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Commandment 3

Exodus 20:7 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.

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.

This third commandment is very closely linked with the 9th: V. 16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. So it will be impossible to keep them separate.

Let me start with this statement: Dispensationalism blasphemes God. It claims a god who changes, and our God changes not. Thus, it attributes a attribute to the Lord God that is not his. (See rjr on the third commandment, cd.)


This commandment covers giving an oath, swearing or more commonly known as “Giving our word.” The term PERJURY means that we have violated the third commandment.

The terms oath and vow has dropped out of our language. In fact, giving one’s word has lost the meaning it once had. So we hear very little today of a man’s word being his bond. In the past, huge business deals were made on a handshake. Now, the best contracts will not keep men honest.

Thus, as we talk about oaths and swearing, we are basically speaking of different levels of giving one’s word, backed up by the fact we are Christians. When we do not fulfill our word, as Christians, we have taken God’s name in vain.

Under this commandment, among other things, we deal with what God says about giving and keeping ones word. It deals with issues and terms that are basically unknown to us, but were very common in Scripture. Such as “As the Lord liveth” and “As my soul liveth.”

We need to understand the historical Biblical context of these terms, though they seem completely foreign to us. Like many things in Scripture, as we look at God’s word, we are looking at a great many unknown things for our day that fall under the third commandment.

These first 4 commandments have many implications, making the lessons longer than those from the fifth on.

Before we develop the implications of this law, let me mention an aspect that makes it particularly offensive to the natural mind – that is its negativism. Nine of the Ten Commandments are negative. Even Remember the sabbath day is negative, for it says, thou shalt not do any work. The only positive commandments is Honor thy farther and mother.

The natural mind sees any negative laws as oppressive and tyrannical, but actually it is just the opposite. It is positive law that can and does lead to tyranny and totalitarianism.


U.S. Constitution. The Preamble

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

The positive phrase promote the general Welfare has given the central government unlimited authority to do whatever it pleases in the name of the general Welfare of the people. In the name of the general Welfare, tyranny and totalitarianism has taken over.

On the other hand, a negative law, Thou shalt not, clearly makes something illegal: Thou shalt not steal; thou shalt not bear false witness.

Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain is a negative law which means that all other speech is permissible, as long it is not false nor destructive. (Of course, the New Testament develops the implications of free speech, which we will not go into here.)

Scripture limits the State to controlling evil, not controlling all men in order to promote the general Welfare. The modern use of the positive, promote the general Welfare, assumes the State has total power to do whatever is necessary to promote what fallen men feel is best for everyone. Sadly, the self-appointed elite feel that they alone know what is best for the general Welfare, and they are thus permitted to enforce their opinions upon everyone. The State feels it alone is competent to decide what is best for its incompetent child-like citizens.

When the law is positive in its function, and if the general Welfare of the people is the highest law, then the state has total jurisdiction to compel the total health of the people. The result is tyranny and totalitarianism.

Under the name of general Welfare, the State seeks to protect man from his own foolishness – seat belts, helmets, speed laws, and uncounted other laws.

Insurance is a good example. In the Old Testament, restitution was required. There were no inspectors going around to make sure the roofs–a living area of the time–had battlements (guard rails) as required by Deuteronomy 22:8. But if some one fell off the roof, then the owner was required to make restitution, even life for life.

Exodus 21:34, an open pit required a fence around it, but there were no fence inspectors. If someone was hurt falling into the open pit, the owner was responsible, even life for life.

Simply requiring restitution, including life for a life, would solve a vast majority of our legal problems today.

Though the Amish and Mennonites have major doctrinal errors, they do have the Biblical idea of “insurance”: They care for one another.

There are not enough laws to protect the fool from his foolishness. His problem is not others, but himself.

The root of his trouble is spiritual, not mental. He likes his folly, going back to it "like a dog that returns to his vomit" (26:11); he has no reverence for truth, preferring comfortable illusions (see 14:8, and note). At bottom, what he is rejecting is the fear of the Lord (1:29): it is this that constitutes him a fool, and this that makes his complacency tragic; for "the careless ease of fools shall destroy them" (1:32).
In society the fool is, in a word, a menace. At best, he wastes your time: "you will not find a word of sense in him" (14:7, Moffatt); and he may be a more serious nuisance. If he has an idea in his head, nothing will stop him: "let a bear robbed of her whelps meet a man, rather than a fool in his folly" (17:12)?whether that folly is some prank that is beyond a joke (10:23), or some quarrel he must pick (18:6) and run to death (29:11). Give him a wide berth, for "the companion of fools shall smart for it" (13:20), and if you want to send him away, don't send him with a message (26:6). (Kidner, Proverbs, and Introduction and Commentary. (Chicago: Inter-Varsity Press, 1964), p. 40. Quoted by RJR, Institutes, p. 103)

Modern general Welfare policies allow people to build in dangerous, known flood planes or well-known, dangerous hurricane zones, and then when they get wiped out, they are reimbursed so they can build there again. The fool returns to his folly.

What about laws to protect from medical quacks? This falls under Thou shalt not steal. And a legitimate function of the Civil Government is protecting its people from fraud, both from pagan fraud and fraud in the name of “Christian.”

The State assumes the power to make positive laws to protect the health and general Welfare of the people, but it does not assume the liability. Liability is passed on to the people. A good example is the drivers license. The state requires everyone to take a driving test and obtain a license, but the state will not assume the responsibility of licensing an incompetent driver.

Just look around, and consider what is taking place. The state has assumed a positive function, and it now protects the criminal and the fool while penalizing responsible men. Remember the man who shot in self-defense in a New York subway. The criminal did not get in trouble, but he man who had an unauthorized gun. This was a result of the positive law passed against hand guns in order to promote the general Welfare.

When Biblical negativism of the law is replaced with the State’s positive laws, a revolution against Christianity and freedom has taken place. As we see, it is negative laws based in Scripture that safeguard life and liberty.

Exodus 20:7 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.

Either by swearing falsely or rashly by his Name, or by condemning it. (Geneva)

Today, this commandment is almost totally ignored, though it was at one time had central attention in the church and in society. This commandment not only prohibits obscenities, but carries a strong caution about swearing.

Swearing is not found among American Indians, Japanese, Malayans, and most Polynesians.

Let me define Swear
a) obscenities
b) to declare or affirm something is true
c) promise
d) declare under oath
e) have confidence or faith in

Let me give you a quote from the Westminster Larger Catechism:

Q. 111. Which is the third commandment?
A. The third commandment is, 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.

Q. 112. What is required in the third commandment?
A. The third commandment requires, that the name of God, his titles, attributes, ordinances, the word, sacraments, prayer, oaths, vows, lots, his works, and whatsoever else there is whereby he makes himself known, be holily and reverently used in thought, meditation, word, and writing; by an holy profession, and answerable conversation, to the glory of God, and the good of ourselves, and others.

Q. 113. What are the sins forbidden in the third commandment?
A. The sins forbidden in the third commandment are, the not using of God’s name as is required; and the abuse of it in an ignorant, vain, irreverent, profane, superstitious, or wicked mentioning or otherwise using his titles, attributes, ordinances, or works, by blasphemy, perjury; all sinful cursings, oaths, vows, and lots; violating of our oaths and vows, if lawful; and fulfilling them, if of things unlawful; murmuring and quarreling at, curious prying into, and misapplying of God’s decrees and providences; misinterpreting, misapplying, or any way perverting the word, or any part of it, to profane jests, curious or unprofitable questions, vain janglings, or the maintaining of false doctrines; abusing it, the creatures, or anything contained under the name of God, to charms, or sinful lusts and practices; the maligning, scorning, reviling, or any wise opposing of God’s truth, grace, and ways; making profession of religion in hypocrisy, or for sinister ends; being ashamed of it, or a shame to it, by unconformable, unwise, unfruitful, and offensive walking, or backsliding from it.

Q. 114. What reasons are annexed to the third commandment?
A. The reasons annexed to the third commandment, in these words, The Lord thy God, and, For the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain, are, because he is the Lord and our God, therefore his name is not to be profaned, or any way abused by us; especially because he will be so far from acquitting and sparing the transgressors of this commandment, as that he will not suffer them to escape his righteous judgment, albeit many such escape the censures and punishments of men.

This commandment is much broader than we normally think.

Attempts to prove God is blasphemy. Hebrews 3:9. Prove – put his patience on trial; God’s people in the wilderness were not content with God’s promise, but demanded objective proof of God.

Education without God is blasphemy, as is any area of life that does not presuppose God.

We are here prohibited from taking the name of the Lord in vain – profanity.

Profane, from the Latin pro–before and fanum –temple. (Webster, 1828). Thus, before or outside the temple.

1. Irreverent to any thing sacred; applied to persons. A man is profane when he takes the name of God in vain, or treats sacred things with abuse and irreverence.

2. Irreverent; proceeding from a contempt of sacred things, or implying it; as profane words or language; profane swearing.

3. Not sacred; secular; relating to secular things; as profane history.

4. Polluted; not pure.

Nothing is profane that serveth to holy things.

