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Dress before Yahweh
By Jake C. Meyer
When the freedom of individuals begins to encroach on the conscience of others, we as believers must recognize this and work to build and develop the body of Yahshua. We should establish a consistent path we can all walk upon; one that is straight, one that is in accord with Scripture, and one that is going to be a credit to Yahweh.
In 1 Peter 3, a description of wives and husbands is found. 1 Peter 3:1, Wives in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Conduct means something. It starts with the treatment of our mate. Peter says this conduct is so critical that we, as a believer married to an unbeliever, can win our mate over by our behavior. They can be won over without words when they see the purity and reverence of our lives.
Verse 3 is generally where people start when they read this passage. The first two verses often get overlooked or ignored because they mean we have to deal with ourselves; it becomes necessary to work on our own shortcomings. Verse 3 says, Your beauty should not come from outward adornment such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. This is not a license to slovenliness. Because it says, Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, some people actually make a physical, concerted effort to look anything but beautiful. Peter further states, braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in Yahweh’s sight.…the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit.
There is something to the external of which we need to be aware of. It does make an impression. Now, when Peter is saying that your beauty should not come from outward adornment, does that mean that you should not take care of yourself? Is that the point of what he is saying? No, he emphasizes that, while the external is not your primary focus, the emphasis has to be internal because this is of great worth in Yahweh’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in Yahweh used to make themselves beautiful. We can look in Scripture and find examples of beautiful women, described as beautiful women—Sarah is one that comes quickly to mind; Esther is another. These were women whose beauty came from within. Have you ever met a plain-featured woman who is a beautiful woman because of her countenance? Her beauty is manifested through her attitude as expressed toward others. There is nothing wrong with a woman looking beautiful; guys can’t do it. A woman is and can be a beautiful creature. Peter stresses the external isn’t the focus. He makes clear beauty must start from within, the source of true beauty.
Peter continues by saying, These women of old were submissive to their husbands. He references Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her Master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear. Now, these women did wear jewelry, they did make themselves look attractive. But, Peter’s point is: this starts from within, it must originate somewhere. Choose the eternal source of a beautiful attitude!
This topic is being addressed because we are here to present Yahweh not only to one another but also to present Yahweh to the world.
Now, there are things we are called to present to the world. We will present something to the world, that something must be Yahweh. It must be accomplished effectively. As things develop prophetically, we’re going to be affecting literally thousands of people. Are you reading this article with the expectation of Yahweh’s Assembly becoming something in your image? Is your reason for being to alter the Body of the Messiah to your own advantage? Or, are you here to work together for Yahweh’s honor and glory?
Part of that expectation has to be the way we dress. It does make an impact, especially when people initially contact us. Your dress and demeanor tell things about you. I am not focusing on the external; this is about as close as I come to stressing external things. That’s not where I like to spend my time. The emphasis must remain on developing the internal, the spiritual. Peter says the external, while not being your primary focus, is not something you go the opposite extreme and reject. We are to present Yahweh to the world.
It says in Verse 7, Husbands, in the same way, be considerate as you live with your wives and treat them with respect. Many men often forget the first part of this verse. They don’t factor respect into the picture, but will really make an issue of the second part:, the weaker partner. The intimation becomes, “I am superior, I am the stronger partner.” Well, if that’s the case, there are some pretty serious requirements.
First of all, he says “be considerate” as you live with your wives. It is a commandment that we men be considerate. It’s a challenge for most men to develop this characteristic because many do not have highly developed sensitivity for the feelings of their mates. I didn’t realize this could be a problem until my own insensitivity began causing problems. It is something men must work on. It’s not something easy. Be considerate as you live with your wives and treat them with respect as the weaker partner, and as heirs with you. Once again, we are co-heirs with this salvation message. We are co-heirs “of the gracious gift of life so that nothing will hinder your prayers.”
We exist to live a life in harmony with one another. Harmony begins at home. We have to dress in a way that is first, attractive to our mates and then, secondly, as a presentation of Yahweh to the world.
Let’s go to the Book of James, or Jacob, Chapter 2, because we have to reconcile what Peter just said with what James or Jacob says. James 2:1, My brothers, as believers in our glorious Master Yahshua the Messiah, don’t show favoritism. We cannot treat you any differently, regardless how you dress. We cannot show favoritism according to what garb clothes our brothers and sisters. Let us continue, suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “you stand there or you go sit on the floor by my feet,” haven’t you discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my dear brothers, has not Yahweh chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom He promised those who love Him. We cannot judge by externals; we cannot show favoritism, but there is something we need to consider.
