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Real Curious about Paintings

Discussion in 'Messianic Judaism' started by washedagain, Dec 8, 2011.

  1. visionary

    visionary Your God is my God... Ruth said, so say I. Supporter

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    You Tube... type in a word and you would be amazed at what shows up.... lol
     
  2. dodari

    dodari 1/2 Sephardic MJ--1/2 Lakota w/ #

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    Thsnks Viz, this a classic!:)

    And to think certain people say our Native American Church is syncretistic. Ummmm, pass the peyote buttons please, ....... and the MadDog20-20. Thanks. Wh-wh-wh-where am I?:eek::confused:

    'niello put me up to this, getting better. Very critical about the way I write, dictating practically every word. Pickeypickey.
     
  3. ContraMundum

    ContraMundum Messianic Jewish Christian Supporter

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    Shules are full of art, icons, pictures etc. Do you not have decorations in your shule? Where I grew up, we had a lavish Ark, a wall full of little plaques for remembering people's yarzeit that were decorated etc...and my house had paintings and photos of rabbis and sages. Almost every peice of art in the shule and our community homes had some religious reference- whether it looked like a wall or whatever.

    I think you are mistaking Eastern Orthodox theology about what an icon does with what art is.
     
  4. ContraMundum

    ContraMundum Messianic Jewish Christian Supporter

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    Oh man, that was funny! LOL


    I never have understood this need for people to carry around statues.
     
  5. ContraMundum

    ContraMundum Messianic Jewish Christian Supporter

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    Scripture did in fact require certain artworks. We know this. We also know from history that the Temple was well decorated and rather lavish in places. What we can all agree on (and the article in the OP does not disagree with) is that the things commanded by God to be carved and used in the religion were not to be bowed down to or worshiped. So, the strict Calvinist interpretation of that (no artwork at all, no pictures, paintings or musical instruments in worship aka the RPW) is incorrect. The NPW is correct and orthodox. Hence, there should be no lightning bolt from the sky blasting you for putting pictures in your synagogue.
     
  6. yedida

    yedida Ruth Messianic, joining Israel, Na'aseh v'nishma!

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    If you're still looking over his shoulder, Shalom Aniello!! Get better quickly, we miss you here!!
     
  7. Gxg (G²)

    Gxg (G²) Pilgrim/Monastic on the Road to God (Psalm 84:1-7) CF Ambassadors Supporter

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    Was intially thinking that what was being discussed was in regards to what was being discussed on the EO board in the thread here--and indeed, later that was referenced. Honestly, I was more so curious as to why there was a thread made here as opposed to asking the people there what they may've thought on the issue as well. Perhaps it's just me...but I think it'd be appropriate to actually ASK those on the EO board what they actually mean when it comes to the issue of what they define as "venneration"--as it is not about worship any more than another worships someone when they ask them for prayer instead of SOLELY going to the Lord---or when/if someone has a symbol (such as a crucifix or communion with the eating of the bread/wine at communion and seeing it becoming Holy)

    As I shared elsewhere once, icons used to trip me out until actually talking with others in the OO (Oriental Orthodox) and EO (Eastern Orthodox) church---as well as others who used to be involved with them. And it was rather fascianting to see how the icons truly served to remind others of those before them... a great cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 11) that surrounds/reminds us of those who've gone before us.....and that's something that, IMHO, should never be dismissed when considering how reminders from those before us help us glorify Christ.



    At no point has it ever been an issue of bowing down in worship to anything apart from the Lord...and for some good places to investigate, one can go here to the following:


    As said best by Fr.Jack Sparks on the matter:

    Orthodox worship is made up almost entirely of Scripture readings, prayers, and hymns. And the movements we make in connection with some of these readings, prayers, and hymns, are movements which turn our eyes and our attention to certain icons. This direction of our attention to the icons is central to the purpose of Orthodox Christian worship: to direct us to Christ, Who directs us to the Father. This, after all, is why the Son and Word of God became incarnate. As He Himself said: "He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him Who sent Me. And he who sees Me sees Him Who sent Me" (John 12:44, 45). Jesus, the Son and Word of God, was made Man that we might be drawn to the Father, might see Him, might know Him. Becoming incarnate, He joined created matter, humanity, to Himself, uniting God and humanity in His Person that we might know the Father.



    In that very act He sanctified matter and used it, His very humanity, to unite us to God. In Christ, therefore, the uncreated was united to the created, creation to Creator, in order to bring us to God. Thus, icons (along with the Scripture readings, prayers, and hymns) help us worship God, help us grow in the image and likeness of God. Though visible and material, their content, theology in color, helps us to see and know the invisible and spiritual.
    To use a very contemporary parallel to this, praying before an icon is akin to using the other icons in our culture..those on a computer desktop. To use those icons, you click it and the program opens. The little icon is not the program, but rather it is the link that is the access to that computer program--and likewise, the icon is a simple link. By prayerfully viewing one, it is the goal that one becomes involved in what is depicted....

