Graven Images

Exodus 20:4-5
4 "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. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,

Deuteronomy 4:16
so that you do not become corrupt and make for yourselves an idol, an image of any shape, whether formed like a man or a woman,

Deuteronomy 4:23
Be careful not to forget the covenant of the LORD your God that he made with you; do not make for yourselves an idol in the form of anything the LORD your God has forbidden.

Deuteronomy 12:1-7
1 These are the decrees and laws you must be careful to follow in the land that the LORD, the God of your fathers, has given you to possess as long as you live in the land. 2 Destroy completely all the places on the high mountains and on the hills and under every spreading tree where the nations you are dispossessing worship their gods. 3 Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones and burn their Asherah poles in the fire; cut down the idols of their gods and wipe out their names from those places. 4 You must not worship the LORD your God in their way. 5 But you are to seek the place the LORD your God will choose from among all your tribes to put his Name there for his dwelling. To that place you must go; 6 there bring your burnt offerings and sacrifices, your tithes and special gifts, what you have vowed to give and your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks. 7 There, in the presence of the LORD your God, you and your families shall eat and shall rejoice in everything you have put your hand to, because the LORD your God has blessed you.

I was debating with a Catholic about the images they worship. Very clearly God has deemed what they practice as EVIL. This persons response shocked me. He sent me pictures of images God commanded the Jews to make. The Temple, the Ark of the covenant, the bronze sea w/ the twelve oxen as the foundation, and the serpent on a pole. The reason I was shocked was the implication that God violated His own command thereby justifying catholic idols.

I did not have an answer to this question and I was troubled by that. I went straight to Jesus, in prayer, and asked why He commanded the Jews to make images when He condemned such things. His answer was, as always, magnificent and simple. The Jews were commanded to make images of things that did not exist yet, in heaven, on earth, or in the sea. They were commanded to make images of things that would exist in the future.

I knew God could never violate His Word. I was reminded of what Paul revealed.

2 Corinthians 4:18
While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

1 Corinthians 15:44-46
44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45So it is written: "The first man Adam became a living being"; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit.

46 The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual.

Paul describes a foundational principle of God. God has always foretold what He is going to do by making a parable or physical example before the spiritual, eternal reality, exists.

Like an architect who builds a scale model of something they are going to build in the future. It is an image of something that does not exist.

Hebrews tells us that God commanded Moses to build everything according to the blueprint God showed him.

Hebrews 8:5
5 They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: "See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain."

Moses made the physical things that illustrated what God would do in the future. God has removed and replaced all that Moses did. Every image Moses was commanded to make no longer exists and was removed when Jesus came and established the eternal things they represented. If they existed now they would violate Gods Word, because, what they foretold, NOW exists.

Hebrews describes how the first covenant illustrated, or foretold the new covenant. The images of the first covenant proclaimed a future covenant.

Hebrews 9:7-15
7 But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance. 8The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the (true) Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still standing. 9 This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper. 10They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings external regulations applying until the time of the new order.

Then, by Jesus Christ, the things the images of that first covenant foretold, became a reality. They now exist,established by the blood of Christ, eternally, in heaven.

11 When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation. 12He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption. 13The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. 14How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! 15 For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.

Deuteronomy 12:1-5
1 These are the decrees and laws you must be careful to follow in the land that the LORD, the God of your fathers, has given you to possess as long as you live in the land. 2 Destroy completely all the places on the high mountains and on the hills and under every spreading tree where the nations you are dispossessing worship their gods. 3 Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones and burn their Asherah poles in the fire; cut down the idols of their gods and wipe out their names from those places. 4 You must not worship the LORD your God in their way.

Jesus is the fulfillment of this next verse.

5 But you are to seek the place the LORD your God will choose from among all your tribes to put his Name there for his dwelling. To that place you must go;

JESUS is the dwelling place of God that bears His name.

Philippians 2:9-10
9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

Solomon vivedly describes how the physical temple in Jerusalem illustrated the future Messiah. The Lord Jesus Christ is the reality of the temple image. The Physical temple no longer exists because The Lord Jesus replaced it forever.

The moral to the story is: any "image" you bow down to of anything that exists is EVIL and contrary to God.

Revelation 9:20-21
The rest of mankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood idols that cannot see or hear or walk. 21Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts.

Praise Jesus!!!

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