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Notes from Linda:

12/1/22: I just found out that most of the commentaries on the Bible Study Tools website are no longer free. That's where most of the quotes that appear on the "Verse of the Day" and "Previous Verses" pages of my website are taken from, so from now on, many of the "Source:" links that I provide on those pages will not contain the quoted text.

I was disgusted to read about the organization's new "PLUS" membership, and the only thing I can say about it is that the Bible has this warning in 1 Timothy 6:10 for the owner of Bible Study Tools: "For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows."

Something is wrong with my Christian forum. Everything seems to be working normally (i.e., the articles are there, and the links work), but for some reason, the forum's format has changed slightly, and I am currently unable to post anything new.

I'm really sorry for the inconvenience. Hopefully, the problem is only temporay and will be fixed soon.
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June 2023
JUNE 1-5

The Story of Ananias and Sapphira

This took place during the time when many members of the early Christian church willingly (and voluntarily) shared their possessions with those who were poor.

Acts 5:1-2: "But a certain man named Ananias,
[along] with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession [in this case, some land], And kept back [withheld for himself] part of the price [of the land, referring to the amount that he was paid for it], his wife also being privy to it [meaning she knew about what was going on], and [Ananias] brought a certain part [of the money], and laid it at the apostles' feet."

Acts 5:3: "But Peter
[one of the apostles] said, Ananias, why hath [has] Satan filled thine [your] heart [or impelled (persuaded) you] to lie to the Holy Ghost [Holy Spirit (i.e., the third person of the Trinity)], and to keep back [withhold] part of the price of the land?"

Acts 5:4: "Whiles it
[while the land] remained [in your possession], was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power [to keep the money or give it away]? why hast thou [have you] conceived this thing in thine heart [referring to Ananias' plan to pretend that he was giving all of the money to the church]? thou hast not [you have not] lied unto men [people], but unto God."

Acts 5:5-6: "And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost
[died]: and great fear came on all them that heard these things. And the young men [in the crowd] arose [got up], wound him up [in bandages, or in grave clothes (linen cloths, many folds of linen), like a mummy], and carried him out, and buried him."

Acts 5:7-8: "And it was about the space of three hours after
[the death of Ananias], when his wife, not knowing what was done [or what had happened to her husband], came in [the room]. And Peter answered unto her [or 'said to Sapphira'], Tell me whether ye [you] sold the land for so much [i.e., a specific price that Peter stated]? And she said, Yea [yes], for so much [referring to the amount that Peter had stated]."

Acts 5:9: "Then Peter said unto her
{Sapphira], How is it that ye have agreed together [with your husband] to tempt the Spirit of the Lord [i.e., the Holy Spirit]? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy [your] husband are at the door, and [those young men] shall carry thee [you] out."

Acts 5:10: "Then fell she down straightway
[meaning she immediately fell down] at his [Peter's] feet, and yielded up the ghost [died]: and the young men came in [the room], and found her dead, and, carrying her forth [or away], buried her by her husband."

Acts 5:11: "And great fear came upon all the
[members of the] church, and upon as many [other people] as heard these things."

In his commentary on Acts 5:9, Albert Barnes answers the question of why Ananias and Sapphira were punished in such a severe and awful manner for their sins of deception and hypocrisy. In part, this is what he said:

"(1) This was an atrocious
[a very cruel, evil] crime - a deep and dreadful act of iniquity. It was committed knowingly, and without excuse … It was important that sudden and exemplary [an excellent example of] punishment should follow it, because the society of Christians was just then organized, and it was designed that it should be a 'pure' society, and should be regarded as a body of holy men [and women and children]. Much depended on making an 'impression' on the people that sin could not be allowed in this new community [of Christians], but would be detected and punished.

"(2) God has often, in a most solemn manner, shown his abhorrence of
[or feeling of disgust for] hypocrisy and insincerity. By awful declarations and fearful judgments he [God] has declared his displeasure at it. In a particular manner, no small part of the preaching of the Saviour [Jesus Christ] was employed in detecting the hypocrisy of the scribes and Pharisees, and denouncing [pronouncing] heavy judgments on them … In the very beginning of the Christian church it was important, by a decided and awful act, to impress upon the church and the world the danger and guilt of hypocrisy. Well did the Saviour know that it would be one of the most insidious [gradual] and deadly foes to the purity of the church; and at its very 'threshold,' therefore, he set up this solemn warning to guard it, and laid the bodies of Ananias and Sapphira in the path of every hypocrite that would enter the church. If they [the hypocrites] enter and are destroyed, they cannot plead that they were not fully warned. If they practice iniquity 'in' the church, they cannot plead ignorance of the fact that God intends to detect and punish them.

"(3) The apostles were just then establishing their authority. They claimed to be under the influence of inspiration. To establish that, it was necessary to show that they could know the views and motives of those who became connected with the church. If easily imposed on, it would go far to destroy their authority and their claim to infallibility
[trustworthiness, inability to be wrong]. If they showed that they could detect hypocrisy, even where most artfully concealed [hidden], it would establish the divine authority of their message [meaning that it came from God]. At the 'commencement' [beginning] of their work, therefore, they gave this decisive and most awful proof that they were under the guidance of an infallible Teacher [i.e., Almighty God].

"(4) This case does not stand alone in the New Testament. It is clear from other instances that the apostles had the power of punishing sinners, and that a violation of the commands of
[Jesus] Christ was attended by sudden and fearful judgments. See 1 Corinthians 11:30, and the case of Elymas the sorcerer in Acts 13:8-11.

"(5) Neither does this event stand alone in the history of the world. Acts of judgment sometimes occur as sudden and decided, in the providence
[protective care] of God, as in this case. The profane [irreverent] man, the drunkard, the profligate offender [i.e., spendthrift] is sometimes suddenly stricken down [killed, harmed, etc.], as in this instance. Cases have not been uncommon where the blasphemer [a person who says disrespectful things about God or religion] has been smitten [struck down] in death with the curse on his lips; and God often thus comes forth in judgment to slay [kill] the wicked, and to show that there is a God that reigns in the earth. This narrative cannot be objected to as improbable until 'all' such cases are disposed of, nor can this infliction be regarded as unjust until all the instances where people die by remorse of conscience [or regret], or by the direct judgment of heaven, are 'proved' to be unjust also.

"In view of this narrative, we may remark:

"(1) That God searches the heart, and knows the purposes of the soul …

"(7) Sinners should fear and tremble before God. He holds their breath
[meaning their life] in his hands …

(Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/acts-5.html, "Verse 9")

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GotQuestions.org has an article that answers the question, "Why did God kill Ananias and Sapphira for lying?" If you want to read it, here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/Ananias-and-Sapphira.html.