by David C. Pack
What is the truth about makeup? Most women—even some little girls—wear it. Yet few know its history. Even fewer know what God’s Word says about it. Are cosmetics addressed in the Bible? Does it approve their use? Is makeup wrong—sin? What principles apply? Here are the answers!
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 free booklet Did God Create Human Nature? to learn more.)
It is reported that “An estimated 1,282 tubes of lipstick and 2,055 jars of skin care products are sold every minute” (“Beauty in the mind and wallet of beholder,” Minnesota Daily Online, March 7, 2001).
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, recent 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 10 million adolescent and teenage girls into eating disorders.
With the market already grossing 65 billion dollars a year and rising, a well-known chain store announced that it has “recently decided to expand its…line of low-priced cosmetics for teenagers and tweens—children in the 8- to 14-year old age group” (“Rouge to Riches,” by Catherine Valenti, abcnews.com, June 25, 2001).
The widely publicized death of a six-year-old “beauty queen” demonstrates there is a growing culture obsessed with beauty in very young girls.
The American Society of Plastic Surgery reports that over 1.3 million people had cosmetic surgery in the year 2000, and 1.2 million were women. A 1999 Gallup poll revealed that 72% of people say that they are pleased with their appearance, yet 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: 1.6 million women, even some men, are now 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 $150 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 new 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 free 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 (not Judah, which is just one nation) 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 the large false, counterfeit religious system now masquerading as Christianity. She is a great church with many daughter churches that came out of her in protest. 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 chapter 4, 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 Jeremiah 4:30 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. Ezekiel 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 starting in Ezekiel 23:2 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 Israel.
God thunders this indictment from heaven against His people: “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 millennium, 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 (or Day of God’s Wrath). God describes the attitudes and idols that He will smash just prior to the Return of Christ: “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 the Return of Christ and the beginning of His millennial rule on Earth.
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” (Isa. 3:16-17).
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: “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.
The great false church of this world (recall the Great Whore of Revelation 17:5, with her harlot daughters) has continually sought to get into God’s Church, depicted in Revelation 12 as a very different woman, wearing a “crown of twelve stars.”
Jezebel’s whoredoms were so wicked that she is used by God as a type of this great universal church. Just as Jezebel tried to seduce Jehu in Old Testament Israel through the use of facial paint, the Great Whore has continually sought to deceive the world and even seduce many of God’s New Testament servants by changing her appearance, cloaking her doctrines with “paint” and masquerading as God’s Church. History shows that she has been able to successfully repeat her whoredoms upon so many of those of God’s Church. Her powers of seduction have not diminished over time! She and her false doctrines, beginning with women using makeup, successfully crept into the true Church of God at the end of the age. (This story is told in careful detail in other of our literature.)
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.