Posted in depravity, encouragement, sin, tulip

Total depravity in a baby

Wikimedia Commons

I remember very shortly after being saved I was witnessing to a friend. She was the kind of person who was ‘rational’, ‘logical’ and ‘mathematical.’ Since Paul witnessed to Gentiles by starting with the creation, I did too. Sadly, she dismissed Genesis’ creation account because obviously, the light being created as Genesis 1:3 could not have come before the sun’s creation, as Genesis 1:14. Obviously. Therefore the creation account must be wrong.

So I skipped ahead and told her about Eve’s and Adam’s sin in the garden. I shared that after the sin had occurred, their very biology was now polluted and cursed, and all subsequent children, such as murderous Cain, were totally depraved since birth. Therefore we do not do right and are excluded from God’s heaven- unless we repent and ask Jesus to forgive.

That didn’t get a logical reaction. It got an emotional one. She heatedly rejected the notion that children and babies are totally depraved. She fervently argued against the concept that babies and children naturally do wrong. Even associating the word sin with baby caused a visceral reaction in her.

EPrata photo

That was 11 years ago and I never forgot.

First some definitions. Total depravity does not mean that everyone, including children, are as bad as they can be all the time. There’s your Hitlers and there’s your Mother Teresas. Both are in hell now BTW.

Total depravity is about the original sin and how it affects us today. It speaks to the extent of our sin, our sin nature, and our complete inability to do anything for God that will be pleasing to Him. Some people such as John MacArthur prefer the term “absolute inability” rather than total depravity.  John MacArthur said of the concept,

“…we are so hopelessly and thoroughly wicked that not one of us could ever truly love God unless God Himself enabled us to do so. That is the doctrine of total depravity in a nutshell. It means that we are totally unable to save ourselves.” 

Charles Spurgeon said of total depravity,

By original sin we mean the evil quality which characterizes man’s natural disposition and will. We call this sin of nature original, because each fallen man is born with it, and because it is the source or origin in each man of his actual transgressions. By calling it total, we do not mean that men are from their youth as bad as they can be. Evil men and seducers wax worse and worse, “deceiving and being deceived” (2 Tim. 3:13). Nor do we mean that they have no social virtues toward their fellowmen in which they are sincere. … What our Confession says is, “That they have wholly lost ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation.”

In 1985 John Piper said of total depravity,

Total Depravity Our sinful corruption is so deep and so strong as to make us slaves of sin and morally unable to overcome our own rebellion and blindness. This inability to save ourselves from ourselves is total. We are utterly dependent on God’s grace to overcome our rebellion, give us eyes to see, and effectively draw us to the Savior

Now, surely babies aren’t totally depraved? They’re so cute and such a blank slate and not even able to comprehend what sin is. Right?


There is a cottage industry of Americas Funniest Videos (AFV) that show the “cute” things babies, toddlers, and kids do. The audience laughs and titters and applauds, and goes “awww.” But it’s not funny. These clips from AFV have been wow-ing and charming and entertaining audiences for 25 years. Yes, AFV is 25 years old. But when I see clips like this, it only makes me sad, because they are a 25 year chronicle of our sin nature.

This clip won. It is in the top pantheon of best loved clips.

Why waste a good tantrum when no one is around to see it?

This toddler is absolutely totally aware of what he is doing. He knows how to present screams and anguish to maximum effect, and knows when it’s useless to continue. He is manipulating the adults. He is lying.

Not so innocent, eh?

But some may protest, how about babies. Little, little babies, they surely don’t know right from wrong. They don’t lie, manipulate, or do things in secret?! How could you think they are totally depraved and have a heart full of sin.

Here, 18-month-old twins play, scream, and jump with each other during nap time. The mom heard the noise and turned on the baby monitor so she could talk to them.

The second the twins hear the mom’s voice, they drop. They know they are supposed to be sleeping and weren’t. They knew they were disobeying the higher authority.

