Graven Images

Today, I was reading in Mosiah 12, where Abinadi is condemning King Noah’s wicked priests. He mentions a doctrine from the law of Moses:

35 Thou shalt have no other God before me.
36 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing in heaven above, or things which are in the earth beneath.

I wondered, “No likeness of any thing in heaven?” Does that mean we can’t draw pictures of angels or God? If that’s the case, then we can’t draw pictures of anything because it also condemns likenesses of things in the earth beneath. Of course, it’s okay to create the likenesses, statues, artwork, etc. What is being condemned here is the worship of those images. In Exodus 20:4-5 it makes the same point.
In fact, for the Temple, the ancient saints were commanded to make likenesses of things in heaven:
Exodus 37:7-8:

7 And he made two cherubims of gold, beaten out of one piece made he them, on the two ends of the mercy seat.
8 One cherub on the end on this side, and another cherub on the other end on that side: out of the mercy seat made he the cherubims on the two ends thereof.

One thought on “Graven Images”

  1. Hey! I’ve been thinking on this one for a while too. I had the answer from my friends and priesthood leaders that what was being condemned in that commandment was the worship of the images. The thing I was lacking was any scripture backup of it. Thanks for that insight…

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