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Swearing

“Again, you have heard that it has been said to the ancients, “You shall not swear falsely, but you shall perform your oaths to the Lord.” But I say to you, Do not swear at all! Not by Heaven, because it is God’s throne; not by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet; not by Jerusalem, because it is the city of the great King; nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. But let your word be, Yes, yes; No, no. For whatever is more than these comes from evil” (Matthew 5:33-37 MKJV).

Why would the courts and other institutions require that one swear on a Bible, when the very Bible they use expressly commands that one not do so? One cannot so much as make a promise to be virtuous in any way:

“I know, LORD, that we humans are not in control of our own lives” (Jeremiah 10:23 CEV).

So what may the Christian do when haled before the authorities who require an assurance that one will speak the truth? I would word it somewhat this way:

“Your honor, I cannot swear on the Bible because I desire to live by the Bible, and It commands me to not swear at all. Therefore, meaning no contempt whatsoever for this court, I understand such swearing to be hypocritical and a contradiction of the first order.

“However, the Bible does command that we tell the truth and do not lie. Therefore, I can only say that my intent and desire, so help me God, are to tell the truth in this place and to honor you, the authorities, as God would have me to do.”

– Victor Hafichuk (February 15, 2009)

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