18. Dress Reform and the Sanctuary Part 2

By John Thiel

God’s way in the sanctuary is the way of holiness.

Isaiah 35:8 And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it [shall be] for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err [therein].

This way of holiness in the sanctuary is a highway of walking. In the Hebrew sanctuary who was responsible to show that way? The high priest.

Leviticus 10:9 Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: [it shall be] a statute for ever throughout your generations: 10 And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean; 11 And that ye may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the LORD hath spoken unto them by the hand of Moses.

What was the responsibility of the priesthood? To show the way of holiness, to make a difference between the way that is unholy and the way that is holy and to show that to the people. The priests in their teaching and practice are to represent Jesus, God’s way. This is what we studied in the first part of our study about the dress of the priesthood. It was for beauty, for glory and for holiness.

Leviticus 10:3 Then Moses said unto Aaron, This [is it] that the LORD spake, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified. And Aaron held his peace.

They are the ones who are going to sanctify Me, the priesthood.

Psalm 89:7 God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all [them that are] about him.

The picture is clear in the sanctuary that the priests who are in the presence of God are to glorify and sanctify Him in all their practices. The sense of being in God’s presence is also in Hebrews:

Hebrews 12:28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: 29 For our God [is] a consuming fire.

If God is a consuming fire and if everything was not done exactly right what happened to the priests? God said in Leviticus, You are not to drink strong drink. Why did He say that? What happened just before? Two priests, Nadab and Abihu, were bringing strange fire in and as they were swinging the censer fire came out and consumed them. God is a consuming fire. The same God that was in that sanctuary is the same God we worship. God is particular in reference to the practices of God’s people.

Psalm 29:2 Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.

What was the attire or the robes of the priesthood to depict? The beauty of holiness, for glory and for beauty. We saw that nakedness is a shame that has to be covered to be beautiful in God’s eyes. We saw it in the sanctuary in the high priest’s attire. When you look at the sanctuary and the attire of the priests, can you see the internal beauty? No. The internal beauty was only for those set aside for that. Like in the marriage of husband and wife, they are the only ones where nakedness was not an abomination. If anything else was unveiled it was an abomination. This is another one of those terrible abominations in Ezekiel’s time, the terrible things they were doing in the sanctuary.

Leviticus 18:6 None of you shall approach to any that is near of kin to him, to uncover [their] nakedness: I [am] the LORD. 7 The nakedness of thy father, or the nakedness of thy mother, shalt thou not uncover: she [is] thy mother; thou shalt not uncover her nakedness. 8 The nakedness of thy father’s wife shalt thou not uncover: it [is] thy father’s nakedness. … 24 Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you: 25 And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants. 26 Ye shall therefore keep my statutes and my judgments, and shall not commit [any] of these abominations; [neither] any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you: 27 (For all these abominations have the men of the land done, which [were] before you, and the land is defiled;) 28 That the land spue not you out also, when ye defile it, as it spued out the nations that [were] before you.

The spewing out sounds familiar does it not? Laodicea? This is how God regards nakedness. This is why Shem and Japheth went backwards to cover the nakedness of their father and why Ham was cursed. It is part of this principle. As you look at the priest’s garment, everything you look at in detail shows that there is nothing you can see about his body. There is no see-through material. Linen was very dense and the body was all covered thoroughly. There were breeches underneath so it was all covered. Anything revealing of the body form and figure was not there. This was the characteristic of the Seventh Day Adventists in Sr. White’s time as they were learning this principle.

Their dresses were never sleeveless, no low neck, no form fitting transparent material. The length was discussed. Both men and women were to be so suitably covered and clothed that their form and features were thoroughly cloaked. It was similar to the sanctuary with its many coverings. God gave detail for clothing. We have already seen the principle of it and we can already draw our own conclusions from the Bible and the principle of the dress of the priesthood. However God has not left us without clear indications:

The Reform Dress

We do not think it in accordance with our faith to dress in the American costume, to wear hoops, or to go to an extreme in wearing long dresses which sweep the sidewalks and streets. If women would wear their dresses so as to clear the filth of the streets an inch or two, their dresses would be modest, and they could be kept clean much more easily, and would wear longer. Such a dress would be in accordance with our faith. {1T 424.1}

A dress which would be in accordance with our faith. Where did that faith come from? The sanctuary message. The women in those days wore very long dresses. To all thoughts of modesty, that was very good. It didn’t even show the feet, but was it modest? It made the dress dirty and wet and then it would strike the ankles of the women legs and they would get cold and frigid. Such a dress would not be in accordance with our faith, but a dress shorter by inches would be.

