Blog

Taking the Lord’s Name in Vain – What Does it Really Mean?

The answer to this question might seem self-evident, especially to those of us who grew up in a western Judeo-Christian society.

Taking the Lord's Name in Vain

Exodus 20:7, Deuteronomy 5:11 – You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.

Please be warned, I’m going to use a phrase that is offensive to many.

For most, the ultimate violation of the third commandment is to say “God damn it.” You can use just about every other word or phrase, no matter how bad, but when your vulgarity includes the utilization of this phrase, many believe you’ve crossed the line. You might even be charged with blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.

In fact, more people would confidently answer this question than could list the Ten Commandments, name the gospels, or explain the difference between the New and Old Testaments.

At Odds with the Third Commandment (As Some Define It)

I’m going to take a stand that’s at odds with the most popular understanding of the third commandment. That’s why I used the word “really” in the title of this article. With all the talk about cursing pastors, the evolution of swearing in the blogosphere, and the general confusion around this issue (even in Christian circles), I thought I’d take a stab at explaining what it really means to take the Lord’s name in vain.

If I’m right about the third-commandment, we have a serious issue of folk theology that’s damaging the character of God by misrepresenting what Christian speech is.

The question that must drive the understanding of any biblical passage is:

What did the author intend for his audience to understand by his writing?

The third commandment was given to a specific people, at a specific time, in a specific place, with a specific purpose. We’ll never know what it means today if we don’t first know what it originally meant.

What About the F-Bomb, S-Word, etc?

The third commandment has nothing to do with what we commonly call cursing. Use of the F-word, S-word, etc. is a separate issue. The Bible certainly has a lot to say about speech:

Proverbs 10:32 – The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable, but the mouth of the wicked, what is perverse.

Colossians 3:8 – But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.

Ephesians 4:29 – Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

Swearing and Cursing

The third commandment is specifically addressing the use of God’s name. It isn’t meant to address the use of words, phrases, and even gestures that may be socially uncouth or vulgar.

When Calling on God to Damn Someone Is Biblical

We have this wrong. In fact, from a purely objective standpoint, I don’t believe that this phrase causes God to even bat an eye. Why would calling on God to damn something be so bad? What does the verb “damn” mean? The American Heritage Dictionary defines the verb “to damn” as “the act of pronouncing an adverse judgement upon.”

To call upon God to damn something is neither sinful nor unbiblical. In fact, you can find people throughout Scripture, especially in the Psalms, who call upon God to bring judgment on their enemies. In other words, they are asking for God to damn those whom they feel are ripe for His judgment. In this sense, saying “God damn _____” is as biblical as saying “God bless _____.”

Some say the reason this is a violation of the third commandment is because people are using God’s name in a “vain”, “worthless”, or “empty” way. In this case, to say, “God damn it!” in our colloquial tongue is not the same as seriously calling upon God to damn something or someone. For those making this claim, if you say it seriously, fine. If however, you say it casually, you’ve used His name in an empty way and broken the third commandment.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating that we should take the Lord’s name in vain, but that our understanding of what this commandment means is mistaken. There are three major critiques I’d offer to our common understanding:

1) “God” is Not the Name of God

“God” is a term used to refer to deities in general. A generic classification can’t be considered a formal name. It would be like you saying that my name is “person”. God gives His name to Moses in the book of Exodus. His name is Yahweh. Would you have the same offense if someone were to stub their toe and say “Yahweh damn it!” I doubt it.

When Christians use words like “God” or “Lord” we’re typically referring to the God of the Bible, Yahweh. And after all, if you’re not calling on the God of the Bible to damn something, whom are you calling on? Therefore, although the word God isn’t a formal name, because we use it as such, saying G-D may test the limits of what many consider taking God’s name in vain.

2) Selective Outrage at the Use of “God”

If the principle in question is that we’re not to use God’s name unless we really mean it, then we’re pretty inconsistent in our outrage. Why don’t people get offended when others say “God bless you?” Do you think that every time someone says this that they really mean it? Do you think that in their mind they are talking to God, beseeching Him on your behalf?

Just about every email I get ends with the phrase, “God bless.”

Just about every email I get ends with the phrase, “God bless.” I seriously doubt that that person actually said a prayer for me before he or she hit send. If this is the case, why is saying, “God bless you” not just as much a violation of the third commandment as saying “God damn you?”

Is it more biblical to ask for God’s kindness or judgment? I don’t think almost anyone who is honest with themselves can say they’re consistent in this regard. Saying “God damn it” and not meaning it should be just as bad as saying “God bless you” and not meaning it.

It true that both uses of “God” could be wrong, or both could be right. But, without modifying our principle (i.e. not using God’s name unless we really mean it) we can’t differentiate between the two.

3) What Does “In Vain” Mean?

I’ve saved this point for last because it’s the most important. In fact, if I’m right, the first two points don’t really make a difference. The question is this:

What does it mean to use God’s name in an empty or vain way?

What does the third commandment really mean? It’s hard to tell from a simple word study on the Hebrew term שָׁוְא (vain). Also, our understanding of a “name” and what it signifies is much different than what it meant in the context in which this commandment was given. First, we must try to understand what it meant when it was written. Second, we can then work out how that applies to us.

It does us no good to anachronistically impose our understanding upon an ancient text. This is eisegesis (reading into the text what we presuppose), not exegesis (letting the text speak on its own terms).

How the Canaanite Nations Invoked Their Deities

Briefly, this is what I believe your studies will show. The nations to which the Israelites were going (in Canaan) had many gods. They were highly superstitious. Their prophets used the name of their god in pronouncements all the time. The usage could be in a curse, hex, or even a blessing. They used the name of their god to give their statements, whatever they may be, authority.

To pronounce something in the name of a god meant that people would listen and fear. They may have said, “In the name of Baal, there will be no rain for 40 days.” Or “In the name of Marduk, I say that you will win this battle.” This gave the prophet much power and authority.

But, as we know, there is no Baal or Marduk. Those gods couldn’t have made such pronouncements. Thus the words of the prophet had no authority and didn’t need to be praised or feared.

Israel’s God Instructed the Proper Use of His Name

God was commanding the Israelites not to do the same thing. God instructed them not to use His name like the nations around them used the names of their gods. He did not want them to use His name falsely to invoke authority. This can be seen even today as the name Jesus means very little because of its constant misuse.

Moses with the Ten Commandments

In essence, God didn’t want the Israelites to say that He’d said something that He, in fact, had not. This makes sense. God has a reputation to protect. He doesn’t want anyone saying, “Thus saith the Lord”, if the Lord has not spoken.

We’ve all experienced this. We’ve had someone say we said something we didn’t. This can be very damaging to our character and destructive to our reputation. Why? Because it makes us out to be something we’re not. How much more important is it for God to protect His character?

Application of the Third Commandment Today

What does this mean for us? Well, for starters we understand that the third commandment is focused on something more foundational than simply saying “God damn it!”

While some people may never think of using that phrase, people all over the Christian religious landscape are breaking the third commandment every day, damaging the Lord’s reputation:

  • “Thus saith the Lord…”
  • “God told me to tell you…”
  • “I have a word from the Lord…”
  • “God says that if you send in this much money, you will be blessed.”

