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laverne3

Sudden deaths in Acts brings questioning

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I am reading through Acts and have come to the part of Ananias and Sapphira coming to their sudden deaths... This part brings some questions. Did Peter kill these two? Or did they die a sudden death from God? Obviously there are some questions non-believers could raise from these passages. How could I respond to these questions?

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Guest RdrEm
Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, laverne3 said:

I am reading through Acts and have come to the part of Ananias and Sapphira coming to their sudden deaths... This part brings some questions. Did Peter kill these two? Or did they die a sudden death from God? Obviously there are some questions non-believers could raise from these passages. How could I respond to these questions?

There are a number of misconceptions surrounding this story. First it is clear that this 'offence' was deliberate and intended to deceive the spirit of the community. Ananias did not suspect that he would be discovered in his deceit. The crime was not in withholding part of what was, after all, his own property, voluntarily donated. It was in hypocritically presenting himself and his wife as exceptionally generous, when in fact his generosity was not exceptional. In effect he was trying to buy standing with the brotherhood by faking his level of generosity. This was 'stealing' undeserved reputation for holiness, similar to the way Satan does in Mafia Leaders. Ananias is inspired not by The Holy Spirit but by Satan. When confronted, Satan leaves him in the presence of God and Ananias drops dead from shock. Same with his wife who had cooked up the plan with her husband. I'm inclined to think, as unlikely as it may seem, that both deaths were due to natural causes, such as stroke, heart embolism, extreme stress, shock, etc. I am disinclined to consider murder even a possibility, because of the can of worms that would open regarding Apostolic Authority. I have to say though that Paul did not hesitate to supernaturally strike someone blind, for opposing The Holy Spirit. Acts.13:8-12.

 

The lesson for us is not to claim more for ourselves than is honest giving. Whether it be money, time, effort, loyalty or alms. We don't do it to gain position in the church, (and there are still plenty who try), we do it voluntarily and honestly or not at all. The most stupid thing anyone can ever do is lie to God and The Holy Spirit.

 

Edited by RdrEm

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40 minutes ago, laverne3 said:

Did Peter kill these two?

The text never makes that claim.

 

42 minutes ago, laverne3 said:

Or did they die a sudden death from God?

That would be the clear implication of the text though it never comes out and explicitly says it.

 

44 minutes ago, laverne3 said:

Obviously there are some questions non-believers could raise from these passages. How could I respond to these questions?

It would depend on the question.

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6 hours ago, laverne3 said:

I am reading through Acts and have come to the part of Ananias and Sapphira coming to their sudden deaths... This part brings some questions. Did Peter kill these two? Or did they die a sudden death from God? Obviously there are some questions non-believers could raise from these passages. How could I respond to these questions?

Interesting, and my compliments in preparing for questions that you may face. I do not read an explicit mention of any "means" God may of used. If we speculate that God's will was only fulfilled by an ordinary means (used man to strike them dead) then wouldn't that call into question other Scriptures such as 1 Chronicles 13:9-12 when Uzzah was struck down by God? Wouldn't the same questions apply in that man was used as the hand of God? Likewise, another example or incident occurred when God struck struck down Aaron's sons in Leviticus 10:1 for the "strange fire". In all three cases the priest and/or overseers of Israel/Church were held to a "higher caliber" by and of a standard held in our place of worship. However, this addresses the why and not how. Again, there is just as much reason to believe that the deaths of Ananias and Sapphira were brought upon them by a direct and supernatural act of God rather than God using an ordinary means to accomplish His wrath which may of been kindled against those defilers who would enter His church and destroy the authority of the apostles during its infancy. If God intervened directly striking down the people in question (supernatural), then I think the greater message is that we should heed God's example of swiftly dealing with those who come in and deliberately defile or attempt to destroy the church. We should also take this seriously to ourselves and know that we are not deceiving anyone as God sees directly into our hearts.

 

In summation, I am leaning toward a supernatural means which brought about sudden death...

 

God bless,

William

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9 hours ago, laverne3 said:

I am reading through Acts and have come to the part of Ananias and Sapphira coming to their sudden deaths... This part brings some questions. Did Peter kill these two? Or did they die a sudden death from God? Obviously there are some questions non-believers could raise from these passages. How could I respond to these questions?

