This commandment is often seen in the narrow context of the misuse of God’s name(s) in a profane or blaspheming manner. Some will expand such misuse to include euphemisms relating to the names of God and Christ, such as gee wiz (believed to be from Jesus wizard), golly, and gosh.
Indeed, no one should use any such words that misuse, demean, degrade, or debase the names of God or Christ, but this is only elementary to obedience to this third commandment. It actually goes much deeper than this in meaning, purpose, and application (how it is to be lived).
For several years now, God’s church has come to understand that the spirit of this law applies to how each member of the Body of Christ lives their life, as each carries the name of God in their life. Having been baptized into the Church of God, each has been begotten of God’s spirit into the embryo of Elohim and awaits actual birth into Elohim. Such a person that is begotten of God’s spirit is to then carry the continual indwelling of God and Christ through the power of God’s spirit living in them and not being cut-off (from that life) due to unrepentant sin. Indeed, each is to carry the name and the indwelling of God in their life. When such a person sins, they take God’s name in vain as a member of the Church of God and the Body of Christ.
However, there is still more to be understood in this commandment. To more deeply understand it, it is necessary to look more closely at the definitions and actual use of some of the words in scripture.
When it says, “You shall not take,” the word translated into English as “take” is far more meaningful in Hebrew. It literally means “to lift” in a great variety of applications and is often translated into English as, “bear, carry, and lift up.” A verse in Exodus helps magnify the meaning of this third commandment. The translation of this same Hebrew word is used here as “raise.”
“You shall not raise a false report (something spoken, stated, expressed). Do not put your hand (join together) with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness” (Ex. 23:1).
This returns to the principle of not committing spiritual idolatry by “lifting up” something in our speech (or actions) that is not true – that is false. This scripture is specific in that it addresses what we speak, and it also applies spiritually to our actions. Our words and actions should always be true (righteous), especially when speaking about God’s truth. We should always be living in unity with God in our words and actions. This is also true about the third commandment and what it is actually addressing.
The word “name” in this third commandment (“You shall not take the name of the Eternal…”) carries with it in Hebrew the idea (meaning, thought) of the honor, character, authority, renown, and or description of the one being mentioned. When speaking of God, it is very similar to the use of a word in Greek (translated as “praises”) that is used to describe how a person in God’s Church should be living their life.
“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a special people, that you should show forth (in how one speaks and lives) the praises (Gk. – virtues, character, moral excellence) of Him (God) who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Pet. 2:9).
To speak or live otherwise is to disobey the third commandment, as it would be to “take” (raise, lift up, carry) some other way (speech, action) than that which we are to uphold and carry in our lives as members joined together (fellowship) in God’s name – the Church of God.
The word “vain” in this third commandment is also very interesting as the Hebrew word means much more than this simple English translation. This word comes from a Hebrew word that means “devastation, desolate, destroy, and destruction.” This specific Hebrew word that is taken from these words having to do with the act of destroying is used in the sense of “desolating” something as a destructive evil. In context, it carries the spiritual sense of an underlying false and destructive motivation where one thing is being torn down in order to raise up another. It is used in context of things or individuals. An excellent use of this word has already been quoted when looking at the word “take” in this commandment. This verse that has already been quoted is actually a magnification of the third commandment that helps to open the door to the spiritual understanding of it.
“You shall not raise (Heb. – take, bear, carry, lift up) a false (Heb. – vain, in the sense of being destructive and tearing down) report (something spoken, stated, expressed, or even lived). Do not put your hand (to join yourself together/fellowship) with the wicked to be an unrighteous (against God’s ways) witness (by the actions of one’s life that attests to how one is actually living)” (Ex. 23:1).
So we are commanded not to take (carry, bear, lift up) the name (the character, the identity, reputation, or even the truth, word, and way that describes God) of the Eternal our God in vain (in a false way, a destructive manner that is actually against what is true).
Those who choose to disobey God and engage in fellowship with those disfellowshipped carry a false message (a spoken or unspoken statement conveyed by one’s actions that conflicts/disagrees with what is true) that they have chosen to “lift up.” This message states that they can decide for themselves who they can or cannot fellowship with and no one, not even God, will tell them otherwise. They take (raise up, carry, lift up) God’s name (His way, reputation, truth, word, character) in vain (in a false and destructive manner toward the truth, as they go about tearing down what is righteous in the way true fellowship is to be lived).
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy (sanctified – set apart for holy use and purpose). Six days shall you labor and do all your work, but the seventh day (with Sunday being the first day of the week) is the Sabbath of the Eternal (Yahweh) your God (Elohim). In it, you shall not do any work; not you, nor your son, nor daughter, nor male servant, nor female servant, nor your animals, nor the visitor that is within your property. For in six days, the Eternal (Yahweh) made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Eternal blessed the Sabbath day, and sanctified it (set it apart for holy use and purpose)” (Ex. 20:8-11).