    The Lord has often used Images to remind others of something of Himself---and thus, to say it was not always approrpriate is something I'm not certain that can be done. I'm always reminded of the staff was one made by Moses in Numbers 21:8-10 / Numbers 21 ....and interestingly enough, the staff had become something that was needing to be destroyed by the time of Hezekiah since people in his day began to worship it, as seen in 2 Kings 18:3-5 / 2 Kings 18 , yet the Lord references Himself in it in John 3 when discussing all looking unto Him, as they were commanded to do with the bronze serpent, were to be saved.

    John 3:14
    Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,
    John 3:13-15 / John 3
    Iconographer David Mastroberte is the one who explains the theology of icons in this lecture (i..e "The Theology of Icons" ) given February 8, 2010 at Christ the Savior Orthodox Church in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. The lecture is in mp3format and lasts about 50 minutes. What others often forget is that Icons by themselves are apart of the way Orthodox people worship since they're mindset is that worship is about all 5 senses being used--sight being one of them. As said best in the article entitled The Five Senses in Worship:

    Sight
    “The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.” – Matthew 6:22
    Like much of what Christ said, this statement has a deeper meaning than just the topic of eyesight. “Light” and “darkness” can really refer to “goodness” and “badness.” In other words: don’t sin with your eyes. Well, in church, our eyes are bombarded with stimuli: vestments, decorative furnishings, but especially icons. Icons are not just pretty pictures – they call to mind the individuals or events that they represent and remind us that these people are worshipping with us, and ultimately direct our thoughts to God.

    The entire Liturgy itself is a symbolic representation of the life of Christ. So, when we see the different parts of the Liturgy taking place, these are visual cues to remind us of what Christ did on Earth, as well as what He is doing for us now.
    Sadly, alot can happen when others can misunderstand what's said and diminish or desecrate what's given to them. I'm very glad for others such as Fr. Jack N. Sparks PhD who did excellent work trying to discuss the issue for Protestants who'd make arguments on the issue without fully understanding the concepts behind terminology used within Orthodoxy--as seen here--and I'm also glad that there are others coming from Evangelicalism that can really aid in bridging the gap for others. Fo rmany are often prone to making mistakes due to issues of translation when it comes to Orthodox Phenomenology

    On some of the places I researched/looked up for my own study:

     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2012
  8. Gxg (G²)

    Gxg (G²) Pilgrim/Monastic on the Road to God (Psalm 84:1-7) CF Ambassadors Supporter

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    If a lightning bolt does happen, it may've been bad weather and someone was staying outside in the rain for too long:D:);)

    But on the issue, worship within the temple is indeed something that happened with much of the actions done by the priests being symbolic. The way they treated things like the Showbread or Altar of Incense and many other things were treated with reverence---yet never worshipped. And those within EO have said that same thing for since its inception.

    Some of this can be seen perhaps most clearly in what has occurred with those who are Ethopian Jewish---as some of this was discussed before (on the Ark of the Covenant), as seen here:

     
  9. Gxg (G²)

    Gxg (G²) Pilgrim/Monastic on the Road to God (Psalm 84:1-7) CF Ambassadors Supporter

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    Was wondering on that myself in light of the many shuls FULL of decorations and pictures/artifacts with symbolic purposes that are meant to aid in worship. And on the issue, it is interesting to see focus going to pictures when no one considers the same principle present with carrying an Ark around or kissing a Torah Scroll. And visual representations were never a negative..

    I really do think that Fr. Jack N. Sparks PhD said it best when it comes to discussing what worship is and how that's different from veneration..

    In his words:
    Look at Exodus 26:1. In God's commands to Moses concerning the tabernacle, given just a few chapters after the giving of the Ten Commandments, is this instruction: "Moreover you shall make the tabernacle with ten curtains of fine twisted linen and blue and purple and scarlet; you shall make them with cherubim, the work of a skillful workman." A similar command with respect to the Ark of the Covenant instructed Moses to have two cherubim of hammered gold at the ends of the mercy seat. God said, "And there I will meet with you; and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are upon the ark of the testimony, I will speak to you about all that I will give you in commandment for the sons of Israel" (Exodus 25:22). Here are images directly connected with the presence of God, and commanded by Him. From the very earliest years of the Church, Christians used such symbols as the cross, the fish, the peacock, the shepherd, and the dove. And early Christian tombs and catacombs bear paintings which are representations of biblical scenes.

