We’ve all told lies, big ones, small ones, partial lies, and so-called “white” lies. People have even lied to spare someone from being emotionally hurt because the truth of a particular matter might be too hard to bear. In the end though, NO lie is acceptable to God because it implies deceit. So this is bad news indeed.
New believers in Christ have read verses that concern them because even though they’re saved, they occasionally still tell a lie. Then they worry they won’t get into heaven because of verses like this:
“But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur, which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8).
Pretty scary stuff. So let’s put this straight.
The use of the word “lie” in the NT is not primarily about telling fibs. It’s about wilfully setting out to deceive with the intent to mislead someone about Biblical doctrines. The thrust of the verses is really about practising lying, not just the occasional slip up. It’s about deliberately trying to mislead someone away from the revealed truths of Scripture.
Cults and sectarian groups like the Jehovah Witnesses and Mormons are therefore liars because they practise falsehood by attacking such teachings about the deity of Jesus, the Trinity, etc in order to support their own doctrines. It’s true for the majority of adherents they’re not out to knowingly deceive, because they believe what they’ve been taught is actually true. Nevertheless they participate in a lie because it’s spawned by the Father of Lies himself.
The Quran also falls into this category because it lies about the person of Jesus and exalts Muhammad above Jesus as the one and only Messiah. It’s not only cults and false religions that do this, even so-called “Christian” teachers and prophets do the same – and will share the very same fate – being barred from God’s presence forever. It includes anyone who embraces and spreads anti-Christian lies or anti-Biblical doctrines. We might also be able to add “extra revelation” to that list.
Ignorance is not an excuse for supposed “Christian” teachers, who might think they’re bringing new or fresh revelation – when in fact they’re actually twisting the truths of the Bible in order to gain followers and seek admiration. They may think they’re expounding truth - but when they introduce ideas like the “we’re all gods” teaching or the recently introduced “Courts of Heaven” notion, it really is non-Biblical because the foundation is not Truth but the desire to be noticed and impress others with special insider knowledge.
The term “Gnosticism” is how historical Christianity describes this heresy; it simply means to have secret knowledge only known by a few of the spiritual elite. You can see where this ancient false teaching comes from these days because all those who teach “new revelation” say they received it directly from God when they last visited heaven, or how an angel came specially to them to impart something new and revolutionary. Same old heresy. Same old lie. Same old father of Lies!
Almost, if not all, “new revelations” have been announced through someone having an angelic visitation, visions, dreams, or being translated to heaven to be introduced to hitherto hidden knowledge. For example look at this list: Joseph Smith of Mormonism, Muhammad of Islam, Ellen White of Seventh Day Adventism, and Herbert Armstrong of the Worldwide Church of God.
While all the above have been around for some time now, the very same manner of deception is still being used to fool naïve believers today. A Google search on YouTube for instance will show how many “new revelations” have come via a visit to heaven, or an angelic encounter.
Some of the meaningless excessive use of spiritual terms used by many “prophets” and pastors also fits into this same pattern. If you listen attentively to some of the recent prophecies for this New Year, you’ll notice the “prophet” isn’t really saying much at all. It’s all spiritually sounding phrases but lacking substance. The undiscerning person can be easily taken in by the superior-sounding terminology. It sounds good to the undiscerning ear but is hollow to the core. At the end you have to ask yourself, “what did that person actually say?” See this excerpt for example.
“As this restoration of JOY in Me and their assignment takes place, I am bringing them into a new realm of CREATIVE DOWNLOADS in their assignments. Creativity will begin to explode as I show them the new ways of building with Me, the new ways of partnering with Me creatively in this new era in their assignment ERUPTS into their lives from My heart. I am going to completely revamp things with My creativity in their assignments right now and for this new era, and the CREATIVE DOWNLOADS they will receive from encountering Me and My heart is going to restore such JOY in the assignment. I am releasing creative strategies to them on such a deep level, many will look and say “WOW, that is so fresh, it’s so NEW, I have NEVER seen that before.” The anointing will be so thick and so heavy, so fresh, that it will be VERY clear that it has been birthed out of My heart and the throne room of heaven. Implementing in obedience the creative strategy and downloads that I will release will not only see the power of My Spirit move to impact and change lives on a scale that has never been seen, but it will draw in the harvest in such unprecedented ways, salvation will EXPLODE all around.” (Lana Vawser word for 6 Jan 2021 – her emphasis).
