Truth Tract: "The Third Commandment"

This tract was designed to be something that you can hand a Mainstream Christian Believer. It focuses on how the name of Yahweh got taken out of the English bibles and why it was wrong for man to do that. If you like it, you can download it in Microsoft Publisher format and make copies of it. If you don't have that program, I can send you a limited quantity of copies through the mail. Just email me and I'll send you some. You are free to change what you want, but if you change something (other than your meeting place), please remove my contact information at the end of this tract or at least contact me to approve the changes if you want to leave the contact information there. 

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Some startling facts



The Ten Commandments are certainly under attack in recent years. The world wants the Ten Commandments out of their court rooms, out of all public places, and out of their lives.

Some modern churches don’t even believe we need to keep the Ten Commandments. But even of those who do not, most all agree that we should not take the name of our Heavenly Father in vain. But what does it really mean to take His name in vain?

Many take the third commandment to mean that we should not use the Heavenly Father's name alongside a swear word or profanity. It certainly can mean this. Others say that taking His name on our lips while living a life of sin is another way of taking His name in vain. This would certainly make sense as well.

However, there is another way of violating the third commandment that most people miss and even the so-called “church fathers” did not understand. Let's look at the third commandment as written in the King James Bible:

Deuteronomy 5:11 "Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold [him] guiltless that taketh his name in vain."

Most of us know that this verse, taken from the King James Version, is simply a translation of the scriptures from Hebrew into English.

Notice that it says we should not take the name of “The LORD” in vain.

If you were to look at this commandment in the original Hebrew, you would not find "The LORD" or any word that carries such a meaning.

Did you know that the Heavenly Father actually has a personal name? “The LORD” is not a name at all, it’s just a title.

All of us hold titles which might describe us (e.g. friend, mother, brother), but we also have a personal name that we primarily use. Well, the Heavenly Father has a personal name also and it is what He primarily uses in the scriptures.

What is actually in the third commandment, but is missing from the King James and most all modern bibles, is the Heavenly Father's true name:

(Thou shalt not take the name of vain)

But why would the translators remove the name “Yahweh” from our bibles? Well, it’s not because “the LORD” is Yahweh’s name in English.

It all started a very long time ago with a Jewish tradition which stated that Yahweh’s name is too holy to be pronounced:

“Yahweh, the God of the Israelites, his name being revealed to Moses as four Hebrew consonants (YHWH) called the tetragrammaton, after the exile (6th Century BC), and especially from the 3rd century BC on, Jews ceased to use the name Yahweh for two reasons. As Judaism became a universal religion through its proselytizing in the Greco-Roman world, the more common noun elohim, meaning "god," tended to replace Yahweh to demonstrate the universal sovereignty of Israel's God over all others. At the same time, the divine name was increasingly regarded as too sacred to be uttered; it was thus replaced vocally in the synagogue ritual by the Hebrew word Adonai ("My Lord"), which was translated as Kyrios ("Lord") in the Septuagint, the Greek version of the Old Testament.” Encyclopedia Britannica, under the heading “Yahweh”.

This tradition was picked up by the early church fathers, continues to this day, and few have thought to question it since.

But Yahweh never told us to change His inspired word. In fact, His name is actually in scripture nearly 7,000 times. And each one of those 7,000 times it is replaced with the title “LORD” or “GOD” in all capital letters. Most modern translations freely admit doing this in the preface. Read the preface of the NIV and they’ll tell you they are following tradition by using “the LORD.” Consider this excerpt from the Revised Standard Version where they try to defend this practice:

“...the use of any proper name for the one and only God, as though there were other gods from whom He had to be distinguished, was discontinued in Judaism before the Christian era and is entirely inappropriate for the universal faith of the Christian Church.RSV 

Question: Who are they to decide what is appropriate for one's faith? Their job is to translate, not decide what we are to believe. 

After all, who was the One that invented the idea of having a name of our Creator? Is it not Yahweh Himself? Is Yahweh also “entirely inappropriate” for placing His name in the scriptures nearly 7,000 times? Who are we to correct Him?

If we are truly looking for something universal, it would be far more “universal” for all men of all languages to call upon one personal name.

This is what Yahweh wanted to begin with. He tells us that He wants to make His name great among the Gentiles:

“For from the rising of the sun, even to its going down, My name shall be great among the Gentiles..”(Mala 1:11a)

Many times Yahweh tells us to exalt His name, give thanks to His name, and call upon His name:

 “O magnify Yahweh with me, and let us exalt His name together” (Psalm 34:3)

 “O give thanks unto Yahweh; call upon his name..” (Psalm 105:1)

 “...whoever calls on the name of Yahweh shall be saved:” (Joel 2:32)

 So now that it is clearly demonstrated that the name of the Heavenly Father is not "The LORD," please notice that most translations are full of false statements. For instance, the King James Version:

Isaiah 42:8 - “I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.

This is not true. His name is not "the LORD". His name is Yahweh. The translators did not translate, they purposely substituted the true name of the Heavenly Father with a title so that they could follow their tradition. It should instead read:

Isaiah 42:8 - I am Yahweh: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.  

So what does all of this have to do with the third commandment? It is important to consider whether or not we should agree with and participate in this Jewish, and now Christian, tradition.

Yahweh says to not take His name in vain. Let's take a moment and look at the Webster's dictionary definition of the word "vain":

vain 1. Having no real substance, value, or importance; empty; void; worthless; unsatisfying. ``Thy vain excuse.'' ... 2. Destitute of forge or efficacy; effecting no purpose; fruitless; ineffectual; as, vain toil; a vain attempt.... 

Considering the meaning of the word “vain,” what greater way to bring Yahweh's name to “emptiness...worthlessness...having no real substance, value or importance” than to remove His name altogether from the scriptures?  

This practice is so widespread and so complete that until modern times few people even knew the Heavenly Father had a personal name.

So if we want to keep the Ten Commandments, we should never join them in replacing Yahweh's name with a false name or title of our own choosing. Doing so would be breaking the third commandment. This is not the only way to break the third commandment, but we can see that it is certainly one way of doing so. 

In fact, in most translations the third commandment (as translated) is a transgression of itself!

Why? Because the third commandment forbids bringing His name to nothing, yet most translations do just that when translating that verse.

His name is very important. Yahweh says that it is His name forever and His memorial to all generations, including the one we are living in. Let’s not desecrate or remove His memorial. (Ex. 3:15)

If it wasn’t important, He would not have warned those who break the third commandment:  Yahweh will not hold him guiltless.

Therefore, in spite of what others may think, let's keep His commandments by restoring what Yahweh placed there originally as we read and quote the scriptures. Continuing in error is never superior to walking in the truth.

Our speech should be as the oracles of Yahweh (1 Peter 4:11). Therefore, let’s primarily call Him by His name, just as the scriptures do.

We are not supposed to add or take away from His word. But if we practice this tradition, we are both adding to and taking away from His word.

Therefore, the “replace His name with a title” tradition is clearly unscriptural. We should not be surprised when unscriptural traditions of men find their way into modern denominational religions. Our Savior said to the mainstream teachers of his day:

“Full well ye reject the commandment of Yahweh, that ye may keep your own tradition. (Mark 7:9)

Therefore, just as He did, let’s set aside vain traditions and fearlessly proclaim the genuine truth found in His word... just as He inspired it.

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