First of all, when we attend services, why do we? We assemble to worship. Who are we worshiping, one another? No. We come to worship Yahweh. He has given us everything we have. It doesn’t matter what you have on as long as it’s the best you have with which to appear and worship Yahweh. We are coming before Him. What kind of a picture do you get in your mind when you go to services? Let me relate to you the picture that comes to mind for me. I have a mental picture of a huge throne far above us, up in the heavens, with Yahweh and Yahshua seated upon it. They are looking down on our service. That’s the picture I’ve had since I was ordained. What do they see? Do they see us coming in a reverent, respectful, submissive way before them? Or, do they just see us like I was described one time, looking like I was dressed with an eggbeater? You know, that statement cut me to the quick and I did make a serious effort after that to look a little better than I normally do when attending services.
We exist to worship Yahweh. We attend services to show our love toward Yahweh; and, simultaneously toward one another. Let’s return to what James speaks about. He says we are not supposed to respect somebody who comes in dressed to the hilt. The distinguishing point is this: It’s not what you have on, but when you do appear, shouldn’t it be with the best you have? James states in Verse 5, Listen, dear brothers, hasn’t Yahweh chosen the poor to be rich in faith? This is what it is all about. We are called to inherit a kingdom. He says in Verse 6, You’ve insulted the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? Now, put this into the context of the apostolic Assembly. Do you realize that the poorest assembly of the apostolic assemblies was the one over which James presided as the Elder? It was the congregation in Jerusalem! Jerusalem continually needed offerings brought from rich assemblies like Corinth, Philippi or Ephesus to sustain them. That is the context of the statement James is making. So the Jerusalem brothers were caught in the middle. You had wealthy individuals who were not in the Assembly, but would visit. You then had the poor in attendance which, for the most part, was the membership of the Jerusalem Assembly. So, James comes from that perspective—his primary membership was poor. If a rich Jew—let’s say one of the ruling Jews from the Temple—comes to visit, are you going to say that because he does have fine linen on, purple threads in his robe, a gold ring on his finger—come and sit up here in the seat of honor, at the expense of the poor brother? He says that is not the way it is supposed to be. There has to be consistency. You cannot have favoritism and you certainly don’t look on the external to find who is the more righteous or converted individual. Earthly wealth does not define us as true believers.
James says in Verse 7, speaking of the rich, Are they not the ones who are slandering the noble Name of Him to whom you belong? If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, love your neighbor as yourself, you’re doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin. Now, how many of us chalk up favoritism as a sin? Favoritism is sin. This is precisely what James is saying. If you show favoritism you sin and you are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.
Let us also introduce Exodus 28 into the equation of balancing internal and external dress before Yahweh. The first thing to recognize from Exodus 28 is that this is a discussion of priestly garments. Clothing means something to Yahweh. Are we not called to be a kingdom of priests and kings before our Heavenly Father? He devotes an entire chapter to priestly attire. Exodus 28:1, Have Aaron your brother brought to you from among the Israelites, along with his sons Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, so they may serve me as priests. Make sacred garments for your brother Aaron, to give him dignity and honor. Tell all the skilled men to whom I have given wisdom in such matters that they are to make garments for Aaron, for his consecration, so he may serve me as priest. Sacred garments are important. It says, These are the garments they are to make: a breastpiece, an ephod, a robe, a woven tunic, a turban and a sash. I focus on the internal, the heart; it is all about people getting their attitude, mind and thinking correct. However, Yahweh commanded Aaron to dress a certain way to create an impression of dignity for the priestly office.
I also recognize there has to be consideration of others—consideration for the way we do look. And, I find that those people who want to enforce and impose the externals of Yahweh’s law on others, will tend to push this message aside, and say, No. Spiritual garments is what this really means. Why? Because they have no desire to make the effort to look decent and presentable. That reveals a serious internal, spiritual problem. We are here to worship Yahweh. That is the bottom-line. The whole point of working out our salvation here on this earth is to someday be able to stand in His presence. Exodus 28 states these garments are to be made for Aaron and his sons so they may serve as priests. Have them use gold, and blue, purple and scarlet yarn, and fine linen. Yahweh required the best available for the garments of the priesthood.
Now, some people will go to Revelation 7 and its discussion of the “white” garments and they will claim we should all wear white to worship. That’s not what this passage represents. Verse 14 in Revelation 7 tells the meaning of the white robes.
Let me make this clear, our purpose is not to set policy and tell people how to dress. The thrust of this article is to emphasize, “give your best to Yahweh.” You present yourself before Him when you go to services. Coming from different walks of life, we all have different perceptions as to what our “best” is. The rule must be modest attire. We should take the best we have when we come before Yahweh.
The issue among Yahweh’s people cannot be favoritism. The impression we give seekers of salvation will intuitively reveal to them an inner concern for the garments of salvation.
