The cosmetics industry makes billions of dollars annually. Fashion and Hollywood have set the standards for “beauty,” and most people agree with their taste. Women of all ages wear makeup! To most, it is important to be fashionable. But is this practice right—or wrong? Could it even be sin? Is painting your face “fashionable” to God?
Of course, some have no interest in what God says. The Bible has no meaning or value to them. They are not concerned with pleasing God. They are only interested in pleasing themselves or being accepted by people. Yet, others are concerned with what God says, but do not know His will.
The Bible is God’s Instruction Book to mankind. It reveals all the essential truths and principles necessary for salvation. However, most have rejected it as a Source of authority in their lives. They are content to believe traditions without actually taking the time to prove why they do what they do. Most are also content to coast through life believing and operating on assumptions. Others simply practice what they do because of habit—and old habits die hard.
Yet we must ask: Is the use of makeup something that only religious extremists worry about? Are “fanatics” the only ones who would consider such a question? Or is it something you should be concerned about?
You need to know what the Bible clearly states about this subject. If makeup is important to God, it has to be mentioned in His Word—both specifically and in principle.
Wearing makeup is a worldwide custom—yet it is one that has become socially acceptable more recently than you may think. Therefore, to even question the use of makeup may seem old-fashioned or out-dated to countless millions of women—and, of course, men—who have grown accustomed to and comfortable with its widespread use.
What is the truth about makeup? What are the facts? To see the big picture—with all the facts and the truth—you must read this entire booklet!
Makeup is used everywhere. When was the last time you turned on the television, watched a movie or went to the supermarket and did not see women wearing cosmetics? Probably never. A generation ago, this was not the case.
Notice: “The last two decades have seen make-up progress from its early category of woman’s conceit to become an art and an integral part of feminine beauty and psychology. Chief credit for this about-face in the acceptance of widespread use of cosmetics should go to the motion picture industry, which set new standards of beauty and…brought new products and principles of application and use to the world’s women” (Encyclopedia Americana, Vol. 18, 1956 Edit., p. 157).
At the turn of the twentieth century, makeup was viewed as something only proud, even arrogant women wore. With the invention of movies and television, Hollywood injected into the limelight the image of a movie starlet’s face covered with cosmetics. Once this image was accepted by the masses, cosmetics became commonplace.
The movie industry has been most responsible for associating makeup with exquisite beauty, by presenting Hollywood actresses as sex goddesses. It became natural that young girls and women would wish to be as attractive and desirable as world-famous screen idols.
Hundreds of millions of adoring fans want to look like their favorite movie stars. Even little girls can become obsessed with being pretty, when they should be enjoying childhood and playing with dolls and toys. They can easily become slaves to fashion trends that are inseparable from using makeup.
But it was only after World War II that the cosmetics industry began promoting, through advertising, the concept of flawless beauty. Relatively quickly, this thinking took hold around the world, with women and girls becoming enamored with the idea that they could be more attractive.
Vanity—the desire to look more beautiful—is what causes women to paint their faces, and is perhaps the most powerful of human drives.
The Pull of Vanity
Psalm 39:5-6 states, “…verily [truly] every man at his best state is altogether vanity…Surely every man walks in a vain show [an image].” Vanity is a powerful force in all human beings, and it is far stronger than most understand. Each person must have a healthy respect for the pull of vanity at work within him. Be honest with yourself, and admit that this tendency is within you. We will examine it more closely later.
Pride and vanity are why the Encyclopaedia Britannica defines “cosmetics” as “…products nobody needs—but wanting them is human nature. Today, the desire to look better, smell better, and thus feel better causes consumers worldwide—mostly women—to spend an estimated $65 billion annually on personal enhancement—cosmetics” (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2001). (Read our booklet Did God Create Human Nature? to learn more.)
Those who wrote the Encyclopaedia Britannica are not selling cosmetics. Their profits—and livelihood—are not at stake if they tell you the truth about why people purchase makeup. Since their reputation for being an authority on what they write is at stake, they cannot afford to be less than honest.
Everyone wants to look or be considered pretty—or even beautiful. The pull of vanity begins early in life. Modern society places enormous emphasis on beauty. As a result, studies demonstrate that even very little girls are unhappy with themselves to the point of depression, with many actually contemplating suicide as a result! They feel that they do not measure up to their peers or favorite movie stars. Today, the obsession with being beautiful has led nearly 30 million people (youth included) into eating disorders.
The American Society of Plastic Surgery reports that over 16 million people had cosmetic surgery in 2016, spending $16 billion on these procedures, up from 1.3 million as recently as 2000. The amount of cosmetics sold, as well as the growing numbers turning to cosmetic surgery in the United States, is skyrocketing. It is even reported that younger and younger girls who enter beauty contests are also having cosmetic surgery to attempt to win and to improve upon how God made them. Astounding!
The obsession with looking young, and turning back the clock, has now gone beyond outrageous. Consider this: millions of men and women are injecting tiny amounts of a deadly poison, Botox (from botulism), under the skin of the face to remove wrinkles. Within four days, the toxin in the treatment literally paralyzes the facial muscles and temporarily smoothes the skin. (The treatments only last for 90 days.) The goal is to “look the best you can for as long as you can”—for $300 to $1000 per treatment!
However, so many actresses are now using it that movie directors are complaining that they can no longer produce normal facial expressions. While they may look younger, most also look frozen and artificial.
In describing this trend, one beautician said, “It is as though we have given up on authenticity.” Another expert cut to the heart of why women wear makeup or want all their wrinkles removed: “The wisdom that a person’s character can be etched on his face, or [the] observation that at twenty you have the face nature gave you and at fifty you have the face you merit, may no longer apply.”
Botox is only the beginning of the threat from various harmful chemicals and toxins that are latent in cosmetics. This has long been understood!
Consider the meaning of the word mascara. If we just accept the word for what it is, then it becomes its own honest statement from the cosmetics industry. It comes from the word mask, and the word masquerade also derives from it. In essence, to wear mascara is to wear a mask—and to masquerade as something that one is not—for the purpose of vanity and perceived beauty.
Even the word cosmetics has a revealing origin. It comes from the Greek word kosmos, which means “of this world, worldly.” For women to be accepted by the world, they must literally masquerade.
Before continuing, other important questions must be raised. What is the history of makeup? Where and when did it originate? What purpose did it serve in ancient times? The answers to these questions will shock you!
When considering the origin of makeup, we must ask where it first came into use. The ancient roots of makeup offer the first great insight into why it is used today. The following quotes demonstrate its early use.
“The use of cosmetics is very ancient. Evidence of the use of eye makeup and aromatic ointments has been found in Egyptian tombs dating to 3500 bc…
“By the 1st century ad the Egyptian, Roman, Greek and Middle Eastern cultures had developed cosmetics such as powders to whiten the skin; kohl to darken the eyelids, eyelashes, and eyebrows; rouge for the cheeks…” (Encyclopaedia Britannica, Vol. 5, p. 196).
Egyptian tombs represent the earliest recorded references to the use of makeup. But the Egyptians were by no means the only culture to use it. Many others followed suit. Here are some specifics:
“During the Predynastic period [ending in 3200 B.C.], men as well as women applied a line of green paint around the eyes…In dynastic times the colour of paint used was a dark gray. Red ochre seems to have been used to colour the cheeks and henna the palms, nails, and, in the late period at least, the hair.
