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         33
      Closed Communion
      James Foley
       
      I Corinthians 11:17-34: "Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse. For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you. When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's Supper. For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken. What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not. For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another. And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come."

      INTRODUCTION

      Historic Baptists, true Baptists, have believed in and still believe in closed communion. Baptists impose upon themselves the same restrictions that they impose on others concerning the Lord’s Supper. Baptists have always insisted that it is the Lord’s Table, not theirs; and He alone has the right to say who shall sit at His table. No amount of so called brotherly love, or ecumenical spirit, should cause us to invite to His table those who have not complied with the requirements laid down plainly in His inspired Word. With respect to Bible doctrines we must always use the scripture as our guide and practice. For Baptists, two of the most important doctrines are Baptism and The Lord’s Supper. These are the only two doctrines we recognize as Church Ordinances. The Bible is very clear in teaching how these doctrines are to be practiced and by whom.

      We only have two ordinances that we must never compromise or we risk our very existence, they are Baptism and The Lord’s Supper.

      The moment we deviate from the precise method God has prescribed we have started down the slippery slope of error. True Baptists have held fast to the original doctrine of The Lord’s Supper from the time of Christ and the Apostles.

      Unfortunately, in this day of what the Bible describes as the age of luke warmness, Baptists are becoming careless in regard to strictly following the pattern laid out for us in Scripture. Many of our Bible colleges are graduating otherwise sincere, Godly and dedicated pastors and teachers who have not been taught the very strict, biblical requirements that surround the Lord’s Supper. Any Bible college that neglects to teach its students the differences surrounding Closed Communion, Close Communion and Open Communion is not simply short changing its students; it is also not equipping their students to carry on sound Bible traditions. The result is men of God and churches that fall into error. And as we will see, this is serious error.

      Should we as Baptists ignore the restrictions made by our Lord and Master? NO! When we hold to the restrictions placed upon the Lord’s Supper by our Master, we are defending the "faith which was once delivered to the saints" Jude 3.

      The Lord’s Supper is rigidly restricted and I will show this in the following facts:

      IT IS RESTRICTED AS TO PLACE

      A. I Corinthians 11:18 says, "When ye come together in the church." This does not mean the church building; they had none. In other words, when the church assembles. The supper is to be observed by the church, in church capacity. Again this does not mean the church house. Ekklesia, the Greek word for church, means assembly. "When ye come together in the church," is when the church assembles.

      B. When we say church we mean an assembly of properly baptized believers. Acts 2:41-42: "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers."

      The church is made up of saved people who are baptized by immersion. In the Bible, belief precedes baptism. That’s the Bible way.

      Acts 8:12-13, "But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done."

      When we say properly baptized, we mean immersed. No unbeliever should take the Lord’s supper, and no non-immersed believer should take the supper. Those who are sprinkled are not baptized and cannot receive the supper. The Greek word for baptize is baptizo, and it always means to immerse.

      "In every case where communion is referred to, or where it may possibly have been administered, the believers had been baptized Acts 2:42; 8:12; 8:38; 10:47; 6:14-15; 18:8; 20:7. Baptism comes before communion, just as repentance and faith precede baptism".

      C. The Lord’s Supper is for baptized believers in church capacity: "When ye come together in the church," again not a building, but the assembly of the properly baptized believers.

      D. The fact that the Lord’s Supper is a church ordinance, to be observed in church capacity, is pointed out by the fact that it is for those who have been immersed and added to the fellowship of the church.

      E. The Lord’s Supper is never spoken of in connection with individuals. When it is referred to, it is only referred to in reference to baptized believers in local church capacity I Cor. 11:20-26).

      I want to quote Dr. W.W. Hamilton,

      "The individual administration of the ordinance has no Bible warrant and is a relic of Romanism. The Lord’s Supper is a church ordinance, and anything which goes beyond or comes short of this fails for want of scriptural example or command".

      “The practice of taking a little communion kit to hospitals, nursing homes, etc. is unscriptural and does not follow the scriptural example.”

      IT IS RESTRICTED TO A UNITED CHURCH

      A. The Bible in I Cor. 11:18 is very strong in condemning divisions around the Lord’s table. For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.
      19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.
      20 When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper.

      There were no less than four divisions in the Corinthian church.
      I Cor. 1:12: "Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ."

