2nd Commandment

“You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I The Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate Me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love Me and keep My Commandments.” (Exodus 20:4-6 RSV)

I had a little trouble with this one I’ll admit, but I found a few commentaries and sites that seemeed to help me explain it.

Commentary  from Bible Gateway:

The second commandment refers to the worship we are to render to the Lord our God. It is forbidden to make any image or picture of the Deity, in any form, or for any purpose; or to worship any creature, image, or picture. But the spiritual import of this command extends much further. All kinds of superstition are here forbidden, and the using of mere human inventions in the worship of God.

Another sites that was helpful:

“You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I The Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate Me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love Me and keep My Commandments.” (Exodus 20:4-6 RSV)

Religious Statues and Pictures

Violation of the Second Commandment takes two general forms; first, the worship of false gods by means of religious statues or pictures, and second, the worship of the True God by means of religious statues or pictures.

The Ten Commandments The first form of idolatry is rendered obviously wrong by The First Commandment which makes plain not to worship false gods. The First Commandment covers the false-god aspect of the Second Commandment.

The second form of idolatry should also be seen as obviously wrong to anyone with a Bible, and who reads it, and who reads it with an attitude of truly obeying God, but millions of people who merely claim (to their eventual regret, if they don’t repent, see I Did It My Way…) to be good Christians defy God by having religious statues or pictures in their churches or homes. The true God is not a picture, the true God is not a statue, and as the Scriptures plainly state, by God’s own Word, the true God is not to be worshiped or prayed to by the use of statues or pictures. It is a blasphemous insult to Almighty God to portray Him in such a lowly and grossly-inaccurate way!

Imagine, if when someone wanted to talk to you, they made themselves a hollow, lifeless plaster doll, that they said represented you, brought it into your presence and instead of talking to you directly, they talked to the lifeless plaster doll, as if it were you, all the while ignoring the real you who was right there with them. Would you think someone who did that was very foolish? Would you be offended by someone who “sees you” as a plaster dummy? And if, after your telling them that you don’t like them doing that, and emphatically telling them not to do it, they kept doing it anyway, would you become angry with them? By His own words, it makes God very angry too. You aren’t a dummy (unless, after you’ve read this, you keep any religious statues or images that you happen to have), and God isn’t a dummy either. If you have any such religious statues or pictures as your lawful personal possession, destroy them immediately! (do not touch anything that is someone else’s property, but show them this study if you can – everyone is responsible for themselves before God after they know the Truth).

The same holds true for using statues or images to worship or pray to the dead saints of the past (just as it’s wrong to worship or pray to the living saints of the present – see What Is A Saint?). Only God is to be prayed to or worshiped. All of the saints of the past were merely people the same as anyone today, and all of the dead saints of the past cannot hear anything, or do anything, for anyone because they are dead at the moment. Dead does not mean “alive and dead,” dead means dead (see What Happens When You Die?). If they were not dead, if the dead were already alive, there would be no need for a future resurrection of the dead (see Resurrections). Again, if you have any such religious statues or pictures as your lawful personal possession, destroy them immediately! (and again, do not touch anything that is someone else’s property, but show them this study if you can – everyone is responsible for themselves before God after they know the Truth)

What Does Your Bible Warn About The Use Of Statues And Pictures For Worship?

God will shame and condemn those who use statues or images for worship:

 

“Is there a God besides me? There is no Rock; I know not any.” All who make idols are nothing, and the things they delight in do not profit; their witnesses neither see nor know, that they may be put to shame. Who fashions a god or casts an image, that is profitable for nothing? Behold, all his fellows shall be put to shame, and the craftsmen are but men; let them all assemble, let them stand forth, they shall be terrified, they shall be put to shame together.” (Isaiah 44:8-11 RSV)

God is not made of wood, plastic, or cement – God is not to be represented by wood, plastic, or cement:

 

“Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the Deity is like gold, or silver, or stone, a representation by the art and imagination of man. The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now He commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has fixed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom He has appointed, and of this He has given assurance to all men by raising Him from the dead.” (Acts 17:29-31 RSV)

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10 thoughts on “2nd Commandment

  1. Hi, Robin

    Interesting and needed post. I’m not sure I’m completely getting what you’re saying, though. I’m with you on icons or anything used as an icon (up to and including the “host”). Are you also saying that a picture representing Jesus is wrong whether or not it is used for worship? Like, for example, the pictures in a children’s bible story book or the pictures you might find in a gospel tract or even those painted by Rennaisance artists, many if not most most of which were not intended for, nor were used as objects or facilitators of worship. I’m not clear on whether you’re condemning only idolatry or just any representation of the deity, etc.

    God bless, Cindy

  2. Thanks Cindy for the reply. These arn’t actually my thoughts, they are off anoother website. But I see how it could be confussing. I took it to mean that worshipping statues and pictures, praying to them and using them as aids so to speak. I think such things take away from our true relationship with God and conneting with Him. The ues of say Jesus on a Bible is not wrong, it is serving a visual effect, but if we were to take that image and pray to it, worship it, or a statue, ect…we are really not connecting with God, but are trying to find favor with him through such means. Worshipping God comes from within and from the deepest parts of us. We should not be trying to seek his favor or a relationship with him through any other means. For example, I came from a Catholic backround, which I am now a born again Christian; but Catholics use allot of prayer cards, rosery, and status to aid in prayer. I do not agree with such things in my own personal oppion bc/ what I find happening is that those things provide a false sense of security. Perhaps it is helpful for some, but I believe being in The Word of God and letting Him speak to you through it is probably the best way. Also, I am a strong person of prayer and fasting, and see these also as Biblical means of worship to God. Think about what is Biblical…I’ve never heard of a disciple using a prayer card, statue, or rosery, and if they were to ever do such things, I’d think they’d be in some hot water with God. Just my rant… Hope that helped to clairify.

  3. I just pray that lots of people may have a chance to read this especially here in the Philippines. People loved to create graven images and in fact they export it abroad.

    This is one of the greatest commandment and it ruins the Holiness of God.

    I will help you share this post… 🙂

  4. Wonderful post . . . being partly phsyical creatures it is easy for people to put that physicality onto God. This verse came to mind as I read your post . . . 2 Corinthians 5:16 “Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer.” I think it came to mind because often people make Jesus Christ to be too human now – when He no longer is flesh — another way of not honoring Him as He is.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Rachel

  5. Great post, Robin.

    Idolatry is something that is a really big issue in this day and age.

    I’m glad you have worked through this and have a clear understanding of what we shouldn’t be doing!

  6. Great article, hope you don’t mind if I reference it. My new blog brings your thoughts up to date with current examples viewed with the new testament gift of “discernment of spirits”. Over time we will cover all sorts of topics. For example it is not unusual to find 600 demonic spirits hanging around a single religious icon sales booth.

    http://spiritfreeshop.tumblr.com/

    see you there

    Larry

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