What is an Idol?

What constitutes a Graven Image, according to Scripture?

What is the danger of Idols to New Covenant Believers?

Is the issue of graven images and idols a 'New Covenant' issue?

In order to answer these questions, we must disregard the many opinions, man-made doctrines and hearsay, and look to the Scriptures. Human nature always tries to justify itself, by re-defining graven images and idols. But Yahuweh has made it very clear to us. He has given us many examples in Scripture, to illustrate what a graven image is, and what an idol is.

It is not the purpose of this short writing to focus on the dangers, warnings, and details of how idols affect Born-Again Believers. This has been done in the article, Graven Images and Idols: What Your Pastor Never Told You About The Second Commandment. Instead, we will summarise the danger of these objects to New Covenant Believers, and then show Scriptures that clearly detail Yahuweh's definitions of graven images and idols.

Danger in Our Homes

One of the greatest dangers to Believers today is the action of bringing certain objects into the home. As we saw in the above-mentioned article, Scripture tells us specifically that any house that has an 'abomination' within it, will come under a curse:
Neither shalt thou bring an abomination <08441> into thine house, lest thou be a cursed thing like it: but thou shalt utterly detest it, and thou shalt utterly abhor it; for it is a cursed thing. (Deuteronomy 7:26)
When we disobey the clear Word of Scripture, and bring an abomination, a cursed object into our home, the above Scripture tells us we become a cursed thing like the object. The result is that we come under the same curse the object is under.

The effects of these curses are varied. These effects include many chronic troubles or accidents, chronic sicknesses, chronic disease, chronic nightmares or mental attacks, constant argument, continued disobedience or rebelliousness, fearfulness, anxiety, and many others. One symptom a Believer may notice is that when idols are present in the home, prayers may be difficult to speak, or there seems to be a lack of Yahuweh's presence and peace in the home, or a lack of understanding and/or acceptance of Yahuweh's Word.

The ultimate effect, however, can be seen in the example of Achan, who took the accursed thing. As a result, the entire camp of Israel was cursed, and the result was that they failed to overcome, or prevail, in the battle against Ai (Joshua 6:18-7:12).

As we are told in (1Cor 10:11), these things happened to Israel for our examples, and are written for our admonition in these last days. This tells us that we too shall fail to overcome against Ai ("iniquity") if we bring the accursed object into our camp!

Why is this important? It is those who fail to overcome 'iniquity' by the time the Bridegroom returns, who will be told "I never knew you!" (Matt 7:23). For those of us who desire to be among the Bride Company, we must educate ourselves, so that we do not bring these accursed objects into our homes.

We recall that there is a long list of curses that come as a result of disobedience, starting in (Deuteronomy 28:15).

"But We are 'New Covenant' Believers," many will say. "We have been taught that idols and the curses in Deuteronomy are of no consequence to saved, Born-Again, New Covenant Believers."

Because most New Covenant Believers today are not aware of the dangers of graven images and idols, we will begin with some New Testament warnings. These Scripture passages reveal and highlight many of the potential dangers to Born-Again, New Covenant Believers. These Scriptures reveal that the issue of 'idols' is most certainly a New Covenant issue.

Idols as a New Covenant Issue

There are many dangers to New Covenant Believers, that can actually prevent one from entering in to the Kingdom as part of the Bride-Company. All of these dangers are spelled out in detail in Scripture. The fact that these dangers apply to 'New Covenant' Believers can be seen in specific warnings throughout the New Testament writings.

Many, however, have thought that these New Testament warnings are for 'unsaved' people. For this reason, multitudes of New Covenant Believers ignore these warnings, with the result that they will fail to enter in among the Bride-Company.

The Little Flock, however, will see these warnings in Scripture. They will search, and will discover these issues in detail, and will take heed to walk accordingly. Let's look at the following warnings, all given to Born-Again, New Covenant Believers:
Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry. (1Corinthians 10:14)
Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen. (1John 5:21)
But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. (Revelation 2:14)
Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. (Revelation 2:20)
Notice the above warning of Paul, who very specifically warns the New Covenant Believers to flee from idolatry; and the warning of John, who warns the Believers to 'keep yourselves from idols.' Likewise notice the warning of Yahushua in the above Revelation passages, where Yahushua says He will have a "few things against" those who continue in sins related to idols. We are told here that these 'idolatry' issues can prevent one from overcoming. We are told in (Rev 21:7), that in order to receive our full inheritance, we must overcome all things. If we want to overcome all things, we must know what to avoid, and what we must overcome. Let's begin with a Scriptural overview of the Believer's proper response to 'graven images' and 'idols.'

New Covenant Life: Turning from Idols

There are many passages of Scripture that show the importance of beginning the process of removing idols from ones life. Here is one passage:
"...how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God..." (1Thessalonians 1:9b)
Here we see that turning "to Yahuweh from idols" is for the purpose of serving Yahuweh. This verse shows a basic Scriptural principle: that Turning comes before Serving. As we shall see in the Hebrew definitions, we need not 'bow down' to an object, for it to be an idol. Thus if we would truly turn from these objects, we must find out what they are. And unless we fully turn from idols, we cannot serve Yahuweh.

Here is another passage, and it tells us something many today have not yet realised:
Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led. (1Corinthians 12:2)
Here we see that it is common for Gentiles to be carried away to idols. Notice in the above (1Cor 12:2) passage Paul states that you 'were' (Lit. Greek can read "had been") Gentiles. Does that mean they were no longer Gentiles? Paul gives us the answer. He tells us we are no longer to live and walk as Gentiles (Eph 4:17), but we are to abandon all that the Gentiles hold to, in order to embrace the Way of Yahuweh.

