Second Commandment

   “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything 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 to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments(Exodus 20:4-6).

No Carved Images. The previous command gave attention to the object of worship, now this one with how one is to not approach the Lord. Those who worship the Lord do not need a visual reminder, an aid to facilitate worship in the proper way. It was Jesus who said that each person who comes to come must come to Him in spirit and truth. To create an object for appearance sake is to limit the Almighty to that created object. In other words, the object becomes holy and more than just a representation. The condemnation is not against art or sculpture, per se, but against that which would be used in worship (cf. Deut. 4:15-19). One of the reasons for the popularity of religious relics, purchased nearly anywhere, is that an image helps one reflect and think on that which is divine. The Lord said this is not necessary, in fact, He forbids it.

No created object is to represent the Lord or that which is of and by Him, and since this is so, it is even more the case no one is to bow down before a created object used in worship. Genuinely motivated as they are, the Catholic Church clearly understands what is being said, so they seek for an explicitly forbidden command from the Lord, but those faithful to the Lord understand the spirit of the prohibition. In Churches of Christ, we are not immune to similar approaches. A practical application of this forbiddance is not in worship, but in how a church building is used. Their resistance notwithstanding, some people consider a church building sacred. Somehow, it is acceptable to use the restroom inside a church but not eat in it?

The basis of idolatry is self-will. To have an idol of any sort is to rebel against God in the way He commands. The Scripture speaks of God as a jealous God. He goes to great lengths to redeem – and this is the thanks He gets! This self-will approach is also known as spiritual adultery. Spiritual adultery has long tentacles, limbs the reach out and sink roots of destruction in following generations. People who do not obey, whether out of ignorance or rebellion, are people who hate the Lord; there is no interest in obeying His commands. It does not matter that a person rejects the use of the word hate in this context, for there are, really, only two options from which to choose. First, if one loves the Lord obedience follows; if one does not obey the Lord then it is necessarily the case one hates the Lord’s way.

APPLICATION. Those who love the Lord will worship Him in spirit and truth. Worship is a matter of genuine interest in pleasing the Lord (not one’s self) and in accordance with His revealed word. Those who love the Lord are not ignorant of His word, they choose to obey Him who is the giver of life. RT





First Commandment

     “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:2-3). The Lord God is the one true object of worship. The word “worship” is a word that conveys the idea of adoration (adoring) and obedience to His will. In one translation of the Bible, in the margin, are these words: “an act of reverence.” To revere the Lord is to hear Him and to obey Him (cf. Luke 6:46). To the Israelites, in the Book of Exodus, the Lord demonstrated Himself thoroughly when He brought one nation (Israel) out from another nation (Egypt), taking them to the land of promise, the land promised to the heritage (descendents) of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. With this knowledge in hand, those of the Israelite nation were in good position to not only move forward under the Lord’s protection, but with that protective wall about them, they could easily swat the attempts of Satan to overcome them. This, however, did not stop Satan from making his attempts to get man to worship something other than God. Man’s great adversary is wildly successful at accomplishing this because he knows the weaknesses of man. When an individual or a nation succumbs to the temptations of Satan and then makes that pleasure their guiding light, this is called Idolatry.

Keep in mind the meaning of the word worship. Idolatry is worshipping some person or object other than God. It means to adore (give much attention to), to obey whatever precepts are given to maintain that adoration and act of reverence. This is false worship. In our current environment we, as a people, are not so cultured and civilized that we are not guilty of worship toward idols of our own making. We simply substitute God with something we like, adore and reverence – whatever that might be.

When God gave this command to the Israelites, He understood quite well what the Israelites were coming from. They came from a polytheistic nation. They included the Egyptian gods with the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They were very confused. When they built the golden calf at the foot of Mount Sinai, they did what was familiar, they did only what seemed right to some. Nevertheless, because that which the Lord did for them, educating them away from this type of thinking, their actions were inexcusable. You would think that these words would have resonated with them. For some it did, for others it did not. Israel, in their long history, was plagued by idolatry for 8½ centuries. Painful examples and experiences were given by God to the people to get them to turn away from their evil but they still held on to that which they wanted to believe.

     That which plagued Israel is always a threat to us. Israel was interested in doing things after their own desires. We also tend to do the same. It was the prophet Jeremiah who spoke to the people about their idolatry associated with both work and worship (Jeremiah 44). Without going along with society’s demands the people were unable to provide for their families, so they went with what was demanded of them by the community of people in which they lived. Because they did this, their worship of the Lord was all but gone. They were too busy and sleepy. God put much emphasis upon what He said to the nation—there was to be nothing before Him. It is the same today; there is to be nothing before Him. When there is, the Lord begins the process of turning away Himself (cf. Rom. 1:21-31). RT



Particulars in the Decalogue (Deuteronomy 5)

In the chapter we learn some particulars:

