3 The Church in its Temporal Aspect Part D

Clothing Us In Robes Of Righteousness 
Proverbs 31:21-22

Proverbs 31:21-22
31:21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household; for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
31:22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.

Clothing in the world of Solomon had many purposes. First and foremost was the capacity to protect wearer in all types of weather and promote modesty. Of equal importance was the clothing's ability to define the wearer's vocation and their status in the community. In the temporal, this passage celebrates the diligent labor of the virtuous woman. Her effort at clothing her family has yielded apparel that can withstand the extremes of climate and define in an acceptable way their standing in the community.  

Daniel 5:29 Then commanded Belshazzar, and they clothed Daniel with scarlet, and put a chain of gold about his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him, that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom.

Luke 16:24 For there was a certain rich man, who was clothed in purple, and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day.

The style of the clothing denoted vocation, but it was the color that defined status. Scarlet and purple both spoke of authority. Those wearing scarlet or purple were deferred to and treated with respect denied those of lesser status. Even women, children, or servants so clothed were recognized as people worthy of respect and deference.   

In the world of Solomon's virtuous woman, her diligence to the labor of serving her family allowed her to lead them into the community as respected citizens. Her living testimony of humility to God and compassion for others helped guide the life of her household to the joy of serving others. The result of her labors was a family of respected citizens that were truly an asset to the community. Solomon's virtuous woman truly is a type and shadow of the woman/church we seek.   

Mosiah 11:103-104 
11:103 And it came to pass that whosoever were desirous to take upon them the name of Christ, or of God, they did join the churches of God; and they were called the people of God.
11:104 And the Lord did pour out his Spirit upon them, and they were blessed, and prospered in the land.

In our studies we have touched on a few Hebrew prophetic symbols. The use of the temporal to emphasize the spiritual is a teaching technique used throughout the scriptures the most notable being the parables of Christ's ministry. Even His disciples questioned the use of these parables that seemed to hide the truth rather than offer it freely. 

Matthew 13:8-12 
13:8 Then the disciples came and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?
13:9 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
13:10 For whosoever receiveth, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance;
13:11 But whosoever continueth not to receive, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.
13:12 Therefore speak I to them in parables; because they, seeing, see not; and hearing, they hear not; neither do they understand.

Christ was trying to explain to His students that use of parables enticed the student to look beyond the temporal and in that effort find the spiritual. Belief in God is about more than just gathering knowledge. Gaining knowledge is the mechanical act of gathering and possessing pertinent facts. It satisfies a need but does little to cause growth and change. To grasp the truth knowledge can bring, one must reach beyond what they already know and assimilate into their lives the positive aspects of the knowledge they gained. Only then can they realize that understanding requires both growth and change. The fullness of this technique and the application of it to the Kingdom were later revealed to Christ's disciples.  

Matthew 16:14-19 
16:14 And when Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?
16:15 And they said, Some say John the Baptist; some Elias; and others Jeremias; or one of the prophets.
16:16 He said unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
16:17 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
16:18 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona; for flesh and blood hath not revealed this unto thee, but my Father who is in heaven.
16:19 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Truth and understanding in its fullness is an authority that belongs to God only. For us to understand truth in its fullness, we must go to God through His Spirit and allow our hearts to be open and intimate with Him. This act causes both growth and change. Faith and hope are as much about the diligence we apply to the effort of reaching out to God as it is about possessing the knowledge we seek. We can be told that Christ is our savior and have that knowledge in our minds without changing a thing about our lives. When we seek to reach out beyond our temporal selves and allow God to give us a full understanding of all Christ's sacrifice means, growth happens, change happens and we are not the same person we were. The difference in ourselves mirrors the difference we see between a gathering of believers who rely on ritual and tradition to define their belief and those whose belief defines the life they live and the way that they live it. 

Such is the way of the woman/church we seek. Her teachings prompt the people to open their hearts to God and in that effort they gain understanding, growth, change, and the security of knowing that this process will repeat itself many, many times. 