I have received several letters from sisters inquiring my opinion in regard to wearing corded skirts. These questions were answered in a letter which I sent to a sister in Wisconsin. I will give the letter here for the benefit of others: {Ibid.}

 “We as a people do not believe it our duty to go out of the world to be out of the fashion. If we have a neat, plain, modest, and comfortable plan of dress, and worldlings choose to dress as we do, shall we change this mode of dress in order to be different from the world? No, we should not be odd or singular in our dress for the sake of differing from the world, lest they despise us for so doing. {1T 424.2}

We are to dress according to the age in which we live. We are not to be regarded as odd or different if we dress within the principles that we have been learning. We can dress within the framework of the age in which we live.

Christians are the light of the world, the salt of the earth. Their dress should be neat and modest, their conversation chaste and heavenly, and their deportment blameless. {Ibid.}

“How shall we dress? If any wore heavy quilts before the introduction of hoops, merely for show and not for comfort, they sinned against themselves by injuring their health, which it is their duty to preserve. {1T 425.1}

Notice health reform comes into it as well.

If any wear them now merely to look like hoops, they commit sin; for they are seeking to imitate a fashion which is disgraceful. {1T 425.1}

What did they wear hoops for? For the dresses to stick out. That was uncomfortable. In today’s world we don’t have that uncomfortable feature of dress, but what do the women wear today that is uncomfortable? Tight clothes and high heel shoes. It creates unhealthy body effects.

Deuteronomy 22:5 The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so [are] abomination unto the LORD thy God.

“I saw that God’s order has been reversed, and His special directions disregarded, by those who adopt the American costume. I was referred to Deuteronomy 22:5: “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God.’ God would not have His people adopt the so-called reform dress. It is immodest apparel, wholly unfitted for the modest, humble followers of Christ. {1T 457.1}

Some who believe the truth may think that it would be more healthful for the sisters to adopt the American costume, yet if that mode of dress would cripple our influence among unbelievers so that we could not so readily gain access to them, we should by no means adopt it, though we suffered much in consequence. But some are deceived in thinking there is so much benefit to be received from this costume. While it may prove a benefit to some, it is an injury to others. {1T 456.3}

“There is an increasing tendency to have women in their dress and appearance as near like the other sex as possible, and to fashion their dress very much like that of men, but God pronounces it abomination. ‘In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety.’ 1 Timothy 2:9. {1T 457.2}

Notice how she describes the American costume. What is an abomination before the Lord?

There is still another style of dress which is adopted by a class of so-called dress reformers. They imitate the opposite sex as nearly as possible. They wear the cap, pants, vest, coat, and boots, the last of which is the most sensible part of the costume. Those who adopt and advocate this style of dress carry the so-called dress reform to very objectionable lengths. Confusion will be the result. Some who adopt this costume may be correct in their general views upon the health question, but they would be instrumental in accomplishing vastly more good if they did not carry the matter of dress to such extremes. {1T 459.7}

In this style of dress God’s order has been reversed and His special directions disregarded. {1T 459.8}

It is like a pant suit. The vest coming to the knees and that according to Deuteronomy is a violation. We receive in modern terms instructions as to what is acceptable before the Lord and what is not. The Spirit of prophecy leaves us in clear conclusions to the details.

There is no style of dress more appropriate to be worn at the sanitarium than the reform dress. The idea entertained by some, that it would detract from the dignity or usefulness of that institution, is a mistake. It is just such a dress as one would expect to find there, and should not have been discarded. In this suit the helpers could perform their work with far less effort than is now required. Such a dress would preach its own sermon to the devotees of fashion. The contrast between their own unhealthful, beruffled, trailing garments and the reform dress, properly represented, suggestive as it is of convenience and ease in using the limbs, would have been most instructive. {4T 638.3}

God designed the reform dress as a barrier to prevent the hearts of our sisters from becoming alienated from Him by following the fashions of the world. Those who removed that barrier did not take upon themselves the burden to avert the dangers which must follow. {4T 639.2}

