322. In the spiritual sense bearing false witness means persuading others that false ideas of faith are true and that evil ways of life are good, and that true ideas are false and good ways are evil. But in both cases it means doing so deliberately, and not out of ignorance; that is, after knowing what truth and goodness are, but not before. For the Lord says:
If you were blind, you would not be committing a sin; but now you say, We see, therefore your sin remains. John 9:41.
This falsity is meant in the Word by 'lie' and this intention by 'deceit', in these passages:
We have struck an agreement with death, we have made a vision with hell. We have turned a lie into trust, and hidden ourselves behind a falsehood. Isa. 28:15.
A rebellious people are they, lying sons who are unwilling to hear the law of Jehovah. Isa. 30:9.
From prophet to priest, everyone acts a lie. Jer. 8:10.
The inhabitants utter a lie, and as for their tongue, deceit is in their mouth. Micah 6:12.
You will destroy those who utter a lie, Jehovah abominates the man of deceit. Ps. 5:6.
They taught their tongue to utter a lie; their dwelling is in the midst of deceit. Jer. 9:5, 6.
It is because 'lie' means falsehood that the Lord says that the devil utters a lie of his own (John 8:44). 'A lie' also means falsity and untruth in these places: Jer. 23:14, 32; Ezek. 13:6-9; 21:29; Hosea 7:1; 12:1; Nahum 3:1; Ps. 120:2, 3.