Appendix 6. Oaths and Swearing
“But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.” Matthew 15:18
Much of the persecution of Christians is due to the fact that they would not take an oath of allegiance and supremacy. This was also true of the Israelites.
“If a man vow a vow unto the LORD, or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond; he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth.” (Nu 30:2)
When men gave their Allegiance and oath of Supremacy to other men, they bound themselves to homage and service of those kings or government lawmakers. They would now be protected and procured by the walls of man- made government and institutions. They would be regulated and restricted within those walls to service and subjected to their judgment.
“Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, thou art taken with the words of thy mouth.” (Pr. 6:2)
Jesus did not overthrow this concern and warning of the prophets, but affirmed it.
“Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne: Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.” (Matthew 5:33-37)
The emphasis on not swearing or taking oaths by Jesus was affirmed, also by James, in no uncertain terms, as something all Christians should avoid more than anything else.
“But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and [your] nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.” (James 5:12)
There were many who witnessed this controversy from those early days.
"... love not an oath of falsehood." (Barnabas, The Epistle of Barnabas, late 1st century)
"Swear not at all; but let your yea be yea, and your nay, nay; for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil." (Justin Martyr, First apology, Chapter XVI: Concerning Swearing. A.D.165)
"… enjoined them not only not to swear falsely, but not even to swear at all...." (Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Book 2, late 2nd century)
"... Him who truly is God. He says: "Swear not at all; neither by heaven, for it is God's throne; nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; neither by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King." (Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Book 4, late 2nd century)
"Above all, let an oath on account of what is sold be far from you. And let swearing on account of other things be banished." (Clement of Alexandria, A.D.195)
“Of perjury I am silent, since even swearing is not lawful.” (Tertullian, A.D.200)
"You are compelled to swear, which is not lawful." (Cyprian, A.D.250)
"We must not swear… of this same matter, according to Matthew…" (Cyprian A.D.250)
Even earlier comments on oaths can be found.
"Every man who vows another to death by the laws of the gentiles will himself be put to death." The Essene's Cairo Damascus Document following Geza Vermes:
"The very need for any oath assumes that truth can not be guaranteed without it, and that lies can be told, expected and tolerated if there is no oath! Such a system ignores the fact that lies are equally as offensive to God, with or without an oath!… There is a reference (in Acts 18:18) which is often quoted by some who want to set aside the words of Jesus, to make it obligatory for Christians to swear oaths. That obligation is even built into the creeds of some Churches!" (Allon Maxwell, What Jesus said about Oaths, Bible Digest - Number 60 August 1996)
"Anabaptists found explicit prohibitions in the Bible against oath-taking (Matthew 5:34, and James 5:12). This alone made them poor citizens, for they could not participate in most juries and could not swear oaths of allegiance. It also meant that they could not serve in public office." (Dr. E.L. Skip Knox, Anabaptist Beliefs - the Christian and the State, History of Western Civilization, 18 October 1998)
"We commit ourselves to tell the truth, to give a simple yes or no, and to avoid swearing of oaths." (Mennonite Confession of Faith, Herald Press, 1995)
"That war was looked upon as contrary to the will of God, and oath-taking was forbidden." (Uxbridge Quaker Heritage, By Allan McGillivray, 1996)
Christians use to be persecuted for refusing to take oaths, affirmations of allegiance in obedience to Christ but now churches preach their own brand of Christianity that is an adversary to the teachings of Christ. They, by their own private doctrines and customs, have delivered the people into bondage. By their customs, they make the law of God to no effect.
Can or should Christians, who believe that Christ is King and that God is the one we should serve, take the modern oath of Allegiance and fidelity required by the United States? Christians once went to their death rather than renounce Christ as King and Prince of God’s Kingdom.
Naturalization Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America
"I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the armed forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God."
And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.1 But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and [your] nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.2 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth [therein], he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.3 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.4 Not embezzle, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,5
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ [be] with you all. Amen.6
6Ge 2:15 And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.