The story takes place in Acts 5:1-11. It is unclear if Peter had anything to do with the death of these two who basically withheld a portion of the price of the land they sold to keep it for themselves and not give that portion to God, who rightfully owned it. It only says that Ananias ,after hearing Peter speaking of these things "fell down and gave up the ghost " This can safely be interpreted as a natural death . A short time later his wife was confronted by Peter and the same fate overtook her . The " Yielded up the ghost " here indicates a natural death. And besides Peter has done many things in the name of Christ , but taking a human life was not one of them.          M

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2 hours ago, Matthew Duvall said:

The story takes place in Acts 5:1-11. It is unclear if Peter had anything to do with the death of these two who basically withheld a portion of the price of the land they sold to keep it for themselves and not give that portion to God, who rightfully owned it. It only says that Ananias ,after hearing Peter speaking of these things "fell down and gave up the ghost " This can safely be interpreted as a natural death . A short time later his wife was confronted by Peter and the same fate overtook her . The " Yielded up the ghost " here indicates a natural death. And besides Peter has done many things in the name of Christ , but taking a human life was not one of them.          M

 

11 hours ago, laverne3 said:

I am reading through Acts and have come to the part of Ananias and Sapphira coming to their sudden deaths... This part brings some questions. Did Peter kill these two? Or did they die a sudden death from God? Obviously there are some questions non-believers could raise from these passages. How could I respond to these questions?

From my Notes & also an existing thread:

THE MERCY OF GOD: The Holy Spirit motivated many of the early Christians to charity.

Acts 4:34-37
(34)  Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,
(35)  And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.
(36)  And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus,
(37)  Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles' feet.
 

THE MEANNESS OF SATAN: A contrasting, counterfeit motivation is revealed to the apostle Peter. 

Act 5:1-2
(1)  But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession,
(2)  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.
 

Acts 5:3
(3)  But Peter said, Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?

 

Three things in collusion qualify the actions of Ananias and Saphira to be declared satanically motivated:

~ THEIR UNWILLINGNESS TO GIVE ALL

~ THEIR UNWILLINGNESS TO TELL ALL

~ THEIR AGREEMENT TO DECEIVE ALL

 

Acts 5:4
(4)  While it remained, was it not your own? and after it was sold, was it not in your own power? why have you conceived this thing in your heart? you have not lied unto men, but unto God.

 

THE MOTIVES OF TRANSGRESSORS: Three reasons they are caused to move contrary to the will of God.
- Rivalry. So there are people being charitable...we can compete with them...no problem.

- Ambition. So there are people being appreciated and commended...we will gain favour and advancement, eminence and applause, yes...and power! 

- Covetousness. So people shouldn't have to give things they want for themselves...there's no harm in accumulating and retaining wealth whenever, however, and from whomever you can.

 

THE JUDGMENT OF GOD: Instantly, with no recourse to repentance and restoration.

Acts 5:5-11
(5)  And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.
(6)  And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him.
(7)  And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in.
(8)  And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether you sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much.
(9)  Then Peter said unto her, How is it that you 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.
(10)  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.
(11)  And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.
 

Why has Satan filled your heart? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? How is it that you have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord?

No chance is given Ananias and Saphira to answer these questions but God knows all things, and His swift response is a warning to all who imagine they can behave falsely.

 

Satan can fill anyone's heart if they allow him into it. Not a good idea! Eph 4:27 applies.  

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On 8/2/2018 at 2:45 PM, laverne3 said:

I am reading through Acts and have come to the part of Ananias and Sapphira coming to their sudden deaths... This part brings some questions. Did Peter kill these two? Or did they die a sudden death from God? Obviously there are some questions non-believers could raise from these passages. How could I respond to these questions?

I say Peter declared them dead as soon as they lied to the Holy Spirit. In Sapphira's case he actually proclaimed her dead before she fell:

 

Acts 5:9 "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."

 

If the two witnesses of Revelation 11 wind up being actual people, they will have that power also:

 

Rev. 11:5 "And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed."

 

Although the fire could be symbolic, but it still looks like much of what Peter did. 

 

7072.gif 

 

 

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