God has been testing His people. He allowed the testimony concerning dress to become silent, that our sisters might follow their own inclination and thus develop the real pride existing in their hearts. {4T 639.3}

The female form should not be compressed in the least with corsets and whale bones. The dress should be perfectly easy that the lungs and heart may have healthy action. The dress should reach somewhat below the top of the boot; but should be short enough to clear the filth of the sidewalk and street, without being raised by the hand. A still shorter dress than this would be proper, convenient, and healthful for females, when doing their housework, and especially, for those women who are obliged to perform more or less out-of-door labor. With this style of dress, one light skirt, or, at most two, are all that is necessary, and these should be buttoned on to a waist, or suspended with straps. The hips were not formed to bear heavy weights. The heavy skirts worn by females, their weight dragging down upon the hips, have been the cause of various diseases, which are not easily cured, {2SM 478.3}

There is but one woman in a thousand who clothes her limbs as she should. Whatever may be the length of the dress, females should clothe their limbs as thoroughly as the males. This may be done by wearing lined pants gathered into a band and fastened about the ankle, or made full and tapering at the bottom; and these should come down long enough to meet the shoe. {Ibid.}

Sr. White was given a vision of three companies of women walking past her:

The proper distance from the bottom of the dress to the floor was not given to me in inches. Neither was I shown ladies’ gaiter boots; but three companies of females passed before me, with their dresses as follows with respect to length: {RH, October 8, 1867 par. 5}

The first were of fashionable length, burdening the limbs, impeding the step, and sweeping the street and gathering its filth; the evil results of which I have fully stated. This class, who were slaves to fashion, appeared feeble and languid. {RH, October 8, 1867 par. 6}

The dress of the second class which passed before me was in many respects as it should be. The limbs were well clad. They were free from the burdens which the tyrant, Fashion, had imposed upon the first class; but had gone to that extreme in the short dress as to disgust and prejudice good people, and destroy in a great measure their own influence. This is the style and influence of the “American Costume,” taught and worn by many at “Our Home,” Dansville N. Y. It does not reach to the knee. I need not say that this style of dress was shown me to be too short. {RH, October 8, 1867 par. 7}

A third class passed before me with cheerful countenances, and free, elastic step. Their dress was the length I have described as proper, modest and healthful. It cleared the filth of the street and side-walk a few inches under all circumstances, such as ascending and descending steps, &c. {RH, October 8, 1867 par. 8}

This is the appreciation of God’s view in that particular representation. In looking at the detail of this we are reminded that the children of Israel were differentiated from the other nations by a ribbon of blue around their garments.

The dress reform is treated by some with great indifference and by others with contempt, because there is a cross attached to it. For this cross I thank God. It is just what we need to distinguish and separate God’s commandment-keeping people from the world. The dress reform answers to us as did the ribbon of blue to ancient Israel. The proud, and those who have no love for sacred truth, which will separate them from the world, will show it by their works. God in His providence has given us the light upon health reform, that we may understand it in all its bearings, follow the light it brings, and by rightly relating ourselves to life have health that we may glorify God and be a blessing to others. {3T 171.1}

The dress reform and the health reform belong together according to this statement. It is to distinguish us from the world and from the pagans around us like it was for the children of Israel.

The order given by God to the children of Israel to place a ribbon of blue in their garments was to have no direct influence on their health, only as God would bless them by obedience, and the ribbon would keep in their memory the high claims of Jehovah and prevent them from mingling with other nations, uniting in their drunken feasts, and eating swine’s flesh and luxurious food detrimental to health. God would now have His people adopt the reform dress, not only to distinguish them from the world as His “peculiar people,” but because a reform in dress is essential to physical and mental health. God’s people have, to a great extent, lost their peculiarity, and have been gradually patterning after the world, and mingling with them, until they have in many respects become like them. This is displeasing to God. He directs them, as He directed the children of Israel anciently, to come out from the world and forsake their idolatrous practices, not following their own hearts (for their hearts are unsanctified) or their own eyes, which have led them to depart from God and to unite with the world. {1T 524.2}

Something must arise to lessen the hold of God’s people upon the world. The reform dress is simple and healthful, yet there is a cross in it. I thank God for the cross and cheerfully bow to lift it. We have been so united with the world that we have lost sight of the cross and do not suffer for Christ’s sake. {1T 525.1}

We see very much the understanding and the appreciation connected with this kind of dress reform as it is portrayed in the details of the dress as they were dressing in the days of Sr. White.

These roads are distinct, separate, in opposite directions. One leads to eternal life, the other to eternal death. I saw the distinction between these roads, also the distinction between the companies traveling them. The roads are opposite; one is broad and smooth, the other narrow and rugged. So the parties that travel them are opposite in character, in life, in dress, and in conversation. {1T 127.1}

Those who travel in the narrow way are talking of the joy and happiness they will have at the end of the journey. Their countenances are often sad, yet often beam with holy, sacred joy. They do not dress like the company in the broad road, nor talk like them, nor act like them. A pattern has been given them. A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief opened that road for them, and travelled it Himself. His followers see His footsteps, and are comforted and cheered. He went through safely; so can they, if they follow in His footsteps. {1T 127.2}

In the broad road all are occupied with their persons, {1T 128.1}

Is this a common thing in the world today for men and women to be occupied with their persons? Oh my hair, oh my dress, oh, the rest of it.

In the broad road all are occupied with their persons, their dress, and the pleasures in the way. They indulge freely in hilarity and glee, and think not of their journey’s end, of the certain destruction at the end of the path. Every day they approach nearer their destruction; yet they madly rush on faster and faster. Oh, how dreadful this looked to me! {Ibid.}

I saw many traveling in this broad road who had the words written upon them: “Dead to the world. The end of all things is at hand. Be ye also ready.” They looked just like all the vain ones around them, except a shade of sadness which I noticed upon their countenances. Their conversation was just like that of the gay, thoughtless ones around them; but they would occasionally point with great satisfaction to the letters on their garments, calling for the others to have the same upon theirs. They were in the broad way, yet they professed to be of the number who were traveling the narrow way. Those around them would say: “There is no distinction between us. We are alike; we dress, and talk, and act alike.” {1T 128.2}

These statements tell us what the dress reform is really meant to be. There is a cross in it but we are walking in the footsteps of Jesus.

I saw that God hates pride, and that all the proud and all that do wickedly shall be stubble, and the day that cometh shall burn them up. I saw that the third angel’s message must yet work like leaven upon many hearts that profess to believe it, and purge away their pride, selfishness, covetousness, and love of the world. {1T 132.3}

Jesus is coming; and will He find a people conformed to the world? and will He acknowledge these as His people that He has purified unto Himself? Oh, no. None but the pure and holy will He acknowledge as His. Those who have been purified and made white through suffering, and have kept themselves separate, unspotted from the world, He will own as His. {1T 133.1}

As I saw the dreadful fact that God’s people were conformed to the world, with no distinction, except in name, between many of the professed disciples of the meek and lowly Jesus and unbelievers, my soul felt deep anguish. I saw that Jesus was wounded and put to an open shame. Said the angel, as with sorrow he saw the professed people of God loving the world, partaking of its spirit, and following its fashions: “Cut loose! Cut loose! lest He appoint you your portion with hypocrites and unbelievers outside the city. Your profession will only cause you greater anguish, and your punishment will be greater because ye knew His will, but did it not.” {1T 133.2}

It is a cutting experience and yet it’s a blessing when we do so.

I saw that the ax must be laid at the root of the tree. Such pride should not be suffered in the church. It is these things that separate God from His people, that shut the ark away from them. Israel have been asleep to the pride, and fashion, and conformity to the world, in the very midst of them. They advance every month in pride, covetousness, selfishness, and love of the world. When their hearts are affected by the truth, it will cause a death to the world, and they will lay aside the ribbons, laces, and collars; and, if they are dead, the laugh, the jeer, and scorn of unbelievers will not move them. They will feel an anxious desire to be separate from the world, like their Master. They will not imitate its pride, fashions, or customs. The noble object will be ever before them, to glorify God and gain the immortal inheritance. This prospect will swallow up all beside of an earthly nature. {1T 136.1}

Our study will to be completed in God’s way in dress in looking at the material we use and the adornments which we discover are not quite right in relation to examples in the Bible.

Amen.

Posted on August 16, 2009, in Dress Reform, The Sanctuary Series and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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