Bearing False Witness
By Bro. David Andrew Douglas
(From his Dec. 2009 "Let There Be Light" Newsletter
Bearing false witness can appear in several common circumstances. In a court of law each witness is required to swear an oath signifying they are telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth. It is perjury to testify by making false, fraudulent, or fictitious statements. In business, it is fraud to misrepresent any product or service you are measuring, selling, or contracting. In society in general, it is considered wrong to bear false witness about your neighbor or to pass along spicy tidbits of information that are not true.
These general circumstances are very common to most folks and most people realize they are against the principles and instructions of Yahweh given in Scripture. But today I would like to address another more subtle circumstance regarding bearing false witness. I am going to approach it from the context of "Inside the Assembly/-Congregation" in the realm of organized religion.
The dictionary defines religion this way: "(1) belief in G-d/Yahweh or gods/elohim to be worshipped, usually expressed in conduct or ritual; (2) any specific system of belief, worship, etc." Fundamentally then, what you believe is your religion...because that is what you will act upon.
Specifically though, I want to focus on what the Scriptures truly say and mean, not what many different sects "say they say and mean." The Bible is a Hebrew book that was written and recorded by Hebrews for the Hebrews and anyone else who attached themselves to the nation of Israel. It is a grave injustice to ignore the Hebrew context, customs, definitions and idioms. The truth recorded in the Scriptures cannot be changed by a man, a group, an organization, or by false testimony. Truth is always truth and reigns supreme. You can't even "birth" a lie but what the Truth reveals the lie. All lies and false testimony are by definition perversions and twists of the Truth. The Hebrew word translated "testimonies" is derived from the Hebrew verb which means "to witness" or "to testify." This refers directly to the Ten Command-ments called the "Two Tablets of the Testimony."
In Exodus 20:16, the Ninth Commandment reads: "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor." In fact, no one should ever bear false witness against anyone or anything. This explicitly means that inside our Assemblies and behind our pulpits no one should ever testify to any-thing that the Sacred Scriptures do not validate and confirm. All of the Commandments - the instructions for righteous living - are to be taught and obeyed. Whenever we testify to and teach the revelation of Yahweh in Psalm 119 for instance, i.e., the (a) testimonies (b) precepts, (c) law/torah instructions, (d) statutes, (e) commandments, (f) judgments, (g) way, and (h) word, we must tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth. See psalm 119:142, 151. Those words all meant exactly what Yahweh said. If we misrepresent His meaning and message in any way - if we fail to teach obedience to all the commandments - if we misrepresent the character of Yahshua - then we are bearing false witness.
The testimony of Yahshua was always 100% true.Every-thing He said and did was in complete agreement with Yahweh the Father. John 5:19, 30, 43; 6:38; 7:16-17. Yahshua clearly tells us that HaSatan will make war against the remnant of true Israel, and that the true saints are the ones "which keep the commandments of Yahweh, and have the testimony of Yahshua," Rev. 12:17. He also tells us that the true Assembly, the true believing remnant of Israel and all individuals who have been grafted into the Commonwealth of Israel as adopted sons and daughters, will overcome HaSatan by the blood of the Lamb, and BY THE WORD OF THEIR TESTIMONY...those who loved not their own lives unto death. See Eph. 2:10-13 and Rev. 12:11. So what we teach and testify about Yahshua and the Sacred Scriptures takes on great significance.
You may have heard it said that if you have been taught incorrectly or incompletely, it is impossible to believe correctly. Being taught incorrectly means you do not have the whole story, or have the wrong story. Remember, what you believe you will act upon and do. That is why I prayed, studied, and then felt led to expound upon this topic today.
What if you have been taught wrongly, and are going forward broadcasting and teaching those wrongs? What if you are standing behind a pulpit teaching others the same erroneous doctrines (or history, or any other subject)? You can sincerely believe that you have been taught right, yet be sincerely wrong! The remedy for this is the Spirit of Truth. It is the ONLY thing that can give you the discern-ment to properly know truth from error. See 2 Tim. 2:15, 1 John 4:6, and Heb. 5:12-14.
