Many take the third commandment to mean that we should not use the Heavenly Father’s name alongside a swear word or profanity. I could see where it certainly might mean this. Others say that taking His name on our lips while living a life of sin is another way of taking His name in vain. I agree with this also.
However, I have found that the third commandment means much more than this. Replacing the Heavenly Father’s name with a title of our own choosing such as “the LORD”, “GOD”, “Adonai”, or “Ha Shem” is another way of taking His name in vain. Let’s look at the third commandment as written in the King James Bible:
Deuteronomy 5:11- “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold [him] guiltless that taketh his name in vain.”
If we examine this verse in the Hebrew text that the King James Bible was translated from, we would not find “The LORD” or any word that carries such a meaning. What is actually there is the Heavenly Father’s true name, “Yahweh”. I believe it is important to consider whether or not this tradition is something the Heavenly Father would desire us to follow.
Let’s take a moment and look at the Webster’s dictionary definition of the word “vain”:
vain 1. Having no real substance, value, or importance; empty; void; worthless; unsatisfying. “Thy vain excuse.” … 2. Destitute of forge or efficacy; effecting no purpose; fruitless; ineffectual; as, vain toil; a vain attempt. …
Considering the meaning of the word ‘vain’, what greater way to bring Yahweh’s name to emptiness, worthlessness, and having no real substance, value or purpose than to remove His name altogether from scripture and substitute it with a title of our own choosing?
Those who have chosen to practice this are doing just that. This practice is so widespread and so complete that few people even know the Heavenly Father has a personal name. Yahweh chose to place His name in scripture nearly 7,000 times. And each one of those 7,000 times it is replaced with a title (such as “The LORD”) in 99% of all translations. In fact, in most translations the third commandment (as written) is a transgression of itself! Why? Because the third commandment forbids bringing His name to nothing, yet most translations do just that.
To further demonstrate this point, let’s look at the Hebrew word that is translated “vain” in this verse.
The number after the word “vain” in this passage refers to Strong’s word #7723 in the Hebrew Lexicon. This same Hebrew word (#7723 ‘Shav’) can also be found in another commandment just a few verses later. But in this instance, it is translated differently:
Deuteronomy 5:20 (KJV) Neither shalt thou bear false <7723> witness against thy neighbour.
Here we have the same Hebrew word <7723> translated “false.” Might this shed light on the third commandment as well? We know that to say that the name of the Heavenly Father is “The LORD” is actually a false statement. Most translations are full of false statements. For instance, the King James Version reads:
Isaiah 42:8- I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.
The above is not a true statement. His name is not “the LORD”. His name is Yahweh. “The LORD” is not a translation of the original, it is a substitution of the original. The translators did not translate, they purposely substituted the true name of the Heavenly Father for something else so that they could follow their tradition. It should instead read:
Isaiah 42:8 (RKJV) I am Yahweh: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.
So if we want to keep the ten commandments, we should never replace Yahweh’s name with a false name or title of our own choosing. Doing so would be breaking the third commandment. This is not the only way to break the third commandment, but we can see that it is certainly one way of doing so. We are not supposed to add or take away from the scriptures. But in doing this, man has chosen to both add and take away.
Yahweh considered it important enough to include something about His name in the Ten Commandments. He considered it important enough to include a warning that we would not be held “guiltless” if we choose to break it. Therefore, in spite of what others may think, let’s keep His commandments by restoring what Yahweh placed there originally. Let’s set aside vain tradition and walk in the original truth of Yahweh… just as He inspired it.