The season of images – representations of Jesus



Exodus 20:4-6

“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 or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.


Setting aside the issue of celebrating Christmas for now, I want to look at the evidence against images of the Lord, whether they’re representations of Him as an adult, child, or infant, because it is really all the same thing. The article from Pulpit & Pen motivated me to post about this once again. During this season this issue is especially important. 

Philippians 2:1-2

Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.  


Should You Display a Nativity Set this Christmas?

“The Commandment seems clear, but could use some exposition. You shall not make a carved image (or any likeness) of anything in heaven above, the earth beneath, or in the water. Does this then prohibit artistic representation of birds, flowers, fish, trees or stars? Well, the second clause clarifies it for us. ‘You shall not bow down to them or serve them.’ Simply put, you shall not make an image of anything that is considered God or god. Whether an idol of a false god or an image of the true God, these things ought not to be done. The second stipulation is that they are not to be worshipped, but the first stipulation is that they should not be made.”


Geerhardus Vos: On Idolatry

the old guys blog

“Beauty, irreligiously esteemed, infringes upon the glory of Jehovah.”


The Westminster Larger Catechism

Q. 109. What sins are forbidden in the second commandment?

A. The sins forbidden in the second commandment are, all devising, counseling, commanding, using, and any wise approving, any religious worship not instituted by God himself; the making any representation of God, of all or of any of the three persons, either inwardly in our mind, or outwardly in any kind of image or likeness of any creature whatsoever; all worshiping of it, or God in it or by it; the making of any representation of feigned deities, and all worship of them, or service belonging to them; all superstitious devices, corrupting the worship of God, adding to it, or taking from it, whether invented and taken up of ourselves, or received by tradition from others, though under the title of antiquity, custom, devotion, good intent, or any other pretense whatsoever; simony; sacrilege; all neglect, contempt, hindering, and opposing the worship and ordinances which God hath appointed.


Heidelberg Catechism, Questions 96-98

Lord’s Day 35
Topics: Second Commandment, Image of God, Word, Preaching

96. Q. What does God require in the second commandment?

A. We are not to make an image of God in any way, 1.
nor to worship him in any other manner
than he has commanded in his Word. 2.

1. Deut. 4:15-19; Is. 40:18-25; Acts 17:29; Rom. 1:23.
2. Lev. 10:1-7; Deut. 12:30; 1 Sam. 15:22, 23; Mt. 15:9; Jn. 4:23, 24.

97. Q. May we then not make any image at all?

A. God cannot and may not be visibly portrayed in any way. Creatures may be portrayed, but God forbids us to make or have any images of them in order to worship them or to serve God through them. 1.

1. Ex. 34:13, 14, 17; Num. 33:52; 2 Kings 18:4, 5; Is 40:25.

98. Q. But may images not be tolerated in the churches as “books for the laity”?

A. No, for we should not be wiser than God. He wants his people to be taught not by means of dumb images 1.
but by the living preaching of his Word. 2.

1. Jer. 10:8; Hab. 2:18-20.
2. Rom. 10:14, 15, 17; 2 Tim. 3:16, 17; 2 Pet. 1:19.


Seeing Jesus: The Case Against Pictures of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Peter Barnes, Banner of Truth pamplet.

from

Summary, WorldCat

“All pictures of Christ are necessarily inaccurate and dependent upon imagination —

“Pictures of Christ are not only inaccurate but they are a means of introducing much error concerning Him . . .”


John Calvin, Calvin Against Images Of Christ – The Heidelblog

“The Papists . . . paint and portray ‘Jesus Christ’ – Who (as we know) is not only man but also God manifested in the flesh. He is God’s eternal Son, in Whom the fullness of the Godhead dwells – yes, even substantially . . . Should we have portraitures and images, whereby only the flesh may be represented? Is it not a wiping away of that which is chiefest in our Lord Jesus Christ – that is, to wit, of His Divine Majesty? Yes!”


playlist
Series of short videos
On God’s Covenant to Save His People From Idolatry

J. Virgil Dunbar

IDOLATRY CONDEMNED blogspot


 

15 thoughts on “The season of images – representations of Jesus

  1. Should You Display a Nativity Set this Christmas?
    “The Commandment seems clear, but could use some exposition. You shall not make a carved image (or any likeness) of anything in heaven above, the earth beneath, or in the water. Does this then prohibit artistic representation of birds, flowers, fish, trees or stars? Well, the second clause clarifies it for us. ‘You shall not bow down to them or serve them.’ Simply put, you shall not make an image of anything that is considered God or god. Whether an idol of a false god or an image of the true God, these things ought not to be done. The second stipulation is that they are not to be worshipped, but the first stipulation is that they should not be made.”

    AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They are not “beautiful” no matter how you display it-wooden-Precious Moments statues-glass-with or without the “wise men”.
    WE are to worship our God in “spirit and truth”-HE SAYS SO!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. The “problem” I have with nativity sets is two-fold, not including the points your post makes. 1. Too often, it is stuck in with all the Christmas decorations on the mantle. 2. It never lets our Lord grow up. No one is afraid of a baby, but let that baby grow up as a Sacrifice for sin, die on a cross, rise from the dead and ascend into heaven, well, that’s different.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This post and the short videos at the bottom have been extremely helpful and instructive, dear sister. I had a nativity ornament given to me by a relative year before last. While I appreciate the gift, I can’t allow anything that would offend my great God! I hadn’t even considered the nativity scene when learning about idolatry and images. My mother-in-law has a huge nativity scene displayed in front of her house every Christmas. How do you think would be the best way to approach her regarding this? Or should I approach her at all? I would want to know, but she can be very sensitive towards correction.
    I’m so very blessed to have you as my ‘big sister’ in Christ, I so appreciate any advice you could give me in this matter! I praise God that He has given a family to us, as believers. I thank our God daily for you, sister. Words can’t express it, especially as a young believer, what it means to learn from you in your posts.

    Liked by 1 person

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