ACTS 5’s Ananias, Sapphira, and the Jerusalem DAO

November 4, 2022

As discussed on Metaverse Church NEXT, Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DOAs) can be an incredible opportunity for churches to utilize blockchain and cryptocurrencies. According to DigiDay, DAOs are “kind of like clubs for crypto enthusiasts, only they typically operate under a shared goal, give each member equal say in making decisions, and can potentially have more money than most clubs would ever know what to do with.” As institutional Christianity loses influence, decentralized models (like microchurch networks or digital expressions of church) may flourish.

Recent interviews on Metaverse Church NEXT with Jason Dukes and Jon Dengler get to the heart of blockchain, crypto, and DAOs. We must first take the time to understand to see the real potential. What makes this exciting isn’t the technological aspect. DAOs remind us of the early Church. For example, the Jerusalem church didn’t have anyone in need. Everyone shared everything.

As institutional Christianity loses influence, decentralized models may flourish.

Then Ananias and Sapphira came along. They sold some property but didn’t give the proceeds they were supposed to. As a result of their story, we get a good model for how a DAO operates. This is a beautiful picture of what the early church was and maybe what the church can be again.

The Early DAO Church

What would the early church in Jerusalem have looked like with a DAO (the following is paraphrased from Acts):

All the believers in Jerusalem were one in heart and mind and invested cryptocurrency into a Jerusalem DAO run by the apostles. No one claimed that any of their possessions, crypto or otherwise, was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power, the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. From time to time, those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the Etherium crypto from the sales, and invested in the Jerusalem DAO. It was distributed by the DAO leaders, the apostles, to anyone who had need.

Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”), sold a field he owned and brought the Etherium and, as agreed to in the smart contract of the Jerusalem DAO, invested the proceeds into the DAO for the apostles to distribute.

Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. With his wife’s full knowledge, he kept back part of the Etherium crypto for himself, violating the smart contract he had with the apostles and the Jerusalem DAO. He transferred the rest of the cryptocurrency to the apostles.

Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have broken the smart contract, lied to the Holy Spirit, and have kept some of the crypto you received for the land instead of giving to the Jerusalem DAO? 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, breaking the smart contract of the DAO, but you have lied to God.”

When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. Then some young men came forward, wrapped up his body, carried him out and buried him.

About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter asked her, “Tell me, is this the amount of Etherium you and Ananias got for the land?” “Yes,” she said, “we got that much crypto.” Peter said to her, “How could you break the smart contract of the Jerusalem DAO and 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.”

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.

Join us at Metaverse Church NEXT Wednesday at 12:30 pm Eastern as we explore all the metaverse, DAOs included.

Jeff Reed

Jeff Reed

In June 2000, Jeff led his first online Bible study, taking 75 people from around the world through the book of James using a text-based system called Ultimate BB. He was doing digital ministry way before it was cool. Founding THECHURCH.DIGITAL in 2018, Jeff’s passions have evolved into helping churches (and individuals too!) find their calling through digital discipleship, releasing people on digital mission, and planting multiplying digital churches. This pursuit will expand as Jeff (and others) create the DigitalChurch.Network, an organic, decentralized network for digital expressions of church, globally. Jeff also serves as the Director of Metaverse Church NEXT for Leadership Network, and works closely with Exponential and other globally facing, multiplication-friendly, gospel-centric organizations. Jeff married his high school sweetheart, Amy, and has two kids and a dog. They live in Miami, Florida.
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