5. Not purified or holy; allowed for common use; as a profane place. Ezek.42. and 48.

6. Obscene; heathenish; tending to bring reproach on religion; as profane fables.

1 Tim.4:7 But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.

As with all the commandments, this commandment is quite broad. It prohibits all speech, action and living that is outside of God. It not only forbids filthy speech, false swearing and cursing, it also forbids polite and courteous speech and actions which are outside of God – that which does not recognize God as ultimate, or sovereign. That is, any speech that lowers God to man’s level.

“Oh God” is a very common, vain, use of God’s name.

In cursing, man invokes the judgment of God upon an evil-doer. Cursing of one’s parents carried the death penalty, as the curser seeks to invoke God’s movement against his parents:

Exodus 21:17 And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death.

There is a Godly curse or oath-taking where man aligns himself under God and in conformity to God’s righteousness to abide by his word even as God abides by his word. Godly oaths seek their confirmation and strength from above. Ungodly swearing seeks its power from below.

Profane language seeks to be forceful, and that force is from below. It invokes, not God, but the world of the illicit, obscene and the perverted–the world of the enemy of our souls.

Profanity is a barometer. Verbal profanity is an oral witness to social profanity. As verbal standards fall, so do social standards. Where God is bared from the government schools, profanity is encouraged. And we see the sam in every area of life?as God is removed, profanity fills the void. In the 60s, a dictionary of slang and profanity was seen as an invaluable reference work in high school libraries.

One year on a layoff season from construction, I worked as an undercover investigator for Pinkertons. I remember one factory I went into that had a lot of female employees. I was shocked to hear the wicked language used by those women, and that was in the 60s

Profanity is associated with religion, and its common use is a sign of religious and social deterioration. It is outside of God and against God. It is a dishonest use of God’s name. It is a means of subversion against a society.

Notice the state supports “free speech” in using profanity, but not in prayer.


Blasphemy is defined as speaking evil of God, or denying him some good which should be attributed to him.

But blasphemy can also be against people. Paul was blasphemed, or spoken evil against. Acts 13:45, 18:6. Paul and his companions spoke evil against the heathen god in Ephesus, and was accused of blasphemers against Diana. Acts 19:37.

Blasphemy, however, is more than taking the name of God in vain–profanity. It is rebellious language directed against God. Psalms 74:18 Remember this, that the enemy hath reproached, O LORD, and that the foolish people have blasphemed thy name.

It was punishable by death. Leviticus 24:16. Naboth was falsely accused of blasphemy, as was Stephen and Jesus Christ. Blasphemy against the Holy Ghost consisted of attributing the miracles of Christ to Satanic power. Matthew 12:22-32.

Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.

Positively –thou shalt take the name of the Lord thy God in righteousness and truth. Negatively – thou shalt not take the name of other gods or powers. The implications of each are far reaching into society.

Exodus 20:7 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. V. 16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

The third and ninth commandments are closely related. Both relate to speech – the first to God, and the second to man.

The third commandment is the basis of an orderly society. Swearing before God is the oath of office, the trustworthiness of witnesses, the common regard of truth, faithfulness of the clergy to their ordination vows, of wives and husbands to their marriage vows, &c. All of these things, and much more, depend upon the sacredness of vows before God, which is found in the third commandment.

As presidents violate their oaths to uphold the constitution, they invoke the curse of God upon themselves, and upon the country that permits the violation. We are seeing today even professed Christians supporting public leaders who have and are openly violating their oaths of office that they swore before God and man.

This nation is under the curse of God, because we have asked him to curse it.

Profanity: When there is no fear of God, the sanctity of oaths and vows disappears. Profanity is quite common, for there is no fear of God. In fact, Howard Stern is making a fortune with profanity and immoral talk. He makes the money because people want to hear the filth that spues out of his mouth.

Oaths and vows: People give their word, having no plans to keep it. Perjury is common in court rooms, and prosecution is almost unheard of. Adultery is rampant as the marriage vows hold very little authority. Not long ago, a man’s word was his bond, but now he cannot even be bound by a signed contract.

the LORD will not hold him guiltless, and society is being judged today for the lack of truthfulness, for no society can long exist that permits subversion of the oath and truth.

SADLY, MANY TIMES I WOULD RATHER DEAL WITH THE UNSAVED THAN WITH PROFESSED CHRISTIANS. I HAVE FOUND THE UNSAVED MORE TRUSTWORTHY IN THEIR WORD. In my experience, I have fond that the unsaved generally fear God more than do Christians, particularly when they deal with pastors.

The Lord is very strong against those who breaks an oath:

Proverbs 29:24 Whoso is partner with a thief hateth his own soul: he heareth cursing, and bewrayeth it not.

Keil-Delitzsch comments here that the judge instructs, in the name of the Lord, the partner of a thief to tell the truth, but he conceals it. Though his help to the thief did not make him worth of death, his perjury did.

God hates a false oath. Perjury is more serious than the act of stealing, or even of murder. Stealing and even murder has a limited effect, but a false oath undermines the entire society. Psalms 109:17-19, Matthew 5:33-37, Numbers 30:7. All of Numbers 30.

Psalms 15:1 LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? 4 In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the LORD. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not. (I have been “caught” in this more than a few times.)

Here we see that a godly man’s word places him under an oath, and violation of that oath can be considered perjury.

Church members who willfully and continually do not walk in newness of life, violate their oath taken at their baptism, Romans 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

And the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

A reminder that we took an oath in our baptism and in the Lord’s supper should provide strength to keep our oath, as well as conviction when we fail. Failure to keep our oath must be considered a breach of our oath and of his covenant.

Ordained ministers take an oath to be true to God’s Word. the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

We are seeing “so help me God” removed from swearing in as witnesses and in public offices. This means that those sworn in are not bound by God to fulfil the constitutional requirements of the office or of the law. Swearing by one’s self means that the individual is superior, and his actions and testimony is only bound by what is best for himself. His actions and testimony need only meet his own standards.

The removal of “so help me God” removes God from the oath, and declares that the man is god. Sadly, this man centered god is the faith taught in the government school system. It is simply that faith being acted out into society.

Exodus 20:7 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain;

God’s name is profaned whenever any detraction is made from His supreme wisdom, infinite power, justice, truth, clemency, and rectitude [morally correct behavior]. If a shorter definition be preferred, let us say that His name is what Paul calls to gnwston, "that which may be known" of Him. (Ro 1:19). ... (Calvin)

Thus, almost all preaching today is taking the Lord’s name in vain.

We shall soon see that to swear by God’s name is a species or part of religious worship, and this is manifest too from the words of #Isa 45:23 for when he predicts that all nations shall devote themselves to pure religion, he thus speaks, "As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall swear by me." ... (Calvin)

Swearing, or using the Lord’s name honestly, is closely related to true worship.

When his “supreme wisdom, infinite power, justice, truth, clemency, and rectitude” are compromised, there can be no worship of the Christian God–it is vain. This vain worship denies the Christian faith; it denies the reality of the one true God; it is an empty profession of Christ; it is nothing but blasphemy ? the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

The vast majority of so called Hymns as well as “Christian Music” of our day is blaspheme, for it is far from presenting the Biblical truth of the Christian God.

BLASPHEME ? to spurn, contemn, despise, abhor. Speak evil or reproachfully of. (We will use this word a lot later on.)

True swearing, preaching and music will ascribe to God the glory due to his name.

Jeremiah 12:16 And it shall come to pass, if they will diligently learn the ways of my people, to swear by my name, The LORD liveth; as they taught my people to swear by Baal; then shall they be built in the midst of my people. 17 But if they will not obey, I will utterly pluck up and destroy that nation, saith the LORD.

Keil points out here that swearing is mentioned as one of the principles utterances of a religious confession.

Here again is the promise of a blessing or a cursing. God says that if his people will serve him with the same enthusiasm as they serve the false gods, that is, live by what they say they are, he will bless them. On the other hand, if they will not, they will perish.

Blasphemy and Treason

Jeremiah 23:10 For the land is full of adulterers; for because of swearing the land mourneth; the pleasant places of the wilderness are dried up, and their course is evil, and their force is not right. {swearing: or, cursing} {course: or, violence}

For because of swearing (or cursing) the land mourneth.] Swearers and cursers, then, are public enemies, traitors to the State. The Jews observe that Beershaba signifies, The well of oath; and Beersaba, The well of plenty. Sure we are that for oaths the land mourneth; of which there is such store, as if men, by an easy mistake of the point, used to draw and drop them, as it were, out of the well of plenty. (John Trapp)

Sadly, since men have denied God and his sovereignty, the fear of God has departed from society. There is no longer black and white, for all things are grey. Law becomes relative.

RELATIVISM – holds that all points of view are equally valid. This amounts to saying that all moralities are equally good, and that all belief systems are equally true. It denies that any standpoint is better than another. It reduces everything to a common grey. It denies the absoluteness of justice that defines good and evil.

The Incredibles, mom was trying to tell her son that every one is special. The response from the son was if everyone is special, then no one is special. If all military personal are heros, then there are no heros.

Thus, the criminal is protected by law, for the law knows no criminal, and can offer its citizens no protection from evil. Rather, relativistic law seeks to protect its people from those who might seek to restore a definition of good and evil in terms of Scripture.

