Falsely Swearing by God's Name

Most people are familiar with the "Ten Commandments." However, what if I told you that much about them that you were taught is WRONG. I will go ahead and tackle this one:

Exodus 20:7 "You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.

The usual interpretation of this verse is, is that we are not to use "God" or "Jesus" as if it was a cuss word or profanity. Certainly, that could very well be a valid interpretation, but it does not at all touch the MAIN point of this command. I found an interesting Jewish translation and commentary regarding this verse:

"Do not swear falsely by the name of the LORD..."

This commandment is to never take the name of God in a vain, pointless or insincere OATH.
(Rabbi Shlomo Yitzhaki, circa 1100 AD).

Even though I reject much of what the Jewish Rabbis changed regarding ancient Judaism, especially starting around 1100 AD, I do think that Rabbi Shlomo is making an accurate interpretation of this command. This command is primarily concerns itself about not making a FALSE OATH of some sort regarding God.

In the English language, "swearing" eventually became equated with cussing or using profanity, but the MAIN meaning has to do with falsely swearing to something in God's name. In the Bible, doing something in someone's name meant you did it under their AUTHORITY.  For example, when we end our prayers with, "in Jesus' NAME," this means that our prayers are under the Authority of Jesus.  Since Jesus is truly the ONLY mediator between mankind and God, such prayers are authorized by God:

1 Tim 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus

Let's go back to the NAS translation I referred to: "You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain".

The word translated "take" is the Hebrew word, tisaa', which literally means, "to lift." The word "vain" is not the same word in Ecclesiastes for vanity, which means "emptiness." This Hebrew word is lashaaw', which means something more sinister. Even Strong's dictionary has trouble making the definition clear:

7723 shav' (shawv);

or 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):

KJV-- false (-ly), lie, lying, vain, vanity.

It is helpful to see where this same word is used elsewhere in the Bible.

Jer 18:15
15 'For My people have forgotten me, they burn incense to worthless gods and they have stumbled from their ways, from the ancient paths, to walk in bypaths, not on a highway'.

The root Hebrew word translated "worthless gods" is lashaaw, the same exact form of the word used for "vain" in Exodus 20:7. The implication right here, is that in some way, those who "take the Lord's name in vain" are lifting God's name for the purpose of serving "worthless gods"! Let look at another verse that uses this same Hebrew word:

Prov 30:8 "Keep deception and lies far from me". "Deception" is also from this Hebrew word, shav'. Adam Clarke's Commentary on the meaning of this word is worth noting:

shav: all false shows, all false appearances of happiness, every vain expectation. Let me not set my heart on any thing that is not solid, true, durable, and eternal.

The interpretation from Clarke's Commentary is somewhat incomplete.  In fact, I would go as far as saying that this verse can be translated:

"Do not swear falsely by the name of the LORD to help SATANIC CAUSES..."

You might protest, and say that not all false swearing in God's name is automatically due to demons.  It is true, that human sin is caused by other things also: 

I John 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

However, my claim is that false swearing, along with all our other sins, turns out to HELP SATANIC CAUSES.   Satan has effectively defeated us, by merely getting our eyes onto our OWN concerns, and off of GOD'S concerns:

Mark 8:33 But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest [care] not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men.

How many times have all of us heard other Christians, especially MINISTERS, who declared how "God" is doing a great work in a given project in their church, so as to get everyone to also support this supposed "work of God?" Sometimes these projects do turn out to be the works of God, but many times, if not most times, they turn out to NOT be works of God. THESE are some of the examples of falsely using God's name to help a satanic cause!  

Have you ever had another Christian come up to you and say, "God told me to tell you..." I have, and many of you have also. I am not saying that God cannot do this. However, if their words turn out to be wrong, then they falsely used God's name to help a satanic cause!  Many Christians effectively do this same thing all the time, but they use more subtle words when they commit this sin.  

Most of us have heard someone tell us about how they could sense the "Holy Spirit" moving in a room, along with other glowing terms to claim "God" was there working? I'm not talking about the fairly common experience of Christians sensing God's peace, or even how the right words come to your mind as an answer to prayer.  I talking about when somebody is trying to convince others God is truly behind something going on, when it could just be merely our worked-up emotions, or possibly DEMONIC spirits.   I for one, do not want to LIMIT what God is doing.  However, we are commanded to TEST THE SPIRITS TO SEE WHETHER THEY ARE FROM GOD:

I John 4:1-3
1    Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
2    By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God;
3    and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; and this is the {spirit} of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.

I do not know about you, but I have NEVER seen a  Christian test the spirits in any kind of CHRISTIAN gathering, apart from maybe an exorcism attempt!  I however, have tried testing the spirits on a few people on my own.  It is not as easy a thing as you might think, ESPECIALLY IF THEY ARE CHRISTIANS.  You need to address the demon, rather than the Christian.  Why?  The Christian will PASS THE TEST found in verses 2 and 3 in I John 4!  However, the demon WILL NOT.  Many churches claim that they want to return to how the first Christian churches worked.  To do that, they also need to set up a way to TEST THE SPIRITS in a regular manner at each of their gathering, to be like them!

I know of quite a few Christians living in the flesh (not in the Spirit) due to unrepentant sin, who often claim they are are sensing the "Holy Spirit" in or around them. It is true that the Spirit of God technically never leaves a Christian.  However, a Christian will grieve and quench the Holy Spirit through unrepentant sin (Eph 4:30; 1 Thess 5:19).  Unrepentant sin provides Satan the opportunity to effectively take complete control of a Christian(Eph 4:27, 1st Pet 5:8; James 4:7; 1 Tim 3:6-7; Eph 6:11).  I do not believe that a Christian can lose their salvation.   They cannot technically "practice sin" (stay PERMANENTLY in an unrepentant sin pattern without God intervening).  However, the longer a Christian stays in unrepent sin, the more they will mimic unbelievers who do "practice sin," as seen in this passage:

I John 3:7-10
7    Little children, let no one deceive you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous;
8    the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, that He might destroy the works of the devil.
9    No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot [practice] sin, because he is born of God.
10    By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.

If you understand this passage, this alone should convince you that it is IMPOSSIBLE for a Christian to lose their salvation, because it is impossible for them to PRACTICE SIN!

With all this in mind, if a Christian makes ANY claims about what God is doing or saying, while in UNREPENTANT SIN, he is in effect, helping SATANIC CAUSES.  This too is an example of Christians falsely using God's name in vain!

Here is one of the most sobering examples of unbelievers falsely swearing about God, daring to do it right in front of Jesus Himself:

Matt 7:21-23 21 "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven.
22 "Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?'
23 "And then I will declare to them, 'I NEVER knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.'

Jesus here is referring to apostates in our churches (wolves in sheep's clothing), that have done SUPERNATURAL but SATANIC miracles, FOOLING many of us into thinking that they were one of us. Yet, Jesus says that they "practice lawlessness," a tell-tale sign of apostasy (2 Thess chap 2; 1 John chap 3-4; Jude' 2 Pet chapter 2).  

My hope and prayer is that all Christians will more fully understand this commandment found in Exodus 20:7,  and realize how very often it is not followed by us or our own ministers. Satan is alive and well, and attends church more than all of us. The fact that this particular sin is occurring more and more in our churches is one of many biblical signs that the predicted Christian "falling away" (apostasy) is well under way in what is left of true Christianity in the world (I Thess 2:3).  Most Christians,  without even realizing it, are serving Satan much more NOW, than they can even imagine!

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