The contrast between treasures in heaven and treasures on earth ought to direct our minds concerning Clothing and Costly Apparel. Nakedness is the condition we find ourselves in this world. Clothing is offered for any to return and enter into the presence of God. Take notice of the things of heaven, and the heavens will take notice of you.
The Lord, after His resurrection, counseled the Nephites that where their treasure is, there will their heart be also. The contrast between treasures on earth or in heaven is the proving ground of our hearts. Considering the differing treasures should give great insight to the difference between clothing and costly apparel. The Lord speaks of clothing as bodies, and addresses costly apparel as what we put on the body. To put the idea into perspective, consider words from the Gospel of Phillip:
“Some people are afraid that they may arise from the dead naked, and so they want to arise in flesh. They do not know it is those who wear the flesh who are naked. Those who are able to take it off are not naked.
“…Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption (KJV 1 Corinthians 15:50). “
“Flesh and blood will not inherit God’s kingdom.” What is this flesh that WILL NOT inherit? It is what we are wearing. And what is this flesh that WILL inherit? It is the flesh and blood of Jesus.
For this reason, he said, ‘One who does not eat my flesh and drink my blood does not have life within.’ What does this mean? His flesh is the word and His blood is the Holy Spirit. Whoever has received these has food, drink, and CLOTHING.
And I also disagree with others who say that the flesh will not arise. Both views are wrong. You say that the flesh will not arise? Then tell me what will arise, so we may salute you. You say it is the spirit in the flesh, and also the light in the flesh? But what is in the flesh is THE WORD, and what you are talking about is nothing but flesh. It is necessary to arise in this sort of flesh, since everything exists in it.
In this world those who wear clothes are superior to the clothes. In heavens kingdom the clothes are superior to those who wear them.”
The Lord differentiates between treasures on earth and in heaven, using clothing as the subject. In order for us to understand what He is teaching, we must understand things from His perspective. When the KEY of clothing is properly understood as “types of bodies,” then many doors of understanding become unlocked. It offers greater understanding to D&C 76, referring to different bodies (Telestial, Terrestrial, and Celestial) as eternal rewards. The quote above ends contrasting the clothes we put on our bodies here on earth is far less superior to the bodies who wear the clothing. But the bodies provided in heaven are far more superior to those who wear them. The treasures in the heavens are eternal bodies, symbolized in ceremonial rituals on earth as “Robes.” Temple robes are symbols of bright bodies, as described by Joseph Smith when telling of his experience with Moroni’s visit, where light filled the room. It also represents the type of body Christ had on after resurrection, that could pass through walls, and yet still eat. It is the body that the brother of Jared witnessed of Jesus Christ, long before Christ’s mortal ministry. Bodies eternal, that don’t decay, that produce everlasting joy. Graduation commencement ceremonies suddenly take on greater understanding as graduates put on new bodies of enlightenment, passing through a change of body at the moment the tassel is switched from the right to the left. These symbols are pointing the mind, who has faith in Christ, to the offering of treasures in the heavens, couched in terms of clothing.
However, nakedness is the condition we find ourselves in this world. When Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden of Eden, before placing them in the lone and dreary world, Christ clothed them in coats of skins. The coats of skins came from a sacrificial offering of an animal, symbolizing Christ’s atonement. When God looks upon mankind, rather than seeing man’s transgression, He sees instead the everlasting sacrifice of His Beloved Son. As an aside, Satan was cast out without being clothed in the sacrifice of Christ, and for that reason he is unable to return, being a rebeller from the beginning. The coat of skins is the covering we wear, called the flesh. Given our flesh, Christ made it possible through His atonement that we may return, …if we receive the clothing God offers. Those who choose not to receive the clothing God offers, representing the treasures in heaven, will be found naked, cast out, bound hand and foot, for not having on a wedding garment.
Clothing is offered for any who desire to return and enter into the presence of God in the flesh. Temple ceremonies instruct the idea in symbolic terms. The symbol ought to be seen as instruction, and not the acquisition of the real thing. The scriptures are quite literal, when understood from the mind and will of God. Bodies renewed is a changing of these corruptible bodies into better bodies. For old people, that ought to be exciting. It ought to point to literally being clothed with a new body. But, clothed in what? Covenants.
We must escape our false beliefs (unbelief) of institutional thinking, to seek being literally clothed in covenants. It cannot be sufficient to “take out” our endowments. We must become the endowment. Endowment literally means to be clothed. When the covenant is not only “taken,” but it is also “obeyed” and “kept,” …only under those circumstances are you found clothed in the robes of the Holy Priesthood, preparatory to entering into the presence of the Lord by passing through the veil of these fleshy tabernacles (bodies). Those who are clothed in the covenants must be strangers and sojourners here, peculiar, even hated by the world. That is because you are fully clothed in the fullness of Christ’s glory. The world hated Christ first, so you being clothed in the fullness of Christ’s glory ought to produce the same response as it did Christ. That is why those who are persecuted for Christ’s name sake are promised the Kingdom of Heaven. Take notice of the things of heaven, and the heavens will take notice of you.
Conclusion: Costly apparel is the focus of those who know nothing of the clothing offered in the heavens. Those who “wear” costly apparel to cover their nakedness are no different than the emperor’s clothing, remaining naked in the presence of God. Their hearts are where their treasure is, on the treasures of the earth, being set so much upon the things of this world and aspiring to the honors of men. They have been called, but failed to be chosen. Choosing the treasures of the earth forfeits the treasures in the heavens, as you have chosen the glittery things of the earth over the fullness of light, beyond the brightness of ten thousand suns.
Put off your unbelief. Read your scriptures to be clothed in light, obeying and keeping the covenants you’ve taken. Return to the temple regularly, thinking about the symbols you are being given, as instructions to be clothed in the real thing, even the fullness of the glory of our Christ. Do not only say better, do better. Darkness is increasing in this world, and the only hope for you and those who surround you is for you to be filled with real light, and not just wearers of the symbols. Know the difference between Clothing and Costly Apparel.