Is it Wrong or Right?

edited December 1969 in Faith Issues
"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. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God" Exodus 20:4-4

I am a little confused maybe you guys can help. Is it wrong to have icons in church and pictures of Jesus and Saints being that this quote in Exodus says not to? Are we limiting Gods glory by painting a picture of Jesus and assuming that is what he looks like? What is your thoughts on this?

C ???


  • What this verse is saying is that " I am the lord your God, and you shall have no other gods before me."(basically the first commandment) The icons in the church we do not worship. The pictures of the saints are used by us to be reminded of their story and aspire to have their same closeness to God, not to worship them as God. To your second question I am postive the answer is no. Jesus did not show his glory by appearance, he was born in a manger remember, he showed us his glory by his words and deeds. We would be limiting his glory by saying he is not powerful as he really is not by painting a picture.

    Hope this helps
    peace and love

  • [glow=green,2,300]In The Name Of The Father And The Son And The Holy Spirit[/glow]

    [quote author=Conqueror link=board=1;threadid=801;start=0#msg14431 date=1100624039]
    "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. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God" Exodus 20:4-4

    This made me mad!! First GOD is not JEAULLOUS NOT EVEn CLOSE

    here i have a proper verse fo urs

    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, 6 but showing love to a thousand {generations} of those who love me and keep my commandments.

    To reply, we are worshiping god, the way the apostle' drew him, thats the thign about our orthdoxy
  • To reply, we are worshiping god, the way the apostle' drew him

    This made me mad!! First GOD is not JEAULLOUS NOT EVEn CLOSE

    God is the eternal One,the same yesterday,today and forever.He is not a different God in the New Testament but rather He is the God of Abraham,Isaac,and Jacob;the God of the Old Testament.The Apostles did not invent{or reinvent}the person and character of God.They came to know Him as all men,of all times,have come to know Him;namely by the personal revelation of the the Holy Spirit through the omnipotent grace of Almighty God.The LORD is a jealous God in the sense that He desires{rightfully so!}men to acknowledge his hand in all life and existence and to worship Him ,as is His due,as the only true God,the first and the last,the Alpha and the Omega!The word "jealousy" does not have the same meaning as used to describe fallible human emotions;its very concept does not denote pettiness or envy but is used in an anthromorphic way to help us understand Gods deep hatred of idolotry and His strong desire for all creation to worship Him,to enjoy intimate fellowship with their Creator.
  • Think of icons and statues as similar to photographs. The paper and ink in the photo are not what you are remembering, it is the person that picture represents. The same way, we do not worship statues and icons of Christ, we worship the Eternal Son that those icons represent. The icons and statues of Saints, especially the Theotokos are given veneration because they represent the Saints themselves, as a photo of your family represents him. They are a reminder, a window into heaven.
  • you also have to take into account the time in which this was was mainly for the idols that so many worshipped back then. We don't worship saints.. we honor them: two different actions. ;)
  • [glow=red,2,300]In the Name of the Father + and the Son + and the Holy Spirit +. The One True God. Amen.[/glow]

    I would like to first recommend 2 great books by 2 awesome Fathers concerning icons:

    a) "On the Divine Images" by St John of Damascus
    b) "On the Holy Icons" by St Theodore the Studite

    These 2 classics were written during the Iconoclastic controversy of the 8th-9th centuries. Iconoclast means "image- breaker" and this was a big controversy within the Byzantine Empire (725-842 AD). Countless precious and ancient icons were smashed during this period by Orthodox Christians because the Iconclasts taught that venerating them was a bit paganistic, there was also some old gnostic (matter is evil) and Islamic ( no images of any kind is allowed in lslam) influences. There was some political manipulations as well. Both Sts. John and Theodore were among of the iconophiles (icon venerators) who defended this holy practice citing the Fathers AND the Holy Scriptures. I know St John's work is available online but not too sure of St Theodore's.

