Summary: Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.



Dr. Gale A. Ragan-Reid (April 28, 2018)

“Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour” [Exodus 20:16, King James Version, The Ten Commandments].

Greetings in the Holy Name of Jesus,

My sisters and brothers, the group dynamic is not always best when the nature of the group is to cultivate a false witness against their neighbor just because the tide of public opinion turned to favor those who bore the false witness. Those folks before the flood did not think they would get paid back, even the folks in Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:24-25, KJV) did not think they would get paid back, in fact, most folks when they consciously decide to cultivate a false witness against their neighbor do not expect to get paid back, for the act of bearing the false witness in a group with others is just too delicious to taste not even if the false witness is forbidden fruit, the weakness of the group dynamics must taste, but the time will come when they just might wish they had not cast their lot in with the group to bear the false witness against their neighbor. Apostle Paul did not fair so well under the group influence (conspiracy) of bearing false witness, “And when it was day, certain of the Jews banded together, and bound themselves under a curse, saying that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul. And they were more than forty which had made this conspiracy.” (The Acts 23:12-13, KJV [A conspiracy against him]). And the words of the conspirators was heard by the chief captain for a young man told the chief captain, “But do not thou yield unto them: for there lie in wait for him of them more than forty men, which have bound themselves with an oath, that they will neither eat nor drink till they have killed him: and now are they ready, looking for a promise from thee.” (The Acts 23:21, KJV). The chief captain sent for Paul, “And he called unto him two centurions, saying, Make ready two hundred soldiers to go to Caesarea, and horsemen threescore and ten, and spearmen two hundred, at the third hour of the night; And provide them beasts, that they may set Paul on, and bring him safe unto Felix the governor.” (The Acts 23:23-24, KJV).

The chief captain, the man with the power and authority to send such an entourage of centurions, soldiers, horsemen, spearmen and beasts to go get Apostle Paul and safely bring him back to him, wrote to the Governor: “Claudius Lysias unto the most excellent governor Felix sendeth greeting….And when it was told me how that the Jews laid wait for the man, I sent straightway to thee, and gave commandment to his accusers also to say before thee what they had against him. Farewell.” (The Acts 23:26, 30, KJV). You would think that once was enough, to hear of such bearings of false


witness against a man of God, but do not forget about our Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus, how the false witnesses band together for his death. The Jews did not accept the resurrection of Jesus and wanted Apostle Paul to die for the hope of the promise of eternal life (The Acts 26:6-7, KJV). However, dreadful a weight the hope of promise to the fathers pressed on Apostle Paul’s heart, his heart ached for his own behavior for he, too, beared false witness against his neighbor, for he testified in his defense before Agrippa:

“Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead? I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them. And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities…” (The Acts 26: 8-11, 12, KJV)

Most importantly, I am sure----those of a repentant heart say, I know there was a time that I, too, in a group beared false witness against my neighbor whom I knew was innocent but I strongly felt the fear of the group pressing down on me and forgot the power of my God to rescue those of a repentant heart out of a dark place. I gave in to the group and let an innocent believer---true believer of the faith of Christ Jesus, die, simply because I not only stood against my neighbor but I was standing against Jesus---the resurrection of Jesus, the spirit of Jesus, or angels, as so say the Sadducees (The Acts 23: 5-9, KJV). Apostle Paul, a Pharisee, answered his accusers, “…I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question.” (The Acts 23:6, KJV). You see, it was not that Saul named after king Saul struck down on the road to Damascus, blinded by Christ Jesus, was a murderer, who beared false witness against the Jews that caused him to come under attack for his own death---it was his belief in the resurrection, his belief in the hope and promise of the fathers---of eternal life, that landed him in the gallows facing death, so say we---those in the group of forty, who conspired to kill him.

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