— God is a JEALOUS God so that HE alone is to be worshiped, we must not make for ourselves images.
— God’s GLORY is not to be diminished through the making of things that represent things that are in the heavens, upon the earth, or under the earth.
The second commandment which Jehovah gave to Israel said to have no images of Him. The commandment is found in Exodus 20:4-6 and Deuteronomy 5:8-10 which says not to worship God or depict God through images. We are not to make a sun image, or man or beast image, nor an image of a fish or anything else under the sea.
And Jehovah makes it clearer in Deuteronomy 4:15-19 which says, “15 So watch yourselves carefully, since you did not see any form on the day the LORD spoke to you at Horeb from the midst of the fire, 16 so that you do not act corruptly and make a graven image for yourselves in the form of any figure, the likeness of male or female, 17 the likeness of any animal that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the sky, 18 the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the water below * the earth. 19 “And beware not to lift up your eyes to heaven and see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, and be drawn away and worship them and serve them, those which the LORD your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven.”
Therefore we see that because Israel was shown no “form” of God when His glory appeared, therefore they were prohibited from depicting Him in the form of an image.
We must note that it is the pagans who worship their idols. They are the ones who make their gods to be an animal or earth manifestation. And when they do, the remove the glory of God. They cheapen the true God. And Christians are warned that this is a big mistake. The New Testament reminds us that this is always a serious trespass against God that will lead to a delusion. “22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.” Romans 1. It is a foolish thing to exchange God’s glory into some form of a created thing. Jehovah is spirit. He does not change. We are to avoid all efforts to diminish His glory. Therefore the very act of making images is something that threatens the very soul.
God freed Israel of the dangers of misrepresenting His glory by prohibiting them from making graven and carved images. Jehovah is in heaven and He’s surrounded by glory and majesty. Come to that God. Don’t come to a lesser God.
What about Jesus Christ? He did become a man and it’s impossible to not think of Him in His the human form He took. But remember that Jesus is the Son of God. Be happy to know Him and to present Him to others just as the Scriptures depict Him. Avoid the justifications to make images of Jesus Christ. Picturing Jesus as He is presented, in all of His glory, during His earthly ministry is enough. Read the Bible and let the Holy Scriptures spark the imagination as He in His life and words showed us a perfect representation of the Father, Jn 1:14.
The Old Testament law given to God through Moses has been replaced with a better covenant established through Jesus Christ at the cross, see Jeremiah 31:31-34 and Hebrews 9:15-17. We may wish to rationalize the prohibition against images is now replaced by a prohibition of having idols in our hearts. Well that’s true that we aren’t to have idols in our hearts, but it’s true also that we are to not have images which men carve to depict God. It’s like the commandments that said not to murder or commit adultery. We aren’t released from the outward expression of the command if only we don’t murder in our heart and commit adultery in our heart. Keeping the idol away from our heart is important. But it is also understood that one is connected to the other. If you have an image of God which you bow to and reverence, then there will be an idol in your heart. Don’t do it. Cast all such things away. Be content to worship God alone and to do so on His terms.
In closing, remember that God is a jealous God. Worship Him alone. And secondly, remember not to make for yourselves graven images as these will surely be a hindrance to seeing the true glory of God. – Dan Mayfield