The four angels are holding the four winds until God’s people are sealed. When these winds are released, God will have a people—the living saints, 144,000 in number. They will know and understand the voice of God. Early Writings, 14. The Bible says, “And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.” Revelation 14:1-5. In this article we will concentrate on the characteristic described in verse 5, “And in their mouth was found no guile.”
In the Strong’s Concordance the word “guile” has several synonyms used to describe it: decoy, trick, wily, crafty, deceit, subtle and deceiver. Remember these words as we go on in this study.
Nathanael — An Example
Jesus spoke of a man without guile: “The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me. Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see, Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile! Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou was under the fig tree, I saw thee.” Nathanael was evidently bigoted against anyone from Nazareth. The devil used this to tempt him that Jesus could not be the Savior. Nevertheless, he went to see for himself. Nathanael was praying for truth and guidance in this exact thing—of a Saviour to come.
The Spirit of Prophecy says that Nathanael was a seeker after truth. As bad as his thought was of Jesus coming from Nazareth, he did not allow that to get in his way of accepting the truth. He was not just a seeker after truth, but was a follower of truth. That is why Christ said that he was an Israelite indeed in whose mouth there was no guile.
To better understand guile, let us look at it from an opposite view point. Nathanael had no guile, but here is a group that Jesus describes quite differently. “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and truth shall make you free. They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?” “I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you.” “But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham. Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. Why do ye not understand my speech? Even because ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.” John 8:31-33, 37, 40-45.
Remember synonyms for guile are: decoy, trickery, wily, crafty, deceitful or subtle. Nathanel was a seeker after truth, and nothing would stand in his way of seeking truth or following it when truth was revealed to him. But here Christ speaks to a group that he wants to give the truth to, and they will have nothing to do with it—yet they profess to be one in whose mouth is found no guile. But Jesus says to them, “Your father is” who? “the devil,” and that he was a liar and the father of it. They were professors only.
The hundred and forty and four thousand have no guile in their mouth—they do not just profess to be Christians. At the time of the end, the whole world will be converted to follow the beast, other than the small remnant that is following the lamb withersoever he goeth. Everyone at the end is going to profess to be a Christian.
The following verse fits that group whose father is the devil even though they profess to be Abraham’s seed and the children of God. “Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan which say they are Jews and are not, but do lie. Behold, I will make them to come and to worship before thy feet and to know that I have loved thee.” Revelation 3:9. If you are not of the church of God, what church are you? The synagogue of Satan. You can profess to be a Jew, because it says here that they say that they are Jews, but they are not. What are they? They are liars. They are bearing false witness.
All of these things tie in together with not having guile in your mouth. The ninth commandment says, “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” Exodus 20:16. Any that are a decoy, or a deceiver, or tricky, or wily, or crafty or subtle—just as the group that Jesus talked to in John 8—have guile in their mouth and are bearing false witness.
There is no greater false witness than to bear witness that we are a Christian and in reality we are not. The greatest deception, subtlety and craft, and devil uses, is people who make a profession, but yet have guile in their mouth. This all came form the devil in the beginning. He is the one that was the first to have guile in his mouth. He has led all professed Christians who are not born again to have guile in their mouths also. The hundred and forty-four thousand have none of this in their mouth. They will be just what they profess, wholly and completely.
Lucifer in Heaven
The synonyms that were mentioned earlier are used in the Spirit of Prophecy to describe what went on in heaven with Lucifer. As the great conflict is just beginning to happen, the angels and even the devil himself did not see where it would lead. Lucifer was just letting the envy and jealousy that was found in him have control. Here are various descriptions from the book Patriarchs and Prophets talking about Lucifer. “The angels joyfully acknowledged the supremacy of Christ, and prostrating themselves before Him, poured out their love and adoration. Lucifer bowed with them, but in his heart there was a strange, fierce conflict. Truth, justice, and loyalty were struggling against envy and jealousy. The influence of the holy angels seemed for a time to carry him with them. As songs of praise ascended in melodious strains, swelled by thousands of glad voices, the spirit of evil seemed vanquished; unutterable love thrilled his entire being; his soul went out, in harmony with the sinless worshippers, in love to the Father and the Son. But again he was filled with pride in his own glory. His desire for supremacy returned, and envy of Christ was once more indulged.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 36, 37.
