Sunday 26 July 2015

False Witnessing: What is it?

We all know about lying, a deliberate false statement or the withholding of information at a time when it should be given, but how many of us have really stopped to think about another aspect of lies and deception? Namely, the subject of baring false witness against our neighbour.

Here are a few texts for us to dive into:

Exodus 20:16 You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

Exodus 23:1 Do not spread false reports. Do not help a guilty person by being a malicious witness.

Exodus 23:7 Have nothing to do with a false charge and do not put an innocent or honest person to death, for I will not acquit the guilty.

Leviticus 19:11 Do not steal. "'Do not lie. "'Do not deceive one another.

A very important thing to note especially in the context of Exodus 23, we see TWO charges to the Israelites, Don't spread a false report and have nothing to do with a false charge.

How lightly do we make an accusation towards someone, be they a heretic, an unbeliever or even a fellow believer? Those who are in Christ must not partake in spreading either a rumour, a lie or even a half truth about an individual.

Too many times have we all engaged in a false charge, but what takes courage is humility in taking it back and apologizing to the individual. Any charge is serious and in order for us to be truth seekers, any charge we make against a man must be backed up with evidence, otherwise we could end up believing any old "truth" that is spouted.

While Christians are not under the TANAKH and that they needn't be put to death, there are the consequences of our actions leading to us being discredited and needing to rebuild the trust that has ultimately been destroyed. A building that has to be rebuilt may take time to rebuild, but in the end, the result is a strong building again, so it is with building trust, it's rebuilding the bridge to put it a certain way.

A false charge can lead to damaging an individuals reputation while at the same time build up a deceiver who rightly DESERVES to have their reputation dragged through the mud.

I bet you can guess how YHWH feels about that?
Proverbs 17:15 Acquitting the guilty and condemning the innocent-- the LORD detests them both.

This great piece of wisdom in particular is indeed true. If you lie about an innocent party or individual, you are truly evil and the same is true if you let a guilty person off the hook. God hates the act of false witness as much as any lie and even the following command DEMANDS truth from the individuals in question:

Deuteronomy 19:15 One witness is not enough to convict anyone accused of any crime or offense they may have committed. A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.

Now does this mean you can establish a lie against someone? No, because as we know God hates false witness and this context cannot be used as a means to establish ANY and ALL statements, the command in question pertains to a statement BUILT on truth itself.

Look at also this in Isaiah 5:

Isaiah 5:21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes,
    and shrewd in their own sight!
22 Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine,
    and valiant men in mixing strong drink,
23 who acquit the guilty for a bribe,
    and deprive the innocent of his right!
24 Therefore, as the tongue of fire devours the stubble,
    and as dry grass sinks down in the flame,
so their root will be as rottenness,
    and their blossom go up like dust;
for they have rejected the law of the Lord of hosts,
    and have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.

What do we have here? In Isaiah 5 we have woes being pronounced on the people of Israel and those who acquit the guilty and depriving the innocent of having true justice given. I know it's referring to a court case but acquitting the guilty is a very grave thing to do regardless of where it is done.

Here is another context:
Deuteronomy 19:15 “A single witness shall not suffice against a person for any crime or for any wrong in connection with any offense that he has committed. Only on the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses shall a charge be established. 16 If a malicious witness arises to accuse a person of wrongdoing, 17 then both parties to the dispute shall appear before the Lord, before the priests and the judges who are in office in those days. 18 The judges shall inquire diligently, and if the witness is a false witness and has accused his brother falsely, 19 then you shall do to him as he had meant to do to his brother. So you shall purge the evil[c] from your midst. 20 And the rest shall hear and fear, and shall never again commit any such evil among you. 21 Your eye shall not pity. It shall be life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.

There is a principle here that is of value to Christians today and it ultimately boils down to investigating a witness makes and if it is a false one, he is to be dealt with accordingly, not in the sense of a Hebrew court, but discipline of the brethren in Christ. The person's claims are NOT to be taken at face value, but need to be looked into and if the claims are false, the person who made the false claim needs to seriously repent and apologise to the individual for the lie and slander that they have spread.

Let this be a warning to us all and may God give us humility to admit our wrong doings.

Answering Judaism.


  1. The person's claims are NOT to be taken at face value, but need to be looked into and if the claims are false, the person who made the false claim needs to seriously repent and apologise to the individual for the lie and slander that they have spread.

    So wrt what you stated above (and I apologize for veering into another topic) is Jesus justified when he calls his opponents "sons of the devil"? One of his claims is : “You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that testify on my behalf. Yet you refuse to come to me to have life” (John 5:39-40). Does he then go on to substantiate this claim? Apparently, not.

    Jesus scorns and humiliates his questioners and goes on to state": If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But if you do not believe what he wrote how will you believe what I say?” (John 5:46-47)

    Where does Moses specifically and without reference to types and shadows which prove nothing, talk about Jesus? Where does Moses say that one must have faith in the Messiah to have life? Fact is that there is mention of "THE Messiah" (ha'mashiach) in the entire Torah.

    1. made a typo in the last sentence. It shoudl read that there is no mention of "THE Messiah" in the entire Torah.