Do not erect a pillar in a public place of worship

The Literal Commandment

You shall not set up for yourself a sacred pillar which the LORD your God hates. (Deuteronomy 16:22)

 

The literal commandment is that we should not set up for ourselves a pillar.

 

Messiah Says

Messiah implicitly affirmed this commandment when He spoke about the Law:

"Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:17-19)

 

Pictures of Messiah

Messiah declares "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me." (John 14:6)

We are commanded not to erect a pillar because pillars were often erected as part of the worship of false gods. The worship of false gods and even the manner in which they are worshipped is fruitless and only serves to turn us towards falsehood and away from the G-d who is the Truth.

If anyone would erect a pillar for the purposes of worshiping false gods or trying to use that form of worship and apply it to the One, True G-d then they are denying the truth of G-d's Word and Who He declares Himself to be and what He desires from us.

These commandments prohibiting idolatry picture Messiah by pointing to idols and telling us He is not like them.

 

How Messiah Fulfilled

Messiah fulfilled this commandment by not erecting a pillar as part of false worship.

 

Traditional Observance

This commandment was repeated in Leviticus 26:1-

You shall not make for yourselves idols, nor shall you set up for yourselves an image or a sacred pillar, nor shall you place a figured stone in your land to bow down to it; for I am the LORD your God. (Leviticus 26:1)

 

This passage associates these types of pillars with idolatry and the worship of images.

Traditional observance of this commandment is a literal but specific form of fulfillment: not erecting a pillar in a public place of worship. This includes setting up a pillar for ourselves or for someone else even if we aren't going to engage in worship near it or participate with those who are.

Pillars are often used in building homes and this Scriptural prohibition is primarily concerned with idolatrous worship. If a person builds their home or other building with a pillar then they have not violated this commandment.

The central issue of this commandment is a prohibition of involvement with idolatry and false forms of worship.

 

Other Notes

We are able to fulfill this commandment today and we should not erect pillars in public places of worship.

 

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Commandment Details

  • Mishneh Torah # 50
  • Mishneh Torah Book # 1
  • Mishneh Torah Book Knowledge
  • Mishneh Torah Category 4- Idolatry and Gentile Customs
  • Reference Deuteronomy 16:22
  • Scripture Book Deuteronomy
  • Chapter 16
  • Verse 22
  • English You shall not set up for yourself a sacred pillar which the LORD your God hates.
  • Hebrew כב וְלֹא-תָקִים לְךָ, מַצֵּבָה, אֲשֶׁר שָׂנֵא, יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ. {ס}
  • Greek 22 οὐ στήσεις σεαυτῷ στήλην, ἃ ἐμίσησεν κύριος ὁ θεός σου.
  • Parashah 48- Shoftim
  • Positive/Negative Negative
  • Sefer Hachinuch # 493
  • Sef. Hach. Command The prohibition against erecting an idolatrous pillar
  • Category Idolatry
  • We can fullfill today Yes

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