“But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie” (Revelation 22:15).
Excluded, along with other unrepentant sinners, from having the right to eat of the “tree of life” (and to thus have everlasting life) and to enter through the gates into the eternal city of God – the “New Jerusalem” – is “whoever loves and practices a lie.”
Earlier, in Revelation 21:8, all such sinners and “all liars” will “[have had] their part” [will have burned to ashes] in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” Malachi 4:1, 3 describes that coming day as one “burning like an oven, and all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble, and the day which is coming shall burn them up…. for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet.” The “you” addressed here are those “who fear My [God’s] name “ (Verse 2). [See: Can We Love and Fear God at the Same Time?]
That punishment will be so final and ultimate that it will leave the wicked “neither root nor branch” (Verse 1, last part) – with no prospect of ever being brought back to life again. [See: Why is the “Unpardonable Sin” Unpardonable?]
On the list of “seven abominations” [things which God hates or detests thoroughly (Proverbs 6:16-19|)], the sin of “lying” is mentioned twice! – as “a lying tongue” and “a false witness who speaks lies.” That shows how serious God considers the sin of lying is!
It is quite significant that the first-ever sin of mankind came as a result of our first parents [Adam and Eve] believing the lies foisted on them by God’s arch-enemy Satan the Devil, in the guise of a serpent. The famous story is found in Genesis 2 and 3. [See: “Your Eyes Will Be Opened!”] That’s how we all became “children” of the Devil instead of, originally, the “children of God.” [See: Are We All God’s Children?]
Lying and flattery
A close “brother” or “ally” to lying is flattery. To “flatter” is to make rough or tough things smoother and less undesirable than they really and truly are. Speaking about an enemy, the psalmist David said of him that “The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart; his words were softer than oil, yet they were drawn swords” (Psalm 55:21). We have the expression “to butter up a person” to mean to flatter him. The whole concept of flattery is to distort the truth [particularly when it’s bad or evil] in order to make it look good, even attractive.
Satan, whom Jesus called the “father of liars” (John 8:44), deceived Mother Eve into partaking of the fruit God forbade, by flattering her with lies. He subtly insinuated that Eve deserved more than what God was offering her. That, if she ate the forbidden fruit, she wouldn’t really die, but she would, instead, become “like God” – having the “knowledge of good and evil,” meaning having the right and power to decide for herself what is good and what is evil. Thus Eve was led to believe that the forbidden fruit would make her “wise.” [See “Your Eyes Will Be Opened!”]
Thus Satan has taken not just a “foothold” in the minds and hearts of Eve’s descendants – all of us human beings who have ever been born since [except Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2:21-22)] – but a “stronghold” (2 Corinthians 10:4)! So strong is that hold that the apostle Paul compared it to being taken in “the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will” (2 Timothy 2:26). That is why man is unable to do God’s will instead of Satan’s will — unless God imtervenes to help man break away from that hold.
Is it any wonder that many, presently under the powerful sway of the Devil, have passed off lies for the truth? [See: Fake News, Beware of False Prophets! Switching Positive and Negative, and Leanings.] Jesus said that in the “last days,” before “the end of the age” – our time today – there would be many false prophets and teachers (Matthew 24:3, 11, 24), deceiving the majority of people, not just a few.
The Devil’s deception is aggravated by the tendency of man to think of himself more highly than he ought (Romans 12:3). Psalm 56:2 also mentions our human tendency to “flatter” ourselves in our own eyes. [See: Is There Ever Any Good in Man?]
Satan has used a powerful “instrument” to deceive the “whole world” (Revelation 12:9). And that instrument is a spiritual “Babylon.” Revelation 17:5 labels her “MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS, AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” As a “harlot” or prostitute, Babylon has in her hands “a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication” (Verse 4). All nations have drunk of that cup and have become drunk with its “wine.” [See: Drunk With Strange Wine.]
Proverbs 2:16; 7:8, 21; and 26:28 warn about being taken in by a “strange woman,” such as that which“Babylon” embodies, as she will bring ruin to all who succumb to her flatteries and lies.
In contrast, the apostle Paul never used flattery in his writings and dealings with church brethren (1 Thessalonians 2:3). He wrote and spoke only the truth (2 Corinthians 7:14; 11:10; 12:6; Galatians 4:16; 1 Timothy 2:7). He might well have condemned false teachers, as Isaiah 30:10 does those who “do not prophesy right things” but speak “smooth things” and “prophesy deceits.”
God promises to “cut off the flattering tongue” (Psalm 12:2-3). God may not literally cut off such tongue. But a worse fate awaits those who will not forsake lies. instead of embracing the truth. As Revelation 22:15 and 21:8 clearly tell us, all liars and those who love and practice lies will suffer the “second death” in the “lake of fire,” in the ultimate judgment.
Today many who preach and teach lies, and those who believe and follow them, are deluded into believing lies to be truth when, in fact, they are not (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12). Thus Paul warns: “Let him who thinks he stands [thinks he is believing truths and not lies], take heed lest he falls” (1 Corinthians 10:12) — he is proven to be false, in the final judgment. Jesus, who is the embodiment of truth, said “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words has that which judges him — the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day” (John 14:6; 212:48).
God condemned Job’s “friends” who spoke lies about Job and why God was dealing with him the way He did. So God will also condemn those preachers who “have not spoken of Me [God] what is right as My servant Job [or God’s true servant today] has” (Job 42:7-8).
Coming out of the snare of lies
It is simply impossible for a man to come out of the satanic grip of lies, on his own strength. Man has to be yanked out and freed from that bondage and servitude through the power and Spirit of Jesus Christ, who alone is our Savior, and no One else (Isaiah 43:11; Philippians 3:20; Titus 2:13). [See: Freed From Bondage, Are We All God’s Children? About “Pool-of-Siloam,” The Higher Law of the Spirit, and Where Is God’s Church Today?]
With Christ’s Spirit we can understand God’s truth (John 16:13), love it, and practice it. It is the “love of the truth” that will ultimately save us (2 Thessalonians 2:10). Jesus said that His words are spirit, life and truth (John 6:63; 18:37).
Will you strive to know God’s truth by proving things with His word and stick to it (1 Thessalonians 5:21|), love and practice God’s truth now, instead of loving and practicing lies? I certainly hope and pray so!
Pedro R. Meléndez, Jr.