Isn't it OK to lie sometimes? What about Corrie ten Boom and hiding Jews? What about lying when smuggling Bibles into forbidden areas?
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Satan is the 'father of lies' and he has actually used REAL lying to hide an important truth about 'righteous pretense' which is VERY different, fully sanctioned by GOD in both the Old and New Testament eras and vitally important to the full revelation of truth. GOD Himself engages in it and He IS TRUTH itself. "For though I am free from all, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more. And to the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews. To those who are under the Law, as under the Law though not being myself under the Law, so that I might win those who are under the Law. "To those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law. "To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some." (1 Corinthians 9:19-22). The Holy Spirit is revealing 'righteous pretense' through the apostle Paul who initially greeted men by being 'familiar' to them and even admirable within their distinct cultures. How could a Jew be the 'apostle to the Gentiles' (Romans 11:13), without first impressing upon them that he 'understands' them? Of course, he can't without 'pretending' to be something that he is not, right? Well, not exactly. In the Holy Spirit, we actually ARE genuinely everything we might presume to convey, since the TRUTH is that we are all brothers and sisters across every possible line of ethnicity, race, birth class, education level and gender, (Galatians 3:28, Colossians 3:11). It is less truthful when we ignore this reality created by the work of Christ and continue to see ourselves only in the 'fleshly' way assigned to us. Yet, from our starting point, we appear to be 'liars' because everything we are isn't immediately visible to everyone around us, (2 Corinthians 6:8). In fact, Paul was quite accustomed to a 'moment of truth' during which the Holy Spirit suddenly shifted away from one 'cultural character' and to another, often the traditional 'enemy' of the people who had just welcomed him under the 'pretense' that he was 'one of them.' This moment either fully convinced them that GOD was real and behind the amazing 'acting,' (who else could know them so well and learn their culture so fully and convincingly?), or they became violently enraged at the sudden 'betrayal.' Scripture reveals that there are actually four 'dimensions of truth,' (Ephesians 3:18). 'Broad' truth is the only one where there isn't some 'acting' involved first. 'Long' truth I illustrated above when there is a 'moment of truth' after a period of pretense. 'High' truth involves using celebrity and fame to ultimately 'break through' well orchestrated lies using political or public pressure, which often involves highly orchestrated 'sting' or 'whistle-blower' operations with entire teams of 'pretenders' gaining access to what otherwise could not be revealed. Espionage and law enforcement use this type of 'truth' as well. Finally, when nothing else works to reveal the lies, there is 'deep' truth, also known as an 'epiphany.' We see this during the conversion of Saul of Tarsus who later became the apostle Paul. In ignorance, Saul was attempting to systematically destroy Christianity itself using powerful lessons he had learned from GOD's Law! He was so zealous and backed with so many impressive tools, nothing could reach him, so Jesus reached him, very personally, with a powerful vision. In effect, the 'technology of the holy kingdom' broke through the lies. Of course, my statements here are not meant to sanction 'surface lies' whenever convenient for you to avoid persecution, cheat your way around difficult situations or fulfill a personal desire. These are 'inspired' activities, like we see with the prophet Nathan telling David a 'pretend' story based on a deeper truth about himself, (2 Samuel 12). If it isn't based in GOD's truth, it's a 'lie.'
God hates a lying tongue, Proverbs 6:16-19, 12:22. Satan is a liar and the father of it, John 8:44. The forbidding of lying is one of the commandments, Exodus 20:16, Leviticus 19:11, reiterated in the New Testament, Colossians 3:9. But the question as given above is not about lying. It is not bearing false witness or telling an untruth for illegal gain. It is more about deception - for a good cause. Just as there is deception for evil, Genesis 3:13, Acts 5:1-10, there is deception for a righteous purpose. There are examples of deception in the Bible by righteous people when life was in danger. For example, Abraham and Isaac deceived to prevent harm, and yet they told the truth, Genesis 12:10-13, 20:1-2, 26:7. Sarah was actually the half-sister of Abraham. Rebekah was Isaac’s sister in the sense of being a cousin. God did not punish Abraham or Isaac, but He did punish the rulers who they misled. Another example is the midwives who were most likely Egyptian women assigned to the Hebrews, Exodus 1:15-21. They misled Pharaoh so that many lives slated to be doomed were preserved including their own. Also, there was the case with Rahab who was commanded by the spies to not tell why they were there, Joshua 2:14. She did not give them up to the authorities who demanded their release, but deceived them, Joshua 2:3-6, Hebrews 11:31, James 2:25. Then, there is the situation with David who told the truth about the general area he had been in, but he withheld information that would jeopardize himself, I Samuel 27:10. In these cases, there was an intentional misleading that worked in their favor. Those mentioned above did not have a double heart in speaking falsehood or flattery, but were steadfast with God, Psalm 12:2, 78:36-37. Examples are also given of God misleading or deceiving. An example is God who asked who would persuade Ahab to go to battle where he would die. A spirit volunteers to be a lying spirit in the mouth of all Ahab’s prophets, I Kings 22:19-23. The righteous Lord condones this action, so it is not a sin. In like manner, in I Samuel 16:1-4, a ruse was used by the Lord to prevent harm to Samuel from Saul, when Samuel went to anoint a new king. In I Kings 13:11-22, God used the man of God to lie to a prophet who was being tested to see if he would obey God. Deception, ruses, misinformation can be for good. It has turned the tide in many battles, as God did for Israel, Joshua 8:3-8. Police legitimately use it to get criminals to confess to a crime. It can protect people from the hand of oppressors and hostile situations, preventing injury and death. It can be an effective tool to lead people to have eternal life, rescuing them from perishing. Christians are reminded of Christ’s words that they are to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves, Matthew 10:16.
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