“Assyrians resorted to black dye for eyebrows, hair, and beard, whereas the Persians used henna, which produced an orange-red colour, a style that existed from 1900 bc. Gold dust, gold thread, and scented yellow starch were sometimes used in the hair and beard for festive occasions…” (Encyclopaedia Britannica, Vol. 5, 1979 Edit., pp. 1017-1018).
Plainly, the use of makeup started nationally in Egypt. The Bible uses Egypt as a type of the sins of this world, which Christians are commanded to come out of.
Even before its use in Egypt, the original painted harlot was Semiramis, the mother-wife of Nimrod, and the founder of the Babylonian Mystery Religion. (Read our booklets The True Origin of Christmas and The True Origin of Easter to learn more about Semiramis and Nimrod.)
Semiramis is known as the mother of all harlots. She used makeup, as well as suggestive whorish clothing, for various religious and sexual rituals. The following quote describes the kind of seductive, sensual clothing that she—and later the Egyptians—wore: “Modern knowledge of ancient Egyptian dress derives for the most part from ancient paintings and sculpture, since very few garments have been preserved…The earliest representations of women show them either nude or clad in tightly fitting white linen skirts down to the ankles” (Ibid., pp. 1016-1017).
Along with various statues, paintings and busts still in existence from ancient times, descriptions show how Egyptians used cosmetics and revealing clothing to appeal to their sensuality. They adopted this dress into their culture from Semiramis, in an attempt to appear more like the many gods and goddesses they worshipped.
Since the artwork described here also employed the use of makeup, it is no wonder that 100 years ago it was generally understood and said that “only bad women wear makeup.” It is the same attitude of alluring through suggestion and sensuality that links near nudity and use of makeup. Both demonstrate a departure from modesty and virtue.
We read that the use of cosmetics spread from culture to culture. The Columbia Encyclopedia adds more about how each civilization adopted its own methods of applying and producing cosmetics. The following shows how the Assyrian, Babylonian, Persian and Greek cultures all took their lead from Egypt. Notice: “preparations [were] externally applied to change or enhance the beauty of skin, hair, nails, lips, and eyes. The use of body paint for ornamental and religious purposes has been common…The Egyptians used kohl to darken their eyes; a crude paint was used on the face, and fingers were often dyed with henna…Beauty aides reached a peak in imperial Rome—especially chalk for the face and a rouge…” (Sixth Edit., 2001). The emphasis has always been on beauty—and desiring beauty has everything to do with pride and vanity.
Many women who used cosmetics in these cultures also took their lead from Semiramis and adopted the use of cosmetics for the purpose of harlotry. History shows how women applied makeup to change their appearance and seduce men. Harlots and “matrons” (the female leaders of prostitution rings) were specifically recognized by their silk, jewels and cosmetics.
Here is an example of how women who used cosmetics in ancient Sparta were specifically known for being prostitutes: “Women wore brightly colored dresses…They used a lot of cosmetics…which…a woman could do only if she earned her living through prostitution.” (Magna Grecia—An Overview, Prof. Gino Gullace).
The first women to wear makeup were prostitutes! Changing one’s appearance by facial paint is a custom ancient prostitutes have dictated to the modern age. Cosmetics were nothing more than a device used by harlots to, in effect, teach men to break the Seventh Commandment. This is the message of history—yet the whole world lies in ignorance of these facts!
More recently, makeup first became common in the red-light districts of New York, Amsterdam, Paris and other large cities. Today it is found in nearly every supermarket and corner drugstore.
Now that the history of cosmetics has been established, let’s look deeper into the subject. What does the Bible say about it? How does God feel about the use of makeup? Is facial paint mentioned in God’s Word?
Some people reason, “But I’ve never seen a reference to makeup in the Bible!” Understand that the actual words makeup, cosmetics, lipstick, mascara, etc., are not found in the Bible, but direct references to makeup and eye paint are found in three places, possibly four. After reviewing them, you will not doubt what IS directly revealed from Scripture.
But let’s not play games with, or try to reason around, what God DOES say. The apostle Paul wrote, “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (I Thes. 5:21). Let’s prove what God says and be honest with what we learn. We will first examine four Old Testament scriptures. They establish the basic framework for understanding God’s view of facial cosmetics.
The book of Jeremiah depicts conditions at the end of the age among the nations that are God’s people, ancient Israel (the primarily English-speaking, democratic peoples of the West). We begin in chapter 4 and lead up to verse 30.
The setting is God inspiring Jeremiah with a vision of the destruction coming on these modern nations. National sins and “abominations”—things despised by God—are soon to bring a terrible punishment. God is even now offering these people a final chance to repent and return to Him. Notice: “If you will return, O Israel, says the Lord, return unto Me: and if you will put away your abominations out of My sight, then shall you not remove [go into prophesied captivity]…O Jerusalem, wash your heart [mind] from wickedness, that you may be saved. How long shall your vain thoughts lodge within you?…” (vs. 1, 14). God is pleading with His people to clean up their lives—to “wash” themselves.
Jeremiah continues, “Your way and your doings have procured these things unto you; this is your wickedness, because it is bitter, because it reaches unto your heart [these are very serious matters to God]…For My people is foolish, they have not known Me; they are sottish [drunken, stupid] children, and they have none understanding: they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge…all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of the Lord, and by His fierce anger…” (vs. 18, 22, 26).
God’s indictment reaches a climax in Jeremiah’s vision. The modern nations of Israel (including Judah, which is only one of the 12 tribes) have, like a harlot, sought “lovers” (political allies) who turn on her: “And when you are spoiled, what will you do? Though you clothed yourself with crimson…” Most other translations translate the word “crimson” as scarlet.
This is important to understand. It is the “great whore,” called “MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH” and described in Revelation 17:5, who dresses in “purple and scarlet” (vs. 4) and rides a “scarlet-colored beast” (vs. 3). This “woman” is a picture of a large false, counterfeit religious system. Recall the ancient Semiramis, who started the Babylonian Mystery Religion. She was the first harlot, and a type of the religion she founded—which has survived her for thousands of years.
Jeremiah describes how modern Israel has fallen into the conduct of a whore among the nations. Now read verse 30: “…though you deck yourself with ornaments of gold, though you rented your face with painting, in vain shall you make yourself fair [beautiful]; your lovers will despise you, they will seek your life.”
The peoples of the United States, Britain and her former Commonwealth countries have rebelled against God. As God reduces them in power and prestige, they have found themselves increasingly seeking “lovers” from among the nations on Earth. Yet they have never been more hated. All such “lovers” are prophesied to eventually turn on their courters. Israel has trusted in her outward appearance instead of God—and modern women unwittingly do the same.
Ancient Israel always sought to be like the nations around her. Instead of being an example to them, Israel wanted acceptance from them! Women today are no different. Not wearing makeup would make them stand out—and people want to fit in and be accepted. Please examine yourself and recognize this natural desire at work in your mind!
Take verse 30 for exactly what it means. Do not add to or subtract from it. It is plain! The context is God condemning His people for abominations within their national conduct—their national behavior. One of the abominations that God hates is painting the face—thereby taking on the nature of a prostitute. I have seen some try to use this verse to justify wearing makeup as long as one is not a prostitute.
The whole point in verse 30 is that painting the eyes is a common method of a prostitute—and any honest person, one truly seeking to please God and find His will, would admit as much!
Like any prostitute, often still dressed in red, and certainly operating in a “red light district,” modern Israel has painted her face with makeup. National captivity and a terrible time of punishment will be God’s remedy for His people and all who follow these practices—for those who will not wash and clean up their faces!
