When To Lie

Just a quick copy/paste from The Path of Truth.

…some may be surprised at the lies and deception practiced in the Scriptures by several persons of faith, some in the service of God, even commissioned at His throne in Heaven.

We had debate with a fellow who stalwartly condemned falsifying information of any kind under any circumstances. “A lie is a lie is a lie,” he insisted, “and any lie is sin.”

“But, Akaid,” I replied, “if a sin brings death, then a lie told to save a life would destroy the liar, wouldn’t it? If any lie is sin, and the wages of sin is death, then why would God bless or keep someone who tried to do good by lying, or at least, wasn’t trying to do harm, perhaps only trying to defeat the enemy and save himself by deception?”

Akaid would hear none of it. To him a lie was sin, period. I replied with several examples of lying in Scripture:

And here, Victor Hafichuk (the writer) list (among others):

Abraham

Genesis 12:10-20 MKJV

[I usually snip out the actual text in these quotes]

Genesis 20:1-18 ESV

Issac

Genesis 26:6-14 ESV

Jacob and Rebekah

Genesis 27:1-29 MKJV

Jacob

Genesis 30:31-43 MKJV

The brothers of Joseph

Genesis 37:23-36 MKJV

Note that their lie was wicked, but as Hafichuk notes:

God was working their lying and treachery for their own good. Who would have known? Did that exonerate them from the evil they did their brother? No; they suffered with guilty consciences over the matter. They were judged, not for condemnation, but salvation.

Judah and Tamar

Genesis 38:1-30 MKJV

How about this piece of deceit, which God didn’t condemn, but used to produce the lineage of King David, leading to the Messiah?

The Midwives of Egypt

And here is the event of the Hebrew midwives, where God blessed them for lying to save the male Hebrew children at birth. Would you accuse God of rewarding sin? Was it evil of the midwives to save lives?

Exodus 1:15-21 MKJV

Moses, under God’s Command

The blog writer states:

God instructed Moses as follows: “…and you shall come, you and the elders of Israel, unto the king of Egypt, and you shall say unto him, ‘The LORD God of the Hebrews has met with us: and now let us go, we beseech you, three days’ journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God’” (Exodus 3:18 KJV).

What is this? Wasn’t God intending to take His people out of Egypt altogether, to the land of milk and honey? He had said earlier:

“And I am coming down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, to bring them up out of that land, to a good land, a large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites and the Jebusites” (Exodus 3:8 MKJV).

Why the deception? But Moses obeyed and Pharaoh refused. Thereafter Moses never revealed God’s true purpose for Israel, nor was he commanded to. But all of God’s words were fulfilled: “And the LORD said to Moses, Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh. For with a strong hand he shall let them go, and with a strong hand he shall drive them out of his land” (Exodus 6:1 MKJV).

Coupling this example with the midwives, I suggest that the willfully wicked have no right to the truth, when they plan to use it to promote evil and violate the laws of God.

Rahab the Harlot

Joshua 2:1-24 MKJV

Rahab lied in faith, and not only so, she was praised of God and rewarded for it. God doesn’t reward sin, does He?

No, God never rewards sin.

Thus, it is proven that Rahab did no sin in lying to protect the spies, whatsoever.

Samuel and God

1 Samuel 16:1-3 MKJV

(1) And the LORD said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and go. I will send you to Jesse of Bethlehem. For I have seen a king for Me among his sons.”
(2) And Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears, he will kill me.” And the LORD said, “Take a heifer of the herd in your hand with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.’
(3) And call Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do. And you shall anoint for Me whomever I name to you.”

What? Does God instruct His servants, the prophets, to practice deception?

Deceiving the wicked, determined in his way to violate the commandments of God, is no sin.

David, the Man after God’s Heart

1 Samuel 21:1-6 MKJV

Here, David lies directly to the high priest of Israel: but as there was no evil in it, there was no sin.

