Shrines and Statues
What saith the Scripture?
.© 1999, by Diane Dew Order the book
"Sacred images in our churches and homes are intended to awaken and nourish our faith in the mystery of Christ.
Through the icon of Christ and his works of salvation, it is he whom we adore. Through sacred salvation, it is he whom we adore. Through sacred images of the holy Mother of God, of the angels and of the saints, we venerate the persons represented." Catechism, pg. 307, #1192
"The practice of displaying sacred images in the churches for the
veneration of the faithful is to remain in force ..."
Code of Canon Law, Can. 1188
"Following the divinely inspired teaching of our holy Fathers and the tradition of the Catholic Church (for we know that this tradition comes from the Holy Spirit who dwells in her) we rightly define with full certainty and correctness that, like the figure of the precious and life-giving cross, venerable and holy images of our Lord and God and Savior, Jesus Christ, our inviolate Lady, the holy Mother of God, and the venerated angels, all the saints and the just, whether painted or made of mosaic or another suitable material, are to be exhibited in the holy churches of God, on sacred vessels and vestments, walls and panels, in houses and on streets." Catechism, pg. 300, #1161
"Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above,
or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God..." Exodus 20:4, 5
"Neither shalt thou set thee up any image; which the LORD thy God hateth." Deuteronomy 16:22
I. Making, setting up, and bowing down before images or statues is explicitly forbidden by God.
Exodus 20:4, 5, 23
Deuteronomy 5:7-9; 4:15-19, 23, 24, 28; 6:14; 7:16; 8:19
Leviticus 26:1 "Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither
rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone
in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the LORD your God."
A. There is only one God.
Exodus 20:3; Deuteronomy 4:35, 39; 6:4; 1 Samuel 2:2; 2 Samuel 7:22;
1 Kings 8:60; 2 Kings 19:15; Nehemiah 9:6; Isaiah 44:6-8; 45:5, 6; 46:9
1 Corinthians 8:4-7; 1 Timothy 1:17; 2:5
B. Jesus Christ is the only true "Image of God."
2 Corinthians 4:4; Colossians 1;15, 16; Hebrews 1;3
C. A person cannot worship the true God and false gods also.
Joshua; Matthew 6;24 (Luke 16:13); 1 Corinthians 8:1-13; 10:21
II. Relics, shrines and processions all have their origin in paganism.
1. The kissing of images and relics dates back to the idol worship of Baal.
1 Kings 19:18; Hosea 13:20
2. The brazen
serpent Moses lifted up in the wilderness (Numbers 21:8, 9),
which is actually a symbol, or "type," of the true cross (John 3:15),
later came to be worshipped by the children of Israel as something sacred.
2 Kings 18:4
"changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the
creature more than the Creator ..."
1. Great wealth
could be found in the making of shrines and images, and Demetrius
the silversmith was greatly concerned about the future of his trade when Paul began
to turn away the worshippers of his idols.
story of Moses and Elijah on the mount of transfiguration indicates we are
not to exalt a place as a shrine.
The carrying of images upon the shoulders was a ritual practiced by
in Old Testament times.
Isaiah 46:6, 7; 45:20
III. The making and worshipping of images (statues) is a very serious offense.
A. God compares it to adultery.
2 Chronicles 6:14-17; Isaiah 40:25, 26; Ezekiel 23:37; 14:5, etc.
B. It is demon-worship.
1 Corinthians 10:19-20 "What say I then? that the idol is any thing,
or that which
is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing?... the things which the Gentiles sacrifice,
they sacrifice to devils (demons), and not to God: and I would not that ye should
have fellowship with devils."
