Presentation on theme: "“So Help Me God” Taking Oaths – A Biblical View. “I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” “I take thee to be my lawful."— Presentation transcript:
“So Help Me God” Taking Oaths – A Biblical View
“I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” “I take thee to be my lawful wedded wife and I promise before God and these witnesses.” “I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully excecute the office of the President of the United States.” Weddings – Inaugurations – Court rooms – Official documents What does the Bible teach about taking oaths?
Oaths Defined Oath = promise, a promise or agreement between 2 people Appealing to God to avenge the failure to keep this promise – Bride and Groom at their wedding – Testifying in court – Entering a contract – Signing official government documents – Taking government office
The 3 rd Commandment Exodus 20:7 You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain. Many assume this means don't curse – use profanity “Name of the Lord” - not a literal name – but God Himself
The 3 rd Commandment “In Vain” - literally means “falsely” Do not swear (utter) the name of God to a lie Do not swear (utter) the name of God falsely Do not appeal to God to confirm a falsehood It also includes other irreverent uses of God's name
In Defense of Oaths Does Scripture forbid ALL oaths? Matthew 5: "Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.' 34 But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God's throne; 35 nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.
In Defense of Oaths Does Scripture forbid ALL oaths? Matthew 5: Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 But let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No.' For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.
In Defense of Oaths Does Scripture forbid ALL oaths? James 5:12 But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. But let your "Yes," be "Yes," and your "No," "No," lest you fall into judgment. CAUTION: Not all oaths, but all unlawful (unbiblical) oaths are forbidden
The General Context We are commanded to swear by the name of God Deuteronomy 6:13 You shall fear the Lord your God and serve Him, and shall take oaths in His name. Isaiah 65:16 So that he who blesses himself in the earth Shall bless himself in the God of truth; And he who swears in the earth Shall swear by the God of truth;
The General Context Swearing is a part of worship Deuteronomy 10:20-21 You shall fear the Lord your God; you shall serve Him, and to Him you shall hold fast, and take oaths in His name 21 He is your praise, and He is your God, who has done for you these great and awesome things which your eyes have seen.
The General Context Examples of those who swore God Himself – Hebrews 6:13 For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, Hebrews 7:21 (for they have become priests without an oath, but He with an oath by Him who said to Him: "The Lord has sworn And will not relent, 'You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek' "),
The General Context Examples of those who swore God Himself Christ – Matthew 26:63-64a 63 But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest answered and said to Him, "I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!" 64 Jesus said to him, "It is as you said.”
The General Context Examples of those who swore Apostle Paul Romans 1:9a For God is my witness Philippians 1:8a For God is my witness 1 Thessalonians 5:27 I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read to all the holy brethren. 2 Corinthians 1:23a Moreover I call God as witness against my soul
The Particular Context Matthew 5:33-37 The Jews had created situations where lying was OK Speaking beyond “Yes” and “No” is “from the evil one”
Biblical Guidelines We must distinguish the lawful from the unlawful oaths. The Bible does this for us. Should you take an oath? 1) The object of the oath must be Biblical 2) What you promise must be true, and kept. 3)The oath must be necessary 4) You must be ready to abide by the oath – No Matter What!
Content of the Oath The oath must appeal to God alone. The language of the oath must be clear, unequivocal, unambiguous It is helpful to reduce the oath to writing
Breaking an Oath Violates the 3 rd Commandment Violates the teaching of Jesus and James Don't make excuses As much as humanly possible – keep the oath
Invalid reasons for Breaking an Oath Change in circumstances Oath which is impossible to perform Know it is impossible – don't make it Violation negates the oath Today – fail to pay loan, car is repossessed Car is sold and you still owe any balance Oath if required by law Government may require oath – court, documents, take office
Valid reasons for Breaking an Oath If the oath is sinful In Russia – Orthodox promise to light candles, say prayers, pay fees Herod – the promise to kill John was sinful Jephthah – sacrifice his daughter If the oath becomes impossible Promise to mow a lawn – suffer a stroke and are paralyzed Promise to attend a wedding – in ICU with heart attack
Conclusion “When an oath is falsely taken, it is a heaven daring attempt to enlist the Almighty in the sanction of the creature's lie and is thus, either the most outrageous levity, or the most outrageous impiety of which he can be guilty.” R. L. Dabney FINAL NOTE: Baptism is an oath (vow) to be faithful to Christ and His church.