Was God’s Judgment of Ananias and His Wife Too Severe?

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Hi N____,

Thank you for your questions. As I always do, I will answer them in order.

Your first question is:

Before answering your question let’s read what happened, and let the scriptures do all of our talking:

Act 5:1 But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession,
Act 5:2 And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
Act 5:3 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?
Act 5:4 Whiles 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.
Act 5:5 And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.
Act 5:6 And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him.
Act 5:7 And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in.
Act 5:8 And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much.
Act 5:9 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.
Act 5:10 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.
Act 5:11 And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.
Act 5:12 And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch.
Act 5:13 And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them.
Act 5:14 And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.)

Because of this event, along with the resurrection of Lazarus, Christ Himself, and all those who were resurrected “after His resurrection”, “the people magnified [the apostles] and “durst not… join… the rest”. In other words, this event was an important part of Christ building His church, and while you and I just naturally think that flesh is something to be preserved, that is not at all the mind of Christ. To Christ all flesh is merely a necessary evil in the process of perfecting mankind into a spirit body which will have dominion over all flesh. That part of what God was doing in Eden has not yet been accomplished, and it was never intended to be completed while mankind is in a clay, earthen vessel of flesh and blood or flesh and bone:

Joh 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

1Co 15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

2Ti 1:9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

Tit 1:2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;

Our days were all written in God’s book before there were any of them, and that includes the life, lies, and death of Annanias and Sapphira:

Psa 139:16 Thine eyes did see mine unformed substance; And in thy book they were all written, Even the days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was none of them,. (ASV)

So God had a plan that was all very clear “before the world began”, and He is at this very moment “working all things after the counsel of His own will”, including the death of this couple for lying to the holy spirit of God.

Eph 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

Annanias and Sapphira will be resurrected at the great white throne judgment and they will be judged in the lake of fire and purified of that lying spirit which did not fear God enough to keep them from lying to the holy spirit.

What happened to Annanias and Sapphira was needed to establish the New Testament church, and to teach you and me to fear God in this life. So this is a very big part of the answer to your question:

2Co 4:15 For all things are for your sakesthat the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.

Your second question was:

Your question shows a lack of understanding the meaning of the verse to which you refer. Here is that verse:

1Jn 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

In this very same epistle we are given the Biblical definition of ‘love’, so that we do not misconstrue what the ‘love’ is being referred to here in chapter 4. That definition is just a few verses later in the 2nd and 3rd verses of chapter five:

1Jn 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.
1Jn 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

We had better fear to break or ignore the commandments of God because our very life is dependent upon our being obedient to His commandments. The ‘fear’ being spoken of in 1Jn 4:18 is the fear of men, and is never to be confused with the fear of God as these verses demonstrate:

Act 10:35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.

Act 13:26 Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God, to you is the word of this salvation sent.

Only those who “fear [God]” are “accepted with Him” and the only people to whom “this salvation [is] sent” are those “whosoever among you fears God”.

These are but two of literally hunderds of verses of scripture which let us all know that we must fear God instead of fearing men.

You ask:

Absolutely not! Eternal torment is a blasphemous lie against the character of a loving heavenly Father who “chastens and scourges every son He receives” because He is a loving heavenly Father:

Heb 12:6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
Heb 12:7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
Heb 12:8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
Heb 12:9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?
Heb 12:10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.

So should we fear God? Why don’t we just let Christ Himself settle this question once and for all?:

Luk 12:4 And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.
Luk 12:5 But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.

So cast out that permissive spirit that wants you to believe that God will not punish you for your sins. It is a lie that has ruined many lives and will ruin many more:

2Th 1:9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;

2Pe 2:9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:

So we have it on very good authority, we need desperately to “Fear Him who after He hath killed has power to cast into Gehenna, yes, I say unto you, fear Him.”

It is my intention to edify you with the understanding of and the knowledge of who God and His Son are. For that very reason I must tell you that understanding that the knowledge of God’s sovereignty is no reason to be lax in our fear of God and in our efforts to please and obey our very Creator.

The point of Peter asking Annanias and his wife why they lied to the holy spirit was for your sake and for my sake, so you and I would learn not to make that same dreadful, insubordinate, unfearful and foolish mistake. If God shows you and me His mercy, then we will be edified by what He did to Annanias and Sapphira. On the other hand, if He causes us to err and hardens our heart from His fear, then we will, with Annanias and Sapphira, come back to life “when the thousand years are expired” and after the short season of rebelliion which will follow the thousand years. All the hypocrites in the church who do not fear God in this life and who teach that you ought not fear God, will be “surprised [by the] fearfulness” they will experience when they are raised up in the lake of fire to face those who dwell comfortably in that devouring flame and those everlasting [Hebrew: ‘olam‘ – age-lasting] burnings:

Isa 33:14 The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?
Isa 33:15 He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil;

Here is how the holy spirit deals with those whom He has given to dare to question why the Potter does as He does:

Job 40:1 Moreover the LORD answered Job, and said,
Job 40:2 Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him? he that reproveth God, let him answer it.
Job 40:3 Then Job answered the LORD, and said,
Job 40:4 Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth.
Job 40:5 Once have I spoken; but I will not answer: yea, twice; but I will proceed no further.
Job 40:6 Then answered the LORD unto Job out of the whirlwind, and said,
Job 40:7 Gird up thy loins now like a man: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me.
Job 40:8 Wilt thou also disannul my judgment? wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous?

I hope this all helps you to see yourself more clearly and to understand the mind of God and His Son better. I hope all these words of God help you to see that your question, which is the very same question I have also asked in the past, just as Job did, is nothing less than the clay in the Potter’s hand attempting to disannul His judgment and to condemn Him to make ourselves righteous. God is having no part of that and will bring us all to say with Job:

Job 42:1 Then Job answered LORD, and said,
Job 42:2 I know that thou can do all things, and that no purpose of thine can be restrained.
Job 42:3 Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge? Therefore I have uttered that which I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.
Job 42:4 Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak, I will ask of thee, and declare thou to me.
Job 42:5 I had heard of thee by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees thee.
Job 42:6 Therefore I abhor [myself], and repent in dust and ashes.

That is my prayer for you. As it was granted to me, so I pray it is also given to you.

Your brother who also thought he had a much better plan than God’s plan,


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