      Because of these divisions, it was impossible for them to scripturally eat the Lord’s Supper. Division in the local church is reason to hold off observing the Lord’s Supper. But there are also other reasons to forego taking the Lord’s Supper. If there is gross sin in the membership we do not take it. Here is scriptural evidence for this: 1Co 5:7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us:
      8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:
      10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. 11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

      B. At this point, I want to ask these questions: Are there not doctrinal divisions among the many denominations? Is it not our doctrinal differences that cause us to be separate religious bodies?

      IT IS RESTRICTED BY DOCTRINE

      A. Those in the early church at Jerusalem who partook "continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine" Acts 2:42. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

      B. Those that do not hold to apostolic truth are not to partake. This means there is to be discipline in the local body. How can you discipline those who do not belong to the local body? You can’t. The clear command of scripture is to withdraw fellowship from those who are not doctrinally sound.

      II Thes 3:6: "Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us."
      Rom. 16:17: "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them."
      To commune together means to have the same doctrine.
      II Thes. 2:15: "Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle."
      II John 10-11: "If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds."

      C. Some Baptists in our day have watered down this doctrine by practicing what they call “Close Communion.” By this they mean that they believe that members of another Baptist church may take communion with us because they are of the same beliefs. Once again, this is unscriptural.

      The welcome to the Lord's Table should not be extended beyond the discipline of the local church. When we take the Lord’s Supper there is supposed to be no gross sin among us and no divisions among us. We have no idea of the spiritual condition of another church’s members. If there is sin or division in the case of this other church’s members, we have no way of knowing it. We cannot discipline them because they are not members of our church. This is why we practice “Closed” communion, meaning it is restricted solely to our church membership. 
      So then, in closing I would like to reiterate the three different ideas concerning the Lord’s Supper and who is to take it. 
      Closed Communion = Only members of a single local church. 
      Close Communion = Members of like faith and order may partake. 
      Open Communion = If you claim to be a Christian, or simply attending the service, you may partake. 
      It is no small thing to attempt to change that which was implemented by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 
      Mt. 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. 
      Many of our Baptist churches have a real need to consider the gravity of the act of observing The Lord’s Supper. It is not a light thing that is to be taken casually or without regard to the spiritual condition of ourselves or our church.
      1Co. 11:27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

       28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.

       29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.

       30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

No pictures of any created thing?


DaveW
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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

Does anyone know of an on line preacher who teaches that pictures of animals or people in any form are sinful?

The basis is from the passages that speak about graven images.

I have come across someone who believes that photos, drawings, paintings, sculptures and any form of representation of a created thing is idolatry and therefore sinful.

Anyone know of someone out there there teaching this?

Or has he come up with this on his own?

It would help me if I knew who I was really dealing with......

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I read about this belief long before the internet became full of internet theologians spewing out their anti-church, ant-bible false beliefs. Mark my words, if there are not websites already teaching these beliefs, there will be some internet theologians, false teacher, teaching this on some internet site in the days ahead.

Does not Brian Delinger, husky394xp, and his internet church, teach against church buildings?

Does not Steven Anderson already teach against Sunday Schools? Does not Anderson already teach against the tract ministry? By the way, I was saved through the tract ministry and wholeheartedly support it.The Star of David in the Jewish flag? Anything the Jews do Anderson is against.

Edited by Alan
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Thanks Alan.

I am trying to find out if this guy is following someone - it will be easier to discuss if I know where he is coming from, but at this stage I am not able to ask him directly if he is being influenced.

I checked out delinger's site and there is no mention of it.

In fact when I search the internet the only referencing I can find is to Islam, where they follow this belief.

I would be seriously surprised if this guy was being influenced directly by Islam, but I guess anything is possible. 

 

The basic position that this guy is following is that any pictures, paintings, photos, drawings - any representation of any created thing is idolatry.

The passages that I have been left with are:

Exo 20:4
(4)  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:
 

And also:

Deu 4:16-18
(16)  Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female,
(17)  The likeness of any beast that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged fowl that flieth in the air,
(18)  The likeness of any thing that creepeth on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the waters beneath the earth:
 

Of course he is not paying attention to the context of these passages, where the problem is not the pictures, but the worship of them.

 

Anyway, just asking if anyone knows of a group, a "teacher", or a "preacher" that holds to and promotes this matter.

 

Thanks folks,

Dave.

 

 

 

 

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Thanks. I still haven't found anything but Muslim teaching, but that would make sense, since they wouldn't be likely to be online.....

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The Bible (including that passage in Deuteronomy) forbids the making of any images of God (or gods) - which would include statues/pics, etc. of Jesus as a man (which unfortunately too many believers overlook). If God was against the making of any image of any created being at all, then He would not have commanded them to make images of certain creatures in the construction of the tabernacle/temple.

