When it comes to false testimony, many people wonder if there is a difference between lying and false testimony. The answer is yes, and the Bible has a lot to say about this topic. In this sermon, we’ll examine both terms and look back at the original meaning of the words and how they were used.

The Bible makes a distinction between false testimony and lying. In Exodus 20:16, God says, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” This is one of the Ten Commandments, so clearly God takes this seriously. But what exactly is false testimony?

False testimony is when you give information that you know to be untrue in order to harm someone else. Or as making statements about someone or something that are not true. This can be done in court under oath, but it does not have to be. It can also take place in everyday conversations between two people, or even in one’s own mind.

Lying, on the other hand, is defined as deliberately telling an untruth or engaging in deception. Or doing or saying something you know to be untrue in order to protect yourself or avoid getting in trouble.

So, why does God care so much about false testimony? Well, it’s because it’s a way of harming someone else. When you give false testimony, you’re trying to hurt someone’s reputation or their chances of success. And that’s not something that God wants us to do.

The Bible speaks out against both lying and false testimony. In Proverbs 12:17-19 it says: “Whoever speaks the truth gives honest evidence, but a false witness utters deceit. There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment.” This passage clearly shows that God values honesty and truthfulness over lies and deceitful behavior.

In addition, Exodus 20:16 teaches us that “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” which again emphasizes how important truth-telling is in God’s eyes. And Leviticus 19:11 states that “You shall not steal; you shall not deal falsely; you shall not lie to one another” further emphasizing how important truth-telling is.

It’s clear from these passages that God does not tolerate either lying or false testimony; however, He does understand that sometimes people make mistakes or act out of ignorance and will forgive those who repent from their sins (1 John 1:9).

If you’re ever tempted to give false testimony, take a step back and ask yourself if what you’re about to say is really true. If it’s not, then don’t say it. It’s not worth harming someone else just to get ahead yourself. If you find yourself involved in either lying or false testimony, then you should humble yourselves before God and ask for His forgiveness so that you can continue living according to His will.

Referenced Verses:
Exodus 20:16
Deuteronomy 5:20
Proverbs 12:22
Matthew 5:37
John 8:44


Video Transcript

Hello and welcome to Social Media Ministries, my name is Spencer Coffman. Thank you so much for tuning in today. We have got a good message. This is part of a three-part sermon series. This will be part number one. We have got a series coming up, so stay tuned for the next week and then the next two weeks.

You can do that by clicking on the bell icon below and also the subscribe button. If you haven’t done that already, please do so to stay alerted and updated when we post new content. In addition, this is a three-part sermon series that you are not going to want to miss.

We will dive right into it, but first of all, in case you are new here, thank you so much for tuning in. Here at Social Media Ministries, our mission is to share the living Word of Christ with as many people as possible through the use of social media and to help them understand and interpret the scriptures in the Bible. That is our mission.

We are putting everything that we can on social media and then we rely on viewers like you to share these messages on your social media so that we can reach more people through social media. That is your contribution in the part, and ours is to hopefully bring you a great powerful message that you can interpret and understand and use in your everyday life.

Today we are talking about false testimony versus lying. Now this is a touchy subject for a lot of people because some people say that white lies or lying is a part of everyday life and that is not what was commanded in the ten commandments, that it was more significant as an accusation or giving a testimony that was false or something like that. Whereas a little white lie isn’t included in that part.

We are going to dive into that and see whether false testimony and lying are the same thing, whether they are different, and what the origin of all of this is. Let’s start out. Now the Bible says not to give false testimony against your neighbor. Where does it say that?

We are going to be diving heavily into the scriptures today. We have got a lot of verses, they are all going to be referenced in the description below. If you don’t have your Bible please come back, take a look, look them up, read the verses after, get the context and really understand what is going on. If you do have your Bible please turn with me to Exodus 20:16.

It says, ‘You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.’ Now there is something to note right here, is that this was originally written in Hebrew. This original Hebrew word right here for false testimony was akin to the word deception of nowadays, more closely related to false testimony. In this instance, we are talking about deception or deceiving others. So you shall not deceive others or provide deception. You can’t voluntarily give out any deceptive words about someone or something else.

Let’s go now to Deuteronomy 5:20. This says, ‘You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.’ Exactly the same in the English language, however again the original Hebrew here, the word for false here is more closely associated to without power or empty.

It is the same word actually in this section, the same word where it says in verse 11, Deuteronomy 5:11, ‘You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.’ The word down here for false in Hebrew, it is the same word used up here in not misusing the name of the Lord your God. So it means not to use something empty or without power.

