What a convenient crowbar some fishers for
funds find in Acts 5:1-11! A warning not to lie to the Holy Spirit is turned
into a tool to extort money out of the flock of God. Clergymen who resort to
this lie are guilty of a worse sin than Ananias and Sapphira committed. It is
a grave sin to hold back part of God’s Truth from the church to protect
your pockets. Many ministers have themselves
been wrongly taught, and have never questioned those who passed on flawed doctrine to them. So ignorance abounds in
the Body of Christ and the Church suffers because of it. God knows that all His loved ones are
still maturing spiritually while present in the mortal body. Hebrews 5:2 says that Jesus can have compassion on the
ignorant, and on those "who are out of the way", (which covers those imperfect in their doctrine). We’d all be in big
trouble if we couldn’t be accepted of God unless 100% of our doctrine was dead-on all the time! The commentary in the margin of my Bible clarifies "can have compassion on the ignorant" as meaning: "can reasonably bear with". God
picks us up when we stumble and He bears patiently with us because we sincerely love Him and
want to serve Him in purity of heart. But what He cannot bear are those
who deliberately hide the truth to make a tidy pile for themselves. All sorts of sinners inhabited Jesus’ world of 2000
years ago. Harlots, thieves, tax collectors, even murderous brigands like Barabbas.
But about the only sinners Jesus ever chewed out in the Gospels were the self-righteous
Pharisees, who devoured widows’ houses and turned their converts into twice the son of hell as themselves (Matt: 23:14-15).
And the worst of the worst were guilty of attributing Jesus’ miracles to
the power of satan, though they knew better (Mark 3:22-30). Insulting the Holy
Spirit and attributing His wonderful works of love to satan constitutes the unpardonable sin, and this sin was committed by
the vilest of the Pharisees. This sin had nothing at all to do with withholding
monetary tithes! Men of the cloth who push such a lie KNOW they’re using wicked scare tactics to enrich themselves,
and I sure would hate to be in their shoes on the Day of Judgment!
Jesus spends over half of Matthew Chapter 23 giving the Pharisees a verbal whipping. The guiltiest of these religious
experts knew Jesus was the true Son of God, but they deliberately deceived
the people because they would have had too much earthly honor and wealth to lose by preaching the Truth and allowing the captives
to be set free. So they did their worst to stamp out this precious Truth, even
using a Roman cross to try to bury the truth forever. Jesus said: And ye
shall know the Truth, and the truth shall set you free (John 8:32). He is speaking here of Himself as being the Truth. Verse 36 says: If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. Indeed, Jesus IS the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6).
Now back to Ananias and Sapphira. Exactly what sin could the couple
have committed that was so bad God would strike them dead for it? Contrary to
what the worst of predatory preachers would have you to believe, their sin had
NOTHING to do with monetary tithing. Their death didn’t even happen as
punishment for being stingy with freewill offerings! Yes, money was involved
in their sin, but it was their OWN money they lied to God about, not money they owed to the church. Actually, this story begins in the preceding chapter, Acts Chapter 4. Instead of zooming on up to where
Ananias and Sapphira drop dead, as one crafty preacher did in his sermon, let’s consider each relevant verse to get
a feel for the contextual setting in which the couple’s real sin
against the Holy Spirit was committed.
Acts 4:32 And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart
and one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.
***What love, what unity in the Spirit of Christ! What selflessness! A far cry
from selfish televangelists who impoverish others to make themselves richer! That’s
the kind of church Ananias and Sapphira belonged to.
VERSE 33 And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection
of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. ***You want to see more power in your witnessing as a church? Start loving one another in the Love of Christ and being concerned about one another’s needs. In that way, the world will know that Jesus still lives, as it sees Christ living
through you, and God will pour out His power and Spirit of Grace upon your church as never before.
VERSE 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. ***These church people
showed by their actions that they actually believed their treasures were laid up in heaven, not on earth, contrary to what
prosperity teachers will tell you!
VERSE 35 And laid them down at the apostles’ feet. And distribution was made to every man according as he had need. ***Notice, the apostles didn’t grab
this loot and rush off to buy Cadillacs and Rolexes. The proceeds supported the
needy in the church! Today a lot of people are made to feel like leeches when
they go to the church for help to put food on their table. Sick or well, old
or young, they’re either told to go get a job or they don't deserve to eat. And
they’re viewed as failures in the sacrosanct School of Prosperity!
VERSE 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).
We need more "sons of consolation" in the church today, and fewer "sons of condemnation".
VERSE 37 Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at
the apostles’ feet.
Acts 5:1 But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold
VERSE 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.
VERSE 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?