    For example, the fourth century church historian Eusebius tells us that outside the house of the woman in the Gospels with a hemorrhage cured by Christ was "a bronze statue of a woman, resting on one knee and resembling a suppliant with arms outstretched. Facing this was another of the same material, an upright figure of a man with a double cloak draped neatly over his shoulders and his hand stretched out to the woman . . . ." Eusebius goes on to say, "This statue, which was said to resemble the features of Jesus, was still there in my own time, so that I saw it with my own eyes" (Church History, Book 7, Chapter 18). He tells us further that portraits of the Savior and of Peter and Paul had been preserved, and that he had examined these with his own eyes as well.

    In that very same century the famous bishop and theologian, Saint Gregory of Nyssa, tells of being deeply moved by an icon of the sacrifice of Isaac: "I have seen a painted representation of this passion, and have never passed by without shedding tears, for art brings the story vividly to the eyes."

    His friend and contemporary, Saint Gregory Nazianzen, writes of the persecution of Christians by the cruel Emperor Julian the Apostate: "The images venerated in public places still bear scars of that plague." The witness of many other great early Church writers bears out the same truth. Icons were known and venerated in the earliest centuries of the Church. All right. So the early Church made and possessed images-or icons, as we call them in a transliteration of the Greek word for images. And the Christian faithful honored or venerated them. But does this fit with the biblical warning concerning images? The command in question is from the Ten Commandments: "Thou shalt have no other gods before me. 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 thyself to them nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God" (Exodus 20:3-5).

    Note that the context shows that the term "graven image" is used to refer to an idol-an image created to be worshipped as a god. Could this mean there are in the Bible two classifications of images-true images and false images? Appropriate images and inappropriate images? If so, how do we distinguish between them?

    ICONS AND OUR FAITH IN GOD
    To answer these questions, let us review for a moment what we believe about God Himself. The venerable eighth century theologian, Saint John of Damascus-a champion for the cause of icons and for Orthodox Christianity-summarizes very well what true Christians in his day believed about God. See if you don't agree. "I believe in one God, the source of all things, without beginning, uncreated, immortal and unassailable, eternal, everlasting, incomprehensible, bodiless, invisible, uncircumscribed, without form. I believe in one superessential Being, one Godhead greater than our conception of divinity, in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and I adore Him alone. I worship one God, one Godhead, but I adore three persons: God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and I adore Him alone" (On the Divine Images, page 15).

    Nothing could be more sound, more biblical, more Christian, more Orthodox. But given our understanding of the Godhead, if God is invisible, as Saint John writes, how can we possibly depict God? Listen once again to Saint John of Damascus: "It is obvious that when you contemplate God becoming man, then you may depict Him clothed in human form. When the invisible One becomes visible to flesh, you may then draw His likeness. When He who is bodiless and without form, immeasurable in the boundlessness of His own nature, existing in the form of God, empties Himself and takes the form of a servant in substance and in stature and is found in a body of flesh, then you may draw His image and show it to anyone willing to gaze upon it" (On the Divine Images, page 18).

    The old Chinese adage "A picture is worth a thousand words" comes to mind. If we use word-pictures to illustrate our sermons, what about graphic pictures to illustrate the gospel of Christ itself? This is Saint John's plea: "Depict His wonderful condescension, His birth from the Virgin, His baptism in the Jordan, His transfiguration on Tabor, His sufferings which have freed us from passion, His death, His miracles which are signs of His divine nature, since through divine power He worked them in the flesh. Show His saving cross, the tomb, the resurrection, the ascension into the heavens. Use every kind of drawing, word, or color" (On the Divine Images, page 18). Absolutely! Right on target! It is incredibly important that we Christians be allowed the latitude to depict Christ's humanity and work, because by His incarnation He revealed Himself in and through material creation. And material creation thus sanctified must be allowed to reveal Him.

    But suppose you saw me kneeling before an array of icons of the scenes Saint John described, praying to Christ-perhaps even kissing those icons. What then? Am I engaged in the worship of idols? For here, you see, is where we come across the crucial reason for having icons in the first place. In the image we see the Prototype.

    An icon of Christ reveals to us the Original. And through Him, He taught us, we also glimpse the Father. Icons become for us windows to heaven, revealing the glory of God. The fact is, icons help to protect us from idolatry! Thus, we bow before the icon of Christ, seeing through it Him and His Father. These icons, these windows, may be seen as offering movement in two directions. In an Orthodox Church the icons are for us who worship a passage into the Kingdom of God, but as well bring a revelation, a manifestation of the unseen heavenly host of angels, saints, and martyrs-yes, even the eternal saving events-into our presence.