    The gist of what they teach is this: rejection of Christian veneration of images effectively denies God's Incarnation, which alone makes human salvation possible. If Christ cannot be protrayed, then He was not truly Man, and humanity was not truly united with God in Him! Icons reminds us that:
    a) for our salvation God became incarnate and became Man thus we are truly united in Him (Romans 7:4)
    b) matter is capable of being transfigured in Christ (not only humans but ALL of creation as well (Romans 8:19)

    We as Orthodox know that the icon is made out of wood and paint. However, we venerate the Prototype (he/she who is depicted) in the icon. That veneration goes directly to God and His saints. We ADORE God ALONE for he is our Creator and Saviour. But we honor and show love to His children who have won the race (2 Timothy 4:7) and we call them blessed (Luke 1:48). The Bible also gives examples of God manifesting His glory through the material and this is what I am going to focus on.

    The Holy Scriptures says Man was created LAST after the rest of existence was made and that Man is made in God's Image and Likeness (Genesis 1:26-27). It is this Man that God or Image of Him that was put in charge of the Garden, this Image and Likeness of God is told to be loved, cared for. respected and obeyed throughout the whole of Scripture! This Image is forgiven by God countless times and ultimaltely God becomes ONE with His Image by becoming HUMAN. He is God-Man (you can insert your Chalcedonian or Non-Chalecodian preference here) and whatever God touches becomes HOLY! John 1:14 is awesome:

    [glow=red,2,300]"14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. " (NKJV)[/glow]
    The literal translation to this would be: " The Word pitched His Tent among us and made His dwelling among us......"

    This makes it more understandable since it tells us that God made His HOME among us and dwelt among us. To "dwell" among us brings back the Old Testament God dwelt among ("Shekina" in Hebrew meaning "presence") His People Israel in the Tabernacle, in the Temple. God now dwells in very midst of Humanity through His Incarnation! Isn't He EMMANUEL (God with us)......(Isaiah 7:14, Luke 1:31)? Thus what God touches let no man call unholy!

    Lastly, in Exodus the Hebrews were leaving a pagan nation that worshipped statues of half human and half animals! We must read the 10 Commandents within this context...its proper context. When the Lord God tells us not to worship any image of anything that crawls or flies or swims, this is what He means. Pagans profaned the form of God Image in Man by mixing it with animals! This is an abomination to God! But God does not abhor ALL images when it is for His Glory.

    In Numbers Chapter 21, we see the Hebrews being bit by poisonous serpents and Moses intercedes for them (same thing we do to each other when we pray for one another - can someone say "Communion of Saints"? ;D) and this what God tells them to do to remedy the problem:

    "8Then the LORD said to Moses, "Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live." 9So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived." (NKJV)

    God used an IMAGE to manifest His power! God still manifests His Power today becuase Hhe is the same yesterday. today and forever!....Hebrews 13:8. In 2Kings we see a man brought back to life after being lain on he Prophet Elishah's bones! Wouldn't this apply more so today since we are temples of the Holy Spirit?...... 1Corinthians 3:16. By the way this shows how biblical the orthodox practice of venerating the relics of the saints since they were temples of the Holy Spirit and we see how Elisha's bones still brought that dead man back to life! Christ calls us to be temples also.

    There are many other examples in Scripture of objects belonging to holy people curing the sick (Acts 5:15, 19:11,12, for example). Many protestant churches today offer "Holy water, handkerchiefs, dirt, roses, etc" promising God's power in people's lives if they believe! Plus this also explains the purpose of the Sacraments as welll...God using Matter to manifest His Power!

    Please forgive me for this long post ...I just wanted to share a bit concerning this wonderful topic and I hope it helps explain why it is a holy and righteous practice to venerate icons.

    Please pray for this recovering sin addict...ty.

  • great post Boricua, i never looked at the reliqs part that way, but that example of the Prophet Elishah's bones is amazing. This specific verse came to my mind also when i was thinking about reliqs:

    Galatians 6:17 - I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.
  • Ty... ;D...i am glad it helped...please pray for me and ty for the Galatians verse..GBU.
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