Now we have reached a key verse skipped over by one unscrupulous minister who didn’t want a monkey wrench thrown
into his doctrine of devils:
VERSE 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.***Contrary
to what fear peddlers would have you believe, the apostles DID NOT REQUIRE each church member to sell their land and give
the money to the church, and the word "tithing" occurs nowhere in this context, and nowhere is it implied. The land was Ananias’ to do with as he pleased. His
sin was in lying to God about what he did with his OWN money, not withholding tithes and offerings! If Ananias had told the
apostles that he was only donating part of the money to begin with, he would not have been guilty of lying to the Holy Spirit
and he would not have died for giving less than the total price of the land. But
Ananias wanted credit for giving an amount he didn’t give. Plain and simple.
VERSE 5 And Ananias hearing these things fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard
VERSE 6 And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him.
VERSE 7 And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife,
not knowing what was done, came in.
VERSE 8 And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land
for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much.
VERSE 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.***Sapphira was an accomplice to
Ananias’ sin. In lying to the Holy Spirit, they tempted (provoked) Him.
Again, no mention of failure to tithe money, or refusal to donate a required amount, as many falsely teach.
VERSE 10 Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and carrying
her forth, buried her by her husband.
VERSE 11 And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things***Through this sad incident,
the early church learned that God must be held in reverential fear, not for non-tithing, but to avoid sins like lying to Him
to provoke Him!
In that church scenario where believers sold lands and houses and "possessed all things in common", the needy were
so well cared for out of the church fund that not one among them lacked for the necessities of life. This was a very strong
testimony to the world of the Love of Jesus, much more effective than verbal witnessing only.
I John 3:18 exhorts us to love not just in word, but in deed and in truth. But truth was absent in Ananias’ life.
He and Sapphira were the equivalent of welfare cheats, in that they wanted to live off the church fund and still have something
of their own to save for a rainy day. That could be why they withheld part of
the price of the land. If the apostles believed that they had made themselves
financially vulnerable by giving their all, the couple could have taken charity from the church common fund, like other believers
who lacked other means of support. In
essence, they were robbing other believers needier than themselves. Here were
two wayward sheep trying to pull the wool over God’s eyes, but they didn’t live to brag about it to their grandchildren.
How many "faith" preachers in our day hoard vast riches for themselves while crying to "seed sowers" on Social Security to send in money or they’ll
go bust! How many of these evil religion peddlers shamelessly appeal to the story
of Elijah being fed by the last of a starving widow’s flour and oil so they can put more bread in their bank account
and fuel their own lusts! And they teach their followers to grease God's palm with sacrificial offerings TO THEMSELVES. Only
in that way, it is claimed, will God ever relent and grant desperate people a badly needed miracle! But never any mention that the liberating truths of the Kingdom are to be freely shared, and certainly
no mention of what the Bible REALLY says about the Law of Tithing!
God is provoked when ministers claim to give their all in suffering sacrifice, all the while deliberately withholding part of the Truth of His Word from the Body of Christ to leech off of poor brethren
so they themselves can splash around in the lap of luxury!
Why is the miracle-working power of God blocked in today’s church? I see some of the answer in Acts 20:27:
For I have not shunned to declare unto you ALL the counsel of God.***If monetary tithing had been in force in the early church
Paul would surely have mentioned it. The other side of the coin is this: If Paul
had seen that church-goers were being pressured to tithe money in some of the churches he oversaw, and he KNEW it was nowhere
sanctioned by the Word of God, Paul would have spoken up and denounced the error publicly. He was an overseer over many churches
(II Cor.11:28). Paul guarded the church against so-called judaizers trying to sneak legalism into a church called unto liberty. Paul would have chased unscriptural doctrine out of the church like Jesus chased the
money-changers out of the Temple. If you don't love your flock enough to tell them the whole truth of God's Word even if it
cramps your ritzy lifestyle, you don't deserve to be their shepherd because you aren't loving them with the unselfish love
Monetary tithing was not enforced in the Church until the sixth century A.D., when it was made church law by two Catholic Church councils in Europe. According to McClintock
and Strong’s Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature, two church councils were held legislating mandatory tithing on money.
The first was the Council of Tours
in 567 A.D. The second, the Council of Macon in 585 A.D., enjoined the payment of tithes under pain of excommunication. Apart
from the fact that we are not under law but grace, tithing on money is nowhere commanded in Scripture, much less in that scary
Ananias and Sapphira incident. Others will differ with me on this most controversial of topics, and that’s their right. But whenever a minister harbors secret convictions in his heart that tithing on money
is unscriptural, and makes it a point never to mention the Scriptures which prove
that traditional church teaching on tithing is wrong, he is committing a grave sin.
Especially when he says to his flock: "I have declared unto you ALL the council of God." Rather than being Fishers of Men, such men are Fisher for Funds. And what's more it is THEY who stand guilty
before God in Ananias and Sapphira’s shoes, not poor people who withhold "God's" tithe.
Deceitful users of the Word of God heap guilt on God's burdened people, accusing them of selfishness even as they withhold
vital truth which would set them free from guilt-based giving.