Next notice above that Paul states "As you were led." Beloved, many of us as Gentile Believers are still 'being led' by Gentile spiritual leaders today. The result is seen in the above passage — that many are still being "carried away unto these dumb idols." Many Pastors and spiritual Leaders today are simply ignorant of what the Scriptures actually say about the dangers of idols. We as Believers, however, are cautioned that we must maintain honour and respect at all times toward these Leaders. They are still Yahuweh's delegated authority in our lives, and as such we must maintain submissive hearts toward them, for as long as we remain under their authority.

The above Scripture passages reveal some of the potential dangers to Born-Again, New Covenant Believers. With warnings like these, we would do well to find out exactly what Scripture tells us about idols. Let's find out.

What is an Idol?

The key to understanding much of Scripture is in looking at the Hebrew Words and their Meanings. This is especially true as we seek to understand what Scripture reveals about idols. The Reader is referred to the Hebrew words and definitions below in the References.[1]

As we look at these Hebrew word definitions, we notice that there are at least 14 Hebrew words translated directly into the English word 'idol,' each having its own definition. These 14 words originate from 8 other Hebrew words, making 22 words all together, revealing a great deal more than if we look at the single English word 'idol.' By looking at these Hebrew word definitions, we can actually see the full description of the nature of idols. We can also see their use, and the results of having them. Let's look at a few of these definitions by groups.

As we look below in the References Section, here is what the Hebrew word definitions for the word 'idol' reveal:
  • Some definitions reflect the nature of their use, such as to "revere as mighty, worship, and healing."
  • Some definitions reflect the results of having them, such as "vexing, fear, trembling, pain, sorrow, and distress." These appear to describe the long-term results these objects have on their owners.
  • Still other definitions reflect Yahuweh's estimation of them, such as "worthless, good for nothing, things of nought, wallowing, filthy, detestable, and abominable."
All these Hebrew definitions reveal some of the great depth of meaning of the various Hebrew words translated into the single English word 'idol.'

As for the Greek words translated 'idol,' the Greek word definitions appear to show dependency on the definitions of the Hebrew words in Scripture. It appears that the New Testament writers must have assumed the Readers had understanding of the Hebrew terms and Torah words, because they used the Hebrew word understandings to communicate these New Covenant truths!

One Greek word translated idol has the meaning of 'likeness,' and is based on the Greek word "to know." This reveals to us many related ideas, telling us that idolatry is similar to a man and woman 'knowing' one another, as seen in Genesis 4:1. Thus we see the connection between idols and fornication and adultery, where the use of an idol constitutes knowing someone other than Yahushua.

This same word meaning 'likeness' also has a meaning of knowing with the eyes, and with the senses, and not with the heart. This is how many today know Yahuweh's Word, a result of walking by sight, and not by Faith. The end result of this living by the natural senses, and not by the Spirit, is that one becomes 'carnal' (depending on the fleshly senses). Paul tells us the reason for this carnality, however, is because the carnal person is not 'subject to the Law' ('Torah') (Romans 8:7). Paul's insight, and his message to us, signals an exhortation for us to return to simply walking by Faith, and of simple obedience to Torah.

Idols of Substitution

Let's review a few Scripture passages:
Thou shalt have no other gods before me. (Exodus 20:3)
Yahuweh tells us we are to have no other 'Mighty Ones' before or in place of Him. His desire for us is that we not have any substitutes for Him, or His Word. Now let's notice what is said next, to show examples of substitutes:
Thou shalt not make <06213> unto thee any graven image <06459>, or any likeness <08544> 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)
Yahuweh gives us the commandment, and then desires to test us in this area. He watches to see whether man will receive Yahuweh's Word, as it says; or whether man will create a substitute for His Word, by substituting man's own words, definitions, and his own understanding — instead of following Yahuweh's simple instructions. Just in case we do not understand this simple instruction, Yahuweh gives us a more detailed picture:
Lest ye corrupt <07843>("destroy") yourselves, and make <06213> you a graven image <06459>, the similitude <08544> of any figure <05566>, the likeness <08403> of male or female, The likeness <08403> of any beast that is on the earth, the likeness <08403> of any winged fowl that flieth in the air, The likeness <08403> of any thing that creepeth on the ground, the likeness <08403> of any fish that is in the waters beneath the earth: (Deuteronomy 4:16-18)
Looking at these word definitions, we see that an idol is simply a likeness or image that man would use as a substitute for Yahuweh, or as a substitute for His Provision, or for His Word. When we choose the simplicity of His Word, and what it actually says, we are choosing Him. But when we choose some other religious idea or notion of what His Word says, we are choosing a substitute for His Word. Choosing a substitute for Yahuweh, or a substitute for His Word, His blessing or His provision, is the very essence of idolatry!

In like manner, when we covet, we are showing disdain for the daily Provision of Yahuweh. In so doing, we create a substitute of our own making, choosing our own provision instead of Yahuweh's provision for us. We are thus told in (Colossians 3:5) that covetousness is idolatry. Now we know why this is true.

In New Testament usage, we see the term 'things sacrificed unto idols' used in two different examples. One use of the term (as seen in several places in 1Corinthians) references the physical 'leftovers' from food that had been part of a 'sacrifice' of (pagan in origin) religious rituals. Paul exhorts us to refrain from eating these leftovers, where eating them may cause our Brother to stumble.

The second New Testament use of the term 'things sacrificed unto idols' (as seen in Revelation 2:14, 20) is a reference to a man-made 'substitute' for the "true Food and true Drink" that is from Yahuweh. Scripture draws this analogy so as to give Yahuweh's people instruction in what Yahuweh thinks of the modern-day, man-made substitute for Yahuweh's true 'Passover.' When we substitute a man-made ritual in exchange for a Truth of Yahuweh's Word, we are creating an idol of substitution.