Of course he is not paying attention to the context of these passages, where the problem is not the pictures, but the worship of them.”

Actually, the Bible forbids any images of God whether they are worshipped or not.

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3 hours ago, Jerry said:

The Bible (including that passage in Deuteronomy) forbids the making of any images of God (or gods) - which would include statues/pics, etc. of Jesus as a man (which unfortunately too many believers overlook). If God was against the making of any image of any created being at all, then He would not have commanded them to make images of certain creatures in the construction of the tabernacle/temple.

Of course he is not paying attention to the context of these passages, where the problem is not the pictures, but the worship of them.”

Actually, the Bible forbids any images of God whether they are worshipped or not.

Hooray!

I was keeping quiet...watching and waiting to see if anyone might bring that up. 🙂

Cherubims on the mercy seat...they were certainly created, yet God had them specifically "graven".

Not to mention the somewhat overlooked teeny-tiny "graven" (from twine) pomegranates that were part of the high priest's garment. Pomegranates were certainly created.

Not to mention the laver that sat upon 12 "graven" oxen...

Not to mention...

I'll be quiet now. 😄

 

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5 hours ago, Jerry said:

The Bible (including that passage in Deuteronomy) forbids the making of any images of God (or gods) - which would include statues/pics, etc. of Jesus as a man (which unfortunately too many believers overlook). If God was against the making of any image of any created being at all, then He would not have commanded them to make images

of certain creatures in the construction of the tabernacle/temple.

Of course he is not paying attention to the context of these passages, where the problem is not the pictures, but the worship of them.”

Actually, the Bible forbids any images of God whether they are worshipped or not.

No argument there in any way shape or form, but that is not the question.

(It is a valuable addition to the thread though.)

 

I am writing a "Paper" to give to those who are actually speaking with this guy (it is all a bit second hand, and a rather complex situation....) so that they can read it and use the information as it seems best to them. It does include such references as those you mention NoNics. 😉

It still has me foxed where this guy has come across it. He has been known to chase internet theologians from time to time, so I assumed he had caught someone on it and liked the sound of it, but I cannot find any references apart from Islam, and I know he knows Islam is not right...….

I am beginning to think that he has made this one himself...…. unless he has come across some Amish teaching as mentioned above?????

 

Since no one has flashed it as something they know of, I guess it will come down to continued searching. I would like to know where he has got it so that I can check and see what else may be following.....

For now, this one is easily answered with Bible: 9 references should be enough to show that the context is not "explaining away", but explaining properly...….😊

 

I actually was really pleased when I came across this passage in looking at the subject:

Deu 4:10-12
(10)  Specially the day that thou stoodest before the LORD thy God in Horeb, when the LORD said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children.
(11)  And ye came near and stood under the mountain; and the mountain burned with fire unto the midst of heaven, with darkness, clouds, and thick darkness.
(12)  And the LORD spake unto you out of the midst of the fire: ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude; only ye heard a voice.

This is just prior to one of the passages that this guy is wrapped up in, and of course it notes specifically that they "saw no similitude" - even God did not represent Himself with any sort of Image. Hadn't noticed that until I read this passage with this particular subject on my mind. I "knew it" I just hadn't noticed it...….. if that makes sense...…? 😋

 

 

 

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I "knew it" I just hadn't noticed it...….. if that makes sense...…? 😋  Yep, makes sense ( been there )

 

Exo 24:9  Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel:
Exo 24:10  And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness.
Exo 24:11  And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink.     (emphasis mine)

Though they did not see a similitude (Deut 4:12  And the LORD spake unto you out of the midst of the fire: ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude; only ye heard a voice. ), they saw "something".

Was it an outline but no facial features or other distinction? Don't know but they saw something while not seeing something.

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9 hours ago, DaveW said:

I am writing a "Paper" to give to those who are actually speaking with this guy (it is all a bit second hand, and a rather complex situation....) so that they can read it and use the information as it seems best to them. It does include such references as those you mention NoNics. 😉

Dave,

Good subject and worthy of a careful study.

Once you conclude your study, and put it on paper, can you put a PDF copy here on OnLineBaptist for all of us? I for one would like to have the background material that you find, including website references if possible of those groups, or individuals, who teach this doctrine, all of your passages that you discuss on this study, and conclusions, in a study for our churches.

If you do not have the time to put a PDF study on this subject I understand.

Alan

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Not a fully finished paper by any means, really just the rambling Bible search results with some text to join them together, but here it is..... Make of it what you will....