Total depravity is in us, it is our very nature. It goes from corner to corner in all areas of our mind, heart, strength,and soul. There is no “flawed thinking.” There is no untainted corner of our mind whereupon one day we will suddenly become spiritual and be able to retreat to that pure corner and “choose Jesus.” We are fallen creatures completely unable to do right in God’s eyes. We need Him.

Thank God He knows this. God sent His Son to live the life we cannot, due to our complete inability to be righteous. Born of woman and from the Father in heaven, He lived the sinless life we could not. He was hated, spit on, mocked, stripped, beaten and hung from a tree. He endured God’s wrath for sin. He took it- our punishment. Then He died.

Pleased with His Son’s life, and His death, and God’s wrath exhausted upon the Son, He raised Jesus to life and ascended Him to heaven. Now, anyone who cannot and never will do right in God’s eyes, but who are at enmity with Him and are His enemy, can come through the Door, who is Jesus. He is the Door to life, and if confessing and repenting to Jesus, He will forgive and they may enter heaven through Him.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)

Our sin nature is so total, even babies show it. But if we have the faith of a child and repent, He will grant everlasting life. He sends the Spirit to dwell in us and give us His power to resist sin. He grows us in Christ’s likeness.

At the resurrection of the saints He will blessedly remove us from the presence of sin. Imagine a world where every conversation will be holy. Where every emotion will be perfect. Where there are no hidden agendas, no secret sins, no hypocrisy. Where we worship Jesus perfectly. Where our motives are pure and no one is manipulated, lied to, or pressured. No depravity, and total ability.

What a day that will be. Thank you Jesus, for saving your elect.

Posted in depravity, encouragement, macarthur, mario batali, spurgeon

‘If we could just get rid of all the bad people, THEN the world would be a nice place’

I watch a Hulu original tv program called The High Road with Mario Batali. According to Wikipedia, Mario Francesco Batali is an American chef, writer, restaurateur and media personality. In addition to his classical culinary training, he is an expert on the history and culture of Italian cuisine, including regional and local variations.

Batali is a chef who put celebrity in the phrase celebrity chef.

In his ten-minute program on Hulu, Batali interviews other celebrities. Some of these famous personalities are from the realms of tv or movies, but some are celebrities in the spheres of finance or philanthropy or of course, cooking. He asks them questions as they go to famous New York City landmarks and iconic places, and the program is just a discussion type chat with the spectacular black and white backdrop of the most famous city in the world.

I watch it for the cinematography. It’s beautiful to look at. Also for the length- sometimes I’m too tired to commit to a long program or a movie.

Well, I’ve watched three or four of these Batali-celebrity chats now, and it’s interesting to see the world through an unsaved person’s eyes. It is almost unbearably sad, but it’s interesting to see and hear how they see the world’s problems and what would solve them.

For example, in one chat Mario asked journalist Frank Bruni “What is your dream for how the world might change in our lifetime?

Bruni answered,

“I would love to see a world in which there was no one craven, callous, or inhuman enough to torture another human being. I think if there were no torture happening, the world would be a better place in a whole lot of ripple ways- because that would mean we didn’t have the kind of horrible people that we do”.

In the tv world of highbrow question and answer sessions such as this, it’s supposed to be a profound statement. Unsaved people think they are good. They think that the bad people won’t go to heaven. They think if we can just get rid of the horrible people, then there would be no more wars, no more torture, no more evil. But who are the horrible people? As soon as we get rid of one, another pops up.

Christians know that “getting rid of the torturers” only leaves all the rest of us who are depraved, craven, horrible, and compared to God, just as bad as the torturers. And what about the murderers? And the rapists? And the child molesters? Let’s get rid of them, too. That leaves the adulterers, the homosexual, the fornicators. So they’re out. We still have to deal with the liars, the thieves, the cheats, the oppressors, the gossips, the brutal, the disobedient.

Does that leave anyone? No.

There is none righteous. No, not one. (Romans 3:10).

There is none good but the Father. (Mark 10:18).

They suppress that there has to be a God who is holy and has standards for entrance to His kingdom. (Romans 1:18).

