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1Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. 2With his wife's full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles' feet.

3Then Peter said, "Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? 4Didn't it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn't the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God."

5When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. 6Then the young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him.

7About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8Peter asked her, "Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?"

"Yes," she said, "that is the price."

9Peter said to her, "How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also."

10At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.

12The apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon's Colonnade. 13No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people. 14Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number. 15As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter's shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. 16Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by evil spirits, and all of them were healed.

17Then the high priest and all his associates, who were members of the party of the Sadducees, were filled with jealousy. 18They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail. 19But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out. 20"Go, stand in the temple courts," he said, "and tell the people the full message of this new life."

21At daybreak they entered the temple courts, as they had been told, and began to teach the people.

When the high priest and his associates arrived, they called together the Sanhedrin—the full assembly of the elders of Israel—and sent to the jail for the apostles. 22But on arriving at the jail, the officers did not find them there. So they went back and reported, 23"We found the jail securely locked, with the guards standing at the doors; but when we opened them, we found no one inside." 24On hearing this report, the captain of the temple guard and the chief priests were puzzled, wondering what would come of this.

25Then someone came and said, "Look! The men you put in jail are standing in the temple courts teaching the people." 26At that, the captain went with his officers and brought the apostles. They did not use force, because they feared that the people would stone them.

27Having brought the apostles, they made them appear before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high priest. 28"We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name," he said. "Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man's blood."

29Peter and the other apostles replied: "We must obey God rather than men! 30The God of our fathers raised Jesus from the dead—whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree. 31God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel. 32We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him."

33When they heard this, they were furious and wanted to put them to death. 34But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, who was honored by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered that the men be put outside for a little while. 35Then he addressed them: "Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. 36Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. 37After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered. 38Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. 39But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God."

40His speech persuaded them. They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.

41The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. 42Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.
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Daniel Eig
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5:1-9... hard core man. And I was kidding about them being commies last time. Guess no private property really is the rule for followers of Christ (at least, as revealed so far).

I mean - its clear here. 10% - not enough. Even 90% - not enough. Give 100% to the church. Or - God WILL kill you.

On a another note, WTF man? This is some f-ed up holy book. What kind of charity is forced charity? What kind of "good" can you achieve by flagellation and forced "good" behavior?
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18They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail. 19But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out.


So did this "angel" get some of the money they're skimming off this real estate racket to open the doors? Or did they just have some sympathizers in the guards?

...

5:27 on... the writers here are being obtuse. The Sanhedrin is only asking that they teach of the glory of God. Instead, they extol a man. Someone they proclaim to be a prophet - but that makes no difference. A prophet is a man too. No one prays to Moses (well at least, no Jew prays to Moses).

The Sanhedrin would have been on firm ground if they decided to execute the lot of 'em.

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They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.

41The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.


Human psychology has changed little in 2000 years. Fringe groups still celebrate official punishment (standing up to their perceived oppressors) as a rite of passage.
 
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dtolman wrote:
5:1-9... hard core man. And I was kidding about them being commies last time. Guess no private property really is the rule for followers of Christ (at least, as revealed so far).

I mean - its clear here. 10% - not enough. Even 90% - not enough. Give 100% to the church. Or - God WILL kill you.


Looking at 5:7-9, it looks like the sin of Ananias and Sapphira was not that they kept some of the money for themselves, but that they presented it to the apostles as though it were the whole price. They were trying to deceive the apostles -- and the rest of the church -- so that they would seem more righteous.


dtolman wrote:
:27 on... the writers here are being obtuse. The Sanhedrin is only asking that they teach of the glory of God. Instead, they extol a man. Someone they proclaim to be a prophet - but that makes no difference.