Let's look further at how the 'substitution of Yahuweh's Word' becomes an idol.

Idols of Substitution of Yahuweh's Word

We have mentioned how substitution of Yahuweh with something else becomes an idol. Now let us notice a particular phrase that reveals how substitution of His Word is idolatry. Notice the following, spoken to King Saul:
"...rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as ... idolatry <08655>. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king." (1Samuel 15:23)
Notice that in this passage, Saul did what he thought best, and not what Yahuweh's Word said. Saul's stubbornness was his rejection of Yahuweh's Word. In the above passage, we are told that this stubbornness of rejecting Yahuweh's Word, in favour of our own, is as idolatry. Yahuweh is telling us that He views this stubbornness in rejecting His Word as idolatry, even though there was no 'worship' or 'bowing down' involved. (Incidentally, Yahuweh's Word to Saul, in rejecting him as king, is His Word to us today. Do you want to rule and reign with Him? Do not reject His Word!)

Saul, in his stubbornness, rejected Yahuweh's Word, replaced it with a substitute of his own understanding, and thus created an idol of the heart. Notice in the two following passages how we can do the same, if we follow this same pattern of rejecting the Word of Yahuweh, in exchange for our own understanding:
Thou shalt not make <06213> 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 Yahuweh tells us not to make a particular shape of object. Now notice what He says next:
Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve <05647> 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. (Exodus 20:5)
Many would say, "But I do not bow down to it." However, Yahuweh's command in verse 4 is "Do not make" <06213> (which, as we shall see in the definitions, includes acquiring or having) the forbidden object. So if we reject the simple and clear Word, choosing instead our own understanding, as Saul did, it is idolatry in Yahuweh's eyes. We have created an idol, in substituting our 'own understanding' in place of Yahuweh's Word.

Many will substitute Yahuweh's Word regarding "do not make" for their own understanding of what this command is saying. The familiar argument is, "But I am not bowing down to this object, so it's OK to have it." But this way of thinking is exactly what Saul did, and this is exactly why Yahuweh considers stubbornness as the sin of idolatry — when we exalt our own understanding above Yahuweh's Word.

What follows is the progression of what we see in the next verse: "You shall not bow down ... to them, nor serve <05647> them." The word 'serve' used here speaks of being led away, returning to bondage to another master (servitude; to be led to serve as subjects).[2] This passage shows a progression, where 'bowing down' to them leads to servitude, or bondage.

We may not physically bow down, nor serve. Simply having an idol of substitution, or some other idol of the heart, is the same as bowing down to that idol. And it leads to servitude, or bondage.

This same progression, of having a substitute that leads to servitude or bondage, is seen in (Galatians 5:1b). In this passage, Believers today are exhorted not to return to practices from which they came before they were Followers of Messiah, such as fleshly self-reliance, and following man-made requirements for redemption and Salvation. These Galatian-style attempts to justify oneself result in closing the spigot, or 'turning off' the supply of grace, resulting in a return to self-effort, and bondage.

Let's look at the other passage-pair to see this same progression. First, notice what Yahuweh's Commandment says:
Lest ye corrupt <07843>("destroy") yourselves, and make <06213> you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female, The likeness of any beast that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged fowl that flieth in the air, The likeness of any thing that creepeth on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the waters beneath the earth: (Deuteronomy 4:16-18)
In the above passage we see that making, acquiring or having the graven image results in being 'corrupted' ("destroyed"). Now notice the next verse:
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 <05080> to worship them, and serve <05647> them, which the LORD thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven. (Deuteronomy 4:19)
Again, we see in this passage the result of rejecting Yahuweh's Word as stated in verses 16-18 leads to a progression which, if not stopped, will eventually result in lifting up ones eyes unto heaven to serve the creation, and being driven, expelled, thrust away, and banished from Yahuweh. This is made clear in the wording of the above passage, and in the word 'driven,' ("driven away") the Hebrew word nadach <05080>.[3]

So we see that following our 'own understanding' of verses 16-18, even while thinking we are obeying the Scriptures, results in the 'bondage' of verse 19.

Let us now summarise what we have seen about idols thus far.

Is it an Idol — or an Idol?

Throughout the Scriptures in general, there are many forms of idols and idolatry. We have seen a few examples of these. We might summarise by saying that idols in Scripture appear to fall within two broad categories:
1) De facto Idols — Idols of the heart (gold, silver, money, cars, movie stars, etc.) These idols are based on man's use of them. They include such objects as the teraphim <08655> — objects that were used as a 'mighty-one' to bring healing, and objects used to bring good luck or fortune. In this category an idol is defined by man's response to, and affection for the object, which becomes a substitute for the True Mighty One, hence it is a worship-substitute for Yahuweh.

Other examples of idols of the heart are 'my will' instead of Yahuweh's will; my own understanding, my own ambitions, my own strength, my own self-reliance, and many others of mans own making, all of which become substitutes for Yahuweh, His Word, and His will. Idols of the heart can be seen to exist in (Ezekiel 14:3,4,7).

2) De jure Idols — Idols by Legal Definition (how Scripture defines an object). An object in this category is called an idol based on Yahuweh's definition, regardless of man's response to that object. This is an important understanding. We need not bow down to an object, for it to be an idol by Yahuweh's definition. An object may be an idol, simply by Yahuweh's definition — even if one does not revere it, or bow down to it. An object may be an idol, even if one is not aware of any idolatry. Forbidden objects such as graven images fall into this category.
So wherever we see idols or idolatry in Scripture, it may be in either or both of these two categories, to which the Scripture applies. It is important that we see and understand that we need not bow down to an object, to be involved in idolatry. There are many examples of idols and idolatry in everyday life, in which man does not actually bow down to the object, but these are idols nevertheless.

