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"Thou shalt not make any graven image"
by Wayne Blank
The Second Commandment
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 (see "Thou shalt have no other gods before Me"). 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 (see also What Would Mary Really Say About Idolatry?). 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 the Bible warn about the use of statues and pictures for worship?
God will shame and condemn those who use statues or images for worship:
"Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? Ye are even My witnesses. Is there a God beside Me? Yea, there is no God; I know not any. They that make a graven image are all of them vanity; and their delectable things shall not profit; and they are their own witnesses; they see not, nor know; that they may be ashamed. Who hath formed a god, or molten a graven image that is profitable for nothing? Behold, all his fellows shall be ashamed: and the workmen, they are of men: let them all be gathered together, let them stand up; yet they shall fear, and they shall be ashamed together." (Isaiah 44:8-11 KJV)
God is not made of wood, plastic, or cement - God is not to be represented by wood, plastic, or cement:
"Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because He hath appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world [see When Will You Be Judged?] in righteousness by that man whom He hath ordained; whereof He hath given assurance unto all men, in that He hath raised Him from the dead" (Acts 17:29-31 KJV)