John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
Is the use of cosmetics permitted by the Bible or is its use wrong and sinful?
Why has the Makeup Doctrine been changed so many times?
Why has there been such inconsistency in the Makeup Ruling?
In this paper the will of God concerning this subject will be made very plain.
What Does the Bible Actually
Teach About Women's Make-Up?
God is Love (I John 4:8,16). Everything He does is for the good of mankind. In His great Plan He is creating immortal God-Beings out of us who are physical temporary creatures.
God created all things---including our fore parents, Adam and Eve: "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them… And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day (Genesis 1:27, 31)."
Adam and Eve were created in perfect, vibrant health. Adam was all man, muscular and strong; Eve was completely feminine, lovely and beautiful to her husband. God saw that it was very good--- natural, pure, lovely!
Adam and Eve were perfect physically but did not have the Spirit of God. They were created with fleshly, carnal, unconverted minds, the same as the billions of their descendants would have. Romans 8:5 & 7 explains: "For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit... Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." The mind of man is expressed in I Kings 8:38 as "…the plague of his heart." And Psalms 39:5 adds: "…verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah."
The unconverted mind is hostile to the Law of God. The unconverted mind is subject to, and in most cases, loves the world. I John 2:15-17 declares: "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world."
On the other hand, the converted mind loves God’s Law and seeks to please God in all things. King David exclaims in Psalm 119:97: "O how love I thy law! It is my meditation all the day". Also in verse 113 he declares: "I hate vain thoughts: but thy law do I love." David was a "man after God’s own heart" as Acts 13:22 states. And certainly our Lord Jesus always did God’s will. John 8:29 declares: "…for I do always those things that please him."
It is also our great desire as converted Christian men and women to follow God’s ways and seek to please Him. We try to prevail over our carnal mind and its vanity, striving to do God’s will in every detail of our lives. The struggle to overcome is all-out spiritual warfare! The Apostle Paul writes concerning this in Romans 7:18-19: "For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do."
A constant battle rages within us as we resist against Satan, self, and society therefore a sincere Christian is grateful to have clearly defined Laws of God in which to conduct our lives. But when a ruling is made that is not clearly defined by scriptural authority, the ruling is more difficult to follow in faith. The unusual example of the Rechabites in the Book of Jeremiah is an interesting case of people conforming to a difficult, non-scriptural, administrative ruling. The Rechabites determination to follow the instructions of their physical father, Jonadab, was exceedingly impressive to God, Himself.
The Rechabites were an ancient nomadic tribe belonging to the Kenites of Hemath, descendants of Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses. They entered the land of Canaan along with the Israelites, but in order to preserve their own identity and independence they chose a nomadic existence, living in tents instead of permanent dwellings. In the time of Jeremiah the Prophet 800 years later these people were still faithfully following the very austere way of life Jonadab had determined for them.
Observe how God was moved by their dedication in Jeremiah 35:1-19:
"The word which came unto Jeremiah from the LORD in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, saying, Go unto the house of the Rechabites, and speak unto them, and bring them into the house of the LORD, into one of the chambers, and give them wine to drink. Then I took Jaazaniah the son of Jeremiah, the son of Habaziniah, and his brethren, and all his sons, and the whole house of the Rechabites; And I brought them into the house of the LORD, into the chamber of the sons of Hanan, the son of Igdaliah, a man of God, which was by the chamber of the princes, which was above the chamber of Maaseiah the son of Shallum, the keeper of the door: And I set before the sons of the house of the Rechabites pots full of wine, and cups, and I said unto them, Drink ye wine."
The Rechabites answer Jeremiah…
"But they said, We will drink no wine: for Jonadab the son of Rechab our father commanded us, saying, Ye shall drink no wine, neither ye, nor your sons for ever: Neither shall ye build house, nor sow seed, nor plant vineyard, nor have any: but all your days ye shall dwell in tents; that ye may live many days in the land where ye be strangers. Thus have we obeyed the voice of Jonadab the son of Rechab our father in all that he hath charged us, to drink no wine all our days, we, our wives, our sons, nor our daughters; Nor to build houses for us to dwell in: neither have we vineyard, nor field, nor seed: But we have dwelt in tents, and have obeyed, and done according to all that Jonadab our father commanded us." (They had faithfully done this for 800 years!)
Then GOD SPEAKS…
"The words of Jonadab the son of Rechab, that he commanded his sons not to drink wine, are performed; for unto this day they drink none, but obey their father's commandment: notwithstanding I have spoken unto you, rising early and speaking; but ye hearkened not unto me. I have sent also unto you all my servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them, saying, Return ye now every man from his evil way, and amend your doings, and go not after other gods to serve them, and ye shall dwell in the land which I have given to you and to your fathers: but ye have not inclined your ear, nor hearkened unto me. Because the sons of Jonadab the son of Rechab have performed the commandment of their father, which he commanded them; but this people hath not hearkened unto me: Therefore thus saith the LORD God of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring upon Judah and upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem all the evil that I have pronounced against them: because I have spoken unto them…"
Jeremiah then delivers God’s great tribute to the Rechabites…
"And Jeremiah said unto the house of the Rechabites, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Because ye have obeyed the commandment of Jonadab your father, and kept all his precepts, and done according unto all that he hath commanded you: Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not want a man to stand before me for ever."
