Temple School of Taphim 4:
The Third Commandment
1. Beloved children and friends, I welcome you back to the House of the Lord in the Name of Jesus Christ, whose House this is. You have now passed through three sessions of this House and over the next two evenings will pass through the Fourth and Fifth Houses of Taphim.
2. I hope, that since you were last here, you have had time to meditate and think over the principles you have been taught so far. You will find that there is much to absorb and learn and therefore I must remind you of the importance of paying as close attention as you can in the sessions.
3. You have now been taught the difference between your physical body and your invisible spirit and the importance of learning to discern between the spirits of the people you will meet in your life. You have been taught the First Commandment which says: "I am the Lord your God...you shall have no other gods before Me." (Exodus 20:2-3; Taphim 2:36; 3:1).
4. You have learned a little about His nature -- His omnipotence, omniscience, faithfulness, unchangeableness, holiness, goodness, righteousness, trustworthiness, justice and love. You were also taught His name which is Yahweh, meaning "I am that I am" or "faithfulness and unchangeableness".
5. You have learned a little about the Second Commandment, which says: "You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love Me and keep My commandments" (Exodus 20:4-6; Taphim 3:17).
6. You were taught that anything which man sets up as more important than God is idolatry, and that the reason people commit idolatry is either because they do not know Him or because they are in open rebellion against Him. You were taught the importance of repentance so that you could receive the Holy Spirit in addition to the Light of Christ that you were born with.
7. You were taught that idolatry includes such things as the worship of money, power, sex, cars, husbands and wives, boyfriends and girlfriends, politicians, fantasy heroes, film and pop stars, and many other things. You were also warned not to identify Christ with the many different paintings, drawings and pictures you may have seen of Him as these are only images and not the real thing but to get to know Him by obedience to His commandments.
8. You also learned that the heart of the commandments is not the good things that you do but the love that lies behind them. You came to understand that the essence of all love and truth was therefore invisible, just as God is invisible, but that this love and goodness must be expressed in good works.
9. You were warned about the great danger of following the worlds customs and traditions which God counts as idolatry and rebellion against Him. You were taught to seek to please God first and not men, especially when they disagree with one another.
10. You were told of the blessing that will come to you and your children for a thousand generations is you are true and faithful to the commandments and of the great damage you can do to your children and grandchildren by setting a bad example. You came to understand the great power that this Holy Order possesses and how it can come to influence hundreds of thousands of people by the good example of its members, like a leaven in the dough.
11. Today, in this the Fourth House of Taphim, we are going to take a close look at the Third Commandment.
The Third Commandment
12. The Third Commandment is as follows: "You shall not misuse the Name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses His Name" (Exodus 20:7, NIV).
13. You will remember from previous sessions that the root of idolatry is putting other things before God in importance. In the 1960's a survey was taken amongst young college students in America which showed that they had two sets of values. When asked what were the most important things in their life, this was what they said: First, self; Second, family; Third, friends; Fourth, mankind in general; and Fifth, God. 90% of those who were interviewed said they believed in God but they nevertheless put God last on their list.
14. Since the 1960's, the idolatry of both the youth and adult populations of the world has got worse. As people have become more and more selfish, mankind and God have practically disappeared off their list of important things. Even amongst Christians who go to Church, God is still very much on the bottom of their list of priorities.
15. When we talked about the First and Second Commandments in the last two Houses of Tabal, we saw how important it was that we take care not to make a "god" out of anything, and putting it in place of the true God. We have also seen that God commands us to worship Him directly -- to walk with Him, to talk with Him, and to come and know and worship Him in spirit and truth -- and to avoid pictures, statues, or other images as aids to worship.
16. The third commandment deals with God's NAME. "You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses His Name." Most Christians assume that this commandment simply tells us not to swear using God's Name, but it is much more than this. To properly understand what this commandment means, we must understand what a name actually is.