In another segment with Julianna Margulies (of The Good Wife tv show), Batali asked

NYC is known for its busyness, rushing, New York minute aggressive attitudes, rudeness, and snobbiness. (PS think on this for a minute: why is kindness unexpected?)

Margulies answered,

I was here on 9/11. It was almost eerie how much kindness was going on there. People were actually opening doors, and getting up on the subway and giving you their seat, and it was a strange, eerie quietness. After a week of being mesmerized by people’s reactions, personally, I remember going into this deli. I was waiting on line to buy something and I heard this guy say “I SAID, f-*&%$-n pastrami!” And everyone applauded. We all were just like, Thank God we’re back to New York”.

Margulies laughing at the relief they felt
when the spell of kindness was broken

Yes, it must have truly been a relief that the cruel and oppressive regime of kindness was over. Do you want to know why the people in the deli applauded when kindness was no longer required of fellow man after the worst terror act on US soil in history? Because it is hard to be kind. It is not man’s natural state. It’s tiring for man to be friendly. It’s spooky to be in the side of the light.

For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. (John 3:20).

I was one of those unsaved people who thought I was good. I sometimes wondered why I’d be allowed to go to heaven, because deep down I knew I’d sinned. I didn’t call it sin, of course, but I knew I wasn’t perfect. If I followed the thought to its conclusion, and everyone on earth who wasn’t perfect was allowed into heaven, then what made heaven perfect? What made it nice to be there if everyone else was there too?

I pushed those troubling thoughts away (“suppressed the truth in unrighteousness”) and went on. I am everlastingly grateful that my Savior brought me to a right understanding of my sin, my depraved self, and His holiness. It is always a joy to ponder these two things. The more I know I’m a sinner, the more I appreciate His life on earth, His sacrifice, and His atonement.

“The mark of a mature life is not sinlessness, which is reserved for heaven, but a growing awareness of sinfulness.” John MacArthur

That growing awareness of my sin hurts. It is painful. It hurts just as badly to see people like the above mentioned celebrities try and grapple with the big questions, and come up so woefully short. Charles Spurgeon has this to say about the human condition:

We declare, upon Scriptural authority, that the human will is so desperately set on mischief, so depraved, and so inclined to everything that is evil, and so disinclined to everything that is good, that without the powerful. supernatural, irresistible influence of the Holy Spirit, no human will ever be constrained towards Christ.

If we were to follow Bruni’s method of getting rid of all the bad people, there would be only One left: Jesus. Yet, here He is! He is seeking and saving the lost! How marvelous to witness to His excellencies, His nature, His kindness, His perfect demeanor where not one blot mars His visage.  Be grateful today. Be grateful we see Him as He is, and that we see the world as it is- and in His time He will take us from it and bring us home.


Further reading:

An excellent and easy-to-understand essay from Answers in Genesis

Lessons from the Fall: Genesis 3

Posted in depravity, evil, jesus, sadism

Person of the year, Marquis de Sade

Haaretz posted an interesting opinion editorial the other night. In the spirit of the Jewish New Year and the traditional practice of taking stock, their piece is about how the global national sport seems to be enjoying the misfortunes of others to the point of sadism.

My person of the year: The Marquis de Sade

Portrait of the Marquis of Sade
by Charles-Amédée-Philippe van Loo
(c. 1761)

A happy new year, one of joy at the misfortunes of others
If we were to measure sadism right now around the world, we would discover that deriving satisfaction from brutal acts is one of the most popular hobbies of all. And not just in Syria.

Ironically, this coming year ‏(that is, 2014‏) will mark the 200th anniversary of the death of the Marquis de Sade, the man who gave his name to one of the most common sexual perversions, which is so common today that we no longer treat it as one. When Syrian President Bashar Assad recently attacked his countrymen with chemical weapons, all the journalistic wizards were hastily brought in to explain why. Ask the marquis. What is there to explain here, he would say; there’s nothing more enjoyable than feeling that you are soaring above the clouds of morality and conscience and no longer feel there is anything connecting you to the human race. Other people become objects, pawns in your hand. You’re like God.

