Matthew 5:33-37 OATHS
Jesus (during the Sermon on the Mount) continues his theme of teaching us to see the intent of the commandments. The Ten Commandments are a matter of the heart and the intent is as much a sin as the actual action. To give witness of something I have seen, it is usually done on the witness stand in court after taking an oath on the Bible to tell the truth. God takes oaths very seriously. Giving nonchalant oaths is the root cause of bearing false witness. Swearing by God's name without truth is taking the Lord's name in vain.
(Exodus 10:16; "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor" is the 8th commandment.)
Leviticus 19:12, "You shall not swear by my name falsely, and so profane the name of your God: I am the Lord."
(Exodus 20:7, "“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain" is the 2nd commandment.)
God takes oaths seriously made to Him (ie. "I swear to God") and those made on by earth (ie. "I swear by my mother's apron" or "I swear on earth"). Jesus mentions taking an oath by one's own head, which should never be done because only God can make a hair white or black. If I make an oath, I had better be sure it is the truth and if there is one iota of a chance that I may be wrong because I control nothing, then it is best not to make the oath at all. Jesus gives us simple instructions to simply say "yes" or "no" and nothing more because anything more comes from evil. It is the devil who tempts us to make these careless oaths. There are times we make oaths, such in our wedding vows. This section on oath follows the scripture on divorce, so the two are related. Making a casual vow or to fling words without thinking fails to build a trustworthy character and trusted relationships, with others and with God. Is my word good? Are my promises good? Can I back up what I say? Is my intent honorable? James also repeats what Matthew wrote in James 5:12, "But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation."