Oaths, Swearing, and Vows, Truthfulness, and Lying
article aX  1998

Index
     Chapter 1,  Considers the word vow as used in the Bible.
     Chapter 2,  Considers swearing and oaths.
     Chapter 3,  Considers truthfulness and lying as in both the Old and New Testament eras, and further considers swearing and oaths.  
     Chapter 4,  Considers how binding, swearing, oaths, and vows were in the Old Testament era, and considers how binding vows or promises are in the New Testament era.


 Chapter 1
Considers the Word Vow as used in the Bible

     According to a study of the word vow (including it's different endings), the word vow appears 91 times in the Old Testament and 2 times in the New Testament, that is with regard to the King James Version (KJV) Bible.  The word vow in the King James Version always comes from the Hebrew and Greek words given below with their definitions; Note the Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew and the New in Greek.     aX-1

Hebrew
     5087. nadar, naw-dar'; a prim. root; to promise (pos., to do or give something to God)     aX-2
     5088. neder, neh'-der; or  neder, nay'-der; from H5087; a promise (to God); also (concr.) a thing promised.     aX-3
Greek
     2171. euche, yoo-khay'; from G2172; prop. a wish, expressed as a petition to God, or in votive obligation.     aX-4
     Note how the above definitions for the Hebrew and Greek words underlying the English word vow, speak of promises and especially promises made to God.  In studying every time the word vow is used in the KJV Bible, it appears the word vow in the KJV never pertains to promises one made to other individuals, but basically always if not always, pertains to particular free will vows one made to God.  Such vows were promises made to God to give Him a particular sacrifice or a particular good thing, or promises to do a particular good thing as done in the following Scriptures;     aX-5
     Num 21:2)  "And Israel vowed a vow unto the LORD, and said, If thou wilt indeed deliver this people into my hand, then I will utterly destroy their cities."     aX-6
     (1 Sam 1:11)  "And she vowed a vow, and said, O LORD of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head."     aX-7
     (Gen 28:20-22)  "And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, {21} So that I come again to my father's house in peace; then shall the LORD be my God: {22} And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God's house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee."     aX-8
     (Num 15:3)  "And will make an offering by fire unto the LORD, a burnt offering, or a sacrifice in performing a vow, or in a freewill offering, or in your solemn feasts, to make a sweet savour unto the LORD, of the herd, or of the flock:"     aX-9

     In the King James Version, it appears that no Scripture uses the word vow in speaking of one making a solemn promise to another individual.  Yet according the Hebrew and Greek definitions given above, the word vow could pertain to vows or solemn promises made to other individuals.  Now concerning the Webster's definition for vows, such definition does not advocate a promise made to God, yet it does advocate that vows are making a solemn promise and connects vows with swearing.     aX-10
     Vows, like swearing or making oaths, were solemn promises which were to be kept, as is revealed in the following Scriptures;     aX-11
     (Num 30:2)  "If a man vow a vow unto the LORD, or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond; he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth."     aX-12
     (Deu 23:21-22)  "When thou shalt vow a vow unto the LORD thy God, thou shalt not slack to pay it: for the LORD thy God will surely require it of thee; and it would be sin in thee. {22} But if thou shalt forbear to vow, it shall be no sin in thee."     aX-13


 Chapter 2
Swearing and Oaths

     The words swearing and oaths are very much alike.  Numerous Scriptures use the words swearing and oaths interchangeably, as in the following Scriptures;     aX-14
     (Josh 2:17)  "...this thine oath which thou hast made us swear."     aX-15
     (Num 30:2)  "If a man... swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond; ..."     aX-16
     (2 Chr 15:15)  "And all Judah rejoiced at the oath: for they had sworn with all their heart..."     aX-17