In Acts 20: 29-31 Paul warns his fellow laborers to be vigilant in their watchcare over the church of God: For I
know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn
every one day and night with tears.*** Unlike many today, Paul would never have withheld vital truth to protect the
flock of God from swallowing heresy!
It is only by the mercy of God that religious deceivers who hold back non-lucrative truth from the body of Christ
don’t meet the same fate as Ananias and Sapphira. But Peter doesn’t hold out much more hope for such preachers
than he did for the couple who fell dead at his feet for lying to God. Here is a passage tailor-made for our generation:
II Peter 2:1: But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you,
who privily (in a sneaky way) shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves
swift destruction.***I noticed something here. Some might say to those who preach strongly against sin: You’re not perfect
yet, so shut up. Who are YOU to judge what's right and wrong? But here we have Peter warning of those who would deny their own Lord.
Peter knew he himself had denied the Lord three times, but he still delivered God’s warnings. If we waited till we were perfect enough to preach against sin, none of us would qualify to do that till
we got to heaven!
VERSE 2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways (lascivious ways,
as it reads in the margin); by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. ***What a convenient excuse fishers-for-funds
have provided for sinners to turn away from hearing the Gospel presented by God’s true servants! The shame of it all!
God will hold deceivers liable for hindering the spread of the Gospel of Salvation.
And God will hold them accountable for every soul who refused to heed the Savior's
call to repentance because of the example of those who committed religious fraud in the Name of Christ!
VERSE 3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make
merchandise of you: whose judgment of a long time slumbereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.***This is God’s
answer to religious frauds who brag that they can have their heaven right here on earth with ice cream piled on top, and even
more in the world to come!
Most of those dishonest men of the cloth seem to get away with it in the here and now, but God’s church has
not escaped the consequences. Some churches have suffered untold loss through being presided over by ministers of deceit out
to enrich themselves. How can God fill a particular church with His glory and
power when devious shenanigans have been going on under cover of darkness to keep the funds flowing like milk and honey? I
knew some preachers who knew their Bible inside out from cover to cover. They
were warm-hearted, kindly men who longed to see more of the power of God in their churches. They could tell you the exact
meaning behind every Old Testament ritual under the sun, and the spiritual significance of every stick of Tabernacle furniture. But never once did I ever hear them or any other pulpit minister preach a truly scriptural
sermon on tithing, just that we were to do it. A proper sermon on tithing would include scriptures such as Deuteronomy 14:22-27.
This passage, as others do, makes it clear that only edible farm produce
was ever subject to the tithing ordinance. And contrary to popular teaching,
tithes were (in part) EATEN by the tithe-payer himself!
The ceremonial ordinances given by Moses have been nailed to the Cross (Col. 2:14). This includes the tithing ordinance,
which never was on money to begin with. And to prove that tithing is an ordinance from Mt. Sinai, you need only look at the
final verses of the book of Leviticus. Verses 30-33 cover tithing, and that’s the last ordinance of the Law of Moses
mentioned before verse 34, the final verse which says: These are the commandments, which the LORD commanded Moses FOR THE
CHILDREN OF ISRAEL (not us Gentiles!) in mount Sinai.
Yet ministers of greed will still twist the Word of God to get what they want out of God’s people. They will refuse to let this dead work of the Law stay where God put it.
Along with hundreds of other carnal ordinances of the Scroll of the Law, the tithing law was nailed to the Cross with
Christ, but unlike Christ, never was supposed to be resurrected. But like disobedient religious experts of today do, King Saul hung onto things God ordered
destroyed, as you can read in I Samuel Chapter 15. Saul excused his disobedience
away, saying he could go ahead and spare the best of the livestock God ordered destroyed so he could offer them up as sacrifices unto the Lord. Some people would say Saul’s
sin was a nitpicking peccadillo and God shouldn’t sweat the small stuff. After all, Saul's intentions were allegedly
But Samuel says in I Samuel 15:22: Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft,
and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the
Word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king.***When wily preachers deliberately sit on scriptures they know
they should be sharing with the people to set them free, even though it be out of zeal for the offering of the Lord, they
are in the same position as rebellious Saul. The Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul (I Sam. 16:14). In many churches the
poor are shamed instead of loved (I Cor. 11:22; James 2:6). Between the silent lies of money-loving ministers and the lack
of love in dead congregations, it’s no wonder such places never witness
the wonderful works of God in their midst. Faith works by love (Gal. 5:6). And no wonder. For God is Love (I John
4:7-8). When you banish love from your midst, you also banish God and the mighty
workings of His power.