  1. The words are addressed to Israel (5:1)
  2. A covenant was made with Israel on Mt Horeb (5:2)
  3. This covenant was not made “with our fathers” (5:3). The meaning of this phrase is understood variously. First, the generation to whom the words were given initially (Exodus 12-24) died in the wilderness. Thus, to them it was not given, but to this current generation on the east side of the Jordan, preparing to go into the promised land. Second, based on 5:4, the words are understood to refer to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The latter seems to be the better interpretation.
  4. The Lord’s base “command” (not a command at all, though the rabbis believe it to be such) is the declaration that His following words are directly connected to their origin (5:6), that is, that He brought them up out of Egypt.
  5. The Sabbath command is directly related to their time of bondage in Egypt (5:15).
  6. To the “Ten Words” “He added no more” (5:22). This is the reading in the NKJV, ASV, Brenton (LXX translation), ESV, KJV, and NIV. Thus, these commands of the Lord are distinct from that which the Lord gave Moses otherwise. The NET gives a rendering that essentially says the same, but it does not have the same “pop” (if you will): “and that was all he said.” The Jewish Publication Society (JPS) reads “and it went on no more.”
  7. These commands were written on two stone tablets.
  8. The occasion at the mountain was not only the commands given, but the experience of hearing the Lord speak (5:23-27).
  9. The Lord laments that the experience and the commands adhered to will not last long (5:28-29).
  10. Moses gives some exhortations and warnings (5:31-33).

#deuteronomy, #sabbath, #ten-commandments

Something’s Missing Here!

Check this picture out. Other than the fact that it’s a little dirty and some of the color for the words has chipped away there is something else about this “monument” that doesn’t add up. Can you see it? Start with number one and see how long it takes for things to change what God’s word says. If you need a hint then read Exodus 20 and then come back and look again. Do you see it now?  The picture and the scriptures just don’t add up do they? I wonder why someone would have to leave out that particular commandment from the 10??? What do you think?

If you don’t like what God’s word says, then change it! It’s nothing new, but that doesn’t mean it’s something good.

#catholic-church, #false-doctrine, #old-testament, #ten-commandments

A Local Catholic Apologist

While in Guam I saw a letter to the editor that challenged a previous letter concerning God’s first commandment in the Decalogue. The author of the letter is Tim Rohr (of Agat, Guam); he argues that the prohibition against a graven image of any kind is not to be taken literally. To do so is to relegate not only all religious icons to the ash heap, but also non-religious statutes and figurines of anything to the same pile.

As a local Catholic apologist he thinks he has scored a point when he says, “But we know not to take it literally because a few chapters later (chapter 25) God commands Moses to make two statues of ‘beaten gold’ (cherubim). A couple books later, (Numbers) God instructs Moses to make a bronze serpent, put in on a pole, and tell the people to ‘look upon it’ and be healed. According to Zerzan’s interpretation, it appears God was the first to break his own First Commandment – twice!” (The Pacific Daily News, 12/28/2011, p. 15; all mistakes in the quotation belong to Tim Rohr)

I respect the effort of the man who has conviction with regard to his belief. Lord knows we need more people to stand up for what they believe.

However, the paragraph above illustrates a lack of biblical knowledge. God’s first command to the Israelites is not to be taken literally, we are told. I wonder if God’s command relative to Sabbath observance was not to be taken literally by the Israelites. Moreover, I wonder if God’s prohibition against adultery was not to be taken literally. The only reason there is opposition to the command’s prohibition is because it opposes a practice by the Catholics on the island of Guam.

Does the fabrication of the Ark of the Covenant show that God is confused in the institution of His command (or commands)? The commandment of God to the Israelites is plain and not easily missed (unless one wants to miss it). There is to be no religious devotion to any relic! One can’t make an image (a religious relic) of God because no one has seen Him; there is no pictorial image of Jesus for one to reproduce into a religious relic; and most certainly there is nothing of a similar sort with regard to Mary. Why, then, the effort to make religious icons for man to bow before? Among the many reasons that might be presented, one of them is surely associated with idolatry. God is spirit and those who worship Him must do so in spirit and in truth.

The Ark of the Covenant was not a religious relic to be worshiped at all; it was placed in a location that represented God’s presence and mercy. In fact, the only one to see the relic was the High Priest and he could only see it at certain God-ordained times. Never was the High Priest to bow before it.

With regard to the account in Numbers 21 if Tim Rohr does not know any more than that which he shared with us, then I suspect his knowledge on other biblical topics will be just as flawed. Does he actually think the bronze serpent of the events in chapter 21 was a religious relic (to any degree)? Even if he does not regard this as a religious relic, the fact that he would include this as a violation of the Lord’s command (if the words of the first commandment are to be taken literally) is just plain ridiculous. It was most certainly not a religious relic, and when it became one it was destroyed (2 Kings 18:4).

In conclusion, we have learned that to promote a practice that has no sanction in Scripture all one needs to do is to take literal word meanings and replace it with figurative meanings. This is done, however, when it serves a useful purpose – like perverting the truth!

#apologist, #catholic, #guam, #idolatry, #ten-commandments

Famine in the land! – JAM

In 2004, a group of 25 Senators sponsored a bill to protect the display of the Ten Commandments on public property. They said the 10 Commandments were the cornerstone of a civilized society and they represent all the United States was founded on and should stand for. But when a reporter asked if any of them could name the Ten Commandments, only one of the 25 could! According to a recent PollTronics poll, less than 10% of Americans can name more than four! In fact 23% thought the 2nd Commandment gave us the right to bear arms! 31% said the 9th Command prohibited the removal of Ten Commandment displays! There is a famine in the land, a famine of the Word of God. This is Just-A-Minute with Ed Boggess

#just-a-minute, #ten-commandments