Ananias And Sapphira.

Acts 5:1-5
1 “But a CERTAIN MAN named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession. 2 And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles’ feet. 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?
5 Then Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and breathed his last. So great fear came upon all those who heard these things. 6 And the young men arose and wrapped him up, carried him out, and buried him.”

(Ananias falls down dead.)
Most Christians have heard a sermon or two starring these two. Ananias and Sapphira have been portrayed forever as the poster children for not to lying to the Holy Spirit. You are told that, if you do, you could be struck dead…..IN CHURCH no less!  
That’s a retty frightening thought, isn’t it?  And preachers are wondering why Church attendance is dwindling? Sounds kinda like a threat! Some sermons on this passage can be so fiery, they just about singe your hair!
I’m sure such messages are preached with a good heart and an honorable motive.  But this idea that a believer could be struck dead in church is not only inaccurate:  It’s downright cruel, NOT TO MENTION, UNTRUE!
English Lesson.
You’ll notice that this chapter of Acts begins with the word,  “But.”   Nobody begins a sentence with a conjunction unless they are referring back to something else. To what are they referring? Let’s have a little English lesson.
Ok class, what is a conjunction?  A “Con·junc·tion” by definition is “The action or instance of two or more events or things occurring at the same point in time or space.” 
We need to back up a few verses and see what was happening prior to this incident and establish the proper context into which this story fits.  Otherwise, we’ll also end up with the same old flawed, “Fiery conclusion” proclaimed by so many well-meaning pastors.
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The Backdrop.
In the previous chapter, the Church was flourishing and everyone prospered.  Those with abundance shared with those of lesser means so that NO ONE LACKED.  Let’s follow the story…..
Acts 4:32-37
“Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need.
And Joses, who was also named Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement), a Levite of the country of Cyprus, having land, sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.”
The chapter ends with the account of Barnabas selling some land and bringing ALL the proceeds to the apostles and laying it at their feet to be distributed.  Ananias thought he’d do something similar except that he kept back part of the price.  Nothing wrong with not giving them the whole amount, but he lied about it and his wife was in on it with him.

The Importance Of Context.
In order to be truly understood, every story in scripture must be put into its proper context.  The reason for all the fiery sermons is that it has been taken out of context, thereby MISunderstood, MISused and MISapplied. It has been MISused to frighten Christians into living holy lives and to obeying the law….OR ELSE.  

They’re implying, of course, that God might get angry with you and strike you, A BELIEVER, dead if you don’t measure up.  What a horrible thought!

Salvation:  Eternal Or Not?
As if that weren’t bad enough, they are also implying that you might lose your salvation. That would mean it isn’t eternal, despite the FACT that the Bible says it is. Well, that’s confusing!  Is it eternal or not?  
If their assumption is true, then Jesus lied (HE DID NOT!!!) and we really don’t have any hope or security.  
AS IF!!!  
Thanks be to God, NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH.  
Pastors’ Responsibility.
Are pastors really responsible to see to it that their people live holy lives?  Yes and no.  Yes they must lead their flock in the right direction but NO, IT ISN’T BY GIVING THEM A LIST OF DO’S AND DON’TS.  In other words, by teaching them the Law.
The problem isn’t that they teach the law.  No one truly teaches pure law, even Jewish congregations.  The problem is they MIX law with GRACE, hence the Holy Spirit’s motivation to illustrate the dangers of this practice.
Rightly Dividing The Word Of God.
Let’s take a closer look at this story IN CONTEXT.  This requires you have a proper understanding of how to rightly divide the Word.  It is the only way to determine the context of any passage.  
Believe it or not many pastors, some even with PhD’s, don’t know how to rightly divide the word of God. It’s true! I’ve heard it with my own ears. I’m sure you have too, though you may not have known it at the time. Well, you’re about to learn how to discern rightly dividing from not rightly dividing.
Context Is King.
When studying any part of scripture, CONTEXT IS KING.  Any “text,” when it is taken out of it’s  “Context” leaves you with a “CON.”  We don’t need or want any of that in the Church.  We want to know the truth! That’s what sets us free!
What does it mean to “Righty Divide?” It means you don’t mix the covenants together, i.e. Law with Grace. If you’re still not sure what that means, you are more than welcome to follow the link below to a study series on the subject:
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Secrets In The Hebrew Language.
Names as well as numbers throughout the scriptures play a major role in unlocking the mystery of many cryptic passages, like this one.  They help us correctly interpret the Word, depending on how deep we want to go. The names of the major players in this tale hold the key.  
What’s so disconcerting about the whole thing is that Ananias’ name is derived from the Hebrew, “Hananiah,” which means “God’s grace.” The big question is, “Were these two believers,” and if so, why did they die? That’s very troubling! Why?
Because believers, the Bible tells us, are cleansed of ALL SIN, including those in the future.  So, question #1 that needs a definitive answer is “Were these two saved?”  Because if they were truly believers, then it’s a pretty frightening idea to think that “Lying to the Holy Spirit,” or committing any other sin for that matter, could cut down a believer…..in Church!…..or any place for that matter!  Where’s the grace?  That would make the Church a place you would most definitely NOT want to go!