    The Church becomes a true outpost of heaven on earth. This veneration, by the way, is accompanied by rich scriptural precedent. Saint John of Damascus reminds us that: "Abraham bowed down to the sons of Hamor, men who had neither faith nor knowledge of God, when he bought the double cave intended to be a tomb. Jacob bowed to the ground before Esau, his brother, and also before the tip of his son Joseph's staff. He bowed down, but he did not adore. Joshua, the son of Nun, and Daniel bowed in veneration before an angel of God, but they did not adore him" (The Divine Images, page 19). Wisdom.


    In that perceptive statement lies a choice of words that makes all the difference in the world to Orthodox Christians when it comes to their use of icons. A major distinction is made between adoration or worship and honor or veneration. Worship is reserved only for God. Honor and veneration are given more broadly, a different matter entirely. We all honor and venerate various objects, positions, and people-and that to differing degrees! Husbands and wives are told in the New Testament to honor each other. And likewise children honor (we hope!) their parents. At school we honor teachers and principals. We honor professors and scientists; governors and members of congress; senators and judges; presidents and prime ministers. "Take a letter to the Honorable Mr. Jones," a man may say to his secretary.


    The word "venerate" is less familiar today, perhaps because we do less venerating than earlier generations. The verb "to venerate" means to regard with reverential respect or with admiration. I asked my friend how he felt about the Bible. Did he feel any more respect for it than for any other book, say a dictionary or a novel? "Yes," he said emphatically, "the Bible is the word of God, so I respect it above any other book." "Well, then," I asked, "would you say you venerate the Bible?" He thought it was a very strong word, but when it came right down to it, yes, he did venerate the Bible. "What, then, about your pastor," I asked, "or some other very pious or spiritual person you know? Is there someone like that whom you venerate?" There he wasn't sure. He did respect his pastor and some other Christians he knew, respected them very highly, but it seemed that "venerate" was a word too strong. Even though we Americans are uneasy about veneration, many of us are still willing to venerate the Bible, and, yes, some even know what it is to venerate a wise and godly pastor or an aged grandparent.


    So indeed do Orthodox Christians venerate icons, honoring and respecting them for what they depict, for the story they tell, for what they reveal of heaven and of the glory of God. "But wait," said my friend, "If you are going to worship God, why don't you just worship God." Our discussion led to a consideration of what he would consider the ideal environment for worship: four blank, undecorated walls in a neutral but pleasant color, and a pulpit. Would such severe bareness serve to speak of the presence of a living God? Even bare walls are an image, speaking of absence and emptiness.

    How one worships, you see, is a crucial concern for a Christian. And icons are central to Orthodox Christian worship. Not only do they help us to see the glory of God, but some icons, such as those of the saints, give us holy models to follow as patterns for our lives. Our primary example, of course, is Christ Himself, Who said, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another" (John 13:34). And Saint Paul wrote, "Therefore be followers of God as dear children. And walk in love as Christ also has loved you and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma" (Ephesians 5:1-2).


    But the Apostle Paul even exhorted his readers to follow or imitate him (I Corinthians 4:16; 11:1; Philippians 3:17; 4:9). And throughout the ages of the Church, sensible believers have seen that following godly men and women who have gone before is a help in personal growth toward the image and likeness of God. When Orthodox Christians honor an icon of one of the saints by bowing before it, kissing it, and saying a prayer before it, they are intent upon the godly example of that saint and upon following that example.



     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2011
  10. Gxg (G²)

    Gxg (G²) Pilgrim/Monastic on the Road to God (Psalm 84:1-7) CF Ambassadors Supporter

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    The video was indeed wild.....

    And I'm willing to bet money that someone laughed in the audience--whether it be a child/teenager, a church member not really serious or another older member who was involved/didn't like to take everything too seriously. Who knows. Crazy things have happened within churches...with some able to make it work. In example:


    Would be interesting to investigate.

    Not certain as to what the statue represented or what church that was.

    If it was one done to give a portrayal of Yeshua, that's one thing--but I doubt it.

