THE SYMBOL OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
The Exodus Movement was a reformation as has been every great religious awakening or movement to lead God’s people out of the world. On coming out of Egypt, the Israelites had many things to learn and many to unlearn. For generations they had been influenced by heathen customs and practices until the lines of demarcation was almost indistinguishable. Placing themselves under Divine leadership called for a complete reformation touching every phase of life. They must learn to eat, drink, dress and act in harmony with their holy calling and heavenly citizenship.
Citizenship in an earthly nation is a favor bestowed by the government and is not obtained on the basis of conformity to its laws and customs. However, the person who receives the gift of citizenship will demonstrate his sincerity by obedience to the laws and customs of the nation of his adoption. Likewise membership in the family of God is possible only through the new birth, and citizenship in the heavenly kingdom is a divine gift. These blessings and privileges are not obtained through conformity to the divine regulations regarding the diet, dress, language and customs of the saints of God. But those who become members of the family of God and citizens of the kingdom of God will give evidence of the relationship and demonstrate their sincerity by cheerfully conforming to all the restrictions and regulations and customs of the family and kingdom to which they belong.
Moses was divinely instructed to make “holy garments” for Aaron and his sons who ministered in holy office. Exodus 28:1,2; Leviticus 8:30. These holy garments were to be sanctified with the priests who wore them. The penalty for rendering these sacred garments was death. Leviticus 10:6; 21:10. These priestly garments were not only symbolic of the sacred office, but also represented the righteousness of Christ, the High Priest of the heavenly sanctuary. These sacred garments were to be made “for glory and beauty.” This was not only because they represented the beautiful robe of Christ’s righteousness and were thus the symbol of His character, but also as an example to all Israel to teach them to avoid carelessness in dress and to clothe themselves in a neat and becoming manner.
“The idolatry of dress is a moral disease. It must not be taken over into the new life. In most cases, submission to the gospel requirements will demand a decided change in dress. There should be no carelessness in dress. For Christ’s sake, whose witnesses we are, we should seek to make the best of our appearance. In the tabernacle service, God specified every detail concerning the garments of those who ministered before him. Thus we are taught that he has a preference in regard to the dress of those who serve Him. Very specific were the directions given in regard to Aaron’s robes for his dress was symbolic. In all things we are to be representatives of Him. Our appearance in every respect should be characterized by neatness, modesty, and purity. … The words of Scripture in regard to dress should be carefully considered. We need to understand that which the Lord of heaven appreciates in even the dressing of the body. All who are in earnest in seeking for the grace of Christ will heed the precious words of instruction inspired by God. Even the style of the apparel will express the truth the truth of the gospel.”—Vol. 6:96.
Sign of Character
But the Lord did not confine His dress regulations to the priests. He gave instructions that regulated the dress of every member of the movement. Their dress must distinguish them from the world and be an outward sign that they were children of God. Numbers 15:37-41. After quoting this text the prophet of the Advent Movement wrote: “Here God expressly commanded a very simple arrangement of dress for the children of Israel for the purpose of distinguishing them from the idolatrous nations around them. As they looked upon their peculiarity of dress, they were to remember that they were God’s commandment keeping people, and that He had wrought in a miraculous manner to bring them from Egyptian bondage to serve Him, to be a holy people unto Him. … An Israelite was known to be such as soon as seen, for God through simple means distinguished him as His. —Vol. 1:524.
Dress Restrictions. Deuteronomy 22:5, 11
It is very evident that the Lord intended that His people should be distinguished from the world by their clothing. Women should not appear manish in their wearing apparel or men effeminate. This distinction should especially be seen in the hair-dress. 1 Corinthians 11:14, 15. The modern custom among women of bobbing their hair is dangerously near the border-line of disobedience to God’s instructions regarding a clear distinction between the appearance of men and women. The boyish or manish bob is clearly a divinely forbidden custom. Many other customs in modern dress are breaking down the distinguishing marks identifying the opposite sexes and are thus contributing to the modern laxity in moral standards.
Ornaments Forbidden. Exodus 33:5, 6
These ornaments were solicited from the Egyptians to finance the movement and not to wear. Exodus 12:35, 36. Their decking themselves with jewelry was the sign of their apostasy. The golden calf was made from jewelry and in worshiping it they worshiped their heathen ornaments which in their originals were pagan gods, images of the sun, moon and stars. The holy women among the Israelites did not adorn themselves with these Egyptian ornaments. 1 Peter 3:3-5. The Lord faithfully chronicles events and customs regardless of whether they are right or wrong. It is just as unreasonable to use the example of persons mentioned in the Bible as an excuse for wearing rings, including wedding rings, as it is for the Mormons to get their belief in polygamy from the example of Abraham, Jacob, David and Solomon. Rings and bracelets were originally images of the sun, moon and stars, which were worshiped as pagan gods, and the making and wearing of them violated the second commandment.
