God continually tells the people throughout the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) to not turn to idolatry.
Exodus 20:4 says:
“You shall not make for yourself a carved 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."
Does this mean that they should not try to understand what God "looks" like by trying to recreate an image of Him, or that they should not make such images because that would lead them to venerate nature gods?
Because the Israelites do make carved images of something that is "in heaven above," namely angels (cherubim): God tells Moses to place cherubim on the Ark.
So is Exodus 20:4 just saying that they should not make such images because it would lead to worship other than their God (it would lead to nature worship, for example, if they were to make images of stars, seas, etc...)?
So then the making of images mentioned in Exodus 20:4 (and other commandments throughout the Bible concerning idolatry) does not pertain to, for example, making an image of Jesus, or making images of various Saints, because those people are, in a sense, a continuation of the Hebrew Bible, and thus they are beings created "in the image of God"?
What is actually meant by Exodus 20:4 (and other commandments about idolatry)? To not make images of various things for worship because they were not created "in the image of God"? (God is above, beyond, and outside of nature, and equating God to nature images by creating what is "in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath" is offensive to God?
Because, once again, didn't God tell Moses to place Cherubim on the Ark?
Any insights/elaborations? thanks.