Some preachers teach that jewelry is sinful. Is it? What does the Bible really says?
We shall make a study of what the Bible says about Jewelry. Most jewelry is usually made of gold, although it can be made of silver and other materials.
Many of the old patriarchs were rich in gold and silver, the temple of God was made with gold, and the city of God is made of gold, the heavenly streets are paved with Gold. So obviously there is no problem with gold in itself. If the metal gold was evil God would not have used it on his service nor would it be in heaven. Sin is not allowed into heaven in any shape or form.
OK so let us now look at jewelry in the Bible.
THE SAINTS OF GOD
Many of God's saints had jewelry, it is clear they didn't consider it sinful, for those holy people would never engage in sinful activities willingly.
Job the perfect man owned jewelry (Job 42:11) if having jewelry was wrong, God would never say that Job was perfect, unless we think that God was mistaken.
Abraham had plenty of jewelry; we know that his servant gave jewelry gifts from his master treasure. (Gen 24: 22-35) Come on are we going to say that Abraham was wrong.
Now if Abraham owned plenty of jewelry are we to think that Sarah his wife had none?
Rebekah a godly woman who God spoke directly to, wore jewelry (Gen 24:53) Why didn’t God told her to get rid of her jewelry if wearing it was wrong?
Joseph wore jewelry, a golden ring and a golden chain (Gen 41:42). God spoke to Joseph in dreams yet God never said a peep about Joseph’s jewelry.
Aaron the priest of God wore much gold and jewelry (Exo 39) The priestly robes were probably quite heavy with all that jewelry that God himself commanded to be made.
David the King of Israel wore jewelry (2 Sam 13:30), was David really a man after God’s heart with all that jewelry on his body?
Solomon the wisest king owned much jewelry (1 Ks 10:10) wasn’t he smart enough to know that wearing jewelry was sinful?
Mordecai the faithful Jew wore jewelry (Est 8:15)
Daniel the uncompromising prophet wore jewelry (Dan 5:29). I guess since he compromised on the wearing of jewelry doctrine then the lions should have taken a couple of bites or perhaps a nibble from him.
The children of Israel owned and wore jewelry.
The Ten Commandments do not prohibit the wearing of jewelry.
None of the many commandments of the law prohibited wearing jewelry.
There are plenty of scriptures that speak of jewelry, but not a single one that condemns it.
God himself commanded the Israelites to put jewelry on their children (Ex. 3:21-22)
God commanded the Israelites to get jewels of silver and gold (Ex. 11:2)
The Israelites gave offerings of jewelry to God (Num 31:50)
God uses jewelry to beautify Israel (Ezekiel 16:11-12)
Let us discuss Ex. 3:22 for a moment.
Ex. 3:21 " And I will give this people favour in the sight of the Egyptians: and it shall come to pass, that, when ye go, ye shall not go empty.
3:22 But every woman shall borrow of her neighbour, and of her that sojourneth in her house, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: and ye shall put them upon your sons, and upon your daughters; and ye shall spoil the Egyptians."
Since it is obvious that it is God who commanded the Israelites to get jewelry it is obvious he himself did not consider jewelry evil or wrong. If jewelry was evil, did God somehow not know it? If Jewelry were evil you would have to reproach God for that order he gave to the Israelites to put all that jewelry upon their children.
God wanted to cleanse the Israelites from pagan Egyptian influence, so why would he purposely God given orders for the Israelites to get jewelry and leave Egypt with something he found despicable. Listen God would never command us to get things that are sinful.
Much of that jewelry was used later used for the building of the tabernacle, the holy vessels and the clothing of the high priest. If Jewelry were sinful, God would not have used it for his holy place. God would have never allowed the jewelry to be used in the building of his holy tabernacle and his holy vessels if he considered it an abomination.
Jewelry was also given as offerings to God; it is obvious that God accepted such offerings. If Jewelry were evil or sinful God would not have accepted such offerings. Later on the temple of Solomon had many treasures and jewels of gold and silver, obviously those jewels never desecrated God's temple.
Now, here we have a clear prohibition of God.