They proclaimed Jesus to be more than a prophet, though. They proclaimed him to be the Messiah who had been prophesied thousands of years before, and claimed that he was divine. Now, to those who didn't believe, they were extolling a man, and you're right: from a legal standpoint they had a right to put them in jail. But at the same time, the apostles believed they were doing right because they were not just extolling a man, but someone who was more than that.
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Yeah, the story of Ananias and his wife is really tough for me to understand why. One possible explanation is that God didn't want this new church to start with any dishonesty but then I've got wonder why nothing happens when priests molest kids today.
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Really, the couple didn't lie to God, Anyone who believes in God has to know he can see your actions. The couple lied to the apostles and to their church, probably because they weren't 100% convinced they were the real thing. So what these people are guilty of is not having enough faith. Which, if equally enforced, would sure make for lots of trips to the graveyard for the burial guys.
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TheChin! wrote:
The couple lied to the apostles and to their church, probably because they weren't 100% convinced they were the real thing.


Just out of curiosity, why do you think that's the probable reason they lied about the amount?
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bigbc79 wrote:
TheChin! wrote:
The couple lied to the apostles and to their church, probably because they weren't 100% convinced they were the real thing.


Just out of curiosity, why do you think that's the probable reason they lied about the amount?


Well, maybe not the reason, the reason was obviously to keep the money, but a contributing factor to thinking they could get away with it. It is possible that they were testing the church, but that seems like a stretch.

I wonder how many people go to church in modern times and cheat the collection plate or use creative rationalizations to figure out what their tithe outta be. Things like "the church doesn't need all that money" and such. Maybe they "intend" to do good with their own money so they subtract it from their donation to the church. According to this story, they would be killed for lying to God. When actually it's about their relationship with the church, not God.

Once Jesus left the picture and all the people had left were the Apostles, I'm sure there was a lot less trust and faith. They are just other people after all. Which is why the history of the Christian Church is filled with splinters, reformations, heretics and general diluting of the message. People lose faith in each other before they lose faith in God. This could be a simple case of the couple thinking that God really doesn't want them to give all their money to these guys they barely knew. Maybe they weren't fully convinced yet and were hedging their bets. The punishment is pretty heavy handed, and from a cynics point of view sure seems like trying to scare people into giving money to the church, which doesn't generate trust all that well.
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bigbc79 wrote:

Looking at 5:7-9, it looks like the sin of Ananias and Sapphira was not that they kept some of the money for themselves, but that they presented it to the apostles as though it were the whole price. They were trying to deceive the apostles -- and the rest of the church -- so that they would seem more righteous.


So they were just really generous, instead of totally generous? That is worthy of death (and hell presumably)?

I mean... it was their property (and money) to give and keep as they see fit. Thats charity. Not only that - what kind of moron gives away ALL of your money to someone you spent all of a few days with (assuming these are new followers)?

bigbc79 wrote:

They proclaimed Jesus to be more than a prophet, though. They proclaimed him to be the Messiah who had been prophesied thousands of years before, and claimed that he was divine...


Where have they proclaimed him to be anything but a man so far? Even the Messiah is just a man - someone to be praised, but never worshipped.

Plus, what kind of Messiah dies without - you know - doing anything particularly Messianic. The Romans still occupy Judea. Nothing has changed...
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dtolman wrote:
bigbc79 wrote:

Looking at 5:7-9, it looks like the sin of Ananias and Sapphira was not that they kept some of the money for themselves, but that they presented it to the apostles as though it were the whole price. They were trying to deceive the apostles -- and the rest of the church -- so that they would seem more righteous.


So they were just really generous, instead of totally generous? That is worthy of death (and hell presumably)?

I mean... it was their property (and money) to give and keep as they see fit. Thats charity. Not only that - what kind of moron gives away ALL of your money to someone you spent all of a few days with (assuming these are new followers)?


That's true, and don't get me wrong; it's a tough passage, and I don't fully understand why the punishment was so harsh in this case. But from what I can tell, the problem was not the giving, but what say said about it. It looks like they were trying to build up their image (for whatever reason) by saying they were doing something they weren't.

In today's terms, it would be like a charity that claims to give 100% of its donations to its stated cause, and then later the financial report comes out showing they only gave 75% and kept the other 25% for themselves. Yeah, that's still generous, but deceitful at the same time.

