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Oathtaking Turns World Upside Down

There is one command of Jesus that you must disobey to join the military. This same command, if obeyed, prevents you from testifying in courts of law.

Apostle James said that this command was "above all." That command is, "Swear no oaths."

You don't have to read any further than the first book of the New Testament, Matthew, Chapter 5, to uncover a command of Christ that, if obeyed, would put an end to society as we know it, not just in America, but around the world. This four word command, if complied with, would force all tribunals, from traffic court to the supreme court, to close their doors. And every branch of the military, the army, navy, air force, marines, and special forces, would be unable to recruit personnel at any level -- if people would just obey this one command.

You might think I'm exaggerating. But this command was one of the causes of over 100 years of bloody wars in Europe from about 1524 to 1648. During the Reformation and the Counter Reformation, major quarrels and rivalries caused the religious and political map of Europe to be redrawn, setting up new boundaries. These freshly-formed political units fought to determine their state religion, with hostile Protestant and Catholic camps duking it out.

One of the reasons for the upheaval was that ordinary people were reading the New Testament in their own language for the first time. Previously, they were bound by religious dogma and traditions taught by the priests.

Bible translators like William Tyndale set out to make the scriptures easy to understand by everyone. Tyndale said he wanted even the boy who drives the plow to know the scriptures.

As the people started reading the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew Chapters 5 through 7, they realized Jesus revised the law regarding murder, adultery, divorce, getting even, loving enemies and oathtaking. This new command against oathtaking is the one that has the power to totally destroy the very foundations of the law courts and the military. What Jesus said about oathtaking was clear and concise. It took just four words.

Swear not at all. Matthew 5:34

Here's the full scripture in context:

Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’ BUT I TELL YOU, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one. Matthew 5:33-37

The legal definition of an oath is:

A solemn swearing to the truth of statements delivered orally and/or in written form. Making of false statements while under oath may result in prosecution for perjury. An affidavit is a written oath.

Knowing this clear prohibition against oaths, how could the people who followed Jesus Christ continue taking oaths? Jesus words were too clear to miss. "Simply say, 'Yes' or 'No." Promising more than yes or no means coming under judgment and is of the evil one.

But if the people refused to take oaths, that would put an end to the law courts. During those turbulent religious wars, the secular forces said they absolutely could not run the judicial system without witnesses in court swearing to tell the truth. Yet certain religious leaders argued that this "swearing" would be in clear disobedience to Christ's command to "Swear No Oaths." What could be done? Jesus said, "Swear not at all. Yet, the courts required oaths. So the fighting and bloodshed raged on and on over this and other controversies.

Finally, an agreement was reached on this important matter of oathtaking. The protestant leaders agreed not to preach against judicial oaths, or military oaths or oaths of allegiance. Instead, the protestants compromised by agreeing to teach that only false or vain oaths are prohibited. Now courts and the military could continue requiring oaths and the protestant churches would not preach against it.

However, several Christian groups absolutely refused to accept this compromise of what Jesus clearly said. Quakers and Mennonites firmly reject all oaths. This stance has led to their persecution by governments that insist on oath taking.

George Fox, leader of the Quaker movement, told how the judge caused the oath to be read to him, with the jury standing by. Then George was asked whether he would take the oath or not. And this is what George said:

"Ye have given me a book here to kiss and to swear on, and this book which ye have given me to kiss says, 'Kiss the Son'; and the Son says in this book, 'Swear not at all'; and so says also the apostle James. Now, I say as the book says, and yet ye imprison me; why do ye not imprison the book for saying so? How comes it that the book (which bids me not to swear) is at liberty amongst you, and yet ye imprison me for doing as the book bids me?"

"As I was speaking this to them, and held up the Bible open in my hand, to show them the place in the book where Christ forbids swearing, they plucked the book out of my hand again; and the Judge said, "Nay, but we will imprison George Fox."

What George Fox said spread over all the country. "They gave me a book to swear on that commanded me 'not to swear at all'; and that the Bible was at liberty, and I in prison for doing as the Bible said." From: George Fox: An Autobiography.

