Signs and Wonders
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by PJ

When we were children, we all loved to play by pretending. Most toys are designed to help children pretend in some way. Girls are given dolls and toy kitchens so they can pretend to be mothers and cook like their mom and boys are given guns and cars to pretend to be their favorite superheroes. Pretense is necessary for behavioral development but the problem is, most adults carry a form of this behavior from childhood into adulthood. In fact, all of us are guilty of it to some degree.

Let me probe your thoughts for a moment. When was the last time you laughed at a joke that you didn't think was funny? Recently someone told me a joke and removing the pretense, they were totally insulted by my response. So many times we pretend to enjoy something just to make others happy. This is a small example of the pretense we carry into our adult lives.

Let me probe a bit deeper. How many times have you pretended to be interested in what another person had to say because you wanted to look like a compassionate person when you could really care less about that individual? How often have you asked a deep question to look intellectual? Have you ever given money to seem generous? This is deceit. Pretending is also hypocrisy.

Hypocrisy is a practice that Yeshua condemned in Matit'yah ha-Levi/Matthew 6:1-2 (AMP) when He said, "TAKE CARE not to do your good deeds publicly or before men, in order to be seen by them; otherwise you will have no reward [reserved for and awaiting you] with and from your Father Who is in heaven. Thus, whenever you give to the poor, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites in the synagogues and in the streets like to do, that they may be recognized and honored and praised by men. Truly I tell you, they have their reward in full already.

Matit'yah ha-Levi/Matthew 24:51 (AMP) says, "And will punish him [cut him up by scourging] and put him with the pretenders (hypocrites); there will be weeping and grinding of teeth." This was Yeshua warning that hell will be populated by hypocrites.

This brings me to one of the most striking stories in the Brit Chadesh/New Covenant. The story of Ananais and Sapphira. In the Book of P'yilut Hashaliachim/Acts beginning in Chapter 4 verses 32-37, we find the beginnings of the Judean Church. All the believers were of one heart and one mind and everyone gave all their possessions and shared everything they had. From time-to-time those who owned lands or houses would sell them and bring the money and lay it at the feet of the Apostles and the money was distributed as anyone had need. But in Chapter 5, we come across the following story. P'yilut Hashaliachim/Acts 5:1-11 (AMP) says, "1BUT A certain man named Ananias with his wife Sapphira sold a piece of property,

2And with his wife's knowledge and connivance he kept back and wrongfully appropriated some of the proceeds, bringing only a part and putting it at the feet of the apostles.

3But Peter said, Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart that you should lie to and attempt to deceive the Holy Spirit, and should [in violation of your promise] withdraw secretly and appropriate to your own use part of the price from the sale of the land?

4As long as it remained unsold, was it not still your own? And [even] after it was sold, was not [the money] at your disposal and under your control? Why then, is it that you have proposed and purposed in your heart to do this thing? [How could you have the heart to do such a deed?] You have not [simply] lied to men [playing false and showing yourself utterly deceitful] but to God.

5Upon hearing these words, Ananias fell down and died. And great dread and terror took possession of all who heard of it.

6And the young men arose and wrapped up [the body] and carried it out and buried it.

7Now after an interval of about three hours his wife came in, not having learned of what had happened.

8And Peter said to her, Tell me, did you sell the land for so much? Yes, she said, for so much.

9Then Peter said to her, How could you two have agreed and conspired together to try to deceive the Spirit of the Lord? Listen! The feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out [also].

10And instantly she fell down at his feet and died; and the young men entering found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband.

11And the whole church and all others who heard of these things were appalled [great awe and strange terror and dread seized them]."

Many people wonder what Ananais and Sapphira did that was so wrong. The gift of Ananais and Sapphira was selfish, hypocritical giving. They were using their gift to pretend to be something they were not. They wanted the praises of men and the attention the others were getting without giving what the others were giving of themselves.

Maybe they had intended to give it all at first, but the more they looked at the money, the more they loved it. So they decided to lie.

Ananais' and Sapphira's sin was not in keeping part of the money. It was in lying by pretending to give it all. They were taking money they said was G-d's and they were embezzling it for their own benefit. They said they gave it to G-d (therefore it was G-d's) and then they decided to hold some of it back and it became embezzling.

Hypocrisy hurts us first and foremost. It's like Lucifer wanting to make himself like the Most High G-d. In that prideful and hypocritical act, he fell. Pretense changes us and robs us of the joy G-d intends us to have.

Hypocrisy hurts our relationships with others. People are drawn to real people. No one likes a fake. The irony is we pretend in order to make people like us but they only like us when we stop pretending.

The worst of all about hypocrisy is that it hurts our relationship with G-d. G-d is truth. That's what He wants from us too. He wants us to be real with Him.

Do you remember the story in B'resheet/Genesis of Adam and Eve? When they sinned, what did they do? They hid from G-d and then came G-d's question, "Adam where are you?" G-d is Omnipotent, Omnipresent and Omnicient. He didn't have to ask Adam where he was. G-d already knew. Yet, G-d asked. Why?

It was an invitation for Adam to quit pretending and come out of hiding and be real enough to admit his sin. I wonder what would have happened had Adam made teshuva/repentance. They might still be in Gan Eden/ the garden of Eden today. But they didn't do that. They pretended they had done nothing wrong, blaming their actions on each other. The human race has been doing that ever since.

It's time for us to get real with G-d and ourselves and then it's time to get real with the rest of the world. It's time to be who we are if we can rid ourselves of enough of the junk to even find the real us anymore. It's why we need Moshiach/Messiah.

“Scripture quotations taken from the Amplified Bible."

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