 

The Discussion of the depiction of created things based on Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 4 is an interesting one.

Recently I was told of someone who holds to the position that any representation of a created things was sinful. This position was apparently based on passages such as:

Exo 20:4
(4)  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:

And also:

Deu 4:16-18
(16)  Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female,
(17)  The likeness of any beast that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged fowl that flieth in the air,
(18)  The likeness of any thing that creepeth on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the waters beneath the earth:

On the surface of it, one can understand why someone might jump to the conclusion that absolutely any picture, painting, photo, sculpture, or other form of artificial representation could be the subject of these passages. The question is whether this is a reasonable understanding of these passages?

Of course, the one who wants to hold onto this “interpretation” of these passages will simply counter that they are holding to a strictly literal interpretation of the passages.

So let’s have a look at the issues involved in this matter.

 

There are two basic arguments against this understanding of these passages:

Firstly, the matter of context.

Whilst these particular verses initially appear to support this view, they only do so in isolation from their context.

 

Let’s look at these verses WITH the surrounding verses.

Exo 20:3-5

(3)  Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

(4)  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:

(5)  Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

 

We will note that the basis for verse 4 is stated clearly in vs 3 – it is in the context of not having any gods before the One true God.

Then vs 4 states not to make any graven image, then vs 5 notes that you are not to bow down to the image, nor to serve the image.

The command to not make any graven image is not made in isolation, but in the context of not worshipping any god other than the One True God.

So the over-riding concept of the passage is not worshipping anything other than God.

To take the single matter of vs 4 and say that you cannot make a picture of anything AT ALL, is not really reasonable.

The proper understanding of the passage is that you cannot make any image FOR THE PURPOSE OF WORSHIPPING IT.

What about the other passage then?

 

Deu 4:14-19

(14)  And the LORD commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgments, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go over to possess it.

(15)  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:

(16)  Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female,

(17)  The likeness of any beast that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged fowl that flieth in the air,

(18)  The likeness of any thing that creepeth on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the waters beneath the earth:

(19)  And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the LORD thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven.

 

There is no doubt that vss. 16 – 18 warn against making any graven image or similitude of any figure, and there is no doubt that the list includes men and women, beasts, birds, critters, fish, and vs 19 even includes the sun, moon, and stars.

But again, this is not in isolation. This is NOT a strict warning against simply making pictures of things. Vs 15 points out that there was no similitude when God called Moses to the mount to get the Law from God. Interesting isn’t it that the very passage God refers to in this passage, is the very situation where the people had no image of God presented to them, but they decided to make a bull to worship….

The very time that God directs them that they shouldn’t make a graven image, he points to a time when they did exactly that as a nation. They made something TO WORSHIP instead of worshipping God.

By referencing that event, God is setting the context of the teaching in Deuteronomy 4:16-19.

It is about making something to worship, not simply about making a picture of something.

And vs 19 closes off the context of this passage.

(19)  And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the LORD thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven.

 

Notice here that after we have a list of all the things that images SHOULDN’T be made of, the last verse of this section – which includes the portion about the sun, moon, and stars – actually also includes the detail of the command. Right in the middle of that last verse it says “shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them,”. This is the key to this whole passage.

It is not about the simple making of a picture or even a sculpture of something – it is about the possibility of being driven to worship that image.

 

The context of these two passages is actually about the worship of images, similitudes, and representations of creatures, but it is NOT about the simple making of such images.

It is about the purpose and use of these images. For decoration, for enjoyment, is fine; for worship is not OK.

 

So, the context of the passages indicates that the simple making of pictures or even sculptures is not really a problem, as long as there is no way it can become a thing of worship.

 

This then, brings us to the second reason why I don’t accept that it is wrong to make any picture of any creature for any reason: God actually commanded people to make images of creatures at different times – NEVER to be worshipped by the way.

 

In certain circumstances God commanded his people to make images of created things.

Exo 25:17-22

(17)  And thou shalt make a mercy seat of pure gold: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof.

(18)  And thou shalt make two cherubims of gold, of beaten work shalt thou make them, in the two ends of the mercy seat.

(19)  And make one cherub on the one end, and the other cherub on the other end: even of the mercy seat shall ye make the cherubims on the two ends thereof.

(20)  And the cherubims shall stretch forth their wings on high, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and their faces shall look one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubims be.

(21)  And thou shalt put the mercy seat above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee.

(22)  And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel.

 

And we will note that this is for the place that the Lord Himself would meet with the high priest, and before the priest went into this place, he had to prepare himself and wash himself and sacrifice for his own sins before he could enter. If any image of any created things was sinful, then there is NO WAY that the Lord would have commanded the people to make such a thing for the place where He would meet man’s representative.