As for the severity of the punishment, like I said I don't know the reasoning behind it. But it sure let the early church know that God meant business.

dtolman wrote:
bigbc79 wrote:

They proclaimed Jesus to be more than a prophet, though. They proclaimed him to be the Messiah who had been prophesied thousands of years before, and claimed that he was divine...


Where have they proclaimed him to be anything but a man so far? Even the Messiah is just a man - someone to be praised, but never worshipped.


In Acts 2:36, Peter tells the listeners: "Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ."

Concerning the divinity of Christ, I'm not sure of an exact reference early on in Acts, but I know that the apostles did believe that Jesus was more than a man. Check out the beginning of the book of John, for example.

dtolman wrote:
Plus, what kind of Messiah dies without - you know - doing anything particularly Messianic. The Romans still occupy Judea. Nothing has changed...


A Messiah that is more concerned with our eternal souls than the physical. What changed was that we were given full access to the forgiveness of God, and in a way that was accessible to everyone. There's more to it than I can sum up in a single forum post, but while the Jews of the time thought that the Messiah was going to come save them from worldly oppression, the reality was that he came to save us all from spiritual destruction.

(And that's way better IMO.)


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bigbc79 wrote:


dtolman wrote:

Where have they proclaimed him to be anything but a man so far? Even the Messiah is just a man - someone to be praised, but never worshipped.


In Acts 2:36, Peter tells the listeners: "Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ."


So he just proclaimed him to be - literally - lord and messiah. Temporal ruler and anointed leader of the Jews.

Thats still a man.

I'm not being obtuse. You "know" he is the son of God because someone told you already - you've got spoilers. Well so far in Acts... no one has told the Sanhedrin - or the public - anything of that nature.

Reads to me like they are stirring up trouble on purpose. Perhaps the even more inflammatory public claims of divine parentage come later.

dtolman wrote:
Plus, what kind of Messiah dies without - you know - doing anything particularly Messianic. The Romans still occupy Judea. Nothing has changed...

bigbc79 wrote:

A Messiah that is more concerned with our eternal souls than the physical. What changed was that we were given full access to the forgiveness of God, and in a way that was accessible to everyone. There's more to it than I can sum up in a single forum post, but while the Jews of the time thought that the Messiah was going to come save them from worldly oppression, the reality was that he came to save us all from spiritual destruction.

(And that's way better IMO.)
[/q]

Your position is understandable to me. But it wouldn't be to the Sanhedrin 2000 years ago. The idea of an afterlife at all was debated. Every man was responsible for his own conduct. Forgiveness was granted all the time through prayer and sacrifice. So why would the need saving from anything spiritual?

The idea that they needed rescuing from anything but the Romans was absurd. When the messiah came, things were supposed to be different in the world... but nothing was.

For that matter, from my standpoint, nothing is different now.

EDIT: Fixed quotes. Attributions were squirrely.
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Just to make the Sanhedrin's position clear - let me give you the modern equivalent of what has happened in Acts.

...

You are one of the members of your Church's board. A local vagrant has performed a miraculous deed on the TV news and wants to see you! He keeps saying that the Christ has come back - as promised! Salvation is here.

But then it gets odd. Turns out Jesus - well - he actually called himself Todd... He can't talk to you in person. Turns out Todd died in police custody in Tucson last Thanksgiving - strangled by a guard (who was later acquitted of the murder charge - claimed Todd hung himself and the forensics backed him up).

When the vagrant found his dumped corpse in the alley, Todd came back to life - told him to spread the word of Todd, taught him and 11 other members of his church for a month about Todd's Way, and then floated up into heaven before his eyes on New Years.

Now he wants you to accept salvation from Todd. Not Jesus. Todd. Very insistent on that. Says his powers come from Todd - because Todd is our savior. Not Jesus. Todd. And he can perform miracles to prove it. He made that crippled Vietnam vet who begs outside walk again! He also has some odd other rules that kinda contradict the bible. But hey. Its _Todd_ so who are you to question?