17. When you were born your parents gave you a name. Very often we name our children either because we like the sound of a name or perhaps to honour a parent, a grandparent, or someone else in our family. Nowadays people name their children after pop stars, football heroes, places, names of the month, or for no other reason than they have to -- sometimes they pick names randomly out of a hat. Sometimes children become the victims of parental cruelty, as in the case of one girl who was given the twelve names of the men of her father's favourite football team.
18. But this is not how God intended men and women to select and use names for their children. If you study the Scriptures carefully, you will see that every personal name has a special meaning that usually has something to do with the personality of the person in question or promises that God has given him.
19. Sometimes Bible personalities had their names changed by the command of God. We read in the Book of Genesis of Abram which literally means "father of height" which God then later changed to Abraham, meaning "father of many nations". Abraham was destined to become just that -- a "father of many nations" (Genesis 17:5).
20. In the Scriptures God has many names and titles that reveal something of His nature to us. We have already seen that He is called Yahweh. A true name, therefore, tells us something about that person.
21. So how do we break the Third Commandment? By using the Name of God in such a way which denies the true meaning and character of God.
22. Let me give you an illustration. I am sure you have all been to a park before. If you go onto a piece of land which has bill boards saying "Park" you will know exactly what you are supposed and not supposed to do. Everybody knows that a park is a public place so you won't find the words, "Everyone one welcome" written under "Park".
23. Everybody knows that if the public is going to enjoy the park that people who use it must keep it tidy. That means you don't throw litter on the ground, build bonfires, erect tents, play loud music, or do other antisocial things that would destroy the purpose of the park.
24. So when people see the word "Park" on a noticeboard they not only know what it is for but the way they are supposed to conduct themselves though sadly many people nowadays, who think only of themselves, do not behave as they ought to. Thus a person who says: "I am going to the Park" and then goes and breaks the rules of a park is taking the name "park" in vain. They are misusing the word. For them it is not really a park because they do not honour it for which is was created.
25. In the same way, when men and women use the name of God in such a way which denies the true meaning and character of God, they misuse the Name of God and break the Third Commandment. They deny everything that the name stands for.
26. Whenever a civilization collapses its language collapses also. Today words are losing their meaning as they become deliberately spoiled by thoughtless people. Fifty years ago the word "gay" meant "happy" -- now it also means "homosexual". A "kid" used to be a baby goat -- now it is also a "child". The word "love" always used to mean thinking of others before self - nowadays it mostly means "sex". And the word "God" has virtually lost all its meaning altogether because men and women have openly disobeyed the Third Commandment.
27. God declared through the prophet Isaiah: "Listen to this, O house of Jacob who are called by the name of Israel and come from the line of Judah, you who take oaths in the name of the Lord and invoke the God of Israel -- but not in truth or righteousness..." (Isaiah 48:1, NIV). To whom was God speaking here? He was talking to those who use the name of God but fail to obey the revelation of God contained in His Name.
28. What do we mean by that? Well, someone who talks about a "park" but doesn't do what they are supposed to do in a park is failing to obey the rules contained in the name or word "park". Thus people who use the Name of God but don't obey the revelation in that Name are taking the Name in vain -- they are misusing it.
29. In some churches you will find religious people repeating the Name of God over and over again in sermons or prayers. They are taking God's Name in vain because what they are doing serves no good purpose.
30. The original commandment says: "The Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses His Name". The word "guiltless" in Hebrew can also be translated "clean" so that the last part of the Third Commandment can also be translated: "The Lord will not hold anyone to be clean who misuses His Name". Therefore one of the tests of spiritual cleanliness is the attitude of a person to the NAME of God. A person may therefore be seen to be spiritually clean or dirty in the way He uses the Name of God -- clean, if he uses the Name in truth -- dirty, if he uses it in vanity.
31. Children and friends, it is better for an unbeliever to drop the Name of God from his vocabulary than for a Christian who believes in God, who is always talking about Him, but denying Him in his daily life. That is how sacred God's Name is.