That one instance is pretty much a slam dunk against this teaching, but there is more.

 

In the making of the robes that the High Priest was to wear when entering the Holy of Holies to meet the Lord therein, part of the garment was to place bells on the hem of the garment, but also Pomegranates.

Exo 28:31-35

(31)  And thou shalt make the robe of the ephod all of blue.

(32)  And there shall be an hole in the top of it, in the midst thereof: it shall have a binding of woven work round about the hole of it, as it were the hole of an habergeon, that it be not rent.

(33)  And beneath upon the hem of it thou shalt make pomegranates of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, round about the hem thereof; and bells of gold between them round about:

(34)  A golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, upon the hem of the robe round about.

(35)  And it shall be upon Aaron to minister: and his sound shall be heard when he goeth in unto the holy place before the LORD, and when he cometh out, that he die not.

 

Again, if it was sinful to make any image or representation of any created thing (In this case a pomegranate), then why does God expressly command that they would do so for the garment designed for the High Priest to wear?

So we have two separate instances of God commanding the creation of sculptures of created things to be present when God met with the High Priest.

God would not command something sinful to be present when He was coming to a place.

 

When Solomon built the Temple, he made it with Cherubim in the Holy Place, and with carvings on the walls and doors.

1Ki 6:23-35

(23)  And within the oracle he made two cherubims of olive tree, each ten cubits high.

(24)  And five cubits was the one wing of the cherub, and five cubits the other wing of the cherub: from the uttermost part of the one wing unto the uttermost part of the other were ten cubits.

(25)  And the other cherub was ten cubits: both the cherubims were of one measure and one size.

(26)  The height of the one cherub was ten cubits, and so was it of the other cherub.

(27)  And he set the cherubims within the inner house: and they stretched forth the wings of the cherubims, so that the wing of the one touched the one wall, and the wing of the other cherub touched the other wall; and their wings touched one another in the midst of the house.

(28)  And he overlaid the cherubims with gold.

(29)  And he carved all the walls of the house round about with carved figures of cherubims and palm trees and open flowers, within and without.

(30)  And the floor of the house he overlaid with gold, within and without.

(31)  And for the entering of the oracle he made doors of olive tree: the lintel and side posts were a fifth part of the wall.

(32)  The two doors also were of olive tree; and he carved upon them carvings of cherubims and palm trees and open flowers, and overlaid them with gold, and spread gold upon the cherubims, and upon the palm trees.

(33)  So also made he for the door of the temple posts of olive tree, a fourth part of the wall.

(34)  And the two doors were of fir tree: the two leaves of the one door were folding, and the two leaves of the other door were folding.

(35)  And he carved thereon cherubims and palm trees and open flowers: and covered them with gold fitted upon the carved work.

 

And Solomon also had pillars other items made for the Temple court:

1Ki 7:13-29

(13)  And king Solomon sent and fetched Hiram out of Tyre.

(14)  He was a widow's son of the tribe of Naphtali, and his father was a man of Tyre, a worker in brass: and he was filled with wisdom, and understanding, and cunning to work all works in brass. And he came to king Solomon, and wrought all his work.

(15)  For he cast two pillars of brass, of eighteen cubits high apiece: and a line of twelve cubits did compass either of them about.

(16)  And he made two chapiters of molten brass, to set upon the tops of the pillars: the height of the one chapiter was five cubits, and the height of the other chapiter was five cubits:

(17)  And nets of checker work, and wreaths of chain work, for the chapiters which were upon the top of the pillars; seven for the one chapiter, and seven for the other chapiter.

(18)  And he made the pillars, and two rows round about upon the one network, to cover the chapiters that were upon the top, with pomegranates: and so did he for the other chapiter.

(19)  And the chapiters that were upon the top of the pillars were of lily work in the porch, four cubits.

(20)  And the chapiters upon the two pillars had pomegranates also above, over against the belly which was by the network: and the pomegranates were two hundred in rows round about upon the other chapiter.

(21)  And he set up the pillars in the porch of the temple: and he set up the right pillar, and called the name thereof Jachin: and he set up the left pillar, and called the name thereof Boaz.

(22)  And upon the top of the pillars was lily work: so was the work of the pillars finished.

(23)  And he made a molten sea, ten cubits from the one brim to the other: it was round all about, and his height was five cubits: and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about.

