Ananias and Sapphira represent radical accountability in a season of visitation. We observe how serious God is about establishing this kingdom reset when we observe God’s response to their casual prevarication. “You lied to Holy Spirit” becomes the grounds for their deaths.
Remember, God did not require Ananias and Sapphira to sell anything. Eject from your mind any idea that God was requiring everyone to sell everything and become paupers because of Pentecost. He was not, and He did not require them to sell anything. They did this because they wanted to, but they decided to make an appearance something where the reality was different. They said, “We sold this and we are giving it all” when they were not giving it all. They lied to God in this way, “Lord, we are giving You all this property as an offering as if God couldn’t see the reality of their motivations.”
God sees the heart, remember, and God also sees the season. So, in the season of accountability, the heart is more openly brought to account. Ananias and Sapphira lied to God about their accountability in the season of accountability, and they both dropped dead because of that lie. So, the reason for the dramatic and immediate response of God to their lie comes from the season of the Father and the motivation of their hearts.
Simon Peter announces God’s decision of judgment as God’s representative. Simon Peter is merely carrying out the decision of heaven, not executing his own peeved perception of their lack of integrity. Simon Peter isn’t insisting they die for the lie because he is demanding that all believers sell everything. This isn’t a fund-raising fiasco!
We ask, “Why did this immediate response to their lie occur.” And, the answer comes from the level of accountability to which the kingdom was exposed during this season.
- They didn’t die for not giving all the money;
- They didn’t die for failing to sell all they had;
- They died because they lied.
It is impossible to separate this incident from its context: when visitation occurs, we deal with God on a more immediate and dramatic basis; His increased Presence and Glory comes in visitation, and visitation arrives with heightened contexts for judgment. Just as our prayers for miracles, signs and wonders meet with more immediate and dramatic responses of power, anointing, and breakthrough, so does all God’s character become more immediately and dramatically available.
Accountability and Visitation
Remember, that giving in this way was appropriate but voluntary. We commend the couple for selling the property, but we are left to wonder about their desire to appear to be something they were not. They were frauds in more than one way, I would suppose. That is, God was resetting kingdom in a rather immediate and dramatic way, and the instruction was “save yourself from this perverse generation;” yet, the couple reached back to the deceptive appearances of the generation already judged for destruction, seeking to bring into the kingdom reset the very things God was cleansing from His people.
The measure of accountability at that moment was at its greatest because the generation was experiencing visitation, and the implementation of God’s response to that visitation was ongoing in the days of the early Ecclesia. So, the couple met God’s immediate assessment of their desire to appear to be what they were not: God says, “See this? This is what I really do not want in My people. This is exactly what I’m at work to remove from My kingdom people.”