I could go on and on, but you get the point.

If all one needed to do to keep the third commandment was to avoid saying certain socially unacceptable words or phrases, it would be the easiest of the Ten Commandments to keep!

Using the name of the Lord in vain is a serious matter. It damages His reputation and character through false and unsure claims. Before you say “God said…” make sure He really said it.

If you are unsure, make your statement reflect your uncertainty. Saying “I think God is telling you to…” rather than “God is telling you to…” may not be as authoritative, but it will keep God’s reputation safe and keep you from breaking the third commandment.

If I were Satan, I couldn’t think of a better way to trivialize such an important commandment.

As an aside, I think that this misunderstanding of the third commandment is both sad and tragic. If I were Satan, I couldn’t think of a better way to trivialize such an important commandment than to fool people into thinking it’s focus is on the phrase, “God damn it.”

A Final Caution

Does this mean that I believe that we can now say this phrase and not worry about it? No. Using this phrase in a colloquial way is offensive in many (if not most) contexts. It all comes back to being intentional with everything we say. While it is not a violation of the third commandment necessarily, it is offensive speech that must be used with wisdom and discretion.

Objections and Q&A

Shouldn’t Christians Avoid Every Form (Appearance) of Evil?

Because, in our culture, saying certain words is considered offensive, crude, or crass, Christians should avoid using them so as in order not to violate 1 Thessalonians 5:22. Dan Wallace’s article Avoid Every Appearance of Evil, addresses this very topic.

But What If Cursing Violates My Conscience or Someone Else’s?

No one should violate their conscience. Who would deny that we must do what we think is right? While it’s true that we could follow our conscience and be wrong, we can never violate our conscience and be right. Going against what we think is right (even if we’re wrong) is always wrong. We would be a law unto ourselves maybe even antinomian (against the moral law).

That being said, we should beware of professional weaker brethren who use their scruples to dominate others.

So I Should Start Swearing, Right?

No. Not if you mean “swear” in the sense of cursing left and right. Don’t imagine this article is a license to use vulgarities in the name of Christian liberty. The gospel frees us from the bondage to sin so we can live righteous lives not so we can be rude.

You’re Just Looking for Loopholes!

It’s true that scriptures have been used to excuse the pet sins of many people.

Wonderful things in the Bible I see. Most of them put there by you and by me.

However, the conclusions we come to must rest upon textual exegesis. If the Bible calls something sinful, let God be true and every man a liar. But if it doesn’t, we dare not heap upon others a yoke of bondage.

60 Responses to “Taking the Lord’s Name in Vain – What Does it Really Mean?”

  1. No you done did it.
    Get ready for the S#!t storm.
    Oops…
    ;)

    Very well done Michael. Another form is teaching “bad theology” in God’s name.

  2. But if I in a joke use God’s name, is that not emptying myself of the reverence due to His name, thus taking it in vain?
    God’s name is holy, and therefore whenever I use it in an irreverent way, or treat it as if it was neither here nor there, this is also taking it in vain.
    I think this may be a principle in the same vein as to the specific commandment of not saying God said something He didn’t.
    Wrong or right?

  3. Dear Michael,
    Thank you for this clear perspective on this crucially important command. One of my professors in theology even took off his toga and covered the words “Thus sayeth the Lord” that was part pf the pulpit whenever he preached. With reverence he always commented that he was only trying to explain what the Lord has said. That never could be what the Lord really said!
    How easily do we say to people that God revealed to me concerning you!
    My wife once just answered: “The Lord I serve does not gossip. Why didn’t He tell me personally when I had quiet time with Him this very morning?”
    Taking God’s name in vain or neglecting to take His name when we should, is serious business! Thank you once more.
    God bless,
    Herman

  4. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness. ’Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Matt 7:21-23

  5. We were surely created for more than to lower ourselves and Him by using His name other than what it is intended.

    Thanks be to God that He forgives that, as well.

  6. I take saying God’s name in vain as saying ‘God help me…’ and then going about and doing it under our own power without waiting on God.

    • I have never quite been able to make sense of that. What does that look like in practice? How does one distinguish between one’s own strength and God’s strength, my doing and God’s doing? I have prayed for God’s help in circumstances, like in how to provide for my family, but I never stopped going to the office every day. Or, when I was out of work, I never stopped looking for work, contacting people, even though I was also praying for God to act.

  7. Great points on this article, yet I think it did not quite get to the core of the verse meaning (Exodus 20:7), because you did not exegete “take” like you did “vain”. The Hebrew words is used over 600 times in the OT, most of which it is translated “to bear” (99 times, KJV) “lifted” (89 times KJV), “lift” (67 times, KJV) “take” or “took” [followed by up], etc.

    In other words: do not bear up (as in a banner), to let all peoples, nations and men see and know that you identify with and belong to the LORD, if you do it for naught, if you do not walk with Him and obey His precepts, because if you do so He will not hold you guiltless.

    Jesus illustrated this concept in Matthew 25, to those who thought they knew Him, yet He proclaims to them He never knew 9had intimate fellowship with) them, and condemns them to everlasting punishment.

  8. I’m not going to get into a big argument about this because it won’t do any good, but I really do believe that the Westminster divines, whose biblical morality were once socially normative in this country, had a better understanding of God’s intent. OPC and PCA people who utterly ignore this are the ones who break my heart.

    The Westminster Larger Catechism of 1648…
    Question 111: Which is the third commandment?
    Answer: 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 takes his name in vain.

    Question 112: What is required in the third commandment?
    Answer: 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.

    Question 113: What are the sins forbidden in the third commandment?
    Answer: 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 anywise 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.

    Question 114: What reasons are annexed to the third commandment?
    Answer: The reasons annexed to the third commandment, in these words, The Lord thy God, and, For the Lord will not hold him guiltless that takes 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.

    • Greg Smith: I was so glad to see your post. Thank you for posting the Westminster Divines on the 3rd commandment. They put it down so clear that there should be no doubt on God’s intention when He gave this command. You are spot on in your comments. Thank You!

      In His Grip,
      Daniel

  9. My thoughts…the God I know doesn’t give a shit if you say goddamn, as long as there is nothing malicious in your heart. He knows our hearts, our minds and our intentions, and, therefore, would only be displeased if we say goddamn in a hateful manner. Love the Lord your god and love your neighbor as yourself, and petty shit like curse words are small potatoes.

  10. Wow, the Lord bless you for this insight. I recently took time to want to really understand importance of “the LAW” which Joshua 1:8 says and King David keeps referring to as well. It turns out that they only leaved according to ‘the law’ and they did great exploit. Because at their time they only had ‘the law’, but we have the WHOLE BIBLE, yet we don’t see God’s power manifesting for us as much.

  11. Thank you. This exegesis leads me to the scriptures “never knew you” and “do all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ” So then … #3 is a commandment to not claim we represent him (take His name upon ourselves, claim to be a Christian) unless we 1st know Him and 2nd, walk as He would walk. GOOD approach. Thank you for this.