Women of today may think they just want to “look nice” to the world, when they really look like prostitutes to God.
The second scripture to be examined comes from Ezekiel. This book is almost entirely comprised of one great prophecy, also culminating in the second captivity of the modern-day descendants of Israel. Much of Ezekiel parallels Jeremiah. God reinforces what He said there.
The prophet Ezekiel records the same kinds of national sins and conditions as Jeremiah. Chapter 23 contains a very graphic description, best read in the Moffatt translation. This translation does not always carefully delineate between verses as do the King James and others. Paragraphs begin wherever the translator chose to place them.
The context is of two harlot sisters. Bear in mind that Samaria was the capital of the ancient House of Israel (with ten tribes) and Jerusalem of the House of Judah (with two tribes). Think of the sisters as representing the modern capital cities of Washington, D.C. and Jerusalem/Tel Aviv. The context leads up to verse 40.
Here is what God says. Read it carefully and grasp its message!
“‘Son of man, there were two women…when they were young, they played the harlot in Egypt, where men pressed their breasts and handled their virgin nipples. Their names were Oholah, the elder, and Oholibah, the younger. They became My wives, and bore sons and daughters (as for their names, Oholah is Samaria, Oholibah Jerusalem).
“‘But Oholah played the harlot, though she was My wife…and befouled herself with the idols of every man on whom she doted; she never ceased her harlotry since in Egypt men lay with her as a girl and handled her virgin nipples and had intercourse with her freely. So I handed her over to her lovers, to the Assyrians…they exposed her nakedness…and they slew her with the sword; so punishment was inflicted on her, till she became A WARNING TO WOMEN.’” (Women, take this phrase for exactly what it says.)
“‘Her sister Oholibah saw this, but she went further in depravity, in her lust and harlotry…I saw that she was befouling herself…But she carried her harlotry further; she saw men pictured upon walls, figures of Chaldeans drawn in vermilion…and when she saw them she doted upon them…Therefore, Oholibah—here is the Lord the Eternal’s sentence—I will rouse your lovers against you…I will mass them all around you, the Babylonians, all the Chaldeans…they shall attack you…with a host of nations…and they shall SENTENCE you; I will vent My jealous fury upon you, and let them deal with you fiercely…’” This is a sobering verse. The punishment described actually comes from God, though we have yet to read the rest of the reason why.
“‘Since you forgot Me and flung Me aside, then suffer for your sensual harlot ways!’ ‘Son of man,’ said the Eternal, ‘arraign Oholah and Oholibah, and show them their detestable impieties…They did this to Me also; they polluted My sanctuary and desecrated My sabbath [Modern Israel has trampled all over the true Sabbath of the Bible]…And this is how they behaved within My temple; they actually sent for men who came from abroad, sent messengers to them! And for them you bathed yourself, you painted your eyes, you put on your ornaments [vs. 40], you sat on a handsome diwan [couch], with a table spread in front of it…and sounds of revelry arose!’”
This is an incredible series of verses. God directly likens Israel and Judah (seeking allies among the nations) to harlots who have sent for men after painting their faces—exactly like whores awaiting their next customers. This is a clear, unmistakable condemnation of the use of eye makeup. God next issues a sentence, just like a modern court, to all who have committed spiritual crimes (sins) in His sight.
“‘This therefore is the Lord the eternal’s sentence: Bring a host of folk against them, and hand them over to be maltreated and robbed! Let them be stoned and put to the sword…that ALL WOMEN MAY TAKE WARNING and avoid your sensual ways…and so learn that I am the Lord the eternal!’”
Women of the modern world—take warning! Be careful that you do not conclude that you are an exception to the punishment foretold in this prophecy. God connects eye paint directly to seduction for harlotrous purposes. Are you prepared to stand before Him and explain why this did not mean you? Be careful that you do not fatally miscalculate, with your eternal life at stake!
We will see that it was Satan the devil who deceived Eve on this very point of beauty and vanity. Will you follow Eve and allow yourself to be deceived by human reasoning contrary to God’s plain Word?
The third scripture comes from Isaiah, the longest book of the prophets. Once again, as in Jeremiah and Ezekiel, the theme of this prophecy is the conditions, attitudes and national sins in modern Judah and Israel.
God thunders this indictment from heaven against these nations: “Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the Lord has spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against Me” (Isa. 1:2).
God is angry at Israel. He continues by listing the ways in which they have rebelled against and disobeyed Him: “Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity [lawlessness], a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the Lord, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward” (vs. 4). They partake in ways that “provoke Him to anger.”
Before continuing with Israel’s sins, God inserts a description of how blessed these nations will be during the time He rules from Jerusalem in His Kingdom, when Israel and the entire world will obey and be governed by God’s Law: “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain [kingdom] of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains [nations or kingdoms], and shall be exalted above the hills [smaller countries]; and all nations shall flow unto it” (2:2).
Isaiah, inspired by God, continues to describe Israel’s disobedience: “Therefore You [God] have forsaken Your people the house of Jacob, because they be replenished from the east, and are soothsayers like the Philistines, and they please themselves in the children of strangers. Their land also is full of silver and gold, neither is there any end of their treasures; their land is also full of horses, neither is there any end of their chariots: Their land also is full of idols; they worship the work of their own hands, that which their own fingers have made” (vs. 6-8).
Understand. This last statement is not a description of Israel at that time. Anciently, Israel never attained the level of wealth described here! This verse was not fulfilled until modern times. The United States is the wealthiest nation on Earth today—and the wealthiest nation of all time! It is OUR lands that are filled with treasures and idols. (Remember the phrase “replenished from the east.”)
Here are several verses that describe the terrible period of the Day of the Lord. God describes the attitudes and idols that He will smash at this time: “For the day of the Lord of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low…And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. And the idols He shall utterly abolish” (vs. 12, 17-18).
Chapter 3 continues, describing a time when women and children rule the home, and when wealth and idols fill the land: “And I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them” (vs. 4) and “As for My people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O My people, they which lead you cause you to err, and destroy the way of your paths” (vs. 12). These attitudes and conditions prevail before Christ reigns from Jerusalem.
Look around you. This obviously describes today’s society! The modern peoples of Israel ARE occupied with pursuing pleasures and enjoying national wealth. While they have a “form of godliness” (II Tim. 3:5), they completely ignore the true God of the Bible and refuse to obey Him!
The next scripture specifically addresses the attitudes of women and the punishment in store for them. Notice: “Moreover the Lord says, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes…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” (vs. 16-17).
Verse 16 is blunt. It requires little explanation. But what does the phrase “wanton eyes” mean? The Hebrew word carries a very different meaning than the English translation. Further study uncovers its true, fuller meaning.
Strong’s Concordance defines “wanton eyes” as “…to blink coquettishly [flirtatious].” This obviously means using the eyes for seductive purposes.
The American Heritage Dictionary amplifies the meaning of “wanton”: “Immoral or unchaste; lewd.” But what makes the eyes “immoral or lewd”?
Lange’s Commentary explains: “The order of thought is as follows: The luxurious pride of women, too, shall be humbled (ver. 16, 17). In ver. 16…The prophet here resumes the thread which had been dropped or broken at the close of ver. 12, and recurs to the undue predominance of female influence, but particularly to the prevalent excess of female luxury, not only as sinful in itself but as a chief cause of the violence and social disorder previously mentioned, and therefore to be punished by disease, widowhood, and shameful exposure.”
