Lies Lead to Loss of Life
“These are the things that the Son of God says, . . . ‘I am he who searches the inmost thoughts and hearts, and I will give to you individually according to your deeds.’” “As for the cowards and those without faith and those who are disgusting in their filth and murderers and fornicators and those practicing spiritism and idolaters and all the liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur. This means the second death.”—Rev. 2:18, 23; 21:8, NW.
1. What is a lie, and how did lying originate?
A LIE is a false statement made by one to another who is entitled to hear and know the truth and which false statement tends toward injury to the other. A false statement made for the purpose of deceiving and working injury to an innocent person is a deliberate and malicious lie. Therefore lies are man’s great enemy. History well proves this. Jehovah God appointed the covering cherub as man’s overseer in the garden of Eden. Faithfulness to God and duty to man required the covering cherub to tell the truth. Eve, the first woman, was entitled to know the truth. The covering cherub, in effect, stated to Eve that the eating of the forbidden fruit would not result in her death, but that the eating thereof would result in great wisdom to her. By that false statement Eve was deceived and she induced Adam to join her. A false statement resulted in their death and brought suffering and death upon all mankind. The covering cherub’s statement to Eve was therefore a deliberate, wicked and malicious lie. It was the beginning of lying.
2. What did Jehovah require of Adam and Eve, and why was it reasonable?
2 What was the truth? The truth was that God placed the first man, Adam, and his wife, Eve, in the garden of Eden. Adam was under a test in Eden, a test of his integrity and obedience. This would prove whether he was worthy to live in the paradise of Eden. God declared his law concerning the tree of knowledge of good and bad, making that a forbidden tree. “And Jehovah God proceeded to take the man and settle him in the garden of Eden to cultivate it and to take care of it. And Jehovah God also laid this command upon the man: ‘From every tree of the garden you may eat to satisfaction. But as for the tree of the knowledge of good and bad you must not eat from it, for in the day you eat from it you will positively die.’” (Gen. 2:15-17, NW) This shows that Adam was not deprived of anything necessary to him by being barred from eating of this tree, for there was plenty of other food for him. But God made the simple requirement that he must not eat of this fruit while it was prohibited. As for having knowledge of good and bad, Adam could leave that safely with God without fear of anyone’s accusing him of being ignorant. Actually God allowed Adam freedom of choice, whether he would eat from it or not. God did not tempt Adam to be disobedient or wicked by putting this tree of knowledge in the garden, because there were many other trees to eat from; but God encouraged him to obedience and faithfulness to the supreme Jehovah by warning him of the penalty of eating of the forbidden fruit.
3. How did the defection of the covering cherub come about?
3 Some may wonder how the perfect creation of God, the covering cherub, could turn away from perfection and become evil and originate lies. We find the explanation in the symbolic words concerning the king of Tyre: “Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till unrighteousness was found in thee. By the abundance of thy traffic they filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore have I cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God; and I have destroyed thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Thy heart was lifted up because of thy beauty; thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I have cast thee to the ground; I have laid thee before kings, that they may behold thee. By the multitude of thine iniquities, in the unrighteousness of thy traffic, thou hast profaned thy sanctuaries; therefore have I brought forth a fire from the midst of thee; it hath devoured thee, and I have turned thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee. All they that know thee among the peoples shall be astonished at thee: thou art become a terror, and thou shalt nevermore have any being.” (Ezek. 28:15-19, AS) From this we see how the covering cherub in Eden developed an impure heart condition and was lifted up with pride at all the wonderful endowments he received from Jehovah God. He became blinded by this and engaged in a wrongful course. The covering cherub became selfish and wanted to be worshiped just as God was by Adam and Eve. Greedy for selfish gain, he was willing to capture Adam and Eve, take them away from God and sell them into the service of sin for the price of worship of him as god. He did violence to the interests of Adam and Eve by murderously lying to them and turning them to the course that would lead to their destruction and to death of all their offspring. For this great crime the covering cherub, grown proud and selfish, brings destruction upon himself, which was foreshadowed in Ezekiel 28 by the destruction of the king of Tyre. It was not God who created Satan the Devil. The anointed covering cherub in Eden made himself that wicked one.
