Piggybacking on the recent post on images... some thoughts on God directing how He shall be worshiped follow.
I don't think I'll be able to do much in this combox, but maybe God will be merciful to my schedule.
Our Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox friends defend the blatant violations of Old Testament directions for YHWH's worship by appealing to their intentions.
1Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took their respective firepans, and after putting fire in them, placed incense on it and offered strange fire before the LORD, which He had not commanded them.God's instructions were clear as to how He should be worshiped, when, by whose hand, etc. These men violated those instructions. This is not pagan worship or the intrusion of a different religion into Judaism; this is disobedience to how they were to worship. Intention played no part.
2And fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD.
3Then Moses said to Aaron, "It is what the LORD spoke, saying,
'By those who come near Me I will be treated as holy,
And before all the people I will be honored.'"
So Aaron, therefore, kept silent.
10"They shall construct an ark of acacia wood two and a half cubits long, and one and a half cubits wide, and one and a half cubits high.Here God gives instruction for how the Ark of the Covenant shall be transported. And the consequence of disobeying with good intention:
11"You shall overlay it with pure gold, inside and out you shall overlay it, and you shall make a gold molding around it.
12"You shall cast four gold rings for it and fasten them on its four feet, and two rings shall be on one side of it and two rings on the other side of it.
13"You shall make poles of acacia wood and overlay them with gold.
14"You shall put the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark, to carry the ark with them.
15"The poles shall remain in the rings of the ark; they shall not be removed from it.
2 Samuel 6:2-7
2And David arose and went with all the people who were with him to Baale-judah, to bring up from there the ark of God which is called by the Name, the very name of the LORD of hosts who is enthroned above the cherubim.
3They placed the ark of God on a new cart that they might bring it from the house of Abinadab which was on the hill; and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, were leading the new cart.
4So they brought it with the ark of God from the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill; and Ahio was walking ahead of the ark.
5Meanwhile, David and all the house of Israel were celebrating before the LORD with all kinds of instruments made of fir wood, and with lyres, harps, tambourines, castanets and cymbals.
6But when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah reached out toward the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen nearly upset it.
7And the anger of the LORD burned against Uzzah, and God struck him down there for his irreverence; and he died there by the ark of God.
Uzzah's intentions were good, as the text says - to stop the ark from falling over. Indeed - what a terrible thing to have the ark fall over! But God destroyed him b/c Uzzah did not treat God's worship and instructions on worship as foremost and holy.
The Lord struck out in anger and wrath over the breaking of His instruction, despite the good intentions of David, Uzzah himself, no doubt the guys who lent the oxen and cart, the people in the procession, etc.
24On the following day he entered Caesarea. Now Cornelius was waiting for them and had called together his relatives and close friends.
25When Peter entered, Cornelius met him, and fell at his feet and worshiped him.
26But Peter raised him up, saying, "Stand up; I too am just a man."
8I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed me these things.
9But he said to me, "Do not do that I am a fellow servant of yours and of your brethren the prophets and of those who heed the words of this book. Worship God."
There is a way to bow down to mere humans and honor them in righteousness, as attested to by Scripture, without it being a sin. But not in a context of worship, which is the heart of the matter and the objection we have to RC and EO-dox practice.
15"So watch yourselves carefully, since you did not see any form on the day the LORD spoke to you at Horeb from the midst of the fire,What's the definition of a graven image here? "The form of any figure, the likeness of male or female, the likeness of any animal that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the sky, the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the water below the earth."
16so that you do not act corruptly and make a graven image for yourselves in the form of any figure, the likeness of male or female,
17the likeness of any animal that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the sky,
18the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the water below the earth.
Presumably, something like this.
Let's leave aside the question of making an image of Christ here and focus on v. 16 - no image of form male or female. How is making an image of a dead person (ie, a saint) for worship not a violation of this command?