The First Lie and Its Implications for Christians
What was the first lie? Who told it? And to whom? Does it have importance to us today?
You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it (John 8:44, NKJV throughout unless otherwise stated).
Now pretty much every one in the Church of God knows that, and thus knew who told the first lie. But what was it?
The First Lie
The first recorded lie to human beings was given by Satan to Eve,
4 Then the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die" (Genesis 3:4).
Possibly the first lie by human beings was given by Eve when she said,
God has said...'nor shall you touch it' " (Genesis 3:3).
Why was that probably the first lie by a human? Because the Bible did not record God saying not to touch it, hence Eve may have presumptuously exaggerated.
But neither of those was the actual first lie.
Because Satan, as the father of lies, apparently told himself the first lie, before he told any to anyone else.
Isaiah 14:12-15 states,
How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: 'I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.' Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, To the lowest depths of the Pit.
Why did Satan tell himself this?
We can pick up the story in Ezekiel 28:12-17,
Son of man, take up a lamentation for the king of Tyre, and say to him, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "You were the seal of perfection, Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; Every precious stone was your covering: The sardius, topaz, and diamond, Beryl, onyx, and jasper, Sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes Was prepared for you on the day you were created. "You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones. You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, Till iniquity was found in you. "By the abundance of your trading You became filled with violence within, And you sinned; Therefore I cast you as a profane thing Out of the mountain of God;And I destroyed you, O covering cherub, From the midst of the fiery stones. "Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty;You corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor; I cast you to the ground, I laid you before kings, That they might gaze at you".
In other words, Satan had been made perfect, but decided because he was so beautiful and so wise that he should ascend to God's level. He felt that he was at God's level of authority.
He apparently deceived himself that he would win, yet the Bible records,
And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him (Revelation 12:7-9).
Jesus Himself stated, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven" (Luke 10:18).
So the first lie was that one made below God's level should have a position that God did not want him to have.
The Bible shows it is "the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world" (Revelation 12:9). Eve, herself, accepted Satan's lie to her (II Corinthians 11:3) and also deceived herself (Genesis 3:6; I Timothy 2:14), and thus began human deception.
The Atlantic posted the following:
Quit Lying to Yourself
November 18, 2021
No one wants to be seen as a liar. Liars are considered untrustworthy at best and immoral at worst. And yet, we are perfectly content to lie to ourselves all the time. “I’ll enjoy this sleeve of Oreos today because my diet starts tomorrow,” I might tell myself. Or, “I love my job; who cares that I complain about it constantly?” Or even—ironically—“I am always honest with myself.”
Deceiving yourself shouldn’t make logical sense. After all, lying involves telling someone something you know to be untrue. When you are both the liar and one lied to, this means you have to both know the truth and not know the truth. In practice, that means willfully disregarding key knowledge to arrive at a conclusion that is more convenient than what the facts appear to suggest.
Everyone self-deceives, but that doesn’t make it harmless. At high levels, it is associated with poor mental health. At moderate levels, it can temporarily protect the self-deceiver from bad feelings but still presents a barrier to the deep well-being that comes from living with integrity. To be really happy, we must learn to be completely honest with ourselves. …
If you are willfully oblivious to your flaws, you can’t correct them. https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2021/11/self-deception-honesty-lying/620739/?utm_source=pocket-newtab
Related to that last statement, consider the following scriptures:
8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. (1 John 1:8-10)
Repentance is needed so we can believe, live, and understand the truth.
It should be pointed out that various non-biblical researchers have concluded that there are costs associated with self-deception:
The invisible downside of cheating in life
People who take shortcuts can trick themselves into believing they are smarter than they are, says Tom Stafford, and it comes back to bite them. …
The researchers ran another experiment to check that the effect was really due to the cheaters’ inflated belief in their own abilities. In this experiment, students were offered a cash reward for accurately predicting their scores on the second test. Sure enough, those who had been given the opportunity to cheat overestimated their ability and lost out – earning 20% less than the other students.
The implication is that people in Chance’s experiment – people very much like you and me – had tricked themselves into believing they were smarter than they were. There may be benefits from doing this – confidence, satisfaction, or more easily gaining the trust of others – but there are also certainly disadvantages. Whenever circumstances change and you need to accurately predict how well you’ll do, it can cost to believe you’re better than you are.
That self-deception has its costs has some interesting implications. Morally, most of us would say that self-deception is wrong. But aside from whether self-deception is undesirable, we should expect it to be present in all of us to some degree (because of the benefits), but to be limited as well (because of the costs).
