Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. Ex 20:16 (KJV)
To some today truth is fairly well meaningless. I wonder though, if someone had been seen at the scene of a crime, but were not guilty of the crime, how important the truthfulness of the witness would be to them at that junction of their life? I dare say it would become very important, if that witness could speak the truth and acquit the accused.
How important is the truthfulness of a witness? In some and in many cases it is the difference between life or death; or life in prison, and/or a life of freedom. Is the truth important to you, even if it applies to others? It is my belief that we should be as concerned, if not more concerned for the truth to prevail for the good of others, as well as ourselves. Truth matters in being a witness. It matters for the accused but innocent individual. It matters for the family of the innocent accused, or even the guilty. It matters for the home, the church, the local government, State government, National government. It matters for the sake of justice.
When looking at these 10 Commandments, and as we look in particular at the final six and our human relationships we should ask ourselves, “Would I want someone to commit any of these prohibitions against me?” “Would I want my children to dishonor me?” “Would I want someone killing me, or someone I love?” “Would I want another man sleeping with my wife?” “Would I want someone stealing from me?”, and coming to the present one, “Would I want someone being a false witness against me?”, and the final one; “Would I want someone desiring my things so much that they would do anything to get them?”. I will be daring and say that their is not a sane person living who would want any of these things happen to them.
Now back to the subject at hand. The law of God says, “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” What exactly does this involve. Is it for the individual who is witnessing in court? Yes! Is it for the individual who is witnessing to a neighbor? Yes! You are witnessing as you share a word of gossip. You are witnessing as you defame the character of someone you do not care for. Is this a good witness? No! This is as true in politics. When one candidate charges the other with things they have heard, but are not proven. When one charges the other with something they know is not true.
In his book “Love, Liberation and the Law” J. Vernon McGee has a three point outline on this ninth commandment –
I. THE ORIGINATION OF THE LIE.
II. THE IDENTIFICATION OF THE LIE.
III. THE DESTINATION OF THE LIE.
JUST WHERE DOES THE LIE BEGIN? According to Jesus Himself, the devil is the father of lies, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” John 8:44 (KJV). We see clearly from the One who is the author of all of creation where the lie originated.
Why would we want to be associated with the Lie? His end is destruction. His end is eternal flames. His end is eternal torment, and anyone who follows his path will go there with him.
JUST HOW WOULD YOU IDENTIFY THE LIE? McGee writes, “Did you know that there are more words for breaking this commandment than all the other commandments put together?….some of them – lying, mendacity, prevarication, slander, backbiting, defamation, detraction, belittling, censoriousness, gossip, depreciation, derogation, rumor, vilification, aspersion, forgery, mudslinging, falsehood, guile, hypocrisy, insinuation, innuendo, railing, whispering, talebearing, libel, fib, fable, equivocation, disparagement, fabrication, aberation, deceit, trump up, forswear.” (From LOVE, LIBERATION, & THE LAW by J. Vernon McGee pg. 150). That is a terribly long list of bad words, which are words in action to destroy another.
This law is just as viable and meaningful today as it was the day God gave it. It is good for the courtroom, the living room, the sunday school room, the board room, and over the backyard fence. Can this commandment be broken even when speaking the “Truth”? It was when Jesus was on trial. Words can be twisted making a truth into a lie. Doing this makes you a false witness against your neighbor.
JUST WHAT IS THE DESTINATION OF THE LIE? Just a few Scriptures will bear out for us the lies destination. “A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall not escape.” Prov 19:5 (KJV).
“A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall perish.” Prov 19:9 (KJV)
“Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off: him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer.” Psalms 101:5 (KJV)
Now look in the New Testament, “And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life” Rev 21:27 (KJV)
“For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.” Rev 22:15 (KJV)
“But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.” Matt 12:36 (KJV)
People who are given to lying, bearing false witness will end up in the same pit of destruction as their father. There will be no joy, no peace, no God. There will be torment, maybe even by your own lying tongue. There will be no water there to quench the thirst for lying or dryness.
Keeping the law will not save you. It is, however your schoolmaster, showing you your need of Jesus as Savior.
-by Tim A. Blankenship