Jewelry, Makeup & Other Adornments
by Ed Meelhuysen, the editor and compiler
As I studied the foregoing verses, I made a number of observations. The main features of these are summarized below:
1. Adornment, the usage of gold, silver or precious stones, in of itself, is not evil.
2. The usage of adornment is often associated with times of plenty or prosperity. During the times of Saul, David, Solomon and Hezekiah, gold and silver flowed freely (2Sam. 1:24, 1Chr. 29:6-8, 2Chr. 32:27). No evil was directly associated with the usage thereof during such times. People gave liberally of their gold and silver for the building of God's temples (Exod. 35:22, 1Chr. 29:6-8). In fact, in God's parable in Ezekiel 16, God indicated that He blessed and adorned Israel (vs. 10-13)
3. Adornment, when given as a gift, is a sign of favor. Examples are Abraham's servant's gifts to Rebekah and her family (Gen. 24:22, 53), and Jacob's gift of the ornamented robe to Joseph (Gen. 37:3). Solomon adorned the one that he loved (Song 1:10, 11). God adorned Lucifer in his heavenly estate (Ezek. 28:13), and will adorn his bride, the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:2, 11 ff.). He will also adorn the righteous with crowns (1Cor. 9:25, James 1:12, Rev. 3:11). Jesus, in the story of the Prodigal Son, used a ring to demonstrate the father's eagerness to reinstate the son into his favor (Luke 15:22).
4. Adornment is often used to please, attract or seduce another. A "good" usage of adornment is a bride's or wife's attempt to please her husband by looking her best. In fact, it was understood and virtually taken for granted that a bride would wear her jewels (see Ps. 45:9, Song of Sol. 4:8-10, Isa. 61:10, Jer. 2:32, Rev. 21:2). A "bad" usage of adornment is a prostitute's attempt to attract and seduce someone. Examples include: Israel prostituting herself to the nations using the ornaments (blessings of wealth) that God had given her. (Ezek. 16:15, 17 and 23:40; Hosea 2:11), Jezebel attempting to seduce Jehu (2Kgs. 9:30), and the "decked out" harlot of Rev. 17 seducing the nations with the wine of her adulteries (false teachings).
5. Adornments are used to make one's beauty complete or perfect.
Ps. 50:2 From Zion, perfect in beauty, God shines forth.
Lam. 2:15 All who pass your way clap their hands at you; they scoff and shake their heads at the Daughter of Jerusalem: "Is this the city that was called the perfection of beauty, the joy of the whole earth?"
Ezek. 16:13 So you were adorned with gold and silver; your clothes were of fine linen and costly fabric and embroidered cloth. Your food was fine flour, honey and olive oil. You became very beautiful and rose to be a queen.14And your fame spread among the nations on account of your beauty, because the splendor I had given you made your beauty perfect, declares the Sovereign LORD.
Ezek. 27:3 Say to Tyre, situated at the gateway to the sea, merchant of peoples on many coasts, `This is what the Sovereign LORD says: "`You say, O Tyre, "I am perfect in beauty."4Your domain was on the high seas; your builders brought your beauty to perfection. . . . 11Men of Arvad and Helech manned your walls on every side; men of Gammad were in your towers. They hung their shields around your walls; they brought your beauty to perfection.
Ezek. 28:11 The word of the LORD came to me:12"Son of man, take up a lament concerning the king of Tyre and say to him: `This is what the Sovereign LORD says: "`You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. 13You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: ruby, topaz and emerald, chrysolite, onyx and jasper, sapphire, turquoise and beryl. Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared.
6. A Christian's beauty should not come primarily from outward adornment, but from a pure Christ-like spirit. Both Peter and Paul encouraged women to dress modestly, (lumping adornment and fine clothing together in both cases), clothing themselves rather with good deeds (1Pet. 3:3, 4; 1Tim. 2:9, 10). I believe this also applies to men, relative to fine clothing, expensive cars, and other signs of worldly "success."
7. During times of judgment (where God is deciding a individual's or group's fate), ornamentation is generally removed. Examples include the Israelites following their worship of the golden calf (Exod. 33:4-6), God's judgment on the Israelites as they flaunted their wealth in front of the poor, (Isa. 3:14-24) and the eminent destruction of Jerusalem, (Jer. 4:30).
8. Expensive items, flaunted in the face of the poor, are an abomination to God, who is the epitome of unselfishness.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16).
"Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-- even death on a cross!" (Philip. 2:5-8)
God detested the actions of the leaders and women of Israel dwelling in Jerusalem, who crushed his people and ground the faces of the poor (Isa. 3:14, 15), as well as the actions professed Christians who discriminated between the rich and the poor (James 2:1-7).
9. Jewelry that is associated with a superstitious or idolatrous purpose, will hinder us from communication with God. A Biblical example of this is the earrings worn by Jacob's household (Gen. 35:2-4) who still held onto their family's idols (Gen. 31). Even today, it is quite common in pagan cultures to find the use of amulets to ward off evil spirits. Jewelry that bears symbols associated with fertility rites (such as the "sex" symbol), the occult (such as the swastika, the broken cross "peace" symbol, or the hexagram or magical "Seal of Solomon," (more commonly known in Christian circles as the "Star of David" but which contains 3 sets of 6 segments, the symbolic 666), paganism (such as the "T" cross of Tammuz upon which Jesus was offered) and Satan (dragons or serpents), should not be worn by Christians.
Biblically speaking, in of itself, it is not wrong to wear jewelry or other appearance enhancers. Jewelry, if worn tastefully, and for the right purpose, such as to make oneself attractive for one's spouse, or in acceptance of one's elevation in favor, is not Biblically wrong. Imagine Joseph telling Pharaoh he would not wear his ring, or the Prodigal Son rejecting the father's offer to reinstate him, of Rebekah telling Abraham's servant that she was not interested in his gifts, of Solomon's bride rejecting his offer of jewels, of Joseph telling Jacob that he really couldn't accept that beautiful coat, of Mordecai rejecting King Xerxes' signet ring. One must recognize that sometimes others need to give, and we need to graciously receive.
However, if one becomes vain or proud on account of one's beauty or success, seeking to attract attention to oneself, (whether it be through the use of ornamentation, makeup, expensive clothing or luxury items, such as houses or cars), then the usage of such items becomes very wrong because our attitude is wrong. We have fallen into the same pit as Lucifer did in heaven and as Israel did after God had blessed them. God labels this a prostitution of oneself to another to whom one's allegiance is not due.
In a world of so much want, where the poor are everywhere, should we as Christians seek our own aggrandizement? or should we strive to relieve suffering, through service, humility and good deeds.
Additionally, many Christians believe that we are in a time of judgment, when God is deciding our cases for eternal life or eternal separation based upon our relationship with Him. If so, shouldn't our time be better spent in seeking to reflect Christ more fully, to cleanse our lives of anything that might come between us and God?
One cannot have both this world and the one to come. Join me in seeking the eternal, won't you?
A final note of caution. There are some reading this who will wish to set someone else straight regarding jewelry using particular texts contained in the Bible as evidence that these others are doing wrong. Might I share this text with you.
"Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed --not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence --continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. " (Phil. 2:12, 13)
We are to work out our own salvation, not that of another's. Rather we are to pray for them, showing them the way to Jesus Christ through our Christ-like example and words. And when they have found Him, God will show them the things that need to be changed. Everyone grows as a Christian at their own pace. We should not expect all people to receive "light" at the same instant we do. Please be careful.
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