At the start of the international year of Sade, I would be pleased if some psychologist or psychiatrist were to invent a sadism-meter to examine the extent of this perversion in all kinds of patients − not necessarily those who clearly are sadists. And also in large collectives and countries, too. The results would be worrisome. We would discover that deriving satisfaction from brutal acts is one of the most popular hobbies of all. And that along with Assad, who is now the target of the whole world’s anger, there is a gallery of other high-ranking people who are just as power-hungry as he, but are sophisticated enough to conceal their perversion.

A Sadism-O-Meter. Interesting, It would be nearing fullness, by now, I should think. It reminds me of Bonnie Tyler’s song, Total Eclipse of the Heart.

Once upon a time I was falling in love
Now I’m only falling apart
There’s nothing I can do
A total eclipse of the heart
Once upon a time there was light in my life
But now there’s only love in the dark
Nothing I can say
A total eclipse of the heart

Scripturally, the Haaretz editorial author’s plaintive cry and desperate search for meaning as to why there is such evil in men reminds me of the scene in the bible in Genesis 6, right before the LORD determined to personally wipe everyone out. It is like He is peeling the layers off of the world’s heart and showing us the evil within. It is simple. People are realizing how naturally evil we are. Hitler was no anomaly. In fact, we are all Hitler.

“Hitler was not an anomaly. Hitler was not a phenomenon. Hitler was what everyone in this room has the potential of being. Not only that, you need to understand that even in all the wickedness of Hitler, he was still restrained by the common grace of God. And you need to know this, that if it were not for the common grace of God, restraining you in your unconverted state, you would make Hitler look like a choirboy.” Paul Washer

“The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.” (Genesis 6:5-7)

Unfortunately, the author of the opinion piece, and indeed the world, has yet to learn how deeply the depravity of man will go, if left unchecked. That period will be called the Time of Jacob’s Trouble, or The Tribulation as it is known to us in the church.


I started this blog in January 2009. It grew from a private newsletter I’d been sending to friends the two prior years before the blog, of thoughts and urgencies regarding the unfulfilled prophecies of the bible. In 2007, hardly anyone wanted to know about prophecy. All seemed well and prophecy was a low blip in a landscape of trends that had previously peaked in the late 1970s. Then the economy collapsed in September-October 2008, Obama got elected. Something about his demeanor caused many to get a knot in their stomach and wonder if the end of all things was in fact really at hand. The economy’s collapse also contributed to the feeling of imminent doom.

Since the inauguration in 2009, we have seen many interesting events occurring which bespeak a soon-prophetic fulfillment of historic proportions. After 100 years, Armenia reconciled with Turkey. Turkey left the West and became overtly Muslim. Egypt collapsed, abandoned its peace treaty with Israel, and became her enemy. The US fell from its position of world leader and sole superpower. China ascended. Russia revived. Mid-east Dictators in the prophetic lands fell, one after another. Syria imploded. One of earth’s largest earthquakes occurred and one of its most devastating tsunamis decimated a nation. Incredible oil and natural gas was discovered by Israel, making her extremely wealthy. She went from an economic importer to an exporter. Volcanoes, long thought extinct, awoke with power. Birds fell from the sky. The weather went haywire, first record heat then record cold then record heat again. Global warming, global cooling, their heads are spinning. Strange sky sounds spooked the world. Exorcisms are way up and demon sightings are common. A pope resigned for the first time in 600 years.

I could go on, but you get the idea. That’s just the last four years. It feels like the world is tilting chaotically. But imagine how much the world tilted when the Gospel went out (HT to Dan Phillips). Acts 17:6 says that the men who preached the Gospel turned the world upside down. Satan in all his efforts to upset the world is like a child batting the bath water. It is the power of the Gospel which upsets, divided, and unsettles!

photo credit: las – initially via photopin cc

For example, last week someone on a secular mommy forum asked if there was a meaning to the sideways cross necklace. They posted a link to my essay discussing the meaning of the sideways cross necklace. I noticed a high amount of traffic from that site so I went to check it out. Some had gone to my blog essay and come back to the forum raving at how”intolerant”, how “judgmental” and how sanctimonious” I am.  I entered the discussion on the forum and shared the Gospel and used bible verses during discussions. They went ballistic! If you poured hot water on a hornet’s nest you could not get any more stinging or buzzing!

