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Were Ananias and Sapphira born-again, if yes, then why did they die instantly for lying?

How many of us christians today have died instantly today for lying?

Why did this happen to this couple and does not happen today?

Why do we get away with it and they didn’t?

Please do not say its because they lied to the Holy spirit because that sounds like a lame excuse, as how does one know when one is lying to the Holy spirit or man?


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21 thoughts on “Were Ananias and Sapphira born-again, if yes, then why did they die instantly for lying?

  1. It is important to make a distinction between the target population and what we will refer to as tryout learners.

  2. shematwater on said:

    Just so you know, I will most likely not be posting again until after the Christmas season.

    It has been fun here, and I hope to return.

    Thank you.

  3. shematwater on said:


    People frequently mix up the little white lie with the larger lies (such as defrauding God).
    Just remember that it is those who “loveth and maketh a lie” that are condemned. (Rev. 22: 15) That is, those who not only knowingly lie, but use the art of lying as a means to build themselves up and get gain in the world. This would include false religious teachers as well as many politicians.
    It also includes those who would seek to gains the blessings of the gospel by lying about their actions and belief in regards to it, like Ananias and Sapphira.

    Those who simply tell a little white lie are not those who seek to establish themselves based on a lie, and thus are under less of a condemnation.

  4. Hi. I have nominated you for a Liester Award. Please follow the link to check it out. I hope you don’t want to make a debate out of this too.

  5. shematwater on said:


    I would like to offer a few thoughts, and even though you say not to I will mention the distinction between lying to the Holy Spirit or to man.

    First, yes they were born again, though I would say for a different reason than Eugene gives. From the bible I think it is clear that being born again is more than an admission of faith, but is literally the baptism of the water and of the spirit (receiving the Holy Ghost). (John 3: 5)
    Since this record is dealing with the faithful members I think we can all assume to they had received both baptisms, and were thus born again.

    Speaking of the lie, it goes much deeper than simply telling a falsehood. In this case they were trying to defraud God.
    As the account points out, each person received according to their need. Thus they would have received like everyone else. But holding back part of the money they were attempting to get more than they needed, and thus deprive others who may have needed the money they kept back.
    However, from Peter’s words we can see that if they had kept back part of the money, but were honest about it, nothing would have been said. They may have received less from the distribution, but nothing more than this. So we know that it was not in keeping the money that they sinned, but it lying about keeping the money.
    This brings us into the distinction between lying to God and lying to man. simply put, the reason to lie is to gain a promised reward, or to avoid a promised penalty. When we lie to man we are seeking man’s favor in one of these two ways. When we lie to God we are seeking God’s favor.
    In the account of Ananias we know he lied to God, so the question becomes what was he seeking in doing so? We also know that the faithful are blessed by God, and that generally specific commands come with specific blessings. As such we can then reason that in telling the lie Ananias and his wife were seeking for the blessings of obedience while not actually being obedient. This was their great fraud, and this is why they were punished.

    As to why God does not kill for this now, it is simply that we are living in a different day and age. This kind of demonstration against sin was necessary for those of this time, while it is not for ours. Living in the culture of the Jews and the Romans it would have been easy for some to think they could get away with this, and in so doing would have spread a lot of false and dangerous practices. The dramatic example was needed to show the saints that God does not tolerate sin in the least degree.
    Today, with much of the world familiar with these stories, and with the culture we now have, such a demonstration would not be as effective or as prudent. Such people will still have to deal with the consequences of such actions, but the demonstrations that we see in the Bible are not present.

    • mmm… interesting view. I like it. Got me thinkin… why is that type of demonstration against sin necessary then but not now, if we are to believe that God does not change?

      • shematwater on said:

        God doesn’t change, but people do.

        Back then the people seeing this had no doubt that it was the power of God that caused them to die.

        In the modern day if something like this happened peoples first thought would be to perform an autopsy to discover the cause, and they may even find one (as God does use natural means to carry things out) and then they would dismiss it as a coincidence.
        We are living in a time of great scientific development and advancement, and it has become common for people to seek the scientific answer and accept it before seeking the divine answer.

        Then there are those in the Christian world who seek to gloss over the wrath of God, preferring to only think of it in the abstract future tense. They don’t like the idea of a vengeful God, and so an occurrence like this would be dismissed as being from the devil and not of God.

        Because of things such as this such demonstrations are not going to be as effective as it was in the past.

      • Exactly… I have come to realize that people do not want to come to terms with a vengeful God. I actually like your view on this but I fear that my reason for liking it might be biased as i would prefer to believe your explaination in order to deal with the fear of condemnation. Thank you so much sharing though.. will ponder on this

    • shematwater on said:

      Now I’m curious as to how this helps deal with fears of condemnation.

