For more on this topic see "Know the Faith: A Handbook for Orthodox Christians and Inquirers" - https://store.ancientfaith.com/know-the-faith/
In our day the word “icon” has come back into the lexicon of society due to the advent of personal computers. Those familiar with “windows” software know that an icon is a recognizable visual image by which we enter into a particular world or paradigm known as an application. Examples are Microsoft Word, Excel, and Photoshop. When we double-click on our computer icon we enter into something much more than what the eye initially beholds. These icons are “windows” through which we experience another world. The same is true of holy icons, the holy images used by the Church to help open up the world of God’s kingdom to us. They are “windows into heaven” inasmuch as they draw our hearts into the perspective of the spiritual world. The Church’s icons are designed to portray, not the fallen and distorted world of sin that often becomes in our eyes “normal,” but the creation redeemed and saved by God through Christ in communion with the Holy Spirit. The icons therefore purposely do not depict what we see with our fallen eyes, but the transfigured and purified creation.
Because the holy icons have developed by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in God’s Church, and are made with much prayer, they have been shown to be means of His grace and are often the agents of answered prayers or miracles.
The attitude of Protestants toward icons (Greek: “images”) is varied and inconsistent. Today, most Evangelical Christians would officially reject the use of icons and their churches are typically bereft of any pictures or symbols, except the image of a barren cross. However, particularly in materials for children, it is common to see Jesus and biblical figures depicted in books, posters, and movies. Yet Evangelicals are mainly taught that the making of any image is directly prohibited by the 2nd of the Ten Commandments.
Before the Great Schism the iconography of the Roman Church was identical to that of the Eastern as attested to, for example, by St. Mark Church in Venice (6th c.). However, a rather swift and definitive transformation of religious art took place in the West from the 11th to 14th centuries to some extent due to the period called the “Renaissance.” The flat, non-realistic, spiritualized, inverse perspective of the Orthodox icon was overtaken by a realistic, fleshly style and the use of an external perspective.
At the time of the Protestant Reformation, Lutherans took a more moderate view of images than did followers of Calvin or Zwingli. Luther allowed crucifixes and statues as were common among Catholics. Calvin was vehement in his rejection of the use of religious images, primarily arguing that one cannot depict the Invisible and Divine.
In general, the official stance of Protestantism is to reject the veneration of icons as a form of idolatry. Even those denominations that allow for the existence of holy images typically have no practice of venerating them. In part this was a reaction against various abuses within the Roman Catholicism of the time.
Today there is a revived interest in Orthodox icons among Roman Catholics, Anglicans, and others.
One primary reason for divergent views regarding iconography lies in one’s approach to the Incarnation, i.e. God becoming Man. Orthodox theology teaches that the Incarnation restores and elevates the material creation by it’s being joined to His divine nature. The material creation is sanctified by Christ and can therefore become a means of encounter with God. This is the theological understanding of the Church Fathers but is missing in Evangelical Christianity since salvation is merely a legal, positional issue. But in Orthodoxy salvation is a real participation in the glorified Humanity of Christ. This is also the basis for our understanding of the Sacraments. Evangelicals are often influenced by a “dualism” in which the spiritual and invisible is viewed as good and the material as inherently evil. The Protestant doctrine of Solo Scriptura – i.e. that the Bible is the only expression of Christian doctrine – plays a large role in the rejection of icons in that the Bible becomes the only valid “icon” that can communicate spiritual truths.Ironically the Orthodox position agrees with John Calvin that we cannot depict that which is invisible. The 7th Ecumenical Council forbids attempts to depict God the Father whom no one has seen (Jn. 1:18). We can depict Jesus Christ because He became Man and was seen, heard, and touched by the holy apostles and others (1 Jn. 1:1-3).While iconographic statues have not been condemned by the Orthodox Church, there is a conservatism and reluctance to use them due to their three-dimensional and realistic nature. As discussed previously, the rejection of icons is often rooted in a lack of distinction between veneration and worship. As we have seen the veneration of holy people and objects is attested to in the Old Testament Scriptures and is distinct from worship and idolatry. Even today “the Jews understand the difference between veneration and worship (adoration). A pious Jew kisses the Mezuza on his door post, he kisses his prayer shawl before putting it on, he kisses the tallenin, before he binds them to his forehead, and arm. He kisses the Torah before he reads it in the Synagogue. No doubt, Christ did likewise, when reading the Scriptures in the Synagogue.”