“Leaving his place in the immediate presence of the Father, Lucifer went forth to diffuse the spirit of discontent among the angels. He worked with mysterious secrecy, and for a time concealed his real purpose under an appearance of reverence for God.” Ibid., 37. He concealed his purpose under what?—an appearance of reverence for God. Everything now that he was saying and doing with the angels, he said, was in reverence for God. “He began to insinuate doubts concerning the laws that governed heavenly beings, intimating that though laws might be necessary for the inhabitants of the worlds, angels, being more exalted, needed no such restraint, for their own wisdom was a sufficient guide. They were not beings that could bring dishonor to God; all their thoughts were holy; it was no more possible for them than for God Himself to err. The exaltation of the Son of God as equal with the Father was represented as an injustice to reverence and honor. If this prince of angels could but attain to his true, exalted position, great good would accrue to the entire host of heaven; for it was his object to secure freedom for all. But now even the liberty which they had hitherto enjoyed was at an end; for an absolute Ruler had been appointed them, and to His authority all must pay homage. Such were the subtle deceptions that through the wiles of Lucifer were fast obtaining in the heavenly courts.” Ibid. [All emphasis supplied.]
Satan says he is reverencing God. He wants the best for God’s kingdom. But, at the same time he is working against His law.
“Taking advantage of the loving, loyal trust reposed in him by the holy beings under his command, he had so artfully instilled into their minds his own distrust and discontent that his agency was not discerned. Lucifer had presented the purposes of God in a false light—misconstruing [guile] and distorting them to excite dissent and dissatisfaction. He cunningly drew his hearers on to give utterance to their feelings; then these expressions were repeated by him when it would serve his purpose, as evidence that the angels were not fully in harmony with the government of God. While claiming for himself perfect loyalty to God, he urged that changes in the order and laws of heaven were necessary for the stability of the divine government. Thus while working to excite opposition to the law of God and to instill his own discontent into the minds of the angels under him, he was ostensibly seeking to remove dissatisfaction and to reconcile disaffected angels to the order of heaven. While secretly fomenting discord and rebellion, he with consummate craft caused it to appear as his sole purpose to promote loyalty and to preserve harmony and peace.” Ibid., 38.
Lucifer used subtlety, deception and craft. He talked to the angels and twisted the truth. Then when the angels made distrustful comments themselves, Lucifer would make it sound like He was loyal to God. He said, “You know, here I am, trying to magnify and follow God’s law and to give Him reverence that he deserves, and yet here you angels are causing discontent and strife.” Satan was the one doing this, but he turned the whole thing around once he got the discontent and strife started. Then he made it look like he was trying to lead the angels to the right path that they should be going in—while he was all the time drawing them to himself.
“Lucifer had at first so conducted his temptations that he himself stood uncommitted. The angels whom he could not bring fully to his side, he accused of indifference to the interests of heavenly beings. The very work which he himself was doing, he charged upon the loyal angels. It was his policy to perplex with subtle arguments concerning the purposes of God. Everything that was simple he shrouded in mystery, and by artful perversion cast doubt upon the plainest statements of Jehovah. And his high position, so closely connected with the divine government, gave greater force to his representations.
“God could employ only such means as were consistent with truth and righteousness. Satan could use what God could not—flattery and deceit. He had sought to falsify the word of God and had misrepresented His plan of government, claiming that God was not just in imposing laws upon the angels; that in requiring submission and obedience from His creatures, He was seeking merely the exaltation of Himself. It was therefore necessary to demonstrate before the inhabitants of heaven, and of all the worlds, that God’s government is just, His law perfect. Satan had made it appear that he himself was seeking to promote the good of the universe. The true character of the usurper and his real object must be understood by all. He must have time to manifest himself by his wicked works.