1 Samuel 21:10-15 MKJV

1 Samuel 27:1-12 MKJV

[snip]

(8) And David and his men went up and invaded the Geshurites, and the Gezrites, and the Amalekites. For they were the inhabitants of the land from the past days, as you come into Shur, even into the land of Egypt.
(9) And David struck the land, and did not keep alive man nor woman, and took away the sheep and the oxen and the asses and the camels and the clothing, and returned and came to Achish.
(10) And Achish said, “Where have you made a raid today?” And David said, “Against the south of Judah, and against the south of the Jerahmeelites, and against the south of the Kenites.”
(11) And David did not keep alive man or woman to bring news to Gath, saying, “Lest they should tell on us, saying, ‘So David did,’” and so has been his custom all the days he lived in the fields of the Philistines.
(12) And Achish believed David, saying, “He has made himself to be hated among his people Israel, and has become my servant forever.”

While the Laws of God are definitely in force today, and deception is still needed on occasion today as in David’s time, genocide isn’t. To find out why — and to learn from a fine demonstration of rightly diving the word of truth — read Joel McDurmon’s The Bounds of Love.

David’s General Joab and the Women of Tekoa

These people lied to their king. What shall be done with them? What did David do?

2 Samuel 14:1-21 MKJV

David’s Direction to Hushai the Archite

How much clearer does it get that all lies are not sin, when David counsels others to lie, as in the following episode?:

2 Samuel 15:31-34 ESV
(31) And it was told David, “Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom.” And David said, “O LORD, please turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness.”
(32) While David was coming to the summit, where God was worshiped, behold, Hushai the Archite came to meet him with his coat torn and dirt on his head.
(33) David said to him, “If you go on with me, you will be a burden to me.
(34) But if you return to the city and say to Absalom, ‘I will be your servant, O king; as I have been your father’s servant in time past, so now I will be your servant,’ then you will defeat for me the counsel of Ahithophel.”

And here’s what happened by David’s deliberate deceit, which God blessed:

“And Absalom and all the men of Israel said, ‘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 on Absalom” (2 Samuel 17:14 MKJV).

It didn’t stop there. God also prospered a woman who lied in order to hide David’s messengers from Absalom:

2 Samuel 17:15-21 ESV
(15) Then Hushai said to Zadok and Abiathar the priests, “Thus and so did Ahithophel counsel Absalom and the elders of Israel, and thus and so have I counseled.
(16) Now therefore send quickly and tell David, ‘Do not stay tonight at the fords of the wilderness, but by all means pass over, lest the king and all the people who are with him be swallowed up.’”
(17) Now Jonathan and Ahimaaz were waiting at En-rogel. A female servant was to go and tell them, and they were to go and tell King David, for they were not to be seen entering the city.
(18) But a young man saw them and told Absalom. So both of them went away quickly and came to the house of a man at Bahurim, who had a well in his courtyard. And they went down into it.
(19) And the woman took and spread a covering over the well’s mouth and scattered grain on it, and nothing was known of it.
(20) When Absalom’s servants came to the woman at the house, they said, “Where are Ahimaaz and Jonathan?” And the woman said to them, “They have gone over the brook of water.” And when they had sought and could not find them, they returned to Jerusalem.
(21) After they had gone, the men came up out of the well, and went and told King David. They said to David, “Arise, and go quickly over the water, for thus and so has Ahithophel counseled against you.”

What is this about “bringing evil on Absalom”? Carnal minds argue that God doesn’t bring evil on anyone.

Some people don’t know God very well, do they…..

His Word, however, dismisses the arguments of self-appointed do-gooders who parade their righteousnesses by presuming to defend or exonerate God. All they do is demonstrate that their trust isn’t in God, but in the letter according to their own interpretation.

And this is the core of the issue.

Nathan the Prophet and Bathsheba

1 Kings 1:1-34 ESV

Solomon, in His Wisdom, Lies

1 Kings 3:16-27 MKJV

A Prophet Creates a Ruse

Not only does this prophet come to the king of Israel deceitfully, but the serious cause for this artifice is solemnly backed by the Lord.