We will not go into detail in this writing, but the myriads of man-made religious traditions that originally began as pagan customs fall into these categories. Some of these include such items as x-mas trees, birthday cakes and candles, halloween candy, easter candy, and many others. The reader would do well to search out these man-made religious fossilized customs.

Let us now look at what Scriptures say about graven images.

What is a Graven Image?

Again we see the importance of the Hebrew Words and their Meanings as we look at 'graven images.' The various Hebrew words translated 'graven images' along with their definitions, are given below in References.[4]

As we look at these Hebrew word definitions for 'graven images,' we can summarise them as follows:
  • An object or shape that is fabricated, or poured out, or cast, such as with bronze, silver, or gold.
  • An object, the use of which is considered by Yahuweh as a 'drink offering' or libation, which is something poured out as an offering to another — in essence a substitute for Yahuweh.
  • An object that is fabricated, or cut or hewn into a specific, forbidden 'shape' or likeness. There are many modern fabrication techniques and processes that could be used to produce such an object or shape, so it is important not to limit the fabrication to only two processes of cutting and hewing.
So we see that graven images are objects fabricated into a particular likeness or shape that is forbidden in Scripture. From archaeological discoveries, as well as from Scriptural descriptions, it appears that fabrication of these forbidden objects, or shapes, could have been by any number of processes, such as moulding and shaping, as with clay, or cutting, as with an axe or knife, to produce a particular likeness or shape. Some modern processes used to produce shapes include not only cutting, but turning on a lathe, stamping, moulding, compressing, inflating of an empty shape, and filling of a sewn or fabricated shape.

Let's see what Scripture reveals as to what kind of shapes are considered 'graven images' and are thus forbidden under the Scriptural definition.

What is a Forbidden Likeness or Shape?

We now look at one specific definition of 'graven image' as given by Yahuweh in the Scripture. We must be careful to examine the Scriptures with an open and honest heart. Let us avoid the trap of trying to justify our actions by attempting to re-define Bible words and meanings. Yahuweh is very specific about His definition:
Thou shalt not make <06213> unto thee any graven image <06459>, or any likeness <08544> 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)
Lest ye corrupt <07843>("destroy") yourselves, and make <06213> you a graven image <06459>, the similitude <08544> of any figure <05566>, the likeness <08403> of male or female, The likeness <08403> of any beast that is on the earth, the likeness <08403> of any winged fowl that flieth in the air, The likeness <08403> of any thing that creepeth on the ground, the likeness <08403> of any fish that is in the waters beneath the earth: (Deuteronomy 4:16-18)
Here, we see the details about these forbidden objects. Yahuweh tells us these forbidden shapes are male or female 'likenesses' of any living thing, whether beast, bird, or fish. Notice the nature of the completed shape is to be examined against the Scriptural definitions, and is not in any way related to the object's past, present, or future use. The Hebrew word definitions for the highlighted words can be seen below in the References.[5]

In these passages, Yahuweh's definition of a 'graven image' is simply 'an image or likeness' of any living creature. Scripture further reveals in (Romans 1:23), that these images include the likeness or image of a human.

The simplicity of what this Scripture passage says is not what is commonly taught or understood. Most would define a 'graven image' as something to which man would physically 'bow down,' or 'worship.' However, if we examine the passages with honesty, it is clear that Yahuweh defines a 'graven image' as simply an image or likeness of a living creature, no more, no less.

Notice in the above Scripture passages, that unlike an idol, Yahuweh's definition of a graven image is not dependent on a man's response to that object. In these passages, Yahuweh makes no distinction between an object that is worshipped, and one that is not worshipped.

But there is an additional bit of information given in the Deuteronomy passage: Yahuweh tells us the ones who will 'destroy' themselves are those who 'make' <06213> these objects. Notice that in both passages, the forbidden action is hidden within the definition of the word 'make' — the Hebrew word 'asah' <06213>. Thus the key to our understanding these Scripture passages is in understanding the Hebrew word 'asah' <06213>. This is a key definition, so let's look at it.

You Shall Not Make — the Key to Understanding Forbidden Graven Images

We are told, "You shall not 'make' <06213> any of these forbidden objects." This is a plain and simple directive. It seems simple enough to understand. However, man will often overlook the simplicity of Yahuweh's Word and create his own interpretation. It takes an honest heart to see clearly the simplicity of this directive.

If we look up the Hebrew word translated 'make,' we see a single Hebrew word that is translated into more than 50 different English words, with more than 50 different meanings, depending on context![6]

From these many Hebrew word definitions, we now see that the prohibition of these objects is not simply against 'making' — but also against acquiring, having, using, maintaining, showing, selling, or giving it away.

What do these definitions of 'asah' tell us? What does this say about having toys, art objects, and other objects in the shape of fish, birds, horses, eagles, turtles, frogs, owls, angels, and multitudes of other objects and 'collections' commonly found in the home or office?

Many would say, "But we don't bow down to it."

Yahuweh's Word would say, "Do not even have it in your home!"

In order for us to see how an idol is hated by Yahuweh, let's try to understand how Yahuweh sees things for a moment.

Yahuweh has told us in many Scripture passages that He is jealous over His people. This jealousy has everything to do with idolatry, because the idol becomes a substitute for Him.

Now tell me something. If you are a husband, what would you think if your wife placed a picture of an old boyfriend on the mantle or dresser? She does not 'bow down' to the picture, so why should you be jealous? What would you do?

If you are a wife, what would you think, if your husband had a female work associate's photograph on the wall in his work area? He does not 'bow down' to it, so why would you be jealous? What would you do about it?

