A Second Look at the Second Commandment

A Second Look at the Second Commandment

by R. Herbert
During the 8th and 9th Centuries a great controversy raged in western Christendom: Should images of God and Jesus be used or not? On one side, the “iconoclasts” argued that such images were unscriptural, while on the other side, the ”iconophiles” argued that such images aided devotion and there is no harm in using them. The end result of this great debate is obvious in modern Christianity, but what was the position of the iconoclasts, and what can we learn from a controversy that ripped apart much of the medieval Church?

The Second Commandment, as found in Exodus chapter 20, is the second longest of the ten – only slightly shorter than the command to keep the Sabbath – indicating that like that commandment, it was a law that needed detailed expression: “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments” (Exodus 20:4-6).

This article is from one of our 2017 Sabbath Sentinel magazine editions.

Please click the link below to read the rest of the article (it begins on page 7): http://biblesabbath.org/media/Jan_2017WEB.pdf

 

 

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