Tag Archive | "April Fool’s Day"

A Silly Prank with Tragic Results

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It’s not only in England that there is great interest in Queen Elizabeth II.  At one time, the British Empire extended all over the world.  According to the online source Wikipedia, the Commonwealth of Nations (formerly known as the British Commonwealth) now consists of over 50 sovereign states.  Many of these were colonies in the British Empire.  As a result, today people all over the world want to know any news about the queen or her family.


Interest in the royal family definitely continues to be very great in one of these nations – Australia.  During the Queen’s most recent visit there in 2011, thousands turned out to greet her.  You can see a very brief video here:




More recently, the news media sprang into action when it was learned that Kate, Duchess of Cambridge and wife of the queen’s grandson Prince William, had been hospitalized for acute morning sickness.  In Australia, a pair of radio announcers (Mr. Michael Christian and Ms. Mel Greig) thought they had found a way to entertain their listeners in connection with this.  They decided to call the London hospital where Kate was being treated.


The phone call went through and, by impersonating Queen Elizabeth II and her son Prince Charles, the two were able to get confidential information about Kate’s condition.   The first nurse with whom they spoke was a woman named Jacintha Saldanha.  She believed the callers were genuine and cooperated with them.  A short while later, the radio station revealed the prank and broadcast details about Kate’s condition.   The phone call took place on December 4, 2012.  A couple of days later, on December 7, Jacintha Saldanha was found dead in her apartment.  She had taken her own life.


After this incident, a great deal of anger was directed at the two announcers.  When it was revealed that the radio station’s management had to approve the decision to broadcast the recorded call, many people became angry with them too.  Of course, no one at the radio station could have foreseen the prank’s result.



God’s Laws Protect Us


Sadly, many people view God’s laws as restrictions on their freedom.  The fact is, the freedom they have in mind is actually harmful – either to themselves or others.  Only God knows whether or not a silly prank will result in tragedy.   However, by following God’s laws people can often guard against unexpected outcomes that might be harmful to themselves or others.


The Australian radio station’s prank illustrated their disregard for truth, and the Bible has a lot to say about truth.  In fact, we find that word over 200 times in the King James Bible.  Besides those verses, God has much more to say about this matter.  In Exodus 20:16, we read:


Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.    


This is one of the Ten Commandments.  Even though it doesn’t have the word “truth,” it is obviously telling us that we need to be truthful.  God even warns us about the danger of pranks.  In Proverbs 26:18-19, we read:


As a mad man who casteth firebrands, arrows, and death,  So is the man that deceiveth his neighbour, and saith, Am not I in sport?


Pranks involve deception, and this verse is concerned with the act of deceiving one’s neighbor “in sport.”  That’s exactly what happens in a prank.  Everyone is supposed to laugh when it’s over; but it doesn’t always work out that way.


Another verse is also relevant when we consider God’s view of pranks.  In Leviticus 19:14, we read:


Thou shalt not curse the deaf, nor put a stumblingblock before the blind, but shalt fear thy God: I am the LORD.


Someone might think it’s funny to speak unkindly about a deaf person who is present in a group, or to cause someone to trip because he or she can’t see an object in the way.  In this verse, God warns against doing such things.  (Of course, we know that many verses teach on more than one level.  Leviticus 19:14 appears to be one of these and to also be concerned with the harm caused by bringing a false gospel.)



Truth is a Characteristic of God’s People


Only God can see someone’s heart and only He knows whether or not anyone is saved.  In some verses, He tells us about differences He sees between saved and unsaved people.  In Psalm 15:1-2, we read:


LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill?  He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart.


Here we learn that a person who “speaketh the truth in his heart” will be in the Lord’s tabernacle and “dwell in thy holy hill.”  About a thousand years after King David recorded that verse, God gave us another verse with a similar idea.  In Revelation 21:27, we read:


And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.


In contrast to those who love truth are those who “defileth,” or “worketh abomination” or lie.   They will not be able to enter.  Earlier in chapter 21 of Revelation, God tells us about the place they won’t be able to enter.  It is the new Jerusalem, which represents all the elect and is in the new heavens and earth.


In Psalm 15:1-2, God mentions His tabernacle and His holy hill; in Revelation 21:27, He refers to the new Jerusalem in the new heavens and earth.  These are different ways of telling us the same thing: those committed to truth will be with the Lord after this earth and universe no longer exist.


This will happen on the last day, when all the unsaved people of this world are destroyed along with the remains of all the unsaved people who have died since the world began.  Revelation 21:8 tells us about the fate of these people:


But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.



God Tells Us About Truth


Usually when we read or hear about truth, we think of it as a dictionary defines it.   Something is true if it is in accordance with the facts or with reality.  On the other hand, a lie is not in accordance with all the facts or reality.  When God tells us not to bear false witness against our neighbor (Exodus 20:16), He is commanding us to be truthful in our dealings with everyone.


In 2 Thessalonians 2:10, we read that a love of the truth is needed in order for someone to be saved:


And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.


The word translated in this verse as “truth” is Strong’s number G225 (aletheia).  It is helpful to see how this word is used in some other verses.  John 17:17 is one of them:


Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.


This verse is from a prayer by the Lord Jesus for His disciples on the last evening He spent with them.  Here, we see that truth is identified with the word of God, which is the Bible.  Since a love for truth is required in order for someone to be saved, it follows that a love for God’s word will be characteristic of anyone who is a child of God.


Another verse in which G225 appears is John 14:6:


Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.


Notice that in this verse the Lord Jesus tells us that He is truth.  So we see that truth is identified with God Himself.  It is only possible to love truth if we love God.





People all over the world learned about the Australian radio station’s prank and its sad aftermath.   This is because it involved the media and the Queen’s family.  However, we may be certain that many pranks that never made news headlines resulted in much suffering and even tragedy.  It is sad to think that there is even a day every year – April Fool’s Day – when people believe it is permissible or even expected of them to participate in a prank.  This clearly shows that the world does not have a love for truth.


On the other hand, a love for truth is a characteristic of God’s people.  In fact, we may say they love truth in three different ways.  First, they love truth because they would not want to violate the commandment against bearing a false witness (Exodus 20:16).


Secondly, God’s people look to the Bible as their source of truth and help in many ways.  John 17:17 tells us “thy word is truth.”  God’s word, which is the Bible, is also referred to as God’s law in many verses.   One of those verses is Psalm 119:163:


I hate and abhor lying: but thy law do I love.


Therefore, God’s people love truth because they love God’s word, which is His law.  As God works in their lives, He draws them to His word.


Thirdly, God’s people love truth because they love God.  Romans 8:28 tells us:


And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.


Recall that the Lord Jesus told His disciples “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).  If someone loves truth as God wants him or her to love it, that person loves God.


At a time when God no longer restrains evil in the world, we may expect to see an increase in every type of wickedness – including pranks.  God’s people, on the other hand, know that pranks are a violation of truth.  The Bible tells us what it means to love truth, and Romans 8:28 tells us that God works in the lives of those who love Him.  These are the elect for whom all things work together for their good.  We can be sure that this work involves drawing them to truth.

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