Recently a local conference of the Seventh-day Adventist church has elected a woman to serve as their Conference President. This action was done in direct opposition of the established policy of the worldwide church governing body which only recognizes the election of fully ordained ministers to this position of authority. As a result, the stage is set for a showdown between more liberal progressive factions in the church who favor ordination of women and the more conservation wing which attempt to take a more Biblical stand that supports the ordination of men to the priesthood (click here for a previous post in this topic). As the church leadership seems powerless to remedy the obvious increasing signs of division within the church body, one wonders what the Bible has to say in regard to this more progressive attitude of many women and their supporters within the church who are seeking to assume positions of authority that God has delegated for the male priesthood. A very timely sermon address was delivered on this sort of worldly progressively on part of the haughty daughters of Zion in what may be termed the trouble with an Isaiah 4:1 style of Christianity and the Divine remedy. This address is somewhat lengthy and will be divided into two parts, below is Part 1)
“You remember that in our last Sabbath’s study, we found that the prophecy of the third chapter of Isaiah actually begins with the second chapter, continues on through the third, and ends with the fourth chapter. And you also recall that the concerns therein, are for the church “in the last days,” in the latter part of the time of the end. In other words, you recollect that in these chapters God is speaking directly to His people who are living at this very time.
Since the concerns of these chapters are addressed to Judah, Jerusalem, and Zion of the last days, let us briefly transpose these titles into the language of today.
The title “Judah” (kingdom of Judah), of course, takes in the nation as a whole. Applying this title to the church in our time, it means the Denomination as a whole, the people that are to make up the antitypical kingdom of Judah. The title “Zion,” the ancient palace grounds personified as is in this chapter, and away from the promised land, means the General Conference, the headquarters of the Denomination. According to Nehemiah 11:1, the title “Jerusalem” anciently meant the city of the rulers of the nation. Applying this title to our time, and away from the father land, as Inspiration does, means the under-rulers of the General Conference. To repeat, Judah takes in the laity; Jerusalem takes in the local and union conference officials; Zion takes in the General Conference officials. These are the only possible and logical applications that can be made of these titles.
Knowing now that chapter 3 presents the Lord’s concerns for us today, we shall begin our study with . . .
Verse 16—“Moreover the Lord saith, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet.”
Besides the concerns which we considered last week, the Lord has today this message for “the daughters of Zion.”
In this particular verse, therefore, God is especially addressing the daughters of the highest officials in the Denomination, the ministry, those that are at the head of the work. Accordingly, He is about to do something because the daughters of Zion are “haughty,” proud. Their pride is made manifest in the fact that they walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes; they are unrestrained, licentious, vain. Then, too, while walking, they mince and tinkle with their feet,—they do not walk naturally, they perform, as it were, to attract public attention. As God sees them they are on the streets, not to get where they have started for, not to get their work done, but they are there to be seen. This is the way God sees the state of affairs that exists among the daughters of Zion. He sees them as ringleaders in licentiousness in the church.
You remember in our previous study what the Lord has against the ancients of His people, against the mighty man, the man of war, the judge, the prophet, the prudent, the captain of fifty, the honorable, the counsellor, the cunning artificer, and the eloquent orator (verses 2, 3). They are “soothsayers,” He declares (Isa. 2:6); they “have eaten up the vineyard; the spoil of the poor is in [their] houses.” Isa. 3:14. Thus Inspiration points out that they are wickedly spending the spoil of the poor. Strong language, in-deed, but it is God that says it.
Verse 17—“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.”
Because the daughters of Zion are on the one hand at the expense of the poor making fools of themselves, and on the other hand professing to represent Heaven, the Lord will smite with a scab the crown of their heads. No, they are not getting away either with the spoil of the poor, or with their own foolish, wicked, vain fiddle-faddle.
“The Lord will discover their secret parts” if they do not now repent. They are proudly misusing their heads and their necks, their wrists and their feet. They are proud to make a display of their wares.
For this reason the Lord will put on display those parts which they do not wish to have exposed. He will make them naked. He will make a public example of them.
Verses 18-23—“In that day the Lord will take away the bravery of their tinkling ornaments about their feet, and their cauls, and their round tires like the moon, the chains, and the bracelets, and the mufflers, the bonnets, and the ornaments of the legs, and the head bands, and the tablets, and the earrings, the rings, and nose jewels, the changeable suits of apparel, and the mantles, and the wimples, and the crisping pins, the glasses, and the fine linen, and the hoods, and the vails.”
“In that day,” the day in which these conditions prevail among God’s professed people, He will take away their bravery, take away the boldness with which they make fools of themselves. He will remove the wicked ornaments of their feet, legs, and necks. These daughters of Zion, right at the head of the work, are challenging the Lord, and misleading His people at the expense of His Truth, of His vineyard, and of the sweat of the poor. But now He will turn the tables. He will challenge them.
What can round tires like the moon be?—Well, they may be the high heels under their feet, the heels that make their necks long and their backs weak, but most likely, the round tires like the moon may be the fancy things which they put on their heads, and which they call hats probably only because they are put where the hat ought to be.
To so extremely follow the fashions of the world is perfectly proper for unbelievers, but it is certainly all wrong for those whose religious profession condemns their practice.
This catalogue of ornaments takes in everything imaginable, everything useless one may put on for display. Why not now, Brother, Sister, remove from your bodies the vanities that degrade your professed reputation, and that make God’s message of no effect? Why not now dress neat, clean, decent, modest—in harmony with your profession? Why wait until the Lord smites you with some curse from which you can never recover? Why not work out your welfare of life with God, the One Who is your only true Friend, your only Deliverer, the only One Who knows all your problems, the only One Who can blot out your sins?