The administrative ruling to refrain from drinking wine, to never build houses or plant fields and vineyards was not a command of God; it was a decision Jonadab made to maintain the identity of his people and to set them apart from the rest of the "world."
A Little History
Herbert W. Armstrong was a "father-figure", similar to Jonadab, through whom God called all of us into His Church. In the early years of his ministry, Mr. Armstrong allowed Church of God women to use facial cosmetics, commonly known today as makeup. During those dark depression days many families could not afford food or the necessities of life, much less cosmetics, therefore cosmetics were not as great an issue as later on. But as the "roaring twenties" had ended, the wearing of makeup had become common for many women of the United States who could afford them. In those early days of the late 20’s and early 30’s when Mr. and Mrs. Armstrong associated with the Church of God (headquartered in Stanberry, Mo., the Sardis Era Church), the women of that Church did not wear Makeup. And as human nature goes, these religious ladies were critical of those women then being called of God, through Mr. Armstrong’s ministry, who did wear makeup.
Nevertheless, Mr. Armstrong permitted the use of makeup. He made mention of his growing disapproval of makeup during the 40’s although he did not officially address the issue until the early 50’s. At that time he became disturbed by the excessive use of makeup by women of the Church and especially his own daughters’. Apparently, Mr. Armstrong thought the extreme use of makeup appeared "worldly" and as God’s servant he could not allow the love of the world to take hold in the Church. Therefore, he did a study on the subject and wrote a lengthy article ruling against the use of any makeup by women of the Church. The Adam Clark Bible Commentary’s interpretation of "wanton eyes" in Isaiah 3:16 weighed heavily in Mr. Armstrong’s decision of banning makeup. Isaiah 3:16 states: "Moreover the LORD saith, because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet…"
As a result of that ruling Worldwide (Radio) Church of God women did not wear makeup from 1954 to 1974 out of respect for Mr. Armstrong---and the Government of God. In 1963 the WCG issued as Church Doctrine a lengthy booklet based on Mr. Armstrong’s article forbidding the use of Women’s’ Makeup.
More History and a Little Leaven…
However, in 1974, Mr. Armstrong, relaxed the Makeup ruling, allowing Churchwomen to wear cosmetics in balance. Herbert Armstrong as God’s Apostle would never change a plainly stated law, statute, or ordinance of God. Thus for Mr. Armstrong to make this reversal from his original decision is plain evidence that there was no specific "thus saith the Lord" command or any clear instructions for or against the use of cosmetics in the Bible. His original ban on makeup appeared to be based on his concern for the excessive emphasis on self and outward appearance being displayed. Too much emphasis on one’s self is vanity, which leads to sin! Also, the excessive use of makeup appeared worldly. Mr. Armstrong’s article on makeup indicated that he even associated the use of makeup with "harlotry". Yet once it was shown to Mr. Armstrong that Adam Clark was in error in the explanation of "wanton eyes" in Isaiah 3:16, he issued the change in the Women’s Makeup doctrine.
The English word wanton can be defined as "lewd, unchaste or sexually loose". In Isaiah 3:16 wanton is translated from the Hebrew word saw-kar (#8265) and defined by Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance as:
"A primitive root; to ogle, that is, blink coquettishly: - wanton."
To ogle according to Webster’s New World Dictionary means, "to keep looking (at) flirtatiously". Men have a natural tendency to ogle with wanton eyes even more so than women. Makeup is not required to ogle or flirt with by either sex. The word saw-kar’, #8265 does not indicate eye makeup whatsoever, but it does definitely demonstrate that these women described in Isaiah 3:16 are flirtatious, perhaps "sexually loose".
To associate wanton eyes with eye makeup a very similar Hebrew word, shaw-kar, (Strong’s #8266) appears to have been mistakenly used by some translators:
"A primitive root; to cheat, that is, be untrue (usually in words): - fail, deal falsely, lie."
If #8266 had been used instead of #8265 there would be a reason for implying "false" or "made up" or "painted eyes", however #8265 is used here---the only place in the Old Testament where it is used. Ogling does not mean cheating or lying and neither does saw-kar’ mean shaw-kar’!
Mr. Armstrong rescinded the ruling on makeup in 1974! He was responsible for the change that allowed the Churchwomen to once again use cosmetics in moderation.
Reproduced here is the announcement by Mr. Armstrong that appeared in the October 23, 1974 issue of the Bulletin:
"The doctrinal research team I appointed has carefully and thoroughly researched the [makeup] question and determined definitely that the scriptures we used which appeared to condemn any use of cosmetics whatsoever on the face are, in fact, misleading.
"For example, Isaiah 3:16 actually says, ‘wanton glances’ in Hebrew, not ‘eye painting.’ Makeup is not mentioned at all in Isaiah 3.
"No woman in God’s Church should ever APPEAR ‘painted.’ As we relax moderately on this question women must be cautioned against overuse, bad taste, and that the scriptures admonish women to retain MODESTY.
