Taking the Name of the LORD in Vain

Randy Munter of The Old Time Gospel sheds some new and valuable light on the third commandment. Truly worth the read!

Taking the Name of the LORD in Vain

“Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.” Exodus 20:7

“I believe the third commandment to be the most misunderstood of the ten given to Moses upon Sinai. I’ve heard everything from, “don’t use God’s name when you cuss”, to “be reverent in God’s house”, to “don’t make foolish vows”. While these things are all true, there is a far greater truth to this commandment.

Let’s start by looking at three Hebrew words.
The first is Take – Strong’s #5375 Hebrew (nasa’) means to bear, or to wear.
Next is the word Name – Strong’s #8034 Hebrew (shem) is one’s authority, or character.
Finally, the word Vain – Strong’s #7723 Hebrew (shav’) which means false, deceptive, or just a big lie.

Putting these together, I believe God’s third commandment to man says, “Do not bear, wear God’s authority, character falsely, deceptively”. Since Name represents character, then the bottom line is, “Do not misrepresent the God whom you profess before men by your unholy lifestyle. Look at these scripture.

“Do not they blaspheme that worthy name (character) by the which ye are called?” (James 2:7)
“That the name (character) of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you…” (2 Thessalonians 1:12)
“Let every one that nameth the name (character) of Christ depart from iniquity.” (2 Timothy 2:19)

Jesus gives a sobering example of the deceptive lifestyle in the book of Matthew. “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name (character)? and in thy name (character) have cast out devils? and in thy name (character) done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew 7:21-23)

The name (character) that they professed to represent was in fact a misrepresentation, why? because of iniquity. They were not what they professed to be. They wore His name, professed His character, yet they were nothing like Him “…who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (2 Thessalonians 2:12)

Did you know that it is against the law to impersonate a policeman, a doctor, or a lawyer? It is an even greater crime to impersonate a Christian, yet the church is full of them, we call them tares. The scripture warns us, “As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 13:40-42)

When a man is born-again, he is totally sold out to the Lord, “and they loved not their lives unto the death.” (Revelation 12:11) This man does not take the name (character) of his God in vain, rather wears it with fear and trembling, with great reverence, deep humility, unquestionable obedience, and a totally devoted love. This man walks in the spirit, with a full understanding of the Third Commandment.”

Randy Munter — Editor and Webmaster

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