Adventists in the United States are told not to wear jewelry. Their women should only
wear dresses. They are not to drink caffeine or eat “unclean” foods.Although
part of these rules stem from their interpretation of Scripture, most get their real strength from Ellen G. White quotations.
It is not the “texts” that make it “plain,” but Ellen G. White! A prolific writer on these subjects,
she is much more forceful and clearer about not wearing jewelry and what not to eat than the Scriptures, and must be obeyed.
JEWELRY AND DRESS CODE
First Timothy 2:9
“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 (NKJ).”
Although this key text only teaches moderation and reflects
first century prohibitions, it is the favorite text used by SDAs to support clothing, hair and jewelry reform. For example,
J. L. Shuler says concerning this verse, “We are to adorn ourselves in modest apparel, and not to adorn ourselves with
gold or pearls as ornaments” (Helps to Bible Study, 3CD, page 54). “The Scripture rule laid down
in 1 Timothy 2:9 makes it plain that God’s people are not to wear jewelry for the purpose of ornamenting their
bodies” (ibid, 6CD, page 54). However, if the text meant “no jewelry,” then it should also mean “no
the account of God covering Adam and Eve with animal skins. Shuler concludes from these two verses, “Christian women
should dress modestly. They should not appear in public with sleeveless dress, or dresses that are too short, or any other
form of dress that does not properly cover the body” (ibid, 4CD, page 54).
Exodus 33:5-6 “Take
off your ornaments, that I may know what to do to you.”
Shuler merely says, “God commanded His people to take off all their ornaments” (10CD, page
56). He completely ignores the context of these verses. Exodus 33:4 says, “And when the people heard this bad news,
they mourned, and no one put on his ornaments.” This is the aftermath of the golden calf incident which brought God’s
wrath. In deep mourning, many of the people removed their ornaments. Such removal was a common custom. In mourning, King Saul,
in First Samuel 19:24 and Micah, in Micah 1:8, stripped to nakedness. There is no indication that this was a permanent situation
that continued when the mourning was over.
Exodus 35:22 says
that the Israelites came “as many as had a willing heart, and brought earrings and nose rings, rings and necklaces,
all jewelry of gold, that is, every man who made an offering of gold to the LORD.” Shuler says, “These texts make
it plain that God=s people
should not wear rings, earrings, necklaces, beads, or any other kind of jewelry that serves only as an ornament”
(ibid,= 11CD, page
55). Again, the context says otherwise. Evidently, the mourning of 33:4-6 had ended and the people had resumed wearing their
jewelry. God had accepted their repentance and replaced the broken Ten Commandments (34:1-35). The context of 35:22 is that
of collecting material to build the sanctuary (35:1-35). These “sinful” ornaments were converted into God’s
dwelling place! They were a small part of free-will gifts. There was absolutely nothing said or implied that such ornament-wearing
Gideon said to them, “I would like to make a request of you, that each of you would give me the earrings from his plunder.
For they had gold earrings, because they were Ishmaelites.”
Shuler says, “The Ishmaelites were distinguished as
heathen people by the fact that they wore gold earrings” (ibid, 7CD, page 56). This simply is not the truth!All Semitic peoples, Ishmaelite and Israelite, men and women, then and now, wore jewelry! Wearing earrings
does not brand the wearers as “heathen.” Gideon knew that Ishmaelites were fond of wearing gold earrings and he
wanted the gold. However, Gideon then turned the gold earrings into something even worse, as recorded in verse 27.
“We are to adopt the most healthful diet possible and abstain from the unclean foods identified in
the Scriptures. Since alcoholic beverages, tobacco, and the irresponsible use of drugs and narcotics are harmful to our bodies,
we are to abstain from them as well,” Fundamental Belief #21, Who Are The Seventh-day Adventists?, John Seaman,
1997, pages 55-56.
To most of us, the preceding Seventh-day Adventist logic is somewhat ridiculous and unimportant.Even most Adventists ignore the prohibitions concerning short sleeves, women wearing pants, and cola drinks
with caffeine. If the Adventists did not make this such an important issue, it would not have been included in this book.
Fundamental Belief #21 begins a sentence with “While recognizing cultural differences...”While married ministers and believers in the United States do not wear wedding rings, their counterparts in other
countries do, sometimes because of the imposition of local laws and customs. This has caused some conflict within Seventh-day
Adventism, since Ellen White is insistent about the jewelry.
SDAs have even changed their own often quoted “Thou shalt not wear jewelry” to “Thou
shalt not -- unless it is >functional.”For example, the “forbidden” become acceptable if it is an expensive golden diamond-laden watch,
which has been exchanged at weddings instead of rings. Once again, SDAs do not wear rings because Ellen G. White forbids it,
not the Bible.
WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS ABOUT ADORNMENT
Timothy 2:9 “In like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety [modesty] and moderation
[discreetly], not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing.” (NKJ)
Peter 3:3-4 “Do not let your adornment be merely outward--arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel--rather
let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious
in the sight of God.” (NKJ)
Timothy 2:9 and First Peter 3:3-4 simply teach moderation, and not total abstinence. It is humorous that SDAs place such an
exaggeration on First Timothy 2:9, while they are forced to downplay -11, “Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. And I do not permit a woman to teach or to
have authority over a man, but to be in silence” (NKJ). Just in case they missed it, Ellen White was a woman, leader,
and keynote speaker at many SDA meetings. Yet they do not have women elders.
24:22 “So it was, when the camels
had finished drinking, that the man took a golden nose ring weighing half a shekel, and two bracelets for her wrists weighing
ten shekels of gold (NKJ).”