(24)  And under the brim of it round about there were knops compassing it, ten in a cubit, compassing the sea round about: the knops were cast in two rows, when it was cast.

(25)  It stood upon twelve oxen, three looking toward the north, and three looking toward the west, and three looking toward the south, and three looking toward the east: and the sea was set above upon them, and all their hinder parts were inward.

(26)  And it was an hand breadth thick, and the brim thereof was wrought like the brim of a cup, with flowers of lilies: it contained two thousand baths.

(27)  And he made ten bases of brass; four cubits was the length of one base, and four cubits the breadth thereof, and three cubits the height of it.

(28)  And the work of the bases was on this manner: they had borders, and the borders were between the ledges:

(29)  And on the borders that were between the ledges were lions, oxen, and cherubims: and upon the ledges there was a base above: and beneath the lions and oxen were certain additions made of thin work.

 

Oxen, Cherubims, Lions, Pomegranates, Lillies.

And what did God think of all of these creatures depicted with such skill and with such beauty?

1Ki 8:10-11

(10)  And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the LORD,

(11)  So that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of the LORD.

 

The Lord would not have filled the house with His glory if it was being sinfully defiled by such images. We can only assume that God was not displeased with such representations of His creation.

 

A final example, and one which displays the reality of the command in Exodus 20:4 and Deuteronomy 4:16-18 is found in Numbers 21.

Num 21:5-8

(5)  And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread.

(6)  And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.

(7)  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.

(8)  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.

 

It says specifically here that the Lord told Moses to make this sculpture of a fiery serpent.

Of course many years later the Lord would use this as a pointer to His own death and resurrection, but it seems as though the people kept this serpent around for many years after the judgement of these fiery serpents was over.

We read in 2 Kings 18 that Hezekiah had to deal with this many years later.

2Ki 18:1-4

(1)  Now it came to pass in the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, that Hezekiah the son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign.

(2)  Twenty and five years old was he when he began to reign; and he reigned twenty and nine years in Jerusalem. His mother's name also was Abi, the daughter of Zachariah.

(3)  And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that David his father did.

(4)  He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan.

 

Hezekiah was the 14th King from David (I think), and of course after Moses there was Joshua, and then the Judges, then Saul, and then David, so we are talking a fair number of years between the making of this serpent by God’s command and the time of Hezekiah, but what is the reason for King Hezekiah destroying this image which had lasted for how many hundred and something years?

“In those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it:….”

It was destroyed because the people had begun to worship it.

All through the time of Moses, and Joshua, and the Judges, and how many Kings it was not a problem – in fact it was reminder of how great God was. But when the people began to worship it, it was time to destroy it.

And Hezekiah says of it “It is Nehushtan”, which literally means “Something made of copper”. Hezekiah said to them “It is just a piece of metal, not something to be worshipped.”

 

So, by context, the initial passages are talking about the worship of pictures, images, and representations, not about the simple making of such things.

By example, we see that God actually commanded the making of such images (NOT TO BE WORSHIPPED) on at least two occasions, and certainly accepted the making of the images throughout Solomon’s Temple, as shown by His willingness to dwell in the Temple.

Far from saying that men should not make images and pictures of God’s creation, God commanded or condoned the making of such images.

What is NOT ACCEPTABLE is the worshipping and veneration of such images.

 

In my research I could not find this teaching among any group. I am told that some parts of the Mennonite and Amish groups hold to this, but of course there is going to be little record of such “On-line” as both these groups tend to stay away from technology.

This IS a teaching from Islam however.

http://www.justaskislam.com/184/pictures-halal-or-haram/

This is a full article about Islam and their teaching regarding this issue, which is basically that no image of any created thing should be made at all. I DO NOT SUGGEST that you go to the website, unless you are seriously interested in what they have to say - it basically says no images whatsoever. There is simply no reason to go there if you are a Christian, except to check that I have represented it correctly.

 

 

 

 

 

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Long reply, which I will read through - but I just wanted to clarify: No, there are no prohibitions in Scripture of making images of created things, unless they are worshipped - YET, there are definitely clear commands and principles of making any images of the true God (which would include Jesus as a human, the Holy Spirit pictured as a dove) or false gods, whether they are worshipped or not.

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37 minutes ago, Jerry said:

Long reply, which I will read through - but I just wanted to clarify: No, there are no prohibitions in Scripture of making images of created things, unless they are worshipped - YET, there are definitely clear commands and principles of making any images of the true God (which would include Jesus as a human, the Holy Spirit pictured as a dove) or false gods, whether they are worshipped or not.

Yes, that is correct.