Now realise that Yahuweh's jealousy is burning when we simply 'have' an object that He has forbidden us to have. Simply 'having' forbidden objects is like having the picture of someone else on your spouse's wall, while your spouse is in covenant relationship with you. Having the forbidden object reveals the substitute we have created in our mind. Our 'own understanding' of what an idol is, becomes exalted above what Yahuweh has defined it as being. By this substitution we thus bow down and serve the object, simply by having it!

Is it a Graven Image — or an Idol?

Now let's look at some of the Scriptures in which we find both words — graven image and idol:
Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the LORD your God. (Leviticus 26:1)
And when he had broken down the altars and the groves, and had beaten the graven images into powder, and cut down all the idols throughout all the land of Israel, he returned to Jerusalem. (2Chronicles 34:7)
Confounded ("confounded, ashamed, confused") be all they that serve graven images, that boast themselves of idols: worship him (Yahuweh), all ye gods. (Psalms 97:7)
I have even from the beginning declared it to thee; before it came to pass I showed it thee: lest thou shouldest say, Mine idol hath done them, and my graven image, and my molten image, hath commanded them. (Isaiah 48:5)
What profiteth the graven image that the maker thereof hath graven it; the molten image, and a teacher of lies, that the maker of his work trusteth therein, to make dumb idols? (Habakkuk 2:18)
A careful examination of the above verses clearly reveals a connection between a graven image and an idol. Based on our study thus far, it is safe to summarise by saying, 'Not all idols are Graven Images, (meaning some idols are 'idols of the heart'); but all Graven images (objects having the shape or likeness of any living being) are idols.'

Let us now look briefly at one issue in Scripture that many have wondered about, but has been a stumbling-block for many — the issue of Images Commanded by Yahuweh. Let's remove this stumbling-block!

Images Commanded by Yahuweh

Many Bible Scholars will ask, "But what about the Brasen Serpent in the wilderness?" "What about the carved cherubim over the Mercy Seat?" "And what of the twelve cast brasen oxen under the sea?" "And what of the lions, oxen, and cherubim on the borders between the ledges of the bases for the 10 lavers?"

These are all very good, and thoughtful questions, that are being asked by many today. Because men have seen in Scripture where Yahuweh ordered these things to be made, men have reasoned that it must be acceptable for man to make these same images, and others. By reasoning in this fashion, men have substituted their own understanding, and have refused to walk in the simplicity of Yahuweh's Word. Wherever Yahuweh gave a specific, one-time command to make these images and likenesses of living creatures, in each instance these specific items became living parables, whose hidden truths were to be revealed to His people at a later time.

In the case of the Brasen Serpent, for example, there are multiple prophetic pictures for our instruction. One of these is the truth that the curse put on the people was transferred to the serpent (Gen 3:14); and that Yahushua became a curse for us, when He was lifted up on a tree, that we might exchange our curse for His righteousness and healing (John 3:14; Gal 3:13; Deut 21:23). We also see another truth illustrated in the Brasen serpent — the truth that the cursed object, when kept in ones possession, leads to idolatry, as we see in (2Kings 18:4).

These examples we see in Scripture are NOT intended by Yahuweh to be an excuse for our disobedience. Rather, they are a test by Yahuweh. He desires to see whom we lean on whether we will hear and obey His Word, in its simplicity or whether we instead lean on our own understanding, as an idolatrous replacement of His Word.

How to Avoid the Curse

Most New Covenant Believers have been taught that these Scripture Truths we have just examined, somehow do not apply to us today. Even that notion of 'not applying' today in itself violates Scripture! Every bit of the Word of Yahuweh will remain forever (Deu 29:29; Ps 119:160; Isa 40:8; 1Pet 1:23; 1Pet 1:25)!

The first step in avoiding the curse is to simply search the Scriptures for yourself, and then to believe (act upon) the words of Yahuweh. Do not listen to those that would tell us this eternal word is not for you today.

We are 'believing' Yahuweh only when we take His word as Truth, with child-like faith, so that we act upon it, as a "DO-er" of His Word.

Remember too that every curse has a cause:
As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come. (Proverbs 26:2)
Here we see the curse does not come without a cause. If there is a curse in the house, there is a cause, or reason it is there. Our job is to find out why it came, and take the necessary step to get rid of the cause. Most likely the curse came as a result of an object someone has brought into the house.

Believers having graven images in their homes will eventually become 'snared' (to catch in a trap or noose, as taking a prey) if they do not remove these objects:
The graven images <06456> of their gods shall ye burn with fire: thou shalt not desire the silver or gold that is on them, nor take <03947> it unto thee, lest thou be snared therein: for it is an abomination <08441> to the LORD thy God. (Deuteronomy 7:25)
Neither shalt thou bring an abomination <08441> into thine house, lest thou be a cursed thing like it: but thou shalt utterly detest it, and thou shalt utterly abhor it; for it is a cursed thing. (Deuteronomy 7:26)
Cursed be the man that maketh <06213> any graven <06459> or molten image <04541>, an abomination <08441> unto the LORD, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and putteth it in a secret place. And all the people shall answer and say, Amen. (Deuteronomy 27:15)
In the above passages, we see in (Deut 7:25) that the graven image <06456>, along with the gold and silver from it, is an abomination <08441>. Yahuweh is telling us that graven images are abominations. We are also told not to take <03947> ("fetch, receive, take, accept, or buy)"[7] these objects, or their materials, lest we become caught in a snare. So when we come to (Deut 7:26), we understand quickly that the reason we do not bring the graven images into our home, is because these items are 'cursed thing.' They are under Yahuweh's curse. And if we bring them in, we will come under the same curse.

Notice above in the above verse (Deut. 27:15), that the graven image <06459> and the molten image <04541> are both called abominations <08441>. Because the abomination leads to the curse, and because the graven image is an abomination, we see again how the graven images brought into the home can result in the curse.

