Can you pray to a statue of Jesus?


Clarify Share Report Asked September 07 2014 1393429178 Shannon Allen

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Praying is an act of worship, correct? The Lord tells us in Exodus chapter 20:

"I am the Lord thy God, which has brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing which is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor worship them; for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children...."

So, according to these verses, it is wrong to worship any kind of image. It also says not to worship an image that is "any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, or in the water under earth." This includes Jesus, who is currently in heaven sitting on the right hand of God. Since praying is an act of worship, Christians should not pray to (or bow down to, etc) any kind of image or statue, whether it is of Jesus or something else.

September 11 2014 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Closeup Jennifer Rothnie Supporter Housewife, Artist, Perpetually Curious
It is wrong to perform any form of reverence or reverent service to an image (bowing, lighting candles, burning incense, kissing, offering food, etc) (Lev 26:1, Deut 5:7-9) 

This is because to serve a created object, whether an idol or a star, is to have another god in the presence of God, and to unfaithfully serve something besides God Himself. (Job 31:26-28)

This does not mean that artwork, such as carvings, paintings, or statues, cannot be used in an area of worship. It also does not mean that sacred objects could have no function in worship. The old temple was filled with art, as the offering of artistic service was one way of worshiping God (Ex 31:1-6), and as many of these art pieces were symbolic reminders of God's truths and to show the holiness of God (Ex 31:6-11, Ex 26:8-40). 

There is a vast difference between art as a symbol (such as using a picture of a cross to remind us of the work of the cross), and an artistic functional set-apart object (such as the ark of the covenant or the golden lamp-stand), vs. Reverently servicing the art or object itself.

In the one, the art is subjected to God for his glory. In the other, the art/object seeks to take the place of God's glory.

For example - God's glory would come to rest on the ark of the covenant. The ark itself held many symbolic things of the covenant between man and God, and other tokens showing God's glory. However, when Uzzah touched the ark, he was killed (I Chron 13:9-10). In Uzzah's mind, he placed serving/protecting the physical ark as more important than obeying the covenant the ark represented! This was the same sin of Israel in having their confidence in the physical temple, but not changing their hearts (Jer 7:1-11)

There no longer is a temple, but we ourselves are the temple of the Lord (I Cor 3:16). This means that our *lives* need to be set apart and holy, not any objects (Rom 12:1).

Some may ask 'If the motive is to use the image as a conduit to pray to God, it is still wrong'? Scripture shows that even worshiping 'God' through an image is wrong (Ex 34:3-5, I Kings 12:25-33). 

We do not need any conduit to pray to Jesus, for we have the Holy Spirit within us and can talk to Jesus directly (John 14:26). We also need no conduit to pray to God, for Jesus Christ is our High priest that mediates between God and man (I John 2:1, Heb 6:19-20).

In the second place, scripture does not separate the concept of praying to the spirit of something from praying to the object itself (Ex 32:5-10, Hab 2:18-20). Usually, the pagans would consider themselves praying to the spirit of an idol or to the god it represented, and not view themselves as praying to the actual image or stone. Yet, scripture portrays this as praying to dead rock and stone.

Also, God is unseen. We need nothing visible to allow us to pray to Him (Matt 6:5-13).

What then, of praying to a statue of Jesus? 

We do not know what Jesus' looked like. There then is an element of deception and untruth in any picture or statue we make of Christ. While this might not be bad if this picture is known to be representational (such as an old-fashioned flannel-graph to tell Biblical stories) - if one is praying to the statue than one is essentially agreeing to the image, such as "this is the image of Christ".

Man is a pale, limited image - an 'idol' (same word) of God's image (Gen 1:26-27). Christ is the -exact- image and revealed nature of God (Heb 1:3). Can an earthly idol made by men in anyway hope to show a proper reflection of Christ's image or glory?

Furthermore, why would we need to pray to such a statue instead of talking directly with Christ? He is our friend, our king, our brother. We don't need to do any work, let alone serve any idol, to approach him.

Even with the best of motives and intentions, praying to an idol is wrong, even if the idol is supposed to represent Christ. Jesus will forgive us for our ignorance, but we should not willingly/knowingly embrace sin.

September 18 2014 2 responses Vote Up Share Report

Stringio Vincent Mercado Supporter Skeptic turned believer, Catholic, father of 3
God forbids idolatry, that is the worship of another god, or an image of another god. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God. (Exodus 20:4-6)

However, in worshiping God, Himself, he does not prohibit the use of images that point to Him. The Israelites used various images in connection with their worship, including carved cherubim on the Ark of the Covenant (Exodus 25:18-22), and the embroidered figures of cherubim on the curtain which separated the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle tent (Exodus 26:31).

As for making images of God Himself, there is a reason why God prohibits it. Since you saw no form on the day that the Lord spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire, beware lest you act corruptly by making a graven image for yourselves. (Deuteronomy 4:15–18)

But later God did reveal himself under visible forms, such as in Daniel 7:9 As I looked, thrones were placed and one that was Ancient of Days took his seat; his raiment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool; his throne was fiery flames, its wheels were burning fire.

The Holy Spirit revealed himself under at least two visible forms—that of a dove, at the baptism of Jesus (Matt. 3:16; Mark 1:10; Luke 3:22; John 1:32), and as tongues of fire, on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1–4).

But, more important, in the Incarnation of Christ his Son, God showed mankind an image of himself. Paul said, "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation." Christ is the tangible, divine "image" of the unseen, infinite God. 

Since God has revealed himself in various images, most especially in the incarnate Jesus Christ, it’s not wrong for us to use images of these forms to deepen our knowledge and love of God. That’s why God revealed himself in these visible forms, and that’s why statues and pictures are made of them.

September 12 2014 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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