“And you shall make two cherubim of gold; of hammered work you shall make them at the two ends of the mercy seat.”
“And there I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are on the ark of the Testimony, about everything which I will give you in commandment to the children of Israel.”
“Moreover you shall make the tabernacle with ten curtains of fine woven linen and blue, purple, and scarlet thread; with artistic designs of cherubim you shall weave them.”
“You shall make a veil woven of blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine woven linen. It shall be woven with an artistic design of cherubim.”
1 Sam. 4:4
“So the people sent to Shiloh, that they might bring from there the ark of the covenant of the LORD of hosts, who dwells between the cherubim.
2 Sam. 6:2
“And David arose and went with all the people who were with him from Baale Judah to bring up from there the ark of God, whose name is called by the Name, the LORD of Hosts, who dwells between the cherubim.
1 Kgs. 6:23-24
“Inside the inner sanctuary he made two cherubim of olive wood, each ten cubits high. One wing of the cherub was five cubits, and the other wing of the cherub five cubits: ten cubits from the tip of one wing to the tip of the other.”
1 Kgs. 6:29
“Then he carved all the walls of the temple all around, both the inner and outer sanctuaries, with carved figures of cherubim, palm trees, and open flowers.”
1 Kgs. 6:32
“The two doors were of olive wood; and he carved on them figures of cherubim, palm trees, and open flowers, and overlaid them with gold; and he spread gold on the cherubim and on the palm trees.”
1 Kgs. 7:29; 36
“…on the panels that were between the frames were lions, oxen, and cherubim. And on the frames was a pedestal on top. Below the lions and oxen were wreaths of plaited work….On the plates of its flanges and on its panels he engraved cherubim, lions, and palm trees, wherever there was a clear space on each, with wreaths all around.”
“He is the image [Gk: “icon”] of the invisible God….”
Rom. 16:16; 1 Cor. 16:20; 2 Cor. 13:12
“Greet one another with a holy kiss.”
Early Church Fathers
Excerpt from “The Martyrdom of Polycarp” (69-155AD) (worship vs. veneration)
1 But the jealous and envious evil one who resists the family of the righteous, when he saw the greatness of his martyrdom, and his blameless career from the beginning, and that he was crowned with the crown of immortality, and had carried off the unspeakable prize, took care that not even his poor body should be taken away by us, though many desired to do so, and to have fellowship with his holy flesh. 2 Therefore he put forward Niketas, the father of Herod, and the brother of Alce, to ask the Governor not to give his body, “Lest,” he said, “they leave the crucified one and begin to worship this man.” And they said this owing to the suggestions and pressure of the Jews, who also watched when we were going to take it from the fire, for they do not know that we shall not ever be able either to abandon Christ, who suffered for the salvation of those who are being saved in the whole world, the innocent for sinners, or to worship any other. 3 For him we worship as the Son of God, but the martyrs we love as disciples and imitators of the Lord; and rightly, because of their unsurpassable affection toward their own King and Teacher. God grant that we too may be their companions and fellow-disciples. When therefore the centurion saw the contentiousness caused by the Jews, he put the body in the midst, as was their custom, and burnt it. 2 Thus we, at last, took up his bones, more precious than precious stones, and finer than gold, and put them where it was meet. 3 There the Lord will permit us to come together according to our power in gladness and joy, and celebrate the birthday of his martyrdom, both in memory of those who have already contested, and for the practice and training of those whose fate it shall be. (Kirsopp Lake translation;17:1 – 18:3).
