The Pure in Heart

December 4, 2019

by Barry Fike

“Who shall go up into the mountain of the Lord?  Or who shall stand in His holy place?  He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted himself up to falsehood, or to what is false, nor sworn deceitfully.”  (Psalm 24:3, 4)


              From this passage one gains the idea that the specific desire that one is to be free from is to have never lifted yourself up to falsehood, or to what is false, nor to have sworn deceitfully. 

              This same idea is inherent in the Greek word for pure, “katharos” which means “ethically; free from corrupt desire, from sin and guilt.”  The purity of the New Testament community is personal and moral by nature.  It consists in full and unreserved self-offering to God which renews the heart and rules out any acceptance of what is against God.  Those who are pure in heart in this way are called to participate in the kingdom of God. 

              To be pure in heart means to be a person of integrity and not a liar.  One of the Ten Commandments say thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.  But it doesn’t mean thou shalt not lie as we understand that in today’s terms.  To bear false witness means to bear false testimony in a court of law.  The Bible says that by the mouth of two witnesses will a thing be established  (Deut. 17:6).  What this has to do with is in a court of law when a man is on trial for his life, you’re not going to bear false witness against him that will lead to his harm.

              This is the person of integrity who is going to do what they say that they’re going to do.  They’re going to pay their bills on time.  They’re going to live up to the obligations and commitments that they make to their fellowman. They’re going to be upright, straight, honest people.  “Blessed are those who have not lifted themselves up to falsehood nor sword deceitfully.”  These are the kind of people that are going to ascend to the hill of God.  What does it mean to ascend to the hill of God?  It’s a euphemism for salvation.  In a practical sense everything depends on motive along with the circumstance and situation.  If you were required to reveal something in a court of law then you would be violating the commandment, as well as the principle, but not telling the truth even if it resulted in that person’s detriment.  But, if you happen to find out something that could be to a person’s detriment if you brought it out, and you did because you thought it was your religious obligation to bring it out and it served to that person detriment, it might wind up backfiring and causing you more harm. 

              You’re not called upon to be your brothers’ judge.  You’re not to judge his actions.  You’re not to judge his motives.  When it says that you are to judge what are you to judge?  The doctrine or the teaching.  What’s coming out of his mouth?   Lying in Hebrew means an intentional deception to the harm of the individual.  Take the case of Naboth and Ahab.  To get his vineyard Jezebel had some false witnesses lay a false charge before Naboth and had him killed on the trumped up charge that he cursed God and the king.  (1 Kings 21:10)  Ahab’s punishment was, “In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood...”  (1 Kings 21:19b)   This is also the main plot to the apocryphal book of Suzanna where two judges from the city conspire to lie in order to blackmail her.  Daniel is the hero of the story showing that the men are giving false testimony and they are put to death. 

              This may be the reason why in the Talmud it is stated that, “Lying is the equivalent of theft and its worst form.” 

“…those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart and they defile the man, for out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornication, etc.  These are the things that defile the man.” 

              To bear false witness means to give false witness in a court of law.  In the Bible it says that are the mouth of two witnesses a matter is established (Deut. 19:15).  Their word is as good as their bond. 

For they shall see God- Who is going to stand before God?  The one who has a pure heart.  One who has never lifted himself up to falsehood to intentionally deceive.  One who is a person of integrity, a man of his word, one whose word is as good as his bond.  Those who haven’t sworn deceitfully not lifted themselves up to falsehood.  God expects his people to live in the world and before the world without rebuke.  He expects them to be honest and live within their means, to be men and women of integrity and people who pay their bills on time or at least make arrangements to take care of their obligations if difficult times befall them.  To be put in heart means to be honest, it means to be man and women of integrity, and one whose word is as good as their bond. 

              This individual can approach deity for such uncleanness does not come between him and his God for he does not practice such.  Who’s going to see God?  Those who haven’t sworn deceitfully nor lifted themselves up to falsehood.