    Some things were never meant to be carried around in the first place...though then again, the Hebrews must have been MORE than tired having to carry around the Ark ( Exodus 25:13-15, Exodus 37:4-6 / Exodus 37 , Deuteronomy 10:7-9 / Deuteronomy 10, Joshua 3 , Joshua 4:15-17 / Joshua 4 , Joshua 6:5-7 / Joshua 6, 2 Samuel 6:12-14 , 2 Samuel 15:23-25 , 1 Chronicles 15:1-3, 1 Chronicles 15:25-27 , etc ). Carrying that was extremely difficult---and if you dropped it :cool:, Heaven help ya
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2011
  11. ContraMundum

    ContraMundum Messianic Jewish Christian Supporter

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    Good points. Great vids. Good for a laugh. :thumbsup:
     
  12. visionary

    visionary Your God is my God... Ruth said, so say I. Supporter

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    add one more to your collection..
    [​IMG]
     
  13. jcpro

    jcpro Newbie

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    decorations-sure. Vines and menorah and the Lion of Judah type things. Memorial plaques(without pictures). pics of past rabbis in the hallway at the entrance. The usual things, but nothing that would vilolate the prohibition regarding statues and images. Certainly no religious icons.
     
  14. visionary

    visionary Your God is my God... Ruth said, so say I. Supporter

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    As long as one does not adore it, venerate it, kiss it, and/or bow down to it.. then the line has not been crossed. I like this picture.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2011
  15. Gxg (G²)

    Gxg (G²) Pilgrim/Monastic on the Road to God (Psalm 84:1-7) CF Ambassadors Supporter

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    Terms can be an issue, I think. For when one sees a painting one made of the Heavenlies or of the Messiah that done unto God's glory or prayed over for ministry--and someone appreciates it--it's essentially the same thing as adoring it. Memorial plaques (without pictures), pics of past rabbis/leaders in the hallway at the entrance and other things are all honored in one way or another..and that in/of itself is veneration.

    Whenever pictures are placed up of what the Torah looks like, as has occurred here frequently over the years, one is involved in choosing to adore something....and yet the argument has been how the pictures help in thinking about what the scriptures make clear. To venerate something is about appreciation/reverence of it--and as long as there is the practice of kissing Torah scrolls occurring within Messianic Jewish synagouges or treating objects with reverence, I wonder if what occurs is condeming one thing (as others may see it worthy of condemnation) while doing the same thing in differing language/expression.

    No one worships an image, but to appreciate it/hold it in reverence or consecration is another. And on the issue of venneration, people often forget that veneration was about honor--and bowing down was something even the people of God did when honoring others ( Genesis 18:1-3, Genesis 23:6-13 Genesis 33:2-4 Genesis 48:11-13 , Exodus 18:6-8 , Ruth 2:9-11 , 1 Samuel 20:40-42 1 Samuel 24:7-9 1 Samuel 25:22-24 , 2 Samuel 9:5-7 2 Samuel 18:27-29 2 Samuel 24:19-21 1 Kings 1:15-17 1 Kings 1:30-32 , etc). For those bowing down in remembrance of others who went before us, just as people bow their heads at a funeral or when seeing a picture of a departed love one out of respect. That's the basis behind icons when it comes to depictions of the saints.

    If something glorious is bowed to in order to worship it apart from the Lord, that's another issue. John in Revelation had that temptation with the angel teaching him and was warned against it ( Revelation 19:1-15 )


    Some say that there's a difference between a Torah scroll being kissed and an icon in an Orthodox Church since they see a Torah Scroll as a symbol of revelation while they view an icon as an image of something on heaven or earth that is to be venerated. In their view, to venerate a Torah scroll is to venerate the self-disclosure of God through ancient prophetic writing while to venerate an icon is to venerate an image..but it seems silly since veneration is occurring REGARDLESS with both sets---and the image is a artisitc portrayal of what ancient prophetic writing described.


    As said elsewhere, with the ICon issue, I really wonder at times what is so difficult to understand with the concept. Within OT Israel, the objects used in tabernacle (and later Temple ) worship were prayed over/sanctified before the Lord and all of it spoke to the Work of the Lord. If studying how the objects within the tabernacle looked (which one can go here or here for more on that), it's really powerful. There was a reverence to things rather than acting as if it was common. Things like the Showbread or the Golden Candlestick, within the Holy Place which provided light, and many other instruments had a Divine Purpose ( Exodus 27, Exodus 30:27-29, Exodus 31:8-10 , Exodus 35:15-17 , Numbers 4 , etc ).
    Leviticus 8:10-12
    Moses said to the assembly, “This is what the LORD has commanded to be done.” Then Moses brought Aaron and his sons forward and washed them with water. He put the tunic on Aaron, tied the sash around him, clothed him with the robe and put the ephod on him. He also fastened the ephod with a decorative waistband, which he tied around him. He placed the breastpiece on him and put the Urim and Thummim in the breastpiece. Then he placed the turban on Aaron’s head and set the gold plate, the sacred emblem, on the front of it, as the LORD commanded Moses.


