Greetings MOL Family!
Welcome back to our study on The Christian Home! God desires that our homes and families would become representatives of His heavenly home and His family, above. Let’s understand the purpose for His divine plan…
Show Forth God’s Praise
Let us open our Bibles to Revelation, the 14th chapter. The first five verses picture for us the 144,000, the sealed ones, under the Third Angel’s Message, standing with the Lamb on Mount Zion. They are like Him; they have His name and the Father’s name written in their foreheads. Beginning with the 6th verse, we have the message which gets the people ready. It is this message of preparation that you and I are interested in.
We studied in Malachi 4 that the work of this message is represented as the coming of Elijah. He begins his work with the home, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the children to their fathers. We have been studying how to make our homes a preparation for the home in Heaven – a little heaven to go to Heaven in. We have seen the importance of making things like the blueprint. Egypt will never teach us how to make a replica of the heavenly Sanctuary. God called Moses up into the mount that he might behold the pattern. He calls us up into the mount that we may study the blueprint.
In our study we have been getting help by beholding the earthly copy that Moses made and applying the lessons learned there to our homes. We have found two great principles. One, the principle of order, or law, represented by the walls. But most important, we have noted the indwelling glory, the glory of love. Without this, it would only be a building. So in our homes, the home is the special place of love. We have seen that there is a proper expression of love for the world and a proper expression of love for brothers and sisters in the church. There is to be a far more intimate fellowship in the church than in the contacts we have with the world.
Coming into the sanctuary of the home itself, we see that there is a special manifestation of love. Why? Because God has made it that way. He made peaches to be sweet. He made whole wheat bread to have the protein to build muscle. He made the home to be the special place of a special kind of love.
“Fear God and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come: and worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” – Revelation 14:7
To worship the Creator must include recognizing the wisdom and beauty of His plan. We cannot worship Him intelligently as the Creator unless we have some idea of what He has made, and His purpose and plan – His way of life. But to worship the Creator includes more than recognizing the wisdom and beauty of His plan; it includes accepting it and demonstrating it.
Concerning the remnant, it is written:
This people I have formed for Myself. They shall show forth My praise. – Isaiah 43:21
In the hearts and the homes of the Remnant church, there is to be demonstrated perfect conformity to the Creator’s will, a full demonstration of the Creator’s plan. What a privilege we have. I thank God for it. The world will never teach us this; we must learn it from Jesus. That is what His law is for – to bring to us a revelation of His will. And notice that there is no way to separate His “thou shalts” and His “thou shalt nots.” The positive instruction points us the way in which to walk; the negative points out the fence which is to guard us from the ditch.
The Barriers of Reserve
Relating to the Christian home, much of this has to do with maintaining the proper barriers between men and women. The word ‘barrier’ is something that multitudes of people today don’t like at all. The spirit of this lawless generation is to cast aside all restrictions. But this word “barrier”, as pertaining to the subject we are studying, is one used by inspiration.
We as workers must be united in frowning down and condemning everything that bears the least approach to evil in our associations with one another.…
Let the workers keep up the barriers of reserve; let not one instance occur of which the enemy can make capital. If they begin to place their affections upon one another, giving special attention to favorites and using flattering words, God will withdraw His Spirit. – Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 5, pgs. 592, 594
This whole chapter is well worth reading. It’s entitled “The Appearance of Evil”. Notice on page 594 that isolation is not the answer. God’s plan is not to put the men all on one campus and the women all on another campus so that there will be no problems in association. Instead, the instructions of God tell us how to associate together as men and women in a proper way in our work, in our study, in our missionary endeavor, in the home, and yet keep up the barriers of reserve.
It may be that men and women will necessarily be united more or less in our important mission fields. If this is the case, they cannot be too circumspect. – Ibid
So here we have clear instruction calling for a certain type of association, a certain amount of association, of men and women in the experiences of the Lord’s work, and yet through it all we must be circumspect, we must keep up the barriers of reserve. Again I say, the world cannot teach us this (especially in this age which is like Sodom and Gomorrah). We must learn from Jesus.
In fact, we are told very plainly that we cannot depend on the standards of the world in this matter. Notice this statement:
The liberties taken in this age of corruption should be no criterion for Christ’s followers. – Adventist Home, page 329
It goes on to say that we are to show them a better and nobler way; by chastity and virtue we are to stand in marked contrast. Thank God we will go not to Egypt, not to Babylon, not to Hollywood. We will go to the mount with Moses and there behold that beautiful Sanctuary in Heaven. Like Moses, we will seek to build for God in this world a little house like His great house in Heaven. I call your attention especially to the beautiful veils of the sanctuary. What are they for? Specifically, they are to keep out all who do not have the right of entrance. The barriers of reserve that God has placed in association are like those veils. But it is not only in our attitudes that these reserves are manifested. It is also in dress.
“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 modesty of demeanor, will go far toward surrounding a young woman with that atmosphere of sacred reserve which will be to her a shield from a thousand perils.” – Messages to Young People, pg. 344
Note two great veils that are given us here. One is chaste, simplicity in dress, the other is modesty of demeanor. And notice that these will go far in surrounding a young woman with the atmosphere of sacred reserve which will be to her a shield from a thousand perils. We have here a Biblical statement calling our attention to the union of these two principles – modesty in dress and modesty in demeanor.