4. Who is Satan, and how does he work to achieve his ends?
4 Thus Satan the Devil, the liar and slanderer, came into existence, and at the time of Adam and Eve’s joining together and eating of the forbidden fruit a corrupt world came into existence. Satan the Devil became the god of the corrupt system of things. From that time onward the worlds that have existed have been worlds under the jurisdiction of Satan the Devil, worlds based on lies, deception, violence, greed and murder. Through his lies, violence and deception Satan has maintained control of the wicked system of things and has done everything possible to try to corrupt those whom Almighty God has brought into the worship of himself in purity and truth. The Bible tells us that Satan transforms himself into an angel of light in order to try to deceive creatures. The extent to which this wicked one will go in his activities is shown in his temptation of Jesus, as recorded in Matthew 4. The wicked one went so far as to quote Scripture in an effort to break down the integrity of God’s Son, Jesus. Satan showed his dominion or authority over the kingdoms of this world by offering the rulership of all of these to Christ Jesus, but this too was done in deception. Satan was interested only in bringing about the destruction of Jesus, which would have been the result had Jesus turned away from his Father in heaven. It was another wicked and malicious act on the part of the Devil, the old traitor. But Jesus did not fall for this line of deception practiced by Satan. Instead he used the most powerful force in existence to combat lies, namely the truth, God’s Word. And he quoted the Bible, God’s Word, in answering every temptation that Satan placed before him.
5. Was Jesus aware of the wiles of Satan?
5 Because Jesus, the Word of God, had been with his Father in heaven from the time of creation, he was well aware of the activities practiced by this one who had become Satan. He knew that Satan the Serpent is the most fertile of all liars. From the very time when Satan induced Eve to take of the forbidden fruit he became a liar. His first lie resulted in murder. So Jesus stated the truth concerning Satan very well when he said: “That one was a manslayer when he began, and he did not stand fast in the truth, because truth is not in him. When he speaks the lie, he speaks according to his own disposition, because he is a liar and the father of the lie.” We do not want to have Satan as our father by becoming liars like him. As a warning to us Jesus told the chief men or clergy of the Jews in his day: “You are from your father the Devil and you wish to do the desires of your father.” He that has God as his father sees God’s Word and obeys the truth. But those who repeat Satan’s lies prove themselves to be the children of the Devil.—John 8:44, NW.
6. How does Jehovah expose the children of the Devil?
6 In these days there are many wicked men who speak lies, identifying themselves as of their father the Devil. “The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies.” (Ps. 58:3, AS) Some of them, like the Devil, try to be bearers of light and they try to add to God’s Word in order to make themselves appear to be right and truthful. But Jehovah does not allow these men to get away with their wicked schemes. He turns the light of truth from his Word upon what they say and his Word of truth reproves wicked men and shows them up to be liars. “Every word of God is tried: he is a shield unto them that take refuge in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.”—Prov. 30:5, 6, AS.
7. Prove from the Bible that Jehovah is against lying.
7 Because he is the father of truth, Jehovah God hates a lying tongue or a false witness that speaks lies. Proverbs 6:16-19 (AS) says: “There are six things which Jehovah hateth; yea, seven which are an abomination unto him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood; a heart that deviseth wicked purposes, feet that are swift in running to mischief, a false witness that uttereth lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.” Men may lie, but it is not because Jehovah God wants them to. God is not a liar. He expects men to tell the truth, too.—Num. 23:19; 1 Sam. 15:29; Rom. 3:4; Titus 1:2; Heb. 6:18.
8. What is one way creatures prove they are followers of Christ?
8 Jesus originated with Jehovah, his Father in heaven, so he made a clear distinction between truth and lies. In reply to a question recorded in John 18:37 (NW), he stated the truth. “Therefore Pilate said to him: ‘Well, then, are you a king?’ Jesus answered: ‘It is for you to say that I am a king. For this purpose I have been born and for this purpose I have come into the world that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone that is on the side of the truth listens to my voice.’” Thus representatives of Almighty God hear and speak the truth. They do not lie. They follow in the footsteps of Christ Jesus, who did not lie to anyone.
9. How can we protect ourselves from lies?
9 Because truth originates with God and lies originate with Satan, it follows that all doctrine and teachings of men that are contrary to the Word of God are false teachings. If such doctrines or teachings tend to do injury to others, then such doctrines or teachings are lies. The Word of God is true and that is our measuring rod. What is contrary to the Word of God is a lie and it proceeds from the Devil. It is for our own welfare that we abandon everything having to do with lies and stick close to the truth. Christians should not believe things merely because they are said or printed, but must judge what are true by their conformity to the Scriptures. The Bereans did that, as we read at Acts 17:11 (NW): “Now the latter were more nobleminded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with the greatest readiness of mind, carefully examining the Scriptures daily as to whether these things were so.” The advice in 1 Thessalonians 5:20-22 (NW) is that we should not treat prophesyings with contempt, but make sure of all things and hold fast to what is right. Then we shall keep ourselves free from every form of wickedness, including lying.
10, 11. (a) Give examples showing how lies work injury. (b) What is the end of false prophets?