Belong to Babylon. Isaiah 47:1-3
“Remove the veil.” (R.V). “Bare the shoulder.” (Doray). “Shave your tresses and strip off your robe. Bare your legs; strip yourselves bare, exposing your shame.” (Fenton). Here is a picture of the nudist tendency in modern Babylon. How sad that these immodest heathen customs are imitated by many of the daughters of Zion. Isaiah 3:16-25. The distinction that should exist between Christians and the worldlings in their outward appearance is illustrated by the attire and appearance of the two symbolic women of Revelation 12, and 17. The first represents the bride or church of Christ, and the second the bride or church of Satan. In Jeremiah 4:30 the “daughter of Babylon” is described as clothed “with crimson”, and decked “with ornaments of gold”, and her face rent “with painting.” The bride of Christ is simply, becomingly and modestly attired with no artificial make-up or loud colors or gilded ornaments.
Gospel Standard. 1 Timothy 2:8-10
“I would have the women dress becomingly, with modesty and self-control, not with plaited hair or gold or pearls or costly clothes, but - as befits women making a claim to godliness - with the ornaments of good works.” -Wey. A converted person will show the evidence of his godly character in his outward appearance. “Cleanse the fountain, and the streams will be pure. If the heart is right, your words, your dress, your acts, will all be right.”—Vol. 1:158. The dress that symbolizes the character of righteousness of Christ will be becoming and attractive. “We are not to feel it our duty to wear a pilgrim”s dress of just such a color, just such a shape, but neat, modest apparel, that the Word of inspiration teaches us we should wear. If our hearts are united with Christ’s heart, we shall have a most intense desire to be clothed with His righteousness. Nothing will be put upon the person to attract attention, or to create controversy.”—T.M. 130, 131. These statements are reasonable and lay down fundamental principles.
“Satan invented the fashions.”—Vol. 4:629. “Obedience to fashion is pervading our Seventh-day Adventist churches, and is doing more than any other power to separate our people from God. I have been shown that our church rules are very deficient. All exhibitions of pride in dress, which is forbidden in the word of God, should be sufficient reason for church discipline. If there is a continuance, in the face of warnings and appeals and entreaties, to still follow the perverse will, it may be regarded as proof that the heart is in no way assimilated to Christ. Self, and only self, is the object of adoration and one such professed Christian will lead many away from God. There is a terrible sin upon us as a people, that we have permitted our church members to dress in a manner inconsistent with their faith. We must arise at once, and close the door against the allurements of fashion. Unless we do this, our churches will become demoralized.”—Vol. 4:547, 648.
In 1913 Bishop Foster of the Methodist church said: “The church of God is today courting the world. Its members are trying to bring it down to the level of the ungodly. … Do not Methodists, in violation of God’s word and their own discipline, dress as extravagantly and fashionably as any other class? Do not the ladies and often the wives and daughters of the ministry, put on gold and pearls and costly array? Would not the plain dress insisted upon by John Wesley, Bishop Asbury, and worn by Hester Ann Rogers, Lady Huntington and others equally distinguished, be now regarded in Methodist circles as fanaticism? can any one on going into a Methodist church in any of our chief cities distinguish the attire of the communicants from that of the theater and ball-goer?. … How true that the Methodist discipline is a dead letter. … Its rules forbid the wearing of gold or pearls or costly array. Yet no one ever thinks of disciplining its members for violating them. They forbid the reading of such books and the taking of such diversions as do not minister to godliness, yet the church itself goes to shows and frolics and festivals and fairs, which destroy the spiritual life of the young as well as the old. The extent to which this is now carried on is appalling. The spiritual death it carries in its train will only be known when the millions it has swept into hell stand before the judgment.”—Quoted from the Review and Herald, October 2, 1913.
God’s Remnant People
The people of the Advent Movement who go through to the kingdom will be clothed with the beautiful garments of Christ’s righteousness, the wedding robe that prepares them for the coming Bridegroom and “the marriage of the Lamb.” Revelation 19:7, 8. In Isaiah 52:1 this character-robe is called “beautiful garments”, and in Ephesians 5:25-27 it is said to be without “spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing”; but it is “holy and without blemish.” The dress and appearance of the Advent people will be an index to a character like that of their expected Lord. “God will have a people separate and distinct from the world. And as soon as any have a desire to imitate the fashions of the world, that they do not immediately subdue, just so soon God ceases to acknowledge them as His Children. They are the children of the world and of darkness.”—Vol. 1:137.
The Royal Robe
“In dress, as in all things else, it is our privilege to honor our Creator. He desires our clothing to be not only neat and healthful, but appropriate and becoming. A person’s character is judged by his style of dress. A refined taste, a cultivated mind, will be revealed in the choice of simple and appropriate attire. Chaste simplicity in dress, when united with modest demeanor, will go far toward surrounding a young woman with that atmosphere of sacred reserve which will be her shield from a thousand perils. … It is right to love beauty and to desire it; but God desires us to love and to seek first the highest beauty, —that which is imperishable. … Let the youth and the little children be taught to choose for themselves that royal robe woven in heaven’s loom, —the fine linen, clean and white, which all the holy ones of earth will wear. This robe, Christ’s own spotless character, is freely offered to every human being. But all who receive it will receive and wear it here. … This apparel will make them beautiful and beloved here, and will hereafter be their title of admission to the palace of the King.”—Education pp. 248, 249.
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