The Wearing of Jewelry in the Old Testament
Abraham, God’s faithful friend, sent his servant to secure a bride for his son, Isaac. To make a great impression and presentation, Abraham sent many ‘good things’ on ten camels for the bride-to-be which included jewelry. The Bible Says in Genesis 24:22, 52-53 NIV…
22 When the camels had finished drinking, the man took out a gold nose ring weighing a beka and two gold bracelets weighing ten shekels.
52 When Abraham's servant heard what they said, he bowed down to the ground before the LORD. 53 Then the servant brought out gold and silver jewelry and articles of clothing and gave them to Rebekah; he also gave costly gifts to her brother and to her mother.
Joseph, as second in command of Egypt, also wore jewelry. The Bible Says in Genesis 41:41-42….
41 So Pharaoh said to Joseph, "I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt." 42 Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his finger and put it on Joseph's finger. He dressed him in robes of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck.
When the Israelites left Egypt, God commanded them to ask for silver and gold from the Egyptians. In fact, they plundered Egypt. The Bible Says in Genesis 3:21-22,
21 "And I will make the Egyptians favorably disposed toward this people, so that when you leave you will not go empty-handed. 22 Every woman is to ask her neighbor and any woman living in her house for articles of silver and gold and for clothing, which you will put on your sons and daughters. And so you will plunder the Egyptians."
The Bible Says in Daniel 5:29..,
"Then at Belshazzar's command, Daniel was clothed in purple, a gold chain was placed around his neck, and he was proclaimed the third highest ruler in the kingdom."
Daniel was dressed in purple (the color of royalty) and given a gold chain. These tokens came as a result of his restoration from being a captive and to his elevation as Prime Minister.
The prophet Isaiah also spoke favorably of jewelry. The Bible Says in Isaiah 61:10 NIV…
10 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.
The Bible Says in Jeremiah 2:31-32 NIV…
"You of this generation, consider the word of the LORD: "Have I been a desert to Israel or a land of great darkness? Why do my people say, 'We are free to roam; we will come to you no more'? 32 Does a maiden forget her jewelry, a bride her wedding ornaments? Yet my people have forgotten me, days without number."
Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, obviously saw the wearing of jewelry as a thing of great beauty. The Bible Says in Song of Solomon 1:10-11…
10 Your cheeks are beautiful with earrings, your neck with strings of jewels. 11 We will make you earrings of gold, studded with silver.
The Bible Says in Ezekiel 28:11-13…
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. 13 You 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.
The Wearing of Jewelry in the New Testament
As New Covenant believers, has God changed His mind about the wearing of jewelry? Some use a passage Peter wrote to say that jewelry is forbidden for Christians. The Bible Says in 1 Peter 3:1-5 (MSG) …
1 The same goes for you wives: Be good wives to your husbands, responsive to their needs. There are husbands who, indifferent as they are to any words about God, will be captivated 2 by your life of holy beauty. 3 What matters is not your outer appearance—the styling of your hair, the jewelry you wear, the cut of your clothes— 4 but your inner disposition. Cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in. 5 The holy women of old were beautiful before God that way, and were good, loyal wives to their husbands. 6 Sarah, for instance, taking care of Abraham, would address him as "my dear husband." You'll be true daughters of Sarah if you do the same, unanxious and unintimidated.”
When the servant arrived, his test for the bride-to-be was based on inner beauty. Abraham’s servant prayed and asked God to let Isaac’s future bride show him a deed of inner kindness. When Rebekah came to the well, she not only quenched his thirst but she also watered all ten of his camels. This was indeed the answer to his prayer and his mission was considered a success.
Even though Abraham’s servant recognized and admired Rebekah’s outer beauty, he was won by her inner beauty of kindness and humility. Her kind deeds and unselfish attitude spoke volumes to him. He only asked for water for himself but she took delight in fetching water for his ten camels until they were full. Only then did he enhance her outer beauty with jewelry as a direct result and acknowledgment of her inner beauty and heartfelt kindness.. She became the wife of Isaac, one of the patriarchs. In this instance, the bestowal and wearing of jewelry was a sign of elevation (becoming the wife of a patriarch) and celebration.
All Scriptures referencing the wearing of jewelry speaks of it in a very positive light EXCEPT when the Israelites used it to make the golden calf. Peter is not saying not to wear jewelry, Peter is simply emphasizing the importance of inner beauty FIRST...just like the holy women of the past.
In contrast are people who are mean-spirited, judgmental, arrogant, unkind, unmerciful, unloving and on an ego trip. Their 'inner' selves repel people. Their expensive jewelry and fine clothing might initially attract but when time is spent with them their outer beauty fades and eventually disappears in the eyes of those who were once attracted to them. When the ‘inner’ person is ugly, so is the outer. Our first concern should be the ‘inner person’ not the ‘outer’.
22 "But the father said to his servants, 'Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate."
If the wearing of jewelry is forbidden, why would Jesus use ‘a ring’ in this parable as a sign of the son’s restoration (no longer a hired hand), elevation (a position of honor with the best robe) and celebration (the guest of honor)?
John saw in vision all manner of precious stones in the New Jerusalem. The Bible Says in Revelation 21:18-21….
18 The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. 19 The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth sardonyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. 21 The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of pure gold, like transparent glass.
If our feet are destined to walk on gold, a decision made by God Himself, why do Seventh-day Adventists and some other religious groups forbid and condemn the wearing of precious stones and jewelry? Is it possible that the created now knows better than the Creator?
Lastly, I would like to share with you a few quotes from Ellen White, the Seventh-day Adventist prophetess, regarding jewelry:
Reader, we are so precious to God that He calls us His jewels. The Bible Says in Malachi 3:17...
17 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."
I’m reminded of a song we sang as children entitled, When He Cometh:
When He cometh, when He cometh
To make up His jewels,
All His jewels, precious jewels,
His loved and His own.
Like the stars of the morning,
His brightness adorning,
They shall shine in their beauty,
Bright gems for His crown.
He will gather, He will gather
The gems for His kingdom;
All the pure ones, all the bright ones,
His loved and His own.
Little children, little children,
Who love their Redeemer,
Are the jewels, precious jewels,
His loved and His own.
After reading what The Bible Says, do you, His precious jewel, really think that God has a problem with us wearing jewelry? Unquestionably, it's an ‘Ellen’ thing.....
With much love,