The law of public adjuration
Jan 08, 2013
I love my job. It keeps me grazing on the word each day. And when I am not grazing—perhaps driving back and forth to the office, or when I sleep—I am chewing my cud in order to be able to dispense clean spiritual food. It is only by chewing the cud that the food is rendered “clean” by biblical standards. Because “all flesh is grass,” what I eat while grazing is just flesh until I have chewed the cud. Then I can assimilate the food by the Holy Spirit, and I become what I eat.
Jesus did this as well, and when He fed the disciples, He said in John 15:3, “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you” (NASB). Of course, it is one thing to dispense clean spiritual food; it is another for the receiver to retain its clean status. Each person must chew the cud for himself, otherwise the food is unclean no matter how clean it was when it was dispensed to them.
Recently, I have been working on putting the second speech of Moses into print as Book 2 of Deuteronomy. In contemplating aspects of the Third Commandment, it occurred to me that Leviticus 5:1 was the law by which every tongue will confess Christ as Lord. It is the law of public adjuration.
1 Now if a person sins, after he hears a public adjuration to testify, when he is a witness, whether he has seen or otherwise known, if he does not tell it, then he will bear his guilt.
The passage goes on to explain some ways in which men become guilty. Verse 4 speaks of a person ignorantly swearing to do either evil or good—in other words, he swears to do something or he believes something in ignorance—when it becomes known to him, then he is to go before the court and rectify his position so that the truth in on public record.
There was no Fifth Amendment right in Scripture. (Neither did the law allow torture as a means of obtaining confessions.) In a court of law, all men were required to speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth under oath. Confession of sin is also mandatory. Verse 5 says,
5 So it shall be when he becomes guilty in one of these, that he shall confess that in which he has sinned.
Anyone who testified in a biblical court of law was required under oath to speak the whole truth to the best of his knowledge. The Third Commandment establishes such oaths, telling us that to lie under oath is to “take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.” An oath links God and His character to our testimony, and so if any man lies under oath, he profanes the name (character) of God.
An oath also makes a man directly accountable to God if he should lie under oath. This is God’s way of ensuring truth and justice when obtaining testimony from individuals in a court of law.
However, there was also “a public adjuration” mentioned in Leviticus 5:1. In effect, this served to swear in the public at large, making all men responsible before God to come to court and to testify what they know about a case to ensure justice. No one can say, “I don’t want to get involved.” If they know something, they are required to bear witness to what they have seen or heard. If they do not give testimony, they are liable as false witnesses. The apostles appealed to this law when the Sadducees commanded them to stop testifying about Jesus Christ in Acts 4:18-20,
18 And when they had summoned them, they commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; 20 for we cannot stop speaking what we have seen and heard.”
The apostles were not just so excited that they couldn’t help but talk. They had been adjured by Jesus Christ, the Judge, to give testimony of what they had seen and heard. They could not do anything else but to speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. So when the priests told them NOT to testify, it was a violation of the law found in Leviticus 5:1.
The law of God demands that the truth be laid bare. Thus also, a prophet walked into my office more than 25 years ago with the word of the Lord, saying, “Preach the whole counsel of God.” I have done my best to follow that mandate as well. I do not always know the whole truth, and sometimes this is evident because I do not yet know how to speak the truth in love and in a manner that will not destroy some innocent “little ones.” In such cases, I wait for the wisdom of God, lest I testify the truth in a distorted manner that does not truly reflect the mind of Christ.
But in the end, the whole truth will be known to all, and everything that has been hidden will be laid bare. When Paul says in Philippians 2:10 and 11 that every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, he speaks of the final great public adjuration issued at the time of the final resurrection of the dead. All will be required to appear before the Great White Throne to testify the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
We have seen lesser examples of this in various revivals of the past. When the Holy Spirit has moved powerfully in a meeting, men walking along the street outside have been known to fall on their faces and confess their sins to God. Men have been known to run into the meeting screaming their confessions of sin and then confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
It is as if the Holy Spirit makes a semi-public adjuration, similar to what will be seen at the Great White Throne on a larger scale. When all of humanity is adjured in that day, they will all confess their sins and will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, for that is the ultimate truth. Like those who have done so already in various revivals of the past, those at the Great White Throne will become genuine believers and will be filled with the Spirit, for Paul says no one can confess Him as Lord except by the Spirit of God.
We actually have two prominent laws that speak into this final scene at the Great White Throne. First is the law of the “old man” (KJV) in Leviticus 19:32. The NASB reads,
32 You shall rise up before the grayheaded, and honor the aged, and you shall revere your God; I am the Lord.
Thus, we see in Daniel 7:9 that when the Ancient of Days sits upon His fiery throne, all are required to rise up before Him in verse 10. It is the law of rising up before the old man, the aged, the Ancient of Days, which reveres God.
Once the dead have been raised, then the public adjuration is issued to all men, whereby they are required to testify the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. This is the law that requires all men to speak what they know in their hearts, what they have seen with their eyes, and what they have heard with their ears. When they speak what has been revealed to them, they will confess the truth that Jesus Christ as Lord.
This confession will be the basis of the Age that follows, in which the fiery law of God will rule all of creation, infusing all things with the divine presence and the character of Christ. This is the meaning of the so-called “lake of fire.” It is the divine judgment of the law, by which men serve out their sentences as slaves to the righteous, according to the laws of redemption (Lev. 25:53). With their authority will come the responsibility to teach them the righteous ways of God. Hence, Isaiah 26:9 says, “for when the earth experiences Thy judgments, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.”
For further study on that topic, see my book, The Judgments of the Divine Law.
Dr. Stephen Jones