think that the church is killing their congregation slowly because instead of getting them to think for themselves they try to get them to think the way they do – which is probably living a lie anyways and I really don’t think that is biblical.

    I guess it all depends on how you read the bible and from what perspective you as an individual interpret it and read it.

  3. This is great!
    Did you do the cartoon graphics yourself?

    Ó

  4. Thanx Quixie, nope, ironically, as my footnote says, I borrowed it from a Christian site. But I think I was pretty true to the story. Smile.

  5. Temaskian

    Haha, most entertaining. It’s chilling that the cartoons depict the couple as so ordinary and mundane (kitchen scene), and still get to be zapped by God. Imagine what could happen to you.

    “God sees and hears everything we do”! That was the moral of the story? It should have been ‘don’t lie to your pastor or you will die on the spot’.

    You have a good point there that they were only lying to Peter, not to God, yet they were zapped. So another moral is that Peter (i.e. your local and friendly pastor) is actually as good as God, i.e. you must treat him or her like God on this earth.

  6. Earnest

    I get nausea every time I read this story. It encapsulates a really problematic part of Christianity for me. It should be removed on the next re-write.

  7. I heard a Bible teacher say once that Ananias and Sapphria were still saved, but God struck them down as an example..as punishment. According to him though, they would be in Heaven, what kind of punishment it that?

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