In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works. – 1 Timothy 2:9-10
Christian dress does not make a woman less attractive. It makes her more attractive to God and to holy angels and to all who think like God. Certainly, Christian women do not want to make themselves attractive to the inhabitants of Sodom, to the citizens of Babylon. Oh, no. We are citizens of Heaven, and we want to have a little heaven to go to Heaven in.
We are looking at veils of modesty of demeanor, modesty of dress. Remember that the purpose is to maintain the barriers of reserve. Now look at Revelation 14:7. This is the message that is to make ready a people prepared for the Lord:
Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come: and worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. – Revelation 14:7
If we accept this message, we give glory to Him – the Creator, not the creature. The Creator is the one to be worshipped. To worship Him includes understanding His plan and admiring it and accepting it and demonstrating it in our lives.
Let us go back to Genesis 1 and notice again the statement in verse 27. “God created man in His own image.” Oh, what an honor, what a high privilege, to bear the Creator’s image. “God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them.” Who made us? God. Who made us male and female? God. And the 31st verse says, “And God saw every thing that He had made, and, behold, it was very good.”
If we understand the Creator’s plan and admire it, we will rejoice in the fact that He made both man and woman, male and female. But if we understand that He made each for a specific purpose, and that He has plainly shown that there is to be a distinction ever preserved between them, we will never try to make a man like a woman or a woman like a man in attitude, in dress, in anything else. While there are many things we share in common, there is a distinction between the sexes which should ever be preserved.
We are to rejoice in the particular place in life God has put us! If God has made you a man, be a man. If God has made you a woman, be a woman. Oh, what a wonderful thing it is to see a manly Christian man and a womanly Christian woman.
Here is a text that some people are unacquainted with. And even those who know it’s there may not have appreciated its full significance. In the light of our study, we will be prepared to read it and see something in it of far-reaching significance:
The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God. – Deuteronomy 22:5
What does the Bible say is an abomination? For a woman to wear what pertains to a man, or for a man to put on a woman’s garment. Now I want to read the divine commentary on this particular verse:
I was referred to Deuteronomy 22:5…. There is an increasing tendency to have women in their dress and appearance as near like the other sex as possible, and to fashion their dress very much like that of men, but God pronounces it abomination. ‘In like manner also, that women
adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety.’ – Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 1, pg. 457
This will bear some study in the light of styles of dress we have had with us for many years. You may want to read the chapter from which I have read this brief excerpt. Keep in mind that at the same time God gave this instruction through His messenger, He gave clear instruction regarding the importance of clothing the limbs, of preserving the health of the body by ample coverings of both the arms and the lower extremities. But at the same time, we were warned against the danger of tendencies for dress to break down the distinction between men and women. I trust we will not get into unwise or unprofitable discussion over some detail in regard to this; but I trust that every one of us will take these principles and these references to the secret place of prayer and communion with God, and learn from God the pattern that He would have us follow.
The Glory… Within
Now there is something further I want you to think of on this point of giving glory to God in our dress and maintaining the proper barriers. In Revelation 14:7, we were urged, commanded, to give glory to Him (the Creator, not the creature). Christian dress is not to direct attention to self. If our motive on any point in dress reform is to do this, we have missed the point; we need to be converted. Speaking of worldly dress Sister White says:
They desire to attract attention. Their dress says look at me. – Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 4, pg. 645
Whatever we do to draw attention to ourselves in dress or attitude is idolatry.
The Bible teaches modesty in dress. ‘In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel.’ 1 Tim. 2:9. This forbids display in dress, gaudy colors, profuse ornamentation. Any device designed to attract attention to the wearer or to excite admiration is excluded from the modest apparel which God’s word enjoins. – Messages to Young People, pg. 351
I am so anxious that we get the basic principle in all this. Then we will not be found carrying out the letter of the instruction not to wear jewelry, but finding some other way to exhibit pride and draw attention to ourselves. After all, what difference does it make whether we wear beads around our necks or put them on a dress? And so with many other points. The basic principle is: Are we seeking to call attention to ourselves or to our Creator?
Adornment in dress may have in it not only a ministering to pride, but a ministering to lust.
The love of dress endangers the morals and makes woman the opposite of the Christian lady characterized by modesty and sobriety. Showy, extravagant dress too often encourages lust in the heart of the wearer and awakens base passions in the heart of the beholder. – Testimonies for the Church, Vol 4, pg. 645
It is no accident that Babylon – the woman of Revelation 17 – is pictured as decked with gold and jewelry and pearls and loud colors. It is no accident that the women of the world in all ages who have sought to attract the attention of men have decked themselves out with jewelry and various cosmetics. We do well to look at the veils of the sanctuary, remembering their purpose is to conceal the glory within – to say to every possible trespasser: No entrance. No admission. Only those who have the right to enter may enter. Thus, our dress may help to maintain the barriers of reserve and help to keep the purity which is the glory within.
May our daily experience be one that, in everything we do, we do it all for the glory of God!
Join us next, as we seek to understand more ways in which God’s purpose for the Christian home may be achieved. Invite a friend and we’ll see you then…
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* This study has been adapted from classes taken by Elder W.D. Frazee.