As with all the commandments, most who profess them only see them in the strictest physical sense and do not grasp their true spiritual meaning, intent, and purpose. God set apart a specific day that was to be sanctified by those who would observe it, as they must choose to “set” it aside for the holy use and purpose that God commands. The seventh day is a weekly Sabbath that God declares is to be observed perpetually by mankind. God established it as a sign (Ex. 31:13-17) between Himself and His people (an identifying sign for physical Israel and now for spiritual Israel – the Church). It is a continual reminder to God’s own people that He is the Almighty Creator God of all things. It is a day to be honored as different from all others, as it is set aside as a day to honor God, His plan, and His purpose.
Part of that honor and weekly remembrance is to cease from activities of work that are to be done on the other six days of the week. This includes such things as employment (whether self-employed or working for others), or other personal laboring, such as laundry, house cleaning, yard work, maintenance, etc., that can be done on other days of the week. Sometimes it is difficult for the carnal human mind to grasp these simple principles associated with proper Sabbath observance because our thinking is first and foremost physical in nature. Therefore, there is often confusion on just how to keep the physical aspects of this law, such as those associated with the daily need for food and the preparation of it. God does not forbid the work associated with cooking, washing dishes, and those things that are necessary daily functions of life and cleanliness, just as in personal hygiene and care.
That which can ease the burden (work load) on a Sabbath should be done ahead of time, such as heavy baking, purchasing of groceries, or other tasks requiring more work and time than normal. That is why Friday (the sixth day of the week) is so often referred to as the “preparation day.” This is a time one should work to accomplish such tasks that require more labor than usual (as in certain food preparation) when it is something that can be done ahead of time for the Sabbath.
These are areas for growth which some can struggle with for years (being unbalanced) while being led, molded, and taught a better balance, soundness of mind, and understanding of how to more properly address and live such matters in their life. It is a good thing to sometimes revisit our actions on a Sabbath and examine whether we are letting down in some areas where we should not be.
However, these things mentioned so far are very elementary, just as we have mentioned the very basic comprehension that so many have of the other commandments. These elementary matters are necessary in understanding proper observance, but they are largely very physical in nature as in physical “do’s and do not’s” for the Sabbath. These must indeed be addressed and become properly established as part of one’s Sabbath observance. Yet the purpose and intent of the Sabbath is far greater in importance and observation because that is what gets to the heart and core of the commandment – the true spiritual need and purpose for the Sabbath.
The first four commandments tie together in a most powerful way. They reveal how we can grow in our relationship with God (and His Son, Jesus Christ) with the desire that we come to love Him with all our heart, with all our life, and with all our mind – that God is indeed first in our life! God reveals that He is our Family, Elohim. He calls us into (to become part of) His Family so that we can become joined together in it – in true fellowship.
The Sabbaths of God (weekly and annual) are the “times” that God has set apart and called us to meet with Him so that He can more fully build that relationship with us as He leads us and works to transform us into Elohim. On His Sabbaths, He pours out more of His power (spirit) to teach, lead, correct, inspire and communicate His way to us. It is the time He has set aside to have more direct fellowship with us through His word that He gives to us on those occasions. In the time of His Sabbaths, He communes (communicates, inspires His word to us, fellowships) much more with us during that time than at other times, and He gives us the added blessing of spiritual fellowship with others whom He has called (in those areas where people have been called along with others who can physically meet together).
While going through this specific commandment, and for those who are newer, it would be good to also mention some of the interesting things God has said about His Sabbaths in Leviticus. God has placed great emphasis on the fact that He has established and appointed specific weekly and annual times in which His people are to meet with Him. As these verses are quoted, the actual Hebrew meaning of some mistranslated words will be given in parenthesis.
“Speak unto the children of Israel and tell them of the feasts (Heb. – ‘appointed times’ – this is not the Hebrew word for ‘feast’), which you shall proclaim to be holy (sanctified – set apart for holy use and purpose) convocations (assembling or called together meetings). These are my feasts (Heb. – ‘appointed times’). Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work therein. It is the Sabbath of the Eternal (Yahweh) in all your dwellings. These are the feasts (Heb. – ‘appointed times’) of the Eternal, even holy convocations, which you shall proclaim in their seasons (Heb. – same word for ‘appointed times’). In the fourteenth day of the first month at even (when the new day of the 14th begins – at evening – after sunset on the 13th) is the Eternal’s Passover. And on the fifteenth day of the same month (after sunset on the 14th, from when the new day of the 15th begins) is the Feast (this is the Hebrew word for ‘feast’) of Unleavened Bread unto the Eternal (Yahweh). Seven days you must eat unleavened bread” (Lev. 23:2-6).
These verses go on to list the rest of the annual Sabbaths that God commands, along with the weekly Sabbath mentioned earlier. These are God’s appointed times that we are to observe at those specific times that He has set aside (holy convocations) for holy use and purpose.
The weekly Sabbath is a type of memorial of God’s purpose to create Elohim (age-lasting spirit life in God’s Family) through physical human beings who can become begotten of God’s spirit. It is at the point of begettal of God’s spirit that one enters a state likened to a spiritual embryo – begotten and growing within the Church, but not yet born into Elohim as fully spirit in mind and composition. The annual Sabbaths expand and expound upon the specific stages and development of the entire 7,100-year plan of God whereby mankind can potentially enter Elohim.