Proverbs 31:21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household; for all her household are clothed with scarlet.

The symbols we seek to define in this verse are color. Both those used directly and those implied. Snow is a good example and the first one offered.
Snow: From Strong's Concordance H7949 sheleg, {sheh'-leg;} from ; snow (probably from its whiteness):—snow(-y).

Snow presents us with an implied color, white. White implies purity, but we must remember that within all of God's creation each object, ideal, or attitude has the ability to be used by us to help build the Kingdom or to tear it down. Be aware that the soul racked with the weight of sin can possess the same level of purity as that of a heart healthy in the Lord and overflowing with the joy of righteousness. We are all familiar with the color white as it portrays the purity of righteousness. 

Mark 9:1-2 
9:1 And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, and James, and John, who asked him many questions concerning his sayings; and Jesus leadeth them up into a high mountain apart by themselves. And he was transfigured before them.
9:2 And his raiment became shining, exceeding white, as snow; so white as no fuller on earth could whiten them.

On the mount of transfiguration, the righteousness of Christ is displayed as whiteness beyond anything man can achieve. Standing in God's presence Peter, James, and John were allowed to see Christ as God sees Him. This same ability to see as God sees was offered up to Moses, Aaron, and Miriam at a time when Aaron and Miriam were questioning Moses ability to lead the Hebrew nation in the wilderness.  

Numbers 12:1-10 
12:1 And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married; for he had married an Ethiopian woman.
12:2 And they said, Hath the Lord indeed spoken only by Moses? hath he not spoken also by us? And the Lord heard it.
12:3 (Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.)
12:4 And the Lord spake suddenly unto Moses, and unto Aaron, and unto Miriam, Come out ye three unto the tabernacle of the congregation. And they three came out.
12:5 And the Lord came down in the pillar of the cloud, and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam; and they both came forth.
12:6 And he said, Hear now my words; If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream.
12:7 My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house.
12:8 With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the Lord shall he behold; wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?
12:9 And the anger of the Lord was kindled against them, and he departed.
12:10 And the cloud departed from off the tabernacle; and, behold, Miriam became leprous, white as snow; and Aaron looked upon Miriam, and, behold, she was leprous.

Does this teach that leprosy is a judgment of God? No, what it shows is that the purpose within our heart defines the purity we are capable of achieving. The sickness of leprosy kills the body in the same way that pride and rebellion kills the soul. In Mariam the white of leprosy signified the purity of rebellion. Because of the strength afforded by the presence of God, the woman/church we seek is aware that purity in and of it self is not holy. She defines the purity she seeks for her family symbolized by the color scarlet. 

Proverbs 31:21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household; for all her household are clothed with scarlet.

Scarlet has always been known as a color significant of earthly authority. Rulers both temporal and spiritual, from tribes of Native America, to the Emperors of Rome and China used scarlet to denote their temporal authority in the world of man. In fact, it has been used to describe and define the sins of mortal man and how those sins can become the authority that guides their life.

Isaiah 1:18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord; though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

With the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, attitudes and definitions changed greatly. Christ's blood was shed that all mankind might choose to recognize this sanctifying act as sufficient for the cleansing of sin from their life. Scarlet now becomes the color of salvation and redemption. The authority of Christ's sacrifice through the repentance it affords us can save us from a life of sin as well as redeem us from thoughtless acts of unrighteousness and a rebellious heart. It is still a color that speaks of authority, but in Christ that authority is not of man. It is in God and of God. 

Alma 3:49 That your garments have been cleansed and made white, through the blood of Christ, who will come to redeem his people from their sins?

The color red has come to represent the authority of God's and His ability to redeem humanity. The Hebrew children gave us a glimpse of this in the time of Joshua as they sought to occupy God's promised land. In Jericho, Rehab the prostitute offered sanctuary to the Hebrew spies. In return she received the protection of God in the coming destruction.

