What is the second commandment?

image of email newsletterAs part of the many ways in which I research early Christianity for the novels I write, I subscribe to many email newsletters on Biblical subjects.

Sometimes they give the starting point to chase out some information that was previously hard to find. I opened one such newsletter a few days ago, and did not even manage to read it. My eye was drawn to the image amongst the text, a mosaic of Jesus.

I found myself saying, to myself. ‘What part of you shall not make for yourself any graven image is hard to understand?’

There were no cameras in Jesus day. (Or before then.)

Any ‘pictures’, paintings, statues, or images are from the imagination of the creator (with a small ‘c’)

No one living beyond the time of the ‘greats’ of the Old Testament knows what they looked like. (Yes, many of us of a certain age picture Moses like Charlton Heston.)

There are paintings of Exekiel, Isaiah, Jeremiah and other ancient prophets – ancient kings likeCartoon artist David or Solomon, even Hezekiah or Josiah. They were not painted in those times and preserved thoughout the centuries.What the creator might have done is read about the person he chose to depict- in the Bible and formed his opinion on how he looked from the words written there.

What about us? Do we read those stories and form pictures in our minds? Are the ‘stories’ just that, interesting stories? Is it not possible that we should take warning from what is recorded in so many pages of the Bible.

As for images of Jesus, nowhere in the pages of my Bibles have I seen a description of His looks. Instead there are instructions to live as He lived. For example…

“Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.”
1 Corinthians 11:1 KJV

So said the Apostle Paul, believed to be the writer of a great deal of the New Testament.

Do we push that challenge away, saying “Oh but He was the Son of God”.

My personal belief is that Jesus never asked His followers to do anything beyond their ability… although they might have thought it was, as we probably do. Maybe they didn’t read the next bit about providing a way out.

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
1 Corinthians 10:13

From experience that sometimes has seemed hard to trust. When sixteen and a half year old Pete died, my husband and I thought that too hard to bear. But, like many others in that ‘club’ with the horrendous price, God did bring us through.

Flatline image

When my husband died, well… there are many widows who have struggled this same path. (And yes, I must have been able to bear it, because I am still here.) I would be lying if I said that I enjoy life without him, but I am continuing on.

God is with us, and I do not need a picture of someone’s ‘interpretation’, or a statue. I need His words. And they are in the Bible.

God has given us His words, and His promises. They are not in ‘images’ of any sort. They are in the Bible.



It is not His fault if we don’t read them.








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