Deuteronomy 7:25 "The graven images of their gods, shall you burn with fire: you shall not desire the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it to you, less you be snared therein: for it is an abomination to the Lord your God."
Now, that is as plain as day, that God would not receive the silver or gold from idols, which were something that he considered to be an abomination. So here we see it clearly that God would not accept the gold from idols, but he did accept the gold from jewelry.
There are plenty of prohibitions and thou shalt nots in the law, yet not a single word in the law prohibits or condemns jewelry. God did not include the commandment "you shall not wear jewelry" in the law; did he somehow forget to add that law to his commandments?
If wearing jewelry were evil there would be some condemnation of it, but looking through the whole Old Testament not a single word is spoken against it. There are plenty of prohibitions about things we would consider insignificant like wearing cloths of diver types or seething a kid in his mother milk, but not one single word against jewelry.
Let us now discuss Ezekiel 16:11-12 "I decked thee also with ornaments, and I put bracelets upon thy hands, and a chain on thy neck. And I put a jewel on thy forehead, and earrings in thine ears, and a beautiful crown upon thine head."
In here it is God who adorned Israel with all sorts of jewelry. It is obvious here that these verses are symbolic. But why would God use jewelry as symbolic if he considered it evil? Here God admits that he gave not only gave Israel those Jewels but he personally put it on them, why would God put upon his chosen bride that which was sinful?
Throughout the Old Testament gold and jewelry were symbols of God's blessing. When God wanted to punish Israel he talks about removing their jewelry and gold. The loss of their jewelry was a punishment from God, but when they had favor with God they got blessed with gold.
God is the same yesterday, today and forever. If wearing jewelry is a sin or wrong today, then it was a sin during the times of the patriarchs.
ARGUMENTS AGAINST JEWELRY
Some preachers use the event in Gen 35:1-4 as a prohibition against jewelry, but a careful reading of these verses will show that, such is not the case. Look at the words of Jacob "Get rid of the foreign gods you have with you, and purify yourselves and change your clothes. Jacob wanted them cleansed from strange gods; he did not ask them to get rid of their jewelry. Obviously coming from a pagan culture they had pagan jewelry, which had figures of idols. The object was to purify them from pagan influence not to get rid of the jewelry. Jewelry was not the issue; it was the pagan idols that they had brought with them from Padan-aram.
Jacob's mother, Rebekah wore jewelry so it is clear that Jacob was not against jewelry but against idols and pagan influence.
One preacher said that yes the saints of God wore jewelry but, but when they were coming back to God or consecrating themselves they gave them up. Yet there is no record of any of the saints of God giving jewelry up. Neither Joseph nor Daniel ever gave up their golden jewelry. It was just a supposition by this preacher with zero backing from any scripture.
One preacher said that God allowed the people of Israel jewelry in order to show them that it was wrong. How is that? Why would God give the Israelites something that would hurt them or cause them to sin? And just where in the Old Testament is there any statement proclaiming such idea?
One preacher said that jewelry caused the Israelites to sin. But there is no record anywhere of jewelry causing anyone in Israel to sin. Not one single scripture blames jewelry for anyone's sin.
One preacher said that since Satan was covered with every precious stone and gold (Ez 28:13). We should not wear jewelry. These denunciations in Ezekiel are against the king of Tyrus, but some preachers assume that these verses are directed toward Satan. It is possible that one may be reading more into the text by saying that the verse is talking about Satan? It may just be a poetic form of speech.
Even if these verses refer to Satan they are not condemning jewelry; instead they are condemning Satan. Satan fell because of pride. A person could not wear jewelry and still be filled with pride about not wearing jewelry.
If in fact Satan was covered with jewelry in heaven before he sinned, that only means that heaven has plenty of jewelry and the angels wear it.
There are no scriptures that condemn jewelry anywhere in here either.
Jesus never spoke against jewelry.
