Ananias and Sapphira, his wife, sold a possession and kept back part of the price. This would not have been wrong to do under other circumstances, but at that time, there was a consenting agreement among the brethren to dispose of earthly assets and convert them to cash or to use them (for example, a house) wholly in the Lord’s service. They had agreed to hold all things in common to benefit the brotherhood and to distribute to individual brethren in proportion to necessity. The problem was that Ananias sold his property and then pretended, or claimed, to have given all the money from the sale of a possession into the common treasury when, in fact, he had held back a portion. He laid the money “at the apostles’ feet.” This deception was a sin against the Holy Spirit.
Archive for December 2009
Many of us have false concepts of justice and grace, thinking something is ours by right. Suppose we were seriously unemployed, needing a job for our very survival and for that of our family. We would be thankful for any job and for getting a full day’s wage. We should start to reason from this standpoint, for otherwise, the view is distorted and disproportionate. It was grace that gave the laborers the opportunity to work in the vineyard and to receive payment. Had the laborers fully appreciated that point, the reward of the penny to all would not have been a sore point. The whole way through, the parable teaches grace, not merit.
The ruler had asked what he must do to inherit eternal life, and Jesus had said, “If thou wilt be perfect.” Only perfect obedience under the Law would give life, let alone consecration and following Jesus in the Gospel Age. The rich, young ruler went away sorrowfully, “for he had great possessions” (verse 22). The discussion terminated at that point, for a sensitive area had been touched.
Not many noble, wise, mighty, or rich are called (1 Cor. 1:26). The ruler’s neighbors probably considered him exemplary, but God does the calling. Usually He purposely calls those who are not so well esteemed in order to put to foolishness the wisdom of men. God can make something out of nothing, and He can make something into nothing. He calls the humble to put to nothingness that which men admire profoundly. As a result, no flesh will be able to glory in its own presence. Paul’s reasoning is like a sequel to this incident with the rich ruler. Those who know they are “sick” need a physician; those who feel whole are less likely to seek help.
First, the one or two witnesses listen to the alleged victim to hear what the grievance is. If it is a trivial matter, the witnesses would nip the matter in the bud, and it would be dropped. But if the accusation is judged worthy of attention if it be true, then the witnesses go to hear the alleged perpetrator’s side of the story. If the witnesses find the accusation is true—that the victim has been injured and has stated the case fairly (not exaggerating it)—they would try to help the perpetrator to see the error of his way. However, the witnesses do not start out with that motive, for at first, they do not know who is right. (Some claim injury when it is really a figment of their imagination.)
But also keep in mind: The Apostle Paul was breathing out threatenings and murder to the Son’s of God. He thought he was doing God a service. Apollos was teaching baptism incorrectly, because he didn’t know any better. If a brother’s heart is right with God, we want them to see the error of their ways and come back in harmony with God and with the brethren.
They found the dogs, but only after confronting an elaborate altar and the bones of possibly several hundred animals that had been killed, apparently as part of Santeria – a combination of African religions and Catholicism that originated among slaves in the Caribbean.
There were lit candles and tribal drum music playing from a portable stereo, indicating that somebody was there not long before the humane officers appeared, said George Bengal, director of law enforcement for the PSPCA.
Chapter 5 ends on a mysterious note. “And the wind was in their [the women’s] wings; for they had wings like the wings of a stork: and they lifted up the ephah between the earth and the heaven.” The arms of the women resembled the wings of a stork, which are almost like sails on a boat, billowing out to catch the wind.
Having a king would concentrate a lot of power in the hand of one individual, resulting in oppression. Family life would be broken up. If the people were already giving a tenth (their tithe) to the priesthood, they would also have to give a tenth to the king. Based on the condition of the human race, even if the first king was faithful, the greater number of his successors would be unfaithful. The fact that the king would have liberty to choose whoever he wanted would lead to autocratic power.
The alarm bells are ringing and the danger is near. Iran can and must be stopped, and military force may be the only way to do so. Six decades ago, the world watched in silence as the Germans tossed us into Hitler’s ovens and turned six million Jews into ashes. We cannot assume they will act any differently if Iran seeks to do the same.
So we dare not tarry. There is little room left for delay. If the world fails to act, the option of last resort may be our only choice.
Levy told the Associated Press he thought he had sufficiently shown that the Vatican bank engaged in commercial activities in the United States, which can serve as an exemption to the immunities act’s protection clauses. “The reason we’re disappointed is the court found that dealing in gold teeth from concentration camps was not a commercial act,” he said. The court had ruled that the Vatican banks’ commercial activities in the U.S. were “too tangentially related to their legal claims to be considered the basis for the suit.”