There was gold and blue, purple and scarlet yarn used along with the fine linen to make these garments in Exodus 28. The items used all have spiritual significance. Nevertheless, these were things critical in Yahweh’s sight. Make the ephod of gold, and of blue, purple and scarlet yarn, and of finely twisted linen—the work of a skilled craftsman. It is to have two shoulder pieces attached to two of its corners, so it can be fastened. Its skillfully woven waistband is to be like it—of one piece with the ephod and made with gold, and with blue, purple and scarlet yarn, and with finely twisted linen. “Take two onyx stones and engrave on them the names of the sons of Israel in the order of their birth—six names on one stone and the remaining six on the other,” Exodus 28:6-10. Two stones also had to be there. It says, in verses 11-14: Engrave the names of the sons of Israel on the two stones the way a gem cutter engraves a seal. Then mount the stones in gold filigree settings and fasten them on the shoulder pieces of the ephod as memorial stones for the sons of Israel. Aaron is to bear the names on his shoulders as a memorial before Yahweh. Make gold filigree settings and two braided chains of pure gold, like a rope, and attach the chains to the settings….
These are very specific instructions; the best available was to be used. You can study the breastplate as described, then notice the breastpiece. In verses 31-32, it says: Make the robe of the ephod entirely of blue cloth, with an opening for the head in its center. There shall be a woven edge like a collar around this opening, so that it will not tear.
If we are planning to begin to influence literally thousands and millions of people for Almighty Yahweh, then we must also acknowledge there must be consideration for cultural differentiation. Our requirement is not that we all dress in uniform. However, I do believe we are required to use the best available to present ourselves before Yahweh. Yahweh asks no less. He did not tell anyone that if they are poor, to take a diseased animal that is about to die and present as an offering. Yahweh said you bring the best, whether rich or poor. The best you have is to be presented as an offering.
Dress Before Yahweh—How are we to dress? Why should we look our best? This article is not written to legislate colors, or to legislate types of clothes. Tragically, if I were to do that, I can guarantee you that there would be some reading this article who would feel very qodesh. That would just be their righteousness if we were to begin imposing certain standards of clothing. For example, you must wear a coat with no collar, we cannot wear a necktie, etc. That’s not what we are here to do. Whatever background you come from, whatever you are culturally comfortable with—you should come and present yourself before Yahweh with the best you can—the best you have to offer. Look in your closet. We live in a culture and society today where we have plenty of everything. Next time you attend services, go into your closet, spend a little time and ask the question: “I want to present myself to Yahweh today, what do I think He would like?” What are clothes when it comes right down to it? They are articles of dress to cover our bodies. If you go down to the end of Exodus 28, it states they are supposed to have these various garments to be worn. It says in verse 42 of Exodus 28, Make linen undergarments as a covering for the body. This describes what clothes are all about. This Chapter deals with the topic in all its different respects. Aaron and his sons must wear them whenever they enter the Tent of Meeting or approach the altar to minister in the Holy Place, so that they will not incur guilt and die. These garments are to cover our bodies.
If we look nice, not as an exercise demonstrating our superior class but as a token of appreciation for the standards Yahweh has set in our lives, we will feel better about our worship as well. It’s more important to get the inside right—that’s the focus of Scripture. But it also does mention clothing many times. Like I said earlier, I will not treat you differently according to how you dress. I’m going to treat you the same. This is not about pleasing man; it’s a measure of respect to Yahweh and Yahshua.
Isaiah 61:10 tells why we should appear with our best before our Heavenly Father, I delight greatly in Yahweh; my soul rejoices in my Elohim. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign Yahweh will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations. I want to be an active part of Yahshua’s Body and the commission given it in Matthew 28:19-20. I wish to participate as it says in Verse 11, helping the soil so it can make the sprout come up. If we are to attract new people, they don’t just hear the message. And that’s what Peter’s point was in 1 Peter 3. They’re going to follow your example, your lead, and if you have an attitude of entitlement to look like anything less than a representative of Yahweh, they themselves will become just the same.
What are we going to present? It’s time we begin to be proactive in our thinking instead of reactive, after the fact, trying to clean up the messes. Let us think in advance what we’re doing and why we’re here. These things mean something to Yahweh so they should be important to us as well. Scripture states, He has clothed me with the garments of salvation. According to Isaiah, we are to rejoice before Him, because He has clothed us with the garments of salvation and arrayed us in a robe of righteousness. This is the true joy that comes from within us.