The above verse (Deut. 27:15) should be seen as a strong warning against having 'graven images' — objects of any living creature, male or female. Yahuweh says cursed are those who 'do, make, fashion, acquire, gather, show, use, maintain, give, deal, prepare' any of these objects, and puts them in a covert, sheltered, covered place (such as in a 'curio' cabinet to display them, or as a 'shrine' to revere them).

To avoid the curse from an accursed object:
1) Do not acquire it;
2) Do not have it; and
3) Do not bring it into the house or building!
There are other types of curses that are beyond the scope of this writing. Some can actually prevent the Believer from receiving his crown, his place of ruling and reigning with Messiah (Rev 3:11).

But for now, let us remember that Messiah has become a curse for us, in our place, and has taken upon Himself the curse that was upon us. We were pronounced guilty by the Law ("Torah") and deserved death, but Yahushua has redeemed us from that curse, and has given us His life instead (Gal 3:13). However, Yahushua tells us, "Go, and sin no more" ("Go, and transgress the Law no more" — 1John 3:4; John 5:14; 8:11).


We have seen the Scriptural definitions of Graven Images, Idols, and Abominations. We have seen that each of these words has a different meaning, and the Hebrew definitions give us a great deal of information as to their nature, and the effects these objects have on Yahuweh's people.

We have seen in detail what graven images are — fashioned or fabricated shapes or objects in the likeness of any living creature, male or female. We have seen that an object, by Yahuweh's definition, may be an idol, whether man is aware of the idolatry or not.

We have seen that the result of breaking the commandment is a process that, if not stopped, will eventually lead back to bondage, and banishment away from Yahuweh.

We have seen that the key to understanding these commandments is to notice not only making these objects is prohibited, but simply having them is also a violation, and will result in those in the house coming under the same curse the object is under.

We have seen that those who break these commandments come under the same curse that the object is under.

Disobedience results in a curse, for which cause Yahushua will have a 'few things against' those who continue in this sin.

We have seen the way to avoid the curse is to believe the words of Yahuweh — to become a "DO-er" of His Word! Repentance is essential if we now understand that there are objects in our home that are abominations and cursed items. Simply discard or destroy them.

Beloved, now you know these things:

"If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them."
(John 13:17)

For Further Insight: For pictures of graven images & idols most Believers have in their homes (unknowingly), see this article on Graven Images and Idols at Following Yahushua Web Site.

Related Articles:
  • Seven Biblical Guidelines for Studying the Bible: Using Scripture to Interpret the Scriptures  New! - What is the source of our current understanding of the Bible? The pure Truths of Scripture are of highest importance — how we understand the Scriptures will affect our eternal condition! To avoid being deceived by man-made doctrines, we must not rely on Preachers, Teachers, Bible notes or commentaries. Instead we must study and understand the Bible for ourselves — not looking through the lenses of tradition or man-made Bible study methods — but relying only on what the Bible actually says about how to study and understand the Scriptures! Here are 7 Biblical Guidelines that show us the way!
  • The Ten Commandments - Also called The Ten Words, these Scripture passages are shown in both Hebrew and English, enabling us to see for ourselves what these Commandments actually say. When we as New Covenant Believers understand whose words they are, we can better know how to respond to them
  • Oil for the Light - Scripture reveals what the Oil for the Lamps is, and what it is NOT, for our warning today
  • Main Menu - More Articles on how we are to prepare for our Bridegroom

For further information for the Bride's preparation, see the following Related Articles:

Entering the Kingdom: Testing & Warnings for the Believers

To enter the Kingdom you must first be Born-Again (John 3:3-5). If you are not sure you have been Born-Again, see the following articles:

The Good News! - First, the Bad News: Your sin has condemned you to death; the Good News: Your debt has been paid!

How Do I Receive God's Forgiveness for My Sins? - How to obtain Forgiveness of Sins according to the Bible,

The Blood of the Lamb - By Derek Prince - God's righteousness is by faith, without having to observe the law—thus depriving Satan of his chief weapon against us, which is guilt.

After being Born-Again, all Believers undergo the 'Wilderness Testing' of the Believers, just as did the Israelites, and as Messiah, both given as Scriptural examples for us today. For further details of the Wilderness Testing of the Believers, and of the Warnings given to the Bride concerning her Testing that must occur before entering in with the Bridegroom, see the following articles:

Entering the Kingdom: The Wilderness Testing of the Believers - An Overview of the testing of the Believers

Entering the Kingdom: The Wise Virgins' Checklist - An Overview of the testing, and a Scripture Checklist

Entering the Kingdom: The Two Love Tests - Further details of Father's testing of the Believers

The Love of Many Grows Cold - the measuring-stick used to test the Believers

The Doctrine of Balaam: A Warning to the Bride - The Root cause of failing the test

Eating Things Sacrificed to Idols: A Warning to the Bride - a major cause of failing the test

Graven Images & Idols: What Your Pastor Never Told You About The 2nd Commandment - Warning - a major cause of failing the test

Removing the Abominations: A Warning to the Bride - a major cause of failing the test

See Also the section, Whom do You Say that I am? in the following articles:

Messiah In The Wilderness - Who is Yahushua? Do we really know who He is?

Messiah-In-You - As the apostle Paul taught, only Messiah can bring us in to the Kingdom.


