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Page 440

  • Prudently - Carefully; properly; cautiously


    And ye shall not swear by My Name falsely, neither shalt thou profane the Name of thy God: I am the LORD.

    - Leviticus 19:12


  • Perjury - Willfully making a false oath or lying under oath


    Woe unto you, ye blind' guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor!

    Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold?

    And, Whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing, but whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty.

    Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift?

    Whoso therefore shall swear by the altar, sweareth by it, and by all the things thereon.

    - Matthew 23:16-20


      "Men," said the new captain to his rough crew of sailors, "I would like to ask each of you a favor, and that is that you allow me to swear the first oath on my new ship."

      "Fine! Good!" laughed all the sailors.

      "All right, we will make that an order then," answered the captain. "No man on board is allowed to swear before I do. Agreed?"

      "Certainly!" the sailors laughed again at this strange request of their new captain.

      However, after several days, they understood why their captain had said this. He conducted himself very prudently and spoke very carefully. No one ever heard him use profanity, and they had all agreed not to swear until he had!

      Personal examples are very important in this regard, but those of leaders are even more so. Why?

    The third commandment refers not only to profanity and degrading language, but it also pertains to oath-taking. It forbids all false, hypocritical, and rash swearing of oaths.

    Lying under oath, false swearing, is termed perjury. Lying, or bearing false witness, is dealt with in more detail in the ninth commandment. In the ninth commandment, the emphasis is placed more upon this sinful action against my neighbor, while here in the third commandment this practice, as a sin against God, is emphasized. To publicly call upon God to confirm an untruth strikes at the very being of God, for He is Truth - perfect Truth. False swearing is a practical denial of God's being and perfections.

    Jesus condemned the hypocritical swearing of the Pharisees. In their traditions they taught that to swear by the temple, altar, or one's head was not binding; but to swear by the gold of the temple, the gift on the altar, or the Godhead was very serious and binding. All such hypocritical distinctions are condemned by God.

    The third commandment also condemns all rash swearing, all needless taking of oaths. Jesus taught us not to swear at all in our

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