The Jamison, Fausset, Brown Commentary adds an additional, critical element to the phrase “wanton eyes” that is of central importance to what is being described: “16…and wanton eyes—Hebrew (mesha-ququeroth, from shaquar, to deceive), ‘deceiving with their eyes.’…Lowth, after the Chaldaic, ‘falsely setting off the eyes with paint.’ Women’s eyelids in the East are often colored with stibium, or powder of lead.”
Not every scholar agrees with this source, and other authors not included here. But the main thrust of both Jeremiah 4:30 and Ezekiel 23:40 strongly indicate the correctness of this commentary in its reference to eye paint.
The Clarke’s Commentary adds fascinating insight into the phrase “replenished from the east.” It is a reference to the Orient, where many cosmetics were produced and sold in ancient times. Notice his reference to Jeremiah and Ezekiel. It is understood that not everything Clarke says about Isaiah 3:16 is accurate, but he adds important information about this phrase.
“Her eyelashes, which are long, and, according to the custom of the East, dressed with stibium, (as we often read in the Holy Scriptures of the Hebrew women of old, Jer. 4:30; Ezek. 23:40)…‘But none of those ladies,’ says Dr. Shaw, Travels, p. 294, ‘take themselves to be completely dressed, till they have tinged the hair and edges of their eyelids with alkahol, the powder of lead ore…’ Ezekiel 23:40, uses the same word in the form of a verb, cachalt eynayik, ‘thou didst dress thine eyes with alkahol;’ which the Septuagint render ‘thou didst dress thine eyes with stibium’…compare II Kings 9:30; Jer. 4:30.”
Clarke identifies one of the earliest known sources of makeup, which was Israel’s source for these products.
Now ask: Why would God include this phrase—“replenished from the east”—in Isaiah 2:6 if “wanton eyes” (just one chapter later) did not have something to do with the kinds of makeup that were obtained from the Orient? There is not enough space to reference the many other available historical facts. But allow the Bible to interpret itself!
Once the verses in Isaiah are examined and properly understood, it is clear why God is “provoked” to anger. Cosmetics are being applied to mislead and deceive.
A 1770 Pennsylvania law once stated that a man could annul his marriage if he learned that his wife had worn makeup during their courtship, thereby misleading him about her appearance.
The first people in America to use facial paint were Indians wearing “war paint.” They did this to deceive their enemies by making themselves appear more fierce than they were.
Recall the phrase “stretched forth necks.” Only proud, haughty people walk looking up in the air, full of vanity because of the importance they place on their beauty. God states that He “resists the proud, but gives grace unto the humble” (Jms. 4:6). Many scriptures describe how He will punish those who do not repent of pride and other attitudes associated with it, such as using makeup for beauty enhancement. Here are a few:
Jeremiah 50:31-32 states, “Behold, I am against you, O you most proud…And the most proud shall stumble and fall, and none shall raise him up: and I will kindle a fire in his cities, and it shall devour all around about him.” Also, “They [God’s people Israel] are vanity, the work of errors: in the time of their visitation they shall perish” (51:18).
Ezekiel 13:8 states, “Therefore thus says the Lord God; Because you have spoken vanity, and seen lies, therefore, behold, I am against you, says the Lord God.”
Malachi 4:1 reads, “…and all the proud, yes, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that comes shall burn them up…”
Finally, Psalm 144:4 adds, “Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passes away.”
While no one realizes this, and few would accept such understanding, vanity is a form of natural desire for worship and adoration from other people. Though it springs from inferiority, vanity is the human method of covering this feeling by elevating oneself above others.
Only GOD is to be worshipped and adored! When people take this to themselves, it is a form of idolatry and directly violates the Second Commandment.
We will later return to the subject of pride—and where it ultimately comes from. It will become clear—plain—why women have always been particularly susceptible to the connection of beauty to pride.
II Kings 9:30 and Jezebel
The study of makeup would be incomplete without examining one of the most evil women in the Old Testament—Jezebel—and her use of cosmetics. This infamous woman was both a queen and a prophetess who practiced witchcraft.
The first reference to Jezebel is found in I Kings 16:29-31. It introduces background to her time period: “And in the thirty and eighth year of Asa king of Judah began Ahab the son of Omri to reign over Israel: and Ahab the son of Omri reigned over Israel in Samaria twenty and two years. And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord above all that were before him. And it came to pass, as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took to wife Jezebel the daughter of Eth-baal king of the Sidonians, and went and served Baal, and worshipped him.”
Disobeying God is no “light thing.” It is serious—and so are the consequences!
Jezebel married King Ahab of Israel, and is infamous for doing abominable things in God’s sight. Notice: “Jezebel cut off the prophets of the Lord…Jezebel slew the prophets of the Lord…” (I Kgs. 18:4, 13). She also sought to have one of God’s greatest servants, Elijah, put to death. These are but a few examples of her evil.
Eventually, God decided to wipe out Ahab and his entire house. His son Joram ruled in his place. A young prophet explained that Jezebel would die a horrible death, eaten by dogs. God declared, “the dogs shall eat Jezebel…and there shall be none to bury her” (II Kgs. 9:10) and decided to replace Joram with a faithful servant named Jehu. This struck fear in Jezebel (Joram’s mother) and she took action to save herself.
Notice what she did: “And when Jehu was come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; and she painted her face, and tired her head, and she looked out at a window” (II Kgs. 9:30). Jezebel put on makeup to try to seduce Jehu and escape impending death.
The Hebrew word used here for painted comes from a now unused root meaning “to paint; dye (specifically, stibium for the eyes).”
Clarke’s Commentary gives important explanation: “She [Jezebel] endeavored to improve the appearance of her complexion by paint…This casts light enough on Jezebel’s painting…and shows sufficiently with what design she did it, to conquer and disarm Jehu, and induce him to take her for wife…This staining of the eye with stibium and painting was a universal custom, not only in Asiatic countries, but also in all those that bordered on them, or had connections with them” (p. 513).
Keil & Delitzsch Commentary of the Old Testament: “When Jehu came to Jezreel and Jezebel heard of it, ‘she put her eyes into lead polish (i.e., painted them with it), and beautified her head and placed herself at the window’…It is prepared from antimony ore…which when pounded yields a black powder with a metallic brilliancy, which was laid upon the eyebrows and eyelashes…the object was to heighten the splendor of the dark southern eye, and give it…a more deeply glowing fire, and to impart a youthful appearance to the whole of the eyelashes even in extreme old age.”
Here is the sequence of events. Joram went to meet with Jehu, who had been appointed by God to replace him as king of Israel: “And it came to pass, when Joram saw Jehu, that he said, Is it peace, Jehu? And he answered, What peace, so long as the whoredoms of your mother Jezebel and her witchcrafts are so many?” (II Kgs. 9:22). After this discussion, Joram attempted to flee, but Jehu caught and killed him.
Jehu then immediately went to Jezreel to execute Jezebel. Her makeup failed to seduce him and her abominations came to an end when Jehu had her thrown from a window. The dogs did, in fact, eat her flesh as God had declared!
A Warning to God’s Church
Jezebel is also mentioned in the New Testament as part of a specific warning to God’s Church to abstain from adultery with the false Babylonish system, described earlier as a whore: “Notwithstanding I have a few things against you, because you suffer that woman Jezebel, which calls herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce My servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols” (Rev. 2:20).
Jesus Christ promised to build His Church (Matt. 16:18). He also promised that it would never be destroyed, though it has suffered terrible persecution from both within and without. Revelation 2 and 3 are a 2,000-year summary of the seven eras of Christ’s Church. We are currently in the last, or Laodicean, era.
