The Second Commandment Of The Bible

The Bible’s Second Commandment

The Bible’s Second Commandment states “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them” (Exodus 20:4-5, Deuteronomy 5:8). The Second Commandment goes to the heart of our relationship with our Creator and it deals with several crucial questions: How do we perceive Elohim? How do we explain Him to ourselves and to others? Idols are representations of false, nonexistent gods, but may we use pictures or other images that represent the true Elohim? Above all, what is the proper way to worship the only true Elohim? Today we are going to share with you the real meaning and the true essence of the Second Commandment of the Scripture. As always, we will let the Bible interpret itself and ask Almighty Yahweh for His wisdom. May you have the eyes to see and the ears to hear for this true and faithful heavenly message.

In the First Commandment we learned that it is wrong to allow any created thing, including a human being, to become more important to us than our Creator. The Second Commandment differs from the First in that it explains that, in our worship, we must not reduce Elohim to the likeness of a physical object! Doing so is unquestionably unacceptable to Yahweh. Yes, this Second Commandment explicitly forbids the use of any type of inanimate or lifeless imagery—“any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath”—in the worship of the living Elohim! Our Creator Yahweh is a living Elohim, not an inanimate statue, figurine or picture! To make any physical representation of Him distorts and limits our perception of what He is really like and, thus, damages our relationship with Him. That is why a clear understanding of the purpose of the Second Commandment is so important. Yes, we are to worship Yahweh only in the manner He tells us to worship Him!

Many who practice idolatry claim they use images as reminders of the “god” those images represent, insisting they are not actually worshiping the image itself. No doubt, the pagan idolaters of the ancient world made the same claim! A physical image, painting or picture of a deity has neither life nor power. Even if we knew exactly what Elohim looks like—which we don’t—we could not design icons that would accurately portray the awesome power and radiant glory of Yahweh as well as the many facets of His character revealed to us through His Word. After writing the Ten Commandments on tablets of stone, Yahweh explained why He wanted no images used in worshiping Him: “Take careful heed to yourselves , for you saw no form when Yahweh spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire, lest you act corruptly and make for yourselves a carved image in the form of any figure…And take heed, lest you lift your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun, the moon, and the stars, all the host of heaven, you feel driven to worship them and serve them, which Yahweh your Elohim has given to all the peoples under the whole heaven as a heritage. But Yahweh has taken you and brought you out of the iron furnace, out of Egypt, to be His people, an inheritance, as you are this day” (Deuteronomy 4:15-20). Yes, Yahweh wanted the Israelites to remember that they were to worship the living Elohim, not an idol, and to always direct their worship toward their Creator and never toward objects within His creation! He commanded them, “Take heed to yourselves, lest you forget the covenant of Yahweh your Elohim which He made with you, and make for yourselves a carved image in the form of anything which Yahweh your Elohim has forbidden you” (Deuteronomy 4:23). The Bible can’t be more plainer and clearer against idolatry! Depiction of deities, engraved and painted on walls, pottery and other articles, are also included among the forbidden and idolatrous objects! (Numbers 33:52).

Our Father in heaven Yahweh holds us accountable for our words and deeds. Bowing before an idol to pay homage to one’s own image of Elohim may appear to be an act of great devotion if one is ignorant of Yahweh’s purpose for human beings. But Yahweh expects those who worship Him in truth and understanding to demonstrate their love for Him by keeping His Commandments from the heart, not by going through useless rites in front of some object! Yahshua the Messiah made this very clear when He said, “Yahweh is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24). This brings us to the latter part of the Second Commandment: “For I, Yahweh your Elohim , am a jealous El, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments” (Exodus 20:5-6). Yes, Yahweh promised accompanying cursings to disobedience and blessings to the obedience of this Law! Knowledge and understanding of the truth of Elohim are essential for developing the holy, righteous character He desires to create in us. That means that we have to learn and grow (2 Peter 3:18). Obeying Yahweh is worshiping Him by emulating Him, by thinking and living as He would. We must allow Him to spiritually fashion us into His holy character. We must honor and praise Yahweh by the way we live.

