In the book of Exodus, when Moses led the people of Israel through the desert, they arrived at the foot of Mount Sinai. there, the Lord appeared to him in the midst of thunder, lightning and gave him the Ten Commandments. We all know about this list. But few know that in reality the second commandment saying “Thou shalt not make any picture or sculpture, or what is in heaven above, or what is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under land. Not down to them. ” Ex 20.4-5, Dt 4.16 to 18, Dt 27.15 Following this rule, many Christian churches today reject the images in their worship and criticize those who use them. But then the Bible contradicts itself, because in some cases, God himself ordered the construction of sacred images: 25.18 Ex, 25.33 Ex, Ex 31.1-5; 8.27 Jc, Jc 18.31.
Even King David loved and blessed by God, was at home unscrupulous divine images. And needless to say the magnificent Temple of Jerusalem built by Solomon: 1 R 6.23, 6.29 1R, 1R 7.25, 7.19 to 20 1R, 1R 7.29. And although that second commandment in the Bible never found any ancient prophet censor images. They were the sentinels of God, who raised their voices against any sin of the people who did not allow the slightest deviation. For centuries silent.
But although the Bible does not say, we can guess the reason for the prohibition of images, through our knowledge of ancient religious environment. All people who were in contact with Israel, believed that the image was not only a symbol of divinity, but the very divinity lived there in a real way. The image was somehow represented the same god. We understand then, how easy it was to fall into a magical concept of divinity. Having the image at one’s disposal was to have the powers of God to their will, exercise a kind of dominion over it, manage it as they please. And this could seriously jeopardize the identity of the Lord. He expressed freely and naturally where I wanted, well above the strength of his creatures, and directing the course of history according to his opinion. Centuries passed. The Greek atmosphere was making men less likely to magic and more influenced by the philosophical and rational. This helped to decrease the fetishistic idea of divine images. Then God himself that there had been invisible until then, compared to a more mature stage of humanity, wanted to take a picture so everyone could see. And if in the Old Testament was revealed to the people without image, in the New Partnership considered essential to have one and be seen. So on the night of Christmas angels to the shepherds give this sign of the new revelation: “You will see” a child wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. God himself wanted now, when there was no danger, the men approached by a figure of Christ, for them to see, hear, touch, feel. (Jn 14:8). As you see the command on the images in the Old Testament, had an educational function, and therefore temporary. After coming centuries and the maturity of the times, moving the danger passed the commandment. This was understood by the Christians of old. So they began to make images of Christ and represent scenes from his life, since they helped the people closer to God. The cemeteries, temples were filled with these psychological value by using their position to support a sentence. Over time, became the Bible of children and the illiterate.