     The word swear (including it's four other forms such as swearing, sweareth, sworn, and sware), appears in 186 different verses in the KJV Bible.  Of these 186 verses 21 are found in the New Testament.  In the Old Testament, the word swear (including it's five different forms) basically always comes from the Hebrew Word which is given below together with it's definition;     aX-18
     H7650. shaba', shaw-bah'; a prim. root; prop. to be complete, but used only as a denom. from H7651; to seven oneself, i.e. swear (as if by repeating a declaration seven times):     aX-19
     Note how this Hebrew word which underlies swearing speaks of repeating a declaration seven times.       aX-20

     Concerning the word oath (including it's different endings), such word appears in the KJV Bible in 59 verses.  The word oath as used in the Old Testament, like the word swearing also at times comes from the Hebrew word 7650 which pertains to repeating a declaration seven times, and at times comes from a Hebrew word which closely connects to such Hebrew word.  The Hebrew Words which underlie the word oath are given below with their definitions;     aX-21
     H7650 which was given above and means to repeat a declaration seven times.     aX-22
     H7621. shebuw'ah, sheb-oo-aw'; fem. pass. part. of H7650; prop. something sworn, i.e. an oath:.     aX-23
     H423. 'alah, aw-law'; from H422; an imprecation:  (Note this Hebrew word rarely underlies the word oath.)       aX-24

V     Concerning the word vow it almost always if not always derives from a different Hebrew and Greek word, than the words swearing and oaths derive from.  The word vow as used in the Bible appears to be used quite different than the words swearing and oaths.  In Bible times swearing and making oaths often was done when one individual made a firm promise to other individual, while the word vow as used in the Bible is used quite different than such.       aX-25

     Concerning swearing or making oaths, many Scriptures speak of God's Old Testament people swearing by God.  God speaking to His people through Moses, stated that His people should swear by His name, as is revealed in the following Scriptures;     aX-26
     Deu 6:13)  "Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name."     aX-27
     (Deu 10:20)  "Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God; him shalt thou serve, and to him shalt thou cleave, and swear by his name."     aX-28
     God did not want His people to swear by false gods as is revealed in the following Scriptures;     aX-29
     (Josh 23:7)  "That ye come not among these nations, these that remain among you; neither make mention of the name of their gods, nor cause to swear by them, neither serve them, nor bow yourselves unto them:"     aX-30
     (Jer 5:7)  "How shall I pardon thee for this? thy children have forsaken me, and sworn by them that are no gods..."     aX-31

     The writer could not find many if any examples in the Bible where it was clear people were swearing by things other than swearing by God.  At times people some made statements which could possibly have been a form of swearing such as,  "By the life of Pharaoh", "as thy soul liveth".  Jesus indicates that some or many during Christ's earth life were swearing by numerous things.  Some such things were firstly swearing by heaven, secondly by the Temple or gold thereof, thirdly by the alter or the gift thereon, forthly the earth, fifthly Jerusalem, and lastly possibly their own heads.  That people were swearing by such things is indicated in Scriptures which are given below in paragraphs 37 and 68.     aX-32

     Concerning the swearing of oaths, the following Scriptures reveal that that the greatness of that thing or person that was sworn by, was of great importance.     aX-33
     (Heb 6:13)  "For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself,"     aX-34
     (Heb 6:16)  "For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife."     aX-35
     In the following Scripture Jesus also reveals that the greatness of the element sworn by, was of great importance;     aX-36
     (Mat 23:16-19)  "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! {17} Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold? {18} And, Whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty. {19} Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift?"  Note how Jesus in the above Scriptures implies that the greater thing which was sworn by created the greater obligation.        aX-37