10 It is only those who do not consider God’s Word who are injured by these false prophets and lying representatives of Satan. One of God’s servants is mentioned in 1 Kings 13. He received God’s Word but chose instead to follow a false prophet, to follow a lie. The lie worked injury to him and brought about his death. (1 Ki. 13:18, 24) This shows that God’s servants should be satisfied with his Word, not go listening to lying false prophets, because lies work injury and lead to death.
11 In the days of Jeremiah there were false prophets who tried to keep the people from doing what God’s prophet Jeremiah told them to do. These false prophets worked injury to the people and brought about the destruction of many. Through his prophet God warned the people against these lies, but yet most of the people chose to listen to the lies anyway. Liar prophets may prosper for a time, but they are doomed by Jehovah’s judgment. False witnesses cannot escape Jehovah’s just judgments at any time. That happened to false prophets in the days of Jeremiah.—Ps. 101:7, 8; Prov. 19:5, 9; Jer. 27:10, 14-16; 28:15; 29:31, 32; Hos. 4:1, 2.
12, 13. How do the false prophets fool some people, but how does the Bible outline a course for Christians to follow that protects from injury by false prophets?
12 Although false prophets and false witnesses must suffer punishment from Jehovah at Armageddon and will meet death, for a time they may be teaching falsehoods such as purgatory, eternal torment, universal salvation, trinity, evolution, and the use of images. (Jer. 10:14) They may say that God is not interested in what is happening on the earth and that he will never destroy the wicked. (Ps. 10:4, 13, 15) They may say there will never be a battle of Armageddon such as the Bible teaches. They may hide themselves behind a great refuge of lies and fool some people, but this will not keep God’s hard-smiting truths from exposing them and it will not free them from destruction when God’s due time for it arrives. They will not be able to hide from Jehovah.—Isa. 28:15-17.
13 Liars may seem to prosper for a moment, but no one should be deceived. No one should allow lies to turn him away from true worship of Almighty God. Yet many have. The majority of the people in the world today do not carry on pure worship. Through his Word Jehovah foretold at 1 Timothy 4 that in later periods of time some would fall away from the faith, paying attention to misleading inspired utterances and teachings of demons by the hypocrisy of men who speak lies. The last days are critical days hard to deal with and they are here. “Wicked men and impostors will advance from bad to worse, misleading and being misled. You, however, continue in the things you learned and were persuaded to believe, knowing from what persons you learned them and that from infancy you have known the holy writings which are able to make you wise for salvation through the faith in connection with Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness, that the man of God may be fully competent, completely equipped for every good work.” “Keep holding the pattern of healthful words which you heard from me with the faith and love that are in connection with Christ Jesus. This beautiful trust guard through the holy spirit which is dwelling in us.”—2 Tim. 3:13-17; 1:13, 14, NW.
14. What does Jehovah allow now, and why?
14 Today men must choose whether they will serve God and live or will serve the adversary liar, Satan the Devil, and be put to death. People who have righteous hearts and love true doctrine and righteousness are taking up the pure worship of Almighty God, Jehovah, studying his Word and seeking to do his will. They are defending themselves against lies. On the other hand, there are those who prefer to choose lies and who base their worship on falsehoods. These are such as are mentioned in Romans 1:25, who exchanged the truth for a lie and who practiced the desire of their hearts, uncleanness. God allows them to go in their evil way, building up a record against them in the time of judgment. They succumb to the lies of Satan. “But the lawless one’s presence is according to the operation of Satan with every powerful work and lying signs and wonders and with every unrighteous deception for those who are perishing, as a retribution because they did not accept the love of the truth that they might be saved. So that is why God lets an operation of error go to them that they may get to believing the lie, in order that they all may be judged because they did not believe the truth but took pleasure in unrighteousness.”—2 Thess. 2:9-12, NW.
15. (a) Do liars deceive Jehovah? (b) On what basis will Jehovah reward creatures, and what does this mean for the liars?
15 Jehovah is not fooled. Jehovah knows exactly what the desire of the heart of each and every individual is, and it is on the basis of this that men are judged. “For Jehovah searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts. If thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.” (1 Chron. 28:9, AS) Those with evil hearts and unclean motives are not going to be able to live in God’s new world of righteousness. It is only those who are righteous, clean and truthful that will gain entrance into the new world. “Happy are those who wash their robes, that the authority to go to the trees of life may be theirs and that they may gain entrance into the city by its large gates. Outside are the dogs and those who practice spiritism and the fornicators and the murderers and the idolaters and everyone liking and carrying on a lie.” (Rev. 22:14, 15, NW) Those who practice lying and other forms of evil associated together in this old world under Satan are going to have the reward according to their deeds. Jehovah leaves no question about that. “These are the things that the Son of God says, . . . ‘I am he who searches the inmost thoughts and hearts, and I will give to you individually according to your deeds.’”—Rev. 2:18, 23, NW.