Eusebius Pamphili (of Ceasarea) (263-339AD):
“Even now the inhabitants of those regions near where Abraham worshipped those who appeared to him honor it as a holy place. Indeed, the oak tree is still to be seen there, and there is a picture of those whom Abraham entertained reclining at table.”
St. Athanasius the Great of Alexandria (296-373AD):
“We the faithful do not worship images as gods, as did the heathen Greeks—God forbid!—but our only purpose and desire is to see in the image a reflection of the facial form of the beloved. Therefore if the image should be obliterated, we would throw it into the fire as so much scrap lumber. Just as when Jacob was about to die, he bowed down before the point of Joseph’s staff, not honoring the staff but its owner, so also the faithful do not embrace images for their own sake, but kiss them as we often embrace our children or our parents, to show the affection in our hearts.”
St. Basil the Great (330-379AD)
“Now arise, you renowned painters of the champions’ [martyrs] brave deeds, who by your exalted art make images of the General [Christ]. My praise for the crowned champion is dull compared with the wisdom which inspires your brush with its radiant colors….As I look at the detail in your painting of his struggle, I see his hand among the flames; your image has made his victory even more brilliant for me”
* * *
“The image of the emperor is also called the emperor, yet there are not two emperors…for the honor given to the image is transferred to the prototype. Therefore, the One [Christ] whom the image materially represents is He who is Son by nature.”
* * *
“Both painters of words and painters of pictures illustrate valor in battle; the former by the art of rhetoric; the latter by clever use of the brush, and both encourage everyone to be brave. A spoken account edifies the ear, while a silent picture induces imitation.”
St. Gregory of Nyssa (335-395AD):
“Then the father [Abraham] proceeds to bind his son [Isaac]. I have often seen paintings of this touching scene, and could not refrain from shedding tears, so vivid was the scene reproduced by the artist.”
St. Ambrose of Milan (330-397AD):
“…but I was caught up into ecstasy during which a face was revealed to me, which resembled the blessed apostle Paul, the same face which was painted on the icon which showed him teaching so wisely….”
St. John Chrysostom (347-407AD):
“And I love this image molded in wax, of him [David] who was full of righteousness. For I see the angel in the icon fighting the barbarian horde….Not only do you long to call fervently upon his [Christ’s] holy name; but also to look upon the image of his bodily form. What you do with his name you also accomplish with his image. For everyone rejoices to put his image everywhere, on rings, goblets, dishes, and on bedroom walls….”
* * *
“For an image, inasmuch as it is an image, ought to be treated by us in the same fashion as the likeness it represents.”
Objections and Responses
O: Doesn’t the 2nd Commandment forbid Icons?
R: The issue with respect to the 2nd commandment is what does the word translated “graven images” mean? If it simply means carved images, then the images in the temple would be in violation of this Commandment. Our best guide, however, to what Hebrew words mean, is what they meant to Hebrews—and when the Hebrews translated the Bible into Greek, they translated this word simply as “eidoloi”,i.e. “idols.” Furthermore the Hebrew word pesel is never used in reference to any of the images in the temple. So clearly the reference here is to pagan images rather than images in general.
Let’s look at the Scriptural passage in question more closely:
“Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image (i.e. idol), 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 shalt thou serve (worship) them…” (Exodus 20:4-5a).
Now, if we take this as a reference to images of any kind, then clearly the cherubim in the Temple violate this command. If we limit this as applying only to idols, no contradiction exists. Furthermore, if this applies to all images—then even the picture on a driver’s license violates it, and is an idol. So either every Protestant with a driver’s license is an idolater, or Icons are not idols.
Leaving aside, for the moment, the meaning of “graven images” lets simply look at what this text actually says about them. You shall not make x, you shall not bow to x, you shall not worship x. If x = image, then the Temple itself violates this Commandment. If x = idol and not all images, then this verse contradicts neither the Icons in the Temple, nor Orthodox Icons.