The reason why that matter was not addressed in my discussion is that it was very specifically about the creation images, pictures, sculptures, and representations of CREATED things.

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I understand - but this aspect of the issue affects a lot of professing Christians too. It is basically the other side of the same coin. Helps to clarify both sides together, otherwise someone may take what you posted above and figure that was not the case.

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Great article on worshipping images.  I grew up being taught that taking pictures was a sin. My mother was scared to take picture of me as a baby. There are no pictures of me till school. She was afraid that God may take me if she took pictures of me. Myself I have hundreds of pictures of my children.  I was born again I had to forsake my children. We can worship our children without ever taking a image -picture-  of them.  Thank you for article. God bless.

D. Rivers 

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I've heard of this, but I've never actually ran into somebody that had that belief. 40 years ago my pastor did believe that any picture of Jesus was wrong, including the ones you might find in a children's Bible. He didn't like crosses, and he was also against nativity scenes like you would set up at Christmas. I don't run into that much anymore. I have a children's ministry, and to this day I still feel kind of nervous when I draw a picture of Jesus for one of my illustrations/object lessons.

Edited by MrEddie1611
Just adding another thought
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Well, don’t draw any pictures of Jesus then. It’s hard to be Biblically accurate when the Bible never physically describes Jesus.

People get used to compromises - the more they do so, they less it bothers them. But the Bible has not changed, even when others have. People are too afraid to rock the boat by going against popular opinion.

Jesus is God - and the Bible says we do not know what God looks like so don’t even make images of a man - Jesus in His human form is a man.

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1 hour ago, Jerry said:

Well, don’t draw any pictures of Jesus then. It’s hard to be Biblically accurate when the Bible never physically describes Jesus.

People get used to compromises - the more they do so, they less it bothers them. But the Bible has not changed, even when others have. People are too afraid to rock the boat by going against popular opinion.

Jesus is God - and the Bible says we do not know what God looks like so don’t even make images of a man - Jesus in His human form is a man.

Interesting.

No coloring books for young children with a line drawing of Jesus walking on water? Don't draw Jesus at the well or any other similar visual when telling the story of the woman at the well? Don't get me wrong, my favorite pastor held the same position. I myself did not hold that position, even back then, but while I was under his authority I believed that it was my responsibility to abide by his convictions as my pastor.

I guess my own personal  line in the sand would be not drawing anything that I thought would have any chance at all of being worshipped, or that might make others think that I was an idol worshipper. 

I disagree, though, with the idea that what I'm doing today is compromise... To me that would imply doing something that I suspected was not quite right for the sake of reaching more people. I feel that we're talking about a simple disagreement, not compromise. Maybe it sounded that way because I said I was nervous... But I'm only nervous because I knew so many people for so long that I might offend with this kind of object lesson or illustration. Nervous probably wasn't even the right word. 

By the same token, my pastor also believed that it was wrong to shop at a grocery store (or any store of any kind for that matter) that sold alcohol or cigarettes. He had his reasons, but that doesn't mean that I'm compromising today when I walk in to Krogers.

I guess we've kind of wandered off the thread here...

Edited by MrEddie1611
Grammar. Hey, this is my first day being on any discussion bored at all. Still learning!
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Not shopping in a store that sold cigarettes or alcohol is a personal conviction if you will, perhaps based on some Bible principles. Not drawing pictures of Jesus is a Bible COMMAND. There is a big difference between the two.

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16 hours ago, Jerry said:

It’s hard to be Biblically accurate when the Bible never physically describes Jesus.

Well...actually the Bible does give us somewhat of a physical description...

Revelation 1...

 13  And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.

 14  His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;

 15  And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.

 16  And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.

 17  And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:

 18  I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

 

I have to admit...I've never seen a picture drawn, a statue sculpted, or a painting rendered that depicts the Lord Jesus Christ with snow-white hair.

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      Advanced revelation, then...prophecy IS advanced revelation in the context of the apostles.
      I really do not know where you are going with this. The Bible itself has revelations and prophecies and not all revelations are prophecies.
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      How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Eph 3:3-9
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      Seeing it is Christ----mas time and I was answering question on Luke 2:33 concerning Jesus, Mary and Joseph . I thought it would be fitting to display a poem i wrote concerning the matter.
      SCRIPTURAL MARY

