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Taking The Lord’s Name In Vain

Updated: Feb 25, 2023

Exodus 20:7Cursing using the name of God, or Jesus Christ, is a terrible thing, but the truth of what it means to take the Lord’s name in vain is even worse. To take God’s name in vain refers to a Christian who takes to themselves the name of Jesus, meaning they receive Him as their Lord and Savior, and then rebel against His Lordship over them, never repenting in the process of sanctification. Instead, after escaping the defilement of the world through receiving Christ, they are again entangled in sin and overcome (2 Peter 2:20-22). There is a difference between occasionally stumbling as a Christian, which we all do, and then going to God in repentance with a desire to be set free, versus those who continue in their sin and then presume (see David’s prayer below) that they will be saved in the end (John 8:31-32, 1 Cor. 15:1-2, Col. 1:21-23).

7 "You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain [7723], for the Lord will not leave him unpunished [5352]who takes His name in vain [7723].

NASU


OT:7723 shav' (shawv); or shav (shav)

(Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance)

from the same as OT:7722 [see below] 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.

(Brown Driver & Briggs Hebrew Lexicon)

emptiness, vanity, falsehood

a) emptiness, nothingness, vanity

b) emptiness of speech, lying

c) worthlessness (used of conduct)


DECEIT

shav' [OT:7723] – “deceit; deception; malice; falsity; vanity; emptiness.” The 53 occurrences of shav' are primarily in poetry. The basic meaning of this word is “deceit” or “deception,” “malice,” and “falsehood.” This meaning emerges when shav' is used in a legal context: “Put not thine hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness” Exodus 23:1 [see below]. Used in cultic contexts, the word bears these same overtones but may be rendered variously. For example, in Psalm 31:6 [see below] the word may be rendered “vain” (KJV, “lying”), in the sense of “deceitful” (cf. Ezekiel 12:24). Eliphaz described the ungodly as those who trust in “emptiness” or “deception,” though they gain nothing but emptiness as a reward for that trust Job 15:31.

(from Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, Copyright © 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers.)


OT:7722 show' (sho); or (feminine) show'ah (sho-aw'); or sho'ah (sho-aw')

(Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance)

from an unused root meaning to rush over; a tempest; by implication, devastation:

KJV - desolate (-ion), destroy, destruction, storm, wasteness.

(Brown Driver & Briggs Hebrew Lexicon)

as a masculine noun:

1) ravage

as a feminine noun:

2) devastation, ruin, waste

a) devastation, ruin [see the Bible studies The Ruined Waistband and Worthless Men]

b) ruin, waste (used of land)


OT:5352 naqah (naw-kaw')

(Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance)

a primitive root; to be (or make) clean (literally or figuratively); by implication (in an adverse sense) to be bare, i.e. extirpated:

KJV - acquit at all, altogether, be blameless, cleanse, (be) clear (-ing), cut off, be desolate, be free, be (hold) guiltless, be (hold) innocent, by no means, be quit, be (leave) unpunished, utterly, wholly.

(Brown Driver & Briggs Hebrew Lexicon)

to be empty, to be clear, to be pure, to be free, to be innocent, to be desolate, to be cut off

a) (Qal) to be empty, to be clean, to be pure

b) (Niphal)

1) to be cleaned out, to be purged out

2) to be clean, to be free from guilt, to be innocent

3) to be free, to be exempt from punishment

4) to be free, to be exempt from obligation

c) (Piel)

1) to hold innocent, to acquit

2) to leave unpunished



Psalm 19:12-14Psalm 19:7-13 are the Lord’s warning system placed within man through His word. This is how crucial it is that we study the Bible so as to be “a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15/NASU) It keeps our fleshly nature in check, if we do what the Spirit is revealing to us.

In Genesis 1:26-28 God gives man the dominion mandate to rule over the earth. Mankind lost dominion when they gave in to the deception of the serpent. It is only through Christ that we can gain dominion back from the devil. At Calvary, through His death on the cross, Jesus defeated him once and for all. When we walk in submission to Christ we regain the mastery over satan.

12 Who can discern [995- “to perceive, to understand, be able, to know, to distinguish”] his errors [7691- “a moral mistake, an error”]? Forgive [5352- “to be pure, clean, innocent”] my hidden faults.

13 Keep [2820- “withhold, to restrain, to hold back, to keep in check”] your servant also from willful [2086- “arrogant, proud, insolent [disrespectful], presumptuous”] sins; may they not rule over [4910- “to have dominion, to reign, to rule”]me. Then will I be blameless [8552- “to be complete, perfect, finished, to be at an end, to be blameless”], innocent [5352]of great transgression [6588- “rebellion, revolt”]. [See the Bible study Noah; A Sign Of The End regarding being blameless before God in order to enter in to His ark of deliverance at the end of this age.]

14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. [See the Bible study Well Pleased.]

NIV



Zechariah 5:1-4The prophet sees a flying scroll with writings of curses on both sides. One side declares that those who swear “falsely” by the Lord’s name will be purged away/consumed, or cut off. One of the definitions for the Hebrew for falsely is “in vain.” So to swear falsely by the name of the Lord is to swear in vain. It is, also by definition, to betray Christ as did Judas.