This is because in today’s Marquis De Sade world, of flesh and indulgence, make any sort of declarative, unequivocal statement referring to moral standards, holiness, and God’s hatred of sin, and you get a stirred-up mess in return. I was amazed all over again at the power of the Word to upset and convict.

I imagined the men like Jason at Thessalonica who came to preach and how upset the Pharisees and Jews were, as Acts shows. My brief little foray was so small compared to the world-tilting Gospel power of Acts, but it serves to remind me that when you shine the Light in the dark places, the power is there to convict. Some retreat into entrenched sin and are forever literally convicted by the Judge, while others move forward into the light seeking Him to forgive it, but the Light is the key. Keep shining His light of forgiveness from sin and suspension from coming wrath!

In a world where reality tv shows more and more the sick voyeuristic sadism of others, in a world where the news is simply sick with the maniacal gleefulness of people inflicting pain unto others, our gentleness will stand out like a floodlight on a stormy night. Here are some good words from Titus 3:1-2,

“Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.”

As the world continues overtly and shockingly toward total indulgence of the depraved flesh, the one who is submissive, gentle and courteous will be the exception, and people will wonder what force, or what ability, we have to maintain it. It is the forgiveness of Jesus and His Holy Spirit in us! The verses in Titus continue,

“For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3:3-7).

God is still sovereign and His ways are unknowable to us. He is in control, despite these unsettlingly rapid evil changes in hearts of men. However “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4).

And never forget, He is still saving souls. Though the world is dark, The Light has come into the world!

photo credit: thisisbossi via photopin cc

Posted in depravity, grace, sin

So you think you’re a good person headed for heaven?

There is terrible news. I wish I could avoid mentioning it at all costs and in all ways. I had planned to do just that, but the Spirit burdened me otherwise.

I will only specify the news once and I won’t link to it. It is about a South Beach, Miami man found in public cannibalizing a fresh corpse he’d just killed. If I have any of the details of this wrong, I apologize. I haven’t read any of the news articles about it, and only gleaned from the few headlines that inadvertently passed before my eyes as a mistake.

Authorities say he ‘may’ have been in a drug induced psychotic frenzy. I hope so. I would really hate to think that he just did this without the catalyst of mind-altering drugs! What would THAT say about humankind’s potential for evil? This post is about exactly that, man’s potential for evil.

This post is for all the people who say that they don’t need Jesus because you are a good person. No, you’re not. You’re THAT person, the man cannibalizing a corpse. I was that person, but am now saved and my sins forgotten.

‘What?!’ you say, ‘Elizabeth, you’ve gone off your rocker! I never did that to anyone and I never would do that to anyone!!!’ Really? Unless you are saved by grace of Jesus and have the Holy Spirit in you to restrain you from sinning, ALL people have that and more in them. There is no one who is ‘good.’ (Romans 3:10). We are all totally depraved, you see. The depths of sin knows no bounds. It goes deep.

I repeat: there is none good. “The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.” (Psalm 14:1).

So then you say, “Well, I’m not that bad. I’m not as bad as the guy in South Beach.” You may not be. Now. But you have the capacity.

Do you think the guy in South Beach five years ago woke up and said, “In five years I’m going to strip naked in public and chew a dead guys’ face off”? THAT guy likely never thought he would do the thing he did. None of us do. But then we do.

There are no levels of sin at which a person naturally stops and doesn’t descend any lower. In finance, When things get too crazy and the stock market drops like a rock, they put in place a circuit breaker to stop the frenzy and give everyone a time to cool off so that calm can be restored. They halt trading for different periods of time depending on how fast the levels are dropping. Humans don’t have natural circuit breaker. Therefore anyone who says “I’m a good person. I would never cannibalize a corpse” is lying. (1 John 1:8). You already have it in you to do just that.