The sovereign God has been replaced by the sovereign state, and fear of the state has replaced it. People think nothing of blasphemy and treason against God, but treason against the state is punishable by death. The state realizes that failure to recognize its sovereignty leads to striping it of its power. But Christians fail to recognize that denying God’s sovereignty leads to striping God’s Kingdom of its power.

God’s concern about Authority

Exodus 21:15 And he that smiteth his father, or his mother, shall be surely put to death. 17 And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death.

Curse – 1. To utter a wish of evil against one; to imprecate evil upon; to call for mischief or injury to fall upon; to execrate.

The authority of the entire society is endangered by an assault upon parental authority, or upon any proper authority, for that matter. Romans 13:1-4. Ephesians 6:5, Colossians 3:22, 1 Peter 2:18.

Thus, when we violate due authority, we curse, or take the Lord’s name in vain.

Note from vv. 15 & 17 that no evil can be an excuse for more evil. Whatever evil parents might do cannot lead to evil on our part. The child is not required to obey its parents by doing evil, nor is asked to call evil good. But honor is required where honor is due. Romans 13:7. Vengeance belongs to God alone. Deuteronomy 32:35, Romans 12:19, Hebrews 10:30.

Exodus 20:7 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.

Names in Scripture reveal the character and nature of the person named, and as his character changed, his name changed, e.g., Jacob to Israel, and Saul to Paul.

Thus when men use the name of God in a way that denies the true meaning of his character, they break the third commandment. (RJR, 125)

Exodus 20:7 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.

This commandment has a threat with it, as does the second. The Lord here shows that he is in earnest with his promise to reckon with those who violate it.

He will have his name sanctified, hollowed and held in reverence by all his people.

Leviticus 32:31 Therefore shall ye keep my commandments, and do them: I am the LORD. 32 Neither shall ye profane my holy name; but I will be hallowed among the children of Israel: I am the LORD which hallow you, 33 That brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the LORD.

The Lord summed up the 9 with keep my commandments, and do them. But he set apart profane my holy name. Not only does our lives hollow God’s holy name, but so does our spoken use of his name. We can make him contemptible by misusing his name. Psalms 89:7, 111:9.

The purpose of this exceedingly broad commandment is to keep the heart in holy awe and reverence of God by requiring the holy and reverent usage of God’s name.

First, what is meant by the name of God?

Second, what is meant by taking the name of God in vain?

First, what is meant by the name of God?

1) His name makes known to us what can be known of him:

Exodus 34:6 And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, 7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.

His name means mercy, grace, patience, goodness, truth, justice, &c.

His name defines his character, and when we misuse his name, we defame his character.

2) His name is defined in his Gospel:

Acts 9:15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:

3) His presence is in his name:

Matthew 18:19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

Here we see that the power of prayer, church discipline and the ordinances are defined by his name.

4) His works are revealed in his name:

Romans 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

5) His worship is defined by his name:

Deuteronomy 12:5 ¶ But unto the place which the LORD your God shall choose out of all your tribes to put his name there, even unto his habitation shall ye seek, and thither thou shalt come:

Exodus 20:24 An altar of earth thou shalt make unto me, and shalt sacrifice thereon thy burnt offerings, and thy peace offerings, thy sheep, and thine oxen: in all places where I record my name I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee.

6) His name defines Divine Providence:

Proverbs 16:33 The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD.

By all of these, and more, our God is to be known, and by them something of him can be seen:

Leviticus 32:31 Therefore shall ye keep my commandments, and do them: I am the LORD. 32 Neither shall ye profane my holy name; but I will be hallowed among the children of Israel: I am the LORD which hallow you, 33 That brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the LORD.

His name is hallowed among his people by them keeping his commandments. Psalms 78:10, 11.

Remember how our Lord taught his disciples to pray: Hallowed by thy name. That is much more than just a phrase to be memorized and quoted. It is a manner of life.

Second, what is meant by taking the name of God in vain?

In vain means detracting in anyway from the meanings of his name, as listed above. Psalms 16:3

1) Unnecessary use of God’s name.

2) When it is not mentioned nor used to good purpose – to God’s honor, to edify others or ourselves. E.g., not speaking up for the Lord when it is proper to do so.

The scope of this commandment

BLASPHEME ? to spurn, contemn, despise, abhor. Speak evil or reproachfully of.

It is to manifest reverence to God.

1) High esteem of his Majesty.
2) Reverent use of all his ordinances as appointed by him.
3) Use in good conversation to keep his name from being evil spoken of and blasphemed because of our actions:

HOW CHRISTIANS CAUSE OTHERS TO BLASPHEME GOD – to think or speak ill of our God.


Romans 2:23 Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God? 24 For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written.

We say we believe and follow the law of God, yet we operate on what we feel is best, or according to what is socially accepted.


2 Samuel 12:14 Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.

David told how he loved the law of God, yet he followed his own desire.


1 Timothy 6:1 Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.

We blaspheme God when we do not honor those to whom honor is due. Romans 13:7. 1 Peter 2:15,

D) Paul gives instruction concerning women, both younger and older women.

1 Timothy 5:14 I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.

He gives further insight into what he is saying:

Titus 2:3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; 4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

This is a very strong statement that flies in the face of modern theology. Here we see that when the older women, including mothers toward their daughters, fail to teach younger women To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, both they and the younger women blaspheme the word of God. Adam Clarke gives this insight:

That the word of God be not blasphemed. The enemies of the Gospel are quick-eyed to spy out imperfections in its professors; and, if they find women professing Christianity living an irregular life, they will not fail to decry the Christian doctrine on this account: "Behold your boasted religion! it professes to reform all things, and its very professors are no better than others! Our heathenism is as good as your Christianity." These are cutting reproaches; and much they will have to answer for who give cause for these blasphemies. (Adam Clarke)

E) Pride, passion and contention among God’s people causes the ungodly to blaspheme. 1 Corinthians 3:4, 6:3.

F) Following the errors of false teachers. 2 Peter 2:2.

Blasphemy is any use of the God’s name, including using the name Christian, that is not worthy of his greatness and holiness. Blasphemy also includes any actions and words that would cause the ungodly to think ill of our God, or that undermines his good name before the word. Ezekiel 36:19

Obviously, the ungodly are lying in wait to catch an opportunity to point to a Christian and blaspheme God. James 2:1-7 tells us that the ungodly will blaspheme God regardless of our actions, yet we must not give them any legitimate reason.

How do we use God’s name reverently

1) It is necessary that the matter be lawful. Guilty: unbiblical preaching–heresies, charmers, cursers, blasphemers.

2) Not only lawful, but must be important. Swearing in things of no importance.

3) The matter must be necessary.

4) It should be in matters grave, deliberate, understood, and done in judgment with fear and reverence. Jeremiah 4:2.

5) The end result of the use of God’s name must be his honor, the good of others, or our own necessary vindication in some matter. Otherwise, using his name has no purpose ? used in vain.

This command is given to impress upon us the reverence due to him, and the care we must take not to infringe upon the holiness found in his Name.

1) he sets out his own greatness fear and reverence of himself in the hearts of his people. He will have us reverently use those things which concern him. He desires due diligence in establishing the distance between himself and his creatures. Ecclesiastes 5:1-3, Leviticus 22:31, 32, Psalms 89:9.

2) his name is infinitely excellent, great, dreadful and glorious. Psalms 111. Thus, more than ordinary watchfulness should be attached to it.

3) forbidding the vain use of his name is a way to curb atheism and profanity. Through vain usage of God’s name, the enemy causes us to think little of God, and leads us further down the road away from God.

4) God’s name is precious, and given to his people as a great refuge. Proverbs 18:10. He will not have that which represents his mercy abused.

5) God is our friend in covenant, yet to keep us from getting too “friendly” and fail to give him his due honor, he requires we fear this glorious and fearful name, THE LORD THY GOD. Deuteronomy 28:58.

6) Proper use of God’s name honors God, and exalts the gospel of Christ before others. Irreverence dishonors God before others.

What is swearing, oaths, vowing, or public exalting God

This command concerns oaths: Speaking, obligations, requires oaths and keeping them. It may be broken in both.

Differences between 1) oaths, 2) asseverations 3) simple affirmations 4) spoken curses

1) Oaths directly invoke God:

Psalms 89:35 Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David. (Also Hebrews 6:17.)

“So help you God” is a Biblical oath.

2) Asseverations, or verbal assertions, are expressed thusly:

Ruth 3:13 Tarry this night, and it shall be in the morning, that if he will perform unto thee the part of a kinsman, well; let him do the kinsman’s part: but if he will not do the part of a kinsman to thee, then will I do the part of a kinsman to thee, as the LORD liveth: lie down until the morning.

3) Simple affirmations are “truly, indeed, &c.” These simply affirm that what we are saying is true. Basically, this affirmation belongs to the 9 commandment.

4) spoken curses, such as, “Shame on me if I don’t do this or that”, or “Shame on you if you do not this or that.”

Ruth 1:17 Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.

Assertive, or affirming, oaths, simply affirm something is true.

And promissory oaths, swearing to preform such a thing, either absolutely or conditional. That is, giving our word that we will do or not do a task.

Both the affirming and promising oaths have a lawful place in God’s worship. Deuteronomy 10:20, 6:13, Jeremiah 4:2.

