The Eighth Commandment
Jeremiah 7:2–4, 9–11
Stand in the gate of Jehovah’s house, and proclaim there this word: Thus says Jehovah of Armies, the God of Israel: Amend your ways and your doings! Do not trust in lying words, saying, The temple of Jehovah, the temple of Jehovah, the temple of Jehovah, are these. Will you steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and come and stand before Me in this house, which is called by My name, and say, We are delivered, while you do all these abominations? Has this house become a den of robbers? Behold, I, even I, have seen it, says Jehovah.
Life 87. In proportion as anyone shuns false witness of every kind as sin, in the same proportion he loves the truth. To “bear false witness,” in the natural sense, means not only to play the false witness, but also to lie and to defame. In the spiritual sense, to “bear false witness” means to declare some false thing to be true or some evil thing good, and to persuade others that it is so, and the converse. And in the highest sense, to “bear false witness” means to blaspheme the Lord and the Word. These are the three senses of “bearing false witness.” That these make a one in the man who bears false witness, utters a lie, or defames, is evident from what has been shown respecting the three senses of all things of the Word, in The Doctrine of the Holy Scripture (n. 5–7, etc. and n. 57).
Life 88. As lying and the truth are two opposite things, it follows that in proportion as anyone shuns lying as a sin, in the same proportion he loves the truth.
Life 89. In proportion as anyone loves the truth, in the same proportion he desires to know it, and in the same proportion he is affected at heart when he finds it. No one else comes into wisdom. And in proportion as anyone loves to do the truth, in the same proportion he is sensitive to the pleasantness of the light in which the truth is. It is the same with all the other things spoken of above: with honesty and justice in the case of one who shuns thefts of every kind; with chastity and purity in the case of one who shuns adulteries of every kind; and with love and charity in the case of one who shuns murders of every kind; and so forth. On the other hand, one who is in the opposites to these heavenly things knows nothing about them, even though everything that is truly something is present in them.
Life 91. It is a common opinion at the present day that to be saved consists in believing this or that thing which the church teaches, and that it does not consist in keeping the commandments, which are, Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness—in both the restricted and the extended sense. For it is maintained that works are not regarded by God, but faith, when nevertheless the truth is that in proportion as anyone is in these evils, in that same proportion he has no faith.... Take counsel of reason and observe whether, so long as he is in the lust of these evils, any murderer, adulterer, thief, or false witness is able to have faith; and also, further, whether the lust of these evils can be shaken off in any other way than by refusing to will to commit them for the reason that they are sins, that is, because they are infernal and devilish. So, whoever imagines that being saved consists in believing this or that thing which is taught by the church, while himself remaining of such a character, must be a “foolish man,” in accordance with the words of the Lord in Matthew 7:26. Such a church is thus described in Jeremiah [on the facing page].
AC 8908:2. All with whom love of self or love of the world reigns, that is, who have as their end eminence, or honors, or wealth, or gain, do not hesitate to say and persuade others that what is just is unjust, and that what is unjust is just, and thus to act the part of witnesses of a lie. The reason why they are of such a character is that their will is wholly subject to these loves and their lusts, and is wholly occupied and possessed by them. And then the understanding, which is the other part of the mind, is indeed able to see what is just and what is unjust, but is not willing to see, because the will prevails over the understanding, and by means of influx persuades it, and at last also blinds it.
Questions and Thoughts for Reflection
- The more we flee from deceit as a sin, the more we will love the truth. We are saved through the love of truth and the willingness to obey it, so we see how deadly deceit can be.
- AC 8908:2 shows in part why evil people can be so
convincing: they themselves are totally convinced that evil
is good and vice versa, and are completely unwilling to
look at the truth. See John 3:19–21:
And this is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were wicked. For everyone committing evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he who does the truth comes to the Light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they have been worked in God.