Just for Catholics

Graven Images

Question: Since I used to be Catholic, I have a couple of crucifixes that I no longer have up hanging on the walls. What do I do with them? I know it is not really Jesus there on the crucifix but it seems, I don't know, disrespectful to throw it in the trash? But I think I shouldn't hang onto those things anymore? At my church, for the Christmas concert they had local artists paint a large mural of a depiction of Jesus on a white horse with the saints surrounding him. Is it even okay to have a picture of Jesus? I'd like to know what you think.

Answer: I understand how you feel because I've been through this struggle before. As you say, it seems disrespectful to throw away the statues. May I suggest a possible reason? Could it be that you are still not yet completely freed from you previous thought patterns?

Keep in mind what God requires of us. He commands us not to make any grave images or to bow before then or serve them. Consequently, you would do well to remove all idols from your house.

I know that the crucifix is made to represent the Lord. But God Himself would not approve of such a practice. The people of Israel had no intention of making an image representing any pagan deity when they came out of Egypt. Their intention was to make an image representing Jehovah, their God. "And he (Aaron) took this from their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, and make it into a molten calf; and they said, "This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt." Now when Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made a proclamation and said, "Tomorrow shall be a feast to the LORD" (Exodus 32:4,5). The statue represented the Lord, the God of Israel.

What did Moses do to the graven representation of God? He destroyed it and God approved of what he did. When you begin thinking like this, you would do like God's servant, Moses, and destroy the graven images because you respect and love the Lord enough to obey his Word.

A comment about the images of Jesus in Evangelical churches. They are no less deceptive than they are in Catholic churches. Can you still see in your mind the "Jesus" depicted by the artist on the mural? Do you remember what his face looked like? Well, that is a lying picture of Jesus. That is a false representation of Jesus.

At present we live by faith, and not by sight. Yet, as the apostle Peter says: "Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory" (1 Peter 1:8). Yet we look forward to His glorious appearing. Then we shall see him - the true and living Christ - as He really is!

Copyright Dr Joe Mizzi. Permission to copy and distribute this article without textual changes. < BACK TO Q&A