1 Then I lifted up my eyes again and looked, and behold, there was a flying scroll.

2 And he said to me, "What do you see?" And I answered, "I see a flying scroll; its length is twenty cubits and its width ten cubits."

3 Then he said to me, "This is the curse that is going forth over the face of the whole land; surely everyone who steals will be purged away [5352] according to the writing on one side, and everyone who swears [James 5:12] will be purged away [5352] according to the writing on the other side.

4 "I will make it go forth," declares the Lord of hosts, "and it will enter the house of the thief and the house of the one who swears falsely [8267] by My name; and it will spend the night within that house and consume it with its timber and stones."

NASU


OT:5352 naqah (naw-kaw')

(Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance)

a primitive root; to be (or make) clean (literally or figuratively); by implication (in an adverse sense) to be bare, i.e. extirpated:

KJV - acquit at all, altogether, be blameless, cleanse, (be) clear (-ing), cut off, be desolate, be free, be (hold) guiltless, be (hold) innocent, by no means, be quit, be (leave) unpunished, utterly, wholly.

(Brown Driver & Briggs Hebrew Lexicon)

to be empty, to be clear, to be pure, to be free, to be innocent, to be desolate, to be cut off

a) (Qal) to be empty, to be clean, to be pure

b) (Niphal)

1) to be cleaned out, to be purged out

2) to be clean, to be free from guilt, to be innocent

3) to be free, to be exempt from punishment

4) to be free, to be exempt from obligation

c) (Piel)

1) to hold innocent, to acquit

2) to leave unpunished


OT:8267 sheqer (sheh'-ker)

(Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance)

from OT:8266; an untruth; by implication, a sham (often adverbial):

KJV - without a cause, deceit (-ful), false (-hood, -ly), feignedly, liar, lie, lying, vain (thing), wrongfully.

(Brown Driver & Briggs Hebrew Lexicon)

a lie, a deception, a disappointment, a falsehood

a) a deception (what deceives or disappoints or betrays one)

b) deceit, fraud, wrong; fraudulently, wrongfully (as adverb)

c) falsehood (injurious in testimony); testify falsehood, false oath, swear falsely

d) falsity (of false or self-deceived prophets)

e) a lie, a falsehood (in general); a false tongue

f) in vain



Revelation 21:7-8One of the people listed as those who will be cast into the lake of fire with the devil is a liar which is defined as “lying, deceitful, false, a false witness.” David wrote; “Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? And who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood [7723-“emptiness, vanity, lying, worthlessness”] and has not sworn deceitfully [4820- “deceit, treachery, fraud”]. He shall receive a blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation. This is the generation of those who seek Him, Who seek Your face, even Jacob. Selah.” (Psalm 24:3-6/NASU)

7 "He who overcomes [3528- “to subdue, to conquer, prevail”] will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son.

8 "But for the cowardly [1169- “timid, fearful”] and unbelieving [571- “unfaithful, faithless, without faith or trust”] and abominable [948- “object of disgust, to defile, to pollute”] and murderers [see Math. 22:7, Rev. 22:15] and immoral persons [4205- pornos- “a (male) prostitute, a fornicator”] and sorcerers [5332- “a druggist (pharmacist) or poisoner, one who prepares or uses magical remedies, a sorcerer”] and idolaters [1496- “a worshipper of false gods, an idolater”] and all liars [5571- “lying, deceitful, false (Rev. 2:2), a false witness (see the Bible study Good Report Bad Report)”], their part [3313- “a division or share, a part due or assigned to one, lot, destiny”] will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death." [See the Bible study The Second Death.]

NASU



Exodus 23:1See the Bible study Good Report Bad Report.

Do not spread false [7723] reports. Do not help a wicked man by being a malicious witness.

NIV


Psalm 31:6

6 I hate those who regard vain [7723] idols, but I trust in the Lord.

NASU


Titus 1:15-16See the Bible study Worthless Men.

15 To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled [3392].

16 They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless [96] for any good deed.

NASU


NT:3392 miaino (me-ah'-ee-no)

(Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance)

perhaps a primary verb; to sully or taint, i.e. contaminate (cer. or morally):

KJV - defile.

(Thayer’s Greek Lexicon)

1. to dye with another color, to stain:

2. to defile, pollute, sully, contaminate, soil (Jude 8)

miaino [NT:3392] - primarily, "to stain, to tinge or dye with another color," as in the staining of a glass, hence, "to pollute, contaminate, soil, defile," is used (a) of "ceremonial defilement," (John 18:28); so in the Sept., in Lev 22:5,8; Num 19:13,20 etc.; (b) of "moral defilement," (Titus 1:15 (twice); Heb. 12:15); "of moral and physical defilement," (Jude 8).

(from Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, Copyright © 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers.)


NT:96 adokimos (ad-ok'-ee-mos)

(Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance)

from NT:1 (as a negative particle) and NT:1384; unapproved, i.e. rejected; by implication, worthless (literally or morally):

KJV - castaway, rejected, reprobate.

(Thayer’s Greek Lexicon)

not standing the test, not approved




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