Note: Numbers 30 is one of the most important passages concerning vows, or oaths.

What constitutes proper oaths or swearing?

It must be true, important and according to our knowledge. It must be just, lawful, possible, profitable and within our power. Further knowledge about what we promised can change our bond to our word.

It must be by the true God, for any other thing is God. (In modern oaths in court, men swear by themselves. How sad, for self holds no power to enforce an oath against self.

Its use must be edifying; that is, for God’s glory, our vindication, and for the good of our neighbour. Oaths before a magistrate are Biblical.

Not only must an oath be true, but it must be easily understood. The meaning must be clear and obvious, and the expressions used must be used in their normal understanding. There must be no ambiguity in words.

This commandment forbids the “legalese” that is so common today. God speaks plainly, so anyone who wants to know about him can understand him. Even in the KJV. Thus, his people must speak plainly, with no double meanings. We must not argue over what the meaning of “is” is.

In the right matter of swearing, we should understand what we are giving our oaths about, the nature of our oath, and him whom we swear by.

Jeremiah 4:2 And thou shalt swear, The LORD liveth, in truth, in judgment, and in righteousness; and the nations shall bless themselves in him, and in him shall they glory.

We should fear to give an oath, or promise. We should be filled with apprehension that we are representing a just, righteous and holy God.

Remember who we represent when we encounter high pressure salesmen. We give our word to them, and we have bound ourselves by God.

Remember Peter:

Matthew 26:33 Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended.

Giving our word with such a strong assertion should be done with great fear, reverence, understand and care. It is a sin to give a strong assertion rashly and without due consideration.

Sadly, we are more like Peter than any of the other apostles. We are quick to speak and give our word without even thinking of the results or consequences of what we say.

Moreover, we are told to let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil. Matthew 5:37, James 5:12.


Practical questions

1) How do oaths differ from emphatic or dogmatic statements?

In oaths, we make mention of the true God. But strong assertions are typified in the saying, “As my soul livith.” 2 Kings 2:2, 4, 6.

2) What about terms such as we hear such as swearing by the “Virgin Mary”, by the saints and by other creatures?

These are not gods, so such swearing is unlawful:

Deuteronomy 6:13 Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name.
Jeremiah 5:7 How shall I pardon thee for this? thy children have forsaken me, and sworn by them that are no gods: ...

These creatures are powerless to enforce an untrue oath, so “swearing” by them does no more than degrade the power found in the name of the true God.

Matthew 5:34 But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne:35 Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. 36 Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. 37 But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil. (See also Matthew 23:16ff.)

These things are all servants of God, and have no power of enforcement.

3) What about statements like Paul used:

1 Corinthians 11:31 The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not.


Romans 9:1 ¶ I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost,

Obviously, they are lawful, but must be used very carefully. Needless or habitual use is taking the Lord’s name in vain.

4) What about spoken curses?

May my teeth fall out if this is not true, or May the flees of a thousand camels bite you if you are telling the truth.

Ruth 1:17 Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.
1 Samuel 3:17 And he said, What is the thing that the LORD hath said unto thee? I pray thee hide it not from me: God do so to thee, and more also, if thou hide any thing from me of all the things that he said unto thee.

These are lawful oaths, but must be used with great caution, prudently and tenderness.

Obviously, cursing others out of passion or revenge is clearly prohibited. It degrades his name, and makes him subservient to our passions to execute our revenge.

Cursing without God’s name, e.g., damn you, looks to other powers to carry out our passions.

Or curses in the name of the devil looks to the devil, the father of lies, to execute justice.

A promissory oath as well as a an oath of assertion agree in that they both are affirming a truth. But they differ in that the oath of assertion simply asserts that something is true. But the promissory oath has a twofold purpose. 1) the swearer means what he promises, and 2) in the time to come, he will try to make the thing come to pass which he said.

The oath of assertion is truth in the person, and the promissory oath is an oath to bring something to pass in the future.

Promissory oaths:

1) They may be of moral necessary, such as fearing, serving, worshipping the ture God:

Genesis 28:20 And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, 21 So that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the LORD be my God:

Psalms 119:106 I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous judgments.

2) There is a civil lawful good matter, such as duties and allegiance to superiors, or to make some obligation we owe to others forthcoming, or to return and fulfill a good to someone.

Joshua 2:12 Now therefore, I pray you, swear unto me by the LORD, since I have shewed you kindness, that ye will also shew kindness unto my father’s house, and give me a true token:

3) There are some things indifferent, such as eating or abstaining from some food or drink, or some special day. Oaths about such things should rarely, if at all, should be engaged in, or we will be using God’s name unnecessarily.


1) Public oaths and promises when called upon by civil authority. SIGNING YOUR TAX FORMS

2) Private oaths for the uplifting, encouragement or satisfaction of another.

Genesis 29:18 And Jacob loved Rachel; and said, I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter.

3) Secret oaths that engage one’s self to God.

Psalms 119:106 I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous judgments.

All of these oaths should still be with the qualifications mentioned in Jeremiah 4:2 And thou shalt swear, The LORD liveth, in truth, in judgment, and in righteousness; and the nations shall bless themselves in him, and in him shall they glory.

Truth, Judgment (knowledge, deliberation, understanding what we are swearing), righteousness or justice (that it be in things that are according to the law of equity, piety, neither wronging God no others), and not of iniquity nor injustice.

Promissory oaths should be If God will, and if nothing intervenes to hinder. If I live, and health permit, and if my ability permits.

James 4:13 Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: 14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. 15 For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. 16 But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.

Fulfilling oaths must be lawful, for our oaths can only tie us to lawful things and means. Thus we must be careful of indefinite, or open ended oaths. Moreover, when men turn enemies to the kingdom or commonwealth, to whom we are obliged by oath to support, or when we know our keeping wold be used to probable ruin or hazard, then the oath is not in our power.

How should we judge indefinite oaths, such as soldiers give to their officers, to be obedient to them? Or oaths in things not clearly spelled out, or complex oaths in college, business, towns?


1) Because a man cannot have total knowledge of all particulars, yet he understands such oaths as binding to all necessary and lawful things, as the general condition requires.

2) Because he takes the oath for the end, and in the sense that it is commonly taken, with binds in the essential things pertaining to the being of the business, but takes it not in every particular strictly.

Thus, we must condemn oaths in trivial things, as oaths in compliments, that men may drink so much though the drinking may be lawful, that they shall return some petty thing borrowed, &c. We must condemn rash promises, hasty and doubtfully made.


There are several forms of perjury mentioned – some more direct and immediate, some more immediate and indirect.


1) Oaths affirming a truth that we know is not a truth, or doubting or being uncertain of the truth, or mistaken in the truth through our own negligence. Naboth’s false witnesses were guilty, as were many others, 1 Kings 21:5.

2) Promising something with no intention of performing in the appointed time. There is no importance between the oath and the purpose.

3) Promising and intending for a time to perform, yet upon no just grounds, fail to perform that which we promised. This is perjury because there is no truth in fulfilling the thing according to the promise.


1) swearing to perform a thing that is simply impossible, especially when he knows it to be so. His promise is against truth and light. Between his promise and performance is implied contradiction.

“I will be there tomorrow” when it is impossible to do so.

2) swearing to preform a wicked or unlawful thing or contrary to some legitimate duty.

The forty men who swore to kill Paul. Acts 23:21.

Such oaths are not according to righteousness and justice.

3) fulfilling a wicked oath, as Herod did when he beheaded John the Baptist. Matthew 14:9. He went against the general scope and nature of the oath.

David did better in not executing his rash oath against Nabal. 1 Samuel 25:33, 34.

Can one man be accessory to another’s perjury by urging him to swear or forswear?

1) In unimportant matters, one should not press another to swear or give an oath.

2) a judge may press one to swear, particularly in public scandals, for no one know the certain facts except God and the person. There is no way for a judge to know the truth in a controversery except by an oath:

Exodus 22:11 Then shall an oath of the LORD be between them both, that he hath not put his hand unto his neighbour’s goods; and the owner of it shall accept thereof, and he shall not make it good.

Sadly, when there is no fear of God, and oath does little good. But I have found that many times the unsaved pagans fear and reverence God more than do Christians. As a pastor, I got better treatment from the pagans than I did from Christians.

Concerning a promissory oath ? is there any case it may be made void, and in what cases are we obliged?

1) when the oath itself never had any obligation.

2) when, by some other thing’s intervention, one is loosed form the obligation the oath once had.

3) latter facts or circumstances show us that fulfillment of the oath would involve sin.

Example. End up in the hospital, and unable to fulfill the oath.

How about its obligation? The oath has the name of God behind it, so it has a most strict obligation:

1) A loss of temporal goods will not loose us from an oath:

Psalms 15:1 LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? 2 He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. 3 He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour. 4 In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the LORD. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not. 5 He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth these things shall never be moved.

2) indifference or distaste to what we agreed to will not release us. Psalms 15.



We were going to sell our property and move on the other side of the Massennutten Mountain close to Bettie’s son and closer to church. So we painted the little house on the property that we rent out. The renters in the house were having financial problems, so we offered to let them paint the trim for some of the rent. We all agreed on a price to do the trim. The wife was out of a job, and we wanted to help them.