Don’t put out empty words that mean nothing or that don’t have weight to them. It is a different translation and a different meaning, whereas in Exodus it was saying more deception and here it is saying don’t speak without meaning or without power to your words.

Now we are going to talk a little bit also about testimony. There are different words for testimony, not to give false testimony against your neighbor. Now a testimony can mean many things. You can have a testimony and people in the Christian or the biblical or the religious world say, well that is your story of coming to Christ and overcoming something in your life. That is a testimony.

So not to give a false testimony might be like, don’t make up a story about something that happened in your life that didn’t happen, or don’t make up this great coming-to-Jesus story if it didn’t happen. That would be words without power, empty words, and if you are making it up that would also be engaging in deception. That would fit the Hebrew words in both Exodus and Deuteronomy. That would be a false testimony.

Now testimony could also be like if you are testifying, so you go to court and you have to swear yourself in or they swear you in and you testify against someone or for someone and you are swearing, which is something that we shouldn’t do anyway, but that is the way our justice system is right now. So you are telling the truth and you are testifying.

We are going to dive in a little. Segway here. The history of the word testify. This came from ancient history, Roman times where centurions or soldiers or men, I mean we could say Roman but even before then. Greece, Roman, all of this past time, it was because men were the people who could testify. Men in the Bible, they would always count the men and then say besides women and children, and that was just the standing of the census and everything. At that point in time, whether it was right or wrong, it is just how it was. It is history.

Now testifying came, that word because when someone would testify, it was traditionally only men that could testify. So they would put their hand, and today in court we still put our hands on the Bible and then swear it in, whether or not they have eliminated that in some areas or not, but back then they would put their hand over their groin area and that is where we get the word ‘testify’. Because they were kind of saying like on penalty of having it, you know, cut off. You are saying you will tell the truth.

Pretty serious if you testify, give a false testimony, you are saying something isn’t true with the intent that someone else will receive some form of blame and that is really where this comes from, your false statement will impact someone in a negative way. Whether it is empty words or whether it is deception it is something false that you are bringing up, you are coming up with it and it is going to cause harm for someone else. This is breaking a commandment.

Whether it is deception or whether it is empty words, it is breaking the commandment. Both types of translations, one in Exodus and one in Deuteronomy, you are breaking it either way. Your false statement impacting someone in a negative way is breaking the commandment in the eyes of God.

Lying is bearing a false witness. Now what does that mean? False witness? Lying is the same as false testimony in the eyes of God. What is a lie? What is deception? When you are lying you are saying something that isn’t true, whether you are coming up with an entirely new story that isn’t true or whether you are twisting something that is true and making it not true. It is not true, it is an untruth.

Now you can have lies where you specifically say something’s not true or you could technically be lying if you are not telling somebody something, like withholding. Now if they ask you, when you say you don’t know, that is volunteering an untruth. That is a false testimony.

But if there is something that someone is assuming or implying and you are just not volunteering that information, that could be different. That is a different type. That is a lie by omission, you are not volunteering it but they never asked, so controversy there. Are you really lying?

Well if they never asked, you are never volunteering any false information but you didn’t tell them, it is not like you were withholding it, they just didn’t ask. Gray area maybe. Lying is bearing false witness and it is the same as false testimony. It is saying something that is not true, it is putting information out there that is either empty or that is deceptive.

Now in today’s society lying has many different levels, white lies, big lies, significant, high stake, low stake. All of these types of things. On earth lying is when you don’t tell the truth or the whole truth. It is when you engage in deception. It is different from false testimony. On Earth we have differences, we separated all of this. So if it is different on earth than false testimony, does that mean that it is okay for you to lie? Hopefully, you know the answer because we have said that in God’s eyes lying and false testimony are the same things.

On earth is it okay to lie? No, you are a Christian, you are representing God, we are not of this world so we have to behave according to heavenly behavior, according to heavenly rules and law set forth by God. If the lawmakers of the US say, hey it is the law, you can lie, it is okay. Does that mean that it is okay? No, it is not.

We are following a heavenly rule, we are not of this world. We are up here, well we are down here temporarily on assignment and where our world is up here, our kingdom is up here, our king Jesus, Yahweh is not of this world. So it is not okay to lie.

‘The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy.’ Proverbs 12:22. Detests lying lips. Now this is a newer translation, it specifically uses the word lying right there. Of course, in your version, it might say something different. If you go to the original it is going to be a similar term of telling a lie or telling something not true.

