Question 96: What does God require in the second commandment?
Answer: That we in no wise make any image of God1, nor worship Him in any other way than He has commanded in His Word2.
1Isa. 40:18,19,25, "To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto Him?" The workman melteth a graven image, and the goldsmith spreadeth it over with gold, and casteth silver chains.... To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One.
Deut. 4:15,16, "Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves; for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that the LORD spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire. Lest ye corrupt [yourselves], and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female, "
Rom. 1:23, "And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things."
Acts 17:29 "Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device."
21 Sam. 15:23 "For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, He hath also rejected thee from being king."
Deut. 12:30 "Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou enquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise."
Matt. 15:9, But in vain they do worship me, teaching [for] doctrines the commandments of men.
Question 97: May we, then, not make any images at all?
Answer: God neither can nor may be visibly represented in any way1. As for creatures, though they may be visibly represented, yet God forbids us to make or have any likeness of them in order to worship them or serve God by them2.
1Isa. 40:25, To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One.
2Ex. 34:17, Thou shalt make thee no molten gods.
Ex. 23:24 "Thou shalt not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do after their works: but thou shalt utterly overthrow them, and quite break down their images."
Ex. 34:13, 14 "But ye shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves: for thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God."
Numb. 33:52 "Then ye shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their pictures, and destroy all their molten images, and quite pluck down all their high places."
Question 98: But may not images be tolerated in the churches as books to the laity?
Answer: No; for we must not be wiser than God, who will have His people taught by dumb images1, but by the living preaching of His Word2.
1Jer. 10:8, But they are altogether brutish and foolish: the stock [is] a doctrine of vanities.
Hab. 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."
2Rom. 10:14,15,17, How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!... So then faith [cometh] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
2 Pet. 1:19 "We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts."
2 Tim. 3:16 ,17, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works."
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