It's A Lie! A Lie, Is A Lie, IS A LIE!

In a Sunday school class I asked a question similar to this; Would a person be guilty before God for lying in the following situation.

A Christian couple lived in a country that was occupied by a hostile army. This army was intent on killing all the Christian men and their leaders.

This couple had been warned that armed men were looking for the husband with intentions of shooting him on sight. So, he hid in the attic. Soldiers knocked on the door, but before the wife could open it they broke it down. Then they roughed her up and threatened to kill her on the spot if she did not tell them where he was hiding. She convinced them that he had left earlier.

The greater percentage of our Sunday school class said "yes, she told a lie." And there were comments about white lies being no better then any other kind of a lie.

Some said she did not have to answer when they threatened her. Others said that "a lie is a lie" and circumstances do not dictate morality. They added "If they did, then we would have situation ethics."

I mentioned some of the situations that I had found in the bible and tried to get some kind of direction for them. The class and the teacher felt that this was too controversial of a subject, so it was dropped. Before it reached this point I told them that I thought that it made no sense to allow a friend or relative to be killed, just because we did not want to lie.

The following scriptures give us direction and answers for this question.

On down I include the fundamental principles that are involved.

Here, Rahab hides the Israelite spies.

Joshua 2:1 And Joshua the son of Nun sent out of Shittim two men to spy secretly, saying, Go view the land, even Jericho. And they went, and came into an harlot's house, named Rahab, and lodged there. 2. And it was told the king of Jericho, saying, Behold, there came men in hither to night of the children of Israel to search out the country. 3. And the king of Jericho sent unto Rahab, saying, Bring forth the men that are come to thee, which are entered into thine house: for they be come to search out all the country. 4. And the woman took the two men, and hid them, and said thus, There came men unto me, but I wist not whence they were: 5. And it came to pass about the time of shutting of the gate, when it was dark, that the men went out: whither the men went I wot not: pursue after them quickly; for ye shall overtake them. 6. But she had brought them up to the roof of the house, and hid them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order upon the roof.

Was Rahab guilty of lying when she told the guards that she did not know where the Israelites had gone? She is referred to in the heroes of faith chapter.

Hebrews. 11: 30. By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days. 31. By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.

Here we find David in trouble with Saul.

1 Samuel. 20: 24. So David hid in the field, and when the New Moon festival came, the king sat down to eat. 25. He sat in his customary place by the wall, opposite Jonathan, and Abner sat next to Saul, but David's place was empty. 26. Saul said nothing that day, for he thought, "Something must have happened to David to make him ceremonially unclean, surely he is unclean." 27. But the next day, the second day of the month, David's place was empty again. Then Saul said to his son Jonathan, "Why hasn't the son of Jesse come to the meal, either yesterday or today?" 28. Jonathan answered, "David earnestly asked me for permission to go to Bethlehem. 29. He said, 'Let me go, because our family is observing a sacrifice in the town and my brother has ordered me to be there. If I have found favor in your eyes, let me get away to see my brothers'. That is why he has not come to the king's table." 30. Saul's anger flared up at Jonathan and he said to him, "You son of a perverse and rebellious woman! Don't I know that you have sided with the son of Jesse to your own shame and to the shame of the mother who bore you? 31. As long as the son of Jesse lives on this earth, neither you nor your kingdom will be established. Now send and bring him to me, for he must die!" 32. "Why should he be put to death? What has he done?" Jonathan asked his father. 33. But Saul hurled his spear at him to kill him. Then Jonathan knew that his father intended to kill David. .

Jonathan and David had previously planned to tell this story, about his brother wanting him home for the feast. This was to be used as a test.

Were they guilty before God because of this lie?

Because David Knew Saul wanted to kill him he left that area.

