Do decorations, statues, icons, etc., such as those made for holidays, classify as graven images 'made of things in heaven and on earth'?
NIV - 4 You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.
For follow-up discussion and general commentary on the topic. Comments are sorted chronologically.
I believe that the LORD God was referring to the Worship of these images. Praying to them, calling them as gods. Prime example: Ex 32:1-20.
The people made a cow. What difference would it have been, if the cow had been an angel? Nothing! It was still a false god they were WORSHIPING!
That's the difference! When I set out my Nativity scene at the appropriate time of the year, I am celebrating the Birth of my Savior! The pieces remind me of the characters that were there and witnessed this blessed event. Do I WORSHIP them? NOT ON YOU LIFE!!!
I Worship the Father that Gave His Only Begotten Son, as a little bundle of JOY to the world on a blessed night so long ago. That one day, I was redeemed! Joy to my world!
All Glory to the Father!!
In most respects I do agree with the statement that it is okay for Christians to have images of the Nativity, Angels, etc., but my reasons for agreeing are quite different. I believe the answers to this question point out one of the most common mistakes in interpreting the Bible; that is, implied meaning. If you take the aforementioned verse as is, as a stand alone verse, & then say that the meaning or commandment in that verse which states "that shall not make unto thee any graven image" really only applies " if you worship the image", then you are adding something that is in no way mentioned or implied in that verse! And I believe that is the most dangerous & erroneous thing that happens in interpreting the Bible.
I would like to point out that in the following verse Ex. 20:5, it states, " Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them" this statement is the meaning previously applied to verse 4. But, if the commandment in verse 4 meant it is a sin only"if" you bow down & worship these images; then why state "thou shall not make unto thee any graven image" at all ? If that were the correct meaning then it would only be necessary to state; thou shall not bow down or worship any graven image of anything in heaven, on earth, below earth, or in the sea (but it is okay to have or make these images). No, I believe the verse meant exactly what it stated, as the Bible always does! I also believe Rom.3:19-21 & 4:14 & 15 which is why I do not believe it is a sin now.