Taking God's Name in Vain

Exodus 20:7

You are not to lift up 
the Name of YAHWEH itself,   ta
your Elohim, 
for the sake of emptiness 
because YAHWEH 
will not cause to be undefiled 
whoever lifts up 
His Name itself
for the sake of emptiness. 

(S4S Version)

One of the original Ten Words (traditionally Ten Commandments) in Scripture instructs those who believe in “God" to refrain from taking His name in vain. That instruction is found in Exodus 20:7 and is repeated in Deuteronomy 5:11. Here’s how the verses appear (with minor exceptions) in most English Bible translations. 

Exodus 20:7 You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that takes His name in vain. (NET Bible)

Deut. 5:11 “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain. 
(Net Bible)

What most people don’t realize is that these two verses, as printed in most English translations, are actually in violation of this very instruction!

     Note: A brief explanation is in order. The traditional translations use “commandment”. 
     The Hebrew uses
only the term “words”.
     It does not use the Hebrew term for “commandment anywhere in these teachings.
     The Hebrews call this portion of
The Torah The Ten Words”. 

What follows will explain why this is true. First, let’s look at some of the terms in these verses. The word “take” comes from the Hebrew word nasa’. It means lift up (I’ll bet you didn’t know the US space program was Hebrew in its origin.). As is shown by its definition below, it’s used in a wide variety of ways in Scripture.

5375. aDcÎn nasa}, naw-saw´; or hDsÎn nacçah (Psalm 4: 6 (7)), naw-saw´; a primitive root; to lift, in a great variety of applications, literal and figurative, absol. and rel.:
— accept, advance, arise, (able to, (armor), suffer to) bear(-er, up), bring (forth), burn, carry (away), cast, contain, desire, ease, exact, exalt (self), extol, fetch, forgive, furnish, further, give, go on, help, high, hold up, honorable (+ man), lade, lay, lift (self) up, lofty, marry, magnify, x needs, obtain, pardon, raise (up), receive, regard, respect, set (up), spare, stir up, + swear, take (away, up), x utterly, wear, yield.

Given the context it would seem to make more sense to say, “You are not to lift up (in the sense of exalting or worshipping) The LORD your God in vain.” This was actually a problem for the nation of Yisra’el at several points in its history. The context is the giving of The Torah at Mount Sinai. It involved YAHWEH telling His people what He expects from them. He first states:

Ex. 20:2 “I Myself am YAHWEH, your Elohim, 
who brought you out from the land of Mitsraim (Egypt), 
from the house of slavery.
Ex. 20:3 There is not to exist for your sake
any other mighty ones (elohim) above My presence.
Ex. 20:4 You are not to make for yourself a carved image, 
even any form that is in the skies, from above, 
even which is on the ground, from beneath, 
even which is in the waters, from below the ground. 
Ex. 20:5 You are not to prostrate yourself before them 
and you are not to serve them 
because I Myself, 
YAHWEH, your Elohim, am a zealous El, 
paying attention to the perversity of fathers upon children 
to the third and fourth generations of those hating Me, 
Ex. 20:6 but doing kindness to thousands, 
to those loving Me and guarding My directives.

These verses also violate the same instruction when “the LORD” is used, as it is in most “translations".)

Thus, the context is respect for Him as The Elohim (God). He alone is to be worshipped and served. There are to be no other gods above Him (or besides Him). Such things have no place among His people. He is to be our first priority.

The next issue is that of vanity. You are not to lift up His name "in vain”. But what does this mean? The Hebrew term is shav’Here’s the definition.

7723. aVwÎv shav}, shawv; or wÅv shav, shav; from the same as 7722 in the sense of desolating; evil (as destructive), literally (ruin) or morally (especially guile); figuratively idolatry (as false, subjective), uselessness (as deceptive, objective; also adverbially, in vain.
-- false(-ly), lie, lying, vain, vanity.
awøv show}, sho; or (feminine) hDawøv showtah, sho-aw´; or hDaøv shoah, sho-aw´; from an unused root meaning to rush over; a tempest; by implication, devastation.