  12. Was just corrected by my sister yesterday….for saying omg in front of her granddaughter Taylor…o my god was used in a happy, excited fashion! I was told not to take the lords name in vain in front of this 8 year old little girl. I wanted to die. I just shut my mouth and didn’t say a word….I alway’s thought if god’s name was used in a negative manner or in a cursing way or even saying Jesus Christ was in vain. I love the god, The Lord, Jesus with all my heart!!!! Am I wrong!!!!! Or is my sister!!!! I truly believe it’s so sad that god has been taken out of schools, institutions, cities, states, countries, etc!!!!! God…..we’re not even aloud to say his name any more! So,so,so Sad!

    • Debbie,

      I also was concerned about using the name of Jesus. I’ll share my experience with you in my situation. My career was in law enforcement and there were time I would say the name of “Jesus” during stressful times, or in moments of excitement or unexpectedness. And there was one time I interviewed a young girl that was abused and I looked at the mother who was present during the interview and I said “oh my God.”
      Eventually I started to wonder if I was breaking the commandment. Well, I talked to an older priest about it. And I described it to him similar to mentioned above. I told the priest that I conscientiously didn’t plan to use Jesus’ name prior to using it. But I would mention His name at certain times.
      I also said that I don’t hate Jesus. Well to my surprise the priest said that I was using His name in a form of prayer. And I understood him when he said this. Because it fit my situation.
      Similar to you saying Oh My God. But if you need direction and advice talk to a priest. Better yet if you are Catholic go to Sacrament of Reconciliation and explain and ask for advice.

  13. “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord in vain”. This does not mean swearing. One has to understand the meaning of the phrase “in Vain”. This phrase means “without consequence”. When God says “You shall not take My name in vain”, He is saying, “You shall not take My name without consequence”. Therefore, if someone uses the name of the Lord, it does not mean He is offended, it means He is paying attention.

    And so, when someone says “God damn you”, they are actually damning that person. This is because Jesus told us, “That which you bind on earth is bound in heaven, that which you loose on earth is loosed in heaven.” When someone says “Jesus Christ” in anger, they are calling Jesus Christ to witness that anger.

    When God’s name is used to express hatred, such as “God hates fags” or “God hates Israel”, this is another situation in which you are not using the Lord’s name in vain. He hears it. The Lord sees His name is being used to express hatred, persecution and anger. In using His name, his keen eye is being drawn to those actions and He looks into those hearts, because they have called Him to do it. This is not the behavior for which one wants to focus God’s ire.

    Like using the name “Old Scratch” as a euphemism for Satan so as not to gain his attention, so also do Christians not want to gain God’s direct attention under incriminating circumstances. And if you call upon the name of God when you commit a sin, how can you then call His name with credulity to ask forgiveness?

    Not using the name of the Lord in vain means when one does use it, it will always generate His direct, and undesirable, attention. This is why one should not use the name of the Lord unless in positive, prayerful conversation.

  14. Your diatribe as to the colloquial use of this or that and the intent of Him in this or that era or age or epoch, etc etc is a lot of explaining away of a very very simple thing.
    When a person who does not believe in God, says, “God damn” or “God damnit” or just plain ol’, “God” in exclamation over something trivial or ridiculous and certainly having nothing to do with our Lord, God they are blaspheming.

    Pretty straight forward stuff.

    • It is not a diatribe. Perhaps you don’t understand the concept. The Lord gives a promise: you won’t use his name without consequence. It’s not just an offense, it’s a call to action. When you pray to Him and use his name, he listens. When you blaspheme in His name, he also listens. God has given certain promises to his people. This is one of them.

  15. I work in a factory and I hear God’s name used “in vain” along with many other curse words, such as the “f” word, and “mf”, etc. It is so degrading in this place and there are people who need to buy a dictionary and learn new words to expand their vocabulary. We as a nation are becoming dumbed down to think anything is all right as long as it isn’t hurting anyone. Well it is hurting my ears and my conscience, knowing that we are tuning out the truth of God’s word and violating His commandments. These people range in age from 18 to 50 and every breath from their mouths comes cursing and vile, disgusting language. These are people with small children at home; siblings, their own children, and grandchildren. Do we want our children to speak these words and get suspended from daycare? We are leading them and don’t think for a minute that they don’t imitate the older people. Do you want our teachers in schools to curse in classrooms, drop the “f” bomb, take God’s name in vain and other words to emphasis their teaching? Well if they are talking like this at home, it will come out in class eventually. Why don’t we say satan damn, or devil damn it? That is where all this is from anyway. So damn the devil to hell, why don’t you? Oh, that’s right, he already is!

  16. Actually if you look at the KJV in Psalms 83:18, it tells you God’s actual name: Jehovah

  17. God’s name is actually Jehovah. Psalms 83:18

  18. God’s “name” is not God, or god or lord or Jesus and so on. If you say god darn it, it would be like saying frog darn it or Tim Tebow darn it. The creator of the universe, the Father of Jesus, the Spirit that gave Moses the 10 commandments actual name is, according to KJV Psalms 83 verse 18 is JEHOVAH. God or lord is not a name just like Mr. or Sir is not a name but a title. And don’t forget, Jesus is NOT Jehovah God Almighty, he is the son of Jehovah God. Never did Jesus say he was God or a god, he always said he was only doing the work of his Father who sent him. Even Jesus, when asked by the disciples how they should pray he told them this: OUR FATHER, who art in Heaven, Hollowed be Thy NAME (which is Jehovah). End of lesson.

  19. To me taking the Lord’s name in vain extends to imposing sacred matters of faith into conversation as if they were incontrovertable truths for all concerned. This is done frequently by fundamentalists who talk to people about faith matters (does God exist, what happens after you die) as if they are inarguable facts and chastise or even belittle those who don’t accept those faith statements.

  20. Tommy Lopez

    Was wondering – Do you have two saviors?
    Or is Jehovah and Jesus – “ONE?”

    In the OT Jehovah is our Savior. And besides Jehovah there is NO savior.

    Isaiah 43:11 I, even I am the LORD (Jehovah); and beside me there is no savior.
    Hosea 13:4 Yet I am the LORD (Jehovah) thy God…for there is no savior beside me.
    2 Samuel 22:3, Isaiah 43:3, Isaiah 45:15.

    And – In the NT Jesus is our Savior.

    Luke 1:47 And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior.
    Luke 2:11 unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.
    2 Timothy 1:10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ,…
    Titus 2:13 …the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ;
    2 Peter 2:20 …through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

    So, Who is your Savior?
    Is Jehovah your Savior? (And besides Jehovah there is NO savior.)
    Or Jesus your Savior?? (the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ?)
    Or are they “ONE?”

  21. Tommy Lopez

    Was wondering – Who is your salvation?
    Is Jehovah your salvation? Or is Jesus your salvation? Or are they “ONE?”

    In the OT Jehovah is my Salvation.

    Isaiah 12:2 Behold, God is my salvation…
    Psalm 27:1 The LORD (Jehovah) is my light and my salvation…
    Jonah 2:9 … Salvation is of the LORD. (Jehovah)

    And – In the NT Jesus is my Salvation and neither is there salvation in any other.

    Acts 4:10 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by
    **the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth,**
    whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead,  
    even by him doth this man stand here before you whole…
    12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name (Jesus)
    under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

    So, Who is your salvation?
    Is Jehovah your salvation?
    Or is Jesus your salvation? (Neither is there salvation in any other.)
    Or are they “ONE?”

