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PITTSBURGH, PA, February 14, 2019 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Are the commandments found in the Bible subject to interpretation? Should we allow modern-day influences to color those interpretations? If so, who should be the final authority?
For instance, the First Commandment forbids the worship of images. Yet, according to an article found on catholic.org, the First Commandment "was never understood as an absolute and universal prohibition of any kind of image." The actual wording of the commandment found in Exodus, found in the same article commands "Thou shalt not have strange gods before me. Thou shalt not make to thyself a graven thing, nor the likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, nor of those things that are in the waters under the earth. Thou shalt not adore them, nor serve them
What is the truth about the worship of images? Evangelical Outreach ex-Catholic Dan Corner had this to say:
True worship is very important to the Almighty. The PRECIOUS Lord Jesus taught "...true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth" (John 4:23,24).
In contrast to worshiping God in spirit and in truth, is the way pagans worship their false gods by bowing down and kissing images and statues of their likeness (1 Ki. 19:18; Hosea 13:2). Note this similarity to how Catholicism uses their images, according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
"The Christian veneration of images is not contrary to the first commandment which proscribes idols. Indeed, 'the honor rendered to an image passes to its prototype,' and "whoever venerates an image venerates the person portrayed in it". (CCC 2132)
"Through sacred images of the holy Mother of God, of the angels and of the saints, we venerate the persons represented". (CCC 1192)
Furthermore, catholic.org stated this: "In kneeling before the crucifix and kissing it we are paying the highest honor to the our Lord's cross as the instrument of our salvation" [sic]. That is exactly what is done in Catholic churches on Good Friday. Catholics sincerely believe they are showing love to the Lord Jesus by bowing down before a crucifix and kissing the feet of the image they consider to represent Jesus Christ.
Unfortunately, Catholics do not know that scripture does not command people to bow down and kiss images or statues, but actually forbids and condemns such a practice. Jesus taught we show our love for him by obeying his commands (Jn. 14:15; 14:23,24), and his commands include not bowing before and kissing images (Ex. 20:4-6; 1 Kings 19:18; etc.).
Dear reader, be assured there were no religious images of any kind whatsoever among the New Testament Christians, much less so when they prayed to or worshiped God. This absence of religious images is clearly consistent with God's command to worship him in spirit and truth but in contradistinction to the Golden Calf debacle where the people bowed down and sacrificed to their manmade image of gold thinking such were the gods who delivered them out of Egypt:
"So the next day the people rose early and sacrificed burnt offerings and presented fellowship offerings. Afterward they sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry. Then the LORD said to Moses, 'Go down, because your people, whom you brought up out of Egypt, have become corrupt. They have been quick to turn away from what I commanded them and have made themselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf. They have bowed down to it and sacrificed to it and have said, These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt' " (Ex. 32:6-8).
Let it be noted that the whole Golden Calf ordeal was meant to be a festival to the LORD (YHWH), that is, the true God of the Bible (Ex. 32:5)! They were trying to worship and honor God, not a pagan deity. Their idolatrous attempt to worship and sacrifice through an image quickly corrupted them – changing their spiritual identity to idolaters (1 Cor. 10:7) and having their names removed from God's heavenly book (Ex. 32:33).
Although their leader Aaron mistaught them, and despite the Israelite's sincere attempt to honor and worship Almighty God through this golden calf, they were nonetheless guilty of the sin of idolatry. God, unmoved by their sincerity, refused their false worship; instead he became angry and removed their names from the Book of Life because of their sin of idolatry.
As a boy, I was indoctrinated into Roman Catholicism through "The New Saint Joseph Baltimore Catechism." The version of the Ten Commandments presented to us Catholics only stated the following about idolatry:
"I am the Lord thy God; thou shalt not have strange gods before Me" [ibid., 1962 ed. p. 100.] We knew nothing about Exodus 20:4-6 and especially this passage:
"You saw no form of any kind the day the LORD spoke to you at Horeb out of the fire. Therefore watch yourselves very carefully, so that you do not become corrupt and make for yourselves an idol, an image of any shape, whether formed like a man or a woman, or like any animal on earth or any bird that flies in the air, or like any creature that moves along the ground or any fish in the waters below. And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars--all the heavenly array--do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the LORD your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven" (Deut. 4:15-19).
Hence, God forbids us to make or bow down to an image in the form of a man or a woman – the very way Catholics are taught to worship God, venerate Mary, and honor the saints.
Idolatry is so offensive and reprehensible to God, that all idolaters will be thrown into the lake of fire for that sin (Rev. 21:8), that is, unless they sincerely turn away from it and get forgiven. So what should Catholics do with their religious images through which they try to worship Jesus or honor Mary and the saints? They should be smashed and removed from their house (Ex. 34:12-14; Deut. 7:25,26). God alone is to be worshiped, excluding veneration to all others. ("Veneration" is a synonym for worship, that is, it means the same thing.)
Catholics must go by God's written word alone and they must realize their magisterium (teaching authorities) have horribly betrayed them by leading them away from Holy Writ in various, dangerous ways. Do not be afraid to believe and act solely on God's word. You are 100% safe to go by the Bible alone. Remember, scripture is final spiritual authority (2 Tim. 3:16,17), forever settled (Mt. 24:35) and called the word of life (Jn. 6:68; Phil. 2:16).
Dan Corner, a former pastor, is the author of a number of books including 'The Believer's Conditional Security: Eternal Security Refuted', 'The Myth of Eternal Security' and 'Is this the Mary of the Bible?'. He also provides a massive amount of information on his websites.
Ex Catholic Dan Corner is available for media interviews, including debates, and can be reached using the information below or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone at 724-632-3210 or by mail at PO Box 265, Washington, PA, 15301. His websites are https://www.evangelicaloutreach.org (EOMIN.org) and AlcanceEvangelistico.org (DBN-MIN.net) and EternalLifeBlog.com.
After graduating from college, Dan Corner got saved by reading the Bible. For over four decades, he has diligently served the Lord Jesus. Dan Corner's pastoral, apologetic, counter cult and street evangelism experiences have equipped him to contend for the faith and win souls to Jesus from many backgrounds.
He is an ordained minister and director of Evangelical Outreach who pastored for almost seven years and has authored hundreds of Christian articles, answered thousands of emails and letters and has written several books of vital importance in our day.
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