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In Matthew 13:30 Jesus taught a parable about not pulling up weeds until the harvest:

NIV Matthew 13:30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’ ”

In 39-43 he says that the "harvest" is "the end of the age" and the "harvesters" are "angels":

NIV Matthew 13: 39and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. 40“As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end (τῇ συντελείᾳ) of the age (τοῦ αἰῶνος). 41The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. 42They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear.

However in the situation with Annanias and Sapphira we see Peter dispensing immediate judgment:

NIV Acts 5: 9Peter said to her, “How could you conspire to test the Spirit of the Lord? Listen! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.” 10At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.

Was this then the judgment and the end/completion of the age? Or did Peter "jump the gun"?

I notice a prophesy that might also be relevant where the coming the messiah will be attended by immediate dispensing of justice. Was the incident involving

NIV Malachi 3: 1“I will send my messenger (מַלְאָכִ֔י - angel), who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger (וּמַלְאַ֨ךְ - angel) of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty. 2But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. 3He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, 4and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the Lord, as in days gone by, as in former years. 5“So I will come to put you on trial. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive the foreigners among you of justice, but do not fear me,” says the Lord Almighty.

Was the immediate judgment of Ananias and Sapphira part of that which Malachi predicted?

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  • Sin drives out holiness. The Holy Spirit is (obviously) holy. The Holy Spirit is (obviously) a spirit. The spirit is the breath of life (being related to respiration). I believe the conclusion to be obvious, in light of verse 9. – Lucian May 24 '18 at 1:48
  • This may not be a full-fledged answer, but short answer: those are two different scenarios. Jesus is talking about separating the unbelievers from the believers for judgment, which will happen at the Great White Throne judgment of Revelation 20. Peter passed judgment on two (supposed) believers, who presumptuously sinned by lying to the Holy Ghost. Not all unbelievers go to the lake of fire as soon as they sin, but Christians who willfully sin against God will face judgment. Hope this helps. – Kevin H Sep 13 '18 at 23:39
  • Mt 16:18-19. The kingdom Christ came to establish was no different to the Davidic in that it had a prime minister with actual the authority of the King, keys and all. – Sola Gratia Sep 14 '18 at 21:19
  • @KevinH Wasn't Jesus already on his glorious throne when Peter began judging Israel, during the rebirth of Israel in the first century?: [Luk 22:28-30 ESV] (28) "You are those who have stayed with me in my trials, (29) and I assign to you, as my Father assigned to me, a kingdom, (30) that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. – Ruminator May 1 '19 at 23:23
  • Since Peter is "the keeper of the gate of heaven", maybe God let this one off incident happen to serve as a very important lesson for us. 1 Cor 10:11; Rom 15:4. – Constantthin May 1 '19 at 23:28
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According to Orthodox interpretation of Acts 5:1-9 (only in Russian), Annanias's sin was sacrilege because the money were devoted to God. That is the reason for such fast punishment (St. John Chrysostom). Also he mentions Zechariah 5:1 and says that swear (false) is quickly judged. "Flying roll" means very fast speed of punishment after swear:

[Zec 5:1-4 ASV] (1) Then again I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, and, behold, a flying roll. (2) And he said unto me, What seest thou? And I answered, I see a flying roll; the length thereof is twenty cubits, and the breadth thereof ten cubits. (3) Then said he unto me, This is the curse that goeth forth over the face of the whole land: for every one that stealeth shall be cut off on the one side according to it; and every one that sweareth shall be cut off on the other side according to it. (4) I will cause it to go forth, saith Jehovah of hosts, and it shall enter into the house of the thief, and into the house of him that sweareth falsely by my name; and it shall abide in the midst of his house, and shall consume it with the timber thereof and the stones thereof.

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  • Hi Mike! Welcome to Hermeneutics.SE. You might take the tour if you have not already to get an idea of what constitutes a thorough answer. – colboynik Oct 20 '18 at 13:45
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It is explainable in the context of divine foreknowledge and care for humans: as writes St. John Chrysostom, "God in His mercy, seeing beforehand that somebody, if given a longer life, will not use it for the benefit of his/her soul, but will remain unrepenting and fall into a greater depravity, stops this depravity by death of this person, in order to protect his/her immortal soul as less depraved as it is possible for its unrepenting condition".

Similarly, Peter, knowing through divine means, through the same divine Spirit, that the spouses would not repent, but rather fall into a greater depravity, and that the Spirit, Who out of love would not suffer this calamity on poor creatures, was going to take their physical life, just reported this divine love-full decision to them, also preparing in this manner them to receive it. In fact, God's love is not stopped by sins of sinners and He helps them even when they are not helping themselves through a sincere repentance.

(Otherwise, if one does not interpret it in this way, will obtain an idiocy that Peter out of self will and self-initiated vindictiveness acted against the eternally and infinitely loving and life-giving Spirit and killed the poor spouses by his authoritative psychological attack: terrified them so intensely that their hearts broke and they died. If this was the case, then Peter himself would have been thousand times more malicious wretch then the poor Ananias and poor Saphira, and thousand times more worthy of death, within this idiotic (theo)-logic, than the latter persons.)

I agree that this Chrysostomian explanation leaves unanswered theological questions. But I would not go there for the time being.