     Considering the above Scriptures it is clear that in swearing and making oaths, one should or would always swear by something very great.  Nothing is greater than God and therefore it appears that God commanded that men should swear by His name.  Likely a most basic principle in swearing is that one by swearing by some great thing is indicating or implying that their oath is as solid and dependable as that great thing whereby they are swearing.  Thus swearing by God or by something very great, likely indicated that their promise was as solid and dependable as God, or that great thing whereby they were swearing.  The Jews in swearing by Heaven or Jerusalem, or the earth, or the Temple or the alter likely felt these things were quite solid and dependable and were implying that their promise also was so.  Man in swearing by his head possibly felt he was swearing by something very essential and irreplaceable and thus quite great.  Yet Jesus in speaking of swearing revealed that man's head is not a very great thing to swear by saying,  "Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black."  (Mat 5:36).  In considering how the numerous above Scriptures reveal that the greatness of the thing sworn by, had a direct impact upon the power of the oath, it is quite clear that a most basic principle of swearing was that the promise or statement made by swearing was to be as solid and dependable as that which was sworn by.     aX-38
     Beside the above most basic principle of swearing, the writer also thought that possibly swearing by God also had the two following meanings or implications;  firstly that one was promising to God as well as to man that he would do or not do this thing, and secondly that he was calling down God's punishment upon himself, if he was saying an untruth or would not keep his promise.       aX-39
     Yet the two above implications of swearing which the writer wonders about, could not apply in swearing by great things other than God.  For example if one would swear by Jerusalem, or the earth, or the temple, or the alter, the two above meaning could not apply very well because one could not promise to the earth, or such lifeless things, that he would do this or that, nor could he ask the earth to punish him if he did not keep his promise.  One should also remember that another aspect of swearing likely involved repeating the declaration numerous times.     aX-40


 Chapter 3
     Considers Truthfulness and Lying as in Both the Old and New Testaments
     Further Considers Swearing and Oaths

     In the Old Testament within the ten commandments God commanded as follows;     aX-41
     (Exo 20:16)  "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour."     aX-42
     (Deu 5:20)  "Neither shalt thou bear false witness against thy neighbour."     aX-43