32. In the Lord's Prayer, which you will be taught in detail later on in your Temple Endowment, we are commanded to hold God's name as holy. Jesus, when He prayed to His Father, said: "Our Father, Who is in Heaven, may your Name be kept holy..." (Matthew 6:9, HO trans. - also see Luke 11:2). Do you keep God's Name holy? Are you careful how you use it? You should be. It is sacred. It is so sacred, in fact, that keeping it sacred is one of the ten cardinal points of God's eternal spiritual Law. A whole commandment is devoted to it.
33. There are many people today who say that the words "God", "Jesus", "Heavenly Father", "Lord", "Christ", and so on, are not important, but the meanings that lie behind them. This is a perversion of the truth. That is a bit like saying it doesn't matter if I injure your physical body so long as I don't harm your spiritual body. Taken to its logical conclusion, we would have to say that murdering someone wasn't important so long as their spiritual salvation hasn't been robbed.
34. It is very important for you to understand that the inner is more important than the outer -- the spirit more important than the flesh -- but you must never forget that both belong to God and both were bought by the Saviour on the Cross. Words are external forms of internal meanings and both are connected to one another.
35. As all psychologists know, if you repeat words often enough you soon change people inwardly. Sensible, loving, and caring people have been turned into monsters full of hate and murder just by repeating words over and over again. It is a kind of brainwashing. You must understand that all things are connected together. It is not good enough to say that you can say something bad but not mean it in your heart. If you say something bad often enough your heart will eventually change too.
36. If a devoted Christian starts swearing he will soon lose he respect for, and love of, God. Words are powerful. The Bible warns us to be very, very careful in what we say. Words are so important that the apostle John says that one of the Names of God is THE WORD (John 1:1). It says: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself" (John 1:1, Amplified Bible). The very first word that was ever spoken was the Name of God.
37. Understand also that God says in the Scriptures that we will be judged by every word that we have spoken in this life. Words are important and don't let anyone try to trick you into thinking that they aren't. We shall talk more about this when we come to look at another commandment about honouring parents.
38. There are some Christians who teach that in order to honour and revere God's Name we must pronounce it exactly right in the Hebrew or Greek. The fact of the matter is that God has not fully revealed how to pronounce His Name since the days of Moses and before. There is considerable debate amongst scholars as to whether God's Name should be pronounced Yahweh. Yaveh, Yahvah, and so on. The Bible does not give us the correct pronunciation because it only records the consonants of His Name, i.e. YHWH. There are no vowels in the original written Hebrew.
39. The same is true of Jesus, the exact pronunciation of which is uncertain. It probably sounded something like Yahushua though many scholars think it was Yaheshua, Yashua, Yeshua, or Yehushua. The word "Jesus" is Greek in origin, being Iesu. And the word God, which originally meant Good, is simply one of God's characteristics. The original in Hebrew is El, meaning "Mighty One". Sometimes He and the Godhead are called Elohim, meaning "The Mighty Ones".
40. The importance of God's or the Messiah's Name lies not in the sound but in the meaning. The Name of God indicates His character and authority. Throughout your journey in the Holy Order you will be taught the meaning of words and particularly names to that you can get to know the characteristics of God. Thus in revering the Name of God, of which there are many expressions, we honour His character, namely His holiness, goodness, love, power, and so on.
40. Many false religions teach that knowing certain sounds is important for salvation, and particularly the sound of the Name of God. You will be taught about sounds later and how they can be used for good and evil. But what matters to you and I is not sound but meaning.
41. If you honour the Name of God, then you honour His CHARACTER and OFFICE. It is these that we must take a look at now.
42. I told you a few moments ago that one of God's Names was Elohim. This is the Name by which God introduced Himself in the very first verse of the Bible which says: "In the beginning God (Elohim) created the heaven and the earth" (Genesis 1:1, AV). From this and other passages in the Scriptures we understand that there is one God but that there is more than one person in the Godhead or God Family.
43. Later on, in the same chapter in Genesis, we read: "Then God (Elohim) said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness..." (Genesis 1:26, NIV). We therefore see that more than one person shares the Name "God" or "Yahweh".