"I do not want to see God’s women dressing and grooming so VERY plainly and UNworldly that they appear to be wearing a ‘religious uniform.’ That is, to set themselves so far off from ‘the world’ as a whole that they actually APPEAR ‘religious’—and also, a little ridiculous. And frankly, some of our women DO—they go too far to the extreme in plainness.
"Our women must avoid the overdone Hollywood glamour-girl grooming on the one hand, and the plain UN-beautiful eyesore ‘religious uniform’ on the other. Both men and women should dress in a manner that does not attract special attention because of grooming or appearance too far from the average. And we should take a little pride in our appearance –not from VANITY, but to be pleasing to others.
"If, on a slight relaxing of our policy on make-up, some women appears too far towards overdoing it, the minister should speak to her privately about it—kindly—but still admonishing her."
Herbert W. Armstrong
End of 1974 announcement.
However, "…a little leaven leavens the whole lump" (I Cor. 5:6). Instead of moderation many women rushed out to purchase any and all types of cosmetics available: lipstick, mascara, foundation, powder, blush, eye shadow, etc. In their excitement and release of their suppressed desire, they went way too far. As a result, Mr. Armstrong in 1981 stunned the Church, reversing his decision of moderation and demanded that God’s women not wear makeup at all. At this period of time, God’s servant had been disgraced and embarrassed by the unfortunate situation that developed between him and his second wife, Ramona. Mr. Armstrong was 88 years old and distressed with the liberal attitude then existing in the WCG. He viewed the excessive use of makeup as representative of a Protestant-type liberal movement within the Church. He wrote another lengthy article with the strong title, How subtly Satan used Makeup to start the Church Off-Track! Once again all makeup was banned! This presented an extremely difficult trial for many righteous women. It was a "burden" and a "stumbling block" to many of them. Nevertheless most accepted the decision and endured it as "Spiritual Rechabite" women!
After Herbert Armstrong’s death in January of 1986, Joseph W. Tkach became Pastor-General of the Worldwide Church of God (WCG). This man began very quickly to change established doctrines of the Church. One of these early changes (November 1988) was the removal of the ban on women’s makeup. This was a very popular move that set Mr. Tkach very high in the eyes of most Church of God women. Mr. Tkach also cautioned the women to wear makeup in moderation with "no eye makeup". Moderation had not worked in the past---and it did not work this time. Many of the women of the Worldwide Church welcomed the change, (as did most men) displaying immediately their dormant desire to wear cosmetics as a part of feminine grooming. Today the WCG and most of the split and splintered daughter churches have emerged in all levels of use of cosmetics comparable to any affluent women of the world, "putting on their faces" before venturing out of the house each day. Every type of cosmetics are used today by women who previously refrained from its use, eye shadow, eyeliner, rouge, lipstick, hair coloring, etc, etc.
Had Satan deceived the Church in the same manner as he had deceived Mother Eve with the forbidden fruit? Is it wrong for the women of God’s Church to wear makeup? Is the use of cosmetics a sin?
On Again, Off Again
In 1990 Gerald Flurry was raised up as the leader of the Laodicean Work of God taking the corporate name, Philadelphia Church of God (PCG). This zealous man restored the doctrines taught by Herbert W. Armstrong and revealed to those who would hear, the prophecies concerning the "man of sin" sitting in the Temple of God! Those men and women, who were crying aloud and diligently seeking for God’s Truth, were thrilled to discover Mr. Flurry and the dynamic Laodicean Work of Jesus Christ. We were deeply thankful to be given understanding of such vital prophecies that were being fulfilled right before our amazed eyes. And it was wonderful to see the doctrines of God restored to His Church! But one of the doctrines adopted by the PCG was the ban on Women’s Makeup!
In December of 1992, those of us of the Southeastern Region of the United States were assured that makeup would not be an issue and would be permitted in the PCG. Had it not been allowed, my wife and family and a number of our close friends and brethren, would not have read Mr. Flurry’s book, Malachi’s Message. The Doctrinal Changes booklet of the PCG listing Makeup, as one of the doctrines that would be re-established was not circulated in our region until the Spring Holy Days of 1993. A sizable number of brethren had slowly come with us into the PCG, but left after the 1993 ministerial conference and knowledge of the ban on women’s makeup!
Once again some dedicated women who desired to be a part of the Work of God were not permitted to wear makeup, a serious and offending blow to them. As before, some women did not care one way or another; to others it was a terrible burden. It was an extremely embarrassing and humbling trial for many of the women of God, not only to remove their makeup, but also attempt to explain such an obvious change of appearance to their relatives, friends, and associates.
Most men of the Church have never considered or felt the burdensome weight that many of our ladies have been required to bare with this intrusion into their private lives. This trial, once again placed upon the women of God’s Church, was equivalent to the feeling a man would experience if he had to appear naked in public! Some of you men may doubt that statement, therefore consider this: how if you had never been circumcised and had to submit to this requirement to become a member of God’s Church? In past New Testament times new male converts were required to submit to circumcision! Compare submitting to circumcision as a measure of severity the banning of makeup was for some of God’s faithful ladies. These were women who sincerely wanted to be a part of the Work of Jesus Christ. And most of our women came out of the PCG into the Church of God’s Faithful (CGF).
