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  • Paul McArthur

Are Graven Images OK to Make?

Updated: Feb 19, 2022


Are Graven Images OK to Make? The related question is: Are Graven Images Idols?


Many people say graven images are NOT idols UNLESS you worship them. So, it's ok to make graven images AS LONG AS you do not WORSHIP them. But, is this true? Is it ok to make graven images as long as you do not worship them?


They are referring to Commandment #2 of the Ten Commandments. Most people will first question what a graven image is. That leads to discussions over the materials and whether the process used to create an image is 'graven'.


But, is the problem really the process used to create an image? What does the bible say?


The Second Commandment says:


Exodus 20:4 Thou shalt not make unto thee 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: 5 thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; 6 and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.


Most people read these 3 verses and then say MOST images are not GRAVEN so, it's ok to make an image and it's ok to make a graven image as long as you do not WORSHIP the image. That's their loophole. As long as you don't WORSHIP an image then it's ok to make a graven image.


But, is that what those 3 verses actually say? If you look closer you'll find 3 things are overlooked every time. Break down the verse and see.


Thou shalt not make:

1. any graven image

2. any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above

3. any likeness of any thing that is in the earth beneath

4. any likeness of any thing that is in the water under the earth


Those are the 4 things the 2nd commandment tells you explicitly NOT toMAKE.


The loophole, they say, is as long as you DON'T WORSHIP them then it's ok.


But, is that true? Did God tell us to not make 4 things and then turn around and say, yeah, well, as long as you don't WORSHIP them, bow down to them, THEN it's ok?


I think you're crazy if you say that. Yeah... you can make any graven image, make any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, or in the water under the earth JUST don't Bow Down to them.


No. The warning is you do NOT make any likeness of any thing because you could end up worshiping that thing. That's what they did back then. That's what people still do today.


Look at Leviticus 26:1 Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the Lord your God.


It says 1. don't make idols, 2. don't make graven images, 3. don't raise up a standing image, 4. don't make any image out of stone, and 5. don't bow down to it.


What happens when you make a graven image? You corrupt yourselves. Again, the likeness or similitude of ANY thing.


Deuteronomy 4:16 lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female, 17 the likeness of any beast that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged fowl that flieth in the air, 18 the likeness of any thing that creepeth on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the waters beneath the earth: 19 and lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the Lord thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven.


Remember the covenant? Part of the covenant was not to make a graven image OR likeness of ANY THING.


Deuteronomy 4:23 Take heed unto yourselves, lest ye forget the covenant of the Lord your God, which he made with you, and make you a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, which the Lord thy God hath forbidden thee.


There was a warning... if you remain long in the land you shall corrupt yourselves. How? By making a graven image or the likeness of anything. THAT is EVIL in the sight of the Lord.


Deuteronomy 4:25 When thou shalt beget children, and children’s children, and ye shall have remained long in the land, and shall corrupt yourselves, and make a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, and shall do evil in the sight of the Lord thy God, to provoke him to anger:


Oh, look... God repeats himself.


Deuteronomy 5:8 Thou shalt not make thee 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 waters beneath the earth: 9 thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me, 10 and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.


Make a graven OR molten image and become CURSED:


Deuteronomy 27:15 Cursed be the man that maketh any graven or molten image, an abomination unto the Lord, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and putteth it in a secret place. And all the people shall answer and say, Amen.


Why are images a big deal with God? It's because he is jealous. He created everything in heaven and on earth and in the water and beneath the earth. God wants all the glory for himself. When you make an image of anything in heaven or on earth or in the water or beneath the earth then you are robbing God of his glory. God's name is Jealous. God is a Jealous God.


Exodus 34:14 for thou shalt worship no other god: for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.


Look at that in context.


Exodus 34:12 Take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither thou goest, lest it be for a snare in the midst of thee: 13 but ye shall DESTROY their altars, break their IMAGES, and cut down their groves: 14 for thou shalt worship no other god: for the Lord, whose name is JEALOUS, is a jealous God: 15 lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they go a whoring after their gods, and do sacrifice unto their gods, and one call thee, and thou eat of his sacrifice...


God is a jealous god. HE created everything. He does not want anybody making a cheap knock-off and getting glory for something that can't create from scratch themselves.


What does this include? It includes everything that God makes, man, woman, child, cats, dogs, animals, fish, birds, lions, tigers, ANGELS, trees, plants, flowers, the sun, moon & stars, etc. If you can't make any of those things by yourself without anything that comes from God then DO NOT MAKE a LIKENESS of it.


That eliminates museums, artists, etc. People don't realize... heaven is going to be about God and God alone. We are not going to glory in anything we do in heaven because everything literally comes from God.


And, this ESPECIALLY applies to ANY image of Jesus. Jesus was NOT a white, long haired, effeminate man in long robes. ANY picture of Jesus is an abomination.


Finally, the irony in all of this is websites with jpg's and png's that contain images of things that God created.


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