These first four commandments mightily magnify God’s great desire (His will), design, plan, and purpose that He has to create and have “true fellowship” with those who are called to become part of His God Family. Better understanding of these commandments also magnifies the ugliness of the spirit, attitude, and actions that lead to becoming disfellowshipped from God, His Family, and His presence. Becoming separated from God due to sin is what happened to Satan and the demons in God’s angelic family, and it is what happened to the first two humans, Adam and Eve. When offered true and meaningful fellowship with the Almighty Self-existing God for all ages to come, it is indeed an ugly thing to “turn against” God’s offer to become a part of His family and His love that He extends to those whom He calls.
The only reason anyone becomes disfellowshipped from God, His presence, and His Family is because of unrepentant sin where someone has “lifted up” their own ideas and ways above what God has revealed as His one and only true way to live life. God clearly instructs His people not to have fellowship (spiritual) with those who have been disfellowshipped. Sometimes people have family (immediate or closely related) who become disfellowshipped. This sometimes causes misunderstandings and confusion when it comes to knowing how to apply God’s instruction that concerns such people who have been separated in fellowship from God’s Church. These specific areas are planned to be addressed in the next post.
So when someone chooses to have fellowship with those disfellowshipped then they have sinned against God and His instruction regarding such action. When a person who has committed such a sin (and does not repent) then enters into fellowship on the Sabbath in order to “supposedly” continue “in” the Church, in a way they have judged as okay, they bring their sin into God’s Temple and work to defile the Temple and the true fellowship that is in the Church.
As we have already covered the story in 1 Corinthians about the man Paul said should be disfellowshipped, it would be good to look at more of the context of what Paul was addressing throughout Corinthians. Paul was leading up to the instruction and correction that was going to be given concerning keeping the Feast of Unleavened Bread and Passover.
In preparing for the Passover, he instructed them, saying, “The cup of blessing which we bless (of wine taken on Passover), is it not the communion (Gk. – fellowship, sharer together in relationship) of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion (Gk. – fellowship, sharer together) of the Body of Christ? For we being many are one bread (becoming unleavened in Christ and cleansed of sin), and one body (the Body of Christ – the Church), for we are partakers (Gk. – sharers) of that one bread (the word – the unleavened bread of life that is from God through Jesus Christ)” (1 Cor. 10:16-17). Paul added more by saying, “You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons” (1 Cor. 10:21).
It is a basic matter to know that the primary time in our life when we are able to be fed spiritually at the “Lord’s table” is when God gives us the spiritual food we are able to eat and drink in of on the Sabbath. It is also basic to understand that no one can expect to live spiritually (in a true spiritual relationship with God, with God dwelling in them) if they are also choosing to be nourished from the table of demons (the ways that are adversarial to God’s). The two do not mix and are fully opposed to one another. Yet the human mind can deceive itself into believing it can have both. God reveals through the very use of disfellowshipment that sin is not to be brought into the environment of the church because it can spread and defile others who have been called to His Family.
“Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven (sin) leavens the whole lump? Therefore purge out the old leaven so that you may become a new lump, even as you are unleavened (even as they have put out physical leaven for the Feast of Unleavened Bread). For even Christ our Passover is slain for us (to get rid of sin). Therefore let us keep the feast (of Unleavened Bread), not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (1 Cor. 5:6-8).
Sin can spread quickly in one’s life as well as in the Church. It is in the context of fellowship within the Church, in the Temple of God, that Paul drives home the point that one cannot mix (bind) any other way (sin) with God’s way, whether individually in one’s spiritual relationship with God or collectively within the Temple of God – the Church.
“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers (whether in the Church with those who begin to bring in sin or individually in our life in how we live it in the world around us), for what fellowship does righteousness have with unrighteousness and light with darkness? What concord does Christ have with Belial? Or what part (as a way of living life) has he who believes with an infidel (one opposed to God’s way)? And what agreement does the Temple of God have with idols? For you are the Temple of the Living God, and as God has said, I will dwell in them and walk in them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore come out from among them (as a way of life one lives), and be you separate, says the Lord, and do not touch the unclean (keep sin out of your life and do not mix any of those other ways with God’s one true way of life), and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty” (2 Cor. 6:14-18).
So if someone decides for themselves to fellowship with those disfellowshipped and then brings that defiant, disobedient, and pride-filled spirit into the environment of God’s Church in a flaunting manner on the Sabbath, as though they are justified in doing so, then their very actions work to destroy what God is building. It is indeed a grievous sin to try to bring sin into the Temple of God – into God’s Church.
“Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the spirit of God dwells in you? If any man defiles (works to destroy) the temple of God, him will God destroy (remove from all fellowship, which if never repented of in the future will lead to death), for the temple of God is holy (set apart for holy use and purpose), which temple you are” (1 Cor. 3:16-17).
(Pt. 6 will follow)