    10 Then Moses took the anointing oil and anointed the tabernacle and everything in it, and so consecrated them. He sprinkled some of the oil on the altar seven times, anointing the altar and all its utensils and the basin with its stand, to consecrate them. He poured some of the anointing oil on Aaron’s head and anointed him to consecrate him.
    Numbers 7:1-3
    [ Offerings at the Dedication of the Tabernacle ] When Moses finished setting up the tabernacle, he anointed and consecrated it and all its furnishings. He also anointed and consecrated the altar and all its utensils.

    2 Chronicles 29:18
    Then they went in to King Hezekiah and reported: “We have purified the entire temple of the LORD, the altar of burnt offering with all its utensils, and the table for setting out the consecrated bread, with all its articles.
    2 Chronicles 29:17-19
    THis was the case with the imagery included in the tabernacle/temple as well...and the same concept is there with Icons. They prayed over pictures they make which are physical representations of what occurred within scripture...just as the images of the Cheribum and other aspects of the Heavenlies were prayed over and the physical element was able to bring others into the spiritual dynamic of seeing what God's throne in Heaven was truly like.

    It has NEVER been an issue of bowing down in worship to anything apart from the Lord--for anyone truly wishing to listen (even if you disagree)--and for some good places to investigate, one can go here to the following:


    As one man said best on the issue when discussing what terms mean within Orthodoxy:
    Iconographic Theology
    An iconographer is primarily concerned about evoking an experience within the observer. Though the icon must be theologically correct, the symbolic meaning of the icon is secondary to an individual’s “participation” in either the event depicted or in the life of the saint. The strange reverse perspective of the icon, its non-static depiction of the saints in movement toward you or toward Christ, and its light depicted not from a particular location but from both inside and outside of the icon is all meant to include and involve you in the picture. An icon is not meant to be a descriptive snapshot of a particular event or person in Church history, rather an icon is a mysterious portal that makes you a subject in that scene or a friend to that saint.

    The icon encapsulates Orthodox theology better than anything else about the Church, not because of its symbolism nor its traditional style, but because the icon expresses that Christianity is to be experienced (“taste and see” Psalm 33:9/34:8) more than understood. You can neither fully comprehend an icon, nor the Orthodox Church, from an intellectually objective distance but rather only as an intimate subjective partaker.

    The icon within the Orthodox church, particularly within the liturgy, is not meant to be a pretty decoration adorning the sanctuary walls; an icon is not there to give you something attractive to look at if you get bored during the service. Nor, as some non-Orthodox believe, are the icons primarily there to remind the faithful of Biblical events or the lives of the saints—which would be a rational epistemology. The icons are primarily painted to bring the viewer into fellowship with the Church Triumphant. The icons transform our experience—a phenomenological epistemology—from being on earth to being within the Kingdom of God. The icons do not just passively impart a sense of sanctity to the service; rather they actively transport us to the sacred realm that exists when one is fully, experientially, present with God and the saints (who are not dead but alive with Christ—Ephesians 2:4-7). The presence of the icons invites us to belong to a community that mystically transcends time and place. Therefore, “since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:1-2).

    Icons of the Saints
    Orthodox churches have icons of Christ and the saints in front on the icon screen (iconostasis) and on the walls. The icons can be understood as Orthodoxy’s hall of fame. The Church remembers the saints’ all out commitment to Christ and holds them up as models for us to emulate and as inspiration for when we face tough times.


    It is important to keep in mind that the Apostolic Tradition, while it has roots going back to the first century, developed over time taking on a more elaborated form from its simpler precedents. It is also important to keep in mind that we are talking about a grass roots devotional practice, not a theological system like Gnosticism which generates a significant paper trail. Still there are multiple sources that support the Orthodox understanding of the veneration the saints.
    Philip Schaff in History of the Christian Church Vol. II §27 noted that the early catacombs contained inscriptions where the departed are asked to pray for their living relatives (p. 83). What is interesting is a letter from the Church of Smyrna dated AD 155:
    Him indeed we adore (προσκυνουμεν) as the Son of God; but the martyrs we love as they deserve (αγαπωμεν αξιως), for their surpassing love to their King and Master, as we wish also to be their companions and fellow-disciples (pp. 82-83).
    The distinction between the worship of Christ and the veneration of the saints is very much the same distinction Orthodox Christians use today. This shows the remarkable continuity of Orthodoxy with early Christianity. It can also be taken as evidence that the distinction between adoration and veneration was not concocted by the Seventh Ecumenical Council but has very early roots.
    [​IMG]

    Mary with Jesus
    The Christian catacombs with religious images and symbols in Rome have been dated back to the late second century.