The prodigal son was given a ring. (Luke 15:22)
Jesus himself is seen in the Bible wearing jewelry (Rev 1:13) a golden sash and a golden crown (Rev 14:14)
The saints in heaven will be given crowns of gold; that is jewelry (Rev 3:11)
The elders in heaven are seen wearing crowns, which are jewelry (Rev 4:4)
Isn't' the holy New Jerusalem encrusted with all manner of precious stones, and built of gold? This looks like a strong endorsement for jewelry.
There are plenty of things that send a person to hell (I Cor 6:9-10, Rev 22:15) but wearing jewelry is not listed anywhere.
There is no scripture anywhere condemning jewelry or prohibiting jewelry anywhere in the New Testament.
Jesus is the same today yesterday and forever, if wearing jewelry were a sin then it would also be wrong in heaven, yet we see plenty of mention of jewelry in heaven.
One anti-jewelry preacher said that the golden girdle that Jesus wears in Revelations was symbolic. Where does it say that it is symbolic? Why would anyone consider it symbolic? Why would Jesus wear a sinful item as a symbol?
What about the crowns in heaven are they also symbolic? What about the streets of gold and oceans of crystal and gates of pearl, are they also symbolic? Why would God use a sinful thing as symbolic? If God didn't like jewelry, why would it be in heaven?
Some say that people will tell by our not wearing jewelry that a person is a Christian. Well that is not what Jesus said. Jesus said that we would be known by our love for one another, not because we did not wear jewelry.
The Bible is quite clear that to him that is pure all things are pure. If a person conscience is free from condemnation, then by what right do some anti-jewelry preachers heap condemnation upon godly saints of God?
The apostle Paul was quite clear that some legalistic preachers would prohibit things that God has never prohibited.
STUDY THE WORD
I believe if we seek out the scriptures on this subject we will get a clearer answer, but it appears as if seeking out the word is not an option for some. Some got their mind preset on things, regardless of what the word got to say about it.
OK here are the only 2 scriptures that the anti-jewelry preachers use to condemn jewelry. Let us take a good look at them.
I Timothy 2:9 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; 2:10 But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.
I Peter 3:3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; 3:4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
Do these two scriptures condemn or prohibit jewelry? Absolutely NOT!
Many are doing what is known as exegesis, which is when you read more into the text than is there. These scriptures must be studied in their context.
These scriptures use Hebrew idioms. There are plenty of Hebrew idioms in the Bible where one thing is used to emphasize another item. These scriptures simply mean that the emphasis should not be on the physical adornment. Not that it is prohibiting it.
Otherwise this scripture would condemn braided hair. Yet not a single one of anti-jewelry preachers ever condemned braided hair. Nor do any of the anti-jewelry preachers preach against costly array. (Expensive clothing). Church meetings often seem to be a fashion show with everyone wearing their most expensive clothing.
Notice that in both of these scriptures, the audience being addressed is women and wives. It wasn't even addressed to men. The fact that it is not speaking to men makes it clear that the main subject is not jewelry. It is clear that the issues addressed here are modesty, ostentation, submission and temperance.
If the issue were about Jewelry itself, it would have included men too, since in those times it was common for men to also wear jewelry. Since these scriptures only speak to women, then it should be OK for men to wear jewelry, but the anti-jewelry preachers extend this to men too, by what right do they extend it? Come it says women; we men should be allowed to wear tons of jewelry since we are not included in these two scriptures.
One question arises here is. How do you wear good works? And looking at the verse in I Peter 3:3, what does it mean when it says "or of putting on apparel? Should we be naked?
Some say that a church that does not preach against jewelry is less spiritual than the ones who do. Less spiritual? How? In what manner? How does one measure spirituality? Is there some sort of spiritual ruler or scale? That is just the opinion of some preachers, it is a subjective view, without any basis or way to measure it; to either refute it or confirm it and therefore it is not a valid argument.
One could say that those churches that preach against chewing gum are more spiritual, but that is just an opinion without any way to measure it. One might as well say that all those churches which preach against coffee or chocolate are more spiritual. Of course these are hypothetical churches, but the argument is the same.
Some say that they feel convicted of wearing jewelry and that is their main argument. Well there are people who feel convicted of drinking cola drinks, should we then make a rule against drinking colas? A personal conviction is just that personal; it is not a mandate for others. One does not impose one's personal convictions upon others.
