The listing of the Ten Commandments of God is found two places in the Old Testament, Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy chapter 5. I quote below from Exodus the three verses that comprise the 2nd of the 10 Commandments. I have underlined the two main clauses that give the two main relative points it contains.
“Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:
Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.”
In our last issue, we discussed the first of God’s Commandments which deals with the subject of idolatry. In it God plainly condemns the worship of any other being in heaven or on earth, by simply saying, “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.”
As the first deals with the subject of our worship, the second deals with the manner of that worship. We are not to use any images of any type in our worship of God. As the Lord Jesus said, “God is Spiri
t, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:24) When we come to the true God in worship we must not have any type of carnal images before us. Even an image made to represent the Lord Himself is plainly forbidden by God’s clear commandment.
I understand that many who will read this brief article will not agree, for you have been taught very differently. Many centuries after the simple days of the beginning of the Lord’s true churches, paganism began to creep in to the churches of God. One of the things that came with it was the use of images and relics. Today millions misunderstand simply because they do not know the truth of God’s Word.
Allow me to illustrate what I mean. Many of you have been taught from the Baltimore Catechism. In its discussion of the Ten Commandments, it simply skips the 2nd Commandment of God. Paragraphs numbered 345 and 346 have the following question and answer.
“345. Q. What is the second Commandment?
A. The second Commandment is: Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
346. Q. What are we commanded by the second Commandment?
A. We are commanded by the second Commandment to speak with reverence of God and of the saints, and of all holy things, and to keep our lawful oaths and vows.”
There are two very startling observations to be made about this answer. The inclusion of reverence “of the saints, and of all holy things” has absolutely nothing to do with God’s commandment. Read again the simple command of God above. It deals with reverencing the name of God and of the taking of oaths. My second observation, and an even more serious error, is the fact that this is the third, not the second, of God’s Ten Commandments. The second is passed over as a part of the first.
In order to end up still with Ten Commandments, the tenth is awkwardly divided into two. This had to be done in order to hide the truth of God’s Word, so that they could continue to promote the use of images in the “churches” that use this catechism.
I am aware of and have read many of the very clever arguments used by the “learned doctors of the Church” to justify her use of images and relics. But as the old saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” so I will leave it up to the judgment of the reader. Simply look at the pictures below, and read the simple unaltered commands of God and judge for yourself.
There is absolutely no room in this commandment that allows the use of any image of any kind in the worship of the true God of the Holy Scriptures, neither in any church that claims to be Christian, nor by any individual who desires to follow the Word of God.
As we said in our previous articles, it is not my intention to offend or to cause strife. But as one who loves both the truth of God and my fellow man, I must speak the truth. As we plan to go through all ten of God’s Holy Commandments given through Moses at Mount Sinai, we must make application to our readers. The question for each of us to ask ourselves is this, ‘Do I desire to please God and obey His Word, or am I content to follow the inventions of men?’
Let me point out that the motives of those who use graven images to worship the true God of heaven and earth, is not being judged. Only God can see and know the heart. What I am endeavoring to point out is that the bowing before images is forbidden by God’s clear command. There are examples in the Holy Bible that show us the danger of even the innocent making of such images without the intent of making them idols. One is taken from the life of Gideon, a man used of God to deliver God’s people miraculously from the Midianites. After the battle he asked of the men of Israel to give him the gold earrings of the prey, from which he made a golden ephod. [An ephod is a type of vestment used by priests in Old Testament times.] After the death of Gideon we read this sad verse of Holy Scripture, “and all Israel went thither a whoring after it: which thing became a snare unto Gideon, and to his house.” (Judges 8:27) The ephod was never intended to become an object of worship, but it did become so. The brazen serpent made by Moses at God’s command also became an object of worship in later years. (2 Ki. 18:4) What these examples teach us is the propensity of mankind towards idolatry. Thus God, by His grace and mercy, gave this command as a restraint from this sin for His people. As we look around the world today we see how man is guilty of breaking this holy command of God. The heathen around the world worship trees, animals, and images of every kind. Many who call themselves Christian are equally guilty in bowing before an image made by men’s hands. It matters not if it is an image made to represent Peter, Joseph, Mary, or our Lord Jesus. God’s Word says, “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:
Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God.”
The commandment goes beyond this to forbid also all manner of worship contrary to the principles laid down in God’s Word. There are certainly many places of worship that do not have images, who yet are far from the Biblical principles, and thus are in violation of God’s Word.
Allow me to remind you, that as the First Commandment regulates that no other God is to be worshiped, so the Second Commandment regulates HOW God is to be worshiped. As the Lord Jesus Himself said, “God is Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.”
I want to hasten on to point out that not one of us can boast of keeping all of God’s Holy Law. I am guilty. You are guilty. All of us, as the Bible points out, “. . . have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; . . . There is none righteous, no, not one:” (Rom. 3:10,23) This is what sin is, “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” (1 Jo. 3:4)
The Good News is, that this is exactly why the Lord Jesus came into the world; “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” (Mt. 1:21) Jesus perfectly kept the Law as the sinless Son of God, on our behalf. Yet despite the fact that death had no claim upon Him, He gave His life and shed His precious blood as perfect atonement for all the sins of all His people. His people are those who
repent of their sins and cast themselves upon Him alone for salvation, trusting wholly on Him. As sinners cast themselves and their sins upon Jesus, believing He has taken them all away, Jesus gives to that sinner His perfect righteousness. On January 30 I will celebrate 38 years since I experienced the joy of God’s saving of my sinful soul. Since that time I have been able to say, upon the authority of God’s own Word, “My sins are gone, and I have the very righteousness of Jesus Christ.” I know, therefore, that when I die, I will go immediately to be with God in Heaven. Do you, my Friend, have this assurance? This can only be found in Jesus Christ. Please read carefully the following verses from God’s Word.
“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
“For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.”
Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.”
I urge you therefore, to repent of your sin and cast yourself wholly upon the Lord Jesus Christ, trusting in His finished work of salvation. There is nothing you can or need to do. He has done it all.
If we can be of any help to you in knowing the truth of God in Christ, please contact us.