Adornment and the Christian
Yahuwah is a lover of beauty. He filled the universe with it! From the glisten of new fallen snow to the brilliance of a peacock’s plumage; from the delicate and varied coloring of the tiniest flower to the glitter of precious stones, the beauty that originated in the mind of the Creator is magnificently illustrated. Even the New Jerusalem, which will become the metropolis of the earth made new, is a thing of indescribable beauty. Gold paves its streets; its walls are of jasper, its gates are pearls. The very foundation stones are of precious gems, all double-refractory: diamond, sapphire, emerald, amethyst and more.
It is very natural for the mind of man, originally created in his Maker’s image, to enjoy and desire beauty. One of the most common areas in which people focus their desire for beauty is in personal adornment. Whether through the latest fashions, colorful skin make up or sparkling jewelry, the desire to adorn oneself is common to people of every time, in every country. The wearing of precious metals and gem stones, of itself, is not inherently sinful. Yahuwah Himself made them and adorned Lucifer, originally the highest covering cherub, with precious jewels. Using the symbol of the king of Tyre, Yahuwah said of Lucifer: Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. Thou hast been in Eden the garden of Elohim; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of Elohim; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. (See Ezekiel 28:12–14.)
Lucifer was the highest created being. He was the angel that stood nearest the throne of the Eternal One. Every precious stone, set in gold, was his covering. The ceaseless light, flowing from the Omnipotent, reflected off the stones, casting them into brilliant display. This was the covering created by Yahuwah for His highest-ranking angel. But the very next verse is a heart-breaking commentary on the effect such adornment has on fallen human hearts: “Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.” (Ezekiel 28:15, KJV) Iniquity, sin, pride: Lucifer fell through pride. The generous gifts of his Maker did not fill Lucifer’s heart with gratitude which would produce love, but he chose to nurture selfishness and pride. This is the effect that, far too often, personal adornment has on fallen human nature. Man, created in the image of Yahuwah, at the fall took on the nature of the arch-rebel, Satan. Whether the choice and focus of personal adornment is the trendiest fashions, glittering jewelry, or make up, when it is used to attract attention to one’s own self so that others admire you, it is wrong and has its base in pride. As with every area of Yahuwah’s law, it is important to understand the principles which under lie that law for it is these which reach the heart. Mere surface transformation is not what Yahuwah is looking for. Rather, Yahuwah looks at the inner heart: the attitudes and beliefs that constitute the soul. Yahuwah’s words to Samuel when anointing a king should be heeded by all who would seek to bring their lives into conformity with Him: “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have refused him. For Yahuwah does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but Yahuwah looks at the heart.” (See 1 Samuel 16:7.) Many who would never dream of wearing jewelry seek to attract attention through their dress or make up. As with gems, make up of itself is not inherently sinful. When used to camouflage a birthmark, or blemish, to cover a scar or to make a person look more natural, there is nothing wrong with it. But as with precious stones, the problem arises when one uses make up or a flashy, overly stylish and expensive wardrobe to attract attention to one’s self, to inspire admiration and envy in others.
Any enhancement or self adornment that is used to inspire envy or admiration in others for one’s body, or one’s wealth, is wrong. It is wearing on the outside the pride that is reigning in the heart on the inside. It was against the sin of prideful display that Paul was speaking of when he wrote: In like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works. (1 Timothy 2:9-10, NKJV) Some have assumed, based on this text, that no one should wear braids. However, Paul was speaking of the excesses of the Roman women and other wealthy women who attempted to copy them. Roman women originally dressed their hair with great simplicity . . . Simple hairstyles for married women changed during the reign of the Emperor Augustus when a variety of different and elaborate hairstyles came into fashion. The clothing fashions of Roman women remained relatively simple and unchanging and as women [unlike the men] had no special dress that distinguished their status the wealthy women wore luxurious materials, highly elaborate hairstyles, make-up and expensive jewelry. (http://www.roman-colosseum.info/romanclothing/roman-hairstyles.htm) Roman women used hair dyes, wigs, curling tongs and braids to create elaborate, often complex styles that took many hours to create. Thin gold wires, often threaded with pearls or precious gems, were woven together to form intricate hairnets. While undeniably beautiful, the entire practice was for the purpose of self exaltation and inspiring admiration (and envy) in others. It was this against which Paul was writing, not a simple braid. These principles hold true in every area of dress and adornment for either men or women. Fashion trends often emphasize an unnatural look. Blue, pink or other unnaturally dyed hair colors in some, immodest exposure of the body in others, are both pleas for attention. Look at my body. Look at me! The body piercings, tattoos and scarification that are spreading rampantly among today’s young people are expressly forbidden by Scripture. “You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: I am Yahuwah.” (See Leviticus 19:28.) These practices originated among the heathen as tributes to the dead and no one who wishes to honor a pure, holy Elohim by living a righteous life will participate in such practices.