     Although God in the above commandments required that His people must be truthful to their neighbors, would He by these also have meant His people must be equally truthful with their enemies as with their neighbors?  Note how the above commandments although they clearly state that one is to be truthful to his neighbor yet they do not say one would need to be truthful to his enemies.     aX-44
     Concerning the enemies of God's people, God often commanded His people to utterly destroy them (Deu 7:2, 12:2, 20:17).  Concerning some nations who were inconsiderate to Israel God commanded Moses saying;  "Thou shalt not seek their peace nor their prosperity all thy days for ever."  (Deu 23:6).  King David whom God spoke of as a man after His own heart, speaking of those who hated God and were his enemies said,  "Do not I hate them, O LORD, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee?  I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies."  (Psa 139:21-22).  Note article aV pertains quite extensively to how God's people were to relate to other nations.  Many Scriptures reveal that famous Old Testament characters such as Abraham, Isaac, Samson, David, and others were untruthful to those who were their enemies, or who were not their neighbors.  Following are some examples of God's people lying in particular situations;     aX-45
     Jael the wife of Heber pretended to be a friend of their enemy saying to him as follows,  "Turn in, my lord, turn in to me; fear not." (Judges 4:18).  Soon afterward she then done the following to him,   "Then Jael Heber's wife took a nail of the tent, and took an hammer in her hand, and went softly unto him, and smote the nail into his temples, and fastened it into the ground: for he was fast asleep and weary. So he died."  (Judg 4:21).  After this, Israel in praising God for delivering them from their enemies included the following statement  "Blessed above women shall Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite be, blessed shall she be above women in the tent."  (Judg 5:24).       aX-46
     Samson in one respect was quite untruthful with the lad that was his guide, as is revealed in the following Scripture;  "And Samson said unto the lad that held him by the hand, Suffer me that I may feel the pillars whereupon the house standeth, that I may lean upon them." (Judg 16:26).  After Samson then found the pillars which he indicated he was going to lean upon, he did the following  "And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars upon which the house stood, and on which it was borne up, of the one with his right hand, and of the other with his left.  And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines. And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell..." (Judg 16:29-30).  Samson who had thus lied to his enemies just before his death, is counted as one of the faithful by Paul in Hebrews 11:32.       aX-47
     When the King of Syria sent to take Elisha,  Elisha told them that he would take them to the place and man whom they sought but he rather lead them to Sameria  (2 King 6:19).      aX-47.1
     David in hiding from King Saul told Jonathan to lie to Saul, saying as follows, "  "And David said unto Jonathan, Behold, to morrow is the new moon, and I should not fail to sit with the king at meat: but let me go, that I may hide myself in the field unto the third day at even. {6} If thy father at all miss me, then say, David earnestly asked leave of me that he might run to Bethlehem his city: for there is a yearly sacrifice there for all the family."  (1 Sam 20:5-6).  The Scriptures speaking of David and Jonathan at this time reveal a great love between them saying. "And Jonathan caused David to swear again, because he loved him: for he loved him as he loved his own soul."  (1 Sam 20:17).  How could Jonathan here trust David as David had just got done telling him to lie to Saul?  Note this Scripture says he made David to swear at least twice.  A few days after this the Scriptures speaking of David and Jonathan read, "…and they kissed one another, and wept one with another, until David exceeded.  And Jonathan said to David, Go in peace, forasmuch as we have sworn both of us in the name of the LORD, saying, The LORD be between me and thee, and between my seed and thy seed for ever. And he arose and departed: and Jonathan went into the city."  (1 Sam 20:41-42).  David also told other clear untruths in the time of his fleeing from Saul as given in 1 Sam 21:2 & 1 Sam 27:8-12.     aX-48
     Concerning the time when King David fled from his son Absalom,  David told Hushai the Archite who wanted go with him when he fled, that he rather should return to Jerusalem and give lying advice to Absalom.  David in telling Hushai how to lie to Absalom said,  "say unto Absalom, I will be thy servant, O king; as I have been thy father's servant hitherto, so will I now also be thy servant:"  After Hushai had cunningly given Absalom wrong counsel, that yet looked good, Absalom and his men said as follows,  "...The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithophel. For the LORD had appointed to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel, to the intent that the LORD might bring evil upon Absalom."  (2 Sam 17:14).  Note how this verse states that God had appointed this lying council as a means to defeat the good council of the one who was truly endeavoring to give Absalom good council.       aX-49
     Jehu who was anointed King by the order of prophet Elisha, later in endeavoring to destroy all the prophets of Baal lied as revealed in the following Scripture;      aX-50
     (2 Ki 10:18-19)  "And Jehu gathered all the people together, and said unto them, Ahab served Baal a little; but Jehu shall serve him much. {19} Now therefore call unto me all the prophets of Baal, all his servants, and all his priests; let none be wanting: for I have a great sacrifice to do to Baal; whosoever shall be wanting, he shall not live. But Jehu did it in subtlety, to the intent that he might destroy the worshippers of Baal."  Jehu then after the worshippers of baal were all gathered together, had them all put to death.       aX-51
     Abraham twice spoke a half truth concerning his wife being his sister (Gen 12:13,  20:2&10-12),  Isaac told a total untruth about his wife being his sister (Gen 26:7).       aX-52
     In the Old Testament when God told Samuel to go and anoint David as King, Samuel communicated with God about it as follows;  (1 Sam 16:1-3)  "And the LORD said unto Samuel... ...fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons. {2} And Samuel said, How can I go? if Saul hear it, he will kill me. And the LORD said, Take an heifer with thee, and say, I am come to sacrifice to the LORD. {3} And call Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show thee what thou shalt do: and thou shalt anoint unto me him whom I name unto thee."     aX-53
V     Note how it does not appear that telling lies as above was a sin which God required that His people must confess and repent of.  Concerning those nations whom God had commanded His people to utterly destroy, while His people were actively warring against such nations and destroying them, would God than command that His people dare not lie or say any untruths to them?  Should one think that it were improper to lie or be untruthful  to those whom you were commanded to destroy or seek their destruction?  One should consider that David who was a man after God's own heart, was a man of wars and a man of many lies.  Considering all the above Scriptures and aspects it appears to the writer that in the Old Testament it was proper in some situations for God's people to lie and be untruthful to their enemies or non neighbors.     aX-54
     Although it appears lying was quite often done in the Old Testament, yet when one swore or made an oath, being truthful with such oath was very binding and important.  When Israel had sworn to the Gibeonites that they would not destroy them, Israel honored their oath and did not destroy them, even though the Gibeonites had lied to them concerning the enemies whom they really were (Joshua 9:3-27).  Different examples could be given where an oath was made, which had to be kept and was kept, although keeping it was very difficult and inconvenient.       aX-55
     Since lying was quite often done in particular situations in the Old Testament era,  it appears thus swearing and making oaths was quite an important issue in that era to thereby assure others that a promise or declaration was a truth.       aX-56
     Although the ten commandments teach that one must be truthful to his neighbor and do not emphasize or state such was required with regards to one's enemies, yet numerous Old Testament Scriptures pertaining to truthfulness do not connect such only to neighbors.  Some such Scriptures are given below;     aX-57
     (Psa 101:7)  "He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within my house: he that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight."       aX-58
     (Psa 63:11)  "But the king shall rejoice in God; every one that sweareth by him shall glory: but the mouth of them that speak lies shall be stopped."     aX-59
     (Note although the above two Scriptures might appear to not give any liberty for one to lie to anyone, yet one should consider the above Scriptures both likely were written by David himself, who clearly was untruthful with his enemies.)       aX-60
     (Prov 14:5)  "A faithful witness will not lie: but a false witness will utter lies."     aX-61
     Numerous other Scriptures that advocate truthfulness without speaking of neighbors could also be given.     aX-62

