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Ananias and Sapphira
10-22-2009, 07:19 AM
Post: #1
Ananias and Sapphira
Two innocents murdered for money! Acts 5:1-11.
The launching of the Official Inquisition, which later in the centuries would compute into MILLIONS!
The church of the Prince of Peace and a merciful Saviour, no less!
“And GREAT FEAR came upon those who heard about the story!”
GREAT FEAR, twice in that passage.
They “heard” about it; nobody actually saw anything.
No witnesses.
Some weird “holy spirit” killed them [actually no holy spirit is heard saying a thing].
Then, the husband is quickly buried without telling anyone, wife, family, police!
Such love for lost souls, really!!
The Bible is a book you should burn.[/font]
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10-22-2009, 03:03 PM
Post: #2
RE: Ananias and Sapphira
(10-22-2009 07:19 AM)julio Wrote:  Two innocents murdered for money! Acts 5:1-11.
The launching of the Official Inquisition, which later in the centuries would compute into MILLIONS!
The church of the Prince of Peace and a merciful Saviour, no less!
“And GREAT FEAR came upon those who heard about the story!”
GREAT FEAR, twice in that passage.
They “heard” about it; nobody actually saw anything.
No witnesses.
Some weird “holy spirit” killed them [actually no holy spirit is heard saying a thing].
Then, the husband is quickly buried without telling anyone, wife, family, police!
Such love for lost souls, really!!
The Bible is a book you should burn.

This is a frequently misunderstood passage. Here is the whole thing.

Quote: 1 But there was a certain man named Ananias who, with his wife, Sapphira, sold some property. 2 He brought part of the money to the apostles, claiming it was the full amount. With his wife’s consent, he kept the rest.
3 Then Peter said, “Ananias, why have you let Satan fill your heart? You lied to the Holy Spirit, and you kept some of the money for yourself. 4 The property was yours to sell or not sell, as you wished. And after selling it, the money was also yours to give away. How could you do a thing like this? You weren’t lying to us but to God!”
5 As soon as Ananias heard these words, he fell to the floor and died. Everyone who heard about it was terrified. 6 Then some young men got up, wrapped him in a sheet, and took him out and buried him.
7 About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 Peter asked her, “Was this the price you and your husband received for your land?”
“Yes,” she replied, “that was the price.”
9 And Peter said, “How could the two of you even think of conspiring to test the Spirit of the Lord like this? The young men who buried your husband are just outside the door, and they will carry you out, too.”
10 Instantly, she fell to the floor and died. When the young men came in and saw that she was dead, they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 Great fear gripped the entire church and everyone else who heard what had happened.
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?sea...ersion=NLT

Peter’s community practiced strict communal property. Anyone who joined the community was expected to share everything they had with everyone. Ananias and Sapphira wanted to be part of the community but did not want to give up everything. They were not obligated to join (see verses 3-4) but once they did they were expected to surrender everything to the community. They tried to hold back and then lied about it. It was not so much about the money as about the threat to the integrity of the community. So the Holy Spirit snuffed them. In Acts, the Holy Spirit is seen as a real if hidden force residing in the church ever since Pentecost. I suggest taking Luke (the author of Acts) with more than a grain of salt in terms of historical reporting. For example, Luke’s description of Paul’s career is very different from what Paul himself reported.

BTW the Inquisition killed possibly 135,000 people, not millions. Of these perhaps 10,000 were executed and 125,000 died in prison. Actual records show somewhat lower numbers. The Inquisition is often confused with the witch hunts which may have killed as many as 100,000 people, although documentation only exists for 12,000 executions.

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?...705AAZ0Dnd
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Witch_trial...executions

Unrestrained exaggeration leads to loss of credibility. Research. Cite.
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10-23-2009, 10:37 AM
Post: #3
RE: Ananias and Sapphira
The imponderables about this fable of Ananias and Sapphira are AGAINST the spirit of a prince of peace, a church of grace, and a merciful god!
It doesn’t tie up.
Besides, the scheme soon FAILED, and god was left with mud on his face!
Peter’s killing dissidents doesn’t go well with a gospel for the poor, etc.
This episode is an insult to intelligence, and those who try to expand & explain it to protect the integrity of the text are in the business of trying to deceive simple discernment.
There was a BETTER solution for the incident.
Tell Ananias to go look for a more liberal sect, and let Peter try to raise a cult where he would end up with a crown, a gold ring and a popemobile!
A few years later, another bigot in the ministry, the mercenary Paul, was collecting a special offer FOR THE POOR IN JERUSALEM!
Obviously, Peter’s scheme was a fraudulent one, where he kept the money for his inner circle.
He did not end poverty in Jerusalem, the spiritual city of Jehovah, where no poor was supposed to exist!!
But I always ask: WHO kept Ananias MONEY?
Peter stole Ananias’ money!
You see, if you can ENLARGE on this weirdest of stories, so do I, and I ask for Ananias’ money!
Who kept the money?
Only Peter knows!!!
Peter was and still is a dangerous CROOK.
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10-23-2009, 11:45 AM (This post was last modified: 10-23-2009 11:46 AM by Parousia.)
Post: #4
RE: Ananias and Sapphira
(10-23-2009 10:37 AM)julio Wrote:  The imponderables about this fable of Ananias and Sapphira are AGAINST the spirit of a prince of peace, a church of grace, and a merciful god!
It doesn’t tie up.
Besides, the scheme soon FAILED, and god was left with mud on his face!
Peter’s killing dissidents doesn’t go well with a gospel for the poor, etc.
This episode is an insult to intelligence, and those who try to expand & explain it to protect the integrity of the text are in the business of trying to deceive simple discernment.
There was a BETTER solution for the incident.
Tell Ananias to go look for a more liberal sect, and let Peter try to raise a cult where he would end up with a crown, a gold ring and a popemobile!
A few years later, another bigot in the ministry, the mercenary Paul, was collecting a special offer FOR THE POOR IN JERUSALEM!
Obviously, Peter’s scheme was a fraudulent one, where he kept the money for his inner circle.
He did not end poverty in Jerusalem, the spiritual city of Jehovah, where no poor was supposed to exist!!
But I always ask: WHO kept Ananias MONEY?
Peter stole Ananias’ money!
You see, if you can ENLARGE on this weirdest of stories, so do I, and I ask for Ananias’ money!
Who kept the money?
Only Peter knows!!!
Peter was and still is a dangerous CROOK.