It is true that Scripture records the wearing of jewelry by the Israelites. Abraham’s servant, sent to fetch a wife for Isaac, gave Rebekah “a golden nose ring weighing half a shekel, and two bracelets for her wrists weighing ten shekels of gold.” (Genesis 24:22, NKJV) King Ahasuerus gave Mordecai his ring of office. “And Mordecai went out from the presence of the king in royal apparel of blue and white, and with a great crown of gold, and with a garment of fine linen and purple.” (See Esther 8:10 and 15.) However, jewelry and elaborate apparel were never worn during times of heart searching and repentance. At those times, all bodily adornment was laid aside and the people dressed very simply. Not even perfumed oils were worn. When Daniel fasted and prayed, seeking to understand a vision, he recorded: “In those days I Daniel was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.” (Daniel 10:2 and 3, KJV) When Yahuwah called Jacob to travel to Bethel to worship Him there, Jacob called on his family to repent, linking the wearing of ear rings to the worship of false gods: And Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Put away the foreign gods that are among you, purify yourselves, and change your garments. Then let us arise and go up to Bethel; and I will make an altar there to [El], who answered me in the day of my distress and has been with me in the way which I have gone.” So they gave Jacob all the foreign gods which were in their hands, and all their earrings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the terebinth tree which was by Shechem. (Genesis 35:2–4, NKJV) Every year at Day of Atonement, all bodily adornment and elaborate apparel was laid aside as Yahuwah’s people sought His face for the forgiveness of their sins, both known and unknown. In Heaven, Yahushua will place a crown on the head of each overcomer. These will be far more glorious than any crown that ever graced the brow of the most powerful earthly monarch.
Until that time, however, Yahuwah’s people are living in a world of sin. Fallen nature longs for adoration. Those seeking to reflect the glory of Yahuwah will not seek to draw attention to themselves. The inherited and cultivated sinfulness of humanity is the reason why Yahuwah’s only begotten Son had to die. To seek to draw attention to one’s poor, sinful body is to fall prey to PRIDE, the sin for which Lucifer fell. Yahuwah’s Word warns: “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.” (Proverbs 16:18 & 19, KJV) Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Peter set forth the true standard to which all should aspire: Do not let your beauty be that outward adorning of arranging the hair, of wearing gold, or of putting on fine apparel; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible ornament of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of Yahuwah. For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in Yahuwah also adorned themselves. (See 1 Peter 3:3–5.) Those who are living in the closing scenes of this earth’s history will be seeking holiness of character, laying aside anything and everything that would distract or misrepresent the purity of heaven. We are living in the very last remnant of earth’s allotted time, the anti-typical Day of Atonement. Let every true child of Yahuwah examine themselves and their lifestyle, everything over which their choices govern, to see if changes should be made to reflect a pure heart devoted to Yahuwah. The parable of the Ten Virgins (see Matthew 25:1-13) applies with peculiar force to the present time. All ten women, believers in the truth, went to sleep. When they were awakened by the call that the Bridegroom was coming, all found that their lamps had gone out. Only five, just half, had the extra oil which represents the Holy Spirit, and needed only to “trim” their lamps to be ready. The word “trim” in the original language meant to make minor, cosmetic changes. Only superficial changes needed to be made by the direction of the Holy Spirit. Commit your way unto Yahuwah, trust also in Him, to reveal to your mind any changes, any trimming, that should be made to your lamp to have it burning brightly in this dark world so you may greet Him with joy at His coming.