Exodus 25:18: And you shall make two cherubim of gold; of hammered work shall you make them, on the two ends of the mercy seat.
Numbers 21:8-9: And the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and every one who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.”
John 3:14: “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.”
1 Kings 6:29: He carved all the walls in the house round about with carved figures of cherubim and palm trees and open flowers, in the inner and outer rooms. (Also verses 32 and 35).
Above is the earliest known image of the Virgin and Child, dating back to the third century. It is found upon the wall to the Catacomb of Priscilla. Notice that the figure on the left (a prophet?) points to the star over head while Mary looks down upon her Son who is looking at us.
The prohibition against images was never absolute. Further, there is a new economy of images due to the incarnation. Jesus is the revelation of the Father. Our very humanity becomes reflective of God. The Scriptures show that God often used images to deepen religious commitment and understanding. The prohibition against “graven images” applies to idolatry, the sin of giving the adoration reserved to God alone to some mere thing. It is peculiar that some critics will oppose the Church’s use of sacred art and yet they often have trophies, statuary, toy dolls, photographs, and paintings in their homes. Images that inspire faith and remind us of particularly holy and courageous members of our faith are no more wrong than such pictures of family and friends in our homes.