Christian Churches of God

No. CB71





Second Commandment


(Edition 2.0 20050914-20070202)


The Second Commandment says: You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above of on the earth beneath or in the waters below.






Christian Churches of God

PO Box 369,  WODEN  ACT 2606,  AUSTRALIA






(Copyright ã 2005, 2007 Dana Hilburn, ed. Wade Cox)



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Second Commandment



To review and understand the Second Commandment.



1.      Children will be able to understand the meaning of the Second Commandment.

2.      Children will be able to list three ways that would break the Second Commandment.

3.      Children will understand ways in which we use false symbols that detract or take away from worshipping the One True God.

4.      Children will understand what God’s instructions are for the removal of images of other gods.

5.      Children will understand ways in which we please God with symbols (e.g. blue ribbons).



Law and the Second Commandment (No. 254)

The Ten Commandments (No. CB17)

The Law of God (No. CB25)


Relevant Scriptures:

Exodus 20

Deuteronomy 6: 8-9; 11:18-20

Numbers 15:37-41

Romans 1:21-25

1Corinthians 8:4-6


Memory Verses:

Exodus 20:4-6  You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. (RSV)



Open with prayer




Close with prayer



Ask the children what is the Second Commandment. Place the Commandment on the poster board that tracks their progress through the Commandments.


Q1. What does the Second Commandment say?


A. Do not make idols that look like anything in the sky or on earth or in the ocean under the earth.  Don't bow down and worship idols. I am the LORD your God, and I demand all your love. If you reject me, I will punish your families for three or four generations. But if you love me and obey my laws, I will be kind to your families for thousands of generations (Ex 20:4-6). (Contemporary English Version, or CEV)


Q2. What are graven images or idols?


A. God clearly tells us that the making of graven images for the purpose of worship is breaking His Law.  To understand this command, we must understand what is meant by a graven image. The word graven means carved and signifies or shows that it was made by hand.


The Reader’s Digest Great Encyclopedic Dictionary tells us that an image is a representation or likeness of a real or imaginary person, creature or object – sculptured likeness; a statue, especially one regarded as an object of religious veneration, an icon. An icon is a religious painting considered sacred in the Eastern Orthodox Churches. Most icons are portraits of God, Jesus Christ, or saints. Icons are displayed in homes and in churches. Worshipers show devotion by praying before icons, kissing them, or lighting candles. Icons are often carried in religious processions.


Idols are only the work of man’s hands. Those that worship their idols whether made of stone, wood or any other material, are simply worshipping in vain; it is useless. It does not please God in any way; it actually takes away from the worship of the One True God. The idols themselves need their builders to move them around, since they cannot move, or speak, or do anything, and the builders of such idols are like the idols and so are all who trust in those idols (Ex. 20:22-23).


Even King Solomon was not immune or free from idol worship. He started his idol worship when he allowed himself to be swayed or changed by his many wives of different religions, to follow false gods instead of the One True God. He started worshipping a multitude of gods and making of them graven images or idols and high places. God divided the nation of Israel as punishment for Solomon’s actions and it remains divided to this day (1Kgs. 11:1-13).


In today’s society, some people argue that icons are merely symbols to help worshippers think of God.  This can be seen inside most churches where they have statues and usually a large cross with an image of Christ being crucified.  Members often kneel before the cross as they pray to their Lord Jesus the Christ. However, the Bible teaches us that the worship of a graven image, idol or icon is called idolatry and is strictly forbidden. 


We obviously find no images of God the Father anywhere, as His face has never been seen by human flesh (Jn. 1:18). In the note on the NKJV it says that archaeologists (people that look into the past) have observed that a figure of God has yet to be found in debris, or remains, of any Israelite town. This would also show us the Israelites did not make images of God. They kept the Second Commandment, since such images of other gods are frequently found at later periods and from other cultures. There are times (like the one described with Solomon) that other cultures led the Israelites away from God. Each person has a choice to follow God or disobey His Laws and this has never changed.


When we draw or make images, we need to be aware of what they might really represent.  Our society today has taken many images from the false religions and brought them into our daily lives.  Our job as followers of God and His Laws is to always be aware of why we do what we do, and to make sure we are never worshipping anything other than the One True God.


Q3. What about drawings or images for art?


A. Another aspect we need to keep in mind is that this Commandment does not prohibit the making of images for art, but shows us that the worship of anything other than the One True God is idolatry and is forbidden.  For example, having a statue of a bird (which is a likeness of something on Earth) for decorative purposes in our home would not be breaking the Second Commandment.  However, if we placed that same bird by our front door because we believed that birds were sacred and could protect our home from intruders, then we would be breaking the Second Commandment.  Likewise, drawing a picture of an angelic being is not prohibited.  In fact, the Israelites were instructed to carve pictures of cherubim into the Tabernacle walls.  These were decorative and symbolic; however, they were NOT used for worship.


Q4. What does the Bible instruct us to do with images or shrines of other gods?


A. We are to destroy them completely and utterly.


Deuteronomy 7:25-26: The graven images of their gods you shall burn with fire; you shall not covet the silver or the gold that is on them, or take it for yourselves, lest you be ensnared by it; for it is an abomination to the LORD your God. And you shall not bring an abominable thing into your house, and become accursed like it; you shall utterly detest and abhor it; for it is an accursed thing.


At his return, Messiah will destroy every single aspect of the worship that is falsely given to him (like pictures of him on a cross) or of Miriam his mother. Many of these ideas come from the Mystery or Sun cults of the Triune system, with its cult of idols. Anything that is not of the One True God will be destroyed.


Q5. We should not follow in the customs or abominations of the heathen.


