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Joined: 2005/5/2
Posts: 3777


ENID SAID: I would call this an example of taking God's name in vain.

Leviticus 24v11, 'And the Israelite woman's son blasphemed the name of the Lord and cursed, and so they brought him to Moses...'

Enid, I suspect this is not what the commandment was primarily about - especially in view of Israel's tendency to drift into hypocrisy. Nor would this remote example portray the most predominant tendency in today's church.

KING JIMMY SAID: “I am curious, can one find an example in Scripture where vainly invoking God's name is defined as using it flippantly or as a cuss word?”

I don't think so. Also: Context is king, isn’t it, King J: The 10 commandments were designed to preserve covenant fidelity for the Israelite nation. Scripture is not a guideline for outsiders or even for surface behaviours. The absence of cuss words means nothing in itself, although that could actually be a form of self-righteousness masking infidelity. The psalmist understood that:

“But then they would flatter him with their mouths,
lying to him with their tongues;
their hearts were not loyal to him,
they were not faithful to his covenant. Ps. 78:36


 2011/6/13 11:56Profile

Joined: 2006/5/22
Posts: 2669
Nottingham, England



So blaspheming and cursing God isn't taking His name in vain?

I'll leave it at that.

 2011/6/13 12:04Profile

Joined: 2003/11/23
Posts: 4526


I like what Matthew Henry said about this commandment:

*** *** ***

A strict prohibition: Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.

It is supposed that, having taken Jehovah for their God, they would make mention of his name (for thus all people will walk every one in the name of his god); this command gives a needful caution not to mention it in vain, and it is still as needful as ever. We take God's name in vain,

[1.] By hypocrisy, making a profession of God's name, but not living up to that profession. Those that name the name of Christ, but do not depart from iniquity, as that name binds them to do, name it in vain; their worship is vain (Matt. xv. 7-9), their oblations are vain (Isa. i. 11, 13), their religion is vain, Jam. i. 26.

[2.] By covenant-breaking; if we make promises to God, binding our souls with those bonds to that which is good, and yet perform not to the Lord our vows, we take his name in vain (Matt. v. 33), it is folly, and God has no pleasure in fools (Eccl. v. 4), nor will he be mocked, Gal. vi. 7.

[3.] By rash swearing, mentioning the name of God, or any of his attributes, in the form of an oath, without any just occasion for it, or due application of mind to it, but as a by-word, to no purpose at all, or to no good purpose.

[4.] By false swearing, which, some think, is chiefly intended in the letter of the commandment; so it was expounded by those of old time. Thou shalt not forswear thyself, Matt. v. 33. One part of the religious regard the Jews were taught to pay to their God was to swear by his name, Deut. x. 20. But they affronted him, instead of doing him honour, if they called him to be witness to a lie.

[5.] By using the name of God lightly and carelessly, and without any regard to its awful significancy. The profanation of the forms of devotion is forbidden, as well as the profanation of the forms of swearing; as also the profanation of any of those things whereby God makes himself known, his word, or any of his institutions; when they are either turned into charms and spells, or into jest and sport, the name of God is taken in vain.

*** *** ***

I agree that all of these things are part of the taking (or invoking) of the Lord's name lightly and through vain and meaningless means.

Obviously, to swear by a Name of the Lord is to take the Lord's name in vain. I have seen people in the world do this. In fact, I once asked someone who constantly used the "God d--- it!" words if he REALLY wanted God to do what he was asking. The guy had a very puzzled look on his face that turned into a sheepish grin. I asked him if he believed in God. When he said yes, I told him that life and death, blessing and cursing are in the power of the tongue. I let him know that he was literally cursing himself and the things around him with his words.

However, I think that there is something to be said by the vanity in which people invoke the Name of the Lord so readily. How often have we heard people declare "God told me" or "God showed me" in regard to something? Of course, they also use the "the Spirit led me" to something too.

Now, there is nothing wrong with such a claim IF IT IS UNDENIABLY TRUE. Unfortunately, we hear people say things that are just untrue. These include false prophecies or personal thoughts about particular doctrinal matters. We have heard people say that "God showed" them something about how the rapture would happen before the period of God's wrath...and how others said the same thing ("God showed" them) about how the Church will remain on Earth during the tribulation.