Jezebel’s whoredoms were so wicked that she is used by God as a type of this adulterous system, representing a renowned city (Rev. 17:18).
Through the seductive use of makeup, the Great Whore (Rev. 17:1) and Jezebel (II Kgs. 9:22, 30) both masquerade for the purpose of fornication. But there is an additional horrifying parallel of what happens to this Woman (and all those who follow her doctrines) and what happened to Jezebel. Both come to the same end, dying in the same terrible way. Revelation 17:16 states that the beast, which the Whore rides, will eventually turn and “eat” her, just as the dogs ate Jezebel.
Connecting Two Vital Scriptures
No other direct reference to makeup is found in the Bible. Yet Christ states, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4). So we must accept all of the additional principles found in God’s Word.
It is clear that some things are wrong—are sin—without being able to refer to a single verse that specifically addresses the subject. Smoking and drug abuse are examples. We have seen that makeup is directly referenced in the Bible. But there is no “Thus saith the Lord” on this subject in God’s Word. There are, however, important spiritual principles that must also be considered.
In addition, the Bible states that most Old Testament accounts were actually recorded for us today. Paul wrote, “Now these things [Old Testament accounts and events] were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted…Now all these happened unto them for examples [RSV says “as a warning”]: and they are written for our admonition [those of the modern age], upon whom the ends of the world [age] are come” (I Cor. 10:6, 11).
Do not overlook or minimize the great message in these verses. It is generally directed to Christians who live throughout the New Testament age, but most specifically to those who live at the end!
Paul explains that the Bible is filled with examples of how Christians should model their lives. Following and applying these two scriptures, in pursuit of Bible principles, reveals a clear picture of God’s view of makeup.
Think carefully. Consider those who wore makeup: the false prophetess Jezebel, two whoring sisters, Aholah and Aholibah, and the adulteress Judah are the only Bible examples of women (real or by analogy) who wore makeup!
Now think of the most well-known, righteous women of the Bible. Name a single one (Old or New Testament) who wore makeup. There is no mention of Sarah, Rebecca, Ruth, Naomi, Mary (Christ’s mother), Deborah, Abigail, Esther or any other virtuous woman ever applying or wearing makeup. The fact that the only examples of those who wore makeup are adulteresses, harlots and false prophetesses serves as a great warning to anyone who cares about the Word of God and wishes to follow the Bible’s righteous examples instead of the wicked.
Let’s now consider other important principles.
Imperfect or Incomplete Creation?
Ad agencies are paid based on their ability to sell products. Their goal is to get you, the consumer, to buy whatever it is they are being paid to promote. The most successful agencies find and repeat a slogan over and over. Of course, the best slogans can greatly increase sales!
The most creative that I have heard is one that honestly represents cosmetics for exactly what they are. It originated from a cosmetics manufacturer: “We’re selling hope in a jar, dreams in a bottle.”
Another slogan for a widely used cosmetics company tells women that its products will help “you look like you, only better.” Can one look like herself, only not like herself? Another states that you can be “at your most beautiful” if you use their products.
These are all effective marketing ploys, because each appeals to the exact same drive within all human beings—the desire to be and feel pretty, attractive, beautiful—vanity.
But, does God want you to “look more beautiful” than you are? Is this the way He thinks? Did the One who made you neglect to add just the right amount of makeup, so that you can be “at your most beautiful”? Does He want you to attempt to improve on what He made?
Let’s read what God says!
God created our original parents, Adam and Eve, in the Garden of Eden. Genesis 1:27 states, “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He…male and female.” God made human beings to look like Himself, to be in His image. And there is certainly no biblical record of God or Christ ever wearing cosmetics.
Verse 31 continues: “And God saw everything that He had made, and, behold, it was VERY GOOD.” That’s right! After God finished the creation week, He said that all (“everything”) that He had made was “very good.” He renewed and arranged the lights of the universe in all of their magnificent brilliance, and was satisfied with them. He made the intricate and delicate beauty of every flower and plant, and was happy with the result. He created every creature of the animal kingdom, and was pleased with what He had done. It was all “very good.” According to God, NONE of it was bad or even just partly good!
This included people, who were made in His image. The pinnacle of God’s creation is mankind. It is through man—not plants or animals—that He is reproducing Himself.
God does not agree with cosmetics manufacturers and their advertisements. While it is in the interest of cosmetics producers to convince you that their products will make “you look like you, only better,” or “you at your most beautiful,” GOD SAYS OTHERWISE! Apparently, He did not feel that Eve’s eyelids needed to be light green or that her lips needed to be painted bright red, purple or any other unnatural color.
A few have suggested that lipstick is referenced in the Song of Solomon where it states, “Behold, you are fair, my love…your lips are like a thread of scarlet, and your speech is comely.” This is merely a reference to the natural color of a healthy woman’s lips. So many women of today are so pasty and chalky in the natural hue and color of their skin that some conclude this verse can only be a reference to lipstick.
Since nothing God makes is physically imperfect or incomplete, this includes you women.
Trying to improve your face through facial paint is telling God, “I am not happy with the way you made me,” or, after applying makeup, asking Him, “Why didn’t you make me like this?” The clichés, “Let’s fix our faces” and “Wait until I put on my face, and I’ll be right there,” have been common expressions for two generations. Your face does not need to be “fixed” and being a “put on” is phony unless it is fulfilling the kind of instructions found in Colossians 3:12.
Paul had to address this thinking in another context: “Who are you that replies against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why have you made me thus?” (Rom. 9:20). Is this something you want to ask God—either by word or action? Be careful that you are not guilty of questioning God’s judgment in creating you exactly as He did.
Paul asks, “What? know you not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which you have of God, and you are not your own?” (I Cor. 6:19). Women, who knows better how to create the temple in which God resides—you or Him? The Old Testament temple was probably the most beautiful building ever made. This is because God’s Spirit resided there. Today He lives within His people—His Church—His New Testament temple! He knows better what His temple should look like than you or I do!
Consider carefully what you do with God’s temple, because “…you are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (vs. 20). Recognize this. God owns you. He has not authorized you to erect a scaffold and paint His building any color other than the one HE has chosen!
People may think that women are incomplete and need help to perfect their faces. But ask yourself: “What is important to me? The opinions of people—or the declaration of GOD?” God declares that all people were created very good, complete, finished—His future temples!
If God had meant for women to appear as they do after painting their faces, He would have designed their faces this way from creation—and THEN said, “It is very good.”
How Satan Seduced Eve
We have referred to the Creation account and the Garden of Eden. Now we need to examine it from a different perspective.
The Genesis account describes two very different trees—the Tree of Life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Here is how God instructed Adam and Eve: “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die” (2:16-17).
In Chapter 3, Satan confronted Eve. He offered an alternative plan, based on beauty, in place of God’s command, and sold it to her. “Now the serpent [Satan] was more subtle than any beast of the field…And he said unto the woman, Yes, has God said, You shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” (vs. 1). Satan then lied, telling Eve, “You shall not surely die” (vs. 4).
His seduction was brilliant. The woman took the bait!
Notice: “And when the woman SAW that the tree was good for food, and that it was PLEASANT TO THE EYES, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat” (vs. 6). Instead of following God’s instructions, Eve made her decision according to what her senses told her. She went by sight. Disregarding God’s warning about the fatal results of eating of the wrong tree, she physically saw that the tree was good for food and ate it. Satan deceived Eve into believing his lie by appealing to her senses.