Leviticus 17:7; 1 Kings 18; 1 Chronicles 10;20, 21; 2 Chronicles 11:15
Deuteronomy 32:16-21; Psalms 106:37, 38
C. It is an "abomination" to God.
Exodus 32:8; 20:3-5; Leviticus 26:1
Deuteronomy 12:2, 3; 16:22; 27:15; 4:14-24; 7:5, 25, 26; 5:8, 9
Joshua 7:12; Isaiah 40;18-20, 25, 26; 44:9-20
Isaiah 40:18-20, 25, 26; 44:9-20; Romans 1:23; Acts 17:29, 24, 25
D. Just how evil it is is evident by Paul's exhortation to "flee from" it!
1 Corinthians 10:14
E. God's people were instructed to destroy statues used in idol-worship.
IV. The foolishness of making statues is evident in Daniel 5:23.
A. God has no "similitude." Deuteronomy 4:15
B. God is Spirit. John 4:24
C. God doesn't want us to think of him in that way. Acts 17:29
D. God was not made with hands. Acts 19:26; etc.
E. Images are the works of men (Isaiah 2:8); they cannot save (Jeremiah 2:28; Isaiah 45:20; 46:7).
The great multitude of their images. Jeremiah 2:28; 50:38
Gods of gold. Exodus 32:4
Misc. Historical facts:
Images were introduced into the church in AD 375. Catholicism authorized the veneration of images and relics in AD 786.
The following scriptures depict the foolishness of making and venerating images:
2 Chronicles 33:7 "And he set a carved image, the idol which he had made, in the house of God, of which God had said to David and to Solomon his son, In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen before all the tribes of Israel, will I put my name for ever."
Psalms 135:15-18 "The idols of the heathen are silver and gold, the work of men's hands. They have mouths, but they speak not; eyes have they, but they see not; They have ears, but they hear not; neither is there any breath in their mouths. They that make them are like unto them: so is every one that trusteth in them."
Jeremiah 50:38 "A drought is upon her waters; and they shall be dried up: for it is the land of graven images, and they are mad upon their idols."
Jeremiah 3:8-10 "And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also.  And it came to pass through the lightness of her whoredom, that she defiled the land, and committed adultery with stones and with stocks.  And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah hath not turned unto me with her whole heart, but feignedly, saith the Lord."
Ezekiel 14:7 "For every one of the house of Israel, or of the stranger that sojourneth in Israel, which separateth himself from me, and setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to a prophet to enquire of him concerning me; I the Lord will answer him by myself."
Ezekiel 16:23-43 "And it came to pass after all thy wickedness, (woe, woe unto thee! saith the Lord God;)  That thou hast also built unto thee an eminent place, and hast made thee an high place in every street.  Thou hast built thy high place at every head of the way, and hast made thy beauty to be abhorred, and hast opened thy feet to every one that passed by, and multiplied thy whoredoms.  Thou hast also committed fornication with the Egyptians thy neighbours, great of flesh; and hast increased thy whoredoms, to provoke me to anger.  Behold, therefore I have stretched out my hand over thee, and have diminished thine ordinary food, and delivered thee unto the will of them that hate thee, the daughters of the Philistines, which are ashamed of thy lewd way.  Thou hast played the whore also with the Assyrians, because thou wast unsatiable; yea, thou hast played the harlot with them, and yet couldest not be satisfied.  Thou hast moreover multiplied thy fornication in the land of Canaan unto Chaldea; and yet thou wast not satisfied herewith.  How weak is thine heart, saith the Lord God, seeing thou doest all these things, the work of an imperious whorish woman;  In that thou buildest thine eminent place in the head of every way, and makest thine high place in every street; and hast not been as an harlot, in that thou scornest hire;  But as a wife that committeth adultery, which taketh strangers instead of her husband!  They give gifts to all whores: but thou givest thy gifts to all thy lovers, and hirest them, that they may come unto thee on every side for thy whoredom.  And the contrary is in thee from other women in thy whoredoms, whereas none followeth thee to commit whoredoms: and in that thou givest a reward, and no reward is given unto thee, therefore thou art contrary.  Wherefore, O harlot, hear the word of the Lord:  Thus saith the Lord God; Because thy filthiness was poured out, and thy nakedness discovered through thy whoredoms with thy lovers, and with all the idols of thy abominations, and by the blood of thy children, which thou didst give unto them;  Behold, therefore I will gather all thy lovers, with whom thou hast taken pleasure, and all them that thou hast loved, with all them that thou hast hated; I will even gather them round about against thee, and will discover thy nakedness unto them, that they may see all thy nakedness.  And I will judge thee, as women that break wedlock and shed blood are judged; and I will give thee blood in fury and jealousy.  And I will also give thee into their hand, and they shall throw down thine eminent place, and shall break down thy high places: they shall strip thee also of thy clothes, and shall take thy fair jewels, and leave thee naked and bare.  They shall also bring up a company against thee, and they shall stone thee with stones, and thrust thee through with their swords.  And they shall burn thine houses with fire, and execute judgments upon thee in the sight of many women: and I will cause thee to cease from playing the harlot, and thou also shalt give no hire any more.  So will I make my fury toward thee to rest, and my jealousy shall depart from thee, and I will be quiet, and will be no more angry.  Because thou hast not remembered the days of thy youth, but hast fretted me in all these things; behold, therefore I also will recompense thy way upon thine head, saith the Lord God: and thou shalt not commit this lewdness above all thine abominations."