     Yet the following Scriptures again focus on being truthful to one's neighbor.     aX-63
     (Zec 8:16)  "These are the things that ye shall do; Speak ye every man the truth to his neighbour; execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates:"     aX-64
     (Jer 9:5)  "And they will deceive every one his neighbour, and will not speak the truth: they have taught their tongue to speak lies, and weary themselves to commit iniquity."     aX-65

V     The aspect of it being permissible to be untruthful in particular situations, would have made it more tempting to be untruthful in the Old Testament, even in situations wherein they should not have lied or said untruths.  Such possibilities of untruthfulness in the Old Testament would have created a significant or particular need of the act of swearing and making oaths so that man could be assured of what really is the truth.     aX-66

V     In the New Testament, concerning numerous things, God has a much different plan for His people than in the Old Testament.  Article aN pertains to numerous changes in the Old and New Testaments.  Also Part 2 of article aM speaks of how God's people of the New Testament are no longer commanded to fight against or destroy their enemies.  It appears in the New Testament era God has also changed His order concerning swearing and making oaths as is revealed in the following Scriptures;     aX-67
V     (Mat 5:33-37)  "Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself [swear falsely], but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: {34} But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne: {35} Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. {36} Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. {37} But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil."     aX-68
V     (James 5:12)  "But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation."     aX-69
V     Note how these Scriptures teach that the making of oaths and swearing is not a thing to be done in the New Testament.  Also note how these Scriptures appear to not give man liberty in the New Testament to lie to his enemies or in any situation.  The reasons for such a change between the Old and New Testament are considered below.     aX-70
     Concerning how God's people are to treat their enemies in the New Testament as compared to the Old Testament,  Jesus said the following;     aX-71
     (Mat 5:43-44)  "Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. {44} But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;"     aX-72
V     In considering all Scriptures and aspect it is clear that God's people are not to destroy and hate their enemies as in the Old Testament, and also is clear that God's New Testament people neither are permitted to lie or be untruthful to their enemies as before.       aX-73
V     It appears one important reason God has forbidden His people from swearing and making oaths in the New Testament is because such no longer has any need, because now His people are to always be truthful in every situation just as though they actually were swearing or making an oath.  It appears Jesus thus said,     aX-74
V     (Mat 5:34-37)  "But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne: {37} But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil."     aX-75
     Another lessor reason God may have ordained that His people should no longer swear or make oaths is because in the Old Testament swearing may have become a very misused act and become a thing which was done carelessly.  Saul swore to Jonathan that he would not kill David, yet later disregarded his oath and sought to kill David (1 Sam 19:6).  Peter denied that he knew Jesus with an oath (Matt 26:72&74).     aX-76
     In the New Testament the old system of swearing and making oaths to prove that one's statement or declaration is true is outdated, because one's statement or declaration now is always to be true.  Yet it appears in some rare situations, even in the New Testament it might still be proper for God's people to make a statements in a way as to mislead someone.  Yet it appears such statement should be true if understood properly.  Such is considered in paragraphs 90-93 below.     aX-77