Let’s let the Bible interpret itself and find our the answer.

(Ananias prays for Saul to open his eyes.)
 –
Another Ananias.

There is another Ananias in the book of Acts four chapters later, in chapter 9. This is the Ananias who prayed to open the eyes of a young man, Saul, whom God would raise to become the greatest evangelist of all time:  The Apostle Paul.

As this young man was healed to Damascus to round up and persecute Christians, he was knocked off his “High horse.”  He was sent there with the blessing of religious leaders in order to round up believers when Jesus appeared to him in a bright light. He spoke to him as he lay on the ground. Saul was blind for three days.  
As Ananias prayed for him, Saul’s eyes were opened, both natural and spiritual, and he could see again. AWESOME!
God’s grace is just like that.  It heals us BOTH physically and spiritually, but only by GRACE, not Law.
So why did the other Ananias, husband of Sapphira, drop dead?  Did Peter say God would strike him dead for lying to the Holy Spirit?  No.  Read carefully: The Bible simply says “He fell dead when he HEARD his words.”
Let’s follow the story.
In the beginning of verse 1 it says:
5:1 But “A CERTAIN MAN” named Ananias, TOGETHER  with his wife Sapphira….

Typologies.

This Ananias is mentioned along with his wife, Sapphira.  The other Anaias who prayed for Paul was alone.  Why is this important?  The Holy Spirit is painting pictures for us again.  These two dropped dead as a result of their sin because they were NOT SAVED.  

How do we know they weren’t believers?  Because Dr. Luke, who penned the book of Acts, is very consistent in his writings.  He called believers either “Disciple or believer;” usually disciple.  Unbelievers were simply identified as “a certain man” or “a certain woman.”
There are a number of other corroborating scriptures which support this fact which I won’t go into here.  Feel free to research it for yourself and don’t forget to check the Greek text.
Words Added By Translators.
Translators often add in words which are not in the original text, which appear in italics.  They do it to make the text flow better, meaning well, but often causing more confusion.
The Ananias in this story is NOT called a “Disciple” which means he was not a believer nor was his wife, Sapphira, though they obviously associated with them.  That is the only reason they could drop dead:  They weren’t believers.  Had they been saved, GOD COULD NOT STRIKE THEM DEAD.   Why?
Because the Bible says Christians are no longer under condemnation…..OF ANY KIND…..for the rest of eternity.  Had they been believers, they would have faced correction for their wrong behavior but they would never be punished by being struck dead because they lied.  That correction or discipline comes from man.
The reality for believers is ALL YOUR SINS, EVEN YOUR FUTURE ONES, ARE PUT AWAY. They are not imputed to you having been imputed to Jesus when He hung on the cross. Your debt, Church, was OVERPAID long ago.  Long before you were born.  When Jesus died, all your sins were future.
Unfair To Jesus.
Even if you lied to the Holy Spirit, as the text records–not that you would want to nor does anyone condone lying–it would not be imputed to you because it was cleansed by the precious blood of Jesus 2,000 years ago!  It would be unfair for God to punish you for that, or any other sin:  Unfair to Jesus, that is,  because He already bore the full penalty for ALL your sins.  ALL MEANS ALL.
As we walk through life, being human, you and I will occasionally sin.  But we are under Jesus’ Blood covering.
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If you were taught that you are forgiven only of all your past sins up to the present but must ask forgiveness as you go, you have the same “present-tense” understanding of forgiveness that Simon, the Pharisee had.  Jesus had to set him straight.  He explained to him what it means to be “Forgiven much: Perfect tense forgiveness.”
(For more on is topic, follow this link:
Christians in leadership are there to correct…in love…any wrong behavior on the part of believers in their care.  It is part of their job. God would not strike any believer dead because you stand in the perfection of His Son. 