Self-deception isn’t something that is always better in larger doses – there must be an amount of it for which the benefits outweigh the costs, most of the time. We’re probably all self-deceiving to some degree. The irony being, because it is self-deception, we can’t know how often. http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20150225-unexpected-downside-for-cheaters
Yes, deception hurts.
Even Christians can deceived.
Jesus warned that most Christians in the end times would be deceived:
14 “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write,
‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: 15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’ — and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked — 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. (Revelation 3:14-19)
Although most Laodiceans do not believe that they are deceiving themselves, Jesus said that they are. Jesus said that Laodicean Christians need to repent–they need to change.
In addition to doctrine and how they lead their lives, there are serious prophetic deceptions that the Laodiceans have fallen for. A list of 38 prophetic deceptions that various Laodiceans (and those of Sardis) believe is in the article The Laodicean Church Era. Believing several of these will ensure that Laodiceans will not realize that the Great Tribulation is here until it is to late for most to flee (cf. Revelation 12:14-17).
Self-deception is common. Try not to fall for it. The word of God is truth (John 17:17), hopefully you will believe it enough so that you will resist Satanically-encouraged self-deception (cf. James 4:7).
The Ten Commandments
Lying is prohibited by the Ten Commandments:
16 "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. (Exodus 20:16)
20 'You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. (Deuteronomy 5:20)
Notice what Jesus taught:
33 Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord. 34 But I say to you, do not swear at all (Mathew 5:33-34).
19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts...false witness...20 These are the things which defile a man (Matthew 15:19-20).
18 You shall not bear false witness (Matthew 19:18).
19 Do not bear false witness (Mark 10:19).
20 You know the commandments:...Do not bear false witness (Luke 18:20).
2 And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars (Revelation 2:2).
Notice what Paul taught:
9 You shall not bear false witness (Romans 13:9).
19 I do not lie (Galatians 1:19).
25 Therefore, putting away lying, 'Let each of you speak truth with his neighbor' (Ephesians 4:25).
9 Do not lie to one another (Colossians 3:9).
9...the lawless and insubordinate...10 liars...perjurers (1 Timothy 1:9,10).
1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy (1 Timothy 4:1-2).
1 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be...3 slanderers (2 Timothy 3:1,3).
2 God, who cannot lie (Titus 1:2).
18...it is impossible for God to lie (Hebrews 6:18).
Christians are not to lie and bear false witness.
Here is some information on the Ten Commandments:
The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast This is a free draft/unedited pdf book explaining the what the Ten Commandments are, where they came from, how early professors of Christ viewed them, and how various ones, including the Beast of Revelation, will oppose them. A related sermon is titled: The Ten Commandments and the Beast of Revelation.
The Ten Commandments in Hebrew This is a photo of a Hebrew document from the 2nd century, B.C.
Were the Ten Commandments in Effect Before Mount Sinai? Some have said not. This article provides biblical quotes to answer this important question. A sermon of related interest is titled Were the Ten Commandments in Place prior to Mt. Sinai?
Job and the Ten Commandments Was Job written prior to Mount Sinai? Did Job know about the ten commandments? This article provides biblical answers to those questions.
What Did Jesus Teach About the Ten Commandments? This article quotes what Jesus actually said about them (His words are in red).
Were the Ten Commandments Nailed to the Cross? Some have said so. This article provides some biblical quotes to answer this important question.
What Did Paul Actually Teach About the Ten Commandments? Many say Paul taught against the ten commandments. Is this true? This article quotes Paul with his words in green.
Are the Ten Commandment Still in Effect? This article quotes the ten commandments and combines some of the previous articles into one article about the ten commandments. The commandments are shown at Mount Sinai, before Mount Sinai, in the teachings of Jesus, after the crucifixion, and in the teachings of Paul. It addresses the most common "traditions of men" regarding them as well. Here is a version in the Spanish language:.¿Están vigentes todavía los diez mandamientos?
Were the Pharisees Condemned for Keeping the Law or Reasoning Around it? Many believe that the Pharisees were condemned for keeping the law, but what does your Bible say? If they were not condemned for that, what were they condemned for? A related sermon is titled Jesus, Pharisees, and the Ten Commandments.
