Brilliant information and I will keep this handy,thanks Bro.
For those who live in sheer ignorance and regarding icons and sacred pictures while calling them idolatry I add this;
The commandment about “graven images” is one of the most misunderstood scriptures. Consider Exodus 25: 18-19: “And make two cherubim out of hammered gold at the ends of the cover. Make one cherub on one end and the second cherub on the other; make the cherubim of one piece with the cover, at the two ends.” Here, God is commanding that images be made!
So is God contradicting himself? First he say`s don’t make a graven image, and then he orders graven images to be made?
No, he is not contradicting himself. The problem is that folks have misinterpreted the words “graven image.”
According to Strong’s Concordance, the original Hebrew words that were translated into “graven image” referred to idols, of course, we know that an idol is a false god, or something that you place above God. Since the Cheribum are not false Gods, there is no contradiction.
Therefore, also, statues in Catholic Churches are not a violation of the commandment either. They are not idols, because they are not false Gods. My Church has a statue of an angel, just like God commanded the Israelites to make. We have a statue of Jesus, who is CERTAINLY not a false God. We have statues of saints because they are heroes of the faith, not gods - just like America has statues of its heroes – Washington, Lincoln, etc. – and those are not idols either.
Bottom line: The commandments forbid images of false idols or false gods, but there is nothing wrong with beautiful artwork of Jesus, Mary, or angels.