Image Or Idol

Q. Re the picture of the hooded (“shepherd”?) on your home page: is that supposed to be Jesus Christ? I’m sure we don’t need to have an IMAGE of our Savior. Perhaps the Ten Commandments even forbids it …? I tend to associate images with the worship in the Roman church. I look forward to your response as I count the issue as important.

A. Here’s what the commandment says.

“You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them for I the Lord your God am a jealous God.” (Exodus 20:4-5)

God Himself ordained that images of cherubim be made for the mercy seat (Ex. 25:18 & 2 Chron. 3:10) and woven into the veil in the tabernacle. (Ex. 26:31) There were images of palm trees (2 Chron. 3:5) and pomegranates (2 Chron. 3:16) through out the Temple. The bronze laver rested on the back of cast images of 12 bulls (2 Chron. 4:3-5) There were images of almond blossoms and flowers carved into the menorah (Ex. 37:17-24)

These were all carved (graven) images and likenesses, but since none of them was worshiped as an idol they were not violations of the commandment.

The artist’s rendering of the Lord on our site is not an idol either. We do not bow down to worship it. It’s a picture. If images themselves were forbidden, then every book, photograph, drawing, painting, movie, video, TV show, etc, etc, ever made would be a violation of the commandment. It’s when the image becomes an idol and you bow down to worship it that you’ve violated the commandment.

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