O: Doesn’t Deuteronomy 4:14-19 forbid any images of God? How then can you have Icons of Christ?
R: This passage instructs the Jews not to make a (false) image of God, because they had not seen God, however, as Christians, we believe that God became Incarnate in the person of Jesus Christ, and so we may depict that “which we have seen with our eyes” (1st John 1:1). As St. John of Damascus said:
“Of old, God the incorporeal and uncircumscribed was never depicted. Now, however, when God is seen clothed in flesh, and conversing with men, I make an image of the God whom I see. I do not worship matter, I worship the God of matter, who became matter for my sake, and deigned to inhabit matter, who worked out my salvation through matter. I will not cease from honouring that matter which works my salvation. I venerate it, though not as God. How could God be born out of lifeless things? And if God’s body is God by union, it is immutable. The nature of God remains the same as before, the flesh created in time is quickened by, a logical and reasoning soul.”
O: But considering the violent opposition which Jews had to images how could the early Christians have accepted Icons?
Not only does one find Iconography throughout Christian Catacombs, but they are also found in Jewish catacombs of the same period. We also have the well preserved Jewish Icons of Dura-Europos, which were in a city destroyed by the Persians in the mid 3rd century (which of course puts a limit on how recent these Icons could have been made).
Also, Jewish holy books have been illustrated as far back as we have them. They contain illustrations of Biblical scenes, much like those found at the Synagogue of Dura Europos (and like the Church found near by) which was buried in the mid 3rd century when the Persians destroyed that city (See “The excavations at Dura-Europos conducted by Yale University and the French Academy of Inscriptions and Letters,” Final Report VII, Part I, The Synagogue, by Carl H. Kraeling).
It is note worthy that the earliest Icons of the Catacombs were mostly Old Testament scenes, and Icons of Christ. The dominance of Old Testament scenes shows that this was not a Pagan practices Christianized by converts, but a Jewish practice, adopted by the Christians.
To see the images found in the Synagogue of Dura Europos, see the following links:
O: If Icons are so important, why do we not find them in the Scriptures?
R: Ah, but we do find them in the Scriptures—plenty of them! Consider how prevalent they were in the Tabernacle and then later in the Temple. There were images of cherubim:
On the Ark—Ex. 25:18On the Curtains of the Tabernacle—Ex. 26:1On the Veil of the Holy of Holies—Ex. 26:31Two huge Cherubim in the Sanctuary—1st Kings 6:23On the Walls—1st Kings 6:29On the Doors—1st Kings 6:32And on the furnishings—1st Kings 7:29,36
In short, there were Icons everywhere you turned.
O: Why were there only Icons of Cherubim, and not of Saints?
R: The Temple was an image of Heaven, as St. Paul makes clear:
“[the priests who serve in the Temple in Jerusalem] serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount” (Hebrews 8:5; cf. Exodus 25:40).