No doubt Eve thought that eating the fruit would make her feel good, because it was attractive—beautiful. But there was more at work in Eve’s mind than first meets the eye.
Notice that the tree Satan offered was attractive in three ways. We will focus on the second and third—“pleasant to the eyes” and “to make one wise.”
The apostle John, in the New Testament, spoke of the same three “selling points,” from the world’s physical attractions, at work on Christians. These same points attract women today—exactly as the wrong tree attracted Eve.
Notice: “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” (I John 2:15-16).
The three pulls in John’s statement about the nature of the world directly correspond with what Eve saw in the wrong tree—and they are still deceiving women, exactly as they did Eve!
The “lust of the eyes” and the “pride of life” are equivalent to “pleasant to the eyes” and “to make one wise.” The second phrase—“the pride of life”—is the appeal to vanity, which is inseparable from pride! When women wear makeup, it appeals to their vanity and pride, in the same way that the tree did to Eve. She wanted to be associated with beauty and beautiful things—even when contrary to God’s instruction. She wanted the right to make decisions for herself in what is right or wrong—and what is, or is not, pride and vanity.
Solomon said, “There is no new thing under the sun” (Ecc. 1:9). And nothing has changed in the 6,000 years since the Garden account, or the 3,000 years since Solomon wrote this.
Just as Adam followed Eve, who had followed Satan into a life based on deception and the importance of physical beauty, so the entire world has followed their mistake, and been deceived by Satan. Notice: “…the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world…” (Rev. 12:9). (To learn more about this being, read our booklet Who Is the Devil?)
The book of Ezekiel describes Satan’s origin. He was once the archangel Lucifer. At his creation, he was perfect. Chapter 28 records, “You were perfect in your ways from the day that you were created, till iniquity was found in you” (vs. 15).
Something happened. Lucifer changed. Notice: “Your heart was lifted up [pride, vanity entered] because of your beauty, you have corrupted your wisdom by reason of your brightness” (vs. 17). Lucifer’s heart (mind) was “lifted up” because of his beauty, and he became filled with vanity. Corrupted by these attitudes, he became the devil.
Satan told Eve that God had lied to her and that the tree would make her wise. (Lucifer once had great wisdom, but lost it after he rebelled.) He convinced her that God was holding her back from being “as gods” (Gen. 3:5), like Satan himself (II Cor. 4:4). The beauty of the tree took her in, and sin came into mankind through her.
Just as many are deceived on the seeming unimportance of makeup, so was Eve deceived into believing that eating of the tree was not an important issue—that it was “a light thing” (I Kgs. 16:31). But it is not a light thing to God! It brought her under the death penalty!
The Proverbs twice state, “There is a way which seems right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (14:12; 16:25). Some things may feel or “seem” good, yet they lead to death. So many think that what they do is “not that bad” or that it will not lead to death—but they are wrong!
Makeup appeals to both the sense of sight and vanity. Women wear cosmetics because they feel this makes them look more attractive. By this feeling of increased beauty, their vanity swells. This is exactly what happened to Satan!
I have known many who sought to get around God’s will. Like Satan, they rebel. This booklet will not—cannot—help them. Some are determined to “lean…unto their own understanding” (Prov. 3:5). They fulfill the Proverbs that “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes” (21:2) and “All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes” (16:2). They cannot be told to do anything, and this booklet will have no positive effect on their thinking. They have no interest in what God thinks.
Adam agreed with his wife and joined her in mutual decision. He told her what she wanted to hear rather than what she needed to hear. An angry man once told me, “But I like my wife wearing makeup.” His wife was in her 60s and desperately trying not to look her age. He agreed with her, telling her what she wanted to hear, rather than what she needed to hear—which could be likened to “be willing to grow old gracefully, and naturally.”
Do you husbands think about whether GOD likes makeup, or do you only think about whether your wife does—or whether you do?
II Corinthians 11:3 states that Satan “beguiled” Eve. Will you women of today also be “beguiled” into believing Satan’s lie? Will you follow Mother Eve’s example and choose what is appealing and pleasant to your eyes?
What Is Sin?
Many are confused on whether using makeup is a sin. Although every Bible example refers to women who used it as prostitutes, many still seek proof whether makeup is sinful. What is sin? And who decides what is sin?
God answers: “Whosoever commits sin transgresses [breaks] also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law” (I John 3:4). This is the true definition of sin. Do not concern yourself with what men say, but rather with what the Bible says. God’s Word reveals the truth (John 17:17).
Sin is the opposite of obedience—it is the transgression of the law. If Christians are to obey God, then they must know what sin is—and what they are to obey.
The answer is the Ten Commandments.
GOD decides what sin is. He states that it is transgressing—breaking—His laws. Paul wrote, “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Rom. 3:20). Later, he continues, “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. No, I had not known sin, but for the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, You shall not covet [the Tenth Commandment]” (Rom. 7:7).
Paul recognized that he only learned what sin was through God’s laws. Lust violates the Tenth Commandment—and is therefore sin!
Sin is anything that goes against God’s Word. Eve sinned because she disobeyed God’s instruction. She took to herself the right to decide right and wrong. Many today do the same with God’s teachings. They pick and choose which they will obey and which they will ignore. They allow their human nature to dictate what they do, basing decisions on what “feels” or “seems” right.
Understand something about your human nature. It will not be pleasant to hear. Paul states, “Because the carnal [natural] mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Rom. 8:7). Now read Jeremiah: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (17:9). This is a graphic description of the natural tendency of human nature—the carnal mind—at work within you. It wants to defy God’s instruction and then deceive itself into believing it did not.
Recall the Encyclopaedia Britannica, which described makeup as “…products nobody needs—but wanting them is human nature.” Human nature or, as Paul stated, “the law of sin which is in my members,” is the driving force behind the billion-dollar cosmetics industry. It is that simple! (To learn more about this topic, read our article “What Is Sin?”)
The Spirit of the Law
Did Christ bring a new definition of sin? Has God’s Law changed?
Christ declared, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill” (Matt. 5:17). The law of God is not done away. He also taught that the New Testament Church is built, in part, on the prophets. Notice: “And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone” (Eph. 2:20). We have seen what Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel (prophets) said about makeup.
Right after Matthew 5:17, Christ examined several of the Ten Commandments. He magnified and strengthened each one He referenced.
Concerning the Sixth Commandment, He explained that if killing your brother is a sin, it is also a sin to even hate him. Regarding adultery, He said that even lusting after a woman violates the Seventh Commandment.
Violating the spirit of the law is sin—and all sin is against God (Psa. 51:4). This includes makeup. God’s spiritual law (Rom. 7:14, 12) governs every action in life. It is best described in a single word—love. It is outgoing concern for others. The way of this world is incoming, not outgoing. It practices the “get” (for self) way of life. God’s way is best summarized as the “give” way. The first four commandments teach how to love God and the last six how to love our neighbor (Matt. 22:36-39).
Love is the fulfilling of God’s eternal, spiritual Law (Rom. 13:10; I John 5:3). Christ taught that we must practice the spirit of this law. God says that this law gives life. This is better than obeying God in just the physical letter of His commandments: “Who also has made us able ministers of the New Testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter kills, but the spirit gives life” (II Cor. 3:6).
God’s way is also summarized by practicing the nine fruits of the Spirit. They are found in Galatians 5: “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness [or humility, the opposite of vanity and pride], temperance” (vs. 22-23).
