TRUTH FOR TODAY

TRUTH FOR TODAY

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Lesson 4: January 21-27

‘To whom then will ye liken Me?’

 

MEMORY VERSE: ‘Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.’ 1 John 5:21. 

STUDY HELP: Sons & Daughters of God, page 57.

LESSON AIM: To consider the scope of the Second Commandment.

 

Introduction

 

‘Many who bear the name of Christians are serving other gods besides the Lord. Our Creator demands our supreme devotion, our first allegiance. Anything which tends to abate our love for God, or to interfere with the service due Him, becomes thereby an idol. With some their lands, their houses, their merchandise, are the idols. Business enterprises are prosecuted with zeal and energy, while the service of God is made a secondary consideration. Family worship is neglected, secret prayer is forgotten. Many claim to deal justly with their fellow men, and seem to feel that in so doing they discharge their whole duty. But it is not enough to keep the last six commandments of the decalogue. We are to love the Lord our God with all the heart. Nothing short of obedience to every precept, nothing less than supreme love to God as well as equal love to our fellow man, can satisfy the claims of the divine law. There are many whose hearts have been so hardened by prosperity that they forget God, and forget the wants of their fellow man. Professed Christians adorn themselves with jewellery, laces, costly apparel, while the Lord’s poor suffer for the necessaries of life. Men and women who claim redemption through a Saviour’s blood will squander the means entrusted to them for the saving of other souls, and then grudgingly dole out their offerings for religion, giving liberally only when it will bring honour to themselves. These are idolaters.’  Signs of the Times, January 26, 1882.’

 

‘An abomination unto the Lord’

 

1. What is the second of the Ten Commandments? Exodus 20:4-6.

NOTE: In Roman Catholic catechisms, this Second Commandment is removed entirely and the Third Commandment becomes the  Second. The Tenth Commandment is divided into two to make up the Ten. A visit to a Roman Catholic church will quickly reveal many images, to which worshipers kneel and pray.

‘The second commandment forbids the worship of the true God by images or similitudes. Many heathen nations claimed that their images were mere figures or symbols by which the Deity was worshiped, but God has declared such worship to be sin. The attempt to represent the Eternal One by material objects would lower man’s conception of God. The mind, turned away from the infinite perfection of Jehovah, would be attracted to the creature rather than to the Creator. And as his conceptions of God were lowered, so would man become degraded.’ Patriarchs & Prophets, page 306.

 

2. What did God say about those that make images to worship? Deuteronomy 27:15.

NOTE: ‘It is sin, it is idolatry, to worship God before a graven image now in San Francisco, in New York, or in Rome, just as much as it was then to worship before a graven image at Dan or at Sinai. That these images are in the shape of a man, while those were in the shape of a calf, makes not a particle of difference: one is idolatry and is sin just as much as the other. At Sinai God refused to allow any similitude or any likeness to be seen lest the people should make an image of such likeness and worship the God of Israel by it, and so corrupt themselves by idolatry. And when at last for the salvation of men God did manifest himself to the world in the form of Christ Jesus the Lord, it is now idolatry, it is sin to worship Him by the use of any image of that form in any way whatever. There stands the commandment of God, saying, “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in Heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, . . . thou shalt not bow down thyself to them.” Jesus is in Heaven. To make a graven image of Him and bow down to it is idolatry; it is a violation of the commandment of God; it is sin. But that is precisely what Roman Catholics do, therefore their worship is idolatrous, and their conduct is sin. Neither does their idolatrous worship stop there, but is repeated in an almost infinite degree in the worship of the Virgin Mary, and that too by graven images. In worshiping Christ by an image, they break one commandment, the second, whereas in worshiping Mary by images, they break both the first and second commandments, and so add sin to sin. They sin at the first in worshiping Mary at all, for God says, “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve,” and, “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.” Then they add to this the sin of making graven images of her and bowing down to them. Proof: In St. John’s Mission Book," pages 219, 220, we have the following directions for “Visits to the Blessed Virgin, for every day in the week”: “These visits usually follow immediately after those to the Blessed Sacrament. They are made by kneeling down before the altar of the Blessed Virgin in the church, or before any image of her in whatever place it may be, and making use devoutly of the following reflections and prayers.” But the commandment of God says, “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image or any likeness of anything; . . . thou shalt not bow down thyself to them.” Further, these directions say: “Those who cannot always have access to the church will do well to keep a small image for the purpose in some retired part of the house.” “Will do well”? Not by any manner of means. They who do so will do ill, for God has said, “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.” Deuteronomy 27:15. And nothing but the blood of Christ, the benefit of which is secured by genuine repentance, will ever redeem from this curse those who keep an image of Mary or anybody else in some retired part of the house and bow down before it, or pay it any respect whatever.’ A. T. Jones: Signs of the Times, July 28, 1887.

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