Before Christ came in the flesh and triumphed over death by His Resurrection, the Saints of the Old Testament were not in the presence of God in Heaven, but were in Sheol (often translated as “the grave”, and translated as “hades” in Greek). Before Christ’s Resurrection, Sheol was the destiny of both the just and the unjust (Genesis 37:35; Isaiah 38:10), though their lot there was by no means the same. As we see in Christ’s parable of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31; cf. Enoch 22:8-15 [although the book of Enoch is not included in the Canon of Holy Scripture, it is a venerable part of Holy Tradition and is quoted in the Epistle of St. Jude, as well as in many of the writings of the holy fathers]) there was a gulf that separated the just from the unjust, and while the righteous were in a state of blessedness, the wicked were (and are) in a state of torment—the righteous awaited their deliverance through Christ’s Resurrection, while the wicked fearfully awaited their judgment. Thus under the old covenant, prayers were said only for the departed, because they were not yet in heaven to intercede on our behalves. For as St. Paul said to the Hebrews when speaking of the Old Testament Saints, “And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us” (Hebrews 11:39-40). In Hebrews 12, St. Paul goes on to contrast the nature of the Old Covenant (12:18ff) with that of the New (12:22ff)—and among the distinctions he makes, he says that in the New Covenant we “are come unto… the spirits of just men made perfect (12:22-23). As both the Scriptures and the rest of Holy Tradition tell us, while Christ’s body lay in the tomb, His Spirit descended into Sheol and proclaimed liberty to the captives (Ephesians 4:8-10; 1st Peter 3:19, 4:6; cf. Matthew 27:52-53). And these Saints that have triumphed over this world, now reign with Christ in Glory (2nd Timothy 2:12), and continually offer up prayers for us before the Lord (Revelation 5:8; the Martyrdom of St. Ignatius, Ch. 7 [St. Ignatius was one of the disciples of the Apostle John, and was made Bishop of Antioch by him]).
Thus, while in the Old Covenant, the Temple imaged heaven with only the attending Cherubim, in the New Covenant, our Temples image heaven with the great cloud of witnesses that now reside in glory there.
O: OK, granted that there are Icons of sorts in Scripture, but where were the Israelites told that they should venerate them?
R: The Scriptures do command the Israelites to bow before the Ark, which had two prominent images of cherubim on it. In Psalms 99:5, it commands: “bow before the footstool of His feet….” We should note first of all that the word for “bow” here, is the same word used in Exodus 20:5, when we are told to not bow to idols.
And what is the “footstool of His feet”? In 1st Chronicles 28:2, David uses this phrase in reference to the Ark of the Covenant. In Psalm 99 [98 in the Septuagint], it begins by speaking of the Lord who “dwells between the Cherubim” (99:1), and it ends with a call to “bow to His holy hill”—which makes it even clearer that in context, this is speaking of the Ark of the Covenant. This phrase occurs again in Psalm 132:7, where it is preceded by the statement “We will go into His tabernacles…” and is followed by the statement “Arise, O Lord, into Thy rest; Thou and the Ark of Thy strength.”
Interestingly, this phrase is applied to the Cross in the services of the Church, and the connection is not accidental—because on the Ark, between the Cherubim was the Mercy Seat, upon which the sacrificial blood was sprinkled for the sins of the people (Exodus 25:22, Leviticus 16:15).
O: But what about the Bronze Serpent? Wasn’t it destroyed precisely because the people began venerating it?
R: If you look at the passage in question (2nd Kings 18:4), you will see that the Bronze Serpent was not destroyed simply because people honored it, but because they had made it into a serpent God, called “Nehushtan.”
O: Weren’t there Iconoclasts in the Church, long before Protestants came along?
R: It is important to keep in mind, when considering the question of Icons (and thus also Iconoclasm), that there are two separate questions that are often confused:
1). Is it permissible to make or to have Icons?
2). Is it permissible to venerate them?
It is clear from the Old Testament that the answer to both questions is, Yes. While Protestants, however, object to the veneration of Icons, they typically do not object to the making or possession of images. If they did, they would not have illustrated Gospel tracts, TV’s, or pictures… but aside from the Amish, one would be hard pressed to find another group of Protestants that consistently eschews images. Protestants do typically object to the veneration of images, but interestingly the arguments and evidence that they use almost always argues against any images of any kind, if the logic of their line of argumentation were consistently followed.
The Iconoclasts, who are often cited by Protestants as supporting their position on this question, in fact actually argue against Protestants. On the one hand, the Iconoclasts anathematized all those who “venture to represent…with material colours…” Christ or the Saints—something almost all Protestants do themselves. On the other hand, they also anathematized all those who “shall not confess the holy ever-virgin Mary, truly and properly the Mother of God, to be higher than every creature whether visible or invisible, and does not with sincere faith seek her intercessions as one having confidence in her access to our God since she bare Him…” and they also anathematized anyone who “denies the profit of the invocation of the Saints…” (NPNF2, Vol. 14, p. 545f). So as a matter of fact, Protestants find themselves under more of the Iconoclast’s anathemas than do the Orthodox.