You are talking as if this really happened that way. A few verses down from this section, Peter and company get arrested but an angel breaks them out of jail. Angel As I said earlier, do not take Luke as historical 'gospel'. Wink

The early church was kicked around quite a bit by the Jewish authorities who were concerned with the surprising popularity of this new sect. The reasons for concern included more than just suspicion of blasphemy. There was also the fear that the Romans would look on any Messianic movment that got too big as an insurrection in the making and come down hard on Jerusalem. There were already a number of smaller revolts that were put down hard.

Against this pressure, the early church put great emphasis on solidarity. Day trippers like Ananias and Sapphira were not tolerated. And supernatural occurrences - miracles, angels, the Holy Spirit - were a great way to lend authority to the movement and reassurance to its followers.

To think this really happened and is the root of all subsequent church evil is really stretching the point. It was centuries more of evolution before the church became what we think of it today.
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10-23-2009, 12:40 PM
Post: #5
RE: Ananias and Sapphira
While that is true, Parousia, it's still clear that we're supposed to glean some sort of lesson from all these goings on. And the deaths of Ananias and Sapphira do seem rather arbitrary, considering all the things god lets other people get away with and seek forgiveness for. That passage is almost like the Old Testament god came back for a little bit.

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10-23-2009, 01:12 PM
Post: #6
RE: Ananias and Sapphira
(10-23-2009 12:40 PM)GTseng3 Wrote:  While that is true, Parousia, it's still clear that we're supposed to glean some sort of lesson from all these goings on. And the deaths of Ananias and Sapphira do seem rather arbitrary, considering all the things god lets other people get away with and seek forgiveness for. That passage is almost like the Old Testament god came back for a little bit.

To take it in reverse order:

That most certainly is the OT God. At the time Luke is writing about, what would later be called Christianity was still very much a sect of Judaism, especially the Jerusalem church version. The branch of Christianity that survived and became dominant (and there were several other branches) is the one that held together, that spread its message, and developed its solidarity into a hierarchical structure. This movement viewed itself as spreading the word throughout the world. We see the Jesus of the Synoptic Gospels speaking strongly in a number of places about the high level of commitment required of his disciples, who were to become his messengers.

The message of Acts was directed to gentile Christians late in the first century. It was about how to get along in a Roman world during a time of persecution. Full commitment was the order of the day. As I have said often in other posts, my take on it is that the Bible is a collection of many works, each having a specific agenda and directed toward a particular audience, and needs to be understood that way. I do NOT see it as a collection of Confucius-style one-liners intended for the ages, as many others do.
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10-23-2009, 01:29 PM
Post: #7
RE: Ananias and Sapphira
So Acts returned to the "follow every law to the letter or god will smite you" mentality of the Old Testament?

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10-23-2009, 01:44 PM
Post: #8
RE: Ananias and Sapphira
(10-23-2009 01:29 PM)GTseng3 Wrote:  So Acts returned to the "follow every law to the letter or god will smite you" mentality of the Old Testament?

No, it was directed to gentiles, remember? Being a Christian was supppsed to be about being a full-fledged memebr of a mutually supportive community in a time when being a Christian was on-again off-again illegal. Actually it was technically illegal until the early 4th century, but persecutions came and went.

Persecution of Christians was much in style when Luke wrote Acts. Hardly a surprise. Here was this Jewish messianic sect - and you know what kind of trouble they caused - preaching that its members must not give even nominal allegiance to the gods of Rome, the symbols of Roman authority. Plus with the stabilization of the borders of the Empire, other sources of Coliseum fodder were drying up and every candidate for office in Rome had to put on games if he wanted to get elected. Wink
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10-23-2009, 03:05 PM
Post: #9
RE: Ananias and Sapphira
Okay, so it wasn't that God had somehow become fire and brimstone again, it was that Ananias and Sapphira were fairweather Christians, which Luke saw as the cardinal sin of the time. A real "Hang together or hang separately" sort of deal.

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10-23-2009, 03:33 PM
Post: #10
RE: Ananias and Sapphira
(10-23-2009 03:05 PM)GTseng3 Wrote:  Okay, so it wasn't that God had somehow become fire and brimstone again, it was that Ananias and Sapphira were fairweather Christians, which Luke saw as the cardinal sin of the time. A real "Hang together or hang separately" sort of deal.

You got it.
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