Furthermore, idolatry in any shape or form is soundly condemned throughout the Bible. The apostle Paul praised Christians who had “turned to Yahweh from idols to serve the living and true Elohim” (1 Thessalonians 1:9) and warned others, “Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry” (1 Corinthians 10:14). Paul also explained why using images as aids in worship is so wrong when he said, “What am I saying then? That an idol is anything, or what is offered to idols is anything? Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to Elohim, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons” (1 Corinthians 10:19-20). Buried deep within icons and the other imagery of idolatry, the unseen hand of Satan is at work! Yes, Satan the devil conditions people to visualize, in their mind’s eye, even the Son of Yahweh as a lifeless, inanimate image. Satan’s object is to divert attention from Yahshua Messiah as the vibrant and perfect living image of the living Elohim described in the four Gospels. By blinding most of mankind (Revelation 12:9) to the importance of Yahweh’s Commandments, Satan has successfully deflected much of the Christian world’s professed adoration for Yahshua toward icons and pictures—contrary to the clear instruction of the Second Commandment. Idolatry is simply pagan and demonic!

The Second Commandment is a constant reminder that we only, of all created things, are made in the image of Elohim. Only we can be transformed into the spiritual image of Yahshua the Messiah who came in the flesh as the perfect spiritual image of our Heavenly Father Yahweh. The Second Commandment, like the First Commandment, protects our special relationship with our Creator, who made us in His likeness and is still molding us into His spiritual image. Yes, the Second Commandment reminds us that Yahweh is far greater than anything we can see or imagine. We must never let that knowledge be pushed aside by the use of some image or likeness in our worship of Him! It is true that great spiritual benefits are imparted from the living Yahshua Messiah to true Christians, but to claim that icons or statues serve as “sacraments” through which those benefits are imparted to the believer is completely absurd and totally contradicts the Bible! Such a false claim is reminiscent of the pagan practice of worshiping Elohim through molded and hand-carved images. Idolatry practice can never be Christian.

In closing, the Bible’s Second Commandment is closely associated with the First Commandment. The First and Greatest Commandment tells us whom we are to worship, and the Second tells us how we are to worship our heavenly Father Yahweh. Idolatry is more than an outward act or practice. Like all other sins, the outward expression reflects a condition of the heart. Even false concepts about Elohim can be idolatrous. If our mental portrait of Yahweh is based on what we want Him to be rather than what the Bible reveals Him to be, then we harbor the spirit of idolatry! In Ephesians 5:5, apostle Paul identifies one who is “covetous” as an “idolater,” declaring that no such person “has any inheritance in the Kingdom of Yahshua and Yahweh. In Colossians 3:5, Paul equates “covetousness” with “idolatry.” Paul names “idolatry” in his list of “works of the flesh” (Galatians 5:19-20). The apostle Peter includes “lawless idolatry” in his list of evil deeds (1 Peter 4:3). The apostle John says “Little children, keep yourselves from idols” (1 John 5:21). And the Savior of mankind Yahshua warns, “But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8). May Elohim keep you and bless you for obeying this heavenly message. Let’s continue to spread love, hope, faith and truth. We pray these things to Yahweh through Savior Yahshua, our Master and King, Amen. Halleluyah, Shalom!

21 thoughts on “The Bible’s Second Commandment

  1. This is really enlightening. I am a Catholic and our churches have statues inside. However, I do not pray to the statues, but I pray and speak directly to God.

  2. I think in our current society, with the emphasis on things, it becomes very easy to be susceptible to idolatry. We prize our homes, cars and even religious paraphernalia, in a way that is akin to worship. Thank you for the reminder to keep the enemy at bay and to keep our minds and hearts stayed on the one, true God.

  3. This is such a great analysis of the Second Commandment. I agree with Kimberlie. Society in general has become obsessed with material possessions as opposed to keeping our hearts and minds focused on the true facts about spirituality.

  4. I enjoyed reading your blog post and was reminded of so many of the details in the Bible which I have not come across lately. Idolizing images as true God is not good if you are a real Christian.

  5. Thank you so much for sharing. I have recently begun re-reading the Bible. I appreciate you sharing this and understand the idea and story behind it completely. Thank you again for sharing and enlightening so many with this post!

  6. Definitely an interesting claim about idols and idolatry and what we worship. I’m certainly not into worshiping anything other than God. Just not sure we can’t have symbols that remind us for the things God has done.

  7. True but not just images as some stated but also things. What is the first thing on our minds when we wake up and the last when we go to sleep? It should not be material things. Thanks for sharing the reminder of who should be first at all times for us.

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