“You shall not make for yourselves any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them, nor worship them; for I, Yahweh your Father, Am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me. And showing mercy to thousands of those that love Me, and keep My commandments.” Exodus 20:4-6
“You saw no form of any kind the day Yahweh spoke to you at Horeb out of the fire. Therefore watch yourselves very carefully. 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. Or like any animal on earth or any bird that flies in the air, or like any creature that moves along the ground or any fish in the waters below.” Deuteronomy 4:16-18
Most of us know that graven images are idols of pagan gods. However, the term includes a broad number of subjects (see Shroud of Turin, Sun worship, Spiritual Dangers of Martial Arts, and Movies and Magic).
Graven images are anything in the form of anything on earth, heaven, or in the waters — seas, oceans, rivers and lakes; such as pictures, paintings, carvings, engravings, drawings, posters, sculptures, stuffed animals, toys, statues, statuettes, puppets, dolls, etc.
We have already discussed pagan gods (see Pagan gods, Pagan feasts, Ganesha, the god of Nakumatt, Apis, the god of New York City and Oscar, god of the Academy Awards), so let us now look at other examples of graven images:
Animals are worshipped as gods:
The Greeks saw their gods in human shape, and as such depicted them in sculpture and painting. In the remote past they were probably conceived as animals or birds, and faint echoes of this survive in Homer’s use of such adjectives as ‘owl-faced’ for Athene and ‘cow-faced’ for Hera, though he himself must have given a different meaning to the words; in the worship of Zeus Meilichios as a snake; in legends in which he took the shape of a bull; in the connection of Apollo with wolves and mice, of Posidon with horses, of Artemis with bears. But though such beliefs were implied in many local rituals, they were not treated literally in the classical age. If a god had once been an animal, he was now revealed in human shape with an animal as his companion or symbol. — The Greek Experience by C.M. Bowra, pp 56-57
In Karnataka, India, serpent deities are worshipped. The worship of snakes is present in several old cultures and traditions, especially in the Hindu culture, where Lord Shiva wears a Nag (Indian Cobra) around his neck as an ornament. The cobra is the most sacred among the snakes in India, and there is a special festival of snakes called Nag Panchami, where everyone worships snakes and their related deities. It is a festival celebrated all over the country and people offer prayers and milk to snakes.
Since they are usually depicted as a heptad, they are called Saptamatrika(s) (Sanskrit: saptamātṝkāh, सप्तमातृका: ‘seven mothers’): Brahmani, Vaishnavi, Maheshvari, Indrani, Kaumari, Varahi, Chamunda and Narasimhi. However, they may sometimes be eight (Ashtamatrika(s): ashtamātṝkāh, अष्टमातृका: ‘eight mothers’)
Drawings, pictures and illustrations for the purpose of educating, informing and enlightening (including pop-up books for children) are permitted, but NOT in the Scriptures and NEVER of Holy Spiritual Beings.
A snow angel is a design, made in fresh snow, by lying on one’s back and moving one’s arms up and down, and one’s legs from side to side, to form the shape of an angel. Making snow angels is a common childhood game.
A ventriloquist is a person who can speak or utter sounds so that they seem to come from somewhere else, especially an entertainer who makes their voice appear to come from a dummy of a person or animal.
Etymology of ventriloquist:
Mid 17th century: from modern Latin ventriloquium (from Latin venter ‘belly’ + loqui ‘speak’) + -ist.
Hence the name ‘ventriloquist’, which literally means ‘belly speaker’ in Latin.
Ventriloquists perform with the help of demons. It is impossible to speak without moving one’s lips — the speech from the dummy, allegedly projected from the ventriloquist, is actually that of a demon.
In Saducismus Triumphatus: Or, Full and Plain Evidence Concerning Witches and Apparitions (1681), Joseph Glanvill marvelled at those so possessed by the devil that they became his mouthpiece: “For Ventriloquy, or speaking from the bottom of the Belly, ’tis a thing I think as strange and difficult to be conceived as any thing in Witchcraft, nor can it, I believe, be performed in any distinctness of articulate sounds, without such assistance of the Spirits, that spoke out of the Daemoniacks.”
Many people also keep and revere pictures, posters and statues/statuettes of their gods, celebrities, man-made ‘saints’, religious and political leaders, and Angels. This is WRONG.
You may think it perfectly innocent to buy and keep any of these items, but remember: It is FORBIDDEN. If you have any graven images in your homes, offices or other business premises: BURN THEM WITH FIRE.
Dishes, coasters, table mats, calendars, cards, postcards and knick knacks that depict these graven images should also be destroyed.
It is alright to embellish clothes, cushion covers, bedcovers, oven mitts, potholders, tea cosies, aprons, table linen, table mats, wall hangings, rugs, curtains, carpets, decorative coverings, etc, with animals, birds, fish, flowers, trees, etc, and take and keep pictures of loved ones — family and friends — as long as we do NOT idolise them.
Obsession with celebrities (e.g. the extreme fascination people have with Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson, to the point of getting plastic surgery to look like them) and collecting and keeping of their paraphernalia, is IDOLATRY.