  22. Tommy Lopez

    Was wondering – Who created all things?
    Did Jehovah create the heavens and the earth?
    Or, did Jesus create the heavens and the earth?
    Or, are Jehovah and Jesus “ONE?”

    In the OT Jehovah creates the heavens and the earth and all things.

    Exodus 20:11 For in six days the LORD (Jehovah) made heaven and earth…
    Proverbs 16:4 The LORD (Jehovah) hath made all things for himself…
    Psalm 33:6 By the word of the LORD (Jehovah) were the heavens made…
    Psalm 121:2 My help cometh from the LORD, (Jehovah) which made heaven and earth.

    And – In the NT Jesus creates the heavens and the earth and all things.

    John 1:1-4 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,
    and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.
    **All things were made by him;** and without him was not any thing made that was made.
    In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

    John 1:10 He was in the world, and **the world was made by him..**.

    Ephesians 3:9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery,
    which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God,
    **who created all things by Jesus Christ.**

    Colossians 1:14-18 In whom we have redemption through his blood,
    even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible God, the first born of every creature:
    **For by him were All things created,** that are in heaven, and that are in earth,
    visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers:
    **all things were created by him, and for him:**
    And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. (to set together)
    And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead;
    that in all things he might have the preeminence. (to hold first place)

    Hebrews 1:2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son,
    whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

    So, Who created all things?
    Did Jehovah create the heavens and the earth?
    Or, did Jesus create the heavens and the earth?
    Or, are Jehovah and Jesus “ONE?”

  23. So if god goes to the trouble of making all these little weak critters that he requires to check in once a day and say how big and strong he is and how afraid they are of him, then gets upset when they use his name the wrong way and threatens to torture them for all eternity because of it, doesn’t that make him a psychotic narcissist?

    • I’m sorry you feel this way, Perry. I too (secretly) used to think that God was an egotistical God. That He was selfish and created us simply so we would bow down and tell Him how great and amazing He is. That is not something I would care to take part in… like at all.

      But then, years later, I discovered that the ‘God’ I created in my own mind, is far from the God of the bible. And though I will in no way claim to fully know the God of the bible, I can confidently say I am now on the other extreme, having replaced my original beliefs. I know that God is NOT the egotistical, selfish God who created us just to bow down and worship Him type of God I thought He was.

      I have come to realize that God is actually the ultimate model of love. And I think that our capacity to love others stems from Him: We love because he first loved us.- 1 John 4:19

      For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.- 2 Timothy 1:7

      I won’t bore you with all the other scriptures of the bible that speak about God’s love for us, but I will say this- as you open yourself and your heart to seeking Him, to truly seeking for yourself if He is real, I feel confident in saying that you will find you had created an incorrect image of God as well- just as I did.

      You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.- Jeremiah 29:13

      I gave Him a chance, I sought Him, with my whole heart, being openminded to whatever I may find. And I found love. I found hope. I found peace. I found joy. I found life. And I also found that we are given free will. God created us, because He loves us, and because He wants a relationship with us, not because He just wants subjects to rule over. But instead He is like a loving Father. Do you admire your earthly father? Did your father stay around to raise you? Mine didn’t. Mine was abusive and left when I was about 6. It is because of my earthly father that I saw God in such a negative light. But again, I gave God a chance and He showed me how little I really knew of Him.

      I don’t know anything about you, but the name you gave, being Perry. But I do know this- God knows all about you, He knows what’s in your heart, He knows what you desire, He knows your hurts, He knows your hopes, He knows everything about you, right down to the very number of hairs on your head.

      Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.- Hebrews 4:13

      I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.- Jeremiah 17:10

      Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.- Psalm 37:4

      and provide for those who grieve in Zion- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.- Isaiah 61:3

      Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.- Luke 12:7

      So you see, you Perry, were actually created because He delights in you believing in Him. The bible even says that your faith in Him would be more valuable than gold.

      These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith- of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire- may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.- 1 Peter 1:7

      Though this is such a small glimpse, I hope that maybe you might be open to at least seeking Him in an honest way, with an open mind and willing heart. Because even though God is not the egotistical-maniac I once thought He was, He is also a just God.

      He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all His ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is He.- Deuteronomy 32:4

      Being just means that there will be a time that He will have to follow through with judging those who never took the free gift of Salvation that Jesus’ life, death and resurrection bought.

      For in scripture is says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in Him will never be put to shame.” Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.” and, “A stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.”- 1 Peter 2: 6-8

      The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. Instead He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.- 2 Peter 3:9

      In all honesty… just between you and God right now, does anything I have said sound even remotely close to the picture you have originally painted of God? In all honesty, my friend…really think on it for a moment, please. Perry, I just want to share a few more scriptures and I hope and pray you have made it this far down, my friend.

      Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him while He is near.- Isaiah 55:6

      Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him.- Psalm 34:8

      The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.- John 10:10

      The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by Him, we cry, “Abba, Father.”- Romans 8:15

      Did you read this last one? Romans 8:15… we call Him “Father”. If you had a father like mine, how much have you missed out on? But through God, we get to have thee best Dad ever. God is the ultimate role model of what a good, loving, gracious and merciful father should be, and I guarantee, if you open your heart to having a relationship with Him and take a look into the bible, you will find that as well. Even if you grew up with a great and involved dad, one who loves you and has shown you the attention you have craved, God still will show you how much more attentive and loving His is over your earthly dad. I know this to be 100% true, because I can attest to it in my own life.

      Perry, I would just like to pray for you right now, if that’s alright: Heavenly Father, I thank you for making Perry and my paths cross. I pray that the Holy Spirit would reveal your truths to him. I ask that he would read this with an open and soft heart. I pray that he would be able to fully understand the depth of your love, help him to grasp the meaning of the ransom that has been paid for him. Lord I ask that you would draw near to him, that he may desire to seek you out. I pray that you would instill in him a deep desire and hunger for more knowledge. In Jesus’ name, Amen!

      God bless you, Perry! (And yes, I really did ask that God would bring blessings upon you, and that you would acknowledge them as such :) Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.- James 1:17)

      • Shaunea

        Thank you…
        I really enjoyed reading this very loving comment…

        I can certainly agree with this part…
        “And I found love. I found hope. I found peace. I found joy. I found life.”

      • Shaunea,

        I have never replied to website posts. However this one really touched my heart. So thoughtful of you to share with Perry. This is what it is all about (caring for and helping each other).

  24. Actually, I think it goes even deeper than this. Do not take the Lord’s Name (upon) yourself in vain. In other words, don’t go around calling yourself a Christian but acting everything but.

  25. I just slipped on a sheet of ice outside and nearly fell on my face if not for barely managing to get myself upright. The words “Jesus Christ” popped out of my mouth automatically. Is this taking the Lord’s name in vain? I kind of feel like it’s appropriate to call on the Lord so reflexively at a time like that.