The name of God (YAHWEH) is to have none of these aspects associated with it. This really means we are to have great respect for the name of YAHWEH. We are to treat it with great reverence, recognizing it is the very name of The One who created us
and who sustains us in each moment of
life. These are YAHWEH's own instructions. It reveals what He desires of us.

Here are some additional verses to show how this word, shav, is translated:

Deut. 5:20 You are not to you bear false witness against your neighbor.

Psa. 127:1  If YAHWEH does not build the house, useless is the labor of those building on it.
If YAHWEH does not protect the city, useless is the watch of the one watching. 
Unless YAHWEH builds the house, they labor in vain that build it.

Unless YAHWEH keeps the city, the watchman wakes but in vain.

Is. 1:13  Do not again bring meaningless gift offerings of incense!
It is detestable to Me! 
New Moons, Sabbaths, the calling of meetings, 
I am not able to endure the moral perversity and special assemblies!

YAHWEH goes so far as to state the results if we do this. “…for YAHWEH will not cause to be undefiled whoever lifts up His name for the sake of emptiness.” The concept of being guiltless comes from the Hebrew word naqah. It means to be or to make clean. This cleanness is not the same as the term used for ritual purity, so it has a different connotation. It implies being “clean” from guilt, being blameless, or to go unpunished; being “undefiled”.

5352. h∂qÎn naqah, naw-kaw´; a primitive root; to be (or make) clean (literally or figuratively); by implication (in an adverse sense) to be bare, i.e. extirpated:
acquit x at all, x altogether, be blameless, cleanse, (be) clear(-ing), cut off, be desolate, be free, be (hold) guiltless, be (hold) innocent, x by no means, be quit, be (leave) unpunished, x utterly, x wholly.

As such, as stated by YAHWEH Himself, no person who treats His name with disrespect or dishonor will have that disrespect or dishonor ignored. There will be consequences. YAHWEH Himself will hold them accountable. This is an indication of just how seriously He takes this matter.

There are some additional passages that speak to this same issue. The first one is Leviticus 19.12. It talks about swearing, taking an oath, using His name falsely. Falsely is the Hebrew term sheqer. It means a sham – something that is deceitful, false, vain, or wrong. 

It also talks about profaning His name. The word is chalal. It means to profane a person, to break one’s word.
In English, to profane is to make common, not sacred. It literally meant “before the temple” originally.

Lev. 19:12 You are not to swear with My name falsely 
and profane 
the name itself  ta of your Elohim
I Myself am

8267. r®q‰v sheqer, sheh´-ker; from 8266; an untruth; by implication, a sham (often adverbial): 

—without a cause, deceit(-ful), false(-hood, -ly), feignedly, liar, + lie, lying, vain (thing), wrongfully.
rAqÎv shaqar, shaw-kar´; a primitive root; to cheat, i.e. be untrue (usually in words):
—fail, deal falsely, lie.

2490. lAlDj chalal, khaw-lal´; a primitive root (compare 2470); properly, to bore, i.e. (by implication) to wound, to dissolve; figuratively, to profane (a person, place or thing), to break (one’s word), to begin (as if by an “opening wedge”); denom. (from 2485) to play (the flute): 
 —begin (x men began), defile, x break, defile, x eat (as common things), x first, x gather the grape thereof, x take inheritance, pipe, player on instruments, pollute, (cast as) profane (self), prostitute, slay (slain), sorrow, stain, wound.

In Leviticus 24.15-16 we have the following:

And to the Children of Yisra’el you are to speak saying,
"A man who trivializes his Elohim is also to carry his offense!
And whoever pierces the name of YAHWEH
is to be put to death, put to death!
The entire assembly is to pelt him with stones,
to pelt him with stones!
As for the stranger, so for the native.
One trivializing The Name is to be put to death! 

These deal with cursing YAHWEH 
and blaspheming the name of YAHWEH
The one who curses
YAHWEH will bear his sin (literally - penalty). 
The one who blasphemes
YAHWEH is to be stoned to death. 
 Both are pretty serious events. 

The definitions are once again given so you can see what these things mean.

