THE NINTH COMMANDMENT
This is my seventeenth post on the Ten Commandments using Buddy Dano’s study: FOR THE LAND OF THE FREE: THE TEN COMMANDMENTS OF FREEDOM and the only one dealing with the ninth commandment.
As usual I have decided to add a little bit of my commentary to what Pastor Dano has written. Pastor Dano’s point all along has been that the Ten Commandments are set up to protect the Divine Institutions:
In today’s installment which deals with the ninth commandment, Pastor Dano does a very good job of relating the command to “not bear false witness” with the fourth divine institution of the nation.
While reading this I thought it would he helpful to review the biblical purpose of the nation. What I am trying to do is build a case for why, from a biblical perspective, perjury (bearing false witness) is destructive of the very purpose that God created nations for.
From what little I know it seems that most philosophers have chipped in opinions over the centuries as to why governments (nations) exist but the biblical reason is straight forward:
The new beginning with Noah and his sons also marked the progression and the unfolding of the divine purpose in human history. In Noah and his family for the first time were exercised the prerogatives of human government, the right of man to rule his fellow men. Adam had been given the charge to “subdue” the earth (Genesis 1:28), but he did not properly execute his responsibility. The commission, therefore, was renewed with enlargement to Noah in Genesis 9:1-6 embodied in the dictum, “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man” (Genesis 9:6).
The sword of divine retribution was placed in the hand of man in an attempt to control the natural lawlessness of the human heart. The principle of government thus introduced is reinforced throughout the Scriptures and is reiterated in Romans 13:1-7. In Romans the political ruler is declared to be “ordained of God” (Romans 13:1) and “the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil” (Romans 13:4). The human conscience proved unreliable when operating individually and thus the corporate responsibility of human government was introduced.
John F. Walvoord
Chapter II The Beginnings Of The Nations
Here are two of the passages that Dr. Walvoord mentions:
5 I will require the life of every animal and every man for your life and your blood. I will require the life of each man’s brother for a man’s life.
6 Whoever sheds man’s blood,
his blood will be shed by man,
for God made man in His image.
4 For government is God’s servant to you for good. But if you do wrong [evil], be afraid, because it does not carry the sword for no reason. For government is God’s servant, an avenger that brings wrath on the one who does wrong [evil].
If the purpose of a government is to punish evil and if that evil has to be proven in court using witnesses, then perjury would pervert the justice system and nullify God’s fundamental purpose for government.
I have probably gone on for too long on this point but I want to provide one more resource. I recommend that those of you who are interested in reading about the ninth commandment in more depth follow the link and read “The Sanctity of Truth.” I won’t ruin it for you but, as a teaser, Bob Deffinbaugh provides four reasons that perjury should be regarded as a serious offense by the Christian:
1. Truthful testimony is essential for a just trial.
2. Just trials are essential for righteousness to prevail in any nation.
3. False testimony is a barrier between man and God, which hinders his worship.
4. False testimony is a violation of the rights of the falsely accused, which can do great harm.
Here is Pastor Dano:
THE NINTH COMMANDMENT
‘‘Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.’’
The first principle that must be understood here is the principle of ‘‘thy neighbor.’’ This does not refer to the person next door, but to persons of the same national entity, and might be translated ‘‘fellow citizens.’’ ‘‘Thy neighbor’’ recognizes that law must exist in the framework of national entities, and any law that breaks down the boundaries of a national entity is an attack upon our freedom.
Therefore, the United Nations is an attack upon our freedom. The United Nations has no legal jurisdiction under God, as per Genesis 10:32. ‘‘These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations: and by these were the nations divided in the Earth after the flood.’’
Any time you have a United Nations organization, a League of Nations organization, trying to pass or enforce laws, you are actually witnessing a concept forbidden by the Word of God and actively promoted by Satan. Satan is the author of internationalism.
God has ordained the principle of national entities for the protection of human freedom. Acts 17:26, ‘‘And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the Earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation.’’ National law must exist within the national entity and must never overlap into another national entity. ‘‘Thou shalt not bear false witness.’’ This means literally, ‘‘to answer as a false witness,’’ ‘‘to give testimony under law.’’
The principle of objectivity in law demands that a person is innocent until proven guilty. The person must be demonstrated guilty through proper law of evidence furnished through accurate testimony in court. The guilt to the defendant must be established apart from hearsay. Evidence is gathered through testimony, and that testimony must be proved. Correct administration of law demands truthful evidence, and evidence demands truth upon which to make a judgment.
The literal translation of this commandment should read, ‘‘Thou shalt not answer, in a court of law, against your fellow citizen as a false witness.’’ Law based on biblical principles does not encroach upon freedom. IT PRESERVES FREEDOM. Many of our laws today are an encroachment upon our freedom and privacy, rather that the protection of them, which again points out the intensity of our times.
The final commandment in the ‘‘Magna Carta of Freedom’’ establishes the individual right of privacy, property, person and possessions.