Idols - Hebrew Words and Definitions

  • <0367> 'eymah' =17 (n)(f) [terror, dread, fear; idols]
  • <0408> 'al' =12 (neg adv) [none; nothing]
  • <0410> 'el' =245 (n)(m) [mighty one; false-gods; demons; the one true Mighty One, Yahuweh; mighty things in nature; mighty men; strength, power; idols]
  • <0457> 'eliyl' =20 (adj) [worthless; good for nothing; things of nought] (from <0408>)
  • <01544> 'gilluwl' =48 (n)(m) [idol; image] (from <01556>)
  • <01556> 'galal'=18 (v) [to roll; to wallow; to be rolled]
  • <02535> 'chamma' =6 (n)(f) [the sun; heat of the sun]
  • <02553> 'chamman' =8 (n)(m) [incense altar; sun-pillar; idol; image] (from <02535>)
  • <04656> 'miphletseth' =4 (n)(f) [idol; horrid thing, horrible thing] (from <06426>)
  • <05566> 'cemel' =5 (n)(m) [to resemble; an image, figure, statue, or idol]
  • <06087> 'atsab' =17 (v) [to hurt, be in pain; to vex, grieve, torture; to be vexed, grieved, tortured; to make, form, copy, fashion, shape, stretch into shape.]
  • <06089> 'etseb' =7 (n)(m) [pain, hurt, offense; toil, labour, hardship; creation; object] (from <06087>)
  • <06090> 'otseb' =4 (n)(m) [pain; sorrow; wicked; an idol] (from <06089>)
  • <06091> 'atsab' =17 (n)(m) [an idol; image] (from <06087>)
  • <06426> 'palats' =1 (v) [to shudder; tremble]
  • <06696> 'tsuwr' =38 (v) [to besiege, lay siege, distress, bind, assault, make adversary, show hostility, be as adversary, treat as foe; to form, fashion, or delineate]
  • <06735> 'tsiyr' =12 (n)(m) [pain, sorrow, distress; envoy or messenger] (from <06696>)
  • <06736> 'tsiyr' =2 (n)(m) [image or idol] (same as <06735>)
  • <08251> 'shiqquwts' =28 (n)(m) [detestable thing; abominable thing; an idol] (from <08262>)
  • <08262> 'shaqats' =7 (v) [to detest; count or consider filthy; to make abominable or detestable]
  • <08655> 't@raphiym' =15 (n)(m) [idol; idolatry; image; a family idol] (from <07495>)
  • <07495> 'rapha' =67 (v) [to heal; to cure; to be healed; to be a healer, physician]

Idols - Greek Words and Definitions

  • <1491> 'eidos' =5 (n) [external or outward appearance; form, kind; shape] (from <1492>)
  • <1492> 'eidos' =666 (v) [to perceive with the eyes, or the senses; to know; to see, notice, discern, discover]
  • <1493> 'eidoleion' =1 (n) [idol's temple; temple consecrated to idols] (from <1497>)
  • <1494> 'eidolothuton' =10 (adj) [things sacrificed to idols; flesh left over from heathen sacrifices] (from <1497>, <2380>)
  • <1495> 'eidololatreia' =4 (n)(f) [the worship of false gods; idolatry; of the formal sacrificial feats held in honour of false gods of avarice, as a worship of Mammon; in the plural, the vices springing from idolatry and peculiar to it] (from <1497>, <2999>)
  • <1496> 'eidololatres' =7 (n)(m) [a worshipper of false gods, an idolater; used of any one as participant in any way in the worship of the heathen, esp. one who attends their sacrificial feasts and eats of the remains of offered victims; a covetous man as a worshipper of Mammon] (from <1497>, <3000>)
  • <1497> 'eidolon' =11 (n) [an image; likeness; form whether real or imaginary; a false god] (from <1491>)
  • <2712> 'kataeidolos' =1 (adj) [full of idols] (from <2596>, <1497>)
  • <2999> 'latreia' =5 (n)(f) [service rendered for hire; any service or ministration: the service of God; the service and worship of God according to the requirements of the Levitical law; to perform sacred services] (from <3000>)
  • <3000> 'latreuo' =21 (v) [to serve for hire; to serve, minister to, either to the gods or men and used alike of slaves and freemen; in the NT, to render religious service or homage, to worship to perform sacred services, to offer gifts, to worship God in the observance of the rites instituted for his worship; of priests, to officiate, to discharge the sacred office] (from 'latris'- a hired menial)

Graven Images - Hebrew Words and Definitions

  • <04541> 'maccekah' = 28 (n)(f) [a pouring, libation, molten metal, cast image, drink offering; libation (with covenant sacrifice); molten metal, molten image, molten gods; web, covering, veil, woven stuff] (from <05258>)
  • <05258> 'nacak' = 25 (v) [to pour out, pour, offer, cast; to pour out; to cast metal images; to anoint (a king); to be anointed; to pour out (as a libation); to pour out libations; to be poured out; to set, install; to be installed]
  • <05262> 'necek' = 64 (n)(m) [drink offering, libation, molten image, something poured out] (from <05258>)
  • <06456> 'p@ciyl' = 23 (n)(f) [graven images; carved images; idols] (from <06458>)
  • <06458> 'pacal' = 6 (v) [to cut or hew into shape; hew out, quarry]
  • <06459> 'pecel' = 31 (n)(m) [idol; image; graven image; carved image] (from <06458>)