Never in the history of God’s Church has there been such inconsistency in a doctrinal matter as that of Women’s Makeup! Many of God’s faithful women have been forced to change back and forth four, five, or possibly SIX times---causing much emotional anguish. Observe these historical facts:
In the beginning of the Philadelphia era makeup was allowed.
From 1954-1974 makeup was disallowed.
From 1974-1981 it was again permitted.
From 1981- 1987 it was banned.
In 1988 makeup was once again allowed in the WCG and subsequently accepted by certain leading evangelists and pastors as they later split off from the WCG to start their own churches.
In 1992-3 Gerald Flurry officially banned makeup in the PCG.
Such inconsistency in this administrative ruling is ample evidence that there is no scriptural "thus saith the Lord" instructions regarding the subject of Women’s Makeup! Regardless of the good intentions for the ruling initially, it has been a severe and unnecessary stumbling block for many of God’s righteous women. I know this for a fact---my wife and I have experienced it!
What Does The Bible Say?
Let’s begin our study of the subject of Women’s Makeup with Romans 14:13:
"Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way."
The Word of God is mostly silent concerning makeup except for a few negative examples of those who did use it such as Jezebel and the allegorical description of Aholah and Aholabah in Ezekiel 23, of the city of Jerusalem in Jeremiah 4:30, and of course the "wanton eyes" description in Isaiah 3:16.
I became a member of the Church of God in 1961. A team sent out by Mr. Armstrong baptized me on August 4, of that year. My first encountered with the makeup ruling came about a short while later causing my wife deep grief. Years later, at the 1993 PCG ministerial conference I discussed the makeup issue with Mr. Flurry. I "went to bat" for God’s women asking him to allow the use of cosmetics due to the obvious inconsistency of the ruling. Mr. Flurry very sincerely told me, "I cannot change any ruling Mr. Armstrong has made." From that point in 1993 I never questioned his or Mr. Armstrong’s authority concerning their decisions on women’s makeup. I knew they had the authority to do as they thought best; and would answer to the Head of the Church, Jesus Christ. However, now the question of Women’s Makeup has come up in the CGF and I am searching out the answers from God’s Word, really, for the first time ---and I fully realize I must answer to Christ, too!
The words cosmetics or makeup do not appear in the King James Version of the Holy Bible. The English word cosmetic is defined by Webster New Word Dictionary as: "adj. [< Gr. Kosmos, order] beautifying, or correcting faults in, the face, hair, etc.---n. a cosmetic preparation, as lipstick—." The same Greek word kosmos from which "cosmetics" is derived is translated as world (Strong’s #2889) in many places in the New Testament (see 1 John 2:15-17).
Oil was used as a "cosmetic" in the Bible. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (ISBE) supplies the following information under the subject of "Oil":
As a Cosmetic
"From earliest times oil was used as a cosmetic, especially for oiling the limbs and head. Oil used in this way was usually scented (see OINTMENT). Oil is still used in this manner by the Arabs, principally to keep the skin and scalp soft when traveling in dry desert regions where there is no opportunity to bathe. Sesame oil has replaced olive oil to some extent for this purpose. Homer, Pliny and other early writers mention its use for external application. Pliny claimed it was used to protect the body against the cold. Many Biblical references indicate the use of oil as a cosmetic (Exo_25:6; Deu_28:40; Rth_3:3; 2Sa_12:20; 2Sa_14:2; Est_2:12; Psa_23:5; Psa_92:10; Psa_104:15; Psa_141:5; Eze_16:9; Mic_6:15; Luk_7:46)."
Some of these scriptures are printed below.
In referring to coloring the face and especially the eyes the word paint is used in the Word of God. Let me quote the ISBE for the definitions of the Hebrew word paint:
pa¯nt (from Old French peinctre, frequentative of peindre, Latin pingo, "to paint"): (1) From Hebrew verb îùç, ma¯shaḥ, "to smear," "to anoint," "to paint," describing the painting of interiors with vermilion, perhaps resembling lacquer: "ceiled with cedar, and painted with vermilion" (Jer_22:14). The shields of the Ninevite soldiers were red, presumably painted (Nah_2:3). (2) From noun ôجهجê, pu¯kh, "paint," "antimon," "stibium," "black mineral powder" used as a cosmetic, to lend artificial size and fancied beauty to the eye, always spoken of as a meretricious device, indicating light or unworthy character (‘meretricious’ is defined by Webster as: [L. meretrix, a prostitute] 1. alluring but tawdry 2. specious). Jezebel "painted her eyes, and attired her head" (2Ki_9:30, literally, "put pu¯kh into her eyes"). To the harlot city Jerusalem, Jeremiah (Jer. 4:30) says, "deckest thee ..., enlargest thine eyes with paint" (pu¯kh). the King James Version renders "rentest thy face," as if the stain were a cut, or the enlarging done by violence. (3) From verb ëجçى, ka¯ḥal, "to smear," "to paint." Ezekiel says to Oholah-Oholibah (Judah-Israel), "didst wash thyself, paint (ka¯ḥal) thine eyes," as the adulteress prepares herself for her paramour (Eze_23:40). The antimony, in an extremely fine powder (Arabic kuḥl, from ka¯ḥal), is placed in the eye by means of a very fine rod, bodkin, or probe, drawn between the edges of the eyelids. This distends the eye, and also increases its apparent size, the effect being increased by a line of stain drawn from the corner, and by a similar line prolonging the eyebrow. See EYEPAINT; COLOR.