      • Lol. Your point on trying to defraud God, not just a lie, is what i am referring to, as I have found myself in positons where telling a lie seemed necessary to protect someone else or maybe even one of them lies we tell our bosses for being late for work… etc

  6. To start off with the pharse “born-again Christian” is redundant. Being a Christian by default makes one “born-again.” That’s splitting a hair on a bald head so to speak. There are no “Christians” in one section of the church and “Born-again Christians” in another.

    We may not die physically when we lie, but if we refuse to repent (such as was the case with this husband and wife when Peter gave them a chance too with his question) we can die spiritually…which holds in store a worse fate than physically death alone.

    I would say it happened to them so we could from thier mistake. Sin is serious business and hypocrisy is on God’s radar! Paul said a lot of things happened particulary in the OT for us to learn from (1 Corinthians 10:1-13). This was a grownup lesson for devious and childish behaviour in the young church.

    I don’t think we “get away” with anything with God and sin (2 Corinthians 5:10; Romans 2:1, 14:10; Ecclesiastes 12:14). If we want forgiveness we must repent (1 John 1:1-7). A little “white lie” can stain our souls with the darkest “stain” (Isaiah 1:18).

    A lie is a lie is a lie whether to the Spirit of God or to people. Ephesians 4:25-30 reminds us to not lie to eachother nor to grieve the Spirit of God with corrupt behavior.

    Good questions. I enjoyed the post.

  7. tobeforgiven on said:

    I think the other question at play is whether a person can loose thier salvation. This is a question that has been a given since Calvin, but I think it is worth revisiting.
    1Ti 1:19 holding on to faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith.
    I wonder if these folks too were once born again, I believe they were from the context of this passage in 1 Timothy.
    But then again, I really don’t want to believe that. I hope that they were indeed not born again. If they were that means that I could potentially suffer the same fate.

  8. I think God is further removed from the most people these days. “He would show His holiness through the ones closest to him” …there is a quote like that somewhere. Just like the “unholy fire” that instantly killed Aaron’s sons. See also “Whatever happened to the power of God” by Michael Brown.

  9. internet elias on said:

    Wow. Good question. Hadn’t thought about those two in a long while. And you are correct in that the situation is about more than lying. I posted the entire scripture of the incident since seeing it from beginning to end is helpful. It explains that the group of believers were together…of one heart and one soul…perfect unity of the ‘love neighbor as self’ type. This perfect unity happens only when Christ indwells the believers heart and fills it with His presence which is Love….the kind that ‘prefers other before self.’ It is a supernatural presence named the Holy Comforter who came when the flesh and blood Christ ascended back to the Father. He returned in the person of the Holy Comforter. Understanding the perfect selfless love which indwelt these believers helps clarify the event with Ananias and Sapphira.

    Read the entire text below. Notice the pure, innocent, and real regard these believers had for each other. They joyously sold all their possessions and shared with the group. There was no greed in their hearts. They ‘loved’ neighbor as self. Now read about how Ananias and Sapphira were apostate in their belief. They were hypocrits. They were deceivers. They were servants of Satan attempting to intermingle with the Holy group. Peter, being filled with the Spirit and presence of Christ, recognized Satan in Ananias and Sapphira. Discernment of spirits is one of the gifts of the Spirit. Light always recognizes darkness and vice versa. This event was one of the many incredible miracles done as Christ revealed Himself through the early believers. Today, any person who stands in the presence of Christ via His unseen Holy Spirit and commits the abominable sin of lying to His presence is guilty of blasphemy. Only God knows the souls who have died before and since due to similar situations. But God chose to require their lives on the spot. Their ‘sin when finished is death’ judgement was swift. I believe the group present that day was fully aware of the heights of spiriutal warfare in high places since they were filled with the presence of God.

    Ac 4:32 And 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 common.

    33 And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.

    34 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,

    35 And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.

    36 And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus,

    37 Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

    Ac 5:1 But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession,

    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.

    :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?

    :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.

    5 And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.

    6 And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him.

    7 And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in

    8 And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much.

    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.

    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.

    11 And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.

    Today we are more about doctrines and traditions rather than being filled with God. Many go so far as to insist that being the Temple of God/Body of Christ was for the early believers alone. But the Word is clear. Having a broken and contrite spirit of repentance and receiving the atonement of His blood is the beginning…not the end. Yielding our ‘self’ to His leadership and guidance brings us to the same place of that group so many hundreds of years ago. Only in that place of fellowship with Christ does one become part of the church Christ referred to when asked Peter ‘who do you say that I am?.’ Peter said ‘You are the Christ.’ Christ said, ‘You are Peter. And on this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.’ Ananias and Sapphira were the ‘gates of hell’ attempting to prevail against the Body of Christ as the group gathered on that day.
    They did not prevail.

    Again, very good question. Ananias and Sapphira…as well as each and every person whose name is recorded in the historical Bible is there for our learning.

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