  26. I came across this site and this article accidently. I read it and I found that the author does not really understand what the commandment is saying although in the article he did include a phrase that correctly describes the meaning of the commendment. Here it is: “Using the name of the Lord in vain is a serious matter. It damages His reputation and character through false and unsure claims.” Names in the Bible, especially in Hebrew, have specific meanings and they describe personalities and characters of a person. A simple example is found in Exodus 34, 5-7: “Now the LORD descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. And the LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.” Notice the passage starts by saying that the LORD proclaimed His name. How did He proclaim His name? He did not say “my name is John,” or “my name is Robert,” or “my name is Wayne.” He described who He is. He is merciful, gracious, longsuffering, etc. The Hebrew word for “vain” has also a meaning of false and falsehood. For example, in the 10 commendments we read “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” Deut. 5, 20. So the meaning of the 3rd commandment has nothing to do with using a name (e.g. Jehovah) of title (e.g. God) in vain. It has to do with not putting who God is in false light. Perhaps in modern (English) translations it would be better randered as “You shall not falsely represent the LORD your God.”

  27. “Taking the Lord’s Name in Vain – What Does it Really Mean?”

    Ex 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.

    I used to think – “Taking His Name in Vain” – meant saying – “G… D…. it,” or some such thing. Using God’s Name as a curse word. But today, I think it has to do with someone taking for themselves – the names and “Titles” of God — In Vain.

    Because, one day, I do a little word study for – Name – and – Vain. ;-)
    I check out Strongs Concordance and the Dictionary.

    NAME – In Strongs – is #8034 – shem – When I check for these definitions I find…
    1 – a definite and *conspicuous position… – (*conspicuoua – standing out, clearly visible)
    2 – an *appellation (**appellation – Dictionary – a name or “Title”)
    3 – by implication honor, authority, character.

    Now, When Exodus 20:7 says, Thou shalt NOT take the Name… Could WE, understand that as…
    Thou shalt NOT take the Name – a definite and *conspicuous position – of the LORD thy God?
    Thou shalt NOT take the Name – an *appellation – a Name or “Title” – of the LORD thy God?
    Thou shalt NOT take the Name – the honor, authority, character – of the LORD thy God?

    VAIN – In Strongs = #7723 = shav’ – When I check for these definitions I find…
    1 – in the sense of *desolating; – (*desolate – Dictionary – bleak and dismal emptiness)
    2 – evil (as *destructive), – (destructive – Dictionsry – causing great and irreparable harm)
    3 – figuratively *idolatry – (idolatry – Dictionary – worship, admiration, reverence for something)
    4 – *vain – ( vain – Disctionary – having an excessively high opinion of one’s, abilities, or worth)
    5 – *vanity – (vanity – Disctionary – pride in or admiration of one’s own achievements)

    Ex 20:7
    Thou shalt not take the *Name ( Title, conspicuous position, honor, authority.)
    of the LORD thy God in *Vain; (Idolatry, pride, high opinion of one’s, abilities, causeing harm,)

    And here are 3 – “Names” – “Titles” – of God, you can find in the Bible…

    Shepherd – Leader – Reverend —- Aren’t these *Names* “Titles” of the LORD thy God?
    That many, in the 501 (c) 3, Religious $ Corporations, the IRS calls church, take for themselves?

    1 – Shepherd – God/Jesus is called – Shepherd
    The Lord is my *shepherd.* Psalm 23:1.
    …returned unto the *Shepherd* and Bishop of your souls. 1 Pet 2:25.
    …they shall Hear MY Voice; and there shall be …and “ONE” *shepherd.* John 10:27

    2 – Leader – God/Jesus is called – Leader
    And do NOT be called *leaders;* for “ONE” is your *Leader,* that is, Christ. Mat 23:10 NASB.
    God exalted him at his right hand as *Leader* and Savior… Acts 5:31 ESV

    3 – Reverend – God/Jesus is called – Reverend
    …holy and **reverend** is his *name. Psalm 111:9 KJV — (*name. = shem)

    Hmmm? What about – Todays – shepherds – leaders – reverends – ?
    Aren’t these *Names* “Titles” of the LORD thy God?

    Are they taking “God’s Name?” — And taking that Name – in Vain? Oy Vey!!! :-(

    Could this be a reason for the high rate of depression, family failures, and burn-out…
    For the pastor/leader/reverends trying to run the show? Taking His Name in Vain?

  28. “Taking the Lord’s Name in Vain – What Does it Really Mean?”

    Ex 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.

    I used to think – “Taking His Name in Vain” – meant saying – “G… D…. it,” or some such thing. Using God’s Name as a curse word. But today, I think it has to do with someone taking for themselves – the names and “Titles” of God — In Vain.

    Because, one day, I do a little word study for – Name – and – Vain. ;-)
    I check out Strongs Concordance and the Dictionary.

    NAME – In Strongs – is #8034 – shem – When I check for these definitions I find…
    1 – a definite and *conspicuous position… – (*conspicuoua – standing out, clearly visible)
    2 – an *appellation (**appellation – Dictionary – a name or “Title”)
    3 – by implication honor, authority, character.

    Now, When Exodus 20:7 says, Thou shalt NOT take the Name… Could WE, understand that as…
    Thou shalt NOT take the Name – a definite and *conspicuous position – of the LORD thy God?
    Thou shalt NOT take the Name – an *appellation – a Name or “Title” – of the LORD thy God?
    Thou shalt NOT take the Name – the honor, authority, character – of the LORD thy God?

    VAIN – In Strongs = #7723 = shav’ – When I check for these definitions I find…
    1 – in the sense of *desolating; – (*desolate – Dictionary – bleak and dismal emptiness)
    2 – evil (as *destructive), – (destructive – Dictionsry – causing great and irreparable harm)
    3 – figuratively *idolatry – (idolatry – Dictionary – worship, admiration, reverence for something)
    4 – *vain – ( vain – Disctionary – having an excessively high opinion of one’s, abilities, or worth)
    5 – *vanity – (vanity – Disctionary – pride in or admiration of one’s own achievements)

    Ex 20:7
    Thou shalt not take the *Name ( Title, conspicuous position, honor, authority.)
    of the LORD thy God in *Vain; (Idolatry, pride, high opinion of one’s, abilities, causeing harm,)

    And here are 3 – “Names” – “Titles” – of God, you can find in the Bible…

    Shepherd – Leader – Reverend —- Aren’t these *Names* “Titles” of the LORD thy God?
    That many, in the 501 (c) 3, Religious $ Corporations, the IRS calls church, take for themselves?

    1 – Shepherd – God/Jesus is called – Shepherd
    The Lord is my *shepherd.* Psalm 23:1.
    …returned unto the *Shepherd* and Bishop of your souls. 1 Pet 2:25.
    …they shall Hear MY Voice; and there shall be …and “ONE” *shepherd.* John 10:27

    2 – Leader – God/Jesus is called – Leader
    And do NOT be called *leaders;* for “ONE” is your *Leader,* that is, Christ. Mat 23:10 NASB.
    God exalted him at his right hand as *Leader* and Savior… Acts 5:31 ESV

    3 – Reverend – God/Jesus is called – Reverend
    …holy and **reverend** is his *name. Psalm 111:9 KJV — (*name. = shem)

    Hmmm? What about Todays, shepherds, leaders, reverends?
    Aren’t these *Names* “Titles” of the LORD thy God?