The scriptures referred to above, II Kings 9:30; Jeremiah 4:30; and Ezekiel 23:40& 44; are printed here:
End of Quotation
These scriptures certainly indicate that which the commentaries bluntly state; when the applying of eye makeup is designed to allure or seduce, it indicates harlotry or a "light and unworthy character".
But do all women who apply makeup today do so to allure or seduce? Of course not!
Under the word eyelid the ISBE gives the following:
"i¯´lid: Eyes and eyelids in Hebrew are sometimes used synonymously, as in the parallelism of Pro_4:25 (compare Pro_6:4; Pro_30:13): ‘Let thine eyes look right on, And let thine eyelids look straight before thee.’
"(Compare ‘Neither let her take thee with her eyelids.’ Painting the eyelids was resorted to to intensify the beauty, antimony (which see) being used for darkening the lashes (2Ki_9:30; Jer_4:30; Eze_23:40)."
End of quotation.
Painting of the lips, apart from the face, is not mentioned in scripture. Red lips and rosy cheeks as an indication of robust health is seen in Song of Solomon 4:3 and has nothing to do with cosmetics: "Thy lips are like a thread of scarlet, and thy speech is comely: thy temples (cheeks) are like a piece of a pomegranate within thy locks."
Job 42: 14-15 tells us the youngest daughter of the patriarch, Job, was named "Keren-Happuch" meaning "horn of antimony", i.e. beautifier, according to the translators. Righteous Job allowed this name to be given to his daughter. This scripture is considered by some who wanted to argue against the Adam Clark Commentary interpretation of "wanton eyes," as an approval for the use of "eye makeup." This seems like a far-fetched argument since children are usually given their names at birth or shortly thereafter, therefore as a baby she would not be wearing eye makeup. It seems obvious to me that the true meaning of the name of this beautiful baby girl was an expression of the latest blessing God gave to Job. Keren-Happuch was a "beautifier" of Job’s life after his severe trials.
The Proverbs 31 Woman
God inspired Solomon to describe the true model for all women, especially wives and mothers in Proverbs 31:10-31:
"Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar. She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms. She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night. She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of the snow for her household; for all her household are clothed with scarlet. She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple. Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land. She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant. Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates."
Silence Means Something!
There is no mention of makeup with the Proverb 31 woman, However, please realize this allegorical lady, most likely enjoyed radiant, robust health, due to carefully obeying all of God’s Laws, and was naturally beautiful. But surely this model lady probably did use oils, ointments, perfumes and any other aid as were common in cleanliness and grooming in her day. Again, read Esther 2:12.
Now we will view scriptures that describe God’s Bride---and please notice again that the only "cosmetic" mentioned is oil.
The verses in Ezekiel above and these following describe God presenting His elegant symbolic Wife in her natural beauty lovingly displayed in Queenly finery, with not a hint of makeup.
Christ’s Bride/Wife is pure and clean, arrayed in expensive finery and tasteful jewelry---without spot, wrinkle, or blemish.
In I Peter 3:1-5 (NIV) it clearly reveals that God considers true beauty as inward righteous character, not outward show:
"In a similar way, you wives must submit yourselves to your husbands so that, even if some of them refuse to obey the word, they may be won over without a word through your conduct as wives when they see your pure and reverent lives. Your beauty should not be an external one, consisting of braided hair or the wearing of gold ornaments and dresses. Instead, it should be the inner disposition of the heart, consisting in the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great value in the sight of God. After all, this is how holy women who set their hope on God used to make themselves beautiful in the past. They submitted themselves to their husbands…"
"Your beauty should not be an external one…" the scripture declares, but does it mean a woman should not be well groomed? Does it mean a woman should be sloppy and careless with her appearance? Not at all! God loves beauty! He created the multitude of various colors to enhance the beauty and majesty of all that naturally exists on the earth. The scripture above is emphasizing a beautiful spiritual attitude, not just an outward appearance. Nevertheless, a beautiful spiritual attitude can also be reflected in a beautiful, well-groomed, physical appearance of a lovely, truly feminine wife, that her husband---and God---would appreciate.
Spots, Wrinkles, and Blemishes!
Six thousand years have passed since God created Adam and Eve. Satan’s evil world has taken its toll on mankind. Everything about society today (the World) is corrupted and polluted to one level or another. The health of mankind is in a woeful state even among the fittest of us. Our health, mental, emotional, and physical is reflected in our appearance today. We are plagued with spots, wrinkles, and blemishes. The average man or women of the world today needs eyeglasses, dentures, hairpieces, artificial joints, open-heart surgery, organ transplants, and on and on. We are all products of Satan’s society!