Here is a familiar Bible example to illustrate my point. Paul/Shaul was a Pharisee. He was taught the standard Orthodox religious beliefs, and was completely sincere and zealous regarding his beliefs, and thought that he had been correctly taught. Right? Remember, Pharisees studied and trained for approximately 18 years before going into public service at 30 years of age. Then, enter the Truth! (John 14:6). Paul was confronted and blinded by the "light" and the Truth on the road to Damascus. Acts 9:1-22. After obtaining letters from the High Priest, Saul was headed to Damascus to persecute "the Way," and by his actions we clearly understand that he was acting on his beliefs. Being a faithful disciple of Gamaliel, Saul sincerely believed he was walking in the truth contained in the Torah scrolls - the TaNaK, commonly known as the Old Testament. But was that the whole truth? No, we see that he was bearing false witness by his actions and words because he had been taught doctrines and traditions of men that were not in agreement with the Word of Yahweh. Was Saul deliberately disobedient to Scripture? No, but he did need his incorrect understanding corrected. He needed a three-day "Yahshua Awareness seminar" to meet the True Yahshua. It took the Spirit of Truth to open Saul's eyes and teach him the true person and character of Yahshua the Messiah. How did he respond after meeting the true Yahshua? He immediately preached the Messiah in the [Jewish] synagogues, that He is the Son of Yahweh, Acts 9:20. From then on, after he was taught the truth, he no longer misrepresented the character of Yahshua, and he no longer went about "bearing false witness." He became a true preacher and teacher of righteousness and lawfulness. And remember - after he met the Truth (Yahshua) face to face, he had to go back and realign his entire lifetime of training to the newly revealed Truth from the TaNaK/Old Testament.
Therefore, my point is simple and direct - it is possible to be very sincere, and yet be sincerely wrong in what you believe about the Scriptures. It is self-evident that every denomination teaches their own doctrinal positions. But the real issue still remains, What does the Word of Yahweh truly say and mean? I'm specifically speaking about inside our Assemblies, and I'm addressing all brothers and sisters and all "offices" inside the Assembly, as well as to all denominations. Why is this so critical? Because HaSatan is a deceiver and all his agents and helpers are deceivers. The easiest way to deceive someone is from an "office of trust." Everyone holding the office of Pastor, Preacher, Elder or Teacher is responsible for speaking the whole truth.
The Apostle Paul warned us very directly to "let no man deceive you by any means." (2 Thes. 2:3). He said "the mystery of iniquity (lawlessness) does already work (v. 7). Paul was speaking to the Body of Messiah just a few years after Yahshua was executed for the sins of the whole world. And here we are, 2,000 years later, still being con-fronted by the mystery of lawlessness that is being taught inside mainstream churches all over the world! They have been taught doctrines and traditions of men, and thus are teaching "another Yahshua," another gospel, and another spirit (2 Cor. 11:4). Who is doing this? Satan and his helpers, both evil spirits and human dupes. Paul describes them thus: "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of the Messiah. And no marvel, for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light (2 Cor. 2:13-14).
My major point is that the depth of deception is very deep indeed! What about you? Have you ever been deceived? Some say, "Not me," but what does Scripture say? Rev. 12:9 says the whole world has been deceived by Satan. If you knew someone was deceiving you, then it would not be deception. We don't KNOW we are being deceived unless we check the Source of all Truth very carefully. Deceivers are bearing false witness, whether they know it or now. They may themselves be deceived.
Beloved brethren, no one wants to be deceived. In order to really work, a mass deception must sound good and be surrounded by believable issues. The doctrines, tenets, and creeds must sound Biblical. Generally these teachers will tell you that you must exhibit love for your fellow man, practice kindness, mercy, patience, and go around doing good; give your tithes, feed the poor, support evangelism, and care for widows, orphans and unwed mothers. Then many will say, "True Christians should follow the law of love." This sounds very biblical but where does obedience, repentance, and discipleship fit in?
