A request to Christian bloggers…


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1 Peter 1:7-9

7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: 8 Whom having not seen, you love; in whom, though now you see him not, yet believing, you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: 9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.


How long will it take for us to understand that pictures or images or sculptures of Jesus do not represent Him, and that the Lord clearly told us not to make them, whether for worship or devotion or communication or evangelism, whether they’re considered masterpieces, or are used in Sunday School materials or in memes. Please, I implore you – don’t use what doesn’t please the Lord and is a stumbling-block to your brothers and sisters. 

You may feel that making and using images of Jesus has to do with liberty of conscience. That’s not so. But even if it were, we would be called to please others rather than ourselves. Please. I don’t know how to ask more strongly, except to beseech you in the Name of Jesus Christ. 

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36 thoughts on “A request to Christian bloggers…

  1. What of the cherubim that God instructed Moses to include on the ark of the covenant? Are you speaking against all religious artwork, or just against images of Jesus? (This is not meant as an attack. I really want to know what you think.) J.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi, J! I’m sure you are not attacking. Right now I’m speaking of images of Jesus.

      About the cherubim on the mercy seat, they were commanded to be made and were seen only by the High Priest once a year on the Day of Atonement when he entered the Holy of Holies with blood. Like the bronze serpent in the wilderness and the bronze oxen supporting the sea in the courtyard of the temple, they were mandated.

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    • The difference between the cherubim on the Ark of the covenant and an idol is that the cherubim weren’t to be worshiped but it represented God’s throne in heaven, it was a replica according to Hebrews 8:5 which says, They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: “See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.”
      Since God was going to show up in the tabernacle He wanted it to look like His throne in heaven.
      Saying that scripture doesn’t approve anywhere else of having an idol in one’s house, it actually says the opposite.
      Exodus 20:4 “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.

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    • Greetings, Beth! I can give an Old Testament passage from which we get the principle that making such images leads to the corruption of Biblical faith, Deuteronomy 4:

      15 “Take careful heed to yourselves, for you saw no form when the Lord spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire, 16 lest you act corruptly and make for yourselves a carved image in the form of any figure: the likeness of male or female, 17 the likeness of any animal that is on the earth or the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the air, 18 the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground or the likeness of any fish that is in the water beneath the earth. 19 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 the Lord your God has given to all the peoples under the whole heaven as a heritage. 20 But the Lord 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. 21 Furthermore the Lord was angry with me for your sakes, and swore that I would not cross over the Jordan, and that I would not enter the good land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance. 22 But I must die in this land, I must not cross over the Jordan; but you shall cross over and possess that good land. 23 Take heed to yourselves, lest you forget the covenant of the Lord your God which He made with you, and make for yourselves a carved image in the form of anything which the Lord your God has forbidden you. 24 For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.

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      • Let me share an article our youngest adopted son recently wrote. I think it hits at the heart of the matter.
        FOR GOOD OR FOR A STUMBLING BLOCK?
        One of the little remembered facts about the good and lifesaving brazen serpent that Moses made was that it became a stumbling block for the people and was destroyed by a righteous king. If you don’t recall how the brass serpent came into being, the account is found in Numbers:
        And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. 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. 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. 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 (Num. 21:6-9).
        Many years later it was recorded of King Hezekiah that, “He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brazen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it…” (2 Kings 18:4). What an incredibly interesting artifact of history! But the point is that something that was purposed and designed for good had been turned into an object of sin. We must be careful not to fall into the same traps in our lives, recognizing of course that it’s unlikely we’d burn incense to an inanimate object, but we can fall prey to Satan’s attempts to turn something designed for good into a stumbling block.
        Jesus said, “How can ye believe, which receive honour [literally ‘glory’] one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?” (John 5:44). And Jesus had just said in vs. 41, “I receive not honour from men”. We are certainly to encourage and edify one another, but if our method to encouragement is to heap glory and praise on individuals, it’s not pleasing to God and can become a stumbling block. The word translated ‘honour’ often refers to ‘value paid’, not ‘glory’. It’s not uncommon to see brethren put on pedestals and lauded, but it’s not God’s design for the Church.
        It’s well known that money can be a blessing, but also be a stumbling block for those who covet after it and err. Paul warned Timothy, “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1Tim. 6:10). The same money that we can use to lay up treasure in Heaven can be a source of temptation and downfall.
        These are but two examples to illustrate a point that spiritual danger exists even among those things that are good, or were designed for our good. We must be on guard against the devices of Satan and resist him.
        –Matthew Johnson
        =====================
        We might debate this topic for a long time, but the bottom line is: what are we doing with the pictures of Jesus? Are we worshipping them or bowing down before them?
        On another topic completely–I am particularly opposed to any pictures of Jesus with long hair. Why? The New Testament teachings strongly denounce men who dishonor their “head” (Jesus Christ), and when we use such pictures of Christ, we are falsely accusing Jesus of dishonored his “head” (the Heavenly Father). See 1 Corinthians 11:3-16.

