Mistaken Perceptions 4 – Taking Yahweh’s Name In Vain
Exodus 20:7, Deuteronomy 5:11 – “You shall not take the name of Yahweh your God in vain, for Yahweh will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.
Many people believe taking Yahweh’s name in vain refers to using his name, or Yeshua’s name, as a swear word. The Rabbis believe that by replacing the Yud, Hey, Vav, Heh [YHVH יַהְוֶה H3068] in scripture with the word Adonai or the word HaShem that they are obeying the command to not take the Lord’s name in vain. But is that what scripture implies? Let’s take a closer look:
Replacing The Name
Exodus 3:15 – “Yahweh, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you’: Yahweh is my name forever, and God is my title.”
Isaiah 43:11 – “I, I am Yahweh, and there is no other Savior but me . . .”
LORD, and even GOD, are titles, not names! Yahweh does not command anyone to declare his titles, but he does expect all to declare his name. Many (if not most) translations have edited out the name of Yahweh, replacing it with the term the LORD. Both the Shâmaʽ (Deuteronomy 6:4-5) and the Aaronic Blessing (Numbers 6:22-26) declare Yahweh to be God, and that it is his NAME that is to be invoked on the people (Numbers 6:27).
When scripture uses the capitalized term, the LORD, it gives the impression that the LORD is the name of Yahweh, not a title, but just the opposite is true. Doing so directly disobeys Yahweh’s explicit command to declare his name to all peoples in the world. Doing so virtually eliminates the message that Yahweh/Yeshua is the only name in which we have salvation (See also 1 Thessalonians 5:9, 2 Timothy 2:10 & 3:15, Philippians 2:9-10, Acts 4:12 etc). Replacing the name with a title is a direct violation of Yahweh’s command: “You shall not take my name in vain”.
Deuteronomy 18:20 – “The prophet who speaks a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.”
In the Older Covenant prophecies are spoken in the name of Yahweh, blessings are given in the name of Yahweh, prayers are offered in the name of Yahweh, and trust is placed in the name of Yahweh. In the Newer Covenant, Yeshua tells us to do all of these things in his name! Again, we see the same words applied to both Yahweh and Yeshua, for Yahweh and Yeshua are one. (See also Ezra 5:1, 1 Chronicles 16:2b, Psalm 118:26, Psalm 129:8, Zephaniah 3:12, John 14:13, James 5:14, etc.). Prophesying in the name Yahweh when he has not spoken is a direct violation of Yahweh’s command: “You shall not take my name in vain”.
Taking an Oath
Leviticus 19:12 – “You shall not swear falsely by My name, so as to profane the name of your God; I am Yahweh.”
Making a promise, or taking an oath in the name of Yahweh, and then failing to perform the conditions of that vow indicated a lack of reverence for Yahweh as well as a lack of fear of his holy retribution. It also indicated a denial of his existence. Followers of Yeshua are not to take oaths; they are simply to let their “yes be yes” and their “no be no” (Matthew 5:33-37). Followers of Yeshua are to be covenant keepers, not covenant breakers! Making a vow or taking an oath in the name Yahweh/Yeshua and failing to carry out that vow is a direct violation of Yahweh’s command: “You shall not take my name in vain”.
1 John 1:7 – “If we live in the light, as Yahweh does . . . the blood of his Son Yeshua washes all our sins away.”
Luke 6:46 – “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ but do not do what I say?”
When one claims to be a Christian one should acts in a manner that brings honor to Yahweh/Yeshua. A Christian is to think, speak, and act in a manner that does not misrepresent, profane or show disrespect to Yahweh, either intentionally or through ignorance of his commands. This means keeping Torah in its fullness. Calling oneself a follower of Yahweh or Yeshua and then deliberately disobeying his commands is a direct violation of Yahweh’s command: “You shall not take my name in vain”.
The Wedding Vows
Exodus 20:7, Deuteronomy 5:11 – “When you take my name as your name, don’t do it lightly or in vain.”
The Hebrew people called themselves “the children of the Yahweh of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob”, yet worshipped and gave offerings to other gods.
In a Jewish wedding ceremony, once the groom had established and paid the purchase price for the bride he would then offer the Cup Of Covenant to his prospective bride, thereby pledging his life to and for his bride. If the bride accepted this promise, she would then drink of the cup confirming that she, too, would pledge her life to and for her betrothed. This was never done lightly, frivolously, or in vain – from this point on the bridegroom and bride-to-be were considered married, and all the covenants, privileges, and duties of a fully married couple applied.
When a follower of Yeshua partakes of the communion cup, they declare to Yeshua that you accept his payment in blood for your forgiveness of sins and salvation, and that you will, therefore, give your life both to and for Him. This is not to be done lightly, frivolously, or in vain. Calling oneself a child or spouse of Yahweh or Yeshua and then worshiping other gods is a direct violation of Yahweh’s command: “You shall not take my name in vain”.
We are neither to avoid Yahweh’s name nor abuse his name. We’re to use the names of Yahweh and Yeshua in a way that honors God. Using the name of Yahweh or Yeshua as a swear word is just the tip of the iceberg of the ways one can use his name in vain. Taking his name in vain denies his presence and power, his holiness. Taking his name in vain says Yahweh’s name is empty or meaningless; it denies that Yahweh is the only name in which we have salvation. Replacing his name with his title, prophesying falsely, deliberately disobeying, or taking his name lightly shows great disrespect to Yahweh and Yeshua.
The name of Yahweh/Yeshua is holy, holy, holy. The name of Yahweh represents his glory, majesty, supreme deity – his eminence above all other gods. To do any less is a direct violation of Yahweh’s command: “You shall not take my name in vain”.