Strangely enough, we get along with a small group of pagans in our area. We are invited to their parties, and they keep in touch with us. One of them is a 70 year female lawyer. She was very emphatic. You cannot help a renter, or they will take advantage of you, regardless of the signed lease they have to live in the house.

After three weeks they still did not have it done. On the last week before the rent was due, the wife called and left a message on our answering machine. She told us that the cash rent and the completed house would be ready that Friday.

Well, it was not. When I confronted the renter about the situation, and that they had given their word, he became very angry saying what did the time frame matter as long as it got done. Bettie then tried to speak with the wife because she was the one who was without a job and was going to do the work. She also became very angry. “There is more to this job than we planed on.” “You have a big house, so you do not need the money” was their response.

However, in the past, I had spoken to him when his boss failed to pay them on time, and he was not happy with that situation at all.

Of course, we had to evict them.

SADLY, THAT ATTITUDE SEEMS TO BE ALL TO TYPICAL TODAY. A man’s word, even Christians, is not worth the effort it takes to speak it.

Those of us in here today were raised to keep our word and cannot understand when others think nothing of their verbal commitments.

More than a few times I have had to keep my word, though it cost me more than I bargained for, or had to do some very distasteful things.

3) though we have been drawn into the oath though deceit and guile, even sinful means, if the fulfillment be not sinful, we are bound.

Joshua 9:15 ¶ And Joshua made peace with them, and made a league with them, to let them live: and the princes of the congregation sware unto them. 16 And it came to pass at the end of three days after they had made a league with them, that they heard that they were their neighbours, and that they dwelt among them.

Israel believed the lie, and made a rash oath without checking with God. Israel was held accountable.

2 Samuel 21:1 Then there was a famine in the days of David three years, year after year; and David enquired of the LORD. And the LORD answered, It is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he slew the Gibeonites. 2 And the king called the Gibeonites, and said unto them; (now the Gibeonites were not of the children of Israel, but of the remnant of the Amorites; and the children of Israel had sworn unto them: and Saul sought to slay them in his zeal to the children of Israel and Judah.)


When I got out of the service in 1965, my dad and his brother were both working for a large general contractor in Indianapolis. I immediately got a job with the contractor. My first job with them was as a oiler on a crane. After a few months, they put me on a pan, a piece of large earth-moving equipment. Then the construction season shut down for the winter. I started looking for a job, and found one with a land developer.

The developer offered $10 an hour straight time for 6 days a week. (Union pay then was $14 an hour, plus double time for overtime.) I took the job. Then spring came, and he promised me work all summer and the next winter if I would stay with him. I turned down the big contractor and stuck with the land developer through the summer.

However, when the next winter came, he laid me off. I then went to work for Pinkerton as an industrial investigator. Then through a series of divinely ordered circumstances, the Lord placed us into the ministry in 1971.

In about 1974, I heard from the Indiana Department of Employment that one of the men who had worked with me for the land developer had sued the land developer for overtime pay, and won. And the State was willing to help me recover the overtime pay.

I turned down the offer, because though the man had done me wrong in not fulfilling his word to work me that next winter, I had given my word to work for straight time. Remembering Psalms 15, I kept my word, though it no doubt cost me several thousands of 1974 dollars in back pay.

4) though we might give our word through fear of violence, if it is lawful, it is binding. Who do we fear more, God or man? It is God’s name that is at stake.

5) Though we might later be able to devise some interpretation or meaning in our oath that would release us, the oath stands as was understood when we made it. We cannot gloss over it or reinterpret it contrary to its original meaning.

Even if we have another meaning in our thoughts than what is commonly understood when we give our oath, looking for an escape from the oath, the oath is binding upon what is commonly understood. Mental reservations or double meanings have no place in an oath. Our word must be plane, clear and without double meaning, for it stands as commonly understood.

6) though we may have good intentions in reversing an oath, public good and not personal gain, we cannot be absolved of the guilt of the perjury of breaking the oath. Again, God judged Israel for allowing Saul to break the oath to the Gibeonites, though Saul did it out of Zeal for Israel. 1 Samuel 21.

7) if the thing become impossible by reason of our own slothfulness, and if the thing could have been accomplished if it were not for our slothfulness, then it is perjury to fail to do the task. In other words, procrastination can easily cause our perjury. The task could have been done if we had been diligent about the task.

8) A sinful oath made upon a sinful condition, in itself is not binding. However, once the sinful condition is fulfilled it is binding.

Genesis 38:15 When Judah saw her, he thought her to be an harlot; because she had covered her face. 16 And he turned unto her by the way, and said, Go to, I pray thee, let me come in unto thee; (for he knew not that she was his daughter in law.) And she said, What wilt thou give me, that thou mayest come in unto me? 17 And he said, I will send thee a kid from the flock. And she said, Wilt thou give me a pledge, till thou send it? 18 And he said, What pledge shall I give thee? And she said, Thy signet, and thy bracelets, and thy staff that is in thine hand. And he gave it her, and came in unto her, and she conceived by him. 19 And she arose, and went away, and laid by her vail from her, and put on the garments of her widowhood. 20 And Judah sent the kid by the hand of his friend the Adullamite, to receive his pledge from the woman’s hand: but he found her not. 21 Then he asked the men of that place, saying, Where is the harlot, that was openly by the way side? And they said, There was no harlot in this place. 22 And he returned to Judah, and said, I cannot find her; and also the men of the place said, that there was no harlot in this place. 23 And Judah said, Let her take it to her, lest we be shamed: behold, I sent this kid, and thou hast not found her.

Judah did not owe the kid at the time he made the oath. It was not until he preformed the sinful deed that he owed the kid. Tamar was in sin when she extracted an oath from Judah for his sinful act. However, his oath stood, and he had to bring the kid to her. We know the story from here.

9) others have no power to release us from an oath, unless they have proper authority:

Numbers 30:2 If a man vow a vow unto the LORD, or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond; he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth.


Note here that an oath has no force when one’s superior voids it: children, wives, servants, employees. The oath must be under proper permission.

10) one oath cannot be overturned by a second oath. God is the party to the first oath, and we cannot reverse an obligation to him. The first oath has the first priority. The first oath must stand, or perjury results.

Oaths are NULL with no force:

1) the thing sworn is unlawful and sinful. There can be no obligation to do iniquity.

WE may not realize the sin until a later time, and then it must be confessed and abandoned.

2) when the action is an unlawful activity by the one swearing. “I will get vengeance on him if it is the last thing I do.” Vengeance belongs to the Lord through the civil magistrate.

3) if the thing is simply impossible to do. Oaths do not bind.

4) when deceit is found in the oath. One swears to repay another, or preform a duty for another, but it is found that there is neither debt nor duty owed to that person.

How many of us have breathed a sigh of relief when we found that we did not owe what we thought we owed?

5) when the oath prevents a greater good, or a moral duty.

A man swears to avoid a certain place, nor speak to a certain person, or not eat a certain meat. That oath, made rashly, is not binding if duty and necessity calls him otherwise. One may have to speak to that person for that person’s edification.

Example: As a teenager, my dad, who was a lay pastor, told me if any of his children would be a preacher, it would be me. I don’t remember if I said it out loud, but I certainly spoke loudly to myself: THAT WILL NEVER BE. Divine Providence forced me to change the course of my life.

How many times have circumstances forced us to do something we swore we would never do, or not do something we swore we would do?

6) when the oath is obliges us for something which has a tendency to an evil end.

A man commits himself to meet a woman for immoral purposes. Commitment is made to give money to charity, and it is found that the charity is misusing the money. Giving to charity is lawful, but to give to support evil is unlawful.

The “United Fund” is a good example. We may commit to give to it, and then find that it supports “Family Planning”. We cannot allow our money to go to promote abortion.


1) as we saw in Numbers 30, when the oath is contradicted by a superior who has the power to counter a oath.

2) when the case alters. All of us in here are familiar with guns. If one would agree to sell a gun to another, it is lawful oath. But if that other person is found to be dangerous with guns or to be a serious enemy, then the oath is void.

Or we given an oath to a superior, but before we fulfill that oath, the superior is no longer our superior. The relationship upon which the oath was given has changed; therefore, the terms of the agreement changed.

3) when the one sworn to releases the us. We may owe a sum of money to another, and promise to pay that sum. But the other person forgives us of that amount to his satisfaction, and releases us from our bond.

However, there is no release from our vow to God.

4) when there are unforseen interventions ? sickness, &c. But the oath still carries the obligation as soon as possible.

We should not that wicked men are more strict in keeping sinful oaths on a whole than are the lawful. The enemy convincing them of their obligations as a snare, making the sinful oath strongly binding upon them.

WHEN DOES AN OATH [a solemn promise, often invoking a divine witness] BIND STRONGER THAN A PROMISE [an assurance that one will do something or that something will happen]

1) the oath binds stronger than a promise, so that the sin is greater if filed. Not only our word to men is involved in an oath, but also our reverence and respect to God and his dreadful name is involved.

Our oaths given entered into at baptism, communion and other lawful covenants are quickly forgotten and broken, even though we might easily do them.

In a heated quarrel, men tend to utter oaths, even in God’s name.


ADJURATIONS, or formally urging another to do something in the name of God.