Protestants might wish to take solace that at least Iconoclasts opposed the veneration of images, but veneration was never an issue per se with the Iconoclasts. They only opposed venerating Icons, because they opposed Icons. They were not opposed to venerating holy things—the Iconoclasts venerated the Cross, and made no bones about it (Jaroslav Pelikan, The Spirit of Eastern Christendom (600-1700), Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1974, p. 110).
Protestants also cite some other fathers and early writers of the Church to support their position. Most of these quotations simply denounce idolatry, and have nothing to do with Icons. In those few cases in which the quotes could plausibly be interpreted as condemning Icons (some of which are arguably later Iconoclastic interpolations) a consistent interpretation would require that no images be made… because again, the objection found in these texts is to the making of and possession of images. None of these texts even addresses the question of veneration.
The Canon of the Synod of Elvira is often cited in support of an Iconoclast position. In its 36th Canon, the council decreed: “It is ordained that Pictures are not to be in churches, so that that which is worshipped and adored shall not be painted on walls.” Even Protestant scholars concede that the meaning of this canon is not as clear as Protestant apologists often suggest. For one, it is unclear what was the occasion for this canon, and it is not clear what it was trying to prevent, a fact even Protestant scholars acknowledge:
“…no great weight can be attached to this [canon 36 of the council of Elvira], the exact bearing of the canon being unknown” [Edward James Martin, A History of the Iconoclastic Controversy (London: Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge, 1930), p. 19, fn 4].
Because of the wording of this canon, it is almost certainly not a blanket ban on images. What is not clear is what it is banning, and more particularly to what end. Plausible interpretations range from this being merely a ban on images in Church, to a precautionary measure to protect Icons from the Pagans (since the canon was composed during a time of persecution, this is certainly possible). In any case, the fact of the matter is that Icons were in use in Spanish Churches before this Synod, and they continued to be used after this Synod, without any further evidence of controversy. Furthermore, this Synod was of a purely local character, and was never affirmed on an Œcumenical level.
3) How do you know that the Iconoclasts were not the ones who preserved the more ancient Christian view of Icons?
For one thing, Iconoclasm would have thrived in Islamic dominated territory… but it didn’t. The first out break of Iconoclasm began in Moslem territory, though this was not Christians destroying images, but Moslems destroying Christian images (Pelikan, p. 105). There is also reason to think that Moslem influence inspired the Iconoclastic Emperors (for one, all of them were from parts of the Empire in which Moslems had made inroads), but the fact of the matter is that the only part of the Church in which Iconoclasm took hold was in those areas in which the Iconoclast Emperors could impose their heresy upon the people. In all areas of the Church beyond the reach of Byzantine arms, the Church opposed the Iconoclasts and broke communion with them. One of the most vocal opponents of the Iconoclasts was St. John of Damascus, who lived under Moslem rule, and suffered persecution as a result. If the Iconoclast view were really the traditional view, we should have expected to see this opinion dominate the Christians living under Moslem rule. At the very least, we would expect some Iconoclasts to speak out from among these Christians, but in fact, the opposite was true—there were no Iconoclastic voices heard from Moslem dominated lands, despite the obvious advantages such Christians would have had with their Moslem rulers.