Sin is not like a stock market circuit breaker, where a person can halt the slide into lower territory. There is no emergency switch in the elevator of sin that descends a person lower and lower. You can’t wham your palm over the red button and say ‘I’ve gone far enough in my sin, no lower!’

Unless you repent, that is. Jesus IS that emergency button. If you don’t have Jesus in you, there is no hope of resisting sin. Like a stock portfolio, sins’ effects will compound. They will drag a person lower and lower.

Some unsaved people can resist (outward) sin (for a while) and they appear as a good person. It’s like a diet. Some people can resist having cake every time and others can’t. Some people resist outward sin for a long time, years even. But we all sin.

The SoBe man eating the dead man was acting like the beasts do. We are all beasts. “I said in my heart with regard to the children of man that God is testing them that they may see that they themselves are but beasts. For what happens to the children of man and what happens to the beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts, for all is vanity.” (Ecclesiastes 3:18-19). When a right combination of circumstances comes along, sin will eventually catch up to them and they will be dragged off as a gazelle in the mouth of a lion to their doom.

The reason we all have this in us, this capacity to do what the man in SoBe did, is because of total depravity. Alternately called original sin, we all are in this state until or unless we repent. It is the status quo condition of every person on the planet who ever lived (except Adam & Eve originally, and Jesus always).

Noted preacher Charles Spurgeon defined our natural condition this way: “By original sin we mean the evil quality which characterizes man’s natural disposition and will. We call this sin of nature original, because each fallen man is born with it, and because it is the source or origin in each man of his actual transgressions.”

Noted preacher John MacArthur also explains total depravity: “And yet, our verse reminds us that we are so hopelessly and thoroughly wicked that not one of us could ever truly love God unless God Himself enabled us to do so. That is the doctrine of total depravity in a nutshell. It means that we are totally unable to save ourselves. We have a debilitating moral inability that makes our love for Him an utter impossibility until He intervenes to give us the ability to love Him.”

Until and unless we repent, and our sins are forgiven, we are total sin. Paul said, “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.” (Romans 7:18-19)

I wonder how we look to Jesus. He has glorified eyes. He knows what is in a man. (John 2:25). I wonder what our sin looks like to him. He loves all people, including those who have so far refused His pardon and are not saved. He sees their sins in them. I’d imagine that sin looks something like this: picture a man, outwardly to us handsome, charming, clean. But to Jesus, he’s covered head to toe in vomit and poo. Dried and crusty, other sections oozing and wet. Out of his mouth comes green pus when he speaks.

EWWWWW! Would you hug a man like that? Of course not. But Jesus did. He walked among us, He ate at our tables, He healed, He touched lepers. (Mark 1:41). Moreover the verse says He was moved with pity. Jesus didn’t look at us and go, “EWWWWW.” He descended from glory and the purity of His holy habitation to walk among people who look like vomit in their sins, loved us, pitied us, and died to save people like us, including the South Beach cannibal.

The SoBe cannibal isn’t even the worst example of a sinner. It will get worse. Sin always gets worse. In the Tribulation sin is allowed its full measure (Gen 15:16; Dan 9:24; 1 Thess 2:16) and there is no Restrainer on earth! (Gen 6:3; 2 Thess 2:7) Sin will flow out unrestrained, and then you shall see how bad people really are!

The uplifting thing is that though the people who remain in their sins will descend deeper and deeper in them, to infinity, Jesus’s holiness is also infinite! His love is infinite! As low as we go, He can reach down and lift us up!! (1 John 1:9)

He came to die for sinners. Before we repent, we all look like that to Jesus. “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) . Now that is a God worth living for. If you repent (ask forgiveness of your sins) He will forgive you and cleanse you of them. He will replace the filthy rags of your deeds (Is 64:6) with a garment of righteousness.

“I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.” (Isaiah 61:10)