The ease by which such people invoke the Name of the Lord as "proof" or validation for their view can easily be construed as taking the Lord's Name in vain.

Of course, with false prophets, it is difficult to point out the flaws in their words because they usually don't include dates in their proclamations. However, ever-so-often, someone like Harold Camping, Benny Hinn or Kim Clement will utter dates by which events are supposed to come to pass...but never do. We can point out their words and show them that they LIED and invoked the Name of the Lord in vain.


 2011/6/13 12:31Profile

Joined: 2005/5/2
Posts: 3777


Enid said: “So blaspheming and cursing God isn't taking His name in vain?”

Enid, It seems that you have opened up another aspect of the theme. The Israelite woman’s son had a fight with a fellow Israelite. Clearly the problem was more than a derogatory use of God’s name. It seems like he bucked the covenant agreement altogether – and scorned his entire identity as one of God’s called ones (interestingly his Father was Egyptian). Maybe his sin equates with the unpardonable sin: Blaspheming the Holy Spirit. It's essentially unbelief - not taking God seriously.

It is reasonable to suspect that any flippant reference to God is symptomatic of this more grave category. But cleaning up language isn't the solution, as you know.

Just wondering: Why does the commandment get applied to cussing uses by those who don't even know God when sweet but hypocritical uses of God's name by those in God's household get off the hook?



 2011/6/13 13:23Profile

Joined: 2009/5/15
Posts: 1042
Pacific Ocean


So blaspheming and cursing God isn't taking His name in vain?

Taking God's name in vain most definitely is intended to be understood in the ways that have been discussed by Roadsign, Chris, et al, in this thread. Blasphemy and cursing, may be included way down the list, but really those things are surface issues, whereas truly taking God's name in vain has far more to do with false profession. "Not all who say unto me, Lord Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he who doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." I personally believe that to emphasize swear words and cursings to the exclusion of the fundamental meaning is to misunderstand and mis-apply God's word. Just as Roadsign said, the concern here is not with unbelievers but fundamentally with those whom would "Take the name of God." For there own appropriation. To take the name of God implies a grasping of it into ones embrace, whether physically or otherwise.

Taking God's name in vain may include, but is certainly not limited to...blasphemy and cursing. I know I said earlier that it has nothing to do with it, but I think this is probably the more acute way of understanding the swear words.

"And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son." -John 14:13

"And said unto them, Whosoever shall receive this child in my name receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me receiveth him that sent me: for he that is least among you all, the same shall be great." -Luke 9:48

"For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward." -Mark 9:41

In these passages we understand that Jesus is not telling us to tack on "In Jesus Name" as a trite benediction to the things we do. To do something in the name of a king, is to do it in his behest. According to his desire, his character, and his nature, or in Christ's case, His Spirit. The names of God, if you do a study of them throughout the bible, are always synonymous with his character. As a matter of fact they almost are always descriptive. So we understand Jesus here to say, when you give someone a cup of water, "according to the way I would do it, according to my character, in lieu of my Spirit," you will not lose your reward. (quotations my obvious paraphrase.) If you give a cup of water, expecting a gift back from the person, for personal motivation, to make yourself look benevolent, or in any way that is contrary to the Spirit of Christ is to "lose" your reward.

Here is an exhaustive link from Blue Letter Bible giving the names of God, including all the names and titles of the messiah as well as valuable considerations concerning him.

Here are another set of quotes concerning taking God's name in vain. If someone has already quoted them, I apologize for being redundant.

"Because they have committed villainy in Israel, and have committed adultery with their neighbours' wives, and have spoken lying words in my name, which I have not commanded them; even I know, and [am] a witness, saith the LORD." -Jeremiah 29:23

"Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, of Ahab the son of Kolaiah, and of Zedekiah the son of Maaseiah, which prophesy a lie unto you in my name; Behold, I will deliver them into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon; and he shall slay them before your eyes." -Jeremiah 29:21

"Then the LORD said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of naught, and the deceit of their heart." -Jeremiah 14:14

"But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die." -Duet 18:20

Here again, in these passages we see further examples where God himself indicates what taking His name in vain means.

Jeremiah Dusenberry

 2011/6/15 2:06Profile

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