    There were other excellent articles on the subject from those people that I've greatly enjoyed when it comes to the endeavor of creating understanding. For more:

    Apart from that, for some excellent books on the subject that I think would be worth considering:

    Awesome picture to have:cool:
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2011
  16. Gxg (G²)

    Gxg (G²) Pilgrim/Monastic on the Road to God (Psalm 84:1-7) CF Ambassadors Supporter

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    IMHO...

    When it comes to the commands not to make any graven images/bow down in worhsip, I think the reality behind passages such as Exodus 20:4 and many others similar was one concerning how the mode or fashion of worship appropiate to the Lord forbid any attempt to represent or caricature Him by the use of anything made when out of bounds. It is a significant stretch, however, to say that total censure of artistic expression was what the issue was. When reading Exodus 20:4, it seems that what the command was about is the totally human tendency to Create God according to the way WE want Him to be (regardless of what he "looks like" or has described his personality/character as), and for Him to be "motivated" as WE are, and to require the things of US that we require of OTHERS so that that they meet OUR (false god's) definition of what's "just"", and of course to think, evaluate, and JUDGE things as we do in our overactive religious human imaginations.

    An image alone would not be a problem if that image accurately described a trait of the Lord that he described of Himself/his saints within the Word. One good place for study would be the following:


    Some of what occurs with ICons is similar (IMHO to what's occurring today with others who do Prophetic Art, where the artwork they make is anointed and something where the Spirit of God can be felt/seen in. The artwork takes on aspects of the foretelling nature of prophecy (i.e. predicting future events to come) or forthtelling (i.e. preaching/declaring what the Word of God says and what the Lord's heart is revealed in scripture). For more, one can look into this:

    If you've ever heard of the term "New Renaissance”, things may make more sense. For this term emerged several years ago as God began to reveal His desire to release a fresh outpouring of creativity upon His people that would be a catalyst for transformation in the culture of our world. The historical Renaissance was a surge of creativity and innovation that literally brought European society out of the Dark Ages, and transformed every facet of the culture of the time. Many of the greatest works of art unto the Lord were done, from Michangelo's David to his work "The Creation of Adam", which is a section of Michelangelo's fresco Sistine Chapel...and many others:

    [​IMG]

    It was a time of reformation and a tremendously significant shift in cultural paradigm, and the vehicle for this movement of change was the Arts. In recent years, others have noted how the Lord has been speaking through various leaders and prophetic voices within the body of Christ, as well as leading influencers in secular society (such as Patricia Martin of RenGen--as seen here in her book), that we are on the verge of a second Renaissance. Ultimately, God’s desire once again is to pour out His Spirit upon His people through all realms of creative expression that His heart would be revealed to the world and culture would once again be transformed.....



    This is not hard to consider, IMHO. For throughout history we can see that all transformations in culture are preceded by the arts. From the Renaissance to the Impressionists, as artists reached a new dimension in ability and style, civilization responded to the change the arts ushered. In many ways, the Body of Christ is in a time of restoration and the release of God’s creative spirit is being seen throughout the Earth through the prophetic arts. I've seen it where others have made artwork for those struggling with diseases and it so spoke to them in Christ that they were healed---as if, as others have noted, the artwork itself was akin to a link through which the person experienced a part of Heaven on Earth...and had something imparted to them through what they either saw or heard (as it concerns the Arts).


    In the event that others may be confused on what is meant by the term "impartation", it is necessary to state that “Impartation” is simply a transfer of spiritual things from one person to another. As it concerns how this has been seen in scripture, it is primarily mentioned with the laying on of hands and doing so to impart gifts. THis is first mentioned in Genesis 48:14 when the Word says "And Israel stretched out his right hand, and laid it upon Ephraim's head, who was the younger, and his left hand upon Manasseh's head, guiding his hands wittingly; for Manasseh was the first-born."



    In this passage we see that it was an accepted practice that Jacob's blessings should be imparted to his two grandsons by the laying on of his hands upon their heads; the greater blessing was imparted through Jacob's right hand, lesser with the left hand.

    In Numbers 27:18-19/Numbers 27:22-23 ( we see that Moses a prophet of God at the end of his ministry laid hands on Joshua to appoint a new leader, we read:
    18 "And the LORD said unto Moses, Take thee Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom [is] the spirit, and lay thine hand upon him; 19 And set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation; and give him a charge in their sight. 20 And thou shalt put [some] of thine honour upon him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient."

