Tweet Follow @TheRefinersFire

The prohibition on idol worship and its applicability to Yeshua

Deuteronomy 4: 15 "Therefore, watch out for yourselves! Since you did not see a shape of any kind on the day ADONAI spoke to you in Horev from the fire, 16 do not become corrupt and make yourselves a carved image having the shape of any figure - not a representation of a human being, male or female, 17 or a representation of any animal on earth, or a representation of any bird that flies in the air, 18 or a representation of anything that creeps along on the ground, or a representation of any fish in the water below the shoreline. 19 For the same reason, do not look up at the sky, at the sun, moon, stars and everything in the sky, and be drawn away to worship and serve them; ADONAI your God has allotted these to all the peoples under the entire sky. (CJB)

The question becomes, what does God consider an idol? After all, isn't Yeshua allegedly God in the shape of a man?

Habakkuk 2: 18 "Of what value is an idol, since a man has carved it? Or an image that teaches lies? For he who makes it trusts in his own creation; he makes idols that cannot speak. 19 Woe to him who says to wood, 'Come to life!' Or to lifeless stone, 'Wake up!' Can it give guidance? It is covered with gold and silver; there is no breath in it.

Throughout the Torah and Haftarah (and best represented in Habakkuk 2), an idol is described as a lifeless creation shaped (literally) by man from wood, stone, or metal. These manmade creations never bear any relationship to the God of Israel.

By sharp contrast, Yeshua represents the God of Israel's choice to send an aspect of Himself, or His "arm" (Isaiah 53:1) - a human with a divine qnoma (nature) - to act as an intercessor between man and Himself. (See Isaiah 59:16; see also Matthew 10:32)

But wait! Doesn't Deuteronomy 4 indicate that God is without form? At times, yes. But one must not forget that God "takes form" as a man in Genesis 18:1-2 and also in Numbers 12: 8 With him (Moses) I speak face to face and clearly, not in riddles; he sees the image of ADONAI.

The point is that at this point in Jewish history, God chose only to reveal His form in select circumstances. However, the notion that God "taking form" is tantamount to idol worship is simply not true. Deuteronomy 4 must be considered in the context of these other Torah passages - including the following:

Deuteronomy 18: 15 "ADONAI will raise up for you a prophet like me from among yourselves, from your own kinsmen. You are to pay attention to him, 16 just as when you were assembled at Horev and requested ADONAI your God, 'Don't let me hear the voice of ADONAI my God any more, or let me see this great fire ever again; if I do, I will die!' 17 On that occasion ADONAI said to me, 'They are right in what they are saying. 18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their kinsmen. I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I order him. 19 Whoever doesn't listen to my words, which he will speak in my name, will have to account for himself to me. (CJB)

It is important to note that God is not simply speaking of the prophets in general (Isaiah, Eziekel, etc.), but "a prophet" as great as Moses. A prophet that will play a role far greater than those played by traditional prophets, whom God communicates with through visions and dreams. (See Numbers 12:6.)

Taking these passages together, the concept of what constitutes idol worship and its applicability to Yeshua is placed in some context. Please review other articles on this website for additional information as you continue your journey.