1 Samuel 21: 1. David went to Nob, to Ahimelech the priest. Ahimelech trembled when he met him, and asked, "Why are you alone? Why is no one with you?" 2. David answered Ahimelech the priest, "The king charged me with a certain matter and said to me, `No one is to know anything about your mission and your instructions.' As for my men, I have told them to meet me at a certain place. 3. Now then, what do you have on hand? Give me five loaves of bread, or whatever you can find." 4. But the priest answered David, "I don't have any ordinary bread on hand; however, there is some consecrated bread here provided the men have kept themselves from women." 5. David replied, "Indeed women have been kept from us, as usual whenever I set out. The men's things are holy even on missions that are not holy. How much more so today!" 6. So the priest gave him the consecrated bread, since there was no bread there except the bread of the Presence that had been removed from before the LORD and replaced by hot bread on the day it was taken away. 7. Now one of Saul's servants was there that day, detained before the LORD; he was Doeg the Edomite, Saul's head shepherd. 8. David asked Ahimelech, "Don't you have a spear or a sword here? I haven't brought my sword or any other weapon, because the king's business was urgent." 9. The priest replied, "The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you killed in the Valley of Elah, is here; it is wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you want it, take it; there is no sword here but that one." David said, "There is none like it; give it to me."

Jesus referred to this very situation.

Matthew 12: 1. At that time Jesus went on the Sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat. 2. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the Sabbath day. 3. But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him; 4. How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests? 5. Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the Sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless?

David in another place and at a different time acted as if he was mad, or mentally ill, in order to fool the Philistines that he was staying with.

1 Sam 21:11 And the servants of Achish said unto him, Is not this David the king of the land? did they not sing one to another of him in dances, saying, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands? 12 And David laid up these words in his heart, and was sore afraid of Achish the king of Gath. 13 And he changed his behaviour before them, and feigned himself mad in their hands, and scrabbled on the doors of the gate, and let his spittle fall down upon his beard. 14 Then said Achish unto his servants, Lo, ye see the man is mad: wherefore then have ye brought him to me?

22:1 David therefore departed thence, and escaped to the cave Adullam: ...... (KJV)

Jesus acted as if he was going to go on so as to provoke a response from the Disciples. This could also be construed as being a lie.

Luke 24: 13. And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs.

24: 15. And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. 16. But their eyes were holden that they should not know him. 17. And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?

Luke 24: 27. And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. 28. And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further. 29. But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them. 30. And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. 31. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. 32. And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?

Here in the following account the actions of Jesus could be construed as being deceitful. He did not reveal himself to them and he also acted as if he was going on, but it is appears as if he had really intended to go with them.

John 7: 1. After this, Jesus went around in Galilee, purposely staying away from Judea because the Jews there were waiting to take his life. 2. But when the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles was near, 3. Jesus' brothers said to him, "You ought to leave here and go to Judea, so that your disciples may see the miracles you do. 4. No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world." 5. For even his own brothers did not believe in him. 6. Therefore Jesus told them, "The right time for me has not yet come; for you any time is right. 7. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that what it does is evil. 8. You go to the Feast. I am not yet going up to this Feast, because for me the right time has not yet come." 9. Having said this, he stayed in Galilee. 10. However, after his brothers had left for the Feast, he went also, not publicly, but in secret.

John 7: 14. Not until halfway through the Feast did Jesus go up to the temple courts and begin to teach.

From some of the oldest manuscripts and from this context it would seem that Jesus purposely caused his family to think that he might not even go up to the feast at all, and then when he did go he did so secretly. There was a good reason for Jesus to delay his going. His life was at stake.

There is room for arriving at conclusions other then those that I make here. At least there are many people that do believe that there will always be condemnation for any lie, or any deceptive strategy. To them a lie is an evil lie no matter what, or why, or the motive, or the results.

What about Abraham? Many times I have heard and read that Abraham sinned because he lied about his wife.

Gen 12:11 And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt, that he said unto Sarai his wife, Behold now, I know that thou art a fair woman to look upon: 12 Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see thee, that they shall say, This is his wife: and they will kill me, but they will save thee alive. 13 Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister: that it may be well with me for thy sake; and my soul shall live because of thee. 14 And it came to pass, that, when Abram was come into Egypt, the Egyptians beheld the woman that she was very fair. 15 The princes also of Pharaoh saw her, and commended her before Pharaoh: and the woman was taken into Pharaoh's house. (KJV)

The beginning of what Abraham had foreseen came to pass. His life was spared. Abraham may have been mistaken, however, he did believe his life was in danger. Do you dare to accuse him of being a liar?

