The Matter of Oaths and Swearing – What Does Jesus Say?

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: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.

Matthew 5:33-37

This is the fourth time Jesus begins his counsel reminding His listeners that they have heard instructions one way, but He has more He to tell them. When we teach our children how to drive, we may initially tell them, “Follow the speed limit.” Still, as they begin to drive, other points need to be added.

For example:

Be aware of the road conditions. If it is raining, foggy, or snowing, slow down to a speed where you can see well and have full control of the car. 

Watch the traffic. If everyone else is slowing down or tail- lights are turning red in front of you, slow down. There may be a hazard ahead you cannot see. 

Let’s take a quick look at the two words here Jesus uses, ‘swear’ and ‘oath.’

The word swear is Strong’s Concordance #7650. It is a verb and it means to seven oneself—as if repeating a declaration seven times. In Hebrew to seven something, is to do it to the full.

The word swear looks like this in Hebrew:

SWEAR

Reading from right to left the letters are:

Shin 300 = Victory of good over evil, Holy Spirit. Means: Teeth, Fire, God Almighty, the Fire of God to consume all His enemies, God Devour, Destroy, Something Sharp.

Bet/Vet 2 = Divide or Division Means: House/Family; God’s word, God’s dwelling place (Temple)

Ayin 70= Completion of time. Means: Eye, to See, Understand, Experience, or to be Seen, Window of the soul-good or bad (made of a Zayin and Yod—Word and Spirit)

To SWEAR something is to take a stand where the speaker believes God is backing him one-hundred percent. His words are fiery, and they cut through and shut down everything other option. From his understanding, he is speaking truth or making the right choice. End of discussion. 

An oath, on the other hand, is a noun. It is Strong’s #7621 and it means something sworn or cursed. In Hebrew, the word looks like this:

OATH

Note that the primary root for Oath has the same Strong’s number as Swear. Shin, Bet, and Ayin are used. Reading from right to left, the letters used are:

Shin 300 = Victory of good over evil, Holy Spirit. Means: Teeth, Fire, God Almighty, the Fire of God to consume all His enemies, God Devour, Destroy, Something Sharp.

Bet/Vet 2 = Divide or Division Means: House/Family; God’s word, God’s dwelling place (Temple)

Vav 6 = Man. Means: Nail or Hook, to Secure, Pin together, Connect -Yeshua

Ayin 70= Completion of time. Means: Eye, to See, Understand, Experience, or to be Seen, Window of the soul-good or bad (made of a Zayin and Yod—Word and Spirit)

Hey 5 = Grace. Means: Revelation – 5 is the number of Torah, Behold, Give Attention, unfold or look upon – (if it comes at the end of a word: the meaning is based on the letter before)

An OATH is something spoken where the speaker believes God is backing him one-hundred percent. To him, the words are coming from or connected to heaven itself. His words are fiery, and they cut through and shut down everything other option. From his understanding, what he is saying is the revelation of what he sees and hears to be true.

To swear an oath is saying, this is an ironclad statement. You can count on it. It can be something sworn to or words that curse.

Okay, given this point of view, let’s now look at the scriptures Jesus is hinting back to. 

Leviticus 19:12 says, And you shall not swear by My name falsely, nor shall you profane the name of your God: I am the Lord.

When we consider the meaning of the words and their letters and this scripture in Leviticus, swearing something to make an impression or save your neck is lying, plain and simple. It is a mockery of God. 

Later in Matthew, Jesus gets after the Pharisees on this matter. Let’s take a look. 

Blind guides! Woe upon you! For your rule is that to swear ‘By God’s Temple’ means nothing—you can break that oath, but to swear ‘By the gold in the Temple’ is binding! 17 Blind fools! Which is greater, the gold, or the Temple that sanctifies the gold? 18 And you say that to take an oath ‘By the altar’ can be broken, but to swear ‘By the gifts on the altar’ is binding! 19 Blind! For which is greater, the gift on the altar, or the altar itself that sanctifies the gift? 20 When you swear ‘By the altar,’ you are swearing by it and everything on it, 21 and when you swear ‘By the Temple,’ you are swearing by it and by God who lives in it. 22 And when you swear ‘By heavens,’ you are swearing by the Throne of God and by God himself. Matthew 23:16-22 Living Bible

This parallels what He said in His sermon:

But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one. Matthew 5:34-37

Then His brother James says it again in his writings. 

But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. But let your “Yes” be “Yes,” and your “No,” “No,” lest you fall into judgment. James 5:12

So, Jesus is setting greater boundaries on what was originally taught. His code of ethics is stronger and they call on matters of the heart. He suggests questioning our motivation for saying things other than the truth. He also cautions using God’s name or an appearance that what you are speaking comes from God, when it does not. 

The Constitution of the Kingdom is a stricter law, but it is based on love for God and love for others. It is not based on an obligation to win points for salvation or approval. 

May each of us be more careful, more thoughtful with our words. May God is honored, and the truth is shared. 

Matthew 12:36 says, And I tell you this, that you must give account on Judgment Day for every idle word you speak. — Of course, if true repentance is made, the matter is wiped from your record. (1 John 1:9) If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Let’s make sure our “Yes” is “Yes,” and our “No” is “No,” and “swear not at all.” 

Here is one last thought to consider. In Galatians 2:20 Paul writes: I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

And in Colossians 3:3 AMPC we find, For [as far as this world is concerned] you have died, and your [new, real] life is hidden with Christ in God.

As believers, we died to our old life and Christ now lives in us by His Spirit. What we say or do re-presents Him. When we speak, we are in effect saying, God is saying this. I am His messenger. Ouch…now that puts a new spin on our conversation, doesn’t it? 

As we close this out, let’s pray. Holy Spirit, guard our hearts and put a guard on our mouths for the glory of God and the Kingdom’s sake. May the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts be pleasing to You, LORD is our prayer. May we re-present you with the words we speak. Amen.

Shalom ♥

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