What does Acts 5:5 mean?
ESV: When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last. And great fear came upon all who heard of it.
NIV: When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened.
NASB: And as he heard these words, Ananias collapsed and died; and great fear came over all who heard about it.
CSB: When he heard these words, Ananias dropped dead, and a great fear came on all who heard.
NLT: As soon as Ananias heard these words, he fell to the floor and died. Everyone who heard about it was terrified.
KJV: And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.
NKJV: Then Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and breathed his last. So great fear came upon all those who heard these things.
Verse Commentary:
Neither Peter nor the church had the civic authority to judge people and condemn them to death. Even Jesus was careful to only speak the words of His Father (John 14:10). Peter has extra reason to be circumspect in his judgment of Ananias. Satan has filled Ananias with rebellion against God (Acts 5:3). At one point, Peter allowed Satan to push him to rebuke Jesus (Mark 8:32–33). Only the indwelling of the Holy Spirit could make Peter pronounce such strong judgment, and it's obvious it is the Holy Spirit who kills Ananias.

It is consistent with the history of Israel for God to make a strong statement at the beginning stages of a great shift in His work. Before the Israelites were out of the desert, Aaron's sons Nadab and Abihu gave an offering to God that He did not endorse; God responded by consuming them with fire (Leviticus 10:1–2). As Joshua began to lead the Israelites into their inheritance, a man named Achan took spoils that God had claimed for Himself. God demanded Achan's execution (Joshua 7). When the Jews came back to Jerusalem from captivity in Babylon, many had married women from cultures God strictly forbade. They had just returned from a seventy-year punishment for worshiping foreign gods, and now they had wives who would lead them to do so again. God ordered them to separate from both their wives and their children in order to protect the re-establishment of godly Jewish culture (Ezra 9—10).

God explained His strong measures to Aaron after the death of his sons: "Among those who are near me I will be sanctified, and before all the people I will be glorified" (Leviticus 10:3). A strong beginning is essential for any kind of lasting change.
Verse Context:
Acts 5:1–11 contains the unfortunate story of Ananias and Sapphira. While the story of Peter and John's arrest by the Sadducees shows the beginning of problems outside the church (Acts 4), the account of Ananias and Sapphira reveals issues inside the church. As people listen to the witness of the apostles and come to a saving faith in Jesus, they donate what they have so that everyone in the church has what they need (Acts 4:32–37). Ananias and Sapphira want to join the wave of altruism, but not completely. God loves generosity, but not shallow performances which attempts to make a fool of Him and His people.
Chapter Summary:
The apostles continue to make hard decisions in the name of Jesus, both inside and outside the church. When Ananias and Sapphira lie to God, the Holy Spirit inspires Peter to pronounce God's judgment on them, protecting the church from the love of the world. Despite the Sanhedrin's watchful eye—and direct orders (Acts 4:17–18)—the apostles continue to preach and heal openly. The guards arrest the apostles, but the Sanhedrin settles for beating them instead of capital punishment. The apostles consider it an honor to suffer on behalf of their Savior.
Chapter Context:
In Acts 5, persecution from unbelievers begins to accelerate. The Sanhedrin has become aware the apostles teach that Jesus rose from the dead (Acts 4). Now, they start to push back in earnest, arresting and beating the apostles. Soon, a mob will kill Stephen, a deacon (Acts 7:54–60), and the Sanhedrin will empower Saul to run down and arrest any Jesus-follower he can find (Acts 8:1–3). The apostles will stay in Jerusalem. Other Jesus-followers will carry His offer of forgiveness and reconciliation with God into the Roman Empire and beyond. The apostles' faithfulness and submission to the Holy Spirit is why we have the gospel message today.
Book Summary:
The summary of the book of Acts is provided in Jesus' words in Acts 1:8: ''But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.'' In Acts 2:1–13, the Christ-followers receive the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:14—7:60 describes the rapid growth of the church in Jerusalem. Chapters 8—12 find Jewish persecution inadvertently spreading the gospel throughout Judea and Samaria. And in chapters 13—28, Paul and his companions spread the good news throughout the Roman Empire.
Accessed 5/28/2024 7:48:43 PM
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