Jesus refers back to David eating the shewbread to defend his healing people on the Sabbath.

To those legalists it was more righteous, to allow people, to hurt one more day then it was to heal them on this holy day. To the legalist of today it seems that it would have been better if David had of starved, then for him to deceive the priest into giving him food. Even the Israelite spies should have been captured rather then for Rahab to lie?

God is a just God and he has made righteous, common sense, practical, exceptions to his laws. For those rare situations, when necessity collides with what (as a rule), is usually considered as the normal and just and right thing to do.

The ten commandments order us not to kill or murder. However, in some situations we have to kill to keep from violating that same commandment. To refuse to take the life of a wanton murderer is to jeopardize the lives of those who we hire to keep them in prison.

In many cases If we did not kill murderers we would become guilty of being involved in the death of those they kill after they were released. In effect when we kill them via the death penalty we deliver ourselves from being a partaker in murder and thereby preserve our obedience to that commandment. Our nation is now guilty before many people, because it has not carried out the death penalty as it should. So, we have murderers walking around stalking people and killing again and we are their accomplices.

Obedience to a speed law can keep us from being guilty of murder, for if we exceed the speed limit to the point of endangering and actually killing someone, we have in effect murdered someone.

If we were to fail to lie, in some certain situation, similar to that of the married couple outlined at the beginning of this article, we could be guilty of partaking in the murder of a loved one.

Situations can sometimes demand that we make common sense decisions that would normally be considered unrighteous.

Unnecessary death would have resulted in several of the situations that are listed above if the persons involved had not lied.

Jesus could not have gotten his disciples or his brothers to respond properly to the present necessity if they would have known what he was doing or who he was. If he had went with them he would have more then likely been killed before his time. The Jews and Roman soldiers may have been looking for him and so could have found him quickly in that group.

There are a number of stories in the Bible about the Israelites setting up ambushes' to trap their enemies. This is a deceitful thing. Were they also guilty of making a lie?

The bible says that all liars have their part in the lake of fire.

First - this is speaking of lying for no necessary reason. Such as lying in order to avoid embarrassment, inconvenience or as a means of taking undue, immoral advantage of a situation.

Secondly - ungodly lying involves both the life style and the motives of the individual. Which is to say that lying is a habitual problem that involves the total character of a person, not just their incidental words.

The use of common everyday language, in conversation, can, on occasion be construed, by the "extreme legalist" as being a lie. There are various situations where people hold others accountable for their own mistakes. They believe they have made a contract, but have none. They suppose they have a word, but do not. They think they have heard something that was not said. They lean too heavily on off hand remarks.

Too many times people have accused someone of lying because they had said something off hand. Such as their saying "I will see you in the morning", but they did not show up. The question is did they make a commitment, or was it rather just an off hand statement. Were they in the habit of seeing that person in the mornings? If that was the case, and if there were no specific reasons, other then habit, for their meeting, then where is there any basis for calling them a liar?

It would be different if the person had made a specific reference to the next morning as if they were making an appointment and if there was evidence of a specific reason, so the person they addressed had good reason to expect them to show, and then they failed.

I heard one man rail on another because he had specifically asked for a certain favor and the one he had asked had failed to carry it out in detail, relative to what had been stipulated in the request. The one who had been asked said OK. He had not fully committed to it, but had not told the one asking for the favor that he would not do as requested. However, the request was fulfilled by posting the information in the local paper to the general public, but this was not what that individual had requested. He wanted to be notified in person before the general public was notified. In the mean time he had moved out of the area and had made no effort to keep in touch. This had to do with a business deal.

The person who wanted the information had not even seen it in the paper. He had made no calls to the office of this business, nor to the person of whom he had asked the favor. Yet, he put the entire blame for his missing a business opportunity on the other guy and blatantly charged him with being short on character. The person who had kept in touch and had perused the paper closed the deal. He had taken advantage of this information and had kept on top by keeping himself informed.

