the First and Second Commandments directly overlap.
blatant method of breaking the First Commandment is by also breaking
the second! Pagan races down through history have done precisely
ancient Egyptian, Babylonian, Greek and Roman monuments comes a
"wealth" of pagan idolatry in the form of obelisks, temples, bas-reliefs,
icons, statuaries and idols in an amazing number of forms.
did these ancient pagans make representations of everything they
could imagine from "the heavens above," "the earth beneath" and
the "waters under the earth," but they ascribed enormous human,
physical appetites to their "gods." and wallowed in a veritable
sea of ignorance, blind superstition and fear as they "served" their
temples and idols depicted the "host of the heavens," which God
directly commands is not to be worshipped, as the "gods"
of the ancient Babylonians, Assyrians and other nations.
the appearance of cherubim was graven by the hand of man
on the walls and entrances of palaces of kings.
"winged bulls of Bashan" and the man-headed, eagle-winged, lionlike
bodies with oxen's feet that decorated the entrance to Sargon's
palace and the palaces of Asshur-bannipal and Asher-nasirpal are
cases in point.
men's bodies, the lion's body with a man's head (the Sphinx) of
Egyptian monuments and many of those in Greece and Rome are further
evidence of the blatant worship of "graven images" which represented
the "host of heaven."
devil is called "the cherub that covereth." Cherubim are clearly
defined in Ezekiel 1 and Ezekiel 10 as having four appearances;
that of a man, a lion, an eagle and an ox.
have tended to idolize these four, and even to mix them together!
Even today, the
national symbols of many nations include eagles (Imperial
Germany, the United States, Mexico, etc.) or lions (Great
Britain). And even civic clubs, sports teams and other associations
call themselves by the names of the principal types of animals and
your mind to it for a few moments, you can see dozens of other areas
where nations of the world have flagrantly broken the Second
some who profess to be "Christian," and who nevertheless have little
idols about the house, on the dashboard of their automobile, or
look to various figurines in their churches and cathedrals, will
argue it is not the statue or the figurine to which they look, but
what it represents!
the flimsiest of all possible excuses, however, for it is the very
purpose for which the idol is made!
pagan Babylonians, Egyptians and Greeks had sense enough to know
that the idol itself was not the "god" they were worshipping,
but that the idol merely represented that "god."
One of the
greatest controversies of all history, which split the ancient Roman
Catholic Church right down the middle, and formed the Greek Orthodox
Church, was the argument over the efficacy of idols, meaning
a separate statuary and sculptures of "saints," as opposed to icons,
which are partially raised figures in bas-relief.
"iconoclastic controversy" of history is easily researched, and
when one is spoken of as breaking with tradition he is called "iconoclastic."
("Clas" means to cleave, to rupture, shatter or to break; thus
to break an icon was "an iconoclast.")
thrust of the Second Commandment is that "images" were not to be
made for the purpose of worship!
a simple amount of research will prove that Almighty God Himself
approved the use of various figures and representations of cherubim
as a part of the tabernacle in the wilderness, and the temple of
difference is that wherein God allowed Moses and the children
of Israel to decorate the tabernacle in the wilderness with the
figures of cherubim, and ordered Moses to hold a brazen serpent
aloft to stop a plague of snakes, it was authorized of God, and
done for the purposes of God, and not as a representation
of "God" or something to be worshipped.
cults have even eschewed photographs, and many a pagan tribe
believes there is something of "magic" or "witchcraft" in the taking
But a picture
is not a "graven image" for the purpose of worship, and
is certainly not a breaking of the Second Commandment!
I have said concerning pagan nations of the world in relationship
to the First Commandment applies equally to the second. The
two are closely intertwined.
If the ancient
races of Babylon, Egypt, Greece and Rome had accepted the knowledge
of the true God, and had not bowed before their hundreds
of variations of "graven images," all of world history would have
been dramatically different.
major oriental religions bow before graven images. Buddhists have
their various forms of Buddha, and the religions of Nepal, Thailand,
India, Bangladesh, Japan and China, many nations in Africa and the
whole Catholic world regularly go through rituals in various
forms of church services beneath the statuary of their various prophets,
"gods" and saints.
His children to look at our beautiful earth, all of the fabulously
lovely things upon it, such as the breathtaking beauty of verdant
pastures and forest lands, awesome sunsets, lovely carpets of wild
flowers in the spring, inspiring living creatures such as the great
whales, the beautiful animals of earth (and what is more beautiful
than a herd of Thompson's gazelles leaping gracefully in flight?)
and to see in all of these things the handiwork of God!
To the Eternal
Creator, it is the utterest and most abysmal form of gross stupidity
for mankind to turn his back on the breathtaking and awesome
beauty all around him, chisel out a leering, ugly face from a block
of stone and then bow down before it and call it "god."
God, who gave man the mind, the ability to use his muscles
in forming and shaping that stone, and who made the rock itself
asks a simple and yet a profound question: "Who would not fear
thee, O King of nations? For to thee doth it appertain: for
as much as among all the wise men of the nations, and in all their
kingdoms, there is none like unto thee.
are altogether brutish and foolish: the stock is a doctrine of vanities
['stock' means idol].
spread into plates is brought from Tarshish, and gold from Uphaz,
the work of the workman, and of the hands of the founder: blue and
purple is their clothing: they are the work of cunning men.
Eternal is the true God, He is the Living God, and an everlasting
King: at His wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall
not be able to abide His indignation.
ye say unto them, the gods that have not made the heavens and the
earth, even they shall perish from the earth, and from under
made the earth by His power, He hath established the world by His
wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by His discretion.
utters His voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens,
and He causeth the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth;
He maketh lightnings with rain, and bringeth forth the wind out
of His treasures.
is brutish in his knowledge: every founder [worker in metals] is
confounded by the graven image: for
his molten image is falsehood. and there is no breath in
vanity, and the work of errors: in the time of their visitation
they shall perish.
of Jacob [God] is not like them: for He is the former of all
things; and Israel is the rod of His inheritance: the Eternal
of Hosts is His name"! (Jeremiah 10:7-16).
is wrong with this beautiful Second Commandment? What is so
burdensome, so harsh and "legalistic" about the Eternal God who
designed our very bodies, gives us every breath and every beat of
our hearts, saying we should worship Him and Him alone,
instead of forming an ugly image with our own hands, turning
around and prostrating ourselves before it and saying "that is god"?
most churchgoing professing Christians would say they are not guilty
of worshipping "graven images," and, hopefully, this is so. However,
remember how the two commandments overlap - and remember
that worshipping the things which our hands manufacture, meaning
materialism, can come very close to worshipping "graven images."
It is not
"difficult," or in any way rigorous or harsh, to KEEP the Second
Commandment of God!