What’s an Oath? Anchor Scripture: Acts 23:12-14
Oath: It’s a solemn statement or claim used to validate a promise. It’s important to state that in Bible times oaths are sometimes accompanied by protective curses. This is to make sure that everyone involve in the oaths stay binding. King Saul situation in mind; see 1 Samuel 14:24 and Abraham’s servant in Genesis 24:41. These protective curses come into effect in order to protect property rights from thieves as stated in Judges 17:2. It is applicable to those who found a stolen object or knows about a theft, according to Leviticus 5:1.
Related Topic: “The Reward Of A Profitable Fast”
Why the Use of Oaths?
It is normal and customary to use an oath to seal treaties, insuring that neither party broke their promise. See Genesis 26:28. In those days in Israel oaths become a binding force between the nation of Israel and God. For example see Deuteronomy 27:11-28:68; 29:11-20.
God’s Word also teaches us that there are times when people do take oaths lightly. In such a situation, is as if all parties expect them to be bondless. See Hosea 10:4. Also, in legal cases they use oaths sometimes to make a person admit guilt (1 Kings 8:31-32). The Bible clearly states further that oaths administration should not be for wrongful accusations of people. See Exodus 20:7; Job 31:30; Psalm 10:7; Hosea 4:2.
There are times when people pronounce a curse upon themselves in connection with an oath which they have taken. This case can relate with David very well, He vowed not to eat until evening, as revealed in 2 Samuel 3:35, “God do so to me, and more also, if I taste bread or anything else till the sun goes down”. This was a strong pledge on the part of David and it behooves on him to fulfill his promise.
You may also like to read this “How To Carry Out A Profitable Fast”
How Were Oaths Taken?
They can be taken with symbolic gestures such as raising the hand. See Genesis 14:22; Daniel 12:7 & Revelation 10:5-6 or touching the sex organs as in Genesis 24:2; 47:29. Both of these gestures symbolize a person’s life and power. Taking an oath is a serious thing that shouldn’t be ignored. (Exodus 20:7; Leviticus 19:12. Notice that lying about an oath could result in death; Ezekiel 17:16-18.
Jesus Himself was bound by an oath Matthew 26:63-64 as was Paul 2 Corinthians 1:23; Galatians 1:20. It would interest you to know that even God bound Himself by an oath to keep His promise to Abraham, Hebrews 6:13-18.
Learn what you can use your tongue to do in this powerful teaching: “The Power Of Believer’s Tongue”
Back to Acts 23:12-14:
The men involved here were Jews; they weren’t strangers to the Jewish religious culture of the implication of oaths. They are in the know of exactly what they were doing. To them is a path of no return; and a do or die thing. They also knew the place of fasting in their religion. Truth is even though their zeal was without knowledge, they were convinced just like Paul before his conversion, that they were doing the will of God.
Their obstinate stand in taking an oath is an act to consolidate the validity of their promise. Their promise to kill a man everybody wanted dead according to their religion. Because they felt he was distorting their religious values through his Christ-centered teachings. As a matter of fact, their fasting oath was an act of self-discipline. A way of demonstrating how committed they were with respect to what they had promise doing.
Considering the seriousness of what an oath stands for, I’m sure these men must have ended up starving themselves to death. This is because they could not kill Paul. Also because these men were acting contrary to God’s will even though they thought otherwise. My opinion is that their oath must have probably led to the invocation of some unseen forces of darkness. Those unseen forces that were against Paul and followed him from one city to another. These were the demons that became a thorn in Paul’s flesh.
This teaching will educate your mind spiritually: The Second Adam Is Full Of God’s Grace”
That’s why it got to a point in Paul’s life where he had to take an oath as well, gave himself to a life of fasting. Laboring indefatigably in the Word day and night 2 Corinthians 6:5; 11:27; 1 Corinthians 15:9-10. This practice enhanced Paul’s spiritual growth in revelation knowledge, and consequently multiplied the grace of God so much in his life. And because of this, God had to tell him not to worry after he prayed severally about the thorn in his flesh, letting him know that “My grace is sufficient for you”.
Jesus Is Lord!
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BY Pastor Prosper Anang
Get to know more about Pastor Prosper by visiting his blog www.ncrealities.wordpress.com
He is the proprietor of Repsorp Company – Printing/Publishing & Literary Consultancy.
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