Date:         Thu, 9 Mar 1995 11:05:42 +0100
Sender:       Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel
From:         Teus Benschop 
Subject:      Catechism, 7
     Q: Which is the second commandment?
     A: The  second commandment  is, "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.
     Thou shalt not bow  down thy self to them,  nor serve them: for I  the
     Lord thy God  am a jealous God,  visiting the iniquity of  the fathers
     upon the  children unto the third  and fourth generation  of them that
     hate me; and  showing mercy unto thousands  of them that love  me, and
     keep my commandments."
  How is this commandment structured?
  -  It says what is forbidden to *make*: any graven image, or any likeness
     of any thing that is  1. in heaven above, 2. in the  earth beneath, 3.
     in the water under the earth.
  -  It says what  is forbidden to *serve*: you shall not bow down yourself
     to them, nor serve them.
  -  It gives the  *reason* why such things  are forbidden: for I  the Lord
     your God am a jealous God.
  -  It *threatens* the  transgressor: God is visiting the  iniquity of the
     fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them
     that hate Him.
  -  It  promises  *mercy* to  the  obedient:  God  is showing  mercy  unto
     thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
     Q: What is required in the second commandment?
     A:  The second  commandment requireth  the  receiving, observing,  and
     keeping pure and entire, all  such religious worship and ordinances as
     God hath appointed in his Word.
  When God commanded to read His  Word each day, the obedient will do that.
  "Blessed  is the man that walketh not in  the counsel of the ungodly, nor
  standeth in the  way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
  But  his delight  is in  the law  of the  LORD; and  in  his law  doth he
  meditate day and night." (Ps.1:1,2)
  When  God commanded  to go  up to  the assembly,  to  hear His  Word, the
  obedient will  do that,  and not forsake  now and  then. "Enter  into his
  (God's)  gates with  thanksgiving, and  into his  courts with  praise: be
  thankful unto him, and bless his name." (Ps.100:4)
  God commanded  to pray  unto Him. His  people will  do so.  "Pray without
  ceasing." (1 Thess.5:17)
  The righteous  will give  thanks unto God,  when they are  delivered from
  dangers, or even, when they get their  daily livelihood from Him. "Giving
  thanks always for all  things unto God and the Father  in the name of our
  Lord Jesus Christ;" (Eph.5:20)
  God said  that we not  need to be worried  about the things, but  that we
  trust Him. The righteous will do so, and the peace of God will fill their
  hearts.  "Be  careful for  nothing;  but  in every  thing  by  prayer and
  supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God."
     Q: What is forbidden in the second commandment?
     A: The second commandment forbiddeth the worshipping of God by images,
     or any other way not appointed in his Word.
  All worship,  invented by people, is forbidden. Invented worship involves
  serving God by images, serving Him according to our own thoughts, serving
  Him using human institutions not appointed in His Word, etc.
  The Bible explicitly forbids this. "Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as
  this people draw near me with their mouth,  and with their lips do honour
  me, but have  removed their heart far from me, and  their fear towards me
  is taught by the precept of men." (Isa.29:13) They feared the LORD by the
  precept of men, and not by the holy precept of the Word. "Howbeit in vain
  do  they worship  me, teaching  for doctrines  the commandments  of men."
  (Mark 7:7)
  Examples of transgressions are:
  -  Idolatry, serving images, which is a course transgression.
  -  Adding human inventions unto the service of God.
  -  Self-willed worship.
  -  Hypocrisy, that is, doing as if, but without the heart.
  -  Godlessness, that is the despising of God and His Word.
  An example of idolatry is the service of the Torah-scroll, instead of the
  service of  the God Who  gave the Torah.  A common objection is  that the
  people  serve God by this means. This however shows the more that it is a
  self-willed  worship, without any Scriptural base. The Scripture commands
  to *read* the Torah, not to *worship* it.
     Q: What are the reasons annexed to the second commandment?
     A:  The   reasons  annexed  to  the  second   commandment  are,  God's
     sovereignty over us, his propriety  in us, and the zeal he hath to his
     own worship.
  God has sovereignty over us, for  He is King of the world. Every creature
  has to serve Him, according to His will. "Let them praise the name of the
  LORD: for his name alone is  excellent; his glory is above the earth  and
  heaven." (Ps.148:13) "And every creature  which is in heaven, and  on the
  earth, and under the earth, and such  as are in the sea, and all that are
  in them, heard I  saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory,  and power, be
  unto him  that sitteth upon the  throne, and unto  the Lamb for  ever and
  ever." (Rev.5:13)
  The zeal He has  to His own worship  does exclude other gods.  All honour
  which  the people give to  another god, or something  else, is forbidden.
  "For thou  shalt  worship  no other  god: for  the  LORD, whose  name  is
  Jealous, is a jealous God:" (Exod.34:14) Some make their belly their god,
  and serve  it. They give it  all delicious food, like the  pagans give to
  their gods.  They spend much  time in preparing  a good meal,  and take a
  long time to sit down and eat, while they vainly blabber  about all kinds
  of things.  However, they forget  that God does  not allow any  other god
  besides Him.
  The second command  forbids much more than simply  the possession and the
  service of visible images. Who limits  this command to only these things,
  wil  transgress  in  much  other  things.  While  he  thinks  that he  is
  righteous, concerning this  commandment, he is in  reality a transgressor
  and  deserves the punishment.  When you read  the commandments cursorily,
  you might think  that you are  not so great  a sinner. However, when  you
  grasp the  depth and  the true meaning,  then you will  understand David,
  when he said: "And  enter not into judgment with thy servant:  for in thy
  sight shall no man living be justified." (Ps.143:2)
     Chr-Exp, a Christian explanation of the Tanach and the New Testament
              Editor: Teus Benschop  -
                      No copyrights on this publication
            Institution Practical Bible-education, the Netherlands
     End of  Catechism, 7

file: /pub./resources/text/ipb-e/cate: cat-007.txt