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  • @Ruminator The Scripture is to be interpreted in the light of that Spirit that in-Spired it. Now, this Spirit does not want even the worst people being avenged and destroyed (Luke 9:55), but on the contrary, be saved and forgiven, even the murderers of the Lord (Luke 23:34); now, those hapless spouses were in no manner worse than those inhospitable Samaritans or murderers of the Lord, therefore the Spirit would not kill them out of some vindictive motivation, which He has not and cannot have ontologically, but out of mercy, and only so. John Chrysostom's take, thus, is patently Scriptural. – Levan Gigineishvili May 2 '19 at 7:41
  • Neither did Jesus, for He also used an Aristotelian syllogistic method and Socratic eristics (cf. Matthew 12:26; 22:43;23:19 and few other places) as a tool for the exegesis of Scriptures, to expel stupidities from minds of pharisees and experts of law, had you been in His times you would have certainly reprimanded Him for adherence to the Hellenic logical tradition and not the Scripture, 100% guarantee! :) As to formatting, ok, why not, thanks for indicating that, and for your interest in my post anyhow. – Levan Gigineishvili May 2 '19 at 13:43
  • @Ruminator :)) You consider your take on theology/exegesis as "The Take", but it is only a quasi-Lutherian 'sola scriptura' thing that is only one of the possibilities of approaches, not very salutary one in my humble - and not only in my humble but of many a great theological minds' /Augustine, Aquinas etc./ - opinion. I seriously assert that had you lived in Jesus' time, poor Jesus would have suffered from your hatred towards logic and common sense, for He not infrequently used them in Scriptural exegesis. I keep no grudge agains you, just think it is not in vain to say simple truths to you. – Levan Gigineishvili May 2 '19 at 18:14
  • Have you considered a site that is specifically for that kind of thing, such as this one?: christianforums.com/forums/christian-philosophy-ethics.459 – Ruminator May 2 '19 at 18:19
  • @Ruminator Why should I? In order to leave this respectable site to fideists like you and betray the older and more respectable exegetical traditions? :)) P.S. "fideist" is not a derogatory term, just a descriptive one. – Levan Gigineishvili May 2 '19 at 18:21
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It does appear that the standing orders for the twelve was to not weed the garden. Peter was the main gardener. So it would seem that the applicable teaching would be to let the weeds grow along with the wheat. However, Peter is very quick to administer judgement. Why?

First of all, this may have been the fulfillment of the promises that "in the regeneration" the twelve would serve as judges:

NIV Matthew 19:28 Jesus said to them, "Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Alternatively this was spoken of in prophecy, that in the messianic age God, by his angel of the covenant would bring about swift judgment:

NIV Malachi 3: 1“I will send my messenger (מַלְאָכִ֔י - angel), who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger (וּמַלְאַ֨ךְ - angel) of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty. 2But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. 3He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, 4and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the Lord, as in days gone by, as in former years. 5“So I will come to put you on trial.

I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive the foreigners among you of justice, but do not fear me,” says the Lord Almighty.

This created an atmosphere of holy fear among those gathering in Jerusalem to await the arrival of the son of man from heaven.

Related post on the Logos blog.


Update

I think this passage is being alluded to:

[1Ki 14:1-18 NLT] (1) At that time Jeroboam's son Abijah became very sick. (2) So Jeroboam told his wife, "Disguise yourself so that no one will recognize you as my wife. Then go to the prophet Ahijah at Shiloh--the man who told me I would become king. (3) Take him a gift of ten loaves of bread, some cakes, and a jar of honey, and ask him what will happen to the boy." (4) So Jeroboam's wife went to Ahijah's home at Shiloh. He was an old man now and could no longer see. (5) But the LORD had told Ahijah, "Jeroboam's wife will come here, pretending to be someone else. She will ask you about her son, for he is very sick. Give her the answer I give you." (6) So when Ahijah heard her footsteps at the door, he called out, "Come in, wife of Jeroboam! Why are you pretending to be someone else?" Then he told her, "I have bad news for you. (7) Give your husband, Jeroboam, this message from the LORD, the God of Israel: 'I promoted you from the ranks of the common people and made you ruler over my people Israel. (8) I ripped the kingdom away from the family of David and gave it to you. But you have not been like my servant David, who obeyed my commands and followed me with all his heart and always did whatever I wanted. (9) You have done more evil than all who lived before you. You have made other gods for yourself and have made me furious with your gold calves. And since you have turned your back on me, (10) I will bring disaster on your dynasty and will destroy every one of your male descendants, slave and free alike, anywhere in Israel. I will burn up your royal dynasty as one burns up trash until it is all gone. (11) The members of Jeroboam's family who die in the city will be eaten by dogs, and those who die in the field will be eaten by vultures. I, the LORD, have spoken.'" (12) Then Ahijah said to Jeroboam's wife, "Go on home, and when you enter the city, the child will die. (13) All Israel will mourn for him and bury him. He is the only member of your family who will have a proper burial, for this child is the only good thing that the LORD, the God of Israel, sees in the entire family of Jeroboam. (14) "In addition, the LORD will raise up a king over Israel who will destroy the family of Jeroboam. This will happen today, even now! (15) Then the LORD will shake Israel like a reed whipped about in a stream. He will uproot the people of Israel from this good land that he gave their ancestors and will scatter them beyond the Euphrates River, for they have angered the LORD with the Asherah poles they have set up for worship. (16) He will abandon Israel because Jeroboam sinned and made Israel sin along with him." (17) So Jeroboam's wife returned to Tirzah, and the child died just as she walked through the door of her home. (18) And all Israel buried him and mourned for him, as the LORD had promised through the prophet Ahijah.

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Acts 5:3-4

Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn't it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn't the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God."

So technically, it wasn't Peter who dispensed immediate judgment, but God.

Why so immediate?

To make an immediate impact to the nascent church, to nip it in the bud, so that they would fear God.

Acts 5:5 When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened.

Similar immediate judgement was on Ananias' wife also.

Acts 5:10-11 At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.

This is healthy fear of the Lord for all of us that we do not lie to the Holy Spirit.

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