Can A Christian Make A Graven Image?

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Hi M____,
Thank you for your question.
You ask:

Your question gives me the opportunity to once again emphasize the truth of this verse of scripture:

Psa 119:160 The sum of thy word is truth; And every one of thy righteous ordinances endureth for ever.

Now let’s look at the sum of this commandment and see if it says what you allude to. Here is that commandment:

Exo 20:4 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:
Exo 20:5 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;

There are no verse breaks in the Hebrew. This is all one statement. God did not simply say “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.” That by itself is what is know as a ‘half truth,’ and all half truths are lies. God has never prohibited men from making images of anything. What He has prohibited is the making of images and bowing down to them in worship. As a friend of mine put it, “It Does not say ‘Some of Thy Word is Truth, it says “The sum of Thy Word is Truth.”
The Truth is that God Himself commissioned the building of the images in the tabernacle and in the temple. He also commissioned Moses to make a copper image of a serpent for the people to look on to be saved when God sent serpents among the people. Later when the people began to worship the serpent God had King Hezekiah to destroy the copper serpent.

Num 21:4 And they journeyed from mount Hor by the way of the Red sea, to compass the land of Edom: and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way.
Num 21:5 And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for [ there is] no bread, neither [ is there any] water; and our soul loatheth this light bread.
Num 21:6 And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.
Num 21:7 Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people.
Num 21:8 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.
Num 21:9 And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.
2Ki 18:1 Now it came to pass in the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, [ that] Hezekiah the son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign.
2Ki 18:2 Twenty and five years old was he when he began to reign; and he reigned twenty and nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name also [ was] Abi, the daughter of Zachariah.
2Ki 18:3  And he did [ that which was] right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that David his father did.
2Ki 18:4 He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan.
2Ki 18:5 He trusted in the LORD God of Israel; so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor [ any] that were before him.

I hope this makes it clear that God has never forbidden men from making graven images. What He has done when we read the sum of His Word was to forbid men from making any graven images to bow down to them to worship them. There is nothing wrong with “the furniture in a Catholic Church”, but Catholics bow down to their images and in so doing declare how little they regard the Words of God. The Muslims on the other hand, read scripture as you have taken it here in this e- mail, and go to the opposite extreme. Both are the reaction of “the natural man,” who “cannot receive the things of the spirit.”
The Truth of God’s Word is always spiritually balanced and spiritually practical. That is why natural mankind cannot receive it.

1Co 2:12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
1Co 2:13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
1Co 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [ them], because they are spiritually discerned.

Your brother in Christ,

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