 V     Although in the New Testament Christ disregarded the old traditional system of swearing and making oaths to thereby prove one's truthfulness, yet in the New Testament it appears it is proper at times in making a declaration, to add a particular confirming statement to such declaration, to thereby reveal that such declaration was not made thoughtlessly or carelessly but soberly and with meaning.  Such confirming statements might be to say that God is witness to what I say, or any such statement to reveal that what you are saying is being done in carefulness before God.     aX-78
V     Following are Scriptures wherein Paul used particular confirming statements as such to confirm the truth of what he said;     aX-79
     (2 Cor 1:23)  "Moreover I call God for a record upon my soul, that to spare you I came not as yet unto Corinth."     aX-80
     (Gal 1:20)  "Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not."       aX-81
     (2 Cor 11:31)  "The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not."     aX-82
     (1 Tim 2:7)  "Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity."     aX-83
     Although Paul emphasized the truth of what he said as above, one should consider that Paul in the above verses yet did not say,  "I swear by God that these things are truth".  A study of the Greek words used in the above four verses reveals that none of the Greek words used therein are ever translated into the words swearing or oaths.     aX-84
     One should also consider that Jesus as well as the Apostles numerous times used the term of a truth (Luke 4:25, 9:27, 12:44, 21:3, Acts 4:27, 10:34, 1 Cor 14:25).      aX-84.1
     It is quite clear that God's people should never initiate a swearing statement.  Yet one should consider that when the High Priest asked Christ as follows "I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God."  (Matt 26:63),  Jesus although being questioned in a way of swearing as such, did not here make an issue of such but simply answered the question.     aX-85
     Paul said "I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting."  If one in making a emphatic statement would lift up his hands and say "before God I say what is the truth" how would such compare to that swearing which Christ and James said we should no longer do?  If one would raise up his hand and make a statement as such to thereby intentionally connect to the Old Testament system of swearing such would be wrong, yet it someone simply in emphasizing what he said would quite naturally life up his hand and say "before God I say what is the truth", to the writer it does not appear such would necessarily be wrong.     aX-86
     The basic principles of swearing should possibly again be remembered.  One should remember the Hebrew word underlying swearing pertains to repeating a declaration seven times, one should also remember that a most basic principle of swearing likely is to thereby indicate that one's word is as solid and dependable as that thing whereby they are swearing.     aX-87
V     Jesus in asking Peter, if Peter loved Him, was not satisfied with just a simple answer of , "thou knowest that I love thee", but asked Peter this question three times before He felt Peter was answering solemnly enough  (John 21:15-17).  Yet Jesus did not ask Peter to sware that he loved Him, although He did want much more than a thoughtless and careless answer.     aX-88
     It appears that Christ in the New Testament in disregarding swearing and making oaths, was not focusing on disregarding firm and sober statements, but rather was disregarding the old traditional system of swearing and making oaths to thereby prove their statement was not an intentional lie,  and secondly was focusing on establishing that lying no longer was permitted and that thus now one's yea from within should always be stated yea with the mouth, and that one's nay from within should always being stated nay with the mouth.     aX-89