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        • Beth, it must bring you and Matthew’s Dad joy to see him walking in the light. I praise God and am happy for you. Matthew is mostly speaking of good things ordained by God for our good (the brazen serpent). The Lord didn’t command us to make images of His Son which we have misused by worshipping them.

          About images of Jesus with long hair, yes, they’re shameful and an even greater lie in reference to this passage.

          No, my sister, no long debate. You believe that the important issue is what we are to do with an image of the Lord, that is, how we use them. My belief is that we are not to make them to start with. As a former Roman Catholic I thought that I had escaped them but they are everywhere used by Bible Christians. I urge you to care that Christians like me are grieved and offended by them. Each is another Jesus.

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      • I personally don’t use any images of Jesus – most depict him as a European, which isn’t factually true. He was a Jew, people.

        But for the sake of discussion, how would you respond to those who point out that the context of this commandment was properly representing a God who had “no form”, i.e. his OT manifestations? Whereas Jesus not only took a physical form, but that was very much the point of his earthly ministry – to become flesh?

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        • Hi, Brandon! Yes, He was a Hebrew descended from David the King, the Root and Offspring of Jesse. We never should forget this. It also helps against antisemitism.

          The argument that images of Jesus Christ are okay now because of the Incarnation is used by Roman Catholics and Orthodox. It’s strong on the surface but has many weaknesses, chief being the prohibitition against images. Some Orthodox Christians were martyred in the Byzantine Empire during the Iconoclastic Controversy because their rejection of images was seen as a rejection of the Incarnation – that God the Son is God in the flesh. Orthodox Christians, who went from banning and burning icons, to reinstating them as true “Orthodoxy”, teach that iconoclasts are in effect denying that Christ has come in the flesh. Another question in the controversy is how can the Lord’s Deity ever be portrayed? And since it can’t be and isn’t in the images, then we’re splitting up His two natures and this is heresy too.

          I’m glad you don’t use images yourself. It would be wonderful if Christians were all of one mind about this.

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  2. Amen! I had a precious blogger come to share their blog with my readers at He Hath Said (which I’m fine with but I will speak up if there is anything I know is amiss) and it was saturated with blasphemous MAN made images of Jesus. I tried to explain that even to picture the images on his/her blog in our mind as we pray causes us to stumble and worship that god of a man’s imagination but they weren’t in agreement.

    What about our imagination? We read a book and picture what the characters look like, don’t we? Well, if we have a picture in our mind of what we think Jesus looks like as per what we know of how people of Israel looked and with scriptural hints (we know men did not wear long hair unless they took a Nazrite vow, for example), I see no problem with that so long as you aren’t worshiping it as though that is what Jesus really looks like. BUT! If you draw it out, or fashion it out of stone, etc., you have made an idol of it. It has become a god of YOUR OWN MAKING. See Judges 18:24 Not yelling, just emphasizing…

    So! Do we have a description of Jesus in scriptures? Yes! In the Book of Revelation. That is what He looks like as far as God will let us know and that is enough for now. Maranatha! And God bless you! \o/

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherry, yes, that is enough for now – well said! And yes, we have so much already, the good and true things, such as, the descriptions in Revelation and in Isaiah where we’re told:

      Isaiah 52:2 (during His suffering)
      14 Just as many were astonished at you,
      So His visage was marred more than any man,
      And His form more than the sons of men;
      and
      Isaiah 53:2b
      He has no form or comeliness;
      And when we see Him,
      There is no beauty that we should desire Him.

      We can’t help imagining as we read – I try not to – but we must understand the limits of our imaginations and are commanded not to make or worship works of our own hands.
      Yes, the long hair, as Beth mentioned – so true that He and people of His day didn’t have it unless as part of a Nazarite vow.