I received a prophetic word from the Lord concerning this terrible problem in the church:
Making Merchandise of the Unpardonable Sin
Ezekiel 13:22; Acts 20:27-30
Desperate ministers of deceit are like bloodsuckers who try to squeeze the last drop dry from anemic sheep, the way
they change their tactics from bad to worse as they sense the winds of change in My beleaguered body. In time of abundance fishers for funds siphon off a little of the extra fat from well-to-do contributors
and even urge poorer saints to be willing to tighten their belts and do without a few luxuries, supposedly for the sake of
the “Kingdom of God.” They would dangle a glittery prosperity carrot before the bedazzled eyes of My people, promising
that they would be repaid for their generosity on a ratio of a hundred to one. Scriptures would be jerked out of their context
to prove I was the ultimate investment, and “you can’t get better odds in Vegas.”
What garbagey theology! The promises I made to those who sow seeds into
the Kingdom of God meant that a great harvest of souls would be reaped into My eternal Kingdom, and the good works of My Spirit
of Grace would be spread abroad to bless many unto a newness of life. As for
those who are hardened in heart and love riches more than Me, their dirty money perish with them! Now that times are harder for so many, they are switching from the carrot approach to the stick approach,
both diabolical perversions of My Word. Some are filling My children’s
hearts with fear that I will execute them like Ananias and Sapphira if they withhold donations from their so-called ministries
or refuse to tithe on money, which is nowhere commanded in My Word. Most of those deceivers know that robbing My people of
their sustenance is a doctrine of devils! Saints whom I have chosen to enter
into My perfect rest of peace have been troubled and I shall surely trouble those who sow lies into their hearts, saith the
Lord. Those greedy deceivers who make the heart of the righteous sad, whom I have not made sad, I shall make sad in return. That is the only return they will get on their investment of lies. They shall surely
have their day in the Court of Heaven to answer for what they have done to hurt and rob My Body.
Satan instills lying guilt feelings in millions of My children today because they are unable to give massive amounts
of money to religious organizations. Some are told that it is a sin against the
Holy Ghost to be stingy in their contributions and they won’t get to heaven unless they open their wallets more. Unfounded fear of being guilty of the unpardonable sin has ruined the peace and the
health of so many of My children. But the unpardonable sin has nothing to do
with money! It is a sin against the Love of God which is committed by attributing
the wonderful works of My Spirit of Grace to the devil, or speaking slanderous words against My Holy Spirit, which brings
eternal alienation from the only One Who can perform the marvelous work of redemption down in your inward parts.
The sin committed by Ananias and Sapphira was to lie to My Holy Spirit, not to refuse to fork over ten percent of
their wages to bogus ministries. If this couple had admitted to Peter that they
lacked the faith to give all the price of the land and so were only giving part of the money to the church, they would have
been spared judgment because they would not have been lying to the apostles. They were not even required to sell their land
in the first place, for Peter said unto the couple, “While the land remained, was it not thine own? And after it was
sold, was the money not in thine power?” Ananias and Sapphira had the right
to either keep their land or sell it, and after they sold it they even had the right to keep the money or just donate part
of it. But these deceivers wanted to gain credit for giving a bigger donation
than they actually did, in order to live off the church common fund and hold something back for a rainy day. But their rainy day came sooner than they expected, saith the Lord, because you cannot deceive Me. I who weigh the thoughts and intents of the soul know what that two were conspiring
against Me, to rob My people.
So who is robbing My people today; poor saints who withhold part of their paycheck from greedy ministers of darkness,
or learned religious experts who withhold that part of the Truth of My Word which they find unprofitable, and then boldly
declare unto My Church: “I have faithfully declared unto you ALL the counsel of God.” Instead, they sell My people a pack of lies.
Most of the wolves in sheep’s clothing who try to scare My people with the story of Ananias and Sapphira KNOW
that the real issue in it was lying to the Holy Spirit, not non-tithing or refusing to give a required donation. But these same false ministers know their Bible inside out and yet they sit on truths I would share with
My people which would liberate them from the bondage of fear. These evil men
and women take advantage of My people’s ignorance of scripture to pry “tithes” out of them, and to maximize
their ministry income so they can live luxuriously like the parasites they are. So
who is really guilty, saith the Lord? Those who honestly cannot afford big contributions and don’t give unless I direct
them to, or lying deceivers who hold back non-lucrative portions of My Word from their flocks?
Poor, destitute saints who hold back part of the amount these mooches want find out in a hurry that it makes these
men mean enough to breathe threats at them from the pulpit and over the air. They just can’t stand to have their luxurious
lifestyle cramped by the poverty of their listeners. And so these men withhold truths unprofitable to their banks accounts;
scriptural truths of the Gospel of Grace which expose the darkness and folly of the lies of the Gospel of Greed. Liberating truths are suppressed which would profit My Body and set them free from the lies which fill
them with fear.
I will surely go from place to place, saith the Lord, and I shall cut the leeches off My Body. And I shall surely cut the fetters off My people so they can walk in the liberty unto which I have called