Archive for August, 2010

You Lie, You Die.

3 In the morning, O Lord, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch. 4For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness; No evil dwells with You. 5 The boastful shall not stand before Your eyes; You hate all who do iniquity. 6 You destroy those who speak falsehood; The Lord abhors the man of bloodshed and deceit.
Psalm 5:3-6

This is part of a prayer of David. He begins the day with prayer.

In yesterday’s history lesson, we learned that the first direct, bald-face lie that Satan told the woman was, “You surely will not die!”

Not only was Satan lying, his lying was the very thing that would cause the dying that he was saying would not happen!

Many of the earlier posts on this blog cited scripture where God hates a deed that is done. If there was any doubt that “merely saying something” is not a “deed” and therefore exempt, this verse is one of many that can dispel that error. Lying is a deed and willful action.

This verse also contradicts the pop slogan, “God hates the sin but loves the sinner.” David said God hates all workers of iniquity. He destroys those who speak lies.

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1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, `You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” 2 The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; 3 but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, `You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’ ” 4 The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die!”
Genesis 3:1-4

Within these few sentences is the first recorded lie. We see a pattern that is familiar to anyone who has learned how to have a conversation. The serpent introduces doubt by questioning the woman’s beliefs. It is difficult to sort out why the woman included the “or touch it.” (She had not been named ‘Eve’ at this point.)

Before He formed the woman, God had given Adam this instruction: “from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”  Nothing about not touching the fruit is in the original instructions. But somebody added the not touching part and there are only two choices: Adam or Eve.

Adding to God’s law leads to disaster. I have seen cops, child protective service employees, and school and university officials try to add to state law and assume authority that they do not legally have. They do great harm.

In the case of the original sin, adding the “do not touch” enabled the disastrous fall. The one law was ‘Do not eat.’ If Adam added the ‘Do not touch,’ and if the woman thought that was part of God’s word, then after picking the fruit, but before eating it, there was a middle stage where she could touch and surely wasn’t dead. If she could touch and nothing happened, then that would reinforce doubt about the eating part too.

In either case, the accusation had been made that maybe God was not telling the truth. This is one of the most distinctive characteristics of Satanic operation: a false accusation.

Much of the time, the false accuser is guilty of the thing for which they are falsely accusing the other person. Satan accused God of not telling the people the truth, and then Satan does it.

John 8:44 tells us that the devil does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. People who have a habit of lying are speaking from their own nature too. They are following after the devil, not God.

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And I heard the altar saying, Yes, O Lord God, the Almighty, true and righteous are Your judgments.
Revelation 16:7

A “speaking altar” is not as great a mystery as it might first seem. Consider that ten chapters earlier, John reported: I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; 10 and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” Revelation 6:9, 10   At that point they were told they should rest for a little while longer because there were a few more martyrs yet to die.

But by chapter 16 the ‘little while’ is up. They had been praying for God to carry out his judgment on the wicked, and God was. The Judgments that are falling are so severe that both an angel and these martyrs from the altar remind John that the judgments are true and righteous. The calamities are not capricious actions of a cranky spiteful God. This show of wrath is the execution of justice by a long-suffering God who gave them time to repent.

You may debate how the altar was personified, whether the martyrs spoke with one voice or if they had a spokesangel say it in their behalf; either way the judgments are true and righteous.

The judgment is spot on and upright because the wicked brought God’s retribution upon themselves. Among the judgments that are happening in this chapter is yet another example of our so-called “Christian Karma,” or more accurately, retribution in kind. In context, the entire passage from Revelation 16 is:

4 Then the third angel poured out his bowl into the rivers and the springs of waters; and they became blood. 5 And I heard the angel of the waters saying, “Righteous are You, who are and who were, O Holy One, because You judged these things; 6 for they poured out the blood of saints and prophets, and You have given them blood to drink. They deserve it.” 7 And I heard the altar saying, “Yes, O Lord God, the Almighty, true and righteous are Your judgments.”