V     Although the Christian's yea and nay is to be yea and nay, yet it appears that Jesus at times made statements that He largely intended to be understood in a very wrong way.  Yet what Jesus said was true if understood according to what Jesus really meant.  Two examples of such misleading statements follow;     aX-90
     (John 2:19-20)  Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.  Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?"  Note Jesus made this statement to the Jews, immediately after he had quite violently cleansed the temple of those who bought and sold therein and was questioned about doing such.  Thus the Jews assuredly thought that Christ was speaking of the Temple He had just cleansed and were so disturbed by this particular statement that they even used this statement as a witness against Christ when they wanted to crucify Him (Matt 27:40).  Yet Jesus was speaking of the temple of His body (John 2:21).     aX-91
     (John 6:52-56)  "The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? {53} Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. {54} Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. {55} For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. {56} He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him."  Verses 60&66 then read,  "Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?  ..From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him."  Jesus after speaking as such, in verse 63 told His disciples   "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life."  Thus Christ here was speaking of eating and drinking the Spirit of Christ that dwelt in Christ's flesh and blood, rather than speaking of eating Christ's literal flesh which Christ said profiteth nothing.       aX-92
V     Possibly the Christian, like Jesus, in some situations can also intentionally mislead his listeners.  Yet such should not be done without a sanctified reason. Although the writer cannot prove that the following story is true, it very well could be true.  This story pertains to a woman making a statement that was worded in a way as to mislead a Communist Officer who was trying to stop Christian gatherings.  The story goes that a Communist Police asked a woman who was going to a secret worship service, where she was going.  She then (likely being given divine help from God), told the officer,  "My brother died and I am going to hear his will being read"  The communist officer totally misunderstood her as he then left her go to the Gospel meeting.  Yet what she said was the truth!  Christ was her brother who had died and she was going to go and hear his will (the Bible) be read!  Is this an example of one by God's divine help being wiser than a serpent and as harmless as a dove?  Although Christians possibly at times can say things as to be misunderstood, yet misleading statements as such are to be exceptional rather than usual, and when the Christian is distinctly questioned his yea must always be yea and his nay always nay.  Jesus removed the tradition and ritual of swearing or oath making in confirming one's yea and nay, and now rather demands one's yea and nay to always be honest.     aX-93


 Chapter 4

     Considers How Binding, Swearing, Oaths, and Vows were in the Old Testament era.
     Considers How Binding Vows or Promises are in the New Testament era.

     In the Old Testament vows or oaths were very binding as revealed in the following Scriptures;     aX-94
     (Num 30:2)  "If a man vow a vow unto the LORD, or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond; he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth."     aX-95
     (Deu 23:21)  "When thou shalt vow a vow unto the LORD thy God, thou shalt not slack to pay it: for the LORD thy God will surely require it of thee; and it would be sin in thee."     aX-96
     (Psa 15:1& 4)  "A Psalm of David. LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill?...  ...He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not."     aX-97

     Yet even in the Old Testament their were those vows or oaths which one might have made, which God did not acknowledge or consider to be valid.  Such vows were those vows made by a daughter or wife, which were made without their father or husbands permission or consent, such as in the following Scriptures;     aX-98
     (Num 30:5)  "But if her father disallow her in the day that he heareth; not any of her vows, or of her bonds wherewith she hath bound her soul, shall stand: and the LORD shall forgive her, because her father disallowed her."     aX-99
     (Num 30:10)  "And if she vowed in her husband's house, or bound her soul by a bond with an oath; ... if her husband hath utterly made them void on the day he heard them; then whatsoever proceeded out of her lips concerning her vows, or concerning the bond of her soul, shall not stand: her husband hath made them void; and the LORD shall forgive her."     aX-100
     (Num 30:12&13)  "But if her husband hath utterly made them void on the day he heard them; then whatsoever proceeded out of her lips concerning her vows, or concerning the bond of her soul, shall not stand: her husband hath made them void; and the LORD shall forgive her. {13} Every vow, and every binding oath to afflict the soul, her husband may establish it, or her husband may make it void."  (Note how this Scripture includes oaths with vows.     aX-101
     According to verses 2 and 3 of the above chapter, it appears the above verses are especially speaking of vows which were made to God.  Note how the above Scriptures reveal that man in the Old Testament could disallow or invalidate his wife's or daughter's vows and oaths.  Also note how these Scriptures reveal that God would forgive the daughter or wife for not carrying out or keeping that vow or promise that she had made to Him, if her father or husband had disallowed or invalidated her vows.     aX-102
     As a wife or daughter does not have the right to make a vow or a oath that is unacceptable to her husband or greater authority and God has given her husband or father the right to disallow and make void her vows, so it is obvious that God who is man's greater authority would have the right to disallow and make void any of man's vows which were made contrary to His will and He could not accept.       aX-103
     Concerning vows or promises in the New Testament, the era wherein one is to no longer swear or make oaths, God also could disallow New Testament vows or promises if they are contrary to his will, as he could have disallowed vows or oaths in the Old Testament.     aX-104

