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Images and Idols
by Wayne Blank
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 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)
This Week's Bible Quiz
The Old Testament Books are categorized as historical, poetical or prophetic (see Old Testament Fact File). How are the books below classified?
For the answers to this June 20 2000 quiz, see the Bible Quiz Answers Page