He delights in people who are trustworthy. Does that mean He delights in people who tell the truth or in people who can be trusted? That is a little bit different. He delights in people who can be trusted. With anything you must strive to be trustworthy at all times. If you are a trustworthy person most people would say it means you are honest, it means you can be trusted. They could tell you a secret and you are not going to share it with other people. You are trustworthy. You are worthy of their trust.

You cannot engage in false testimony. When you say something that is not true and you cause ill action toward others you are being a false witness. That is a sin in the eyes of God, false testimony and lying are the same thing. In the world, the term lying has been distorted to mean something it is not, but false testimony and lying are the same.

We are going to check out two more verses here and get into them. Matthew 5:37, again if you have your Bible please turn with me to the New Testament, book of Matthew, chapter 5, verse 37. Now this says simply, ‘Let your yes be yes and your no be no, anything beyond this comes from the evil one.’

What is that saying? It is saying let your yes be yes and your no be no. There is no gray area. There is no white lie. It is yes and no, black and white, anything beyond this comes from the evil one. Who is the evil one? That is satan. That is the fallen angel. The people who rule this world, the one who rules this world.

Now before this in the verses, it says, ‘Do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black.’ So when you say, do you swear to tell the whole truth or do you swear on your mother’s grave or on so and so’s life, you shouldn’t be swearing by anything because you have no control over any of that.

Do you have any control over your mother’s grave? Do you have any control over someone’s life? Well you could, you could go murder them, but no that is all wrong, it is from the evil one. Anything beyond yes and no comes from the evil one. You cannot even change the color of the hair on your head, of course, you could dye it but it is not naturally changing. You could probably take some sort of a hormone pill or something in today’s modern medicine, but that is not the point.

The point is that your yes is yes and your no is no and any of this other stuff comes from the evil one. How do we know? How do we know the deception and all this is from the evil one? Well, let’s go to John 8:44.

John 8:44 says, ‘You belong to your father the devil and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language. For he is a liar and the father of lies.’ Anything beyond yes and no is from the evil one. Why? Because satan is the father of lies.

Now what does it say here, ‘He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him.’ Well, do you swear on your son or daughter’s life? You can’t control their life. Well, you could if you murder them, of course, that is from the evil one. He was a murderer from the beginning. So don’t be swearing on anything. False testimony, lying, sin. Let your yes be yes and your no be no. Be trustworthy. Satan is the father of lies.

In today’s world, there are various kinds and definitions for lying or deception, all of them are still a sin. However, there are a couple of caveats we can explore on this, because you might be saying some things like, well wait a minute what if I am covering up something or what if I do this or what if that? There are a lot of what-ifs and there are some that could be different and could be acceptable maybe by God. You will find out in the future sermons, future messages, again this is a three-part series.

If you have a basement full of Jews and we are in nazi Germany and the time of the holocaust are you to tell the Germans at the door that you have got a basement full of people that they are going to come in and bring to the gas chamber? Or do you lie about that and say there is no one in the house? Well chances are they might search the house anyway but then maybe they won’t find them and if they don’t find them you lied and you saved lives. They do find them, you are all dead. So you could have just said, yeah they are here and then they would be dead and you would be alive.

What is the right thing to do in that situation? Do you tell the truth or do you lie? We will be talking about that in a future message so I hope that you do click on that bell icon and the subscribe button to stay tuned to that future message, because like I said this is a three-part series.

For right now false testimony and lying, whether it is engaging in deception or whether it is putting out words that are empty and without power, it is false testimony and lying are the same. They are wrong, you are not to do that, you are to be trustworthy. The Lord detests lying lips, so strive to tell the truth but remember we are not of this world.

We have a heavenly rule and a heavenly law that we are supposed to follow. These earthly laws can be corrupted by man or humankind and we may not always have to follow them if they are corrupted. We follow a higher law and this higher law. False testimony and lying are the same thing down here. Strive to be trustworthy and stay tuned because again three-part series and this is some heavy stuff.

Let’s pray. Lord Jesus thank you so much for this day. Thank you for this message on false testimony versus lying. I ask that you would provide discernment and clarity in the hearts and minds of each person listening. That they would be able to decipher this and understand truly what is going on and that you would speak to them through this and that they would be able to go out and be trustworthy and also share this with others. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Thanks again for tuning in today. I hope to have you come back for the next two weeks in this three-part sermon series about lying and deception. Whether or not it is okay or right or wrong or whether it is false testimony, lying today. We have determined lying is lying. False testimony is false testimony. They are the same and it is a sin. So go out and strive to be trustworthy. God bless.