The history of allowing women’s makeup in moderation has not been successful in God’s Church---twice. The women who displayed unbalance and went way overboard when makeup was permitted brought grief and problems for those who did use makeup in balance. Using makeup in balance is not a sin; it’s just a method of proper feminine grooming. Is the use of makeup in excess a sin; is it evil? 1Thessalonians 5:22 states: "Abstain from all appearance of evil." Is excessive makeup an "appearance of evil"? We will answer this question later.
There is no law in the Word of God that forbids wearing makeup. If there were there would have been no reason for the inconsistency of the makeup ruling! Pride and vanity are definitely human weaknesses that we all must struggle against. Makeup can promote vanity, so can costly furs and expensive jewelry as described in Ezekiel! In this article, every scripture reference that I could find relating to today’s practice of wearing makeup has been presented.
There have been many godly women who wore makeup in a balanced way, yet ceased wearing any whatsoever when the Ruling was made banning makeup. They obeyed the Ruling just as the Rechabites of old obeyed Jonadab. In my opinion, God is just as impressed with these faithful women as He was with the ancient Rechabites. And I am convinced a very special reward will be given these modern Rechabite women.
The Ruling against the use of any makeup has been a sore stumbling block to many women and girls of God’s Church. This stumbling block caused some young women growing up in the Worldwide Church to turn away from the Church as they became older and out on their own. Now another generation of young girls have come along, who desire to wear makeup yet, now, face this same stumbling block in the Church of God’s Faithful. And there are many of the "highways and the hedges" of which God will soon be calling into His Church (Luke 14: 23-24). They will need loving, spiritual help and encouragement---not a stumbling block laid in their path.
Shouldn’t we be deeply concerned for teen-age girls (and boys) who will do practically anything to prevent their appearance as being "different" from their peers at school? And remember, in most cases, our teens are unconverted. Due to the ban on makeup, many young girls who take time to even consider religion believe God must be "unfair"; Mr. Armstrong was "old fashioned" and Mr. Flurry only copied Mr. Armstrong. Therefore what can they do? What must I do?
Principles and Profits
The apostle Paul was inspired to write in 1Corinthians 10:31 this command to all Christians: "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." This essential principle is the key to anything we as converted Christians do! It deeply involves our attitudes---the spirit we display to God. We are Representatives of the Kingdom of God and Ambassadors for Jesus Christ! Who we are must be foremost in our minds in all humility---and whatsoever we do, do it all to the glory of God. God must be put first in our lives, not our vanity! Again, think of the Rechabites and the honor they showed their physical forefather, Jonadab.
The cosmetics industry is a profitable multi-billion dollar industry and one of the largest advertisers on television and in magazines. This pressure of the world, accentuated by the entertainment industry, greatly influences women and young girls to be beautiful like their favorite "star"---made up from head to toe!
Women and teen-aged girls especially are influenced by the world. Shopping malls are designed to attract women. Whatever the fashion magazines or TV ads display becomes the style that must be followed. Millions of women of normal or slightly above normal size and weight are made to feel unattractive and ugly by the skinny, anorexic-looking "models" seen today. These abnormally thin "models" parading across the stage in outlandish "new styles," garishly painted from head to toe, are not attractive to normal men, yet are fashion idols for women and young girls. These "models" unnatural, imitation, gaudily made-up appearance are also copied by the female entertainers who strive to replicate the "models’" trend in style; this impresses upon the minds of women and girls as; "this is the way women should look!"
These fashions of the world do not teach young girls how to appear wholesome and healthy, but how to appear seductive like their idols in movies, TV, videos, and magazines. Sweet young girls willingly present themselves nearly naked if the style dictates it. Sexy, bare midriffs exposing their navel and their rear-end is willingly accepted, if it’s the style. Revealing their cleavage or most of their breasts is the norm for young women and girls today. What is it in a young woman’s mind that would have her expose herself, smiling and unembarrassed, in a string bikini? Or wear a dress six inches above her knees, low-cut and with spaghetti-straps---and go out in public! What naturally comes into a man’s mind when he sees a girl displaying herself for all to see? Why are we shocked at the increase in sexual crimes?
This is a tiny part of the deceived world of today!
Is modesty not taught anymore at all? Women’s dresses and skirts should cover the knees when sitting. Dresses and blouses that are low cut revealing cleavage should not be worn. This is just common modesty and prudence.
Have you ever analyzed the lustful looks of the made-up, semi-nude models for "Victoria’s Secret"? In my opinion, their "wanton" looks must be very similar to Jezebel’s in her efforts to seduce Jehu. Do you remember pitiful, exploited and murdered, little Jon Benet Ramsey---made up from head to toe? Who was it that she and her parents were trying to imitate? What horrifying results!
This is the evil World we live in---and the last phrase of James 1:27 admonishes each of us: "…to keep themselves unspotted from the world."
Do you as a Christian mother (father) want your daughter to be caught up and spotted by the fashion of this world? Are you spotted by this evil world? Each of us living in this wicked society is influenced by it to some degree. It’s the World we live in and we must strive for balance. Our Lord tells us in John 17:15: "I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil"…(all evil of and in the world, JFB).
We must not be spotted by the world and we must not lay burdens and stumbling blocks before one another or those from the highways and hedges. Therefore what do we do? Certainly, we must seek balance and avoid extremes. Once again we are back to "moderation"!
