Second: Graven images


The second of the Ten Commandments forbids us to worship any graven (carved) image: “You shall not make for yourself any graven image…You shall not bow down to them, nor worship them”.

Making and worshipping images

You will remember that the Egyptians worshipped all kinds of gods.  One of these was the Bull-god, whom they called Apis.  After the Israelites had escaped from Egypt, they went to Mount Sinai where Moses received the Ten Commandments from God.  While he was up the mountain by himself, the people held a festival in honour of the God who had rescued them from the Egyptians.  And because they saw how strong God was to be able to do this, they made a wooden bull covered all over with gold to represent God.  When Moses came down from the mountain and saw what was happening, he was very angry and destroyed it completely.  So you can see how necessary this Second Commandment was.

You will notice that the Second Commandment refers to the making of images and the worship of images.  There are examples in the Old Testament of images being made but not worshipped.  For example, you’ll remember that on top of the Ark of the Covenant, in which the stone tablets containing the Ten Commandments were actually kept, there were two golden angels (Exodus 25:18-20).

Today, in England, if people do not worship God, then they worship money or pleasure or celebrities by treating these as the most important things there are.

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