“The discord which his own course had caused in heaven, Satan charged upon the government of God. All evil he declared to be the result of the divine administration. He claimed that it was his own object to improve upon the statutes of Jehovah. Therefore God permitted him to demonstrate the nature of his claims, to show the working out of his proposed changes in the divine law. His own work must condemn him. Satan had claimed from the first that he was not in rebellion. The whole universe must see the deceiver unmasked.” Ibid., 42, 43.
He was supposedly reverencing God, but actually he was tricky, and crafty, he was deceitful, and subtle. All these words show that he had guile in his mouth. Here he was professing that he was there to exalt God. His position was the covering cherub. He was in the glory and presence of God. All of his life, he was to reveal to the angels the things that came from God. Now, he went around professing that he was doing such a thing, but in reality, he had guile in his mouth. All the things that he was saying were contrary to what he was professing.
Lucifer was actually a falsifier of God. Any professed Christian that has guile in his mouth is doing the same work as Lucifer did in heaven. Having guile in your mouth began with the devil. That is what the whole controversy is all about. Is the guile that the devil first gave in heaven and now on earth, true? The people in the world are struggling to know who to believe—God or Lucifer. In the end, when the great controversy is over, the hundred and forty-four thousand are going to be the full proof that the devil was a deceiver. They will be without guile in their mouth because they will be the full representation as far as we as human beings can be of what God’s character is all about. That is the reason they will have no guile in their mouth. Their profession will be fully shown by every work and deed and thought that they do.
1 Peter 3:10 says: “For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile.” No what?—guile. Do you love life? When Christ comes, eternal life and eternal death is going to be the end for each one. “If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.” James 1:26.
The Bible tells us how we know if we have guile in our mouth. “For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, or of a bramble bush gather they grapes. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.” Luke 6:44, 45. Whatever is in your heart, your mouth is going to speak. Sooner or later, when circumstances are just right, the mouth will speak what the heart is feeling and believing.
The words that we speak are so important! “But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” Matthew 12:36, 37. The words that are coming out of your mouth are either going to justify you or condemn you. “By their fruits ye shall know them,” and what greater fruit than what comes out of your mouth?
List of Synonyms
We will look at some different words the Spirit of Prophecy uses when describing “guile.” No matter how much you profess to be a Christian, no matter how much you pay your tithe, and offering, and come to church every Sabbath, go door to door and do whatever it may be—if these kind of words are coming out of your mouth, you have guile in your mouth.
One that is mentioned is the use of enticing words. Webster’s dictionary says the word enticing is to lure or tempt. Do you use words to tempt somebody to say or do or think something that they would not do otherwise? Give thought to the words that come out of your mouth.
Another word that the Spirit of Prophecy describes as speaking with guile is using vain words. Vain words mean idle words, worthless words or empty words. For almost every word that Ellen White uses to describe guile—Webster’s Dictionary defines as false words, lying words or deceiving words. On vain words it says, “It suggests a deceiving lack of real substance.” Do you use vain words in your speech—worthless words, a conversation that does not amount to anything.
Another word that Ellen White describes as having guile in your mouth is exaggerating words. That is a representation of things beyond the truth, which means it is a lie. Do we use exaggerating words in what we say?
Those that gossip have guile in their mouth. The definition in the dictionary was “those that go from house to house tattling and telling news.” Do we have guile in our mouth as far as gossiping is concerned? Whether it be the truth or not, do we like to go and tattle tale the newest thing that is come up or going on with somebody?
Backbiting is having guile in your mouth. The definition of that was “to slander, to reproach, or speak evil of the absent.” In seeing a problem do we say, “Hey, you want to hear such and such about this person?” It serves no purpose other than to belittle, and slander the character of somebody else. Do you backbite in what you say?