If God’s spiritual law reflects love for God and man, then the opposite is self-love—focusing on the things of self and getting for self. Sin is the opposite of love. This includes vanity.
Competition, strife, greed, envy, jealousy, hatred and lust all flow from vanity—and they are all the opposite of love. Recall the many scriptures describing the outcome of vain and proud people (Jer. 51:18; Ezek. 13:8; Isa. 40:17, 44:9; Ecc. 2:21; Psa. 144:4). These verses are a sobering warning to all!
David wrote, “I hate every false way” (Psa. 119:104). Obviously, deceiving—by altering one’s appearance through makeup—is a “false way.” Do you hate EVERY false way—or just the ones that feel wrong?
David offers fascinating insight about the connection between God’s Law and vanity. He made a clear distinction between them, recording, “I hate vain thoughts: but Your law do I love” (Psa. 119:113). Do you hate the thoughts of vanity? Try to do this as you put on makeup.
Finally, David said, “Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity” (119:37), and “Remove far from me vanity and lies” (Prov. 30:8). Wearing makeup is a form of deceit—and all deceit, in one way or another, is a lie.
David’s son Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, wrote, “…vanity of vanities; all is vanity” (Ecc. 1:2).
Vanity turned the powerful archangel Lucifer into Satan the devil. Wanting to get around God’s Law, he rebelled. Vanity caused Eve to listen to Satan and to sin against God. Vanity—focus on self—leads women to purchase and apply cosmetics!
Do women wear makeup to show love toward neighbor? NO! Do they wear it to please God? NO! They do it to focus on and please themselves.
Eve was not in submission to Adam. She should have been concerned with obeying him and God. Instead, she set out on her own and got into big trouble.
Beauty Is Within
Here is God’s instruction to every woman. The next verses show that God is interested in a woman’s conduct—her character. Grasp what the inspired apostle Peter records: “Likewise, you wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any [husbands] obey not the word, they also may without the word [without having to quote the Bible] be won by the conversation [conduct] of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation [conduct]…Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man [your inner person] of the heart [mind], in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit [attributes of godly character], which is in the sight of God of GREAT PRICE” (I Pet. 3:1-4). Meekness is the opposite of pride and vanity, which oppose the character God wants you to build. God prizes humility!
God is concerned with character—spiritual adornment! He is not interested in physical gold or jewels. God is interested in your inner person. He is far more interested in the beauty of your heart than your clothes. If your character is pure and attractive, then you are properly attired in God’s sight!
This kind of beauty is good enough for God! Is it good enough for you?
However, it is not wrong to wear jewelry. Some assume that these verses imply this, when they do not. Some have asked why God, in Ezekiel 16, attired ancient Israel in beautiful clothes and jewels.
First, recognize that jewelry, of and by itself, is not sin. As with alcohol, cards, dancing and other activities, it is not the thing or activity that is wrong, but rather the wrong USE of the thing or activity.
What about Ezekiel 16? The context is God chose ancient Israel to be His bride. The Old Covenant is actually a marriage agreement between God, as King, and the wife He chose to be His Queen.
Notice: “I clothed you also with broidered work, and shod you with badgers’ skin, and I girded you about with fine linen, and I covered you with silk. I decked you also with ornaments, and I put bracelets upon your hands, and a chain on your neck. And I put a jewel on your forehead, and earrings in your ears, and a beautiful crown upon your head. Thus were you decked with gold and silver; and your raiment was of fine linen, and silk, and broidered work; you did eat fine flour, and honey, and oil: and you were exceeding beautiful, and you did prosper into a kingdom. And your renown went forth among the heathen for your beauty: for it was perfect through My comeliness, which I had put upon you, says the Lord God” (vs. 10-14).
This symbolizes how God adorned His young wife in preparation for a royal marriage ceremony. This description is not literal, but figurative. Since God instructs women to have a “meek and quiet spirit,” this is not His authorization of the opposite.
There is nothing here that authorizes, or in any way speaks about, the use of facial paint (which God chose not to use). To suggest that it does is to be dishonest with the scriptures. These verses do show that jewelry, worn in moderation, is not displeasing to God. Here is the point. The use of quality dress and jewelry enhanced Israel’s natural beauty—it in no way altered her natural features.
The problem that God highlighted through Peter was the gaudy and ostentatious overuse of gold threads interwoven (plaited) into women’s hair. Certain brethren at that time, in an extravagant display, were wearing extremely expensive clothes and other gold and jewels. Of course, we are all familiar with women in today’s world who seek to be “one woman fashion parades,” dressing purely for the purpose of getting attention for self. Many strive to be “dressed to kill.” Once again, when it comes to vanity, there is nothing new under the sun.
Makeup is for SELF. It is done to make SELF “get” more beauty, “get” more attention—and “get” more looks from others. These are all based upon the “lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and pride of life.” They are done for purely SELFISH reasons.
God’s way strives to GIVE, not GET!
Can Makeup Be Worn in Moderation?
Many women see nothing wrong with just a little makeup. Let’s ask then: Is it alright to wear just a tiny—“moderate”—bit of makeup?
Wearing makeup is an addiction. Billions of dollars are spent because the world is addicted to vanity. A small amount of drugs will not help an addict recover from his addiction.
Likewise, wearing makeup in moderation is to say that one can sin in moderation. This is the same as saying that one can be pregnant in moderation or dead in moderation. Impossible!
A little blush or mascara is still sin! There is absolutely nowhere in the Bible where God allows for even a little bit of sin. And sin always spreads and grows worse: “A little leaven leavens the whole lump” (Gal. 5:9).
Sin is sin!
Remember: “There is a way which seems right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Prov. 14:12; 16:25). This warning is for all who have “ears to hear” (Rev. 3:13).
Paul writes, “And be not conformed to this world: but be you TRANSFORMED by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Rom. 12:2).
This booklet has sought to teach you God’s will on the subject of makeup. All who seek God’s will must never be concerned with the world’s standards. We must be concerned with God’s standards—His will.
You cannot be worried, or even concerned, about what others might think of you. God’s Word explains, “For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: Wherein they think it strange that you run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you” (I Pet. 4:3-4).
Everyone wants to fit in, be liked and accepted by the majority. No one naturally wants to stick out, unless it is also designed to get attention—however perverse. You should expect others to think you are strange, extreme, and radical. They will tell you that you are being unbalanced. But they speak from the viewpoint of people, not God.
Upon first removing your makeup, you will even look strange to yourself, but this feeling will quickly disappear. It will be replaced by a sense of relief, because of all the time and money you will save.
Ephesians 2:3 states, “Among whom also we all had our conversation [conduct] in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”
We have all sinned. While the Ephesians had once practiced the sinful lusts of the flesh, they were subject to God’s wrath. They repented and Christ’s blood covered their guilty past.
We were once the same. But by learning the truths of God, we see the errors of our past. His Law will not cleanse our past sins, but it will help us see past mistakes and will allow us to avoid repeating them.
James 1:22-24 states, “But be you doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholds himself, and goes his way, and straightway forgets what manner of man he was.”
Imagine looking at your reflection in the mirror. Upon observation, you discover dirt on your face. Would you attempt to clean or wipe your face with the mirror? Of course not. Likewise, God’s Law, by itself, and without Christ’s blood, will not remove sin.
God’s Law is His spiritual mirror. By looking into it, we see our errors and faults—the dirt on our faces. Now, unless we go and remove the dirt and thoroughly wash it away, the mirror has not helped us. Also, would the dirt disappear just by looking into the mirror?
