The Second Commandment
Thou shalt not take the name of Jehovah thy God in vain, for Jehovah will not hold him innocent who takes His name in vain.
AC 8882. That this signifies profanations and blasphemings of the truth and good of faith, is evident from the meaning of "the name of God," as being everything taken together by which the Lord is worshiped, thus all the truth and good of faith... and from the meaning of "taking in vain," as being to profane and blaspheme. By "taking the name of God in vain" is properly meant to turn truth into evil, that is, to believe that it is truth, and nevertheless to live in evil; and it also means to turn good into falsity, that is, to live in a holy way, and yet not believe. Both are profanation...
When a man believes in one way and lives in another, truth and evil, or good and falsity, are conjoined. Thus the things that are of heaven with man are conjoined with those which are of hell. This conjunction cannot be dissolved, and thereby the man be healed, except by a tearing apart that carries away with it everything of spiritual life; and therefore these persons are sent into the most grievous hell of all, where they are direfully tormented.
AC 8882:3. ...That such a state with man cannot be healed, thus cannot be forgiven, is signified also by the words which immediately follow, namely, "Jehovah will not hold him innocent who takes His name in vain," by which is meant that it cannot be forgiven.
AC 8882:4. By "taking the name of God in vain" is also signified blasphemy, which takes place when those things which are of the Word, or of the doctrine of faith, thus which are holy, are held in derision, and are reduced to unclean earthly things, and thus are defiled....
Apocalypse Explained 960:15. There are two things by which heaven is closed to the people of the church. One is the denial of the Lord’s Divinity, and the other is the denial of the holiness of the Word; and this is for this reason that the Lord’s Divine is the all of heaven, and the Divine truth, which is the Word in the spiritual sense, is what makes heaven. This makes clear that he who denies the one or the other denies that which is the all of heaven, and from which heaven is and exists, and thus deprives himself of communication and thence of conjunction with heaven...
AE 963:2. He who abstains from profaning the name of God, that is, the holiness of the Word, by contempt, rejection, or any blasphemy, has religion; and such as his abstinence is, such is his religion. For no one has religion except from revelation, and with us revelation is the Word. Abstinence from profaning the holiness of the Word must be from the heart, and not merely from the mouth. Those who abstain from the heart live from religion...
Spiritual Diary 1304. Concerning ambiguous expressions concerning Holy Scripture
Some from custom, others from contempt, have acquired the habit of using things of Holy Scripture in familiar conversation as expressions of derision or as jokes, supposing that by so doing they jest with good taste. But such expressions [from Scripture] are thereby attached to their bodily ideas, and in the other life are very detrimental to them. For such things introduced by habit into their worldly and bodily ideas, however numerous they are, must be separated in the other life, and this is usually brought about by means of various kinds of tearing apart, as I know from experience. Let such persons, therefore, take heed to themselves lest they mingle holy things with profane, and so profane those which are holy. For similar ideas return; that is to say, when the worldly ideas occur, holy things also stick with them, and when holy ideas occur, those that are profane also adhere to them, which is the reason that they must be separated. This may indeed seem remarkable to some, especially to those who do not comprehend how ideas are thus joined together. But let it be sufficient to warn against these things, for they can scarcely be cured without painful methods.
Questions and Thoughts for Reflection
- The second commandment is a warning against “profanation,” which means mixing holy things with unholy things. Can you think of examples of such mixing or profanation?
- Why can’t the Lord God forgive profanation, or in other words, why does profanation close heaven to a person?
- Sometimes books and magazines use Scriptural references in a frivolous way. The writers probably think of Scripture no differently than Shakespeare or other familiar expressions in our culture. Are they not as guilty, since they don’t know or believe better?
- Can you see why the Lord gave us His Word wrapped and hidden in parables and history, etc.?