Others say that it is the right of the preacher to impose any rule he sees fit in the congregation. Well what if one is against chewing gum, should we then make a rule against gum chewing? Should we then condemn to hell all the other Christians who chew gum? How about if a preacher is against computers, should he prohibit computers in his congregation and then declare that any Christian who uses computers is condemn to hell?
The ones that are inconsistent are the anti-jewelry preachers. The inconsistency of anti-jewelry preachers sometimes is surprising. They never preach against gold watches, which are right to be considered as jewelry. Gold watches will always have more gold and jewels adorning them than a simple wedding band. That the watch is a useful piece of jewelry is beside the point, a watch is jewelry, and therefore should be not be exempted. All those anti-jewelry preachers should only use a plain metal pocket watch in order to be consistent.
Some anti-jewelry preachers demonstrate their inconsistency by excusing wedding bands, for the sake of decency and to protect the church ladies from harassment and the men from being accosted by single women. Well that may be well and good, but wedding bands are also jewelry. Any competent jeweler will confirm that wedding bands are jewelry.
The inconsistency of the anti-jewelry preachers goes on and on. Anything worn in the body made of Gold or silver can be considered jewelry. Yet they will allow people to wear golden teeth, golden eyeglasses, golden tie clips, golden hat clips, golden hair barrettes, gold broaches and a whole lot more. If you are going to preach against jewelry you have to preach against all jewelry items not just the most obvious ones.
What about jewelry that is not made of gold. Let us start with ties; they are an adornment made of cloth. The tie serves no other purpose than to act as jewelry. What about ladies hats, they are adornment and therefore could fall under jewelry made of cloth.
Jesus said that by their fruit you shall know them.
So what is the fruit of this strange anti-jewelry doctrine?
From real life experience; in a certain area I knew there were two ministers, one preached strongly against jewelry, while the other preached the Bible. So what was the fruit of these two different churches?
Can you guess which church had adultery fornication, lying, stealing, simony, and many other vile sins? While the other church had little of it. How do I know? Because I asked the pastors how things were going in their churches.
Sad to say but the preacher of the anti-jewelry church told me that in his church he had every kind of sin; he said to me "Just name it brother, and we have it". The other preacher told me that his saints were growing more and more spiritual and getting their lives in order, there was little sin in his church because he spent his time teaching them what the Bible taught.
The hypocrisy of the anti-jewelry church was such, that one lady lived in adultery with another man, but because she kept the rules of not wearing jewelry the pastor of that certain church prohibited anyone from condemning her or saying anything about her adultery. So as long as she was not wearing jewelry she was ok?
How did this preacher elevated a man-made doctrine higher than a commandment of God? God specifically condemned adultery and never condemned Jewelry, yet this preacher condemned jewelry yet condoned adultery. This preacher would rant and rave against women wearing jewelry, which no one in his church wore; yet not a peep about women engaging in adultery, which was being openly practiced.
I have a confession to make, yes there was a time when I too was one of them anti-jewelry preachers who also condemned wearing jewelry, but after finding Christians who did not believed like I did, I decided to study the Bible in depth. After a long time studying this subject I finally had to concede that I was wrong, the Bible never teaches against jewelry, that is why I no longer do.
Some may condemn me and others who used to preach against wearing jewelry and called it sin, but no longer do, as backsliders. It is easy to call a person a backslider, without understanding that the person has finally understood that God never condemned jewelry. We are not inconsistent; we are just going by what the Bible says and rejecting man-made traditions; and since the bible never says that wearing jewelry is a sin we must simply reject it as a tradition of men.
Personal gain. Some will say that I have a personal interest in speaking for jewelry, but that is a false accusation label against me. For I myself do not wear jewelry, except for my wedding band. (I want the ladies to know that I am married and not available). The only times I wear other jewelry is when I know I will meet an anti-jewelry preacher. (Yes I know this might be asking for trouble, but I am not going to bow down or placate legalistic preachers who teach man-made doctrines). At all other times I do not wear jewelry.