A. We are commanded not to follow in any way, the customs or pagan traditions that are against God’s Laws of any people around us. See God’s Holy Days (No. CB22); Satan’s Days of Worship (No. CB23); Why we don’t celebrate Christmas (No.CB24) and The Piñata (No. 276).


Q6. What does God say that we should do as a reminder? 


A. Numbers 15:37-41: The Lord said to Moses as follows: Speak to the Israelite people and instruct them to make for themselves fringes on the corners of their garments throughout the ages; let them attach a cord of blue to the fringe at each corner. That shall be your fringe; look at it and recall all the commandments of the Lord and observe them, so that you do not follow your heart and eyes in your lustful urge. Thus you shall be reminded to observe all My commandments and to be holy to your God. I the Lord am your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to be your God: I, the Lord your God. (Jewish Study Bible) 


Q7. How many blue ribbons are we to wear?


A. We use blue ribbons on our clothes to remind us of God’s Law and to be holy to Him.  They are never used as a means of protection or worship. They are simply a reminder that our daily decisions are guided by God and His Laws.


Deuteronomy 15:22: And when you make a coat, sew a tassel on each of the four corners. (CEV)


Also we are to put the Law on the doorposts of our homes (Deut. 6:1-9).



We have learned we should not make any idols or pictures that represent other gods. There will be a time coming when all these idols to false gods will be destroyed. We know too if we place anything like a favourite video game or toy above God we have made that item a “god” or placed it higher than our relationship with God.


Participating in any pagan celebration like Christmas, Valentine’s Day etc. is also worshipping other gods and it is wrong for us to do that.  Playing games with ouija boards or consulting astrology charts is also not trusting and obeying the One True God. If we are rebellious and do not follow God’s Laws we too are breaking the Second Commandment.


The Commandments of God have been in place from the beginning of the creation. The Second Commandment prevents the worship of any other god or pagan system of worship. It ties the system of worship to the One True God under the First Commandment.


If we are ever unsure about participating in something it is always a good idea to ask our parents about that event or activity.


First Activity:

Have pre-cut pictures of various objects from magazines, Internet, books, etc. that represent things that are acceptable and things that are not. Hang a poster board at the front of the room with two sides – Acceptable and Forbidden.  A few examples of pictures to pre-cut include:




Statue of a bird for decorative reasons

Bird on the totem pole


Sacred cow of India or golden calf

Picture from a museum

Picture of Christ on our wall at home

Drawing of a fish          

Fish on the back of our car

Drawing of a cherubim

Angel on our shoulder pin

Pine tree

Christmas tree (decorated)

Bunny rabbits  

Rabbit’s foot key chain


Manger scene Star


Cake with candles


Pumpkin carved into jack o’lantern


Draw cherubim as described in the Bible text.

Put all of the pre-cut pictures into a hat.  Have the children each pull one of the pictures from the hat and place it on the correct side of a poster board.


When they are all assembled, ask the children for other examples of items that are acceptable and/or forbidden. These examples should help us to have a better understanding of what is prohibited in the Second Commandment and what constitutes idolatry.


Close with prayer


Second Activity:

Yarn maze

Eight items for each yarn (child)

Four blue ribbons

Four “idols/images”

Treasure at end for staying on path

At end, smash and burn images and attach four blue ribbons


Supplies for Yarn Maze:

1 skein of yarn per child

4 blue ribbons attached with one safety pin each

4 “idols/images” also with a safety pin on each

Paper towel or old toilet paper roll


Grill with fire in it (water hose or fire extinguisher in case of emergency).


Yarn Maze Procedure:

Prior to the lesson set up the maze, ideally in a secured area either inside or outside. Areas that work well outside have lots of trees or items where the yarn can be wrapped around. If indoors one can tie off on doorknobs or chairs can be placed around as points to tie of the yarn. Before you begin: select your location. Select the same start point for all children. Start with unrolling about 3 feet (1 metre) of yarn and secure by wrapping the yarn around the start site.  Continue to unwind yarn, wrapping it around various items to create a “spider web”. As you progress and add more and more yarn the maze becomes more complex. After the maze is created with the yarn, collect the 8 items per child and begin pinning them on each skein of yarn. Try to stagger the placement of the items on each individual yarn path.


After the formal lesson take children to where the maze is set up. It helps if you stagger children a little going into the maze. The older children should go first since it will be more complex; the younger ones at the end since it will be easier. Each child is handed a ball or paper or old paper towel roll at the beginning of the maze so they have something to wind the yarn on.


Review how if we follow God’s Law and obey God and retain the Holy Spirit we will be part of His Kingdom. Review with the children the path is not always easy but God does not leave or forsake us as long as we don’t let go of our “string/His way of life”. Sometimes we may need to ask others for help if the yarn is wound around something high or if it seems like a tangle; but there are always people to help if we ask. Reinforce the concept God will always help us if we ask Him. Instruct the children that while they go through the maze they are to keep the “good things”; they can pin them on to themselves. Just like in life sometimes we have or see good things and other times there are bad things. The idols or “bad” things will burn once they get out of the maze. In reality, when we are faced with bad things we burn them or turn away from them as soon as we find them, but for safety and simplicity we will destroy them all at the same time.


After everyone is out of the maze discuss some of the challenges the children faced with them and attempt to correlate to real life and Scriptures.


Review the concepts and Scriptures of idols being “smashed” and destroyed by fire. Again, ensure safety but allow the children one at a time to use the hammer and destroy the wooden or plastic idols. Use a barbeque pit or something low enough for the children to throw their smashed idols in. Review the concept that going into the Millennium all the bad things will be destroyed and we will be instructing everyone on the planet to live by God’s Laws.