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I am going to present Biblical evidence that God instructed His
people to make graven images, that he approved of it and even
sanctified Solomon's Temple which contained many graven

I will also prove that every time there was a prohibition against
graven images it had to do with bowing down (praying) and serving
them. (worship)

The Tabernacle in the Wilderness

God gave Moses detailed instructions for building the tabernacle:

" ... And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among
them. According to all that I show thee, after the pattern of the
tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so
shall ye make it."  Exodus 25:8-9.  

" ...**two cherubims** of gold, of beaten work shalt thou make
them, in the two ends of the mercy seat."  Exo 25:18

The golden candlestick had bowls made like **almonds** and
**flowers**. Exodus 25:31-36

The veil that divided the holy place and the most holy had the
likeness of cherubims:

"And thou shall make a veil of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and
fine twined linen of cunning work: **with cherubims** shall it be
made."  Exodus 26:31

In the building of the tabernacle, we have proof that God told
Moses to make graven images of cherubims, almonds and flowers.
Furthermore, God gave spiritual gifts to the workmen who made

" ... and I have filled him [Bezaleel] with the spirit of God, in
wisdom, and in understanding and in knowledge and in all manner
of workmanship, to devise cunning works, to work in gold, and in
silver, and in brass, and in cutting of stones, to set them, and in
carving of timber to work in all manner of workmanship. And
behold, I have given with him Aholiab ... and in the hearts of all
that are wisehearted I have put wisdom, that they may make all that
I have commanded thee."  Exodus 31: 3-6

Clearly, the tabernacle teaches us that making and having a graven
image is not a sin --or God would have promoted transgression of
the law.

The Brazen Serpent

The history of the brazen serpent makes an easily understood
distinction of being blameless when making a graven image and
looking at it; contrasted to the sin of worshipping it.  

1. God instructed Moses to make a serpent of brass:

"And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and
set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is
bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live." Numbers 21:8

In the wilderness, the LORD blessed the people that looked upon
the graven image of the serpent that was set upon the pole; because
if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of
brass, he lived.  Numbers 21:9

2.  In the time of King Hezekiah, that same brazen serpent that was
a blessing became an idol because ISRAEL WORSHIPPED IT!

"He [Hezekiah] removed the high places, and brake the images,
and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brazen serpent
that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did
burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan [i.e. "a piece of
brass".]  2 Kings 18:4

The serpent of the wilderness is scriptural proof that making and
looking at the graven image did not transgress the second
commandment until it was worshipped.

"Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you
up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in
your land, TO BOW DOWN UNTO IT: for I am the LORD your
God."  Lev 26:1

Think about it:  the brazen serpent was a standing image.  The
people looked upon it and were blessed when they were in the
wilderness.  The transgression of the second commandment was
when the people burned incense to it.

Solomon's Temple

Like the tabernacle, the temple built by Solomon was according
to a pattern --and that pattern included graven images.
(1 Chronicles 28:10-19)
This word of the LORD came to Solomon:

"Concerning this house which thou art in building, if thou wilt
walk in my statutes, and execute my judgments, and KEEP ALL
perform my word with thee, which I spake unto David thy father:
And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will not forsake
my people Israel." I Kings 6:12

Here, Solomon is building according to the pattern and he is not
transgressing the second commandment by setting the cherubims
within the inner house and carving the walls with cherubims, palm
trees and open flowers:

1Ki 6:27  And he set the cherubims within the inner house: and
they stretched forth the wings of the cherubims, so that the wing of
the one touched the one wall, and the wing of the other cherub
touched the other wall; and their wings touched one another in the
midst of the house.
1Ki 6:28  And he overlaid the cherubims with gold.
1Ki 6:29  And he carved all the walls of the house round about
with carved figures of cherubims and palm trees and open flowers,
within and without.
1Ki 6:30  And the floor of the house he overlaid with gold, within and
1Ki 6:31  And for the entering of the oracle he made doors of olive
tree: the lintel and side posts were a fifth part of the wall.
1Ki 6:32  The two doors also were of olive tree; and he carved
upon them carvings of cherubims and palm trees and open flowers,
and overlaid them with gold, and spread gold upon the cherubims,
and upon the palm trees.

Here is the laver with the likeness of twelve oxen:

1Ki 7:23  And he made a molten sea, ten cubits from the one brim
to the other: it was round all about, and his height was five cubits:
and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about.
1Ki 7:24  And under the brim of it round about there were knops
compassing it, ten in a cubit, compassing the sea round about: the
knops were cast in two rows, when it was cast.
1Ki 7:25  It stood upon twelve oxen, three looking toward the
north, and three looking toward the west, and three looking toward
the south, and three looking toward the east: and the sea was set
above upon them, and all their hinder parts were inward.

Did God approve of graven images in His house?  Yes, when they
were not worshipped like the idols the Roman's brought into the
temple.  The proof is that God sanctified Solomon's temple which
had many graven images.

1Ki 9:1  And it came to pass, when Solomon had finished the
building of the house of the LORD, and the king's house, and all
Solomon's desire which he was pleased to do,
1Ki 9:2  That the LORD appeared to Solomon the second time, as
he had appeared unto him at Gibeon.
1Ki 9:3  And the LORD said unto him, I have heard thy prayer and
thy supplication, that thou hast made before me: *I have hallowed
this house**, which thou hast built, to put my name there for ever;
and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually.

The Widow's Mite  Mark 12:41-44

The Lepton (Mite) was a small copper coin.  It was often
mentioned in the Mishna as proverbially the smallest Jewish coin.
One side of the lepton had an image of something in the heaven
above -- an eight-ray star.  

Jesus would not use the poor widow as an example of faithfulness
if her two coins, with the image of a star, were a transgression of
the second Commandment.

Donna Kupp

On the reverse of the coin is a ritual chalice encircled by dots and topped with the Paleo-Hebrew inscriptions “Shekel of Israel” and “Year 1.” On the obverse is a staff with three budding pomegranates, symbols of the fertility of the promised land, encircled by dots and the inscription “Jerusalem the Holy” (in yo face, Tyre!). Each side has an outer border of dots.

The Jewish temple shekel had images of living things.   Case Closed!

Creation date: Aug 25, 2009 9:53pm     Last modified date: Jul 22, 2017 1:47pm   Last visit date: Apr 23, 2024 3:25am
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