Jewelry and the Bible

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Does the Bible teach it is wrong to wear jewelry? Does God condone or condemn the practice?

The Bible has quite a bit to say about jewelry. In fact, there are several examples where God gave ornamentation to others in order to show how much he loved them. For example, the Lord commanded Moses to have the women of Israel, just before they left Egypt, take jewelry from their masters as payment for the many bitter years of labor as slaves (Exodus 3:21 - 22).

Scripture repeats the command of Exodus 3 in Exodus 11:2 and 12:35. Such treasures included chains, earrings, nose and finger rings, trinkets and other ornamentation. It is interesting to note that the Lord also commanded that, when the children of Israel left the land of Egypt, they were to place the jewelry they took both on themselves and their children (Exodus 3:22)!

The prophet Ezekiel was inspired to write allegorically about how God rescued the children of Israel from Egypt then took the nation to be his "wife" through the Old Covenant. The Lord then described how he personally adorned his bride with beautiful jewels (Ezekiel 16:11 - 13). He also stated that he imparted to his "wife" such beauty, through what he had given her, that even other nations recognized it was perfect (verse 14).

Picture of the Hope Diamond
The Hope Diamond (45.5 carats)
National Museum of Natural History

God likes to decorate

When the Almighty created Lucifer, he gave him a magnificent appearance! This beauty, which the Lord stated was perfect, was made possible through at least nine precious stones commonly used in jewelry (Ezekiel 38:12 - 13)! This means Lucifer (who would ultimately turn himself into Satan the devil) was honored by being decorated with a spiritual version of precious stones that would be created in the physical universe at a later date!

Many other examples exist of God endorsing the use of various materials to adorn something in order to enhance its appearance. For example, He commanded the High Priest to wear a special ornate garment when conducting his duties. This garment, called an ephod, was made of gold, purple and other fine threads. It also had embedded in it twelve dazzling gemstones such as an emerald and sapphire (Exodus 28, 39).

The New Jerusalem

When the New Jerusalem is created and brought down to the earth, it will have twelve foundations made from various precious stones commonly used in jewelry. Its gates will be made of pearl and its streets will be composed of gold that is so pure it appears transparent (Revelation 21:18 - 21)!

While the Bible does not condemn the use of jewelry, it does teach that a balanced, godly perspective on its use is needed. In the New Testament, Christians (especially women) are taught that they should dress modestly and place a high priority on pursuing good works and on a godly character (1Timothy 2:9 - 10, 1Peter 3:1 - 4).

Jewelry, like so many other things (wealth, food, alcohol, etc.), is not prohibited of and by itself. What is condemned is selfishly pursuing them to the detriment of self, others, and a close personal relationship with God.

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