The excessive application of makeup as women of the world use it is a giant step in venturing out into the Sodom of today’s society. And today’s society is where most of the women of the highways and hedges live. These "replacements" for those who throw away their "spiritual crowns" (see again Luke 14: 16-24) must be taught all of God’s Ways in gentleness, love, and by example. They will be brought out of an unbalanced, mixed up world and will be gradually taught God’s Ways; to be balanced and moderate in all things---and avoid the use of excessive makeup! Makeup itself is not a sin; it’s an inanimate "thing". A person’s attitude about something is where sin can develop. An extreme emphasis on self, which is unbridled vanity and covetousness, is the same SIN that surfaced in Lucifer, as he became Satan, the devil!
Therefore, if you or your daughter wishes to wear makeup to produce a clean natural, healthy appearance, well and good! But you must be very cautious. Use balance! Stumbling blocks must be removed and be replaced by modesty with godly patience and the love of God’s Law. We don’t want to venture out into the extremes of Satan’s World although that is the general location of the highways and the hedges.
If you allow your unconverted teen-age daughter to wear a tiny bit of makeup to encourage her to be a shining example, you must also be diligent in helping her avoid stepping out into Satan’s evil world. What are some other ways the devil uses to attract young girls and women?
Will your sweet innocent daughter also want to be clad in the ridiculous, revealing clothing styles the world offers? How about pre-teen dating and going steady? The world our children live in practices and promotes such behavior! How about unsupervised parties, even pornographic-movie parties, as have been reported on television documentaries? How long before your daughter will want to wear thongs and go bra-less, or have body piercing and tattooing?
A step out into the world opens the evil door of experimenting with sex and drugs, even lesbianism, to experience unwanted births or abortion---and suicide, all in a downward spiral in Satan’s society. Are you caught up and spotted by the fashion of this world? Do you desire to be "liberated" and choose your own personal preference, your way of life? If you do, your daughters will too. Personal preference without the guidance of God’s Word is just another way of stating Proverbs 14:12: "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man (or woman), but the end thereof are the ways of death."
A Christian man or woman, Spiritual Rechabites, Representatives of the Kingdom of God, Ambassadors for Christ must do all things for the glory of God as instructed by the Word of God.
Therefore, you must diligently teach your children that this world and its ways are wrong---that excessive makeup as many women of the world use it is not balanced? Excessive makeup does not produce a natural, healthy and wholesome appearance, but a cheap and artificial look that appears as it is, "painted on."
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 commands all parents to teach God’s Ways:
"Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates."
If children are thoroughly and prayerfully taught the Principles of God without placing burdensome stumbling blocks in their way; if their exposure to the spotting of this world is minimized, they can be balanced and walk in God’s Ways. That’s a promise from God---but the parents must teach God’s Ways in love and set the sterling example.
The generation of women that lived in my mother’s time powdered their noses and faces. A "shiny nose" was deplorable in public and the face was to be smooth and white with a small amount of rouge on the cheeks. Today the trend is to be tanned, artificially or naturally, to the point of being brown-skinned---a one-world color.
My mother also wore lipstick. She was a lovely lady and a minister’s wife and certainly not a "harlot." My sister and my daughter today wear makeup as a point of proper grooming. They are not "harlots"; they don’t seek to allure or seduce. Makeup is a part of their femininity, their dress. Mrs. Laura Bush, the Nations "First Lady," is an example of an elegant and dignified lady. She is beautiful and well groomed, using makeup to enhance her God-given beauty, in a very balanced way.
Perhaps you should be more balanced in regard to cosmetics. If you do have "blemishes, wrinkles, or spots" such as facial birthmarks, acne scars, or splotchy skin that are unsightly facial imperfection that can attract stares or attention from others; be balanced and use a cosmetic to make your face more natural looking. And I emphasize a natural look, not a false, imitation look.
Don’t worry or feel you are of "low character" if you apply makeup to produce a natural look. Just use common sense! We all should want to appear well-groomed, neat, clean and natural looking. All of us, men and women, want our homes and yards to look nice and well kept. We trim our hedges and lawns, we paint our homes and keep them neat and clean. We men shave and apply scented aftershave lotion. We cut our hair and keep it combed. If I did not use hair oil as a part of grooming, I would certainly appear "wild and wooly." Most women shave their legs and underarms. They pluck the wild hair in their eyebrows to neatly form them as a point of good grooming and beauty. Possibly you have very light-colored eyebrows and eyelashes that are nearly invisible. What can you do? If they can be made more defined and natural appearing, by the addition of a little color---as a point of grooming, do it! We need to be balanced and sensible in anything we do---for the glory of God.
If your non-member husband, who is your Head (I Corinthians 11:3), wants you to wear a little makeup to please him, then do it for his glory and for the glory of God? We do not need to fear cosmetics, but use them as a grooming enhancement in balance for God’s glory. You must teach your daughters this vital principle of balance and moderation? The same principle applies for you older women who have become pale and your face lined and wrinkled; use a slightly colored foundation cream to smooth the skin and restore a healthier glow to your face and lips---if you so desire. If you do not wish to change your grooming habits, if you have no desire to wear makeup, that is fine and it’s your business. And you can continue to humbly view your own self as a Faithful Rechabite, but you must be tolerant of those ladies and girls that choose to use cosmetics.