The Schleitheim Confession, written in 1527, the earliest Anabaptist confession of faith, was written by the Swiss Brethren and took a strong stand against oaths:

We are agreed as follows concerning the oath: The oath is a confirmation among those who are quarreling or making promises. In the Law it is commanded to be performed in God’s Name, but only in truth, not falsely. Christ, who teaches the perfection of the Law, prohibits all swearing to His [followers], whether true or false,—neither by heaven, nor by the earth, nor by Jerusalem, nor by our head,—and that for the reason which He shortly thereafter gives, For you are not able to make one hair white or black. So you see it is for this reason that all swearing is forbidden: we cannot fulfill that which we promise when we swear, for we cannot change [even] the very least thing on us.

The early church also took a stand against oaths. Irenaeus (student of Polycarp, who was a student of John the Apostle) wrote: “He commanded them NOT only NOT to swear falsely, but NOT even to swear at all.” Tertullian wrote, “Of perjury I am silent, since even swearing is not lawful.”

Apostle James makes not swearing oaths a top priority.

"Above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear--not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. All you need to say is a simple 'Yes' or 'No.' Otherwise you will be condemned." James 5:12

Oaths of Allegiance

Another kind of oath is an Oath of Allegiance. The legal definition is:

Oath of allegiance is an oath by which a person promises to maintain fidelity to a particular sovereign or government. ... It is also termed as a loyalty oath.

We can only have allegiance to one. Jesus says, "Men of all nations will hate you for your allegiance to me." Matthew 24:9 (NEB)

Keep in mind that if you are one of Christ's followers, you have given your loyalty and allegiance to Jesus. No man can serve two masters. You can only serve one. (Matthew 6:24)

Now let's look at the Oath required to enlist in the military and notice that it requires you to bear true faith and allegiance, not to Jesus Christ, but to the Constitution. Further, you swear that you will obey, not Jesus, but the President of the United States and the orders of your officers. Then, hypocritically, the oath ends by saying, "So help me God." I don't know which God they are referring to, but it certainly is not the God who gave us His only begotten Son. For that God says, "Swear no Oaths."

Here's the Oath of Enlistment:

Oath of Enlistment

I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God. (Title 10, US Code; Act of 5 May 1960 replacing the wording first adopted in 1789, with amendment effective 5 October 1962).

Notice, that you have the option to use the word "affirm" rather than swear. That is another deception. When you say "affirm" it is treated exactly as an oath. You will be punished for violating the affirmation, just as you would if you swore. The courts treat "I affirm" the same way as if you had said, "I swear."

If you are put on the witness stand and you choose to affirm, rather than swear, you will be put under the penalties of perjury, just as those who swear. It is not the word that is used that matters, but the significance of the act. A rose by any other name is still a rose. Saying the word affirm instead of swear does not change the fact that you are making an oath. It is more than just a simple, yes or no. And this comes from the evil one. You are agreeing to the future, which you have no control over. You are opening yourself up for condemnation.

Some people interpret "Swear not at all" to mean do not swear falsely. They say when one swears out of love or necessity or to help one's neighbor, it is not wrong. However, this is human reasoning going ahead of the knowledge of God. It is human cleverness desiring to rule over the Spirit of God. When Eve ate the forbidden fruit, she chose to accept the counsel of the devil instead of the counsel of God. She was deceived and it led to death.

It is still that way. Whoever wants to please men cannot be Christ's servant. We cannot twist the scriptures because of our own opinion, but we must give God the honor and leave His commands unaltered.

You can't expect that the courts and military will conform to Christ's teachings. After all, they are the world. Yet, they like to appear that they are acting for the public good, but they do not take Christ and Truth as their guide.

When Jesus commanded that we "Swear no Oaths" he knew what a firestorm it would create. And He even let us know that those who demand oaths are "of the evil one." So now the choice is ours to obey God or to obey men.

Hidden Oaths

If you are of the world, hidden oaths often accompany a request for signature on credit cards, mortgages and loan forms and on tax statements and licensing and permit applications. Anytime you are formally promising to pay or to perform in the future, an oath is often required.

If you are testifying to the truth of a statement, and the words "under penalties of perjury" are used, the court treats it as an oath. It does not matter whether the word "swear" or "affirm" or "declare" are used. It is still a binding oath.

The protestant churches who have chosen to not teach "Swear no Oaths" have saved themselves from persecution by the world, but have they saved themselves from the wrath of God?

You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. James 4:4

May the Peace and Joy of Jesus Christ be with you.

Wake up and repent. The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.