Seems your congregation is murmuring about Todd during the sermon today. Some have even left to join Toddist congregations. Will your church rename itself the Church of Todd? Preach in Todd's name? Or will you toss the bum out into the alley - "miracle" or not?

Did I mention that former congregant Linda sold her condo in Maui for the Church of Todd, but died of a heart attack when the Church of Todd leadership found out she kept 1% for herself? You do know the Church of Todd demands you sell all your possessions, and give 'em to its trustworthy leaders to do what they please?

That is where we are in Acts so far, from a modern point of view. I didn't even mention the part where it turns out Todd is one of Jesus's 3 personalities. Did he mention Jesus had multiple personalities, but only the Todd one gives salvation?
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dtolman wrote:
Reads to me like they are stirring up trouble on purpose. Perhaps the even more inflammatory public claims of divine parentage come later.


In a way, I guess they probably were stirring up trouble, because as you've pointed out, their message was certainly not going to be a popular one with the religious authorities of the time, and they knew that.

Of course, making a lot of noise can be a great way to make people curious about what you're all about.


dtolman wrote:
Your position is understandable to me. But it wouldn't be to the Sanhedrin 2000 years ago. The idea of an afterlife at all was debated. Every man was responsible for his own conduct. Forgiveness was granted all the time through prayer and sacrifice. So why would the need saving from anything spiritual?

The idea that they needed rescuing from anything but the Romans was absurd. When the messiah came, things were supposed to be different in the world... but nothing was.


Yeah, you're right here. For me, that's one of the biggest challenges in studying the Bible: trying not to look at the passages as someone from that time and culture would. As you said before, we've got the spoilers.
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dtolman wrote:
Stuff about Todd


That's actually a pretty good characterization. I think I'll probably always have this in the back of my mind reading Acts in the future, because from the Sanhedrin's perspective, that's probably about how it was.

The only addition I would make is in your analogy, we've also been hearing about Todd off and on for about three years at this point, and we'd know that he was killed for claiming to be Jesus. (I guess it breaks down a little here, since that's not illegal in the US - just generally considered crazy.)

But overall you're spot on, and I wonder what I (or most Christians) would have done if put in the position the Sanhedrin were in. I imagine most people would react about the same way they did.
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dtolman wrote:
Did I mention that former congregant Linda sold her condo in Maui for the Church of Todd, but died of a heart attack when the Church of Todd leadership found out she kept 1% for herself? You do know the Church of Todd demands you sell all your possessions, and give 'em to its trustworthy leaders to do what they please?


I still disagree with this assessment of the first part of Acts 5, though. It wasn't the amount involved; it was the deceit involved.
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Does it really break down? Don't think a couple of hard-core so called fundamentalists would try to do the world a favor? Think a jury packed in their favor wouldn't set them free?

I actually used this scenario all through Matthew too (at least - in my mind). Remember - the modern equivalent of claiming to be the Messiah... is claiming to be Jesus come around the 2nd time. Then dying and promising 3rd try is the charm.

...

EDIT: She told the Church of Todd it was 100%. She lied and kept 1% (wonder who snitched). Found dead of a heart attack after being accused in a private leadership meeting... only Church of Todd elders around to witness it...
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Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But God does not take away life; instead, he devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from him. 2 Sam 14:14
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dtolman wrote:
bigbc79 wrote:

Looking at 5:7-9, it looks like the sin of Ananias and Sapphira was not that they kept some of the money for themselves, but that they presented it to the apostles as though it were the whole price. They were trying to deceive the apostles -- and the rest of the church -- so that they would seem more righteous.


So they were just really generous, instead of totally generous? That is worthy of death (and hell presumably)?

I mean... it was their property (and money) to give and keep as they see fit. Thats charity. Not only that - what kind of moron gives away ALL of your money to someone you spent all of a few days with (assuming these are new followers)?

They weren't required to give ANYTHING. The amount or percentage of their donation is irrelevant.

It was the DECEIT that was the sin.

Bible wrote:
Didn't it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn't the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God


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