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      the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD."

      - Leviticus 10:1-2

    The Lord specified "the fire" which the priests were to use when burning incense before the Lord: fire from the Brazen Altar of Burnt Offerings was to be used. To whom and to what did the burnt offering and Brazen Altar testify?

    Why were Nadab and Abihu killed instantly by God? What clear lesson does this history teach us about the theme of the second commandment?


The second commandment teaches us that God is to be worshipped in the way He has specified. God has forbidden us to worship Him through the use of images, pictures, or any form or likeness of anything physical, anything in heaven, earth, or sea. God is a Spirit. He is invisible, incomprehensible, and infinitely glorious. God cannot be pictured by any physical form. Any attempts to do so are not only the making of a lie, but they also insult the infinite glory of God.


    Imagine an artist forming a gold statue of the king of his country. He spent several months perfecting it. He used the most expensive gold and polished the finished product to a spotless shine.

    When unveiling his work for the king, however, the statue was one of a dog. No matter how artistically, beautifully, or expensively the statue was produced, the king remained insulted. He was not a dog! His righteous anger was stirred by it and he commanded the debasing statue to be destroyed and its sculptor to be punished.

    The difference in degree between God and any physical creature or object in heaven, earth, or sea is far greater than that between a human king and a dog. Why are all images or pictures of God debasing insults to His infinite glory?


To attempt to worship or pray to God by viewing or bowing before an image of God is also sinful and insulting to God. The story on the following page illustrates this truth.

 

Ye shall make you no idols: nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the I LORD your God.

Ye shall keep My sabbaths, and reverence My sanctuary: I am the LORD.

- Leviticus 26:1-2

Cursed be the man that maketh any graven or molten image, an abomination unto the LORD, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and putteth it in a secret place. And all the people shall answer and say, Amen.

- Deuteronomy 27:15

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.

He that is so impoverished that he hath no oblation chooseth a tree that will not rot; he seeketh unto him a cunning workman to prepare a graven image, that shall not be moved.

- Isaiah 40: 18-20

To whom then will ye liken Me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One.

Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: He calleth them all by names by the greatness of His might, for that He is strong in power; not one faileth.

- Isaiah 40:25-26

Because that, when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.

And changed the glory of the un corruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.

- Romans 1:21-23

 

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