Can a Christian Swear an Oath?

In the last book of the Old Testament Malachi introduces the Messiah in chapter 3.  Verses 3 and 4 show that the Messiah will refine and purify according to the law of Moses so that the offering of righteousness will be acceptable as in the days of old and in former years.  That is clearing the law of Moses of abuse and defending it rather than changing it (see also Malachi 4:4).  And then in the sample of whom the Messiah would rebuke in Malachi 3:5 we see “false swearers” included.  Then in 3:6 we have the unchanging nature of God’s moral character established proving further that right and wrong’s definition could not change from one covenant to another.
“3 Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts.
But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap:
And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.
Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in former years.
And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the Lord of hosts.
For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” (Malachi 3:1-6)
I think those who believe in no oaths ever don’t understand what an oath is and how on solemn occasions it is not only right to make an oath, but unavoidable if you really understand what an oath is (a wedding vow is an oath).  It makes sense to me that only the dishonest and those who take God’s name lightly would make an oath unnecessarily or casually.  No doubt this was common among the Jews and Jesus preached against this. The Jews used Jerusalem, Heaven, the Temple, etc as a way to try make their oaths not binding while still attempting to sound sincere and credible.

Jesus fulfilled the ceremonial law but HE never changed the moral law of GOD!

Deu 6:13  Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name.

Mat 5:17  Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
Mat 5:18  For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
Mat 5:19  Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Mat 5:20  For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus was rebuking false oaths here as the Jews were notoriously guilty of common swearing. An oath is not to be taken lightly.

Jas 5:12  But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.


Gal 1:20  Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God(Paul swearing an oath), I lie not.

Mat 26:63  But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God(I put thee upon thy oath before God), that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God. 
Mat 26:64  Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. 

1Sa 20:3  And David sware moreover, and said, Thy father certainly knoweth that I have found grace in thine eyes; and he saith, Let not Jonathan know this, lest he be grieved: but truly as the LORD liveth(swearing), and as thy soul liveth, there is but a step between me and death.

Definition of oath

plural oaths play \ˈōt͟hz, ˈōths\

(1) A solemn usually formal calling upon God or a god to witness to the truth of what one says or to witness that one sincerely intends to do what one says 

(2) a solemn attestation of the truth or inviolability of one’s words 

  • The witness took an oath to tell the truth in court.

b :something (such as a promise) corroborated by an oath 

  • They were required to swear an oath of loyalty.
  • took the oath of office

2:an irreverent or careless use of a sacred name; broadly :swear word 

  • He uttered an oath and stormed away.”

Teaching by brother Aaron Carey. He can be reached at [email protected].