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Is Praying to the Cross Idolatry in the Name of Jesus?
I am friends with a Catholic couple who have a practice of praying to the crucifix. I pointed out to them that this is prohibited by the Ten Commandments:
"Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing 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: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me". - Exodus 20:4, 5
However, my friends condone their practice of praying to the cross by saying it is in the name of Jesus. This is idolatry in the name of Jesus! They say that they do not actually pray to the cross; they pray "through" it to God. This helps them to visualize Jesus. This justification is a deception of the worst kind, because it leads people to believe that their violation of God's Word is acceptable to God because it is in Jesus' name.
The Golden God
This is not the first time that the devil has attempted this kind of trickery. In Exodus 32, as a result of Moses delaying to return from the top of Mt. Sinai, the Israelited became restless and convinced Aaron to join them in making an idol, a golden calf, to worship, in the name of the Lord. After making this idol, the people proclaimed: "These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt". Verse 4. Aaron even built an alter to the idol and proclaimed a feast to it, saying, "To morrow is a feat to the LORD." Verse 5.
Furthermore, the Israelites began making offerings to this man-made idol (verse 6). They performed some of the same religious ceremonies for this idol that they did for the Lord. How did the Lord respond to all of this?
"And the LORD said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves: They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt." - Verses 7, 8
I wonder what the idolaters rationale was for worshipping the golden calf? "We're not actually worshipping the calf, we are worshipping the Lord "through" the calf. It is just a symbol to give us a visual representation of the Lord." The devil has become more clever and less blatant over time. He has believers committing the same offense now as did the Israelites who made the golden calf; with the exception that they are not using a calf, they are using a cross. This is idolatry in the name of Jesus!
Our God is an Awesome God
What is the danger of committing idolatry in the name of Jesus? It lowers peoples' concept of God. Jesus is not to be comprehended by the cross. The cross is just man-made wood and metal. Jesus is greater than that. He says, "... The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest?" Isaiah 66:1-3. In other words, no cross can give us a true conccept of our God; because our God is an awesome God! What's more, God will not hear the prayers of someone who knowingly violates His word: "He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination." Proverbs 28:9.
The cross is an important symbol of the Christian faith. However, Praying to it in any way, shape or form is idolatry in the name of Jesus. This is just an old trick of the devil with a new twist. Jesus cannot be comprehended in the cross; and God will not hear the prayers of those who wiflully violate His word. If you have been praying to, or "through", the cross, I encourage to forsake this deceptive practice and worship God accordingly.
"... the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." John 4:23, 24
More Christian Hubs by Greg Sereda
Based on confrontational questions I encountered regarding the existence of God, and the need for God.
A list of five important reasons for the Ten Commandments.
A symbolic comparison of Leviticus 19:19 to the gospel, discussing the biblical symbolism of cattle, seeds and apparel. Deals with Christian associations, the importance of consistent theology and Christian character.
All Scripture references are from the King James Version Bible.