Tuesday 12 November 2013

Deuteronomy 4:15-20 re-examined

It is often asserted by Rabbinic Jews that Jesus stands condemned by these texts and thus Christians are guilty of constructing an idol when they bow down to him as God in heaven.
Let's look at the texts individually.

"Deuteronomy 4:15 You saw no form of any kind the day the Lord spoke to you at Horeb out of the fire. Therefore watch yourselves very carefully, 16 so that you do not become corrupt and make for yourselves an idol, an image of any shape, whether formed like a man or a woman, 17 or like any animal on earth or any bird that flies in the air, 18 or like any creature that moves along the ground or any fish in the waters below. 19 And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars—all the heavenly array—do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the Lord your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven. 20 But as for you, the Lord took you and brought you out of the iron-smelting furnace, out of Egypt, to be the people of his inheritance, as you now are."

Let us start with the first verse. The revelation at Sinai is mentioned and that none of the Israelites ever saw an image when God revealed himself.

There is a warning and exhortation in verse 16-18 against constructing an idol for the sake of worship, considering already in the 613 commandments idolatry is out of the question. This point is hammered home throughout the TANAKH, Especially in the book of Isaiah itself. There is a clear cut and dry statement not to build idols to bow down to worship or even prostrate in mere obeisance to them, especially statues of Mary and Jesus.

If Jesus is God in the flesh, there is nothing wrong with praying to him, singing to him or worshipping him. This doesn't justify bowing to a statue of him which I need to make very clear.
Christians are not guilty of constructing an idol when they bow to Christ, We do not bow to his flesh, we bow to the one who tabernacles among us. No violation of the passage so far.

Now some who are reading this will say: "But limiting to building idols means you are allowing worship of the sun, moon and stars". Well, no we don't, The next passage is also an exhortation not to bow down to the sky, sun, moon, stars and other things. It is not bowing to idols only that is forbidden, but also bowing down to what is in the sky and the seas below.

I have yet to see Christians bowing to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars all the heavenly array in this day and age and in the past.

Hopefully this article will be of use.

Answering Judaism.

1 comment:

  1. I just finished reading your article and I hate to play devil's advocate but many Jewish counter-missionaries would ask the following.

    1. So if your interpretation is correct does that mean the Jews could worship the mud and the dirt as long as they believe that the mud and the dirt is God manifest?

    2. If your reading is correct does that mean the Jews could worship living humans and corpses as long as they think they are God manifested?

    3. If your reading is true would it be okay for Jews to envision God as a cat or dog in their minds when they pray as long as they are no physical idols?