Adjure is defined as an appeal in the most impressive manner, as used in 1Sa 14:24, 1Ki 22:16, Mt 26:63, Mr 5:7 – And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not.

In an oath, we bind ourselves by the name of God. In adjurations we bind others by using the name of God.

Magistrates adjure by the name of God to extract the truth of a matter.
Ministers adjure, or charge, others in the name of God or of Jesus Christ:


1 Timothy 6:13 I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession; & v. 17 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;


Philippians 2:1 ¶ If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, 2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

Abigail beseeched David. 1 Samuel 25.

ATTESTATIONS, or declare that something is the case.

Joshua attested to Achan’s sin. Joshua 7:19, 20.

These things have a binding value in some cases, and cannot be slighted without contempt of God. It is not perjury for one not to speak at all. This gives new meaning to our Lord’s words:

Matthew 5:37 But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil. (James 5:12.)


1) giving little importance to the charges, beseechings and adjurations of ministers who are true to the word of God. Ministers who present the word of God carry more obligation than do magistrates. Ministers are the heralds of God, charging their hears in their master’s name, the name of the Great God, and of Jesus Christ, the King of the kings of this earth.

2) when we fail to impress upon others the seriousness abandoning sin, or of fulfilling duty. Others in our circle of authority need to be aware that they will answer to God for their failure. I charge you O daughters of Jerusalem... (Song 5:8, 8:4.)

3) in our rash and slight use of these grave entreaties. We may use them in petty or trivial things, such as, “For God’s sake”.

Using God’s name simply as a customary byword or as a common name in matters not necessary and of no importance exposes the name of the Lord to contempt. It causes others to care little for his name. When we desire others to do something in the name of God, “In God’s name, sit down”, we dishonor his name.

It is almost impossible to watch any entertainment show without hearing God’s name dishonored.


1) it is lawful to command devils in the name of God by those called and gifted by God to do so.

2) it is lawful for any, by prayer to God and exercise of Biblical faith, to endeavor to repel and restrict unclean spirit’s activities, and to beg God to rebuke them. Our Lord rebuked Satan. We do not speak to Satan or the powers of darkness. Rather, we beseech the Lord to command Satan.

Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

It is so easy to forget that our warfare is not physical, but spiritual.

This is a message in itself, but I will only give you a few passages: Job 2, Matthew 12:44, 16:23, Luke 4:8, 22:53, 2 Corinthians 3:5, 4:2, 10:5-5, Ephesians 1:20-2:6, chapters 5 & 6 (v. 12 especially), Colossians 1:13, Jude 9.

3) it is unlawful to adjure the Devil who is not called and equipped by God to do so. Acts 19:13.

4) it is unlawful to speak, exhort or pray to the devil himself as we would to God.

Entreat him as a friend. Prayer or worship to him. Obligation from us to him, such as necromancers (communicating with the dead), witches, exorcists who use the devil’s power to remove the devil, as Christ was accused of doing. Matthew 12:25, Luke 11:17. (Note that there is money to be made in using the devil’s power. Acts 16:19, Paul cast out the familiar spirit that brought her masters a good income. However, we must remember that the devil’s power is only as strong as the Lord gives him, for ALL POWER BELONGS TO THE LORD OUR GOD, Matthew 28:19.)

I mentioned previously that the devil can provide health, as my father-in-law could do. But there is a terrible price to pay for his help. There are many “medical” practitioners who rely on the powers of darkness for their trade.

These things are a terrible breach of the third commandment.

5) Charming and naming the Lord’s name over some diseases, as if there was some special worth or power in words is unlawful.

However, there is Scritpural healing as outlined by James 5:13-20. That is, anointing with oil in the name of the Lord, and the prayer of faith.

VOWS, where a man binds himself to go as a party to the vow (p. 145), VS. PROMISSORY OATHS, where we bind ourselves to others in non religious matters.

VOWS: Sacraments, solemn covenants, particular vows to God, promises and engagements, inward only or outwardly expressed to or before the Lord – though these may not always have God’s name formally attached, yet he is party to them. Being made to him, he must be seen as the witness and judge in making the vows good.


1) Such promises to God, as rightly done, are lawful, and sometimes necessary.

Psalms 76:11 Vow, and pay unto the LORD your God: let all that be round about him bring presents unto him that ought to be feared.

2) Saints of all ages have openly and secretly sworn to the Lord:

Psalms 119:57 ¶ CHETH. Thou art my portion, O LORD: I have said that I would keep thy words. 106 ¶ I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous judgments.

3) God shows his approval of vows by accepting and answering them.

Hanna in 1 Samuel 1. Isaiah 19:18, 21, Jeremiah 1:4, 5, Isaiah 44:5.



1) Abraham vowed he would take none of the spoil when he rescued the kings. Genesis 14.

2) some vows command duty, as did Jacob’s vow. Genesis 28:19, and David’s vow. Psalms 119:106.

3) some vows relate to worship, or help us fulfil some duty, or prevent some sin two which we are inclined.

We might vow to get up earlier to spend time with the Lord, or to deal with a problem of laziness, or just so we can spend more time with the family.

These vows are made to the Lord alone. Psalms 76:11, 132:2.


1) deliberately and with good judgment, without rashness, hast and ignorance.

It should be heartily and cheerfully undertaken, not as a piece of bondage. It should be seen as liberty, a connection to the Lord, with no hint if hesitation nor reservation. We must be fully persuaded that it is the thing to do. Romans 14:5. What kind of performance can be expected if we hesitate at the very start?

2) with humility, remembering our corrupt nature which needs such bands as a vow should create.

3) with fear, singleness, zeal for the Lord, with love for his honor and true holiness. They must not be for selfish ends, to humor someone or to win a confrontation or argument.

4) the oath to God does not make us more religious, nor more pleasing to God. It does not merit anything from him. A vow should motivate us to perform the deed vowed.

5) we should encourage others to join us in Godly vows. Jeremiah 50:4, 5 (... Come, and let us join ourselves to the LORD in a perpetual covenant that shall not be forgotten.)

6) vows and oaths should be entered into as an exercise of faith, drawing on the strength of Christ Jesus, claiming his promises as the basis of our undertaking. We will also need to claim his pardon for our failures in oaths and vows.

7) they are in themselves binding to those who utter them. Numbers 30:2, 3. (He shall not break his word, he shall do ...)

8) Vowing is called binding a man’s soul.

Psalms 56:12 Thy vows are upon me, O God: I will render praises unto thee.

V. 13, gives us an idea for David’s vow: For thou hast delivered my soul from death:

Evidently, he was in a very difficult, life and death, situation, when he made his vow.

9) A vow does not make an obligation greater. Rather, it is for our benefit, making us more determined to preform the obligation.

10) if a promise to men is binding, how much more is a promise to God?


Rather, duty binds us. The law requires we be holy and without sin. 1 Peter 1:15, 16. Our obligation lies not with a vow, but with the law. Because of our fallen nature, for a vow to be absolutely without sin is injurious and impossible. (P 149)

1) Our aims and desires in the oaths will not be sinless.

2) we will fail in approving or disapproving ourselves as to how well we fulfilled the vow.

3) we will fail in using all proper means in fulfilling our word.

4) The benefit is not necessarily in the victory, but in the wrestling and fighting for victory.

5) oaths and vows do tie absolutely, uniting us to our God in Christ.

6) they tie us to live in no known sin, especially outward sins, and to delight in none. They tie us to omit no known duty. They tie us, or motivate us, to leave sin behind, and live according to our duty. Romans 12:18.

The preach of vows is a very great sin. Sins of Christians against their baptism vows, communion vows, covenants, secret resolutions and promises to God are more serrious than the sins of others.

The Lord charged Israel with covenant-breaking:

Deuteronomy 29:24 Even all nations shall say, Wherefore hath the LORD done thus unto this land? what meaneth the heat of this great anger? 25 Then men shall say, Because they have forsaken the covenant of the LORD God of their fathers, which he made with them when he brought them forth out of the land of Egypt:

Jeremiah 22:8 And many nations shall pass by this city, and they shall say every man to his neighbour, Wherefore hath the LORD done thus unto this great city? 9 Then they shall answer, Because they have forsaken the covenant of the LORD their God, and worshipped other gods, and served them.

A) This nation is greatly guilty of breaking the covenant made with the Lord at its founding.

B) Individual Christians are greatly guilty of breaking their covenant with the Lord that they willingly entered into at their baptism. (Note that this precludes infant baptism, for infants cannot enter into any kind of covenant. Parents can enter into covenant with God to rear their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, but they cannot enter into covenant for the infant.)

Christians violate their baptismal covenant with drunkenness, swearing, omitting prayer, failure to study holiness, wandering minds. Colossians 2:11.

Even the Pharisees held that breaking the oath made to the Lord was a terrible sin:

Matthew 5:33 ¶ Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: 34 But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne: 35 Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. 36 Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. 37 But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.

Robertson gives a good explanation here:

Swear not at all (mh omosai holwv). More exactly "not to swear at all" (indirect command, and aorist infinitive). Certainly Jesus does not prohibit oaths in a court of justice for he himself answered Caiaphas on oath. Paul made solemn appeals to God #1Th 5:27 1Co 15:31. Jesus prohibits all forms of profanity. The Jews were past-masters in the art of splitting hairs about allowable and forbidden oaths or forms of profanity just as modern Christians employ a great variety of vernacular "cuss-words" and excuse themselves because they do not use the more flagrant forms.