The Ten Commandments Reflect Love, Breaking them is Evil Some feel that the ten commandments are a burden. Is that what Jesus, Paul, Peter, James, and John taught? For a more detailed discussion of the first four commandments, please see the video The Ten Commandments: Loving God. For a more detailed discussion of the last six commandments, please see: The Ten Commandments: Loving Your Neighbor. Here is a link to a related article in Mandarin Chinese SAga‹ëT}f>y:r1ÿÝSÍ‹ëT}v„\1f/ª`vv„
Was the Commandment to Love the Only Command? Some have stated that John's writings teach this, but is that what the Bible really says?
The Ten Commandments: Cause and Effect Is everything random? Why do things happen? Are there just two ways? Should Christians keep the ten commandments? A related sermon is also available: Cause and Effect: Two Trees, Two Ways.
The Ten Commandments and the Early Church Did Jesus and the Early Church keep the ten commandments? What order were they in? Here are quotes from the Bible and early writings. A related sermon is titled: Christians and the Ten Commandments.
There are various types of lies, and the Pharisees lied to both themselves and others. Of course, God knew the truth.
Jesus often called the Pharisees hypocrites (Matthew 15:7;16:3;22:18;23:23,25,27,29; Mark 7:6). According to Strong's Exhaustive Concordance, the Greek word Jesus used that was translated as hypocrite means, "an actor under an assumed role". The Pharisees didn't really want to be good, they just wanted to look good (Matthew 23:25-27). Although they wanted to be, they were not God's people (Matthew 3:7-9).
Because "they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God" (John 12:43). They also believed that their priorities were better than God's (Matthew 15:1-9). Jesus condemned the Pharisees by saying, "you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness" (Matthew 23:28).
The Pharisees were insincere, bearing a false witness, "Then the Pharisees went and plotted how they might entangle Him in His talk...But Jesus perceived their wickedness" (Matthew 22:15,18). This a violation of the ninth commandment--if the Pharisees really felt that Jesus was true and taught the true way of God, they would not have plotted to entangle Him. They also had part in spreading the lie that Jesus' body was stolen-Matthew 27:62;28:12-13; another violation of the ninth commandment.
The Pharisees, though religious, do not make it,
14 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows' houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation. 15 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! (Matthew 23:14-15).
Contrary to a popular lie from some Protestant leaders, Jesus condemned the Pharisees, not because they kept God's law, but because they were hypocrites and reasoned around it (see Were the Pharisees Condemned for Keeping the Law or Reasoning Around it?).
Lying is Hazardous to One's Health
A recent study concluded that people who reduced lying had improved physical health and felt less stressed:
Want to Feel Healthier and Happier? Cut Back on Lying
According to new research led by Anita Kelly, a psychologist at the University of Notre Dame who studies secrecy, self-disclosure, and self-presentation, telling lies—both little "white lies" and major deceptions—takes a psychological and physiological toll... The result? Those who lied less reported not only better mental health (feeling less tense, for example), but also fewer physical ailments like headaches. From Notre Dame:
Compared to the control group, participants in the more truthful group told significantly fewer lies across the 10-week study, and by the fifth week, they saw themselves as more honest, Kelly said. When participants across both groups lied less in a given week, they reported their physical health and mental health to be significantly better that week. The study also revealed positive results in participants’ personal relationships, with those in the no-lie group reporting improved relationship and social interactions overall going more smoothly when they told no lies.
Interestingly, the benefits of lying less were greater for people in the group who were asked not to lie at the outset. (Price A. Want to Feel Healthier and Happier? Cut Back on Lying. August 7, 2012. http://www.good.is/post/want-to-feel-healthier-and-happier-cut-back-on-lying/ viewed 8/11/12)
The Bible also concurs.
Those of us who believe the Bible, have read the Bible, and believe in keeping the Ten Commandments have long realized that telling the truth contributes to happiness. Notice the following:
7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and depart from evil. 8 It will be health to your flesh, And strength to your bones. (Proverbs 3:7-8)
18 Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; But happy is he who keeps the law. (Proverbs 29:18)
14 Happy is the man who is always reverent (Proverbs 28:14).
And since lying is a violation of the law, logic dictates that those who lie are less healthy and happy than those who do not.Society Pushes Lies
The BBC reported the following:
15 November 20`7
And despite the fact that we now frequently expect lies from those in power, it remains challenging to spot them in real time, especially so if they lie by paltering. Psychologist Robert Feldman, author of The Liar in Your Life, sees this as worrying both on a personal and on a macro level. "When we're lied to by people in power, it ruins our confidence in political institutions – it makes the population very cynical about [their] real motivations."
