Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):
Exodus 20:7 -- Understanding Its True Meaning!
What is the real meaning behind the Third Commandment, "Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain"? The various translations obscure this vitally important TRUTH! Here, revealed, is a much deeper and cogent understanding of this commandment, and how it affects your relationship with YEHOVAH God!
by David C. Whitaker
In Exodus 20:7 the commandment reads: "Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain..." This phrase transliterated into English from the Hebrew is: "Lo ti-sa et sham YHVH Elohekha la-shav." As we intently look into the Hebrew letters and vocabulary used in this phrase, we can quickly understand the tremendous damage to human understanding the various English translations, such as the King James Version, have occasioned upon unsuspecting people when they read the Bible to discover the Will of YEHOVAH God!
First of all, the Hebrew term rendered as "vain" is "shav," with the full prepositional phrase "in vain" being "la-shav." The Hebrew word "shav" has several meanings, all of which are applicable to the context. "Shav" conveys the meanings of "misuse; useless; fruitless; destructive."
The Hebrew term for "Thou shalt not take" is "Lo ti-sa," which literally means "Not you take" or "Not you apply." This Hebrew expression is spelled with the Hebrew alphabetical letters: lamed-tav-sin-aleph. The chabad (hidden) relationships are as follows:
Lamed = the symbol for YEHOVAH God, i.e., El and Elohim.
Tav = the symbol for Torah as the final level for human conduct.
Sin = the Kabbalistic symbol for Satan, including all which is contrary to, or in opposition to, Torah.
Alef = the symbol for man (Adam), i.e., every man, and his relationship with, and how he relates to, YEHOVAH God (Elohim).
The expression "Lo ti-sa" (Thou shalt not take) teaches us the intended meaning is: Thou shalt not take in a negative manner, and, Thou shalt not apply in a negative or evil manner the Divine Name for YEHOVAH God -- YHVH. The sacred Tetragrammaton -- YHVH -- must be used only in positive manners or positive purposes. The end result of using the Divine Name must be to achieve obedience to the Torah and to increase man's worship and identity with YEHOVAH God.
The expression "in vain" is from the Hebrew "la-shav." As mentioned above, the Name of YEHOVAH God -- YHVH -- must be used only in ways which produce usefulness, fruitfulness, and edification. In Hebrew, "la-shav" is spelled: lamed-shin-vav-alef. The chabad (hidden) relationships are:
Lamed = the symbol for YEHOVAH God, i.e., El and Elohim.
Shin = the symbol for "Shameh" ("Heaven") -- the Kingdom where YEHOVAH God dwells.
Vav = the Kabbalistic symbol for Truth -- the divine conjunction which connects YEHOVAH God with man and man with YEHOVAH God.
Alef = the symbol for the relationship between* man (adam) and YEHOVAH God (Elohim).
The expression "la-shav" teaches us that truth and truthfulness are the main prerequisites upon which any relationship -- and all relationships -- between YEHOVAH God and man and man and YEHOVAH God must be based. Without truth and truthfulness there can be no relationship between YEHOVAH God and man.
Thus, to use YEHOVAH's Name "in vain" also means to use YEHOVAH's name in an untruthful manner or in association with untruthful teachings and conduct!
Associated together, the Hebrew expressions "Lo ti-sa" and "la-shav" pivot upon the meaning of the Tav in "ti-sa," for the Tav symbolizes the Divine Law of the Kingdom of Heaven. This means the Name of YEHOVAH God -- YHVH -- must be used in manners completely in accord with the Torah revealed to mankind. We are instructed: "If one of the Children of Noah (Gentiles) arises and performs a miracle and says that God sent him, then instructs others to add or to subtract from any of the Seven Universal Laws or explains them in a way not heard at Mount Sinai, or claims that the 613 Commandments given to the Jews are not eternal, but limited to a fixed period of time, this person is deemed a false prophet and incurs the death penalty" (Mishneh Torah, "Laws of the Foundation of Torah," chapter 9, Law #1). To associate the Divine Name of YEHOVAH God -- YHVH -- with the idea that certain portions of the Torah have been altered, changed, or "done away" by the Messiah in the New Testament is also to "misuse" YEHOVAH's Name in a "useless, fruitless" and "destructive" manner!
The popular antinomian theology descended from the early Catholic "Church Fathers" which teaches that the Old Jewish Laws were "done away" by the Messiah directly violates the sanctity and intent of the Third Commandment against taking and applying YEHOVAH's Name in a useless, fruitless, and destructive manner! All the mainstream Christian churches in today's Gentile Christian world stand accused before YEHOVAH God! It is in perspective of this important Third Commandment against negatively applying YEHOVAH's Name for inappropriate purposes that the Messiah pronounced his often-quoted observation: "Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them" (Matthew 7:20).
The end result (Tav) of the theology taught by the modern non-Jewish Christian churches is not that of bringing people into harmony with the Divine Torah revealed from Heaven -- and without knowledge of Torah, mankind cannot develop a sensible and intelligent saving relationship with the True God as the Messiah taught in John 17:3: "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou has sent"
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