If men hold other men in accountability to agreements one with another, how much more guilt when agreements with God are violated. Hebrews 12:29.

IS IT BEST NOT TO MAKE ANY COVENANTS AT ALL. (Remember that vows and covenants are simply other names for a promise or giving our word about something.)

1) Concerning baptism and communion, the choice is not ours. The Lord is the one who leads us into baptism by his calling to salvation, and calls us to his table.

2) Failure to make promises to God leaves us more susceptible to temptation, and not as motivated to preform our duties. Failure to “promise God” thus makes us culpable in our failures.

3) If we do not seriously intend to do our duties enough to promise God we will do them, then we have left a back door for ourselves to fail.

(How many times have I been “tempted” to do something, and remembering that I told God I would not do that thing again, I have then had the strength not to do that thing – or do it.)


1) Baptism already vowed to the duties outlined by God for his people.

2) The man that vows not is more accessory to his fall, for he used not a means given to him to prevent his fall.


1) Agreed. The problem is our own fallen nature, for the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. Romans 7:12. Thus, vows are holy, just and good, and are not to be blamed for our failures.

2) Certainly, it is hard keeping free from sin, and breaking of vows must also be seen as sin to be cleansed of by the blood of Christ.


1) Do not forget them, Jeremiah 50:4, 5.

2) Do not fail to pay them, no matter how small.

Deuteronomy 23:21 When thou shalt vow a vow unto the LORD thy God, thou shalt not slack to pay it: for the LORD thy God will surely require it of thee; and it would be sin in thee. 22 But if thou shalt forbear to vow, it shall be no sin in thee. 23 That which is gone out of thy lips thou shalt keep and perform; even a freewill offering, according as thou hast vowed unto the LORD thy God, which thou hast promised with thy mouth.

Ecclesiastes 5:4 ¶ When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. 5 Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay. 6 Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin; neither say thou before the angel, that it was an error: wherefore should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of thine hands?

Delay in making our word good brings dread upon those to whom we promised. Failure in one also makes failure in others easier.

Now, we can, upon further light from Scripture or from circumstances, break a promise.

3) Keep in mind the frame of mind we were in when we made the promise. We often take on a promise in a good frame, but our frame of mind changes. Our deceitful heart can even convince us that making a promise is as good as fulfilling it.

4) The promise should have been thought out. Therefore, its performance should be undertaken in the same strength of grace and virtue of life of Jesus Christ as we had in making the promise.

NOTE: High pressure phone sales depend upon pressuring us to make a commitment without thinking, and then in order to have a clear conscience, we must keep that commitment.

5) We should continually be well aware of the fearfulness of the sin of breaking a promise, and examining ourselves about keeping our word.

Matthew 5:23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; 24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

I realize that v. 22 is speaking of anger against another, but vv. 23-26 easily applies to promising something to someone, and then failing to keep our word. More than likely, the person promised to clearly remembers the promise, and is holding our failure against us.


Ministers, Elders, Magistrates, to fulfill their duties.
Husbands and wives, faithfulness, &c.
Parents towards their children, to train them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.


1) Not making commitments when we should.
2) Not making them properly
3) Not promptly fulfilling after made.
4) Not repenting of breaking as soon as failure is brought to our attention.


1) Unlawful appealing in anger, passion, unjust or trifling matters to God to judge, as did Sarai in Genesis 5. David lawfully appealed to God, 1 Samuel 24:12, as did Job, Job 16:19, and Paul, Romans 1:9.


Blasphemy against God is wronging his holy majesty by some reproachful speech or expression, spoken to his disgrace. If the reproachful speech remains in the heart, it is a violation of the First Commandment.

1) When we say the Lord is unjust, unholy, unmerciful, &c.

Ezekiel 18:25 Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. Hear now, O house of Israel; Is not my way equal? are not your ways unequal?

2) When what is due to him is denied to him. That is, denying any of his attributes, such as eternal, omniscient. Pharaoh said:

Exodus 5:2 And Pharaoh said, Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go?

Sennacherib, king of Assyria, sent threatening words to Hezekiah, saying, Who is the Lord that is able to deliver you out of my hand? Isaiah 36:18-20.

3) When what is due to God is attributed to a creature. Luke 7:49, John 10:33. The Jews supposed him to be a creature, a man such as themselves, and accused him of blasphemy because he forgave sins, calling himself God.

Psalms 50:21 These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes.

Note that when Christ did mighty works, they accused him of making himself God. Yet Herod, simply by making a nice sounding speech, was said to be a god, and was killed by God because he did not deny being a god. Acts 12:22.

4) When one speaks against the ordinances of his word or prayer. Blasphemy includes mocking his people, or mocking the work of the Spirit in them, as when Festus accused Paul of being mad after Paul had preached to him. Acts 26:24.

5) Blasphemy may be deliberate pad purposfull, as did the Pharisees. It may be out of careless and rash statements. It may be out of ignorance, as Paul did before his conversion. 1 Timothy 1:13.

6) Blasphemy may be against each person of God. Matthew 12, Mark 3:

The Father – when any of his attributes are spoken against. Or when the trinity is denied.

The Son – when his attributes are denied, e.g., his Godhead, his eternity, his distinction of his natures, his offices of Prophet, Priest and King, his sovereign authority, justice, or anything or person that is set up against him, such as the Pope. Revelation 13

Note that the vast majority of “preaching” today is blasphemous, as it denies the God-revealed truth of Christ, such as his current rule over all the earth as clearly spelled out in Ephesians 1:20-23.

The Holy Ghost –

Matthew 12:31 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. 32 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.

This is one of the more difficult as well as misused passages in Scripture. We could consider several lengthy discussions on this passage, but let me just give the most agreeable, short explanation. Alfred Barnes says here:

This probably refers to the Divine nature of Christ?the power by which he wrought his miracles. There is no evidence that it refers to the Third Person of the Trinity. The word ghost means spirit, and probably means the Divine nature or spirit with which the man Jesus was endowed.

“He that speaks against me as a man of Nazareth,
that speaks contemptuously of my humble birth, etc.,
may be pardoned; but he that reproaches my Divine
character, charging it as being in league with Satan,
and blaspheming the power of God manifestly displayed
by me, can never obtain forgiveness.”

The Pharisees were accusing Christ of being in league with Satan. Christ is not here physically, in person today doing miracles as he was in the account above. Thus, this unpardonable blasphemy cannot be committed today since Christ returned to heaven.

This explanation is really the only one that will work in the context, for it says that all other manner of blasphemy will be forgiven, except this one.

In addition, we are also told in:

1 John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

Since Christ, there have been many false prophets, so John tells us to question every spirit, and try them in light of the Word of God.

7) Blasphemy in doctrine, such as Papists, Pelagians (Arminians), which denies the attributes such as providence and the work of grace.

8) Blasphemy in oaths, as we hear swearing by the “virgin Mary”, the blood or wounds of Christ.

9) Blasphemy in deeds, writing, painting, acting ? anything that presents derogatory things of the Father, the Son or the Holy Ghost.

The “DeVinchie Code” is a blasphemous story. The followers of Mohammad will not allow any “blasphemy” against their leader, yet we turn a blind eye to blasphemy of Christ and his Father.

10) Christians blaspheme by:

A) not vigorously opposing wickedness in high places, who are not distressed or do not punish as they can the words and actions of the blasphemers. Jeremiah 36:24, 25.

B) when they do not have a suitable hatred for blasphemous doctrines, and it is even more wicked when we defend or plead for false doctrines.

11) the damned blaspheme God. Revelation 16.


1) In ordinary discourse, God’s name is used in irreverent and unwarranted exclamations – Oh Lord, what is this? Oh my God!!

2) Irreverent, unthought prayers or using his name as a byword when faced with trouble or grief: “God help us!” “May God forgive me.” “Oh God, save me.” “I trust God will...”

3) His name is used as a mere compliment: “May God keep you.” “God be with you.” “God bless you.” “For God’s sake...” These are not sincere prayers, but nice sounding sayings.


1) Nadab and Abihu offered strange fire. Fire was commanded in the offering, but it was not commanded of them. Leviticus 10.

The Lord complained that Israel drew near to him with their mouths, but their hearts were far from him. Isaiah 29:13. Christ had the same complaint against the religious leaders of his day, adding that they taught the doctrines of men for the commandments of God. Matthew 15:8, 9.

Many groups today to the same. They teach traditions as though they were doctrines. Thus, they blaspheme God.

2) When men fail to preform Scriptural duties – reading scripture, prayer, faithful preaching. 2 Corinthians 6:1.

3) By hypocrisy in the Scriptural duties. Simply doing them with no honest reverent consideration of the Lord.

4) By failure to mature as we should under the preaching of the word. Hebrews 5:12.

1 Corinthians 10:31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

6) “Religious acts”, such as prayer, preaching, hearing, &c., must be for the glory of God, the exaltation of Christ, the edification of ourselves and others.