Now, by reading this account can you make a judgment?

Was it right for the individual who had been asked a favor to not make it a point to hunt up the one wanting this information? Was he to think the request made to him placed all of the responsibility upon him? Is there anything in the actions of the one making the request that would cause you to think that he should not be given preference over everyone else?

Was the requesting person right in not only blaming the other guy for missing out on a business deal, but to also charge him as being short in character?

It is my position that people in business are primarily responsible for such communications. The failure of such communications is entirely the responsibility of the one requesting such information. The fact that the communication was not maintained on their end produces a question about the quality and efficiency of the individual wanting such information. In the end it would appear that the information was gleaned and put to good use by someone else who was more proficient in business. It was not the place of an employee to give out advanced notice. It was not right to put all of the blame on him for his not going to the trouble of hunting up this person and conveying information to him  when he obviously was concerned about the correctness of the situation. His concern may have been born, because that after this person had moved they failed to maintain communication. This either portrayed a lack of interest, or revealed a lack of personal responsibility.

In doing similar business, I have maintained communication directly with the office. I have asked for information from employees, but never stopped direct communication with the office, knowing that my request would be placed on someone's desk.  I have missed being appointed, but later, because of my importunity, I landed a job.

Yes, "Words have the power to heal and/or to destroy."

But does this necessarily include every incidental word, or off hand remark?

There are sects that believe that if you ever say, off hand or not, at anytime, you are going to do something, that you have no character if you do not, either, do as you said or, die trying. This is contrary to biblical principle, for God would rather have mercy then sacrifice. God even made promises, but because of the disobedience of His people it would have been an unrighteous thing for Him to carry out His word.

"God emphatically states to Jonah, "' Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee.'" (Jonah 2:2 ASV) Jonah therefore goes to Ninevah and declares, "'Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.'" Now, notice that Jonah puts no conditions upon this prophecy - Jonah declares that God will destroy Ninevah in 40 days. What actually transpired, however, was that Ninevah was not destroyed. Scripture states that they repented, "And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil which he said he would do unto them; and he did it not." (Jonah 2:10, ASV). Now, either Jonah was a false prophet and failed to declare ALL that God had told him (in which case, the scriptures themselves are in error, for they tell us God changed His mind) or in fact, God saw the overwhelming change in the hearts of the people of Ninevah and was so moved that He changed His mind as well and did not bring to pass the prophecy which He had told Jonah to prophesy.

Exodus 23:23-33 is another example of prophecy which is not strictly fulfilled. God promises to drive out all the inhabitants of Palestine before them (Ex. 23:27 NKJV) "I will send My fear before you, I will cause confusion among all the people to whom you come, and will make all your enemies turn [their] backs to you." But what actually transpired, as we read in Joshua 16:10, is that all of the inhabitants were not driven out. "And they drove not out the Canaanites that dwelt in Gezer, but the Canaanites dwell in the midst of Ephraim unto this day, and are become servants to do task work."

(The above was taken from "An Answer To Critics." Concerning MG)

Let us not say that God did not tell the truth!

Isaiah 29:19 The meek also shall increase their joy in the LORD, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. 20 For the terrible one is brought to nought, and the scorner is consumed, and all that watch for iniquity are cut off: 21 That make a man an offender for a word, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate, and turn aside the just for a thing of naught.

Matt 22:15 Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk.

Luke 11:53 And as he said these things unto them, the scribes and the Pharisees began to urge him vehemently, and to provoke him to speak of many things: 54 Laying wait for him, and seeking to catch something out of his mouth, that they might accuse him. (KJV)

Be careful, for if someone uses these thoughts to justify their unjust falsehoods they will be judged and stand a good chance of experiencing a prolonged bath in that hot lake.

I hope that these thoughts have helped you to understand the principles that are involved.

V. Manson                   Dec. 24, 1990 / 8-4-91 / 4-16-94 / 9-7-01

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