Let's define a true disciple of Yahshua the Messiah. He imitates everything his teacher says and does. Teacher and disciple walk the same walk and talk the same talk. He is the Example. Their beliefs are identical and faithfully practiced by the disciple. In modern churchianity we often hear, "W.W.J.D.? What would Jesus do? OK, good question. What WOULD Yahshua do? The Apostolic Scriptures teach that He always obeyed instructions from His Father, Yahweh. He never once broke the Laws/ Torah of Yahweh. So, if Yahshua the Messiah is YOUR Master and Teacher, then you should be walking, talking, acting like He did. Each one of us then has this question to answer: Am I doing everything like Yahshua did? Am I walking like He did? The Apostle John (Yahchanan) said it like this in 1 John 2:3-6...
"And hereby do we know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keeps not His commandments, is a liar and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth His word, in him verily is the love of Yahweh perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that sayeth he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked."
In times past, the Ruach ha Kodesh (Holy Spirit) moved men to record the instructions of Yahweh. They are contained in the 66 books we now call the Sacred Scrip-tures, the Bible. Everyone has been instructed to study to show themselves approved unto Yahweh, a workman that needs not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of Truth. (2 Tim 2:15). What are we to divide (discern)? It's the Truth from the lies; the truth from the deception; the one who tells the whole truth from the one who "bears false witness."
When we come face to face with the Spirit of Truth, it can make us very uncomfortable and usually very ashamed. The Spirit of Truth always shows us plainly how our personal walk measures up to the standard set by Yahshua the Messiah. That is why "what we have been taught" by a teacher or preacher behind a pulpit takes on such great significance! Anyone teaching an incorrect doctrine, tradition of men, or anyone teaching "another Yahshua, another gospel, another spirit," is bearing false witness.
In order to keep things really simple and Scriptural, there is one very simple way to safeguard whatever you believe, teach, and/or practice. If it does not say it in the TaNaK (old testament) then you cannot use the Apostolic Scriptures (new testament) to set doctrine or to nullify, change, or otherwise ignore the Old. The Apostle Paul taught the Messiah from the Old Testament. So did all the disciples/Apostles. They used Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms. Yahshua Himself plainly said that these all spoke of Him (Luke 24:27, 44-45; John 1:45, 5:46-47). We must be very careful how we represent Yahshua, and be very careful what you believe.
The Old Testament, the first five books particularly, is the foundation of all Scripture, instructions from YHWH. It is very difficult to understand the New Testament without a solid and true understanding of the Law/Torah given through Moses. Paul did not come preaching a new religion or system of belief, and neither did Yahshua. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever; and He will do and teach the same things forever (Heb. 13:8). In the 1,000-year kingdom here on earth the Torah/Law will be taught to all people. Anyone who refuses to obey will face the consequences as "lawbreakers."
Yahshua, Paul, and the twelve Apostles were all preachers of righteousness, and they all taught obedience to the commandments of Yahweh along with the acceptance of Yahshua as Savior and Redeemer. We cannot teach one without the other without bearing false witness. The definition of sin clarifies the entire issue: First John 3:4, "Whoever commits sin transgresses the Law/Torah, for Sin is the transgression of the
Law/Torah. See also Leviticus 4:13, 22, 27. Breaking the Commandments of Yahweh through omission, commission, or ignorance is still sin. Obeying the commandments because you love Yahweh, and walking in the footsteps of Yahshua is our goal.
Brethren, in this article I have merely placed before you circumstances and problems we all face in the modern world. In these traumatic end-times that are upon us, we must seek and obey Truth. In closing, I want to challenge each one of you to answer a simple question:
"Does Yahweh require True Believers and true disciples of Yahshua to obey the Ten Commandments?" Yes or No? If you cannot answer this direct question with a solid "YES!" then something is wrong with your belief system. This is a personal issue between you and Yahshua if you call yourself a True Believer. True disciples walk like Yahshua walked, and He always obeyed the Torah/Law of Yahweh. If anyone is teaching you not to obey all the commandments of Yahweh, he, she, or they, are "bearing false witness." Choose you this day whom you will serve, Yahweh or man. ~ Bro. David Andrew Douglas, Beeville, TX.