The Bible's Third Commandment

The Bible’s Third Commandment

The Bible’s Third Commandment, what is it? The Third Commandment states “You shall not take the name of Yahweh your Elohim in vain, for Yahweh will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain” (Exodus 20:7; Deuteronomy 5:11). Do you use profanity? Do you swear falsely? Do you dishonor Elohim’s name? Do you blaspheme Him by your conduct? These are very important questions we would like you to consider and ask yourself more than ever. Listen! A stern warning accompanies this Commandment:”…for Yahweh will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain! As noted, the First Commandment tells us whom we are to worship, and the Second Commandment tells us how we’re to worship Elohim. The Third Commandment provide further instructions on how we’re to worship Him. Today we’re going to share with you the very meaning and importance of this Commandment. As always, we humbly ask the Holy Spirit of Yahweh for help and guidance in discussing this subject with you. May you have the eyes to see and ears to hear for this true and faithful heavenly message.

The name of “God” (Yahweh) is more than merely a term we use to identify Him. His name is His reputation; it is who and what He is. The Third Commandment forbids the misuse of any of the name or titles we use to identify Him. The Third Commandment focuses on showing respect. It addresses the way we communicate our feelings about Elohim to others and to Him. It encompasses our thoughts, speech and actions. Respect is the cornerstone of good relationships. The quality of our relationship with Elohim depends on the love and regard we have for Him. It also depends on the way we express respect for Him in the presence of others. We are expected always to honor who and what He is! The use of “God’s” (Elohim) name in a flippant, degrading or in any way disrespectful manner expresses an attitude of disdaining the relationship we are supposed to have with Him. This can vary from careless disregard to hostility and antagonism. Yes, it covers misusing Yahweh Elohim’s name in any way!

Additionally, the Third Commandment is violated through common profanity. We hear it in the workplace, on the playing field, in movies and television sitcoms, and on the street. For many, it’s a habit. Thousands even millions of people sprinkle their speech with “God” (Yahweh) and “Jesus” (Yahshua), using these terms as fillers and exclamatory expressions without giving a second thought to the profane nature of their language! Even many “religious” people have been known to abuse Elohim’s name in this habitual and thoughtless manner! Yet, Yahweh strongly condemns the misuse of His name. In Israel, the punishment for this sin was severe: “Whoever blasphemes the name of Yahweh shall surely be put to death” (Leviticus 24:16). Notice how forcefully the book of Psalms expresses respect toward Elohim. “Bless Yahweh, O my soul! O Yahweh my Elohim, You are very great: You are clothed with honor and majesty” (Psalm 104:1). “Let all the earth fear Yahweh; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him” (Psalm 33:8). Notice also what King David had wrote: “I will extol You, my Elohim, O king; and I will bless Your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless You, and I will praise Your name forever and ever. Great is Yahweh, and He is greatly to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable” (Psalm 145:1-3).

The Third Commandment forbids taking Elohim’s name with falsehood. This sacred Commandment, therefore, condemns swearing falsely. To testify falsely under oath “in God’s (Elohim) name” is a direct violation of this Commandment, as is invoking Elohim’s name in an oath that is not going to be kept. Such acts link Yahweh with a lie and is therefore an abomination in the eyes of the One who “cannot lie” (Titus 1:2). Any abuse of the name and titles of Elohim and Yahshua, including swearing in Elohim’s name to deliberately mask falsehood are certainly a violation of the Third Commandment. Elohim says, “And you shall not swear by My name falsely, nor shall you profane the name of your Elohim: I Am Yahweh” (Leviticus 19:12). Yes, Elohim’s name is abused through false oaths and through the vulgar use of His name! Israel is told to “fear Yahweh your Elohim” and “take oaths in His name.” This presupposes truthful oaths, for proper respect for Elohim encourages truthfulness. The apostle James urges, “But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation” (James 5:12). The Bible has many examples of righteous persons taking oaths in the name of Elohim and, gives instructions on taking oaths. The apostle Paul called on Elohim as a witness to the truthfulness of his statements (2 Corinthians 1:23; Galatians 1:20). This is essentially the same kind of oath or affirmation required of witnesses in a court of law so be truthful.

