Topic: Idolatry   Type:   Article Author:  A. Allison Lewis


You shall not make unto you 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: You shall not bow down yourself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me and showing mercy unto thousands of those who love Me and keep My commandments [EXO 20:4-6].

The making and using of images is idolatry. "But that's your interpretation." Oh! Well I do not know anyone who can read a newspaper who even needs to check a dictionary to know what the very simple words of this commandment mean. In the second place, it does not make any difference what translation of the original Hebrew text you use—it still comes out you shall not make. Are there any explanatory phrases attached? Yes, indeed! Each one is used to build an unbreakable and all inclusive defense around the simple command, you shall not make any graven image.

Whether one builds an argument by simply saying that it is not idolatry is beside the point. The Bible says much about idolatry, but right here in the Ten Commandments it simply states you shall not MAKE an image. Whether the image is an accurate representation, a stick figure (modern art) representation or a picture of some object and it is used in worship it is condemned in this commandment. This commandment also plainly says, you shall not bow down yourself to them, nor serve them.

The use of images is sometimes justified by saying, "We do not worship the image, it is simply used to focus our attention on the reality behind the image." This is only an attempt to justify disobedience to a plain command. That command is very simple—you shall not make and you shall not bow down yourself to them.

Many people knowingly and willingly disobey plain commands of God and think that they do it for a good reason and cause. For example king Saul said, the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen to sacrifice unto the Lord your God. The prophet Samuel in reply said: Wherefore then did you not obey the voice of the Lord, but did fly upon the spoil, and did EVIL IN THE SIGHT OF THE LORD? ... Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to harken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry [1SA 15:15, 19, 22-23]. God makes His commands plain and expects them to be obeyed.

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This Page Last Updated: 03/30/99 A. Allison Lewis