Of course not! The mirror only provides a way to examine the face.
Here is the point. God’s law is intended to help you wash your face—not paint your face. If you will honestly look into God’s mirror, it will help you see the paint—and other sin—that should be REMOVED, rather than APPLIED!
Do’s and Don’ts?
Some have wanted to establish a thorough list of “do’s and don’ts” governing every aspect and detail of what is, and is not, the use of makeup. This approach is fraught with problems. Adhering to some artificial list defining the “letter of the law on makeup” neglects the spirit of the law.
Such lists invariably grow longer over time and lead to more questions—not fewer. This is the classic problem with all of man’s laws. The unending, complicated, detailed court rulings, made to clarify man’s many laws, prove the old adage that “law always begets more law.” With the laws of men, this is true.
While many religions of men work this way, God does not want His Church to engage in “legalizing” every conceivable question in life. This practice eventually focuses on the physical instead of the spiritual—and, in the case of makeup, loses the most important principles that explain what is really wrong with it. The Church cannot “rule” on every question.
For instance, a woman facing baldness must herself determine if wearing a wig is a matter of necessity. Does she do it intending to bring herself back to her original appearance—or is it to take her from her normal appearance to something else?
Concealing facial scarring involves the same principle. Women with severe scarring, whether from birth defect, accident, extensive acne, etc., must honestly determine whether they are using foundation for this purpose.
Some ask whether dyeing their hair, as it turns gray or white, is part of changing their appearance. They reason that they are simply returning their hair to the color of their youth. However, God says, “The hoary [gray or white] head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness” (Prov. 16:31).
Why would a Christian, one who is walking in the “way of righteousness,” want to remove what God calls a “CROWN”?
The Bible says Christians are to be crowned (Rev. 2:10; 3:11; Jms. 1:12) for eternity, as kings and priests (Rev. 5:10). No doubt, since you wish to receive THIS crown from God in the next life, why would you not want to receive this other natural, physical crown, which some are blessed to wear in this life?
Each woman must be careful that she does not “play games” with God to get around the plain teaching about cosmetics. If your intent is to “beat the system,” you may be able to fool yourself or others, but not God (Prov. 16:2; 21:2)!
Israel Not to Copy Heathen
Numerous times, God instructed and warned ancient Israel not to copy the customs, traditions, abominations and pagan ways of the nations around them. The Old Testament stories about Israel are almost entirely about their repeated, blatant disregard for God’s plain—impossible to misunderstand—instruction. Invariably, Israel slipped into imitating her neighbors, rather than setting an example for them (Deut. 4:6-8).
When God brought Israel into the Promised Land, He knew that they would come under temptation, even great pressure, to “be like everyone else” and to “be accepted” by surrounding nations. Consider this blunt instruction: “When you are come unto the land which the Lord your God gives you, and shall possess it, and shall dwell therein, and shall say, I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me…” (Deut. 17:14).
One of the most powerful drives in the world is to be like everyone else. But this pull can lead to serious trouble. “Keeping up with the Joneses” means slipping into direct disobedience to God’s basic commands: “When you are come into the land which the Lord your God gives you, you shall not learn to do after the abominations of those nations…For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord: and because of these abominations the Lord your God does drive them out from before you” (Deut. 18:9, 12).
God went on to instruct Israel that they needed to be vigilant and careful that they not slide, wittingly or unwittingly, into customs that were not pleasing to Him: “Take heed to yourself that you be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before you; and that you enquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise. You shall not do so unto the Lord your God: for every abomination to the Lord, which He hates, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods. What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: you shall not add thereto, nor diminish from it” (Deut. 12:30-32).
There is a parallel in these verses today for spiritual Israel—the Church. Ancient Israel was called the “Church in the wilderness” (Acts 7:38). God did not put His Spirit in Old Testament Israel, but He is putting it in all those within His Church—New Testament spiritual Israel.
We have seen that Old Testament stories, accounts and examples are for our learning. But will we truly learn the lessons that God intends for us?
Beware that you do not unwittingly make the same mistake that nearly all professing Christians make—and that ancient Israel made. I speak of those who say, “I wear makeup, but I don’t do it to copy or use the methods of a prostitute.”
This parallels popular thinking regarding the celebration of Christmas and Easter. Christmas comes from the Roman Saturnalia and from customs centered on Baal worship. It has nothing to do with Christ. Yet, so many say, “Well, I don’t keep Christmas for those reasons. I keep it Christ-centered.” Easter and all of its customs are utterly pagan and celebrate the Egyptian, Babylonian, Mesopotamian goddess, Ishtar. While it also has nothing to do with Christ, many assert, “Well, I don’t keep Easter with those customs in mind, I do it focusing on Christ.” (Once again, our free booklet The True Origin of Easter shows how serious this is to God.)
Each time God delivered ancient Israel from captivity, she had learned nothing and eventually repeated the same mistakes. This always led her right back into slavery and servitude to her enemies. She never learned the lesson of avoiding compromise—even a little bit—with God’s plain, blunt instructions. Will you compromise with the plain Word of God?
Just as God washed, purified, and adorned ancient Israel with beautiful clothes and jewels, He is doing the same with His Church today. Marriage between two converted people is directly compared to how Christ is working with His future bride. Notice: “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it; That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Eph. 5:25-27).
This picture reflects a bride who has carefully prepared her character—her “garments” of the inner heart—in readying herself for her upcoming wedding. Nothing suggests that she is unprepared until she has put on her makeup or painted her eyes. Instead, this pictures Christ cleansing—washing—her.
Would Christ then delay His Wedding until His bride had “put her face back on”—and only then be willing to marry her? Ridiculous! This goes against every other plain scripture and principle in God’s Word.
Ladies, God is concerned with what kind of a person you are inside. This is what makes a woman truly beautiful. He is not concerned with outward beauty, and labels painted women as whores.
If you obey God and follow His truth without compromise, you have an incredible future. You can look forward to rulership in God’s government. You will not need makeup as a member of the ruling Family of God, because your face will shine like the sun! (Read our booklets How Religion Deceives You About Your Incredible Future and How God’s Kingdom Will Come – The Untold Story! to learn more.)
With this statement, Herbert W. Armstrong concluded his booklet Truth About Makeup:
“Women do not have to be like the world in ways that transgress the spirit of God’s Law! They do not have to wear lipstick or other make-up.
“Worldliness is conforming to the world in ways that transgress the letter or the spirit of God’s Law. Wearing make-up is worldliness—and the Bible brands worldliness as sin!
“Yes, it is either vanity, or it is conforming to the world! It is sin!
“And God’s people must put away their sins.
“Christ had to shed His precious blood—give His wonderful, perfect life—because many of you women have been guilty of committing this sin! That’s the price He paid to cleanse you of this habit!”
“There is so much more that could be said on this subject that I could go on and on and fill 100 pages! But I think this is enough! Every woman who wants that deceitfulness and wickedness removed from her heart is going to remove that physical colored dirt from her face, once and for all!
“Those yielded to the Christ who paid such a price for this very cleansing will need no more. Those not so yielded would not repent and let the precious blood of Christ cleanse them, and their faces, though I write ten thousand pages! God lays down the Law. God tells us what is sin, and He tells us that this vain use of facial make-up is sin!
“But God leaves it to you to decide whether to sin! And never forget the penalty for this sin is death for eternity in a Lake of fire! It is truly, an awful—a frightful fate. You are warned! You are a free moral agent. That decision is now your responsibility! What are you going to do with it?”