The word for curse is qalal. It means to make light of, trifling, vile, etc.
The word is translated as contempt, despise, esteem lightly, etc.
 Blaspheme is from the Hebrew word
It means to puncture or perforate, or to libel.
Libel means to expose a person to public criticism or ridicule, to injure their reputation.

7043. lAl∂q qalal, kaw-lal´; a primitive root; to be (causatively, make) light, literally (swift, small, sharp, etc.) or figuratively (easy, trifling, vile, etc.):
—abate, make bright, bring into contempt, (ac-)curse, despise, (be) ease(-y, -ier), (be a, make, make somewhat, move, seem a, set) light(-en, -er, -ly, -ly afflict, -ly esteem, thing), x slight(-ly), be swift(-er), (be, be more, make, re-)vile, whet.
5344. bAqÎn naqab, naw-kab´; a primitive root; to puncture, literally (to perforate, with more or less violence) or figuratively (to specify, designate, libel):
—appoint, blaspheme, bore, curse, express, with holes, name, pierce, strike through.

Violation of The Instruction

Now you understand that the name of God, YAHWEH, has been removed from every Bible that uses “the LORD” in place of His written name.

His precious and sacred eternal name, revealed in Exodus 3:15 as such (See God's Name Revealed), has been replaced with something that cannot possibly be a proper and correct translation of hDwøh◊y YHWH, YAHWEH. The meaning of the Hebrew has nothing to do with the concept of a sovereign (lord).

Millions of people are being deceived every hour of every day and night as they read such erroneous material. YAHWEH will hold them accountable who treat His precious name with such disrespect and dishonor. Because of this there are countless numbers of people who simply do not know the proper personal name of YAHWEH.

If they do not know His name how can they worship “in His name”?
How can they heal the sick “in His name”?
How can they baptize “in His Name”?
Indeed, how can they do anything “in His name”?
Obviously, if you don’t know the name you cannot, and will not, use it.

And it’s not just His name. The Messiah's Name, YAHUSHUA, is also incorrectly and improperly translated as “Jesus".
There has never been a letter “J” in Hebrew. The Messiah was most definitely Hebrew. 

There was no Letter “J” in the English language until approximately 1516 A.D. So the name, “ Jesus", cannot be correct. 

Indeed, in Hebrew His name is virtually identical to that of Joshua - correctly, Yahoshua. The Messiah’s name is, properly, YAHUSHUA, meaning YAHWEH is salvation, or YAHWEH saves. The details are provided elsewhere on this site.

Having identified the problem with this instruction and the failure of church leaders, publishers, teachers, pastors,
and a multitude of Christians to identify it and correct it,  I urge you to look at what YAHUSHUA said
concerning the religious leaders of His own time, over 2000 years ago.

Matt. 15:7-9  Hypocrites! 
Well did Yeshay'yahu prophesy concerning you saying, 
‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, 
and honor Me with their lips, 
but their heart is far from Me. 
And in vain they worship Me, 
teaching as doctrines the instructions of men.’ “ 
                                                       (Is. 29.13)

What would He say today? I believe He’d say the exact same thing, to the exact same group, the religious leaders. But He might also say these things to us as individuals who claim to follow Him. Brothers and sisters in The Messiah, we have a very serious problem to confront. I urge you to do everything in your power to help correct this awful mess.

How big is the problem? There are 6520 places in The Old Covenant (KJV) alone where YAHWEH has been replaced with “The LORD”. (See also God In English Translations

And that doesn’t even touch The New Covenant situation. Every place where this has been done is a violation of the specific instruction of YAHWEH! Removing His name from Scripture is effectively equivalent to blasphemy, and the punishment is death by stoning.

This problem can and should be corrected. It won’t be easy, because tradition has been ingrained into the hearts and minds of millions. Publishers and translators will fight hard for their position on this. But we must challenge them to correct these errors.
YAHWEH’s reputation is at stake. YAHUSHUA‘s reputation is at stake. We dare not do less than our best to set the record straight.

 It’s time to restore the name YAHWEH, to the Word of YAHWEH.
It’s time to honor YAHWEH by worshipping in His actual name:

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May YAHWEH speak to your heart and bless you with understanding as you explore His Word.