    Are they taking “God’s Name?” — And taking that Name – in Vain? Oy Vey!!! :-(

    Could this be a reason for the high rate of depression, family failures, and burn-out…
    For the pastor/leader/reverends trying to run the show? Taking His Name in Vain?

  29. Best talk I ever heard on the subject, only about 8 minutes long, specifically in regard to use of the Lord’s Name in movies and entertainment, but widely applicable… http://sentrad.org/multimedia/ (scroll down, it is the first talk, entitled “Movies”)

  30. I am a former Christian. I loved being a Christian. I loved Jesus and I loved the Bible. I used to love witnessing to non-believers and loved defending my belief in (the Christian) God and orthodox/conservative Christianity. Then one day someone challenged me to take a good, hard look at the foundation of my beliefs: the Bible. I was stunned by what I discovered.

    1. The Bible is not inerrant. It contains many, many errors, contradictions, and deliberate alterations and additions by the scribes who copied it. The originals are lost, therefore we have no idea what “God” originally” said. Yes, its true—Christians can give “harmonizations” for every alleged error and contradiction, but so can the Muslims for errors in the Koran, and Mormons for errors in the Book of Mormon. One can harmonize anything if you allow for the supernatural.

    2. How do we know that the New Testament is the Word of God? Did Jesus leave a list of inspired books? Did the Apostles? Paul? The answer is, no. The books of the New Testament were added to the canon over several hundred years. Second Peter was not officially accepted into the canon until almost the FIFTH century! So why do all Christians accept every book of the New Testament as the word of God and reject every non-canonical “gospel”? Answer: the ancient (catholic) Church voted these books into your Bible. Period.

    There is nowhere in the OT or the NT where God gives men the authority to determine what is and what is not his Word. If Second Peter was really God’s Word, the entire Church should have known so in the first century.

    3. Who wrote the Gospels? We have NO idea! The belief that they were written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John is based on hearsay and assumptions—catholic tradition. Protestants denounce most of the traditions of the Catholic Church but have retained two of the most blatant, evidence-lacking traditions, which have no basis in historical fact or in the Bible: the canon of the NT and the authorship of the Gospels.

    The only shred of evidence that Christians use to support the traditional authorship of the Gospels is one brief statement by a guy named Papias in 130 AD that someone told him that John Mark had written a gospel. That’s it! Papias did not even identify this “gospel”. Yet in 180 AD, Irenaeus, a bishop in FRANCE, declares to the world that the apostles Matthew and John and the associates of Peter and Paul—Mark and Luke—wrote the Gospels. But Irenaeus gives ZERO evidence for his assignment of authorship to these four books. It is well known to historians that it was a common practice at that time for anonymously written books to be ascribed to famous people to give them more authority. For all we know, this is what Irenaeus did in the case of the Gospels.

    The foundation of the Christian Faith is the bodily resurrection of Jesus. If the story of the Resurrection comes from four anonymous books, three of which borrow heavily from the first, often word for word, how do we know that the unheard of, fantastically supernatural, story of the re-animation of a first century dead man, actually happened??

    Maybe the first book written, “Mark”, was written for the same purpose that most books were written in that time period—for the benefit of one wealthy benefactor, and maybe it was written simply as an historical novel, like Homer’s Iliad; not meant to be 100% factual in every detail, but a mix of true historical events as a background, with a real messiah pretender in Palestine, Jesus, but with myth and fiction added to embellish the story and help sell the book! We just do not know for what purpose these books were written!

    I slowly came to realize that there is zero verifiable evidence for the Resurrection, and, the Bible is not a reliable document. After four months of desperate attempts to save my faith, I came to the sad conclusion that my faith was based on an ancient superstition; a superstition not based on lies, but based on the sincere but false beliefs of uneducated, superstitious, first century peasants.

  31. gary

    I’m sorry for you when you say “the foundation of my beliefs: the Bible.” was challenged.
    I’m sorry for you because – “The foundation of your beliefs” was NOT Jesus.

    For me – Jesus is the Sure Foundation – Jesus is the “ONE” Foundation.

    The early believers did NOT have access to Bibles even if they could read.

    But, they had access to Jesus, the Living God, who lived within them.

    They were His Disciples, learning directly from Jesus, NO middle man.

    They were His Sheep, they heard His Voice, and followed…

    The “ONE” Shepherd

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

  32. I thought it would be interesting to look at the evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus from the Christian stand point, excluding, however, baseless assumptions. Also, when I say “Christian”, I am referring to orthodox Christians and conservative evangelical Christians. I am excluding fundamentalists in this discussion because fundamentalist views are so extreme that it would be hopeless to try and reconcile them with the actual evidence. Some fundamentalists would probably believe that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John sat down and wrote their gospels within ten minutes of the Ascension.

    A. The Gospel of Mark

    So, let’s start with the first gospel written, as almost all scholars agree: the gospel of Mark. Most scholars believe that it was written sometime between 65-75 AD. So let’s accept an earlier date for the writing of this gospel: mid 60’s, prior to the destruction of Jerusalem.

    1. Who wrote Mark: the gospel itself does not tell us. No clear assignment of authorship is given until Irenaeus in the late second century. Yes, Papias in the early second century mentions that someone told him that John Mark had written a gospel, but Papias does not identify the gospel.

    2. Where was Mark written? We don’t know. Most scholars do not believe that Mark was written in Palestine, but let’s just say that it was. So the gospel is written 30-35 years after Jesus’ death in 30-33 AD. Historians tell us that the average life span of people in the first century was age 45. How many people would still be alive in 65 AD who had been old enough to witness the crucifixion of Jesus? If you were fifteen in the year 30 AD, you would now be fifty in 65 AD, above the average first century life span. And I would bet that even most fundamentalist Christians would believe that the disciples were older than fifteen at the time of the crucifixion. So let’s say that the disciples of Jesus were between twenty and thirty years old in 30 AD. That would make them fifty-five to sixty-five years old in 65 AD, if they were still alive! We have no proof that any of the disciples were still alive in 65 AD.

    3. Even if Mark were written in Palestine, 30 years after the death of Jesus, and there were still people alive who witnessed the resurrection, how soon was the gospel put into public circulation? Maybe the author wrote it for just one wealthy benefactor. Maybe he wrote it just for his small group of Christians, none of whom were old enough to remember the crucifixion. Maybe the gospel was not put into public circulation until after 70 AD. If true, the entire city of Jerusalem has been destroyed, most of its inhabitants are dead or carried off. If there had been a tomb of Jesus, who would now be alive to point out where it was. Remember, all this is assuming that the gospel was written in Palestine or at least circulated in Palestine in the 60’s or 70’s. For all we know, the gospel of Mark was written in Rome and copies of it did not arrive in Palestine until after 100 AD or later! Who would still be alive to say, “Hey, that’s not what happened!”?

    4. Jesus predicted the destruction of the Temple.

    Even if Jesus did prophesy/predict the destruction of the Temple, is this proof that he is God? If someone living in Europe in the mid 1930’s had predicted that Europe would be devastated by a second world war, that Germany would lose, and that Germany would be partitioned as punishment for starting the war, would we believe that this person was God? Just because someone predicts something that comes true is not proof that they are divine.