Ezekiel 22:3-18 "Then say thou, Thus saith the Lord God, The city sheddeth blood in the midst of it, that her time may come, and maketh idols against herself to defile herself.  Thou art become guilty in thy blood that thou hast shed; and hast defiled thyself in thine idols which thou hast made; and thou hast caused thy days to draw near, and art come even unto thy years: therefore have I made thee a reproach unto the heathen, and a mocking to all countries.  Those that be near, and those that be far from thee, shall mock thee, which art infamous and much vexed.  Behold, the princes of Israel, every one were in thee to their power to shed blood.  In thee have they set light by father and mother: in the midst of thee have they dealt by oppression with the stranger: in thee have they vexed the fatherless and the widow.  Thou hast despised mine holy things, and hast profaned my sabbaths.  In thee are men that carry tales to shed blood: and in thee they eat upon the mountains: in the midst of thee they commit lewdness.  In thee have they discovered their fathers' nakedness: in thee have they humbled her that was set apart for pollution.  And one hath committed abomination with his neighbour's wife; and another hath lewdly defiled his daughter in law; and another in thee hath humbled his sister, his father's daughter.  In thee have they taken gifts to shed blood; thou hast taken usury and increase, and thou hast greedily gained of thy neighbours by extortion, and hast forgotten me, saith the Lord God.  Behold, therefore I have smitten mine hand at thy dishonest gain which thou hast made, and at thy blood which hath been in the midst of thee.  Can thine heart endure, or can thine hands be strong, in the days that I shall deal with thee? I the Lord have spoken it, and will do it.  And I will scatter thee among the heathen, and disperse thee in the countries, and will consume thy filthiness out of thee.  And thou shalt take thine inheritance in thyself in the sight of the heathen, and thou shalt know that I am the Lord.  And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,  Son of man, the house of Israel is to me become dross: all they are brass, and tin, and iron, and lead, in the midst of the furnace; they are even the dross of silver."
Ezekiel 23:24-30, 37-49 "And they shall come against thee with chariots, wagons, and wheels, and with an assembly of people, which shall set against thee buckler and shield and helmet round about: and I will set judgment before them, and they shall judge thee according to their judgments.  And I will set my jealousy against thee, and they shall deal furiously with thee: they shall take away thy nose and thine ears; and thy remnant shall fall by the sword: they shall take thy sons and thy daughters; and thy residue shall be devoured by the fire.  They shall also strip thee out of thy clothes, and take away thy fair jewels.  Thus will I make thy lewdness to cease from thee, and thy whoredom brought from the land of Egypt: so that thou shalt not lift up thine eyes unto them, nor remember Egypt any more.  For thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will deliver thee into the hand of them whom thou hatest, into the hand of them from whom thy mind is alienated:  And they shall deal with thee hatefully, and shall take away all thy labour, and shall leave thee naked and bare: and the nakedness of thy whoredoms shall be discovered, both thy lewdness and thy whoredoms.  I will do these things unto thee, because thou hast gone a whoring after the heathen, and because thou art polluted with their idols....  That they have committed adultery, and blood is in their hands, and with their idols have they committed adultery, and have also caused their sons, whom they bare unto me, to pass for them through the fire, to devour them.  Moreover this they have done unto me: they have defiled my sanctuary in the same day, and have profaned my sabbaths.  For when they had slain their children to their idols, then they came the same day into my sanctuary to profane it; and, lo, thus have they done in the midst of mine house.  And furthermore, that ye have sent for men to come from far, unto whom a messenger was sent; and, lo, they came: for whom thou didst wash thyself, paintedst thy eyes, and deckedst thyself with ornaments,  And satest upon a stately bed, and a table prepared before it, whereupon thou hast set mine incense and mine oil.  And a voice of a multitude being at ease was with her: and with the men of the common sort were brought Sabeans from the wilderness, which put bracelets upon their hands, and beautiful crowns upon their heads.  Then said I unto her that was old in adulteries, Will they now commit whoredoms with her, and she with them?  Yet they went in unto her, as they go in unto a woman that playeth the harlot: so went they in unto Aholah and unto Aholibah, the lewd women.  And the righteous men, they shall judge them after the manner of adulteresses, and after the manner of women that shed blood; because they are adulteresses, and blood is in their hands.  For thus saith the Lord God; I will bring up a company upon them, and will give them to be removed and spoiled.  And the company shall stone them with stones, and dispatch them with their swords; they shall slay their sons and their daughters, and burn up their houses with fire.  Thus will I cause lewdness to cease out of the land, that all women may be taught not to do after your lewdness.  And they shall recompense your lewdness upon you, and ye shall bear the sins of your idols: and ye shall know that I am the Lord God."
