From Trials to Triumph


Why This Manifestation of God's Wrath?

Infinite Wisdom saw that this manifestation of the wrath of God was necessary to guard the young church from becoming demoralized. The church would have been endangered if, in the rapid increase of converts, men and women had been added who were worshiping mammon. This judgment was a warning to the church to avoid pretense and hypocrisy and to beware of robbing God. TT 39.4

God has made the proclamation of the gospel dependent on the labors and gifts of His people—voluntary offerings and the tithe. God claims the tenth; He leaves all free to say whether to give more than this. But when the heart is stirred by the Holy Spirit and a vow is made to give a certain amount, the one who vows has no longer any right to the consecrated portion. Are promises made to God less binding than written agreements of men? TT 40.1

When divine light is shining into the heart with unusual clearness, habitual selfishness relaxes its grasp, and there is a disposition to give to God. But Satan is not pleased to see the Redeemer's kingdom on earth built up. He suggests that the pledge was too much, that it may cripple their efforts to acquire property or gratify the desires of their families. TT 40.2

God blesses men and women with property that they may be able to give to His cause. He gives them health and the ability to acquire means. In turn, He would have them show their gratitude by returning tithes and offerings. Should means flow into the treasury in accordance with this divinely appointed plan, there would be an abundance for the advancement of the Lord's work. TT 40.3

But hearts become hardened through selfishness. Like Ananias and Sapphira, many spend money lavishly in self-gratification while they bring to God almost unwillingly a stinted offering. They forget that God will no more accept the pittance they hand into the treasury than He accepted the offering of Ananias and Sapphira. TT 40.4

God would have us learn how deep is His hatred for hypocrisy and deception. Ananias and Sapphira lied to the Holy Spirit and lost this life and the life that is to come. God declares that into the Holy City “there shall in no wise enter ... anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie.” Revelation 21:27. Let truth telling become a part of the life! Playing fast and loose with truth means shipwreck of faith. “Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth.” Ephesians 6:14. He who utters untruths sells his soul in a cheap market. He may seem to make business advancement that he could not gain by fair dealing; but finally he can trust no one. Himself a falsifier, he has no confidence in the word of others. TT 40.5

In the case of Ananias and Sapphira, fraud against God was speedily punished. The same sin is committed by many in our time. It is no less heinous in His sight now than in the apostles’ time. The warning has been given; all who give themselves up to hypocrisy and covetousness are destroying their own souls. TT 41.1