The Second Commandment (Continued)

You Are Not to Take the Name of Jehovah Your God in Vain, Because Jehovah Will Not Hold Guiltless Someone Who Takes His Name in Vain

The nature of names in the spiritual world makes it clear that someone’s “name” does not mean her or his name alone but also her or his full nature. In that world, people all stop using the names they were given in baptism in this world and the names they received from their parents or their family. All there are named for what they are like. Angels get a name that indicates the moral and spiritual life they have. In fact, the Lord was referring to angels in the following passages:

Jesus said, “I’m the good shepherd. The sheep hear the shepherd’s voice and he calls his sheep by name and leads them out.” (John 10:3, 11)

The same holds true in the following passage:

I have a few names in Sardis who have not defiled their clothes. Upon the person who conquers I will write the name of the city New Jerusalem and my new name. (Revelation 3:4, 12)

“Gabriel” and “Michael” are not the names of two people in heaven–these names mean all the angels in heaven who have wisdom about the Lord and who worship him. The names of people and places in the Word do not mean people and places either; they mean aspects of the church.

Even in our world a “name” means more that just a name–it also means what someone is like. People’s natures get attached to their names. We often say, “They are doing it for their name” or “to make a name for themselves.” “Those are big names” means that those people are famous for characteristics they possess, such as creativity, scholarship, achievements, or the like.

It is common knowledge that people who insult or libel other people’s names are in fact insulting or libeling the actions of the other people’s lives. The two are conceptually linked. Such attacks ruin the reputation of people’s names. Likewise, someone who says the name of a monarch, a duke, or a great person with disrespect also dishonors the person’s majesty and dignity. It is equally true that someone who mentions anyone’s name with a tone of contempt also disparages the deeds of that person’s life–this applies to everyone. Every country has laws that forbid us to abuse, attack, or insult anyone’s name (meaning anyone’s nature and reputation).

from True Christianity, Section 300

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