by Henry T. Vriesen
Acts 4 and 5
In the early days the church of Christ at Jerusalem was like a great family: “the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things in common. And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus … 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, and laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.” There was one man in particular, who gave all that he had, to help the church. His name was Joses, but the apostles surnamed him Barnabas (which means, The son of consolation). This man was very helpful. He sold his land and gave the money to the apostles, so they might help those that were in need.
But there was a certain man in the church at Jerusalem, whose name was Ananias. He wanted to have the name of giving all, while at the same time he kept part of it for himself. Ananias sold some land, and agreed with his wife Sapphira to give a part of the money to the apostles for the church, and to keep the rest for themselves. They had a right to do this, or even to keep all of it; but they agreed to act as though they were giving all the money—they agreed to tell a lie. One day Ananias came to Peter with his money and laid it at his feet. “But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? While it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. And Ananias, hearing these words, fell down, and gave up his ghost. And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him.”
About three hours later Sapphira, the wife of Ananias, came in. She knew nothing of what had happened to her husband. Peter said to her, “Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much. 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. 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. And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard about these things.”For further information on this resource, click here.