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Usually, when the story of Daniel and the lion’s den is told, the focus is on God’s great protection and Daniel’s unwavering obedience. Sometimes the ending is edited and dropped entirely, as if it were a non-essential epilogue. If your Sunday school teacher led you to think the account ended with “no injury whatever was found on him because he had trusted in his God,” then you did not get the whole story. This is how the incident really ended:

24 The king then gave orders, and they brought those men who had maliciously accused Daniel, and they cast them, their children and their wives into the lions’ den; and they had not reached the bottom of the den before the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones.
25 Then Darius the king wrote to all the peoples, nations and men of every language who were living in all the land: “May your peace abound! “I make a decree that in all the dominion of my kingdom men are to fear and tremble before the God of Daniel; For He is the living God and enduring forever, And His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed, And His dominion will be forever.
27 “He delivers and rescues and performs signs and wonders
In heaven and on earth,
Who has also delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.”
28 So this Daniel enjoyed success in the reign of Darius and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.

Daniel 6:24-28; New American Standard

The people who died were the malicious accusers and their families, which they were duty-bound to protect. The husbands and fathers were probably blind to the fact that they were endangering their families when they chose to accuse Daniel. There was no husbandry or fatherhood going on when they accused Daniel.

It is also significant that in verse 24, it is the king, the office of authority, that sentences them to the den. In verse 15 it is Darius the person who makes a decree, but in verse 24 it is the king who passes sentence. This is significant because the ultimate King is God, and this is typology, an episode that uses a real historic event to show how God will treat accusers in the future.

What the men wanted and chose for Daniel, happened to them. Earlier in this blog there were many posts that told about this principle of recompense in kind. (Most of these are cataloged in the Christian Karma category.) Daniel did not “make” enemies by attacking these men; he was serving his God. They judged Daniel and the king’s judgment fell on them.

So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and continued to prosper in the following reign of Cyrus the Persian. The accusers and their families were dead.

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A false witness will not go unpunished, And he who tells lies will perish.
Proverbs 19:9

After sixty posts which use scripture to show that:
• God hates lying,
• Lying is wrong, and
• Liars will be held accountable for their lies;
we finally get to the answer for the question, “What’s God going to do about it?”

The answer is an uncomfortable one: Liars perish.

Some have tried to qualify the lies, saying it means lies about who God is. If you believe a lie about who God is, then you perish. Others qualify the perish part, saying that it means those who speak doctrinal heresy are damned. Both approaches limit the scope of this verse.

The person who tells lies will be destroyed. As the Matthew Henry Commentary puts it, ” His punishment shall be such as will be his destruction: he shall perish; the lies he forged against others will be his own ruin. It is a damning destroying sin.”

Bearing false witness has a fatal consequence. It is not an “everybody dies sometime” punishment and liars don’t have their dead spirits dimmed into oblivion where they cease to exist or are no longer aware of anything. No, their part is in the lake that is burning with fire and brimstone, which is called the second death. If they do keep their pants on, they will be a tormented liar with pants on fire; but other accounts of hell report nakedness. In that case, even their gasping pants for breath will be afire.

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And everyone will deceive his neighbor, and they will not speak the truth. They have taught their tongue to speak lies. They weary themselves committing iniquity.
Jeremiah 9:5

This is a sad verse. No one is reporting the facts accurately. They have actually “taught their tongue to speak lies.”

Lying is taught through training and practice. They deceive by withholding and omitting, and each time it gets easier. They put their on “spin” on the facts and gain some control of the situation. If truth is on one side and power is on the other, they choose the power. You know a person has reached that stage when they can deliberately tell a lie and laugh about it.

In order to teach a tongue to lie, the natural conscience must be fried. Lying becomes the ‘new natural’; it’s second nature.

Four verses later, the Lord is positing a rhetorical question: “Shall I not punish them for these things?” declares the LORD. “On a nation such as this Shall I not avenge Myself? Jeremiah 9:9

People who train their tongue to speak lies are especially ignorant about God. Lying is a short-term power gain that eventually brings about the speaker’s own ruin.

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A false witness will not go unpunished, And he who tells lies will not escape.
Proverbs 19:5

This verse is true under God’s government. Unfortunately, it does not apply to our court system. People are hardly ever punished for lying about someone else.