1 Kings 20:35-42 MKJV
(35) And a certain man of the sons of the prophets said to his neighbor, “By the Word of the LORD, please strike me!” And the man refused to strike him.
(36) And he said to him, “Because you have not obeyed the voice of the LORD, behold, as soon as you have departed from me, a lion shall kill you.” And as soon as he had departed from him, a lion found him and killed him.

Why do people never take God seriously?

People need to take God seriously.

(37) And he found another man and said, “Please strike me.” And the man struck him, so that he wounded him in striking him.
(38) And the prophet went and waited for the king by the wayside, and disguised himself with ashes on his face.
(39) And as the king passed by, it happened he cried to the king. And he said, “Your servant went out into the middle of the battle, and, behold, a man turned aside and brought a man to me and said, ‘Keep this man. If he is missing by any means, then your life shall be for his life, or else you shall pay a talent of silver.’
(40) And it happened as your servant was busy here and there, he was gone!” And the king of Israel said to him, “So shall your judgment be; you yourself have decided it.”
(41) And he hurried and took the ashes away from his face. And the king of Israel saw that he was one of the prophets.
(42) And he said to him, “So says the LORD, ‘Because you have let go out of your hand a man whom I devoted to destruction, therefore your life shall be for his life, and your people for his people.’”

Why do kings never take God seriously?

Kings need to take God seriously.

Elisha

2 Kings 6:14-19 MKJV

2 Kings 6:20-23 MKJV

Jehu, King of Israel

Did Jehu sin in using deception in order to do God’s will, destroying Baal worship in Israel, a worship for which capital punishment was prescribed?

2 Kings 10:18-28 MKJV
(18) And Jehu gathered all the people together, and said to them, “Ahab served Baal a little, but Jehu shall serve him much.
(19) And now call to me all the prophets of Baal, all his servants and all his priests. Let no one be lacking. For I have a great sacrifice to Baal. Whoever shall be lacking, he shall not live.” But Jehu was acting with cunning, to the end that he might destroy the worshipers of Baal.
(20) And Jehu said, “Call a solemn feast for Baal.” And they called it.
(21) And Jehu sent through all Israel. And all the worshipers of Baal came, so that there was not a man left who did not come. And they came into the house of Baal. And the house of Baal was full from one end to another.
(22) And he said to him who was over the robe-room, “Bring out robes for all the worshipers of Baal.” And he brought them out for them.
(23) And Jehu went, and Jehonadab the son of Rechab, into the house of Baal. And he said to the servants of Baal, “Search and look, that there may not be here with you any of the servants of the LORD, but only the servants of Baal.”
(24) And they went in to offer sacrifices and burnt offerings. And Jehu had appointed eighty men outside, and said, “If any of the men whom I have brought into your hands escapes, his life shall be for the life of him.”
(25) And it happened when he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, Jehu said to the guard and to the commanders, “Go in. Kill them! Do not let any come out!” And they struck them with the edge of the sword. And the guard and the commanders threw them out. And they went to the city, to the house of Baal.
(26) And they brought forth the images out of the house of Baal and burned them.
(27) And they broke down the image of Baal, and broke down the house of Baal and made it a sewer-house until this day.
(28) And Jehu destroyed Baal out of Israel.

Appointed by God to do so.

God really does hate evil. He really, really does, as His character has not changed in all these years.

With Christ, there are more effective ways to bring about the same end than a singing sword… but the goal is still the same. The end of idolatry, the destruction of Satan’s kingdom, the supremacy of Christ and His Father over all.

Jeremiah

In the book of Jeremiah, we see that he obeyed God at the peril of his life, yet we see here that he told a lie, and lived:

Jeremiah 38:24-28 MKJV
(24) Then Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, “Let no man know of these words, and you shall not die.
(25) But if the rulers hear that I have talked with you, and they come to you and say to you, ‘Declare to us now what you have said to the king; do not hide it from us, and we will not put you to death; also what the king said to you’;
(26) then you shall say to them, ‘I presented my cry before the king, that he would not cause me to return to Jonathan’s house, to die there.’”
(27) Then all the rulers came to Jeremiah and asked him. And he told them according to all these words that the king had commanded. So they quit speaking with him; for the matter was not known.
(28) So Jeremiah stayed in the court of the prison until the day that Jerusalem was captured. And he was there when Jerusalem was captured.

