Friday, July 22, 2016
The Strange Fire of Religious Icons
“And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord.” Leviticus 10: 1-2
When God tells us how to do something, we need to do it his way. Just because someone’s heart is in the right place, does not mean God will accept whatever they do. It’s just like when Cain brought vegetables instead of a lamb—God did not accept that. Images and icons used today to represent Christianity are “strange fire,” since God never told us to use these things. In fact, he commanded us not to make graven images or likenesses. It’s not just that he didn’t want us worshipping false gods, either.
When God reminded the Children of Israel that they saw “no similitude” when he spoke unto them, he was telling them not to not even make an image of HIM. A crucifix on a necklace or a picture of Jesus on the wall counts as a “similitude” or “likeness.” A molten fish or a molten dove on the back of your car are molten images of the two animals God specifically used as examples of what not to make. Get rid of those things, and, while you are at it, stop displaying that picture of the long-haired “Jesus.” That’s not what he looked like, anyway. In fact, he did not leave us any picture to remember him by. He left us his word. Trying to represent Christianity with religious icons that we are commanded not to use is offering “strange fire.”
12 And the Lord spake unto you out of the midst of the fire: ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude; only ye heard a voice.
13 And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone.
14 And the Lord commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgments, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go over to possess it.
15 Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves; for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that the Lord spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire:
16 Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female,
17 The likeness of any beast that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged fowl that flieth in the air,
18 The likeness of any thing that creepeth on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the waters beneath the earth:
19 And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the Lord thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven.
20 But the Lord hath taken you, and brought you forth out of the iron furnace, even out of Egypt, to be unto him a people of inheritance, as ye are this day.
21 Furthermore the Lord was angry with me for your sakes, and sware that I should not go over Jordan, and that I should not go in unto that good land, which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance:
22 But I must die in this land, I must not go over Jordan: but ye shall go over, and possess that good land.
23 Take heed unto yourselves, lest ye forget the covenant of the Lord your God, which he made with you, and make you a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, which the Lord thy God hath forbidden thee.
24 For the Lord thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.
“Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.” Exodus 20:4
Here is a sermon to go along with this article