Also, prior to the Iconoclastic controversy, we have extensive archeological evidence that Icons were used throughout the Church, and were this a departure from Apostolic Tradition we should expect to find a huge controversy on the subject from the very moment that Icons first came into use, which would have only intensified as their use became more common. We find, however, nothing of the sort. In fact, thirty years prior to the Iconoclastic controversy, the Quinisext council established a canon regarding what should be depicted in certain Icons, but hasn’t the faintest hint of any controversy about Icons per se:
“In some of the paintings of the venerable Icons, a lamb is inscribed as being shown or pointed at by the Precursor’s finger, which was taken to be a type of grace, suggesting beforehand through the law the true lamb to us Christ our God. Therefore, eagerly embracing the old types and shadows as symbols of the truth and preindications handed down to the Church, we prefer the grace, and accept it as the truth in fulfillment of the law. Since, therefore, that which is perfect even though it be but painted is imprinted in the faces of all, the Lamb who taketh away the sin of the world Christ our God, with respect to His human character, we decree that henceforth he shall be inscribed even in the Icons instead of the ancient lamb: through Him being enabled to comprehend the reason for the humiliation of the God Logos, and in memory of His life in the flesh and of His passion and of His soterial death being led by the hand, as it were, and of the redemption of the world which thence accrues” (Canon LXXXII of the Quinisext Council).
Aside from this, there are many other things about the Iconoclast which show the novelty of their heresy: they opposed monasticism, despite the fact that it had unquestionably been embraced by the Church for centuries, they were found of robbing monks, taking their land, and forcing them to marry, eat meat, and attend public spectacles (and those who resisted often were the public spectacles), contrary to well established monastic practice. Even Protestant historians are forced to concede that the holy men and women of the day were supporters of the veneration of Icons, and that the Iconoclasts were a rather immoral and ruthless lot.
“Much has been written, and truly written, of the superiority of the iconoclastic rulers; but when all has been said that can be, the fact still remains, that they were most of them but sorry Christians, and the justice of the Protestant Archbishop of Dublin’s summing up of the matter will not be disputed by any impartial student. He says, “No one will deny that with rarest exceptions, all the religious earnestness, all which constituted the quickening power of a church, was ranged upon the other [i.e. the orthodox] side. Had the Iconoclasts triumphed, when their work showed itself at last in its true colours, it would have proved to be the triumph, not of faith in an invisible God, but of frivolous unbelief in an incarnate Saviour.” (Trench. Mediaeval History, Chap. vii.) The Seven Ecumenical Councils of the Undivided Church, trans H. R. Percival, in NPNF2, ed. P. Schaff and H. Wace, (repr. Grand Rapids MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1955), XIV, p. 575, cf. 547f.
One can only be an Iconoclast if they believe that the Church can cease to exist—contrary to the Scriptures—because there is no doubt that the Church rejected Iconoclasm and used Icons from at least as far back as its use of catacombs (which are full of Christian Icons). This is an option that thoughtful Evangelicals generally reject (see, for example, A Biblical Guide to Orthodoxy and Heresy, Part Two: Guidlines for Doctrinal Discernment, in the Christian Research Journal, Fall 1990, p. 14, section 3, “The Orthodox Principle”).
 On the Ark of the Covenant.
 Not only does the Lord command images of the Cherubim to be made on the Ark of the Covenant, He designates that very spot as the place He will communicate (reveal) Himself to Moses, and through him to all the people. (see also Num. 7:89; 1 Sam. 4:4).
 The tabernacle is the place of worship (the “church” structure) for the people of Israel in the wilderness.
 This is the veil that hung directly in front of the “Holy of Holies.”
 These huge images were placed in the inner sanctuary of the Temple of Solomon and would have been present at the time of Christ.
 These images were on the various furnishings of the Temple.
 Exposition on the Gospels, Fifth Book.
 Hundred Chapters to Antiochus the Prefect, Ch. 38.
 Sermon on the blessed martyr Barlaam.
 Thirty Chapters to Amphilochius on the Holy Spirit, Ch. 18.
 Sermon on the martyr Gordius.
 Sermon on the divinity of the Son and the Spirit, and on Abraham.
 Epistle to the Italians.
 Sermon concerning the single authorship of the Old and New Testaments; and on the garments of the priests.
 Third sermon on the Epistle to the Hebrews, Ch. 17.