Jeremiah was a prophet who obeyed the will of God.

The Apostle Paul Confesses Guile

The apostle Paul said he caught men with guile for the Gospel’s sake. So is guile, a form of lying, necessarily evil? Don’t the self-righteous give glory to the letter without justification, not considering the spirit and motive?

The quote Hafichuk s referring to is II Corinthians 12:16. From the KJV

But be it so, I did not burden you: nevertheless, being crafty, I caught you with guile.

A little guile goes a long way!

Men are Indeed Held Accountable by God for Lying

Acts 5:1-10 MKJV

Here, Ananias & Sapphira are executed by God for lying to Him.

So don’t lie to God, and don’t lie to promote evil, or to evade justice. Simple!

Does God Lie, or Is He Responsible for Lying?

Will you also tell me that God sins by directing spirits to lie? We need to put away the thoughts and words of men, which come from the darkness of their self-righteousness. Read what the Word of God says here:

1 Kings 22:19-23 MKJV
(19) And he said, “Hear therefore the Word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing by Him on His right hand and on His left.
(20) And the LORD said, ‘Who shall entice Ahab that he may go up and fall at Ramoth in Gilead?’ And one said this way, and another said that way.
(21) And there came forth a spirit and stood before the LORD and said, ‘I will entice him.’
(22) And the LORD said to him, ‘With what?’ And he said, ‘I will go forth and will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ And He said, ‘You shall entice him and succeed also. Go forth and do so.’”
(23) And now, behold, the LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these your prophets, and the LORD has spoken evil concerning you.

There are yet other examples of lies, judged in the letter as sin, but judged in the spirit as righteousness.

A lie isn’t a lie in the act so much as in the motive. Several of the faithful lied, as we pointed out, but why did they lie? That’s the question that determines a lie from a lie and good from evil. Rahab, Jeremiah, Jehu, David, Nathan, Sarah, Abraham, Isaac, Rebekah, and Jacob all lied, but they didn’t lie. They weren’t withholding the truth to do evil, but to avoid it.

On the other hand, Satan often speaks the truth to do evil – such conduct is a specialty of his, as in Eden – “You’ll become as God, knowing good and evil,” which was true! He also quoted truly from Psalms when tempting Jesus. He takes the truth of the letter and applies it with devious motive. Men in his stead do that all the time.

So while one condemns lying by the letter for goodness’ sake, will he also commend one for telling the truth for evil’s sake? You can’t have it both ways.

So the points of this paper:

  • It’s not about our righteousness.
  • One can’t judge by appearances.
  • One mustn’t be bound by the letter.
  • One can’t discount the value of a lie, if done for good.
  • One must receive true understanding of what is a lie.
  • Finally, you’ll notice that the opening verses of this paper show a significant, not-to-be-ignored difference in translations concerning God lying:
    • “On hope of eternal life, which God, Who cannot lie, promised before the eternal times” (Titus 1:2 MKJV).
    • “On hope of eternal life which the God Who does not lie promised before the eternal times” (Titus 1:2 LITV).
    • “In the hope of eternal life, which was made certain before eternal time, by the Word of God Who is ever true” (Titus 1:2 BBE).

You see the difference between inability to lie, as expressed in the MKJV, the practice of not lying, as expressed in the LITV (which doesn’t mean the inability to do so), and the fact that God is ever true, as the BBE renders it (even while God may lie as men perceive it). According to man’s thinking, God does lie, as in the case of sending a lying spirit to deceive Ahab. However, it is not lying in motive. Let’s learn wisdom and embrace His perspective and ways.

A word of warning: Anyone who decides to take this paper and lie to do any evil will perish in his evil-doing. Hypocrites and evil workers can’t lie to God or man for evil’s sake and get away with it. God isn’t to be deceived. One reaps multiplied what he sows.

I will trust the Word of God over the blather of men, regardless of their wealth or power or academic credentials or media endorsements.

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