    22 Moses did as the LORD commanded him. He took Joshua and had him stand before Eleazar the priest and the whole assembly. 23 Then he laid his hands on him and commissioned him, as the LORD instructed through Moses.
    The result of this in Deuteronomy 34:9/Deuteronomy 34:8-10 :
    "And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him: and the children of Israel hearkened unto him, and did as the LORD commanded Moses."
    These passages give us an understanding of the importance of laying on of hands. This was of great significance both for Joshua himself individually and for the congregation of Israel. Moses a prophet of God accomplished two things by this spiritual act ordained of God: 1st Moses imparted to Joshua a measure of the spiritual wisdom and honor which he Moses had received from God. 2nd Moses publicly acknowledged to the children of Israel God's appointment of Joshua to succeed him.






    For another example, Elisha a prophet of God used his hands to impart healing as part of what he did to bring life to the dead boy:
    2 Kings 4:33 He went in therefore, and shut the door upon them twain, and prayed unto the LORD. 34 And he went up, and lay upon the child, and put his mouth upon his mouth, and his eyes upon his eyes, and his hands upon his hands: and he stretched himself upon the child; and the flesh of the child waxed warm. 35 Then he returned, and walked in the house to and fro; and went up, and stretched himself upon him: and the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes.
    Within the NT, we can see that Paul in Romans 1:11 speaks of the same act (impartation of spiritual gifts)
    Romans 1:11 For I greatly desire to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to establish you; that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.
    In the same way that the Apostle Paul wrote about his longing to be with certain friends“that [he] might impart some spiritual grace to them”, or release blessing or gifts through the “laying on of hands” ( 2 Timothy 1:5-7 , 1 Timothy 4:13-15, Acts 6:5-7/Acts 6 , etc ), others are of the mindset that we have been called to freely give of gifts God has given to us, and that grace for breakthrough can be transferred from one person to another through prayer, the laying on of hands, or even through expressions of art and creativity. As said best elsewhere:
    A writer could poetically articulate a testimony of healing that releases that very same healing power to someone else in need! Simply reading that story of God’s goodness could release an “impartation” of faith into the heart of another person who needs a miracle! Recently, a student from our ministry school painted a picture about hope, and a person in need of healing literally just LOOKED at the picture, and they were healed! There was a tangible transfer that took place – a heavenly/spiritual reality became that person’s physical reality because of a painting that carried an impartation, and was created from the heart of God. “Impartation” is really an example of our call to walk in radical generosity, FROM the heart of God TOWARD others!

    With Icons, many are remembering how it has always been present in regards to impartation---as there's an aspect of transferrence that occurs whenever icons are made of the early church, stories of the Bible and other things. The one making the picture prays over it in the hopes that it'd transfer others in connection with the spiritual...and that others would be connected with the saints. I often think that many of the things people complain about on images are often nowhere near to what the writers of scripture remotely had in mind. There was actually a big discussion I was involved in once (seen here in the thread entitled Question about worship ) where one person was getting upset because they took what they saw of the 2nd commandment ("Thou shall have no graven images") and took that to mean that all churches were in error for making songs like "I can only imagine" ---a song about visualizing what Heaven will be like in Christ---since it was a "vain image." The same train of logic was applied to things such as children in children's churches being in error for having pictures of Yeshua or imagery of the Lord they colored, since he felt no depictions were allowed. I thought it was silly, but everyone is different.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2011
  17. Gxg (G²)

    Gxg (G²) Pilgrim/Monastic on the Road to God (Psalm 84:1-7) CF Ambassadors Supporter

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    Glad it gave ya something to smile about, Bruh:cool:
     
  18. Gxg (G²)

    Gxg (G²) Pilgrim/Monastic on the Road to God (Psalm 84:1-7) CF Ambassadors Supporter

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    Last edited: Mar 17, 2012
  19. Qnts2

    Qnts2 Well-Known Member

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    Exodus 20:4 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.

    The command is not to make an graven image. This means not to make a carved image.

    Deut 27:15 Cursed be the man that maketh any graven or molten image, an abomination 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.

    In Deuteronomy, the term molten is added. Molten or molded means a caste image from metal. Molded can also mean clay or other material which can be molded.

    So, other then the specific images God commanded to be placed in the Temple, no graven or molten images are to be made.

    So, pictures, paintings or photographs are generally accepted. Not statues of any kind. Now here is the catch, the various Orthodox churches treat the iconography in manners which is prohibited in Judaism. So while paintings are not forbidden, in Judaism, they are NOT venerated as that would be viewed as a form of idolatry also.

    Now here is another issue. Many Protestant churches setup manger scenes, but the manger scenes are usually graven or molten images depicting an image bowing down to another image, which would not occur in Judaism as it would be considered idolatry.
     
  20. washedagain

    washedagain Resting in the Palm of His Hand

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    Thank you... that is what I thought.
     
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