Also remember, those women of the highways and hedges that God may call, may not understand the absence of makeup you will display. Women who do wear it usually immediately recognize a woman who does not wear makeup as "different." But it is your choice and your right to wear makeup or not. God’s Spirit will inspire just the right words for you to say to these "little ones" God will call. Remember, you are a Spiritual Rechabite. Proverbs 25:11 tells us: "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver."
Now let’s read again from Isaiah 3:16-24. Read carefully and consider---this is God’s disdain for women’s excessive emphasis on their appearance:
"Moreover the LORD saith, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet: Therefore the Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the LORD will discover their secret parts. In that day the Lord will take away the bravery of their tinkling ornaments about their feet, and their cauls, and their round tires like the moon, The chains, and the bracelets, and the mufflers, The bonnets, and the ornaments of the legs, and the headbands, and the tablets, and the earrings, The rings, and nose jewels, The changeable suits of apparel, and the mantles, and the wimples, and the crisping pins, The glasses, and the fine linen, and the hoods, and the vails. And it shall come to pass, that instead of sweet smell there shall be stink; and instead of a girdle a rent; and instead of well set hair baldness; and instead of a stomacher a girding of sackcloth; and burning instead of beauty…"
That is a very strong admonishment from God to the women of God’s Church for this present time---the Day of the Lord. An unbalanced, excessive emphasis on one’s appearance is plain vanity and pride that leads to a worship of ones own self! That is very wrong! It is sin that results in death! Yet, I sincerely feel, the ban on wearing makeup is an unnecessary yoke of bondage and stumbling block to those God will bring from the highways and the hedges, just as it has been to many of the faithful ladies of God’s Church. At the same time I must caution that too much attention to one’s own self can lead to serious spiritual problems. Husbands, help your wives to wear makeup in a balanced approach of modest feminine grooming. You single ladies, use good judgment and please do not "go overboard" as has been done in the past. I pray God’s Spirit will direct the attitude and performance of God’s women in using makeup as an example to others in grateful moderation. And that the ministry from now on will not need to be involved in the subject of makeup---except on rare personal cases.
Therefore, the Church of God’s Faithful removes the ban against Women’s Makeup, as long as it is worn modestly.
For you men studying this paper, I would like to bring to your attention once gain the doctrine of Circumcision. God, as a covenant between Himself and Abram, instituted the physical ordinance of Circumcision (see Genesis 17:10-14 and Exodus 12:43-44). This physical removal of flesh was commanded upon all Israelite boys and any stranger desiring to live among the Israelites. After nearly 2000 years of this practice, those being called into the New Testament Church looked upon this as a yoke of bondage, a serious spiritual hindrance and a stumbling block. Removing the requirement of circumcision is a perfect example of the love of God inspiring a change in a burdensome doctrine to encourage those being drawn into the Church of God.
In the Book of Acts, chapter 15, a ministerial conference was called to consider the burdensome stumbling block the doctrine of circumcision was causing new male converts. Verse one states the obvious problem: "And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved."
God will very shortly require many men and women of the "highways and the hedges" to come to His True Church to replace those that have thrown away their crown (Luke 14:23-24). If circumcision were required today, how would you as a non-circumcised man of the "highways and hedges" react to the calling of God? Wouldn’t you want this stumbling block removed? As a Christian man can’t you more easily sympathize with God’s women as you compare how you might feel being circumcised contrasted with their bearing a burden possibly just as personal to them?
Think for a moment on how many fervent prayers were being sent up to God for a merciful removal of the Circumcision Doctrine! There has been a lack of mercy and consideration for the feelings of many of God’s righteous women who have suffered though the vacillations of the Makeup Doctrine. These righteous women have also sent up many fervent prayers, with tears and broken hearts, to God asking for mercy!
Now let’s continue in the Book of Acts.
After much discussion, James, the brother of our Lord, stood an presented the inspired decision in verses 19-21 and 28:
"Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath day…For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to place on you any burden but these essential requirements (NIV)."
James’ sentence was in no way being disrespectful to God, Abraham, or Moses in changing the Circumcision Doctrine. He and the other ministers were removing a burden by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, approved and directed by Jesus Christ.
My sentence here is in no way being disrespectful to God, Herbert Armstrong, or Gerald Flurry in changing the Makeup Doctrine in the Church of God’s Faithful. I am removing this burden by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, approved and directed by Jesus Christ.
We cannot be a part of the world, but we do live in this world…and must be an example to it!
We are the Church of God’s Faithful! We are mature Christians ready to teach thousands. Let me repeat, we are Ambassadors of Christ, and Representatives of the Kingdom of God, therefore let’s each of us, men and women, use the principle stated in this paper, making it a vital part of our daily prayer---to be balanced in all things for the glory of God.
You mothers and fathers teach this diligently to your daughters and your sons. We must LOVE GOD and impress Him with OUR obedience. Be THANKFUL for His MERCIFUL Ways---for His ways are always good---very good.
December 4, 2004
© Church of God's Faithful 2018