Hosea 8:6 "For from Israel was it also: the workman made it; therefore it is not God: but the calf of Samaria shall be broken in pieces."
Hosea 10:1, 2 "Israel is an empty vine, he bringeth forth fruit unto himself: according to the multitude of his fruit he hath increased the altars; according to the goodness of his land they have made goodly images.  Their heart is divided; now shall they be found faulty: he shall break down their altars, he shall spoil their images."
Hosea 13:2 "And now they sin more and more, and have made them molten images of their silver, and idols according to their own understanding, all of it the work of the craftsmen: they say of them, Let the men that sacrifice kiss the calves."
Daniel 5:4 "They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone."
Isaiah 21:9 "And, behold, here cometh a chariot of men, with a couple of horsemen. And he answered and said, Babylon is fallen, is fallen; and all the graven images of her gods he hath broken unto the ground."
Isaiah 17:7, 8 "At that day shall a man look to his Maker, and his eyes shall have respect to the Holy One of Israel.  And he shall not look to the altars, the work of his hands, neither shall respect that which his fingers have made, either the groves, or the images."
Habbakuk 2:18, 19 "What profiteth the graven image that the maker thereof hath graven it; the molten image, and a teacher of lies, that the maker of his work trusteth therein, to make dumb idols?  Woe unto him that saith to the wood, Awake; to the dumb stone, Arise, it shall teach! Behold, it is laid over with gold and silver, and there is no breath at all in the midst of it."
Psalms 16:4a "Their sorrows shall be multiplied that hasten after another god: their drink offerings of blood will I not offer, nor take up their names into my lips. "
Hosea 4:17 "Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone."
Isaiah 44:17 "And the residue thereof he maketh a god, even his graven image: he falleth down unto it, and worshippeth it, and prayeth unto it, and saith, Deliver me; for thou art my god."
2 Kings 10:26, 27 "And they brought forth the images out of the house of Baal, and burned them. And they brake down the image of Baal, and brake down the house of Baal, and made it a draught house unto this day."
Revelation 17:1-5 "And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters:  With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.  So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.  And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:  And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH."
Judges 2:110-13 "And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served Baalim:  And they forsook the Lord God ... and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the Lord to anger.  And they forsook the Lord, and served Baal and Ashtaroth."
Romans 1:18-25 "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;  Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.  For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:  Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.  Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,  And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man...  Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:  Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator...."
Zechariah 10:2 "For the idols have spoken vanity, and the diviners have seen a lie, and have told false dreams; they comfort in vain: therefore they went their way as a flock, they were troubled, because there was no shepherd.".
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Webster's definition of idol: "An image used as an object of worship."
To avoid the divine prohibition regarding making images, the Roman Catholic Church actually changed the Ten Commandments from what they are in Exodus and Deuteronomy! They deleted the second commandment and split the tenth in two (to keep the total at 10). In "The Dictionary of the Liturgy," pp 121, 122, for example, they are listed as:
1. I am Yahweh your God. You shall have no gods except me.
2. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
3. Remember to keep holy the Lord's day.
4. Honor Your father and your mother.
5. You shall not kill.
6. You shall not commit adultery.
7. You shall not steal.
8. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
9. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife.
10. You shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor."