Wednesday, July 13, 2011

~ "The one that got away...(or the one the Catholic Church took out)"

Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. (Ex 20:4-6)

I refer to this commandment as "the one that got away" simply because I didn't learn it until about four years ago. It was not one of the ten I was taught in school or church. The Catholic Church removed the second Commandment against MAKING graven images from the list of the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:1-17. This presents them with the problem of only having 9 Commandments. They resolve this problem by splitting Commandment number 10 into 9 and 10. That is: 9. You shall not covet your neighbour's wife. 10. You shall not covet your neighbour's goods. Imagine my surprise when I realized that what I had been taught was not the Word of God! God tells us over and over again in Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy, and Paul reiterates it in his first letter to the Thessalonians not to make any graven images, not to worship them, to bow down to them nor to serve them. He is very specific here - and there are many, like me, who were raised to pray to Mary, kneel and pray at statues, to genuflect.

So what does this "one that got away" tell us? First, it tells us that we are forbidden to worship even the true God by images. Our worship must be governed by faith, not by imagination. We must not bow down to these images or show any sign of respect or honor to them, much less serve them constantly, by sacrifice or incense, or any other act of religious worship (including prayer).

Matthew Henry (my favorite commentary to read), puts it rather simply: "The use of images in the church of Rome, at this day, is so plainly contrary to the letter of this command, and so impossible to be reconciled to it, that in all their catechisms and books of devotion, which they put into the hands of the people, they leave out this commandment, joining the reason of it to the first; and so the third commandment they call the second, the fourth the third, etc.; only, to make up the number ten, they divide the tenth into two. Thus have they committed two great evils, in which they persist, and from which they hate to be reformed; they take away from God's word, and add to his worship."

Remember, our God is a jealous God - who tells us to keep His Commandments - ALL of them!!! This one speaks volumes!!!