Sin destroys.  That’s why God hates it so much.  He loved us so much He sent Jesus to save us because He doesn’t want to see His beloved ones destroyed.  He wants us to live happy, healthy and long lives.  Toward that end, He corrects those He loves so we can see more of Jesus and tell MANY others about Him.

(Sapphira falls dead at the Apostle’s Feet.)

These two con artists were trying to cheat the church financially in some way.  If anything, it should be of great comfort to know that we are protected by our God from those who would try to cheat or harm us. 

It shouldn’t be surprising that the whole church was very upset either.  Who wouldn’t be?  Someone drops dead in your midst?  That’s a natural, human response, not proof that God would strike believers dead for sinning in Church.
Ananias, as I said, is mentioned together with his wife, Sapphira.  This is not a coincidence or an insignificant detail.  Herein is the key to understanding this entire story.  The Holy Spirit made a point of including both their names to reveal a truth of MEGAimportance.
Solving The Mystery.
In the Talmud and in accordance with Rabbinical tradition the Ten Commandments were written and engraved on sapphire stones.
WHAT?!
Yep. It’s true.  But not just any sapphire. It was a particular kind called “Lapis lazuli,” which means, “Blue stone.”  Just in case you don’t put any stock in the Talmud, is any scriptural evidence to support the rabbis’ claims?  Yes, there is!
Come with me now, up to the top of Mt. Sinai.  I think you’ll be surprised what we find there!

Exodus 24:9-12

9 “Then Moses went up, also Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, 10 and they saw the God of Israel. And there was under His feet as it were a paved work of SAPPHIRE STONE, and it was LIKE THE VERY HEAVENS IN IT’S CLARITY. 11 But on the nobles of the children of Israel He did not lay His hand. So they saw God, and they ate and drank. 12 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Come up to Me on the mountain and be there; and I will give you tablets of stone, and the law and commandments which I have written, that you may teach them.”

Sapphire is formed under great heat and pressure.  When God came down on the top of that mountain with lightenings, fire and thunderings, the whole top of it was scorched, burned a deep blue, making a pavement of sapphire, “like the very heavens in its clarity.”
When God, JEHOVAH JESUS, wrote on stones the Ten Commandments, that’s the stone He wrote on:  THE SAPPHIRE STONE AT HIS FEET!

Sapphira, by her very name, is therefore a picture of the law.  

Running Undercurrent.

The Bible is a running narrative all about One Person: Our Lord Jesus. There is, however, a running undercurrent;  it’s the message of that  grace is superior to the law, how it would ultimately usurp or replace it, and how mixining the two covenants is DEADLY.