Abominations - Hebrew Words and Definitions

  • <0887> 'ba'ash' =17 (v) [to become abomination; to stink; to make or become odious; to abhor]
  • <02194> 'za'am' =12 (v) [to be abominable; to be indignant or have indignation; to denounce; to be abhorrent]
  • <06292> 'pigguwl' =4 (n)(m) [abomination; foul thing; unclean thing; stinking thing; used for unclean sacrificial flesh]
  • <08251> 'shiqquwts' =28 (n)(m) [abomination; detestable thing; abominable thing; an idol] (from <08262>)
  • <08262> 'shaqats' =7 (v) [ to make abominable; to detest; count or consider filthy]
  • <08263> 'sheqets' =11 (n)(m) [abomination; detestable thing; unclean thing; an idol] (from <08262>)
  • <08441> 'tow'ebah' =117 (n)(f) [abomination; disgusting thing; unclean thing; wicked thing] (from <08581>)
  • <08581> 'ta'ab' =22 (v) [abominable; to abhor; to be abominable; to do abominably; to loathe; detest; to make-, do-, to cause to become-] - (Ahab did abominably <08581> in following idols-1Ki 21:26.)
  • <111> 'athemitos' =2 (adj) [abominable; prohibited by law; unlawful; abominable]
  • <946> 'bdelugma' =6 (n)[abomination; foul or detestable thing; pertaining to an idol] (from <948>)
  • <947> 'bdeluktos' =1 (adj) [abominable; abominable; detestable]
  • <948> 'bdelusso' =2 (v) [to make abominable; to render foul; cause to be abhorred; to abhor, detest]

Similitude, Likeness, and Figure - Hebrew Words and Definitions

  • <08403> 'tabniyth' = 20 (n)(f) [pattern, likeness, form, construction, similitude, figure] (from <01129>)
  • <01129>'banah' = 376 (v) [to build, build up, establish]
  • <08544>'t@muwnah' = 10 (n)(f) [form, image, likeness, similitude, representation, semblance] (from <04327>)
  • <04327>'miyn' = 6 (n)(m) [from an unused root meaning to portion out; kind, as species of animals.]

Miscellaneous Hebrew Word definitions

06213 `asah {aw-saw'} a primitive root; TWOT - 1708,1709; v
      AV - do 1333, make 653, wrought 52, deal 52, commit 49, offer 49,
           execute 48, keep 48, shew 43, prepare 37, work 29, do so 21,
           perform 18, get 14, dress 13, maker 13, maintain 7, misc 154; 2633
      1) to do, fashion, accomplish, make
         1a) (Qal)
             1a1) to do, work, make, produce
                  1a1a) to do
                  1a1b) to work
                  1a1c) to deal (with)
                  1a1d) to act, act with effect, effect
             1a2) to make
                  1a2a) to make
                  1a2b) to produce
                  1a2c) to prepare
                  1a2d) to make (an offering)
                  1a2e) to attend to, put in order
                  1a2f) to observe, celebrate
                  1a2g) to acquire (property)
                  1a2h) to appoint, ordain, institute
                  1a2i) to bring about
                  1a2j) to use
                  1a2k) to spend, pass
         1b) (Niphal)
             1b1) to be done
             1b2) to be made
             1b3) to be produced
             1b4) to be offered
             1b5) to be observed
             1b6) to be used
         1c) (Pual) to be made
      2) (Piel) to press, squeeze

05647 `abad {aw-bad'} a primitive root; TWOT - 1553; v
      AV - serve 227, do 15, till 9, servant 5, work 5, worshippers 5,
      service 4, dress 2, labour 2, ear 2, misc 14; 290

 1) to work, serve
    1a) (Qal)
        1a1) to labour, work, do work
        1a2) to work for another, serve another by labour
        1a3) to serve as subjects
        1a4) to serve (God)
        1a5) to serve (with Levitical service)
    1b) (Niphal)
        1b1) to be worked, be tilled (of land)
        1b2) to make oneself a servant
    1c) (Pual) to be worked
    1d) (Hiphil)
        1d1) to compel to labour or work, cause to labour, cause to serve
        1d2) to cause to serve as subjects
    1e) (Hophal) to be led or enticed to serve

05080 nadach {naw-dakh'} a primitive root; TWOT - 1304; v
      AV - drive 18, drive out 6, ...away 6, outcasts 5, cast out 3,
      banished 2, bring 1, go astray 1, chased 1, compelled 1, down 1,
      expelled 1, misc 6; 52

 1) to impel, thrust, drive away, banish
    1a) (Qal)
        1a1) to impel
        1a2) to thrust away, banish
    1b) (Niphal)
        1b1) to be impelled
        1b2) to be thrust out, be banished
             1b2a) banished, outcast (participle)
        1b3) to be driven away
        1b4) to be thrust away, thrust aside
    1c) (Pual) to be thrust into
        1c1) thrust (participle)
    1d) (Hiphil)
        1d1) to thrust, move, impel
        1d2) to thrust out, banish
        1d3) to thrust away, thrust aside
    1e) (Hophal) to be chased, be hunted
        1e1) chased, hunted (participle)

03947 laqach {law-kakh'} a primitive root; TWOT - 1124; v
      AV - take 747, receive 61, take away 51, fetch 31, bring 25, get 6,
      take out 6, carry away 5, married 4, buy 3, misc 26; 965

 1) to take, get, fetch, lay hold of, seize, receive, acquire, buy,
    bring, marry, take a wife, snatch, take away
    1a) (Qal)
        1a1) to take, take in the hand
        1a2) to take and carry along
        1a3) to take from, take out of, take, carry away, take away
        1a4) to take to or for a person, procure, get, take possession of,
             select, choose, take in marriage, receive, accept
        1a5) to take up or upon, put upon
        1a6) to fetch
        1a7) to take, lead, conduct
        1a8) to take, capture, seize
        1a9) to take, carry off
        1a10) to take (vengeance)
    1b) (Niphal)
        1b1) to be captured
        1b2) to be taken away, be removed
        1b3) to be taken, brought unto
    1c) (Pual)
        1c1) to be taken from or out of
        1c2) to be stolen from
        1c3) to be taken captive
        1c4) to be taken away, be removed
    1d) (Hophal)
        1d1) to be taken unto, be brought unto
        1d2) to be taken out of
        1d3) to be taken away
    1e) (Hithpael)
        1e1) to take hold of oneself
        1e2) to flash about (of lightning)

"If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief,
and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee."   (Rev 3:3)