Is wearing makeup a sin? How did the early christians live?
The short answer is: absolutely, wearing makeup is a sin. All the Church Fathers were against it and condemned it clearly. It's a well known fact that the early Church Fathers were against excessive women apparel, including makeup, earrings, dyeing of hair and so on. This opinion has continued even until today among the righteous. True Christians have never used makeup throughout the history.
As an introduction, Augustine's "On Christian Doctrine, book IV" discloses not only his opinion but also that of Cyprian (d.258 AD) and Ambrose (d.397 AD). Let's find out the unanimous voice of the Church Fathers:
50. Ambrose again, inveighing against such practices, says: "Hence arise these incentives to vice, that women, in their fear that they may not prove attractive to men, paint their faces with carefully-chosen colors, and then from stains on their features go on to stains on their chastity. What folly it is to change the features of nature into those of painting, and from fear of incurring their husband's disapproval, to proclaim openly that they have incurred their own! For the woman who desires to alter her natural appearance pronounces condemnation on herself; and her eager endeavors to please another prove that she has first been displeasing to herself. And what testimony to your ugliness can we find, O woman, that is more unquestionable than your own, when you are afraid to show yourself? If you are comely why do you hide your comeliness? If you are plain, why do you lyingly pretend to be beautiful, when you can not enjoy the pleasure of the lie either in your own consciousness or in that of another? For he loves another woman, you desire to please another man; and you are angry if he love another, though he is taught adultery in you. You are the evil promptress of your own injury. For even the woman who has been the victim of a pander shrinks from acting the pander's part, and though she be vile, it is herself she sins against and not another. The crime of adultery is almost more tolerable than yours; for adultery tampers with modesty, but you with nature." It is sufficiently clear, I think, that this eloquence calls passionately upon women to avoid tampering with their appearance by deceitful arts, and to cultivate modesty and fear.
If all the Church Fathers were completely wrong, would there be any chance for us to be saved? They were the bishops and teachers at the time. In addition to Ambrose, Cyprian and Augustine, we might add in the list also Clement of Alexandria (read The Paedagogus), Prudentius, Commodianus, Tertullian, Jerome etc. - simply pointing out the unanimous aspect on the matter. Remember that the emperor Theodosius I, who was advised by Ambrose, made the Olympics impossible to be held anymore. That was the year 393 AD. Next time the Olympics were officially held was in 1896, 1503 years later. The world has been a lot more conservative - until recently. The cosmetics - that were once very common among the Romans - were again introduced to the masses in the early 1900's. Today, perhaps 99,9% of the people think there's nothing wrong wearing makeup, earrings etc. Well, in the eyes of God they have sinned and fallen away. They're wrong - even being such a majority. Don't wait until the end when it's too late to recognize the fact! Citing Ambrose again, we could well ask: "What will be your reply?"
What is not Mine I reject.
He commits a serious offense who adulterates the work of God. It is a serious charge to suppose that man is to be preferred to God as an artist! It is serious, indeed, when God has to say this about you: 'I do not recognize My colors or My image, not even the countenance which I have made. What is not Mine I reject. Take up your abode with him who has painted you. Seek your favors from him to whom you have given payment.' What will be your reply?
Tertullian against makeup
Tertullian (d. 220 AD) is also very clear about the makeup. In his work, On the Apparel of Women, he writes:
For they who rub their skin with medicaments, stain their cheeks with rouge, make their eyes prominent with antimony, sin against Him.
In fact, the Church Fathers held an unanimous view about the makeup. It was a common custom among the pagan Romans ladies. Similarly, it's a common custom today as well.
Makeup addressed by Ephraim the Syrian
Ephraim the Syrian (d.373) wrote a beautiful homily about makeup. It's called the Homily on the Sinful Woman. A citation follows:
3. These things she inwardly said; then began she to do outwardly. She washed and put away from her eyes the dye that blinded them that saw it. And tears gushed forth from her eyes over that deadly eyepaint. She drew off and cast from her hands the enticing bracelets of her youth. She put off and cast away from her body the tunic of fine linen of whoredom, and resolved to go and attire herself in the tunic the garment of reconciliation. She drew off and cast from her feet the adorned sandals of lewdness; and directed the steps of her going in the path of the heavenly Eagle.