7) “Religious acts” done from pride, fashion (social acceptance) or custom, as did the Pharisees, out of envy and strife violate this commandment. Philippians 1:15.

8) The mentioning of God’s name while disregarding Christ the Mediator is a misuse of God’s name, and results in vain worship. Mark 7:7.

9) Proper use of his Name:

Requires a renewed heart. 1 Corinthians 12:3.
Requires duties done the Spirit as well as the understanding. The sincere unsaved man cannot do proper honor to God’s name.
Requires fear and reverence. Ecclesiastes 5:1, 2.
Requires faith and respect to Christ. Hebrews 11:6.
Requires judgment and understanding. Speaking of him not knowing what we say, to whom we speak, or of what we speak. Thus, forbidden are ignorant, passionate, rash, irreverent and accidental mentioning of God. Isaiah 1:13.

Sadly, as we consider these many things, we see that our own profession is quite empty – at church among the brethren, at work among the world and at home, among our family. It is more for appearance and show than for reality and substance. It is much easier to seem to be something than it is to be something.

How much regard do we have for the holiness of the Lord’s name in our families, reading, praying, singing, saying grace, giving thanks at the table. How much care and pain do we take to make sure the precious name of the Lord is upheld in using God’s name in these areas?


1) Written contracts and treaties mean very little if anything in the world of sinful men. It never ceases to amaze me that we expect murdering governments elsewhere to abide by treaties, particularly when our own government will not abide by the established laws.

2) Books, even religious books, glibly use God’s name. They irreverently use Scripture and God’s name.

3) Burial statements, even on tomb stones – “It pleased the Lord”, “It seemed good to the Lord”. I am not condemning these things, but I am condemning the abusing of the Lord’s name. That is, using his name for social acceptance.

4) Accidental mention of His name: “God bless”, “God be with you”, “Go with God”, &c. These are fine if used lawfully. But more often than not, sayings like this are rash, and said with no serious thought behind them.

5) Scripture stories and tales that mention God’s name, particularly jokes that use the Lord’ name.

Let me take a poke at “Veggie Tales”. This very popular series corrupts the truths of the Bible. A parent told us that while reading Scripture to their children, one spoke up and said, “That is not the way Veggie Tales told that story.” Thus, Veggie Tales became off limits for that family.

6) Of course, when unsaved men claim the Christian God as their own, or how much they love God. Those who have worked much with people have heard this blasphemy many times.

FLIPPING A COIN, or better known as casting lot.

Proverbs 6:33 The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD.
Proverbs 18:18 The lot causeth contentions to cease, and parteth between the mighty.

Casting a lot is unheard of in our day, but it was a common practice in Scripture.

Acts 1:26, Matthias was chosen by lot to replace Judas.
Numbers 26, Joshua 8:6, Canaan was divided among the tribes of Israel by lot.
Leviticus 16:8, The scapegoat was selected by lot.
Achan, Jonathan and Jonah were discovered by lot.
John 19:24, Christ’s garment was delivered by lot.

A common mode of casting lots was by the use of pebbles, one or more of them being marked, and all of them being shaken together in some fold of a garment, an urn, or a helmet, before drawing, #Pr 16:33 Joh 19:24. As the use of lots by one who believes in the particular providence of God involves a solemn appeal to the Disposer of all events, they should never be used on trivial occasions; and in this day, a case can hardly occur when such an appeal would be warranted. (American Tract Society Bible Dictionary.)

The word “lot” is common today, though the practice is not, e.g., we speak of one’s “lot” in life – meaning the station in life where the Lord has placed us.

The lot, if not prayed over, could be the work of the enemy, or simply chance – which could be right or wrong. In Scripture, prayer was generally joined with casting lot. It was not a matter to be taken lightly. Without this seriousness, God’s name is abused.

Meddling with God’s secrets, his will, or of his way of revealing his will in his providence belongs to this commandment.

However, today, God has given us other ways and means to know his will, so using a “lot” to direct our steps is unlawful, tempting God. Today, he uses prayer combined with his word. I have never encountered a situation that could not be found out through prayer and his word.

However, it is not difficult to find deceivers who claim to be able to foretell the future, or even the directions for our lives by “Lot.” People are continually looking for a shortcut in knowing God’s will other than confession of sin, prayer and his word.

There may be legitimate causes for a lot today, for the lot was common in Biblical times:

1) if the matter is very serious. In Scriptural cases, the matters were very important. If it matters not to us how the matter falls out, then leave it alone.

2) the matter cannot be otherwise decided. To request God to reveal his mind in an extraordinary way when the ordinary way is at hand is to tempt God.

ILLUSTRATION: in Brazil, all the houses have high walls around them with glass embedded on the top. When we seek extraordinary ways to know God’s will when ordinary ways are available, it is like trying to climb over the wall and injuring ourselves on the glass, when the door is open through the wall. Whose fault is it that we are injured? This is the chance we take when we seek to know the Lord’s will apart from serious study and prayer. I have known many who have so sought, and their lives were destroyed.

Reason must not fail. God gave to man the ability to reason. When we fail to use it to reach a satisfying conclusion, we bring shame to his name.

Using a lot in place of seeking God’s will through serious prayer and his word is sin.

3) it must be with due respect to God, acknowledging him to be the true decider, calling upon him in the use of it, and looking to him for he decision. Even the pagans in Jonah 1 called every man upon his god that the truth would be revealed.

4) the results then must be accepted without fretting or grumbling, and cheerful submission.

Under lot, we must discuss the “game” of LOTTERY.

1) the lottery has replaced God’s word one must work to acquire wealth, either mental or physical work.

2) the lot can only be used in the most difficult, serious circumstances, and then only after much prayer and searching of God’s word. How much more, therefore, is the lottery unlawful when it is entered into with such little thought.


1) when we conclude that such and such events, good or evil, will happen to us, from such and such occurring works, for which no reason can be drawn either from God’s word of from the course of nature.

FINALLY, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

1) the Lord will avenge the breach of this commandment.

2) no one is exempt from the Lord’s vengeance. No one will escape.

3) the assurance of his vengeance. He will not be deterred from it.

4) without repentance on the part of the sinner, the consequences of violation of this commandment are severe.

5) the Lord God takes special notice of this sin, and has ordered a special retribution for it.

We see from David, who made the name of God to be blasphemed, that the sin can be forgiven. However, it does have temporal judgments. 2 Samuel 12:7. The results of David’s sin caused him to remember and exalt the grace of God. Psalms 51.

WHY IS THIS SIN THREATENED ABOVE OTHER SINS? However, the second commandment carried with it a severe threat.

1) it is a sin against God himself. Violation of the first and second commandment divert what is due to God alone to creatures.

2) it is the enemies of God who take his name in vain.

Psalms 139:20 For they speak against thee wickedly, and thine enemies take thy name in vain.

Vainly using God’s name reveals failure to fear God, of atheism, and lack of knowledge of him. We see in our society that misuse of his name reveals the removal of Godly fear.

3) Misuse of God’s name gives others the opportunity to blaspheme God, e.g., David. The misuse of God’s name allows false teachers to bring in damnable heresies. 2 Peter 2:1, 2.

4) other sins are normally brought about by personal pleasure or profit – there is a reason, but this one is brought on by atheism or custom.

5) the Lord is jealous of the holiness of his name. He will have his holiness and greatness known among all his creatures.

6) men think very little if anything of taking the Lord’s name in vain, so seldom punish it. Therefore, he will.

7) using the Lord’s name in vain basically sais, Who is the Lord that we should honour and fear his name? Pharaoh, Exodus 5:2. Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel 3:15.

8) there is a natural pride in men that believe they can defy the living God by lifting their voices against God with impunity, as did Goliath. 1 Samuel 17.

Malachi 3:13 Your words have been stout against me, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, What have we spoken so much against thee? 14 Ye have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the LORD of hosts?


Note that God took vengeance upon Goliath through David, not by striking him with a bolt of lightening. Is God using the Mexicans and the followers of Mohammad to bring his vengeance upon the vain users of God’s name?

9) The enemy will use every occasion to stir up irritations so we will vent our passions.

10) this seems as a little sin, for it normally wrong others, only the one speaking or acting. Failure to preform our Christian duties blasphemes God, but we are the only one normally hurt by it.

He will hold us accountable whether we believe it or not. How will he do that?


Taking the Lord’s name if vain has become quite common in our day. Men think nothing of it. But we should.

1) We must learn to fear the great and dreadful name of the Lord our god. As we study his word, the reality of who we serve will be made real to us.

2) We must be persuaded of the reality of who he is, and the terribleness of our great God.

3) We need to train ourselves to be distressed when others misuse his name.

4) our frequent petition to the Lord should be Hollowed be thy name. Matthew 6:9.

Are there any of us who do not lie under the just curse of the Third Commandment? I think not.

We are more hypocrites and atheists than we care to recognize. Many times we think nothing of hastily giving and then breaking our word, ignoring the commitments we made in baptism, jesting or mocking in his name, pretending honor of his name, yet profaning it.

We need to examine our own hearts and lives, and see where have vainly used God’s name, and where we even now habitually use God’s name in vain. See it for the sin it is, repent, claim the cleansing of the blood of Christ, and claim his grace to give his name its proper reverence. 1 Corinthians 12:3