Galatians Chapter 3, if you think the clothes have a spiritual application, then think how serious they are. We just read about the robe of righteousness, garment of salvation, Isaiah 61. Galatians 3:26-27: You are all sons of Yahweh through faith in Yahshua the Messiah, for all of you who were baptized into the Messiah have clothed yourselves with the Messiah. Now does that mean you come before Him in filthy rags? While our righteousness is such, we do not live to display our righteousness, do we? All of you who were baptized into the Messiah have clothed yourselves with the Messiah. It says in Verse 29: If you belong to the Messiah, then you are Abraham's seed,…. Once again, if we are Abraham’s seed, who is our mother? Sarah. What was Sarah’s dress? She was a beautiful woman; a woman whose beauty started from within. I don’t want us to forget about the inside. The external must be an expression of the internal. We have to keep the horse in front of the cart.
This is about as close to “policy” that we can set. It is simply this: when you’re coming to worship Yahweh, come before Him with the best you have. Present yourself before Him. This is not as Laodicea, who was lukewarm. There were not hot or cold, Revelation 3:17.We must develop the realization that we are going to be affecting literally thousands of people just by the way we dress, the way we talk, the way we conduct ourselves. We cannot afford to be lukewarm (neither hot nor cold). Yahshua says, I wish you were either one or the other so, because you are lukewarm, I’m about to spit you out of my mouth. Let’s be hot or cold.
Revelation 3:17-19: You say, “I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.” But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent.
2 Corinthians Chapter 5:1-3: Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from Yahweh, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. There is a lot of symbolism in Yahweh’s worship. What do we do with that symbolism? Do we take it as Yahweh intends, as reinforcement; as a lesson to hone our spiritual shortcomings so we can become complete in Yahshua the Messiah? The earthly tent that we live in is destroyed; we have building from Yahweh, an eternal house in heaven not built by human hands. This body is going to disappear soon enough; it’s going to decay and return to the dust. What do you do with its covering while it is your temporary home? Paul says in Verse 2, Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling. We desire eternity. That’s why we worship Yahweh. We are in this tent, this temporary body of flesh, groaning in our burdens. We do not wish to be unclothed, but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. It is my hope this is the desire of all who read this. We are in this life preparing for that time when we shall be clothed with our heavenly dwelling.
Zechariah 3:1-5: Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of Yahweh, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him. Yahweh said to Satan, “Yahweh rebuke you, Satan! Yahweh, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?” Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. The angel said to those who were standing before him, “Take off his filthy clothes.” Then he said to Joshua, “See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put rich garments on you.” Then I said, “Put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him, while the angel of Yahweh stood by. If the filthy rags are defined as sin, then this illustration should reinforce our desire to present ourselves with our best before Yahweh when we come to worship Him. Notice it says, I have taken away your sin, and I will put rich garments on you. Verse 6-10: The angel of Yahweh gave this charge to Joshua: “This is what Yahweh El Shaddai says: 'If you will walk in my ways and keep my requirements, then you will govern my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you a place among these standing here. “Listen, O high priest Joshua and your associates seated before you, who are men symbolic of things to come:” Remember, symbolism is important in Yahweh’s worship. These men who were standing before the angel of Yahweh were symbols of things to come. I am going to bring my servant, the Branch. See, the stone I have set in front of Joshua! There are seven eyes on that one stone, and I will engrave an inscription on it, says Yahweh Almighty, and I will remove the sin of this land in a single day. I will remove the sin of this land, (the filthy garments?) In that day each of you will invite his neighbor to sit under his vine and fig tree, declares Yahweh Almighty.
Do you want to walk in Yahweh’s ways? Is your life filled with scriptural symbolism, of living for Yahweh? Do you really want to present the picture you now do, to those you contact? Are they repelled by your presentation or do they want to know more? We are here to worship the King of Kings. We are here to worship the One who has extended salvation freely to us. My desire is simply to see that we draw people with who we are; with what we are. Modesty is a necessity, but our very best is also necessary. We all have different perceptions of our best, but remember, this is not about pleasing men—it’s about coming before Yahweh. It’s about His worship and being a witness for Him.
These are things each one of us must reconcile in our own minds; how much does clothing mean to us? Look to Yahweh’s Word, see what it means to Him and then let your conscience lead you into being a yielded child of Yahweh, one who is a living witness for Him.
Let us become well-pleasing before Yahweh, so on that day when He gives out the eternal garments, may we get the real ones!
In conclusion, remember that we are called to be living witnesses of eternal, timeless truths. While the cloth garments that currently cover our fleshly bodies are not going to save us, in Yahweh’s sight, they can be an important indicator of our regard for the true garments, the clothes of salvation. Continue to grow in grace and the knowledge of Him, yielding to His Holy Spirit so we can receive the eternal blessing of robes washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb!