Jewelry

mannaJewels for His Kingdom
Have you ever wondered why God often speaks about jewelry in a negative way, in spite of the fact that He, Himself, made the beautiful gems and precious metals from which jewelry is made? I remember how fascinated I was with jewelry when I was a little girl, and how I longed to be able to wear the occasional bracelet or necklace that I received as gifts from well-meaning relatives.

heartnecklaceWisely, my mother allowed me to have the pretty trinkets in my room and play with them, but I was not allowed to wear them outside my room. That seemed to satisfy my desire to see what it would be like, but made appropriate boundaries on my behavior, which created an indelible imprint upon my young mind to respect the admonition of Scripture not to adorn myself with outward ornaments, but with a meek and quiet spirit. (1 Pet. 3:3, 4.)

Now that I have grown older and have seen the changes that have come into our modern Christian churches on this subject, my curiosity for a deeper understanding has led me to some very interesting observations. So perhaps you wouldn’t mind us going on a little gem-hunt today, and digging for some hidden treasures from God’s word. I hope you will find it to be a profitable journey!

Our first stop will be in the Old Testament Sanctuary, where the special garment of the High Priest was beautifully decorated with fourteen precious stones on the breastplate of his robe. Twelve of the stones were placed there to represent the twelve tribes of Israel, and no two were alike. Each was engraved like a seal with the name of one of the twelve tribes. (Ex. 28:22).

This shows how special, unique, beautiful and precious each tribe was to God The reason they were on the breastplate was to emphasize that He carried each one on His heart, and that they were never far from His mind, His love and His care for them.

jewelThe last two stones were identical – both of shining gems that produced a bright luster – possibly diamonds, as some commentators suggest. These stones had a unique function for the whole camp of Israel, for they were used by God to transmit His will to the people when questions were asked on any given subject. If the answer from God was “yes,” a halo of light would surround the Urim stone on the right side of the breastplate. If the answer was “no,” a cloud appeared over the Thummim stone on the left. This approximated a similar communication method in the Sanctuary itself, where a light over the right hand angel above the ark of the covenant was a sign of approval, while a cloud over the left hand angel denoted disapproval.

Wasn’t it good of God to set up a communication system like that? But of course, it is in harmony with His will for all of us. The Sanctuary is but an example of how we are to stay in communication with Him. David says, “He will be our guide even to the end (Ps. 48:14).” And Jesus promised to send us the Holy Spirit, who will guide us into all truth (John 16:13). Perhaps most of us have experienced the phenomena of sensing a feeling of darkness about a subject; or conversely, feeling a sense of light and peace about a decision we had to make.

I certainly do not suggest we make all our decisions in this manner, but it can come in handy when there is no clear cut principle involved, and we pray for God’s guidance on an issue. Of course, we must never go by feeling when we have a plain “Thus saith the Lord.” Satan is an ever-present foe who delights in trying to get us to follow our feelings instead of the eternal principles of God’s Word.

But let’s go back to our study of gems. Have you ever thought about the fact that the heavenly New Jerusalem is entirely made up of precious stones and metals? Can you imagine the dazzling sight of the colors reflected from the Holy City as the light from the throne of God blazes through the various colors and bursts into a million jets of light that can be seen far out into the universe?

But then, let’s go back to the description of the city in Revelation 21, and find out what gems are used there. Notice that it is the same roster of gems that was used in the breastplate! Then these gems must be telling us something very important about God’s people, the Lamb’s bride!

brideIt is interesting to note that the most positive things said in Scripture about jewelry have to do with weddings and brides. In the wedding song recorded in Ps. 45, the bride is described as dressed in gold and embroidered garments. In Ezekiel 16, an allegory of unfaithful Jerusalem, the bride is adorned in beautiful garments and costly jewelry.

It seems that God is trying to tell us that He spares no cost to Himself in preparing His bride, the church, to be a reflection of His own gracious character. Thus, jewelry is supposed to be a reflection of the intensity of the love of the giver for the recipient, and his promise of continuing protection and care.

Another beautiful analogy in Scripture about jewels is found in Malachi 3:6-18:

“Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon His name.

“And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth His own son that serveth Him.

“Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between Him that serveth God and him that serveth Him not.” KJV.

rainbowHere again, jewels have to do with our relationship of love to God, and our reflection of His character. In other words, the light of His beauty shines through the kaleidoscope of colors which represent the variety of people making up the body of Christ. No two are alike, but as we interact with each other in loving relationships that reflect the family of God in heaven, the rainbow around His throne is seen shining through our praises to Him, and our loving ministry to one other, and He is glorified.

It is interesting to note that in Revelation, the bride of Christ is consistently portrayed as being dressed in white. In chapter 19:7, 8, the bride of the Lamb is given a robe of fine linen, bright and clean. This reminds us of the High Priest on the Day of Atonement as he officiates in the unique ritual of that day in a sparkling white linen garment (1 BC 774).

The spotless purity of Jesus is transferred to His bride as He prepares His people to meet Him, dressing them in the wedding gift of His robe of righteousness, which represents His own lovely character. White is the composite of all color; therefore, we can be assured that Jesus is able to cleanse the deepest hue of every sinner. All personalities are represented in the spotless white robe, and all will be recipients of the gracious gift of eternal life if they choose to receive it. Imagine a wedding where both bride and groom are wearing identical robes! But so it is with King Jesus and His bride.

goldcupBut now we must turn to the other side of our story. Also in Revelation, there is a word picture of another kind of woman. As John is beholding the continuing drama of the ages as they unfold before him, he sees an immoral woman who sits upon the blasphemous beast of Revelation 17. “The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and was glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls. She held a golden cup in her hand, filled with abominable things and the filth of her adulteries.

This title was written on her forehead: MYSTERY; BABYLON THE GREAT – THE MOTHER OF PROSTITUTES AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” Vs. 4,5.

It is not our purpose here to identify the beast or the woman, for our journey today is to discover the deeper meanings of jewelry in the Bible. Suffice it to say, there is quite a contrast here between our two illustrious ladies of Revelation. We know who the woman in white is, because she has been clearly identified as the bride of Christ. But who is the husband – or perhaps we should say, the power behind – the lady in scarlet?

Turning back a few pages in Revelation, we find that the beast is given his power by the dragon, or Satan. (Rev. 13:2, & 12:9.) So the scarlet woman is in league with the mortal enemy of God and His people! This is certainly a dangerous liaison for her to attempt to master! The outcome of this tryst is inevitably headed for disaster!
And so it is. John sees the end of it all in chapters 17 and 18.

“They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because He is Lord of lords and King of kings – and with Him will be His called, chosen and faithful followers.” Rev. 17:14.

“Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues; for her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes…. Pay her back double for what she has done…. Give her as much torture and grief as the glory and luxury she gave herself….

“Woe! Woe, O great city, dressed in fine linen, purple and scarlet, and glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls! In one hour such great wealth has been brought to ruin!” Rev. 18:4-17.

So Satan is involved with this final struggle between good and evil. It is the end of the long, sad struggle of a fallen angel who was once the leader of the heavenly hosts. His name was Lucifer, meaning light-bearer, and the Bible tells us in Ezekiel 28:13, that every precious stone adorned him. Think of it! He had the privilege of being able to reflect all the flashing light and color coming from the throne, and taking his knowledge of God to all created beings. But instead, he took his beauty, gifts and talents, and used them diabolically for himself. And his beauty turned to ashes, his great aspirations to disaster, his kingdom to ruin.

braceletsBut he is determined to take as many with him as he can. He counterfeits everything God has made, uses God’s ideas and resources, and tries to capture His people. And unfortunately, jewelry is one of the ways he does this. He turns its beauty inward for selfish purposes, and when he does this, the human heart begins to assimilate the pride which characterizes the reasons for his own fall from heaven. In Hosea 2:13, God laments about His beloved, “She decked herself with rings and jewelry, and went after her lovers, but me she forgot, declares the LORD.”

Now I realize that many sincere Christians feel completely comfortable in wearing jewelry, and I am not here to sit in judgment on anyone. Only God knows the heart, and He can see the motives of each one. But I do want to share one additional insight to round out this picture.

ringswedYears ago, a friend of mine did a study in the library about the origin of jewelry, and how it was used by ancient peoples. The major concept that came from her study was that jewelry was thought to be a mystical way of joining the spirits of people together. This was especially true between husbands and wives, with the ring on the left hand symbolizing subjugation of the wife to the husband.

So I did a little bit of research on my own, and found that this concept seems to be a thread running through the literature of new age or occult resources. Then I asked a young woman who had been a practicing witch before becoming a Christian, “Is jewelry used in any way in witchcraft?” “Indeed it is,” she said. “Jewels and precious metals are the main ways we cast spells on people. Each stone has a different meaning, and it is especially powerful when the piece of jewelry has belonged to someone else first.”

As I listened to this eye-opening statement, my mind went back to several times when I was counseling women who seemed to be unusually codependent upon their husbands, but experienced relief when they removed their rings. One woman who was receiving Bible studies from me was constantly obsessed with the fear that her trucker husband was being unfaithful. I prayed about it and felt impressed to suggest she take off her rings. She prayed about it also, and that week her wedding ring went down the kitchen sink drain while she was doing dishes, and was never retrieved. Her obsession ceased, and not long after that her husband took Bible studies, and they both were baptized and became efficient workers in the church.

ringheirBut the best story was yet to come. Months later, I was talking to a friend from a distant city, and she happened to mention that she was having recent marital problems. “I can’t stand my husband anymore,” she said. “Just the sight of him upsets me.” I had never heard her talk like this before, so I asked, “How long have you been feeling this way?” “Oh, just a few months,” she replied. As the conversation continued, she revealed that her husband had received some heirloom jewelry from his mother, and had asked my friend to wear it in memory and respect for his mother. Wanting to please him, she began wearing it while out shopping, and other occasions.

Suddenly, my mind went back to my talk with the former witch. “How long have you been wearing this jewelry?” I asked. “Oh, just a few months,” she answered. Feeling certain that there was some connection, I said, “What kind of relationship did your husband’s mother and father experience?” “Oh,” she said, “His mother couldn’t stand his father. She didn’t even want to be around him.”

Needless to say, I lost no time in sharing the story with my friend, and after the jewelry was sold, their marriage returned to normal.

You may feel that these stories are the exception and not the rule, and you may be right, although I have had numerous other experiences which are similar in nature. But the major point that I want to make is that we have an enemy whose entire goal is to ensnare as many people as he can.

grainHe loves to counterfeit the things of God and use them to his advantage. He takes the luscious grapes and makes them into wine. He takes the golden grains and makes them into beer. He destroys homes and lives and nations with his sophistry and deceptions. And, as if you didn’t have anything else to worry about, beware of “the lord of the rings!”

Before I go for this time, may I encourage you that all the signs are telling us that the wedding of the Lamb is near, and the battle with Satan is almost over. Soon we will be at home with our precious heavenly Husband, Jesus, and the saints of all the ages who are among the “called, chosen and faithful.” In our heavenly home, all will be bright and beautiful and splashed with rainbow colors. And our chief glory will be in reflecting back to Jesus in our own unique way, His beautiful character of love! After all, that is what jewels were created for!

“I will remove from this city those who rejoice in their pride. Never again will you be haughty on my holy hill. But I will leave within you the meek and humble, who trust in the name of the LORD…. The LORD, the King of Israel, is with you; never again will you fear any harm.” Zeph. 3:11-15.

Do not be afraid; you will not suffer shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated…. For your Maker is your husband – the LORD Almighty is His name – the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; He is called the God of all the earth…. Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken, nor my covenant of peace be removed, says the LORD, who has compassion on you.

“O afflicted city, lashed by storms and not comforted, I will build you with stones of turquoise, your foundations with sapphires. I will make your battlements of rubies, your gates of sparkling jewels, and all your walls of precious stones. All your sons will be taught by the LORD, and great will be your children’s peace.” Isa. 54:4-13.

“I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For He has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations.” Isa. 61:10, 11.

“The nations will see your righteousness, and all the kings your glory; you will be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will bestow. You will be a crown of splendor in the LORD’s hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God.” Isa. 62:2, 3.