Thursday, June 26, 2014

Images: Reflection of the Divinity

Is Exodus 20:4 an absolute prohibition on making images? Does God contradict Himself or change His mind? Why do I say this? If you read the Bible, even in that same book, God orders the making of images. 

And you shall make two cherubim of gold; of hammered work shall you make them, on the two ends of the mercy seat. Make one cherub on the one end, and one cherub on the other end; of one piece with the mercy seat shall you make the cherubim on its two ends.” 

Exodus 25:18-19 (cf. Exodus 26:1; 31)
If Exodus 20:4 is to be taken literally, then God seems to contradict Himself. People, like Protestants (especially INC and MCGI/ADD), reason that it is a command of God. Using this reasoning, can’t we also say that God seems to have change His mind in ordering the making of this image? 
The Temple in Jerusalem also had images. We read in the Bible that cherubs and palms, bulls, etc. were placed in the Temple. And if images has no place in the Sanctuary of the Lord, let us be reminded that the Temple, which contained these images, was called by Jesus Christ as “my house” (Mark 11:17). If God prohibited images, why doesn’t God tell the Israelites to remove them or Christ to have reprehended them?
In the most holy place he made two cherubim of wood and overlaid them with gold.
2 Chronicles 3:10
In the inner sanctuary he made two cherubim of olivewood, each ten cubits high.
 —1 Kings 6:23
And the gateway had windows round about, narrowing inwards into their jambs in the side rooms, and likewise the vestibule had windows round about inside, and on the jambs were palm trees. ” 
Ezekiel 40:16
of cherubim and palm trees, a palm tree between cherub and cherub. Every cherub had two faces: 19 the face of a man toward the palm tree on the one side, and the face of a young lion toward the palm tree on the other side. They were carved on the whole temple round about; 20 from the floor to above the door cherubim and palm trees were carved on the wall.” 
Ezekiel 41:18-20

Well, you may also reason that images in the Catholic Church are not commanded by God to be made. Let’s see what Scripture says concerning this. We see in the Bible the Philistine making images as a way of offering, these images were not commanded by God to be made, much more it was an offering from the enemies of the Israelites,
Make these things to show honor to the God of Israel. Perhaps then he will stop afflicting you, your gods, and your land… Then the Ark of the Lord and the chest containing the gold rats and gold tumors were placed on the cart…The five gold tumors sent by the Philistines as a guilt offering to the Lord were gifts from the rulers of Ashdod, Gaza, Ashkelon, Gath, and Ekron. The five gold rats represented the five Philistine towns and their surrounding villages, which were controlled by the five rulers. The large rock at Beth-shemesh, where they set the Ark of the Lord, still stands in the field of Joshua as a witness to what happened there.” 
1 Samuel 6:5; 11, 17-18(New Living Translation
Another is that even the Temple had image that were not commanded by God, and they were not removed or destroyed.

The nave he lined with cypress, and covered it with fine gold, and made palms and chains on it…So he lined the house with gold—its beams, its thresholds, its walls, and its doors; and he carved cherubim on the walls.” 
2 Chronicles 3:5, 7
He made two figures shaped like cherubim, overlaid them with gold, and placed them in the Most Holy Place. The total wingspan of the two cherubim standing side by side was 30 feet. One wing of the first figure was 7 1⁄2 feet[a] long, and it touched the Temple wall. The other wing, also 7 1⁄2 feet long, touched one of the wings of the second figure. In the same way, the second figure had one wing 7 1⁄2 feet long that touched the opposite wall. The other wing, also 7 1⁄2 feet long, touched the wing of the first figure. So the wingspan of the two cherubim side by side was 30 feet. They stood on their feet and faced out toward the main room of the Temple.
Across the entrance of the Most Holy Place he hung a curtain made of fine linen, decorated with blue, purple, and scarlet thread and embroidered with figures of cherubim.” 
2 Chronicles 3:10-14 (New Living Translation (NLT)
He made a network of interwoven chains and used them to decorate the tops of the pillars. He also made 100 decorative pomegranates and attached them to the chains. 
2 Chronicles 3:16
Then he cast a great round basin, 15 feet across from rim to rim, called the Sea. It was 7 1⁄2 feet deep and about 45 feet in circumference. It was encircled just below its rim by two rows of figures that resembled oxen. There were about six oxen per foot[b] all the way around, and they were cast as part of the basin.
The Sea was placed on a base of twelve bronze oxen, all facing outward. Three faced north, three faced west, three faced south, and three faced east, and the Sea rested on them. The walls of the Sea were about three inches thick, and its rim flared out like a cup and resembled a water lily blossom. It could hold about 16,500 gallons of water.” 
2 Chronicles 4:2-5
the 400 pomegranates that hung from the chains on the capitals (two rows of pomegranates for each of the chain networks that decorated the capitals on top of the pillars);” 
2 Chronicles 4:13
the Sea and the twelve oxen under it;
2 Chronicles 4:15
the flower decorations, lamps, and tongs—all of the purest gold;” 
2 Chronicles 4:21

Then the priests carried the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant into the inner sanctuary of the Temple—the Most Holy Place—and placed it beneath the wings of the cherubim. The cherubim spread their wings over the Ark, forming a canopy over the Ark and its carrying poles.” 
2 Chronicles 5:7-8 (New Living Translation (NLT)

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