The second commandment of God forbids honoring the true God through images or effigies. Many pagan peoples have claimed that their images are only figures or symbols through which they adored divinity. But God declares that this kind of worship is a sin. Any attempt to represent the eternal Being by material objects can only diminish and reduce our conception of God. Through images, the mind, diverted from the infinite perfections of the Lord, is attracted to the creature rather than to the Creator. Man is degraded to the extent that the conception of God is diminished in him.
” Thou shalt not make unto thee a graven image, nor any representation of the things that are in heaven above, behold, on the earth, or in the waters under the earth. You shall not bow down to them, nor serve them … ” (Exodus 20: 4-6).
A Jealous God
– ” I am the LORD your God, a jealous God …” The intimate bonds that unite God and His people are compared to those of marriage. Idolatry is considered spiritual adultery, the displeasure it inspires in the Creator is here, with much appropriateness, called jealousy. Human jealousy is the manifestation of selfishness, but the second commandment of God makes it clear that God is jealous for His people.
– ” […] Who punish the iniquity of the fathers on the children until the third and fourth generation of those who hate me. ” Children inevitably carry the consequences of paternal or maternal misconduct, but they are punished for the sins of their parents only if they participate in them. It happens, however, that the children follow in their footsteps and participate thus in their sins, as much by heredity as by the example received. The evil tendencies, the perverted appetites, the relaxed morals, as well as the diseases and the physical degeneration are transmitted like a fatal legacy, from father to son, until the third and the fourth generation. This dreadful fact should inspire men with a salutary fear and drive them away from the path of sin.
The author Loron Wade makes this remark. Some people have misunderstood the passage from Exodus 20: 5. Their problems stem from the superficial reading of the text. Note that what will happen to the third and fourth generations is not revenge against them from an angry God. The command clearly states that what ” falls back ” on them is the iniquity of their fathers. This is what the Apostle Paul had in mind in the passage from which it is written: ” And they changed the glory of the incorruptible God into images of the corruptible man, birds, quadrupeds, and reptiles. As they did not care to know God, God delivered them to their reputed sense, to commit unworthy things, being filled with all kinds of injustice, malice, greed, malice, full of envy, murder , quarrels, cunning, malignity, rapporteurs, slanders, impious, arrogant, haughty, boastful, rebellious to their parents, ingenious to evil, devoid of intelligence, loyalty, natural affections, mercy. ” (see Romans 1: 23, 28-31). And the psalmist wrote about idols: “They are like those who make them, all who trust in them. (Psalms 115: 8)
Do you think it’s a punishment to live in a society as described by Paul? This is the consequence that reaches the third and fourth generations, the fatal result that God wants us to avoid through the warning of the second commandment. You understand then why he is a jealous God.
– ” […] and who show mercy to a thousand generations to those who love me and keep my commandments.” By prohibiting the worship of false gods, the second commandment of God implicitly commands the worship of the true God. Now to those who serve him faithfully, the Lord promises mercy, not only until the third and the fourth generation, as is the case of punishment for those who hate him but up to a thousand generations. ”
Did you notice? By contrast, here the mercy and ‘ loving kindness of God ’ will be upon those thousands who keep His commandments ” (Exodus 20: 6). This naturally concerns the promise of eternal life…
Do Not Give You a False Image of God
Why does the second commandment of God forbid us to make idols to represent God? Because no matter how great we are in shaping our image, no matter how much gold, diamonds, and other things we cover, we are only making God even smaller. Surely we apply to God our human conception of things. And that’s the heart of the problem. A false image of God in our mind is the fundamental sin that the second commandment of God tries to avoid.
O man, what form do you want to give to the Creator? What size do you want to give to Jehovah? He is more significant than we think. He is infinitely above all. How can a Creator be in the image that his creatures give him? It is for lack of knowledge that we try to represent God by statues, carved images…
King Solomon had a valid concept. He had built a more significant time in Jerusalem. When he had finished, he organized festivities that lasted days. Even in the midst of this euphoria, he did not lose the true meaning of this ceremony. He said to God in his prayer, ” The heavens and the earth cannot contain you less than this house that I built? ” (2 Chronicles 6:18).
“ The image we have of God and what we believe about God impacts our relationship with God. The more we try to represent God in the human conception, the more we are making comparisons, God the incomparable – small, the Great God. We, therefore, lose sight of the majesty, holiness, magnificence, grandeur, power, sovereignty, and supremacy of the Divine Creator.” (Thomson Dablemond).
The Second Commandment of God Condemns Idolatry
The idea of the intercession of dead saints or the practice of Angelolatry (the worship of angels) or Mariolatry (the worship of the Virgin Mary to be considered divine) either in intercession or in mediation. All this is a flagrant violation of the second command of God because it is based on the limited pagan concept of a God who is difficult to convince to help us. […].
This same error existed in ancient times, and the result of idolatry was polytheism, the belief in many gods. People invented many Gods because they could not imagine that one alone was enough, that only one deity could take care of everything.
If the second commandment of God were well understood and considered worthy, men would not seek to give an image to Christ. Well, the alarming fact is that men prostrate themselves before statues according to them of Jesus, they use the images of Jesus (stuck to the walls of their houses and others). A single film actor is considered the Christ and his photo abound in temples, streets, houses. No image of Christ represented in statues or images is real and authentic. May the people repent! Let the world know that the Lord is not like idols. He is incomparable.
The second command of God correctly completes the first. Those who have made the resolution to place God at the center of their lives will not let anything else take the place that belongs only to the Creator. And there will be no confusion about true worship because they will turn away from anything that reduces God’s place in their lives.
For those who keep the first and second commandments obedience to others will merely be natural. If we love God – if He is on the throne of our lives – our hearts will overflow with love for others.
You have certainly learned a lot from the second commandment of God! I invite you to take a look at the following article on the third commandment of God.