    5. Was the author of Mark an eyewitness to the Resurrection?

    The author of Mark never claims to be an eyewitness. He even writes in the third person. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the author was not an eyewitness but to say he was is simply a guess.

    B. The Gospel of Matthew

    1. Who wrote Matthew? The author does not tell us. The assignment of the apostle Matthew as author of this gospel is not mentioned until the late second century by Irenaeus.

    2. Most scholars believe that Matthew was written after Mark and that one can find 70% of the content of Mark within Matthew, often word for word.

    3. Where was Matthew written? We have no idea. Again, for all we know, it could have been written in a foreign country, far away from any eyewitnesses to the crucifixion. We have no idea when it was first circulated in Palestine for any elderly eyewitness to say, “Hey. That isn’t what happened!”

    4. Was Matthew an eyewitness to the Resurrection?

    The author of Matthew never claims to be an eyewitness. He writes in the third person. Again, not proof that he was not an eyewitness but to say he was is no better than a guess. The author of Matthew could simply have been writing a story he had heard third, fourth, or twentieth hand.

    C. The Gospel of Luke

    1. Who wrote Luke? The author of Luke does not say. No clear assignment of authorship of this gospel is given until the late second century by Ireneaus.

    2. Where was Luke written? We have no idea.

    3. The author of the Gospel of Luke also borrows heavily from the Gospel of Mark. Approximately 50-55% of the content of Mark can be found in Luke, frequently, word of word.

    4. Was the author of Luke an eyewitness?

    Luke very clearly states in the first few verses of chapter one that he is not an eyewitness. He states that he carefully investigated the writings of others (Mark and “Q”?) which he didn’t seem to find satisfactory, and that his sources had given him eyewitnesses testimony. However, he does not identify his sources. Were his sources eyewitnesses themselves or were his sources associates of eyewitnesses giving him “eyewitness” testimony from their source or sources, which would make Luke’s information, at best, second hand information.

    D. The Gospel of John

    Many conservative Christians believe that the author of John infers that he is John, the son of Zebedee, by using the term “the beloved disciple”. I personally (and many scholars) do not think that the author of John is referring to himself as the beloved disciple but is claiming to be recounting the story of the beloved disciple. But let’s assume that the author of the Gospel of John does claim to be John, the beloved disciple. What evidence do we have to determine if his claim is true? Do we have any contemporary Christian or non-Christian testimony that states that John, the son of Zebedee, wrote the Gospel of John? No. We do not. The assignment of authorship of this gospel is not made until the end of the second century, again, by Ireneaus. Papias makes no mention of this gospel.

    So just because someone claimed to be John, the beloved disciple, recounting an eyewitness account of the life, death, and supernatural resurrection of Jesus, should we take him at his word?? Many, many “gospels” were floating around the Mediterranean world in the late first and second centuries. The non-canonical Gospel of Peter may have been written even earlier than Mark! Yet, no one, including fundamentalists, believes that the apostle Peter wrote the Gospel of Peter. So, how do we know that the author of the Gospel of John, if he really was claiming to be John, was really John, the beloved disciple, son of Zebedee?? The fact is, that we have no more evidence that John wrote the Gospel of John than we do that Peter wrote the Gospel of Peter, other than Irenaeus’ declaration in 180 AD, in France, one hundred and fifty years after the crucifixion, that the four gospels we have today were written by the persons that he asserts, based upon evidence, that he never gives!

    E. What Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus do we have so far?

    We have four first century books describing the alleged facts of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, but only one, (maybe), claims to be an eyewitness testimony.

    Dozens of Romans senators claimed that the first Roman king, Romulus, was snatched up into heaven right in front of their eyes…but no Christian believes this eyewitness testimony.

    Thirteen men living in the early nineteenth century signed legal affidavits, swearing under oath, that they personally had seen the Golden Tablets delivered to Joseph Smith by the angel Moroni with their own two eyes, and three of these men signed affidavits that they had seen the angel Moroni himself with their own two eyes…but yet no Christian believes this eyewitness testimony.

    Thousands upon thousands of devout, pious Roman Catholics have claimed to have seen the Virgin Mary, alive, often many hundreds or even thousands together in the same location, at the same time…but no Protestant or evangelical Christian denomination believes this eyewitness testimony to be true.

    Yet, Protestant/evangelical Christians will believe as absolute fact, that a first century dead man walked out of his tomb after three days of decomposing, ate a broiled fish lunch with his friends, and then levitated into outer space based on the testimony of…one…,possible, eyewitness’ testimony!

    F. But what about the Apostle Paul?

    The testimony of Saul/Paul of Tarsus is used by Christians as secondary proof of the Resurrection of Jesus. Christians do not allege that Paul saw a resurrected Jesus prior to his Ascension into Heaven. In I Corinthians Paul makes this statement, “Have I not seen the Christ?”

    But when Paul says he has “seen” the Christ, what did he see actually? Well, Acts chapter 26 tells us exactly what Paul saw, in his own words: Paul saw a talking, bright light that told him that it (the talking, bright light) was Jesus. And, Paul very specifically states, that he saw this talking, bright light…”in a heavenly vision”.

    Talking bright lights are not resurrected bodies and visions are not reality.

    Yes, Paul came to believe that Jesus had been bodily resurrected, but there is no evidence that Paul believed this due to seeing a resurrected body. Paul was a Pharisee, and Pharisees believed in a bodily resurrection, so if Paul believed that the talking, bright light speaking to him on the Damascus Road was the executed Jesus, then he would of course believe that he had seen the (bodily) resurrected Jesus, even if he had actually not seen a body, but only a bright light!

    Conclusion:

    The belief that a first century dead man, named Jesus, walked out of his tomb with a new, superman-like body that could teleport between cities (Emmaus and Jerusalem), could walk through locked doors (the Upper Room), and could teleport into outer space (the Ascension) is based on one alleged eyewitness who wrote a book 40-60 years after the alleged event, whose authorship was not mentioned by any Christian or non-Christian until 150 years later, at the end of the second century, when it was finally called the Gospel of John…and…on the “heavenly vision” of a vision prone Jewish rabbi, Saul/Paul of Tarsus (who also said that he was teleported to the “third heaven”. What other writer of the Bible refers to the concept of multiple heavens?)

    And we are asked to believe that based on this “evidence”, Jesus of Nazareth now sits on a throne in the far reaches of outer space, ruling as our Almighty Lord and King of the Universe??

    The Romans and Mormons have better evidence for their supernatural tall tales than this tale! It is an ancient legend, folks. A fantastic, supernatural superstition. The chances that it is true are infintisimal.

  33. gary

    WOW – You gots lots of information there.
    Seems you spent a lot of time reading and studying different scholars.

    And you ask some excellent questions…
    That I do NOT have the ability to answer…

    “How many people would still be alive in 65 AD
    who had been old enough to witness the crucifixion of Jesus?”

    “Was the author of Mark an eyewitness to the Resurrection?”

    “Who wrote Luke?” “Was the author of Luke an eyewitness?”
    ———

    But, one thing I do know…
    For certain…

    *The Blood* of Jesus Christ cleanses me from ALL sin.

    And, for that I am forever thankful to…

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

  34. A. Amos:
    \
    If you want to believe in Jesus by faith, A., that is great. Just please do not preach it to other people and tell them if they don’t believe it they are going to roast in your god’s divine torture pit. Your belief may be comforting for you, but it has been used to persecute and murder millions of innocent people over the last 2,000 years. Until Christians come up with better evidence, it is a superstition and nothing more.

  35. gary

    Thank you…
    “If you want to believe in Jesus by faith, A., that is great.”

    And Much agreement when you write…
    “Just please do not preach it to other people and tell them if they don’t believe it they are going to roast in your god’s divine torture pit.”

    I do NOT. :-)

    I tend to stick with talking about why Jesus shed His Blood for us.

    When I understood Jesus shed His Blood and took away my sin out of LOVE for me…
    And I was forgiven… That understanding is precious… I was okay with God…
    NOT based on what I do… Based on what jesus has done for me… Shed His Blood…

    Seems, in my experience, most folks know they have sinned, done things they know are wrong…
    And often, they become weighed down with the bondage of guilt and shame… Like I was…

    Most folks become thankful when they find out His Blood cleanses their sin.
    And they are forgiven. They are okay with God.

    And without the shedding of Blood there is NO remission.

    WE, His Sheep, His Disciples, were NOT redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold,
    But with the precious Blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

  36. So if you pray and say “God give me peace.” He will not hear you?stop using His name! If we got words like Savior and Creator why don’t we use it? And stop saying satan not from respect to satan but avoiding him,you may not really think about him or anything when you say it but he will try to answer.

  37. By God, I think you’ve nailed it!

  38. I myself have a bad habit of saying God ____ I am trying to stop I do pray about it and ask God Holly spirit and I also call upon the name of Jesus for help,I have slowed it down.

    However my question is this have I by saying God ____ have or haven’t I committed the unforgettable sin?
    Ans now damned myself to Hell?

    I have had people say that he God through Jesus forgives all sin.
    But the bible says that this sin is unforgettable.
    I hope that he will take compassion upon me and guide me, I truly hope and pray that I have not damned myself to Hell I only have myself to blame if I have.

    Oh Lord, ask you to please here and now to forgive me for all of the sin and sin against you that I have done in my life I pray that you wash away all the wrong that I have done on the path that I took I won’t to take the path that you will have me take illuminate the path that you put me on let it shine ever so brightly let it spread like a brush fire from one to another let others see the change in me and let them won’t that fire that only you can instill.
    Oh God I Thank you. I am yours Thank you God the father ,Thank you Jesus, Thank you Holly spirit.
    Thank you God for sending your son so that we can find forgiveness through your you son Jesus Crist THANKYOU!!!!!!!!..
    .
    .ever your servant
    Joshua

  39. Big thanks to Gary.

  40. Although saying God **** can be viewed as a way in which many break the third commandment. There is a principle here that most do not understand. The bigger issue is people claiming to be Christians (God’s people) and not keeping His commandments. To claim to be a one of God’s begotten children and to not obey Him is taking his name upon yourself in vain. In other words it means nothing if we do not do as God says. As Christ stated “If you love me, keep my commandments.” And he was speaking of the Ten which even most people who profess to be Christian do not try to keep.

  41. ..in the Presence of God…which we will all stand ..someday..we need the blood of Jesus to cover every area of our
    Life ..which Christ Promised…that said…life on this Planet will not be and easy journey.at times.for any of us…I know this sounds weird…but from some reason..the more I prayed and tried to get closer to Christ…the more I became aware of my own sinful nature…and felt at times… throwing in the towel..on this whole business..because ..I am called to live Holy
    because God is …Holy…but yours truly…has day’s…in which I am not holy at..all…sometimes…the opposite is true.{ask my Wife}..so
    I am thankful for the study of.. Romans..by our beloved fellow Christian.St.Paul….he has felt the same pull we do…but here is this difference…First,..by God’s grace…I am .. convicted immediately..when..I screw up..we are not called
    to be perfect…our Human Nature will prevent this from ever happening In this Life..but by God’s love and Grace..we see the error..ask for forgivness..and ask Christ ..to help us do better..IF your not feeling this conviction..you have a ways to go in your Christian walk.. don’t give up..if you truly humble yourself before the Lord..he will come to you.also please remember our great accuser..will do all he can to make your feel worthless or bad and keep you from Christ..if that is happening to you.. rejoice..your on the right track..your..upsetting him and his Goal is to prevent this fellowship with Christ from happening..he accuses.. because.. he hates you and does not want you to drink from the living water that Our Lord offers..so….Don’t use Gods name in vain..cussing or other..but if it happens..ask for Gods forgiveness..and confess it in your nightly Prayers..and fight the good fight for Loving fellowship with Christ Our Savior..Amen..and of course… God Bless you..Geno

  42. “But, as we know, there is no Baal or Marduk.”
    It’s interesting how can you easily dismiss those gods, but not your particular god, Yahweh.
    Atheists, like theists, don’t believe in Zeus, Poseidon, Aphrodite, Apollo etc., but atheists go one god further.

    • We use preciseely teh same standard atheists use to dismiss those gods, a compelling alternative we choose to beleive in that we find to be superior.

      It’s like me asking why atheists also don’t reject the idea of no god existing. yes, its as silly as that.

  43. Personally, while I agree with the article, I take it a step further.
    I interpret the commandment to mean not taking on the name of God and then acting contrary to what that should mean. Like calling yourself a Christian, but then drinking, doing drugs, commuting adultery, or even just being a selfish person or hateful or a jerk or a liar. Because you have “taken” Jesus name, but your actions don’t reflect that. Therefore you have taken His name in vain and are misrepresenting Him. (Everyone sins of course and we all have to work at being better Christians, but some people who call themselves Christians have absolutely no morals or anything that reflect that statement, as though Christian were an ethnicity and not a statement of faith and belief)

  44. Good article, makes you think, but you too are incorrect. There is only one place that we, as the church today, “take” the name of the Lord. That is through baptism. Baptism is done without a thought in many churches, they don’t revere it for what it really is and represents. When we get baptized, we are taking on the name of Christ. We are buried with him, and our sins are washed away. This isn’t something to be taken lightly, but something that should be done after much repentance and prayer. You are entering into the new covenant with God through baptism. As this covenant doesn’t come through circumcision of the flesh, but of the spirit, through water baptism. Thus, when you do it just because it is something people do, or if you are forced to be baptized as a child, or if you get baptized with no intention living for God, you have effectively taken the name in vein. The good news is that this is something that you can remedy by turning your heart to him at any time and walking for God.

  45. Mncedisi Perfect June 27, 2015 at 2:17 am

    Thank you somuch for the wonderful lesson

  46. great article ! finally someone who understands .

  47. “Going against what we think is right (even if we’re wrong) is always wrong. We would be a law unto ourselves maybe even antinomian (against the moral law).”

    Doesnt this contradict romans 14?

    Romans 14 doesnt establish the standard as “what you think is right” but what you KNOW to be right. In essence if you have ANY doubt, and you do so, you are sinning in doing so.

    Also, antinomianism is opposition to law ALWAYS justified by the grounds that we have freedom in Christ. (what you may be referring to instead is gnosticism, which opposes morals).

Leave a Reply