44. The New Testament teaches that God the Father created all things by and through Jesus Christ, who not only was with God in the beginning but was God from the beginning too (John 1:1-14; Ephesians 3:9). Understanding that God is a Family of more than one person is very important is we are to obey the Third Commandment. The Bible specifically identifies three Persons in this God Family -- the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Son, who is also called the Word, the Messiah, the Saviour, the Only Begotten, the Firstborn, the Lamb, Jesus, Christ, and Jesus Christ, is the Second member of the Godhead.
45. As you were taught in the Second House of Taphim, God is the Creator of all things. As the Creator, He is also the Ruler of His Creation. Immediately after creating the first man and woman, God gave them both a blessing and a commandment: "Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth and subdue it" (Genesis 1:28, AV). Beloved, the true God is RULER -- and you should obey Him because He made you and gives you every breath of air you breathe.
46. As you have also learned, one of God's Names is El Shaddai, meaning "Almighty God". God is the source of all power, might, and authority. His Name should therefore be kept holy or revered because of that.
47. One Name you will have heard alot of is Lord and is used both as a Name for God the Father and Jesus Christ. It is derived from the original Name, Yahweh, which, in addition to the meanings you have already been taught, also means "ever-living" or "eternal" (Genesis 21:33). When a person enters into a covenant with God to obey Him in all things, then they should call Him "Lord" to indicate that He is the ruler. To call Him "Lord" but break the covenant relationship without immediately repenting is therefore to break the Third Commandment and hold His Name in contempt.
48. God has always existed and He will always exist to carry out His blessings, His promises, and His covenant with His people.. He us Eternal -- the Self-Existent One.
49. Some people find it hard to think of God as being more than one Person, and this confuses them when they pray. But this need not be so. Firstly, Jesus teaches us to pray to the Father because He is the head of the God Family, and to do so in the Name of Jesus. It is astonishing how many churches pray to Jesus, thus dishonouring the Father. They break the Third Commandment.
50. This is in part because of a wrong understanding of the Godhead which they describe as the "Trinity", a doctrine which was never taught in the Bible or by the apostles. This doctrine teaches that the Three members of the Godhead are all the same in authority and therefore it doesn't matter which One you pray to.
51. Although the Bible teaches that Jesus has "all authority" (Matthew 28:18), this does not mean that His authority is absolute -- He is still subject to His Heavenly Father who gave it to Him. Jesus has received authority as God's representative and remains in subjection to the Father, in the same way that an ambassador sent with a government's authority remains in subjection to that government.
52. Another analogy might be that of a captain of a unit of troops on the battle field. His commander gives him the authority to judge the situation and make decisions whilst being obedient to the overall strategy or goal. Similarly a teacher is given authority to teach as he sees fit, so long as he works towards the agreed targets set by the headmaster. Jesus said that He did only what His Heavenly Father told Him to do; His authority was to do everything God the Father would have done personally if He had been physically present on the earth.
53. Obeying the Third Commandment means, therefore, that we have to understand the relationship of the Persons in the Godhead or God Family. So remember: we are commanded to pray to the Father in the Name of the Son -- we do not pray to the Son or the Holy Spirit. Only in this order of prayer and worship do we truly honour the Name of God.
54. Let us now see how we connect the Name of God with His attributes. Note how King David connects the Name of God with His eternal existence, mercy, power faithfulness, wisdom and love: "O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your Name in all the earth! You have set Your glory above the heavens. From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise...When I consider your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that You care for him?" (Psalm 8:1-4, NIV).
55. If God created the heavens, the earth, and man, no wonder God's Name and office are to be respected! Man, for all his intelligence, can't even create a single living cell, but our God has created the whole Universe. Man is insignificant -- nothing -- by comparison. God deserves our worship. Understanding this wonder, David said: "I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing praise to Your Name, O Most High (El Shaddai)" (Psalm 9:2, NIV).