Why not take the advice of the all-wise God? Why let hypocrisy bring you down to the level of the wicked, the indecent, and the disrespectful,—hypocrisy that leads down to the valley of indecision, of uncertainty, of calamity, of disgrace? Why should you in the name of the Lord spin devilish webs for unwary feet to be entangled in? Why should you serve your Enemy while professing to be Christ’s representative?
Do you suppose that we can convert the heathen to Christ’s high and exalted way of living when we dress no better than they, especially when they know that our dress is not in harmony with our own profession? So far, it looks as though the heathen are heathenizing the church, rather than the church Christianizing them.
Had God wanted you to be different from what you already are, He could have made you different. Had He wanted you to be like a turkey bird, He would have as easily given you a nose jewel, ear rings, and a brooch. Had He wanted you to be like a peacock, He would have given you a peacock tail and a peacock crown. Had He wanted you to have a stretched-out neck, He would have given you a giraffe neck. Had He wanted you to tinkle as you go, He would have given you a rattler’s tail. He could have made you any way He wanted to. But are you not glad that He has made you just what you are?
Not many years ago if one of the daughters of Zion should have appeared on the streets attired in the kind of dress they wear today she would have been rushed into jail. But if one of them in a dress of that day should appear on the streets of today, no one would bother her. What does that mean to you? Does it not mean that the dress of today is indecent? that the world’s fashions are growing worse?
Are you Davidians, too, going to fall after the manner of the haughty daughters of Zion? Have you come into this world to gratify the eyes of the street idlers? or are you here to do the world good, and to please the Lord? Which one of you brethren wants to have your wife or your daughter on exhibition to please the wanton eyes that fill the streets?
Why is God to strip the daughters of Zion of their vanities?—Let us hear Him answer: “. . . Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet.”
The fashionable way of dressing makes them haughty, proud; makes them stretch forth their necks, and makes them tinkle with their feet; makes them do anything to attract attention—yes, everything with which to make themselves appear indecent, hypocritical, and of questionable characters. Is it any wonder that there is so much wickedness in the church? One must
as it were, carry a gun to protect his wife on the streets. How can it be otherwise when the women’s way of dressing in itself invites trouble?
Moreover, if you sisters do not dress in harmony with the Lord’s will, in harmony with His advanced Truth, even the world, if it knows anything of your profession, will not think much of you. They are looking for hypocrites anyway, and if you are not faithful to your religion, you will in their eyes appear to be the best of hypocrites.
Verse 24—“And it shall come to pass, that instead of sweet smell there shall be stink; and instead of a girdle a rent; and instead of well set hair baldness; and instead of a stomacher a girding of sackcloth; and burning instead of beauty.”
Dress properly and you will find not only that wicked men will not hang after you, but neither will the Lord’s curses fall upon you.
Verse 25—“Thy men shall fall by the sword, and thy mighty in the war.”
If the daughters of Zion fail to reform, then their men shall fall by the sword. Do you want me to tell you why their men will fall by the sword?—Because no sincere Christian boy in his right senses, will ever as much as consider marrying a girl that dresses as a hypocrite dresses. And so if such a worldly-minded girl is ever to get married, what kind of man will she get?—Not an informed Christian in present Truth, I am sure. She will get the kind of man that does not have God’s protection over him, the kind that is to fall in the war, the war that is fought while God’s people are being delivered. (Re-read Tract No. 14.) If you want to save your men, then quit fooling with the Devil. Get to be God’s true representatives.
What would you think if the angels came down on the streets dressed like these daughters of Zion? Would you think they were angels, or would you think they were devils? Would you think that Heaven is a good place to live in? Honestly, now, just what would you think? Would you give them the respect they deserve? No, I am sure you would not. Then why not dress as would the angels dress if they were in your place? If the angels should now appear, they would not be ashamed to be seen, but many a woman would be ashamed to be seen by the angels. Truth is Truth, and sense is sense; let us have them both.
Verse 26—“And her gates shall lament and mourn; and she being desolate shall sit upon the ground.”
The very thing that sifts out the unconverted, be-cause the standard of her profession is cast to the winds, her gates of gathering places, shall lament and mourn. Desolate shall sit on the ground, not on a throne. Why suffer such a loss?
Of course people will look at you, but they will not regard you as an evildoer, or as a vain or a lude person, but rather as a respectable Christian. If they hate you, it will be because your behaviour is making them ashamed. And, moreover, how else will you win them to your religion which they must have to be saved, unless you rightly represent it?
When I go out with my wife, people that have never seen me before, that have no idea who I may be, with but very little hesitancy call me “Reverend” because they take her to be a preacher’s wife. That shows what the people of the world think when they see properly well-dressed women. Better to have them think that you are a preacher’s wife or daughter, than to have them guessing what you could possibly be.
Why not heed the Lord’s rousing cry? Do not put off heeding this urgent call until tomorrow, Brother, Sister. If you fail today, the morrow will never come. This is your opportunity.
As aforementioned, just as chapter 3 is a continuation of chapter 2, chapter 4 is a continuation of chapter 3. We shall therefore continue this study through chapter 4.
Isa. 4:1—“And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by Thy name, to take away our reproach.”
That is, in the last days, the time the daughters of Zion are haughty, then seven women (all the churches of that day) shall in heart say to Christ, the one Man, “We shall eat our own bread, we shall wear our own clothes, We shall be entirely independent of Thee. There is but one thing that we want from You: Only let us be called by Thy Name, Christian, so as to take away our reproach.” This is the way God sees His church enslaved by the world.
Now, to this end, I want to read a poem to you. It perfectly tells how the fall has come about.” — Timely Greetings Vol. 1, No. 6, pp. 25-33.