The eyepaint blinded my eyes, and (I was) blind among many whom I blinded. Homily on the Sinful Woman
Makeup commented by Cyprian
Cyprian, a bishop and martyr, puts it straight:
Your complexion you have polluted with false colouring, your hair you have altered by unnatural dyes, your countenance is captured by a lie, your natural appearance lost, your look is not your own. You will never be able to see God, whose eyes are no longer God's workmanship, but the devil s craft. He is it you follow; those glaring painted eyes are copied from the serpent; you dress after your foe now, you will burn after his fashion hereafter. Treatises of Cyprian, p.126
Biblical foundation for rejecting makeup
We know there's an endless list of excuses how people try to convince them to keep altering their looks. Often times these excuses are related to some passages in the Bible. Remember that even the Devil himself referred to the Bible when requesting Jesus to cast down from the pinnacle of the temple. What is the book of all heresies? The Bible. Still, it's been the foundation of all true Christians as well as the Church Fathers. The excuses often refer to Rebecca, Exodus, Ezekiel 16th and so on. In all these occasions God the father adorned the bride through a man here on earth. Today, we see most people adorning themselves instead, doing exactly the opposite. In the old testament there's a lot of figurative text while today's cosmetic-addicted people don't want to adorn themselves in thoughts but with real rouge and makeup.
What does the bible has to say about these commonly referred passages: Genesis 24:22, Exodus 3:22 (12:35) and Ezekiel 16:12? Rebecca represents the church who received the gospel from a servant from the house of Abraham, figuratively a message from a man sent by God himself. Isaac represents Jesus Christ who marries Rebecca, the true church - the bride.
Ezekiel 16:12 essentially talks about Exodus 3:22,12:35 but continues to relate Exodus chapters 32 (Golden calf) and 33. Simply, the Jews lost the living faith, the precious adornments from God the creator. Especially the wives who were never told to wear earrings, see Exodus 3:22, yet did so. This is a part of the whoredom Ezekiel refers to - that you, instead of God, adorn yourself with various ornaments. This simply means you pretend to be a christian even though you're not.
30 And when thou art spoiled, what wilt thou do? Though thou clothest thyself with crimson, though thou deckest thee with ornaments of gold, though thou rentest thy face with painting, in vain shalt thou make thyself fair; thy lovers will despise thee, they will seek thy life. (Jer.4:30)
When thou are spoiled, you paint your face, says the Bible.
Road to salvation
How can a man be saved? The simple answer is that through the word of God via a human. There's absolutely no shortcut to get sins forgiven straight from God as this would insult the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit was given to the disciplines and all true believers. What purpose would the Holy Spirit serve if a man could be saved without it, by confessing sins alone to God or by some other way without involving any human creatures?
A man may be saved if he receives all his sins forgiven so that God the father adorns himself with his precious gifts. In all the examples we referred, in every instance the adornments were given from someone living here on earth. There's no single example where God adorns without a man. Thus, a servant from the house of Abraham - signifying a true Christian - is required to fulfill this duty.
Why did Jacob bury the foreign gods, including earrings in Genesis 35? This well distinguishes the figurative and real earrings. Those earrings were not told anyone to be worn - yet some of them did so. If you want to please the world - it doesn't matter if you claim otherwise - it's a sin. These are similar earrings the wives wore in Exodus, such earrings that were never supposed to be worn. In exodus, the earrings were put upon the daughters and sons, yet were never supposed to be put upon the wives. See Exodus 3:22 for more details.