56. Now notice why David will sing praises to God's Name: "My enemies turn back; they stumble and perish before You. For You have upheld my right and my cause; You have sat on Your throne, judging righteously" (Ibid.v.3-4). David praised God because God was His PROTECTOR and REDEEMER. God was the great omnipotent power to which David turned for help in time of need. He worshipped and praised God for this: "Those who know Your Name will trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You" (Ibid., v.10).
57. Please note the titles or attributes David ascribes to God in Psalm 18: "The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold" (Psalm 18:2, NIV). David worshipped the living God who protected, delivered and saved him from every trouble.
58. Children and friends, with so many false religious ideas around today, it is important for you to note that the prophet David, whom God loved and used in a dramatic way, did not think of Him as just an "inner presence" or an "idea" or a God who is "far away", but as a living, vital, active ruler over His creation and as the protector and sustainer of whose who serve Him.
59. You may not be kings or queens of countries at war but your need for God is no less than David's. You will face problems in life where only God's physical intervention will be able to save you. Times are getting worse as we approach the last day where chaos and violence will get worse in the world, where you will need to know God and rely on His protection as David did. Even now we need Him.
60. God is great yet the world is in open rebellion against Him. He warns in the prophet Isaiah: "Turn to Me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. By Myself I have sworn, My mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked: Before Me every knee will bow; by Me every tongue will confess. They will say of Me, 'In the Lord alone are righteousness and strength'" (Isaiah 45:22-24a, NIV - "confess" substituted for "swear in v.23b).
61. If you really understand who God is, then there should be no question in your mind: He is the One who must be worshipped and obeyed. No wonder we are to reverence Him and hold His Name holy.
62. The earth is filled with men and women who abuse the Name of Almighty God in many different ways. Nowadays in the world, which God called "Babylon", it is considered "cool" or sophisticated to swear by God's Name on some oath or condemnation. In the United States and Western Europe, and elsewhere, actors and actresses have for years repeated rude and vulgar oaths. They are put into film and TV scripts simply to "entertain" people by using God's Name in vain or in frivolous manner. The films get more and more vulgar and blasphemous as the years go by.
63. The scriptures make is very plain that the Lord will not suffer this to happen for very much longer. People are using their breath to curse and damn the Name of the very One who gives us our life and the very breath with which these individuals curse His Name.
64. All too commonly, an expression used is asking God to "damn" someone. Poor men and wealthy men alike are only too willing to swear in this vile fashion -- and what is worse, they think they are proving their "manhood" or getting away with something by doing it.
65. Yet it would be hard to find any normal human being anywhere who would like to see this phrase carried out with respect to his fellowman in all of its terrible meaning. This expression is trifling and playing around with the Name of God -- and asking Him to do something He has never intended to do.
66. Not only do those who swear and curse dishonour the Name of God, but they give the impression that God "damns" in a way that he never actually does. They are giving the innocent, and particularly children, a false idea of who God is. The Lord's work is that of salvation, and God will deprive no man of eternal life except that man by his own choice and will rejects God and His ways.
67. The bad language used by people put the wrong idea into peoples' minds that God arbitrarily "damns" men and women. Swearing in this manner is blasphemy -- it is a libel upon the very nature and character of God Himself. God's Word thunders His warning against this into our ears today: "You shall not misuse the Name of the Lord your God!"
68. Another way that God's Name is abused is when it is used in a light and frivolous manner in stories. Such use should be shunned as one would hell fire! People who use God's Name in such a manner are robbing themselves of that deep sense of veneration and reverence for God without which there is no real worship in spirit and truth.
69. The Lord has said: "This is the (person) I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembled at My Word" (Isaiah 66:2). Beloved, we must show deep respect and godly fear for the name of the Lord -- the Name which directly represents God's character, His Word, and His purposes.
