a A man of the early Christians who, with his wife Sapphira, tried to deceive the apostles by keeping back part of the price of the property that they had sold, while professing to be giving it all. According to the Bible text, they met instant death because of their deception (Acts 5:1-5). b Another Ananias was a godly man who was sent to Paul to restore his sight after his conversion (Acts 9:10; 22:12). c Still another Ananias was a high priest of the Jews and was opposed to the followers of esus Christ (Acts 23:2).
Meta. There is a lurking belief in the mind that we can join the great school of spiritual development and at the same time retain our hold upon worldly thoughts. This belief represents Ananias of Acts 5:1-5, deception. Such deception of the mind is a very subtle error and causes the would-be disciple much misery. The best way to handle it is to uncover the whole inner consciousness to Spirit and to ask to be thoroughly purified and cleansed.
This liar and deceiver has two sides in the mind. Outwardly, or in conscious thought, it is Ananias; in the subconscious thought it appears as Sapphira. Both of these must die before the spiritual thoughts (church) will increase in numbers and in power. The best and quickest way to dissolve these errors is to face them boldly and accuse them of holding back part of the price of salvation.
Some persons, when the redemptive process begins, are so wrapped up in material possessions that they do not give up wholly to Spirit; they retain a part of the price. Man must be cleansed thoroughly before he can come into the full light. Once he truly discerns Spirit, material thoughts give way; when the false is destroyed the good is more and more manifest. This is true of every man's spiritual development. If you give yourself wholly to God He will destroy all the devils that have become part of you. You must give spirit, soul, and body to God. God is everywhere. You can hide nothing from this universal eye (I).
The Ananias of Acts 9:10 represents a different attitude of thought from that represented by the foregoing Ananias. Those who look to the Holy Spirit for guidance find that its instruction is given to all who believe in Christ, and they are drawn together often by the direction of the inner voice, or by a dream, or by a vision. Paul needed help to restore his sight. The brightness, or high potency, of Jesus' glorified presence had confused his intellectual consciousness, and this brought about blindness. He needed the harmonious, peace-giving power of one who understood the inner life, and this power was found in Ananias, a disciple living at Damascus. Ananias was receptive and obedient; doubtless he had received this sort of guidance many times. From the text we readily discern his spiritual harmony. He knew the reputation of Paul and protested against meeting him, but the Lord explained the situation and assured him that it would be right for him to go, and so it turned out to be.
The high priest Ananias symbolizes a still different phase of character in man. He represents the hypocrisy that inheres in the intellectual, religious, ruling mind in man when it is governed by the letter of the word, outer forms, and ceremonies, instead of being given over to real spiritual Truth.