A type of having guile in your mouth is joking. The definition is “to jest, something said to make a laugh, an illusion, not real.” Do we jest and joke? Unless it is something that has happened, most jokes have been made up by somebody. Although it makes people laugh, it is not the truth.
Related to joking is to speak light and trifling words. The definition of that was, “of little weight, or worth of importance.” In our conversations, do we have words that are light and trifling, that have no weight, or no importance? The words that we speak have their influence upon those that hear them. If people hear me speaking words that have no importance, how much are they going to listen when I give them the gospel message which is important?
Having guile in your mouth includes being proud and boastful. Do we speak proud and boastful words? Whether it be spiritual as with the Pharisees, or worldly, it is very easy to use proud and boastful words in the things we speak about.
Flattery and praise is another form of having guile in your mouth.
Another form of guile in your mouth is evil surmising. The definition of that is “presumption to accuse or guess, to form an opinion without knowledge.” When you have no absolute proof of something, but because of your feelings, or what has happened in the past, you evil surmise about somebody. You have no proof, but because of circumstances, you let your tongue speak words of evil surmising. That must be put away.
We need to be careful about using passionate words. This means “easily aroused, excited or agitated feelings and emotions.” Do you ever let your feelings and emotions get the best of you? Then before you know it you are saying passionate words. Do not let your emotions and feelings cause you to use passionate words.
The next one is using careless words. One understanding of careless words is speaking things that first pop into your mind without giving thought to them. Do you use careless words in your conversation?
Having guile in your mouth includes using harsh words. This means to be rude, abusive, stern, severe or cutting. We know that Jesus gave many rebukes, and very strong ones. In the one we just read He told the Pharisees that they were of their father the devil, that he was a liar and a murderer and they were just like him. But they were not harsh words. We are told that there were tears in His eyes when He gave these rebukes. It was the truth, but he had a love for these souls and their salvation.
A big one is scornful words. Do you use scornful words? Do you preach to and scorn your child until he just wants to turn away and walk in disgust?
A suspicious charge is having guile in your mouth. In a suspicious charge you just kind of throw the hint out there. “I don’t know if it’s so, but I kind of think that this is the way it is with that person.” You are throwing out a suspicious charge to get people to look in a certain direction and to believe what you are putting out there. You are not sure of it yourself, but you give a suspicious charge.
The next one is using jealous words. Do we use jealous words in our conversation?
The last synonym that we will look at is the use of filthy words. Anything that leads somebody to have a thought or word or action in a wrong impure direction is using filthy words. A major problem area for this is in telling jokes. You can use filthy words in the way that you lead your hearers to think upon what you are joking about. Do we use filthy words in our communication?
Where is Your Conversation?
The whole battle is over whether God is a God of love. Is His character a character of love? Is his law just? The devil once professed that God was love. But at the same time he went around deceiving the angels. His fruits were bearing witness of another thing. The hundred and forty-four thousand are going to end the great controversy. They are going to show that God is love and His law is just. They are going to show it because their profession will be more than a profession. There will be no guile in their mouths.
“For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.” Philippians 3:20. Is that where your conversation is that you have day in and day out? When it is all over with here, that is just where the hundred and forty-four thousand are going to be headed—to Heaven. We should strive to be among the hundred and forty-four thousand.
“For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously.” I Peter 2:21-23. There was no guile in his mouth. There was not a profession, and then turning around and being a deceiver and a decoy and deception. He left us an example that we should follow His steps. It is possible to have no guile in your mouth, as Jesus had no guile in His mouth.
“For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour [or help] them that are tempted.” Hebrews 2:16-18. We show by our conversation if we are in Heaven and we plan to be there in body and spirit as soon as the Saviour returns. Take action if the devil has deceived you into having a conversation that is not in Heaven. You can conquer no matter what kind of guile has been in your mouth. I pray that each one will look at the words that they are speaking. I pray for a blessing upon each one and I know the Lord will help every one to be victorious, that is truly seeking to be, without guile in their mouth.