      I WALK NOT ON WATER NOR CHANGE IT TO WINE
      SO HEARKEN O’ SINNER TO THIS STORY OF MINE
      I, AM A DAUGHTER OF ABRAHAM SINNER BY BIRTH
      A HAND MAID OF LOW ESTATE USED HERE ON EARTH
      MY HAIR IS NOT GENTILE BLOND, I HAVE NOT EYES OF BLUE
      A MOTHER OF MANY CHILDREN A DAUGHTER OF A JEW
      FOR JOSEPH MY HUSBAND DID HONOUR OUR BED
      TO FATHER OUR CHILDREN WHO NOW ARE ALL DEAD
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      BUT OF THE FIRST BORN WHICH SAVED ME FROM HELL
      MY FLESH SAW CORRUPTION MY BONES THEY DID ROT
      MY PAPS ARE NOT HOLY SO TRUST ME NOT
                                               2
      WHEN I WAS A VIRGIN UNKNOWN BY MAN
      THE ANGEL OF GOD SPOKE OF GOD’S PLAN
      FOR I HAD BEEN CHOSEN A FAVOUR VESSEL OF CLAY
      TO BARE THE SON OF THE HIGHEST BY AN UNUSUAL WAY
      FOR THE SCRIPTURE FORETOLD OF WHAT WAS TO BE
      SO MY WOMB GOD FILLED WHEN HE OVER SHADOW ME
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      WOULD JOSEPH MY BETROTHED MAKE ME HIS WIFE
      I THOUGHT ON THESE THINGS WITH SO NEEDLESS FEARS
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      MY FLESH SAW CORRUPTION MY BONES THEY DID ROT
      MY PAPS ARE NOT HOLY SO TRUST ME NOT
                                              3
      THEN MY SOUL DID REJOICE IN GOD MY SAVIOR
      HE SCATTERED THE PROUD AND BLESS ME WITH FAVOR
      O’ THE RICH ARE EMPTY, THE HUNGRY HAVE GOOD THINGS
      FOR THE THRONE OF DAVID WOULD HAVE JESUS THE KING
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      ON A BEAST OF BURDEN OUR STRENGTH NEAR SPEND
      NO ROOM AT An INN, BUT A STABLE WAS FOUND
      WITH STRAW AND DUNG LAID ON THE GROUND
      MY FLESH SAW CORRUPTION MY BONES THEY DID ROT
      MY PAPS ARE NOT HOLY, SO TRUST ME NOT
                                                  4
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      FROM THE GLORY OF GLORIES TO A BEGGAR’S DOMAIN
      SO WE WRAPPED THE CHILD GIVEN TO THE HEATHEN A STRANGER
      NO REPUTATION IS SOUGHT TO BE BORN IN A MANGER
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      AND MURDER RACHEL’S CHILDREN UNDER TWO YEARS OLD
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      SO WE FLED INTO EGYPT BECAUSE OF HIS SCHEME
      MY FLESH SAW CORRUPTION MY BONES THEY DID ROT
      MY PAPS ARE NOT HOLY SO TRUST ME NOT
                                               5
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      HE PREACH WITH AUTHORITY LIKE NONE BEFORE
      PLEASE TRUST HIS WORDS AND NOT THE GREAT WHORE
      HER BLACK ROBE PRIEST FILL THEIR LIPS WITH MY NAME
      WITH BLASPHEMOUS PRAISE, DAMMATION AND SHAME
      THERE ARE NO NAIL PRINTS IN MY HANDS, MY BODY DID NOT ARISE
      NOR, AM A DEMON OF FATIMA FLOATING IN THE SKY
      THERE IS NO DEITY IN MY VEINS FOR ADAM CAME FROM SOD
      FOR I, AM, MOTHER OF THE SON OF MAN NOT THE MOTHER OF GOD
      MY FLESH SAW CORRUPTION MY BONES THEY DID ROT
      MY PAPS ARE NOT HOLY, SO TRUST ME NOT
      6
      FOR MY SOUL WAS PURCHASED BY GOD UPON THE CROSS
      FOR MY SINS HE DID SUFFER AN UNMEASURABLE COST
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      ENDURING SPIT AND THORNS PLACED ON HIS HEAD
      YET, IF YOU WISH TO HONOR ME THEN GIVE ME NONE AT ALL
      BUT TRUST THE LAMB WHO STOOL IN PILATE’S HALL
      CALL NOT ON THIS REDEEMED WOMAN IN YOUR TIME OF FEAR
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      I AMEN YOUR DAMNATION THAT TRUST NOT HIM ALONE
      MY FLESH SAW CORRUPTION MY BONES THEY DID ROT
      MY PAPS ARE NOT HOLY, O’ SINNER TRUST ME NOT

                       WRITTEN BY BRO. WEST
       
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