My wife has given up wearing jewelry by personal choice not that she has a conviction or anything against it for on rare occasions she may wear some jewelry. So actually I should be an anti-jewelry preacher since my wife very seldom wears any of it. I should rant against evil jewelry and put my wife as a model just like many of the anti-jewelry preachers do. But no I am not going to put the personal decision of my wife as a non-biblical doctrine for the church.
A good example of preaching for personal gain is a certain preacher who invited to preach in a church, he preached so hard against jewelry that when the time of collection came, he asked the people to give their jewelry in the offering plate; of course out of guilty they gave all their jewelry to him. Did that preacher buried that evil jewelry or destroyed it since it was evil? Of course not, he later on bragged that he made quite a bundle of money from that church. It made me so mad, that this preacher took advantage of people and preached against jewelry just so that he could make gain from people, he was fleecing the sheep.
A couple of real life events showed me the extreme judgmental spirit of this legalistic teaching.
Event 1. I visited a certain church a few times and learned that this church had many sins in their congregation, yet the pastor never preached against those sins. I was received well, but when my wife came with me to visit this church my wife was looked down and made an outcast by the church members. The preacher even had the gall to attack my wife from the pulpit, because she was wearing jewelry, and this happened in her first visit. I was angry that this preacher used the privilege of the pulpit to attack my wife who was a visitor, instead of preaching against the sins in his congregation. Was the preacher sermon on jewelry? No it wasn't yet he deviated from his sermon just long enough to deliver a mini sermon to my wife, who was the only one wearing jewelry. Needless to say we left that church vowing never to return.
Event 2. My daughter was told she was not a Christian by a self-righteous person. The accusation was that she was not a Christian because she wore jewelry. First of all this person does not even know my daughter, does not even know what she believes, but based on some non-biblical man-made doctrine had pronounced my daughter a non-Christian.
Well did Jesus say it "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also." This verse clearly fits many of these anti-jewelry preachers, for they strive to clean people from external jewelry which they consider sinful, but allow people to live sinful lives as long as they do not wear jewelry.
Jesus also said, "ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity." Many people appear so holy in the outside because they do not wear jewelry but their vicious, bitter and judgmental words betray what really is in the inside.
I hesitated for a long time to take on this unbiblical teaching for a long time, because I wanted to keep the peace with other preachers, but things have gone too far and it is time to take this sacred cow to the butcher.
Some of these people feel they can lie, gossip, envy, commit fornication and break other commandments of God as long as they keep the man-made rule of not wearing jewelry. It reminds me of the catholic people, who feel that as long as they can keep the Catholic Church rules and confess their sins to the priest, they can do whatever they please in their personal lives.
I have spent many years in Christendom, have visited many churches and met many preachers.
In these years by observation I have discovered that churches that preach outward holiness are usually bitter churches, full of frustrated and angry people with a condemning and self-righteous spirit.
In these anti-jewelry churches, members play games. They try to outdo each other in their zeal to show that they do not wear jewelry. These games of upmanship sometimes deteriorate into ridiculous nitpicking.
From personal experience I have seen that teaching against jewelry creates a climate where people become legalistic and judgmental of others. In the mind of the legalistic teachers anyone who wears jewelry is going straight to hell. It is a superficial judgment that usurps the place of God, for it is up to God who is going to hell.
Having met many anti-jewelry preachers, I can testify that these are some of the most judgmental and harsh people I have encountered. The spirit of legalism just oozes from them, and they are ready to jump on anyone who disagrees with them in the slightest. They act like they have arrived because they refuse to consider for a moment that they could be in error.
I have met a lot of wonderful saints that wear jewelry and do not live sinful lives, they live holy lives. The love they show toward one another proves that they are disciples of Jesus.
I may be condemned and preached against because I refuse to accept this false doctrine, but unless they can show me from the Bible that it is biblical then I won't accept it. Furthermore I will continue to preach against it, and expose it for what it is, a man-made doctrine, a legalism that was never mandated by God.
Jewelry is neither sinful nor evil. The scriptures never condemn it, and neither should we.