Acts 4:34

The burial of Sgt. York. Rest well. Jesus will be back for you in due time.

Saturday, 5 February 2022

Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, Acts 4:34

Note: You can listen to today’s commentary courtesy of our friends at “Bible in Ten” podcast. (Click Here to listen)

You can also read this commentary, with music, courtesy of our friends at “Discern the Bible” on YouTube. (Click Here to listen), or at Rumble (Click Here to listen).

The past couple of verses have shown the state of how the believer’s lives were in the Jerusalem community that had arisen. The description now continues with, “Nor was there anyone among them who lacked.”

The meaning is that there were no unfulfilled needs. Everyone had food enough, and all their other needs were met. This would have been a great time of abundance, and it would have been even overflowing because the apostles were there to tell of all that happened over the years of Jesus’ ministry.

Nothing is said of the people maintaining employment. If that had ended, which in many cases seems likely – because Israel was mostly an agrarian society where livelihood came from working one’s own field, this model would eventually become unsustainable. This begins to be seen in the next words, “for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them.”

The verbs should read that they “were selling them.” Also, the word “all” is incorrect. The Greek word, hosos, is indefinite. It signifies something closer to “those that” without specifically meaning “each and every.” This will be seen in the next chapter where Peter will say, “While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control?” (Acts 5:4).

To say “all” implies that this was an absolute, but such was not the case. To understand the laws concerning the land and its use, one would need to especially study Leviticus – Deuteronomy from the books of Moses. There, the parceling out of the land, the selling of land and houses, and so on, are all minutely detailed.

The land was never actually owned by the people, but they were the Lord’s stewards of it. Hence, certain intervals of time were set up for people to sell their land, and then it was automatically reacquired by that person or family upon the coming of the year of Jubilee.

The rest of Scripture is mostly silent on whether these practices from the law were actually followed at any time in Israel’s history. However, these were precepts of the law. As such, there was a possible remedy for the eventually financial train wreck that lay ahead, at least temporarily. Once the land was reacquired, it could be worked, rented, or even sold again.

In such a state, impending financial troubles could be pushed further down the line. But as the number of new people joined the movement, the more tenuous the ability to make ends meet for the whole would be.

The book of Acts doesn’t go into any detail concerning the employment of the people, or much of the other information needed to know exactly how they managed. And so, lining their situation up with the precepts of the law is difficult. For now, Luke next refers to what happened to the money once land or house was sold with the words, “and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold.”

Again, the verbs need to be corrected to read, “and were bringing the proceeds of that which is sold.” Luke is writing the account as if he is sitting there watching it happen. Thus, he was probably carefully writing down the words of someone like Peter who described to him what had taken place.

The money from the sales was being brought forth for use by the whole.

Life application: A model like this could only sustain itself if there was a way to place such money in a type of bank or other interest-bearing entity, and to allow it to grow along with the use of it. The larger the number of people who joined such a community, the more mouths there would be to feed.

Unless people were productively working, the dependence upon the top to take care of every need would become unsupportable. Communist countries have tried this, even while making their people work, and it has never succeeded. In a perfect society, without all of the problems of this fallen world, a perfect community could be realized, but people get sick, people get old, things get broken, and money is used up.

For today’s world, we have been given instructions directly from the word –

“For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. 11 For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies. 12 Now those who are such we command and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ that they work in quietness and eat their own bread.” 2 Thessalonians 3:10-12

Voting for people who promise you ease while you sit around waiting on the Lord will not help anyone except those who are voted in. They will get fat off of what they have robbed from you. The Lord will be back in due time. Until then, do not vote for those on the left. They will promise ease and fairness, but only corruption of individuals and of the society will result.

Get up, get to work, and don’t expect others to carry your weight.

Lord God and Heavenly Father, how good it is that You tend to our needs. And surely one of the ways which You do this is to give us hands and feet to work for ourselves in the fields of life. We can earn as much as we are willing to expend our time earning. For those who are incapable of working, help us to be gracious and helpful according to our ability to do so. May our lives be productive and may our sharing for the needy be pleasing to You. Amen.