The ‘false witness’ part of the verse is about giving a reliable account of conditions or events. It would certainly apply to all statements given within the judicial system; it is not limited to sworn testimony from the witness stand, but includes all reports and depositions. These are the lies of perjury. These are the lies that injure the reputations of others. These are the lies that cause devastating emotional or mental harm to others, but the liar largely blind to this because he is not around to see the long-term effects.

In the original Hebrew, the word translated as ‘unpunished’ has a meaning of not being acquitted or not counted as innocent. God does not excuse false witnessing.

A wide-spread sloppiness in the teaching of “Grace” has effectively blurred solid biblical teaching on forgiveness. God’s grace removes the death penalty for the truly repentant who call upon His name and depend upon His Salvation. Grace does not protect against all loss. A man’s works, including the words he has said, the lies he has told, and the restitution he has made or failed to make will all come under judgment.

The ‘he who tells lies’ part of the verse applies to everyday conversations. Some of these lies are told in jest and some of them are told under the pretence of ‘protecting’ or ‘doing good’ but they are still lies. These lies sear the conscience so that becoming a false witness seems like no big deal. (This is covered more completely in tomorrow’s post based on Jeremiah 9:5)

In the original Hebrew, the word translated as ‘tells’ has the meaning of ‘breathes out.’ This indicates exactly where the lie started: inside. Those wh breathe out lies begun in their own heart will not escape God’s judgment. It is bad to pass on or be a conduit for lies, but being the originator of a lie is wicked.

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Though his hatred covers itself with guile, His wickedness will be revealed before the assembly.
Proverbs 26:26

There is an old saying that ‘Love makes good armor and a poor cloak.’

This verse is about the person who is trying to cloak his hatred. To achieve this, these persons often try to portray themselves as loving caring people of the noblest nature. These are the sort that Jesus described as outwardly appearing righteous to men, but inwardly are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. Matthew 23:28.

They are haters. Their outward presence fools many men, but not God who looks on the heart. Once the cloak is removed, this becomes evident to all the assembly. “The assembly” is the congregation of the righteous. Apparently the wicked can still deceive other wicked people.

Hatred without cause often becomes secret hatred. People who hate without cause are dangerous, and those who hate without cause and try to look like they are loving are the most dangerous people of all. Fortunately God has made provision for their eventual exposure.

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A man shall not be established by wickedness, but the root of the righteous shall not be dislodged.
Proverbs 12:3

There are many kinds of wickedness. This blog is primarily concerned with the wickedness of deception and false accusation—all the forms of lying. A person cannot be established through wickedness; it will not get them to a secure place of safety. 

Evil is always variable: it has no fixed principle, except the root that is in the human heart; and even that is ever assuming new forms. Nothing is permanent but goodness; and that is unchangeable, because it comes from GOD. The produce of goodness is permanent, because it has God’s blessing in it: the fruit of wickedness, or the property procured by wickedness, is transitory, because it has God’s curse in it. The righteous has his root in God; and therefore he shall not be moved.

  Clarke, Adam. “Commentary on Proverbs 12”. “The Adam Clarke Commentary”.
<http://www.studylight.org/com/acc/view.cgi?book=pr&chapter=012&gt;. 1832.

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An evil man is ensnared by the transgression of his lips, But the righteous will escape from trouble.
Proverbs 12:13

“Transgression of his lips” takes in lying, of course, but other transgressions or offenses are also covered. Gossiping, cursing, false oaths, spitefulness, and unkind remarks are included as well.

The righteous or upright man will eventually escape or be delivered, but the person who chooses to indulge in these transgressions will be trapped by them.

Sooner or later, these wrongdoings will be found out to his own ruin. Although it is sometimes surprising to the modern Western mindset, God often sets His timing as ‘later.’

By not having a lie exposed immediately, it has a chance to work. If it works in a way that the speaker’s conscience rules him, he has the opportunity to repent. If it works in a way so that the speaker suppresses his conscience, then the trap is set securely.

What typically happens in this second instance is that the speaker who has deceived others becomes deceived into thinking he got away with it. He will go on to accumulate a lifestyle of lying. He is no longer a “basically good person” who told a lie; he is a lifestyle liar. His lies do more and more damage. He receives compounding interest as his original lies cause others who buy into them to fall as well.

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