(For more on that topic, follow this link:

God did just that.  By fulfilling all the Law, He replaced it with the New Covenant the moment He cried out “FINISHED!!!”  His Father ripped that temple veil from top to bottom.  He was SO EXCITED because we could now have fellowship with Him face to face and not die!  It was yet another way of telling us that we are NOT under law any more; we under grace because Jesus nailed the law–the handwriting of requirements–to the cross!

Nowhere is this truth showcased so clearly in, believe it or not, the story of Esther.  Read all about it by following this link:  
Connecting The Dots.
How does all of this all figure into the story?   Well, we have Ananias–the “grace of God”–married to “Sapphirah–the law. “It’s MIXTURE;  the ministry of death–which God HATES!!!  Teaching law mixed with grace is like ingesting little bits of arsenic.  Both will kill you DEAD.

GRACE MARRIED TO LAW PRODUCES DEATH.

That’s the message.  Now, no church or synagogue today actually preaches pure law.  Honestly, they’d be better off if they did because we’d very quickly realize we can’t keep it…..AT ALL.  We would run screaming for help to Jesus!

This trying to keep the law n order to be pleasing to God is what brings death and all manner of disease into the Church today, which ought not be.  Mixing law and grace is literally, physically killing people, hence the dropping dead part of this story.
Yes, this was a real-life event.  The Holy Spirit has included it in scripture to teach us and important spiritual principle:  MIXTURE KILLS……LITERALLY.
False Gospel.
The #1 reason our people are not healed, are not delivered and not enjoying the all blessings of God today is that THEY ARE NOT HEARING THE REAL GOSPEL.  They are hearing, “Do good, get good; Do bad, get beat.”  That is NOT the gospel:  It’s “mixture or Galatianism.” or whatever you want to call it.  Paul called it, “Another Gospel,” which carries a DOUBLE CURSE ON THOSE WHO PREACH IT.
Folks, this is no joking matter.  It’s serious stuff.  Preachers who are focusing on YOU and your doing are, in fact, promoting self-righteousness.  They are aiming for true holiness which, no surprise, continually eludes them and their people.  The harder they try, the further away from it they…..and their people…..fall.
Church, all of the blessings of Abraham are our inheritance, just as they are for the Jewish people.  Unlike them, however, we have the full blessing because we aLao Jesus.  Abraham enjoyed them because he was under pure grace.
Mutually Exclusive.

Both systems, Law and Grace, cannot co-exist because the law demands; grace supplies. They are mutually exclusive, canceling each other out.  This is how Christ becomes of “NO EFFECT to you.” (See Galatians 5:4).  Those under the teaching of the great lie we call, “Mixture,” CANNOT experience the blessings of Abraham because they are ours by faith, not works.

Prophetic Significance.

After these two dropped dead the Bible says, “the young men carried them out.”  Prophetically speaking, God is saying the young generation is going to bury for all time, NEVER TO BE RESURRECTED, this deadly teaching of mixture.  I say, “HALLELUJAH!!!”

At last the church will be rid of it.  She will finally flourish, grow, change lives and be effective in the world.  She will experience countless people saved, miracles of all kinds and worldwide revival that will make all others of the past pale in comparison.

Epilogue.
Look and see what happened after “Mixture” died:


12 “And through the hands of the apostles MANY SIGNS AND WONDERS WERE DONE AMONG THE PEOPLE.  And they were all with one accord in Solomon’s Porch. 13 Yet none of the rest dared join them, but the people esteemed them highly. 14 AND BELIEVERS WERE INCREASINGLY ADDED TO THE LORD, multitudes of both men and women, 15 so that they brought the sick out into the streets and laid them on beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on some of them. 16 Also a multitude gathered from the surrounding cities to Jerusalem, bringing sick people and those who were tormented by unclean spirits, and THEY WERE ALL HEALED.”
It’s happening now, Church.  It’s happening!  Little by little the “YOUNG MEN,” meaning new younger ministries on the “block,” are routing out of our ranks of the deadly mixture Ananias and Sapphira!

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