by Steven Chan
21 December 2008
Some think that lying is no big deal – why would God send liars to hell as stated in Rev 22:8? “But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” (ESV)
In the past week, some of you may have read of the giant Ponzi scheme operated by one 70 year old Bernard Madoff who was the former Chairman of Nasdaq and until his recent admission to operating the giant Ponzi scheme, was well regarded by his peers in Wall Street (being able to generate a very steady double digit return of about 10%p.a. – 12%p.a. for his investors over the past 30 years or so) and was held in high esteem by His fellow Jews. A Ponzi scheme is where funds from later investors are used to pay the earlier investors their so-called returns from investment. As you can see, the early investors will be extremely happy with their promised returns – and in fact will be the most motivated recruiter of new investors to put their funds with the Ponzi scheme – by whatever names or schemes that they may be called. The latest investors are the ones paying everyone else and will be left with nothing – once the scheme fails like this one did after so many years.
Bernard Madoff’s scheme became undone when investors asked for refund or redemption of about US$7bn – and he was not able to get that much funds in time to honor the redemption – and he subsequently confessed to his sons who worked with him but who apparently were also not aware of his Ponzi scheme, that it had been one big lie! He later told investigators that there was no innocent explanation.
Bernard Madoff told investigators that he had lost close to US$50 billion funds invested with him. Overnight some very wealthy people became much poorer as they saw their life-long savings vanished into thin air. According to Matt. 6:19-20, Jesus counselled thus: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, wheremoth and rustdestroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.”
The Bible says that the devil is the father of lies. John 8:43-45 (English Standard Version): “Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, andhas nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me.”
Lying is one of the most strategic and potent weapons in the arsenal of the devil. According to 2 Cor 2:11, we should be careful “lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.” Satan lied to Eve and deceived her into sinning against God (Gen 3:13; 2 Cor 11:3; I Tim 2:14). Since then, Satan has been deceiving the world to believe lies rather than the truth. According to 2 Tim 3:13, “evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.” Clearly, Bernard Madoff has deceived many and the losses are quite significant. Imagine the feelings of those who have been deceived by the devil into believing lies instead of the Word of God. It will be a terrible day to discover that it had been one big lie! According to Titus 1:2, our “hope of eternal life, (is in) God, who does not lie, (and who had) promised before the beginning of time”.
Christians should not lie. Lying is of the Devil and liars will end in the lake of fire. Let’s strive to speak the truth at all times.