Lying can and does clearly serve a devious social purpose. It can help someone paint a better picture than the truth, or help a politician dodge an uncomfortable question. "It's unethical and it makes our democracy worse. But it's how human cognition works," says Rogers.
Unfortunately, the prevalence of lies might stem from the way we are brought up. Lies play a role in our social interactions from a very young age. We tell young children about tooth fairies and Santa, or encourage a child to be grateful for an unwanted present. "We give our kids very mixed messages," says Feldman. "What they ultimately learn is that even though honesty is the best policy, it's also at times fine and preferable to lie about things." http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20171114-the-disturbing-art-of-lying-by-telling-the-truth
People should NOT lie to their children (see also Five Rules for Effective Parenting).
What About Christians?
The Bible teaches, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23).
Romans 8:20-25 teaches,
For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.
So we were made subject to futility. One definition that Thayer's Greek Lexicon defines the Greek term used here for futility is "what is devoid of truth and appropriateness".
Apparently so that we would desire to be delivered from the bondage of corruption by God.
Now Galatians 6:7-9 states,
7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. 9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.
Now why does God have to have this stated? Because we are deceived and we do not always believe that we will reap what we sow. Part of the problem for true Christians is that this does not seem to always happen in this life, so even real Christians wonder about this. But the reality is that in due season we shall reap! But that season is NOT now.
Actually, Paul taught,
If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable" (I Corinthians 15:19, KJV). Plus "39 And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, 40 God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us (Hebrews 11:39-40).
Thus, even though it may appear to even true Christians that life if not fair, God's assurances are that they are. Remember that Paul also taught, "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us" (Romans 8:19).
Christians going through various trial need to remember that those "who endures to the end shall be saved" (Matthew 24:13).
The other reason that life does not always seem fair to Christians, is because judgment is now upon us,
17 For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 Now "If the righteous one is scarcely saved, Where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?" 19 Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator" (1 Peter 4:17-19).
Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you (James 4:7).
Now what does all this have to do with lies?
Who Does Not Make It?
The last book of the Bible mentions who does and who does not make it in the Kingdom of God.
Now who makes it?
Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city (Revelation 22:14).
Some do not,
But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie (Revelation 22:15).
Because the Pharisees "loved the praise of men more than the praise of God" (John 12:43), they are condemned (Matthew 23:14). They both loved and practiced a lie.
Sadly, people seem to want to believe lies. The BBC reported:
19 November 2017
In 2010, a landmark study by two psychologists showed that facts fails to sway our opinions. Indeed, Brendan Nyhan and Jason Reifler argued that fact-checking can actually make us more entrenched in our political biases.
When someone presents us with evidence contrary to our beliefs, we feel under siege and dig in our heels. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-42031670 accessed 11/19/17
Christians, especially non-Philadelphian ones (cf. Revelation 3), want to believe the lie that they and their church situation is fine and pleasing to God. But Jesus did not find it that way.
Things are not always as they seem to us.
9 "The heart is deceitful above all things,
And desperately wicked;
Who can know it?
10 I, the Lord, search the heart,
I test the mind,
Even to give every man according to his ways,
According to the fruit of his doings. (Jeremiah 17:9-10)
Those of us in the Church of God have had a variety of tests and trials. Satan wants us to be discouraged so that we do not make it. We cannot believe the lie that we do not reap what we sow. We must strive to produce the Philadelpian fruits that God wants from us.
We have to look past this present physical existence to the future coming Kingdom of God. We must listen to God and constantly remind ourselves, "that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us" (Romans 8:19).
Otherwise, we could be among those who through our beliefs practice or love certain lies. Those that do not make it.
Christians need to remember
1 according to the faith of God's elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness, 2 in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began (Titus 1:1-2).
God cannot lie and He has promised us eternal life if we have faith and believe the truth.
Notice the following prophecy:
1 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! (2 Timothy 3:1-5)
We are in the last days. Slanderers, traitors, and blasphemers are all liars. We are prophesied to be around liars!
The first lie in the Bible was Satan (then known as Lucifer) lying to himself that he had a better plan for himself than God did. He did not believe God had the truth. Satan has successfully deceived the whole world, and has many who believe and practice lies.
We need to endure all things in hope and believe God, and not deceive ourselves that we have a better plan than God.
Two articles of related interest may include What is the Unpardonable Sin? and Did Early Christians Believe that Humans Possessed Immortality?
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