Let's spare a moment why they were to be worn only by the children, the daughters and sons. Do you see anything systematical on these pairs:
Cain - Abel
Ishmael - Isaac
Esau - Jacob
Exodus elders - Exodus children
Adam - Christ
In every pair, the twofold nature of a man is depicted. The older represent the flesh whereas the younger represent the spirit. Jacob was blessed with Esau's clothers - like Christians are accepted in the eyes of God even with our sin corrupted body, the flesh. If everything is according to the word of God, "the elder shall serve the younger". In other words, the flesh should serve the spirit. If the flesh does what it wants, there's no hope of salvation. Yet, many claim they have the spirit but sin and the devil are their real masters. This is well seen with the people wearing makeup, earrings and performing wickedness such as contraception. Yet, they keep claiming how humble and christian they are. They have the spirit of the devil, not the Holy Spirit. Let's hear what apostle Paul has said:
46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.
47 The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven. (1.Cor.15:46-47)
In Exodus, the elder died in the desert except for Joshua and Caleb. However, the younger entered the promised land. All the people who are adorned by God through the gospel will enter the promised land, heaven. In other words, who hear and believe the gospel, the forgiveness of all sins, from a person who has the Holy Spirit, will be saved.
It should be sufficiently clear that in Exodus, the young were being adorned (see Exodus 3:22). This means that the spirit - not the flesh - is adorned with the precious gifts. Therefore, it's impossible to support the idea of wearing physical earrings or makeup. Never! In Exodus chapter 33:5, God commands to remove all ornaments. This is because the wives - the elder, signifying the flesh, were also wearing earrings. True Christians do not adorn themselves in such a manner, they do not spoil their outward looks. Likewise, Jacob buried earrings among other foreign gods (Gen.35), for they were decorating the outward appearance. The beauty is from within, like the Solomon's temple was beautifully gilded inside, not outside.
Characteristics of gospel
Why does the gospel need to be preached by a person with the Holy Spirit? Let's look at the facts. Let's pick a less common portion of the Bible. Proper explanation of these verses would make up a complete book, so the text is addressed very briefly. In Leviticus, there are tasks assigned to priests only and those for any people. If you want to be saved, follow the instructions from Jesus:
"33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matt.6)
The kingdom of God here on earth is found within the true Christians. The tabernacle signifies the true christian church. The way into the tabernacle goes from right to left as Hebrew is read from right to left, first faith (burnt offering), then baptism (laver), for "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved;" (Mark.16:16):
Consider Jesus Christ as the burnt offering in place of you:
3 If his offering be a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish: he shall offer it of his own voluntary will at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the Lord. (Lev.1:3)
5 And he shall kill the bullock before the Lord: and the priests, Aaron's sons, shall bring the blood, and sprinkle the blood round about upon the altar that is by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. (Lev.1:5)
7 And the sons of Aaron the priest shall put fire upon the altar, and lay the wood in order upon the fire: (Lev.1:5)
Notice that the sons of Aaron the priest can only put on the fire, that is, the elect. Aaronic priesthood prefigures the royal priesthood. This is the fire of the Holy Spirit, this is the candle, this is the true light. Likewise, remember that only the prophet Elijah was able to get the fire down from heaven. What happens before the fire here in Leviticus? The blood is sprinkled, again, by the sons of Aaron. It signifies the preaching of God's word, the forgiveness of sins in Jesus' name and blood. Only this is how an unbeliever may get the Holy Spirit - through preaching of God's word. After sprinkling of blood the fire is lit. Here you saw the fire being started, but below you read it must never go out:
"13 The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out." (Lev.6:13)
It means you must never give up your faith. Even the ancient Romans knew that "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.", doves signifying the believers who found no rest here on earth and returned to the Father, heavenly Noah. The other dove has an olive leaf in mouth signifying the gospel which is preached via the mouth. This is what becomes the true "IN PACE DEI", the true peace of God.
Keep on praying the almighty God sends you a messenger from the house of Abraham. Meanwhile, don't be deceived by the modern attacks of the Devil.
Wearing makeup is a sin
We can conclude that wearing makeup is a pagan habit, which has nothing to do with true Christians. Wearing makeup pleases the Devil, as you might also read from Ephraim's 'Homily on the Sinful Woman'. Makeup deceives and thus gives false witness and urges to adultery.
Posted January the 15th, 2018. biblenanalyses.com texts are all public domain free for all to copy and utilize.