Furthermore, since the dawn of history, most of mankind has failed to show the true respect to Elohim that He deserves. Anyone should never even exclaim “O my God! (Elohim)” unless it is part of an actual prayer to Elohim. Such misuse of Elohim’s name violates the Third Commandment. Yet society is inundated with it. The same goes for euphemistic expressions many consider innocent, such as “O my gosh!” and “Geez”—substituting similar-sounding words for “God” (Elohim) and “Jesus” (Yahshua). Profanity is not the only way we can abuse Elohim’s name. Anyone who carelessly uses the name of Elohim Yahweh—or Yahshua Messiah—in his everyday speech simply doesn’t know Elohim as he/she should. Yet, strangely, this person may think and insist that he/she does. Even saying something like “Thank God! (Elohim) can break this Commandment if Elohim is not being truly and consciously thanked. Misusing or disrespecting His name in any way spiritually defiles us in the eyes of Yahweh.

The apostle Paul explains that people who hypocritically call themselves by Elohim’s name and confess portraying themselves as His people—while refusing to obey Him—actually blaspheme Yahweh! Speaking to some of his countrymen, he says: “You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that a man should not steal, do you steal? You who say, ‘Do not commit adultery,’ do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who make your boast in the law, do you dishonor Elohim through breaking the law? For ‘the name of Elohim is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you” (Romans 2:21-24). Paul explains that even some who regard themselves as Christians can disgrace Elohim’s name by their conduct: “Let as many bondservants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor, so that the name of Elohim and His doctrine may not be blasphemed” (1 Timothy 6:1). Similarly, those who openly claim Yahshua as their Savior but are seen abusing alcohol or known for immoral behavior can cause unbelievers to speak despairingly of the name of Messiah and of Christianity. For this reason (among others), an “overseer”—an elder or pastor—“must be above reproach” (1 Timothy 3:2). Paul explains that Christians are “ambassadors for Messiah” (2 Corinthians 5:20). Discourteous or disrespectful conduct by those who represent themselves as Elohim’s servants dishonors Him in the eyes of others. It reproaches the name of Elohim, which they claim to bear. Conduct must be above reproach.

In closing, it is not enough to just avoid misusing Elohim’s name. He wants us to love and respect Him. Honoring Him begins in our thoughts. We must know who and what Yahweh is! We must know what He requires of us and why. We should admire His wisdom, love, fairness and justice. We need to stand in awe of His eternal power and recognize that our very existence depends on His goodness. Then we must also talk to Him in prayer—every day! We should follow the admonitions in the Psalms to give Yahweh thanks and praise Him, openly expressing our appreciation for all that He gives us. We should acknowledge His greatness. We should ask Yahweh to create in us His way of thinking and character. We should request the power of His Holy Spirit to enable us to wholeheartedly obey and serve Him. Yahweh’s true Church are to worship and honor Him in all they say, think, and do! Our loving Heavenly Father Yahweh desires far more than lip service from us. He wants a relationship with us that stems from the heart. The Savior of mankind Yahshua tells us: “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45). He also said: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). May Almighty Yahweh keep you and bless you for honoring and obeying the Bible’s Third Commandment. Let us always spread love, hope, faith and truth. We pray all these things to Yahweh in the name of Yahshua the Messiah our Master and King, Amen. Halleluyah, Shalom!


23 thoughts on “The Bible’s Third Commandment

  1. You’re absolutely right that there is an influx of taking the Lord’s name in vain and being dishonorable in the way His name is used. I know I correct my students a lot more in some of their speech. I’ve also found that there are children who don’t know to capitalize all references to our Lord and Savior.

  2. Honestly, I like this post and kudos to you for using your site as a way to spread the words of God. Respecting God’s name is very important and we need to show this not only through words but also with our actions.

  3. This is such a great reminder and should be reminded daily to others. Growing up, my culture in the Caribbean also acknowledged that abusing God’s name was unacceptable. I try to teach that to my kids today, but because their friends constantly abuse the name, it seems acceptable to them in this society. I am also guilty of saying “oh my gosh” or “geez”, but this article has made me realize that I need to do better and change that. Thanks for a great article!

  4. I love this blog. I am so glad I came across it. I hate it when someone takes the Lord’s name in vain. I think a lot of persons just aren’t aware of these commandments in the Bible but blogs like this will help to bring awareness.

  5. This is very true. His name is more than just a name. It needs to be honored and respected. We should show Him our appreciation by always speaking highly of Him and communicating with Him daily.

  6. This is a great way to explain why to not use His name in vain…I’ve actually been teaching my kids about this very lesson recently. Maybe I’ll read them this as well ; ) thanks!

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