The other day, a friend of mine asked me about the LDS practice of wearing what we call "garments" which constitute a set of modest-conservative, white underclothes. So, what are they? Why do LDS wear them?
The garment is meant to be a reminder of your devotion to God. But unlike jewelry, only the person wearing them knows about it. Therefore, the garment is not meant to be pretentious, but a private outward expression of an inward commitment. In this way they are a spiritual protection in that they they remind the wearer of their covenant with Jesus Christ. The garment is patterned after the garment made by God for Adam and Eve when they realized they were naked in the Garden of Eden. It also figuratively represents the atonement of Christ which serves to cover our unworthiness and sinfulness before our Heavenly Father. And again, the garment serves as a reminder that Christ's grace will not only save us in our sins, but also from our sins. For, by His power, we will become fully sanctified and perfected. Sanctification is the new everlasting purpose, pattern and covenant of the restored temple.
Gen. 3: 21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them.
Rom. 13: 14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.
Gal. 3: 27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
The garment is patterned after the undergarment given to Aaron as a priest. Paul said that no man taketh the honour of the priesthood unto himself save he is ordained or called as was Aaron. The undergarment was part of Aaron's ordination.
Ex. 28: 2 And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother for glory and for beauty.
Ex. 28: 42 And thou shalt make them linen breeches (undergarments) to cover their nakedness; from the loins even unto the thighs they shall reach:
Lev. 16: 4 He shall put on the holy linen coat, and he shall have the linen breeches (undergarments) upon his flesh, and shall be girded with a linen girdle, and with the linen mitre shall he be attired: these are holy garments; therefore shall he wash his flesh in water, and so put them on.
When John in Revelations talks about Gods people in the Last Days before the tribulation, he says an angel arises to stop the 4 angels and says " hut not the earth until we have sealed the servants of God in their forehead." Later John says that the 4 angels are not given power to hurt those who are "sealed in their forehead". So we see that while Satan is marking his people with the "mark of the beast" God is "sealing" his servant in the forehead. This angel mentioned in Revelations is the angel depicted on top of LDS temples.
Rev. 7: 2-3 And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.
Rev. 9: 4 And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.
Isa. 11: 9 They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.
Rev. 14: 6 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,
What is this "sealing in the forehead?". John says those sealed will be made kings and priest unto God and they will be "called, chosen and faithful". Instead of being from one tribe they will be from every kindred nation tongue and people. This "sealing" is the everlasting covenant and ordinance that Christians make and receive in the restored Christian temple. LDS also refer to this ordinance and covenant as receiving an "endowment."
Rev. 1: 6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
Rev. 5: 10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
Rev. 5: 10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
Rev. 17: 14 These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.
Remember in the parable that Jesus Christ gives regarding how God calls for the invited guests (Israel) to the wedding but they don't come. So God tells his servants to invite any who will show up both bad and good (Gentiles). But those who show up without the garment are bound and thrown out. This suggests that just because someone calls themselves Christian, LDS, or wear the garment doesn't mean that they are good in God's eyes. The white garment also represents the believers love, compassion, and good works which if they accept the grace of Christ will be empowered to do by Christ as a manifestation of their true belief and faith.
Matt. 22: 1-14 And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said, The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. . . But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: . . . Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: . . . Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen.
Those who are called and chosen as John says must be called as was Aaron as Paul says. Therefore, the temple "sealing" is like a priestly ordination and kingly coronation and like Aaron those who are called and chosen are washed. Anointed, and clothed in white robes and undergarments.
Ex. 40: 12-13 And thou shalt bring Aaron and his sons unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and wash them with water. And thou shalt put upon Aaron the holy garments, and anoint him, and sanctify him; that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office.
Why white? Many don't realize that OT temple priests didn't dress in white. Their robes were multicolored like Joseph's coat of many colors. Aaronic priest robes were red, purple, blue and yellow. But in Revelations the angel asks "who are all these dressed in white robes?". And the answer is that they have been washed or sanctified in the blood of Jesus Christ and serve Christ in his temple.
Ex. 28: 2-6 And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother for glory and for beauty. And thou shalt speak unto all that are wise hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office. And these are the garments which they shall make; a breastplate, and an ephod, and a robe, and a broidered coat, a mitre, and a girdle: and they shall make holy garments for Aaron thy brother, and his sons, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office. And they shall take gold, and blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen. And they shall make the ephod of gold, of blue, and of purple, of scarlet, and fine twined linen, with cunning work.
Rev. 7: 9-15 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; . . . And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.
Rev. 3: 5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
Rev. 19: 8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
Where is this temple? It's not in heaven because there is no temple in heaven. There is no place set aside in heaven as holy. All heaven is holy. Remember that John sees the Earth in it's heavenly glory and says " there is no temple there" but in the Last Days and in the Millennium Christ will give us the temple if the new and everlasting covenant, until Gods people have completed the work of complete sanctification and the temple or mountain of the Lords house fills the whole Earth.
Ezek. 20: 40 For in mine holy mountain, in the mountain of the height of Israel, saith the Lord God, there shall all the house of Israel, all of them in the land, serve me: there will I accept them, and there will I require your offerings, and the firstfruits of your oblations, with all your holy things.
Dan. 2: 33-34, 44 Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. . . and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth. . . And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.
Isa. 2: 2-3 (Micah 4: 1-2) And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
Joel 3: 17-18 So shall ye know that I am the Lord your God dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more. And it shall come to pass in that day (Last Days), that the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the rivers of Judah shall flow with waters, and a fountain shall come forth of the house of the Lord, and shall water the valley of Shittim.
Ezek. 37: 26-28 Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And the heathen shall know that I the Lord do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore.
Mal. 3: 1 Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts.
Ezek. 47: 1, 8 Afterward he brought me again unto the door of the house (temple); and, behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward: for the forefront of the house (temple) stood toward the east, and the waters came down from under from the right side of the house (temple), at the south side of the altar. . . Then said he unto me, These waters issue out toward the east country, and go down into the desert, and go into the sea (Dead Sea): which being brought forth into the sea, the waters shall be healed.
Rev. 21: 1, 22 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. . . And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.
But, please do not misunderstand. The wearing of white clothes in the temple or the receiving of the "sealing" that John talks about is not what sanctifies by itself. Remember that it is only Christ's grace that saves and sanctifies. Also, remember that John in Revelations reminds us what the white clothing represents. John says in Rev. 19: 8 "the fine linen is the righteousness of saints." And this is what God expects. If a believer has truely accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, and they are born again and are filled with the love, grace and spirit of Christ, then they will be empowered to many good works and a godly walk.
Isa. 52: 1 Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean.
(photos from http://www.whiteelegance.com/)