70. Jesus said: "Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God's throne; or by the earth, for it is His footstool; neither by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King...Simply let your "Yes" be "Yes", and your "No", "No"; anything beyond this comes from the evil one" (Matthew 5:34-36, NIV). Instead, we are simply to affirm our integrity as New Covenant Christians by speaking the truth at all times. We, as a people, have no need to swear, since we have entered into covenants with God to live the life He has commanded.
71. All of you here have entered into baptismal covenants which will be explained to you later in the House of Tabal. As New Covenant Christians, whatever you say should be enough, and others should be able to depend on your word. If you are going to do something, just say that is what you are going to do, and do it without using the Name of God. As future members of the Holy Order you will be expected to be true to your word all times and never swear or take oaths to back up things you say.
72. God's Name is so holy that we are commanded not to invoke it or use it to back up what we say. Rather, let the simple word of a God-fearing New Covenant Christian be relied upon. It is worth more than a hundred thousand oaths. How many times businessmen, politicians, and other men and women of importance in society have taken oaths in God's Name in court to then publicly lie, is beyond counting -- their oaths are worthless and blasphemous.
73. Beloved, do not swear, and do not sustain those that do by listening to their coarse jokes or stories. Show your disapproval by going away, or by letting them know of the judgment they are bringing upon themselves by their careless use of words.
74. To conclude your instruction today, I wish to tell you about another way in which God's Name is not kept holy, and this time by believers. It is a warning both to you and to all who profess to believe and worship God. Jesus asks this very serious question: "Why do you call Me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?" (Luke 6:46, NIV). The Christian man or woman, boy or girl, who calls upon the name of God in prayer but who is willfully disobedient, is committing a far greater sin than the man or woman who admittedly goes the way of the flesh and at least refuses to pretend otherwise.
75. The hypocrisy of religious people is infinitely worse than the profanity of the street, because the former is open rebellion against the Name of God. The honesty of unbelievers is better than the dishonesty of believers. As you will learn later in your temple endowment, knowledge beings with it great responsibility and accountability. That means you can't run away from the truth once you know it -- you can't pretend it doesn't exist.
76. Let us also be clear that blaspheming the Name of Jesus Christ is not different from blaspheming the Name of God, because Jesus is God. The Apostle Paul was inspired to write to the Hebrews: "But about the Son (Jesus) He says: 'Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever'" (Hebrews 1:8, NIV). Thus the throne and office and Name of Jesus Christ must be respected and reverenced.
77. As with God the Father, Christ's name represents His character and His great office as Saviour, our Head, and our coming King of kings. For God the Father has given Christ a name, "far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that can be named, not only in the present age but also in the one to come" (Ephesians 1:21, NIV - modified by LT).
78. Children and friends, the person who professes to honour God the Father and Jesus Christ with his lips, and yet denies the will of God in his life, is committing a far greater crime against God than the man who openly blasphemes and doesn't claim to honour God. The most subtle and awful from of breaking the Third Commandment is that of religious hypocrisy.
79. There were people like that in Jesus' day. To these He said: "'These people honour Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me. They worship Me in vain; their teachings are but the rules taught by men.' You have let go of the commandments of God and are holding on to the traditions of men" (Mark 7:6-7, NIV; Isaiah 29:13).
80. Beloved children and friends, may God grant you the willingness to obey the will and law of your Creator. May you learn to worship Him in spirit and in truth nd may you learn to honour and reverence His great and holy Name -- for it represents His creative power, His wisdom, His faithfulness, His love and kindness and patience and infinite mercy. It represents the character and office and dignity of the great God who sits at the head of the entire universe. Amen.
Question and Answer Session
81. We will now have our question and answer session according to the rules that you were taught before (Taphim 1:49; 2:88). I will now take your questions.
(Questions and answers -- max. 30 minutes)
82. Beloved, we will return here tomorrow for the Fifth House of Taphim in which we shall be discussing the Fourth Commandment. I hope that you will return with a new awareness and reverence for the name of God.
83. May the Lord bless you and keep you safe until we meet here again. Amen.
First created on 10 July 1998
Last updated on 10 July 1998
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