     Considering the making of vows or promises in the New Testament, the Christian obviously should never promise to do something contrary to the will of God.  The Christian obviously always needs to make his promises with the intentions of making them according to the will of God.  Now if the Christian would make a promise with the intent of making it according to the will of God and yet later find that such promise was not according to the will of God should he then be obligated keep that promise?  Should the Christian always make promises, saying this promise yet is subject to it being the will of God?  The answers to these questions will become clearer as numerous aspects will here be considered.         aX-105
     It appears in some situations, for orders sake and so people can work together practically and properly,  promises or agreements need to be made which can fully be depended on largely without exception.  It appears their are times when a Christian might have in ignorance, made a promise which was not wise nor according to the perfect will and wisdom of God, which promise God would yet ordain he should now keep since he had made it, even if such promise would be in some respects be to his own hurt, such as financial loss or difficult labor.  David in speaking of a righteous man in the Old Testament and how he should relate to his promises said,   "...He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not."  (Psa 15:4).  Yet if one would made a promise thinking it was according to the will of God,  if God was displeased with that promise and would not desire him to keep it even though he had already made it, such promise should not be kept.  Such promise would be disallowed of God and void.  Just like a woman in the Old Testament did not have authority to make a vow displeasing to her husband, and her husband could make such vow void, so the Christian does not have authority to make a vow displeasing to His master, Christ, and Christ can also make that vow void.  For example such promise could be a promise of unending submission or loyalty to a particular person or group one might make, thinking it was of God to do so, while later he would find out God clearly had a different plan for him.  In that situation God would need to be followed rather than man, even though he had too fully promised to follow man.       aX-106
     If a non Christian made promises contrary to the will of God, after becoming a Christian those promises would become invalid, because now he is under a new master and those promises made while under the old master cannot be kept.  Yet such does not mean every promise he made being a non Christian, which promises he would not now make, should or could be disregarded.  For example if one being a non Christian promised to pay his friends future ticket to some unedifiying place, even though after being a Christian he should not offer to pay such, yet he likely should pay that ticket because he earlier had promised to do so.  Yet likely he should tell his friend I can no longer pay for such things.  Yet those wrongful promises that one made being a non Christian, which God would judge as improper for him to now keep being a Christian, obviously should not be kept.     aX-107
     Apostle James taught the Christian in making plans should not be too positive or overly certain about them, but rather should remember his plans are always subject to what God allows to happen or allows him to do.  James concerning such said,   "Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: {14} Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. {15} For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. {16} But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil."  (James 4:13-16).  Prov 27:1 reads,  "Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth."     aX-108
     As the Christian in making his plans needs to remember his own inabilities and remember the uncertainties of life, he should also remember such uncertainties and uncontrollable aspects when he makes any vows or promises, and possibly at times should say I will do this if the Lord permits.  Yet such an one would truly need to do his part in keeping the promise he made, so that man can work together properly and practically as God has ordained man should work together.       aX-109
     This article was written in studying what effect and power a marriage vow might have in regards to disallowing, divorces and remarriages.  The writer has learned much in writing this article and hopes the writer also could lean something edifying in reading it.  May God bless the writer as well as the reader to the end that we both can experience God's good plan for us in this present world, and in the end then find our place among the redeemed of the Lord.  Best Wishes.     aX-110


(Count ob  7593    2/17/01)