God=s people have always possessed and worn jewelry. In Genesis
24:22, 30, 47, 53 Abraham gave Rebekah a “golden nose ring and two bracelets of gold” and other jewelry of silver
32:2, 3 “And Aaron said to them,
‘Break off the golden earrings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to
me. So all the people broke off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them to Aaron (NKJ).’”
These texts prove conclusively that, even after the Ten Commandments had been received,
and after the Old Covenant had been ratified, ALL of the Israelites, male and female, were still wearing golden earrings!
God, through Moses, had not told them to remove those earrings. Neither were they described as symbols of pagan worship --
such would not have been tolerated.
3:16-24 records God=s promise to remove the Israelite women=s jewelry because they were haughty and sinned with seductive
eyes. “Therefore the Lord will strike with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the LORD will uncover their secret parts ().” The context implies that they had been blessed with much jewelry
and would be punished by its removal.
list of jewelry and other items is extensive: jingling anklets, scarves, crescents, pendants, bracelets, veils, headdresses,
leg ornaments, headbands, perfume boxes, charms, rings, nose jewels, festal apparel, mantles, outer garments, purses, mirrors,
fine linen, turbans, and robes (3:18-23). “And so it shall be: instead of a sweet smell there will be a stench; instead
of a sash, a rope; instead of well-set hair, baldness; instead of a rich robe, a girding of sackcloth; and branding instead
of beauty” (NKJ).
61:10 “I will greatly rejoice in
the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with
the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels
(NKJ).” Again, there is no implication here that the jewels were themselves sinful; instead they were symbols of blessing!
“Can a virgin forget her ornaments,
or a bride her attire?Yet My people have forgotten Me days without number.”
16 is an extremely interesting story
when seen in the context of personal adornment. The NT parable of the good Samaritan is very similar to the original context
from Ezekiel. God told Ezekiel to tell Jerusalem that they had been unclean and defiled when He found them [in Egypt] (16:1- 3). After describing Israel as a discarded newborn, He then washed and swaddled them (16:4-6). Israel became beautiful, God loved her and entered into a marriage covenant with
her (16:7- 8).
God’s bride, Ezekiel 16:9-44 is an extremely detailed description of God’s blessings in terms of adornment.
He washed and anointed Israel (16:9), and clothed her in fine linen and silk (). “I adorned you with ornaments, put bracelets on your wrists, and a chain
on your neck; and I put a jewel in your nose,earrings in your ears, and a beautiful crown on your head
(-12). Thus you were adorned with gold and silver...You were exceedingly beautiful, and succeeded to royalty ().Your beauty was perfect
through My splendor which I had bestowed on you ().”
Israel’s sin was not the adornment itself which was actually a blessing from God, but trusting in her own beauty.
“But you trusted in your own beauty, played the harlot because of your fame, and poured out your harlotry on everyone
passing by who would have it ().”
Israel took the blessing which God had given her and became a harlot. “You took some of your garments and adorned
multicolored high places for yourself, and played the harlot on them. Such things should not happen. You have also taken your
beautiful jewelry from My gold and My silver, which I had given you, and made for yourself male images and
played the harlot with them (16:16-17).”Verses 18-34 detail the further
degradation of God’s bride, Israel.
then” (), God promised, “because your filthiness
was poured out and your nakedness uncovered in your harlotry with your lovers, and with all your abominable idols, and because
of the blood of your children which you gave to them (), I will judge you (-39).
Your lovers will strip you of your clothes, take your beautiful jewelry, and leave you naked and bare ().Because you did not remember
the days of your youth, but agitated Me with all these things, surely I will also recompense your deeds on your own head ().
the Bible is not anti-adornment, or anti-jewelry. It is only anti-extravagance and anti-vanity, pride and self-centeredness.
In ancient times, where money could not be invested as it is with us, precious stones and elaborate jewelry formed one of
the safest and most convenient ways of preserving great wealth in small bulk‑‑ easy to transport and to conceal.
Therefore, while SDAs teach that jewelry is sinful, the Bible teaches that lack of jewelry signifies a lack of God’s
Christ Himself made numerous references to jewelry, but not in an “abstinence” sense. He called the kingdom of
heaven “one pearl of great price” (Mt. -46). Many believe that the “ten silver coins” of Luke 15:8 were worn as jewelry, possibly
as a marriage dowry. Matthew “I
say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed [adorned in jewelry and fine clothes] like one of these.”
Throughout all eternity the saints will be surrounded by the most beautiful jewels that God has created (Revelation -21).
DECEITFUL EVANGELISM PRACTICES
When SDAs hold evangelistic meetings outside of their own churches, they try their very best to disguise
their identity until AFTER they have preached a sermon on the Sabbath (which comes later in the crusade). They often describe
their evangelists as “world travelers just back from Israel.” Even when using their own churches (from personal experience) they tell
visitors that they are only using the SDA church because it was available.
Waiting rooms in doctors’ offices and dentists’ offices often have the innocent-looking Bible
story books by Arthur Maxwell which contain cards inside. Neither the cards nor the books identify themselves as Seventh-day
Adventists. The books offered on the cards are usually the five Conflict of the Ages
Series by Ellen G. White. When the cards are mailed, a person from the Home Health Education Service will knock at your
door and try to sell you the heretical cult books of Ellen G. White. The sales person will not identify himself as a Seventh-day
Even worse, SDAs are joining ministerial associations and their medical facilities are merging with non-SDA
facilities. They endeavor to present themselves as normal conservative evangelical Christians who just happen to worship on
Saturday. However, they dare not openly admit that their “second and third angel’s messages” condemn all
other churches as “false Babylon”
who will be destroyed when Jesus returns because they are not worshiping on Saturday and do not adhere to the other “special
truths” of Seventh-day Adventism.
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Russell Earl Kelly, PH. D., 316 Aonia Road, Washington, Ga 30673