Thou shalt not make unto thee any 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: thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them.
This 2nd commandment forbids worshiping God by images or representations. Those who do claim that their images are merely figures or symbols by which Deity is worshiped, but God has forbidden it.
Representing the Eternal One by objects that we make lowers our conception of God. The mind, turned from the infinite, is attracted to the creature rather than the Creator.
The conmandment also says, I, the Lord thy God, am a jealous God. The close, sacred relation of God to His people is represented as marriage. Idolatry is spiritual adultery, and God’s displeasure is jealousy.
Visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me. Children suffer from the consequences of parental wrongdoing, Usually children walk in the ways of their parents. By heredity and example children become like their parents. Their tendencies, perverted appetites, and morals, as well as physical disease and degeneracy, are transmitted to the children. This fearful truth should restrain us from following a life of sin.
Showing mercy unto thousands of them that love Me, and keep My commandments. Mercy is promised to those who are faithful in God’s service, not just to the third and fourth generation like the wrath on the ungodly, but to thousands who love and serve God.
Protestant Reformers were united in their view that the papacy was the little horn power that grew out of the 4th beast in Daniel 7. The lion, bear, leopard and dragon represented Babylon, Medo-Persia, Grecia and Rome, but the little horn “thinks to change times and laws,” Daniel 7:25.
In eliminating the 2nd Commandment from the catechism, there was a dilemma of 9 commandments. The 10th was then divided into not coveting your neighbor’s wife, and coveting his goods—to make ten.
This is probably behind the trouble of displaying the 10 Commandments in courtrooms or claasrooms. Which version shall we use? This might also be a problem for the Jews with the 6th Commandment that we will discuss later.
Summary: Catholic translations of the Bible are accurate and show the 2nd Commandment as You shall not make any graven images. Nevertheless, the catechism does not teach it. We take a closer look at the wisdom and reason behind this commandment. The Greeks had a problem understanding who God is, and they had an image to the Unknown God. Paul told them, The times of this ignorance God winks at, but commands repentance in a time of judgment when we may get better information. Acts 17:30,31 implies that we should go by the best information that we can find, especially when it comes to our worship and service to God.