By Charles H. Welch
The LIE. Greek pseudos, "false, counterfeit, spurious, a lie". The word occurs nine times in the N.T., as follows:
In four of the references given above, the article "the" is found in the original, and therefore we should read "the lie". These four passages we will therefore quote more fully, that their bearing upon the teaching of the Scriptures may be the better appreciated.
Should the reader have had any leanings to that teaching known as "Universal Reconciliation", he will know that Satan is looked upon, not as a fallen being or a usurper, but as one who has been actually commissioned by God to play his part just as surely as the Christ of God did His. It is horrible to have to write such words, but to abstain from mentioning obscenity, leprosy and corruption does not alter the fact of their existence. We therefore ask the reader to ponder John 8:44 as a Divine revelation, and place it beside the specious doctrine we have mentioned.
Two ''fathers'' are in the context. Christ said, "I speak that which I have seen with My Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father . . . this did not Abraham. Ye do the deeds of your father . . . If God were your Father, ye would love Me . . . Ye are of your father the Devil" (John 8:38-44).
"He was a murderer from the beginning."
In the same chapters of Revelation quoted above, "murderers" are associated with the abominable, with sorcerers, idolaters, and liars (Rev. 21:8, 22:15). Such evidently have not their names in the Lamb's book of life" (Rev. 21:27).
In the execution of his duty, a magistrate or a soldier may take human life and be exempt from all blame, but what of the morals of that teacher who would justify a "murderer"? The devil was a murderer from the beginning. Further, no one can be commissioned by God and acceptably serve him of whom it can be written that he "abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him". Is that the way to speak of one commissioned by God and obedient to His call?
Moffatt translates the next sentence: "When he tells a tie, he is expressing his own nature," or, as the A.V. has it, "he speaketh of his own" surely words cannot be plainer! and he is not only a liar but the father of IT. However uncharitable it may appear, we cannot avoid the conclusion that the teaching that demands a justification of the devil's tie, must of itself be perilously near to that tie itself. The signs of the times, coupled with the warning given in 1 Timothy 4: 1-4 make it all the more necessary that we should be informed concerning this central feature of Satanic attack.
The Pseudos and its advocates. From the history of Israel, and the Divine commentary of Romans 10:1-4, we can see that the trap that was laid for their feet was a false righteousness.
From the teaching of Colossians and 1 Timothy 4:1-5 we perceive the trap that was laid for the feet of the church is a spurious sanctity. The departure from the faith predicted in 1 Timothy 4: 1 results from giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons. Liddon, in his Explanatory Analysis, subdivides 1 Timothy 4:1-6. The following is an abridgement of this analysis:
(1). Character of the prediction. It is made rhetos, in express terms.
(2). Substance of the prediction. Some in the latter times will apostatize.
(3). Specific errors will be propagated.
(4). Digression. Confutation of the pseudo-ascetic precept.
(5). Practical conclusion. Timothy's ministry.
Two related agents, superhuman and human, are concerned, and consist on the one hand of seduction and doctrines, and on the other hand with seared consciences and hypocrisy. The link between these agents of evil and their dupes is likewise twofold, namely the one "gives heed", the other "speaks". Without this medium of interchange the doctrines of demons would neither have been promulgated nor received.
"Some shall depart from the faith, giving heed." The word prosecho we have already seen occurs a number of times in the Pastoral Epistles, the affix pros revealing only too well that there will be an inclination on the part of the hearer, a thought that is developed in 2 Timothy four, under the figure of the "itching ear", and expressed with terrible justice in 2 Thessalonians two, where we read of those who take part in another and related apostasy, that such will be deceived "because they received not the love of the truth . and had pleasure in unrighteousness" .
"Speaking lies." These two words are used to translate the one Greek word pseudologos, "a lie speaker." Ordinarily we should expect some such construction as we find, for example, in Acts 20:30 where "speaking perverse things" is in the original lalountes diestrammena and which are used "to draw away" disciples. Here something deeper and more deadly is intended than the mere "speaking of lies". Speaking lies in any sense and for any reason is to be repudiated, but nevertheless is a common failing, but to be "a lie-speaker" is somewhat different.