I still can’t quite figure out what this lady is trying to say. It seems to be religious nonsense because it just doesn’t seem to be sensible. Does God really talk in that muddled way?
Satan is the father of lying (John 8:44) and he continues to use the same method he’s always used. From the Garden of Eden onwards he’s mixed error with truth in the hope that falsehood will pass unnoticed. And it works. You can see how it operates in the zeal employed by many of today’s false teachers. The enthusiasm and spiritual clichés they use delude the unsuspecting believer into a web of falsehood and even outright lies. The seeming spirituality and devotedness of many false teachers can be very enticing because at the heart of it all the enemy has transformed the false teacher into an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14).
If you were to go to such a meeting (or watch on YouTube) it’s easy to be impressed by the sincerity of the preaching, the enthusiasm of the attendees and the seeming depth of the teaching. It almost seems to be “on fire” but it’s what Scripture calls “strange fire” (Lev 10:1). Do not deluded by the passion of what seems to be intensely spiritual, zealous, and deeply devout. I’ve noticed that generally false teachers (of any era) tend to promise more than they can deliver and exaggerate both themselves and their supposed revelation of new or extra “truth”.
Peter warned us about such boasting. “For they mouth empty, boastful words and by appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity — for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him” (2 Peter 2:18-19).
According to Scripture, lies in any form are displeasing to God who is supremely holy. Lies, especially spiritual lies, lead hearts astray and cause deceit to infest a person’s soul. When we hear spiritual lies being taught, and here I refer to so-called fresh or extra revelation, you can know that hypocrisy is at work somewhere in the teacher’s heart. Most usually their conscience has been seared:
“The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.” (1 Timothy 4:1-2).
Just as in the case of morality, a person’s conscience is seared when they can no longer recognize right from wrong, so too a false teacher’s conscience is seared when they no longer are satisfied with the whole truth of God’s Word and seek extra insight. In both cases the conscience doesn’t function effectively and becomes insensitive to the Holy Spirit. Such people either become dull to any sense of right or wrong, or in the case of false teachers, to any sense of the difference between truth and falsehood. They also boast of special spiritual experiences, which only seem to increase, both in frequency and intensity, as time goes on.
This is what Scripture refers to when it boldly states that “all liars have their portion in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur, which is the second death” (Rev 21:8). Liars are those who promote false religious errors and who knowingly impart deceptiveness. It also seems to include those who undiscerningly repeatedly agree with them, and except for the longsuffering love and mercy of God, there would be no way out.
False doctrine is abhorrent to God. It slanders Him and ultimately denies His Word because it seeks to add to it. The same doctrine is spiritually deadly to those who take it onboard and apply it in their lives, for it will lead to further deception. It’s a spiritual cancer that quietly eats away.
According to Scripture doctrinal lies have no part whatsoever in God’s unchanging Truth, neither do their teachers. Consequently false doctrines are not part of revealed Biblical Christianity. “No lie is of the truth” (1 John 2:21).
When Paul writes that “such teachings come through hypocritical liars” (1 Tim 4:2) he’s referring to those who act as if they have some sort of extraordinary piety and sanctity with the intention of gaining the trust of others. There’s a popular brand of toothpaste called “Optic White” which makes your teeth seem white when the teeth aren’t actually and truly white at all; it’s all visually deceptive only appearing on the surface to be white. Likewise there are teachings which might seem on the surface to be right but aren’t actually Biblically correct. It looks (and sounds) right on the surface but go deeper and you’ll find the stain.
So let’s be vigilant and discerning, correcting and praying for those who claim to speak for God’s truth when they in reality know it to be an addition to Scripture, and for those who twist truth in such a way as to propagate their own version by drawing another meaning from it.
All lies are repugnant to God (Colossians 3:9) but the worse are certainly lies against the eternalness, beauty, and integrity of the Scriptures and our faith “once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3).