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  3. The bronze serpent is a good example. God commanded that it be made, so people would look to it and be saved. Hezekiah later destroyed it because people were worshiping the image rather than the LORD.
    I quite agree that it is sin when people worship an image rather than worshiping the LORD. I do not see that making an image is sinful when that image can help to teach people about God and his Word. After Martin Luther was taken to the Wartburg Castle for his own protection (The emperor had declared Luther to be an outlaw.), some of the other leaders in Wittenberg began destroying the artwork in the church. Luther protested–he even risked his life to confront them. He said that the artwork was very useful in the church to teach the people.
    I compare artwork in the church to the anointing of Jesus’ head and feet by Mary the sister of Lazarus. The disciples criticized the expense, but Jesus defended her right to give a beautiful gift to her Savior. You are correct to recognize the danger of being distracted from God by the artwork–of worshiping the art rather than the Lord it represents–but I do not believe that God opposes representations used to teach about him and to praise and glorify him. J.

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    • J, I enjoyed your comment which showed that the controversy over images has lasted many centuries – it has, and it started early on. What the radical reformation did in destroying property was sinful because it is one thing to destroy your own property but another to destroy someone else’s. Martin Luther, whose writings have helped me and whom I respect, believed that “the artwork was very useful in the church to teach the people.” The preached Word is infinitely superior for teaching and is what the Lord ordained: faith comes by hearing.

      You wrote that what is wrong is to worship images, not to make them. But the commandment prohibits both; also that, “I do not believe that God opposes representations used to teach about him and to praise and glorify him.” But the Lord decides what He accepts as true worship, we don’t.

      Thanks for commenting at length, J!

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  4. Hi Maria, As you know, we have different viewpoints on this. I would not object to characterizations of Jesus that were Biblically sound or the use of Jesus illustrations in children’s Bibles. I believe the Deuteronomy passage forbids creating objects to be worshiped but it doesn’t forbid artistic depictions en toto. God the Father and the Holy Spirit cannot be depicted because they are spirit and without form. But Jesus was incarnate in space and time. I respect your beliefs on this but I think it falls under the realm of Christian freedom. I would agree with CARM’s comments about characterizations of Jesus in movies in the middle of the article below.
    https://carm.org/movie-passion
    At the 2004 Shepherds’ Conference John MacArthur stated he didn’t believe “The Passion” was a violation of the Second Commandment because we don’t worship the images on the film.
    http://www.biblebb.com/files/passion4.htm
    MacArthur is pretty hard nosed when it comes to right doctrine so his view may indicate there’s some legitimate differences of opinion on this rather than a dogmatic right and wrong view.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Okay, brother! You know I disagree as you said but am glad that you weighed in on this and will read the articles. Just please remember, as in my comment to Brandon, that Christ’s Deity can never be portrayed so this would be just as you said of the Father and Holy Spirit: “this cannot be depicted.”

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  5. There are some situations where it would be wrong to make an image of Jesus. Having a statue of Jesus or a crucifix in a church would be wrong because people could be led to worship it. But God sent Jesus into the world to reveal himself to people. When Jesus is a character in a movie or is shown in a book illustration that simply advance the purpose for which God sent him in the first place.

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    • Hi, Clyde! I see what you’re saying. But do you understand that these images and movies are a problem for some Christians? – this is my focus in this post. I’m asking Christians to consider the fact that images of Jesus (how can they be images when we haven’t seen Him?) Are a stumblingblock. Having seen them it’s hard to forget them and they intrude on my prayers.

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    • Hi, apocalypse2blog – thank you for commenting. As I mentioned to Clyde below, images of the Lord are a hindrance to prayer for some Christians. And, they should be as they are forbidden. I was asking my fellow Evangelicals and Protestants not to use them in their blogs.

      Images were not used in the early Church of Jesus Christ, and afterwards became a matter of contention. Could I ever stop someone else from using them? No. Can I convince someone that their use is unbiblical? I hope and pray so, for the Lord’s sake.

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        • Patrick, I believe that visions such as the Virgin of Guadalupe – and prophecies in the charismatic movement both Pentecostal and Catholic – aren’t from the Lord. The Canon is closed for historic Protestants, as it should be. Any artwork that goes with Protestant/Evangelical evangelism (films of Jesus and images of Him) and any artwork or films that go with Marian visions are therefore to be avoided. The bottom line is that we are to walk by faith, not by sight.
          Thanks for stopping by and asking questions, Patrick. Trying to answer as best I can with the Lord’s Word in mind.

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  6. There was nothing about Jesus that made Him physically attractive to others – “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him, nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him.” (Isaiah 53:2b). So, if his physical appearance was important, then we would have more information on this aspect of His character. Therefore, I agree with your post that we should not be making images of Jesus, because it wasn’t important to Him.

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    • David, thank you for commenting! Your way of looking at this is new to me and obviously important as you are focused on God’s will. Focusing on His will is essential to prayer – the subject of your own blog. This is how the Lord Jesus Christ taught us to pray to the Father, “Thy will be done in earth as it is in Heaven!”

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