The Greek pseudos and its derivatives occur some sixty-five times in the N.T., but are rarely used of the telling of an untruth in the common sense of "telling lies". It is used of false brethren, teachers, witnesses, apostles, prophets and of false Christs. Paul uses the word in one form or another twenty times, and John uses it twenty times also. The apostasy of 1 Timothy 4:1 is furthered by "the opposition of science falsely so called", pseudonumos (1 Tim. 6:20). There is no reference here to "science" as the term is understood today, but a claim to special knowledge, a gnosis that was the germ from which Gnosticism sprang, and which is discoverable in its incipient stage in Colossians two.
This "science falsely so called" is in opposition to "that deposit" of truth that had been entrusted to Timothy by the apostle Paul. The oppositions or "antitheses" of false gnosis are spoken of again and again by the Apostle within the short compass of these three pastoral epistles. As we value "the Truth" let us spare no pains in discovering the methods adopted by those whose purpose it is to further "the lie", and then let us act as Scripture commands.
The teaching of heterodox doctrine opens and closes the first epistle to Timothy (1 Tim. 1:3, 6:3). Let us note in fuller detail the way in which this false teaching is described in these epistles.
The R.V. reads "a dispensation of God" where the A.V. reads "godly edifying", the Greek oikonomia instead of oikodomia, involving the change of but one letter. This opening warning is balanced by the one already considered, concerning the oppositions of a pseudo-knowledge, which we saw was inimical to the "deposit" which had been entrusted to Timothy, a "deposit" in which was enshrined the truth for this "dispensation" . In contrast with all this, the Apostle places "faith unfeigned", and as this word is anupokritos "not hypocritical" we are immediately reminded of those agents in the apostasy who speak lies "in hypocrisy" (1 Tim. 4:2), and again, the contrast is emphasized by a "good conscience" in 1 Timothy 1 :5, and the "seared conscience" of 1 Timothy 4:2. "Vain jangling" (1 Tim. 1:6), "empty argument" (Moffatt) is what this attitude of mind leads to.
Following the opening references to the apostasy in 1 Timothy 4:1, we come to verse 7, "but refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness". So in the conclusion, we read: "He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words" (1 Tim. 6:4). Moffatt's free translation is suggestive. "Anyone who teaches novelties and refuses to fall in with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the doctrine that tallies with piety, is a conceited, ignorant creature, with a morbid passion for controversy and argument which only leads to envy, dissension, insults, insinuations, and constant friction between people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the Truth."
Here are the "oppositions" of a pseudo knowledge, by which those who are "lie speakers" further the apostasy from the truth. These Scriptures have been written for our learning, and as we value the trust committed to us, let us avoid complicity with any and every one that come within the limits of these delineations. To invoke "charity" as an excuse for vigilance and action may be but the fust of a series of steps that lead to "truce-breaking" and "betrayal". We have seen that the agents of this error are said to be "unseen and superhuman" and "visible and human" instruments:
While we cannot assert that a knowledge of Dispensational Truth is a panacea for all ills, we do most certainly believe that by rightly dividing the Word of truth we shall often be saved from the Devil's snare.
In 2 Thessalonians two, we have a prophetic picture of the dosing days of Gentile dominion and the opening of the day of the Lord, "the man of sin", "the son of perdition", "the mystery of iniquity", "who se coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness". Those who receive not the love of the truth that they may be saved, believe "the lie".
If "all is of God" in the sense that some teach, the words quoted above are emptied of all meaning, and it would be impossible for anyone to be sure whether what they believe should happen to be the truth or the lie. It is a monstrous perversion to teach that "all deceivableness of unrighteousness" could emanate from God, and such a doctrine could easily prepare the way for the advent of the man of sin. Therefore we must resist it.
Because the nations "changed the truth of God into the lie", or "exchanged the truth of God for a (the) lie" (R.V.), God gave them up to the most vile passions, and dishonourable practices, and Ephesians 4:20-25 relates "the lie" with the old man which is corrupt according to the former lusts, contrasts the lie with the truth which is in Jesus, speaks of the new man that is after God and created in righteousness and holiness of the truth, and as a consequence says:
Whether our quest be doctrinal, dispensational or practical truth, one fact remains unmovable, unalterable and binding:
and the recognition of this fact underlies the whole of the teaching of this analysis and of all the publications of the Berean Forward Movement. See The LAST DAYS IN O.T., The LAST DAYS IN N.T. , The LAST DAYS of the Mystery.