Joshua 2:17-19 
2:17 And the men said unto her, We will be blameless of this thine oath which thou hast made us swear.
2:18 Behold, when we come into the land, thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread in the window which thou didst let us down by; and thou shalt bring thy father, and thy mother, and thy brethren, and all thy father's household, home unto thee.
2:19 And it shall be, that whosoever shall go out of the doors of thy house into the street, his blood shall be upon his head, and we will be guiltless; and whosoever shall be with thee in the house, his blood shall be on our head, if any hand be upon him.

Proverbs 31:21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household; for all her household are clothed with scarlet.

The woman/church we seek will never fear the living death of leprous rebellion within her people, because her efforts have clothed them in the authority of God's redemptive purpose. Though they will face the challenge of both the temptation of man and the justice of God, the mercy of the Father through the sacrifice of Christ will seek out the hearts of the fallen, and they will be saved. The authority of Christ's sacrifice allows man to choose repentance, reconciliation, and redemption. Within the broke heart and the contrite spirit of true repentance are the welcoming arms of the Father reaching out to receive His children into the Kingdom.

Psalms 34:18  The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.

Proverbs 31:22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.

Tapestry: From Strong's concordance H7234 marbad, {mar-bad'}; from ; a coverlet:—covering of tapestry.

Tapestry: From the Marion-Webster Dictionary, a heavy hand-woven reversible textile used for hangings, curtains, and upholstery and characterized by complicated pictorial designs

More than anything, tapestries or coverings were used as a testimony of intent and purpose. 

Exodus 26:1 Moreover thou shalt make the tabernacle with ten curtains of fine twined linen, and blue, and purple, and scarlet; with cherubim of cunning work shalt thou make them.

Proverbs 7:16-19 
7:16 I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with carved works, with fine linen of Egypt.
7:17 I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.
7:18 Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning; let us solace ourselves with loves.
7:19 For the goodman is not at home, he is gone a long journey;

In the Tabernacle of God the tapestries portrayed for the people the presence of God. For the strange woman of Proverbs the tapestries and coverings told of lust and sinful love. Both testified of intent and purpose. 

Exodus 26:1 Moreover thou shalt make the tabernacle with ten curtains of fine twined linen, and blue, and purple, and scarlet; with cherubim of cunning work shalt thou make them.

Examine if you will the makeup of the tapestries of the Tabernacle and denote the symbols used. The picture woven into the coverings was that of cherubim. They are God's guardian angels. They forever stand between the sinful world of man and the righteous perfection of God's Kingdom.

Genesis 3:31 So I drove out the man, and I placed at the east of the garden of Eden, cherubim, and a flaming sword, which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

Once again we are face with the symbols of color.

Proverbs 31:22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.

Scarlet: We have determined that scarlet is a color representing the authority of God's redemptive purpose. The blood shed at Calvary gave Christ's blood the authority to cleanse and redeem all those who would allow themselves to be sanctified by Christ's labor. 

Blue: This color was used by God to denote His presence in the life of His children. It gives testimony to man's awareness of the justice of God and the mercy of remembrance and repentance.

Numbers 15:38-41 
15:38 Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes in the borders of their garments, throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of the borders a ribband of blue;
15:39 And it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the Lord, and do them; and that ye seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go a whoring;
15:40 That ye may remember, and do all my commandments, and be holy unto your God.
15:41 I am the Lord your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your god; I am the Lord your God.

Purple: The color purple is the result of a mixture of blue and red. Allow it to bring you to a remembrance of both the justice of God, which is death from sin, and His mercy, which is the redemptive power of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. 

Proverbs 31:21-22
31:21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household; for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
31:22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.

By understanding the symbols used we can see that the church/woman we seek embodies both the testimony of Christ, and God's willingness to redeem and protect His children from the scourge of sin and the death it brings. She covers both herself and her household in this witness and causes them to be a living testimony to the world of God's love, His power, and His wish for all that will accept His everlasting covenant and His sanctifying love.

Romans 4:7 Saying, Blessed are they through faith whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.