The tradition of The Changing of Robes are so common amongst diverse cultures that it goes unnoticed and disconnected, not only from other cultures, but also from their original intent. The original intent is directly related to the “Ritual Combat Ceremonies” that have transitioned into many different cultural year-rite celebrations. Central to the “Ritual Combat Ceremonies” is the resurrection of the King, expressed by The Changing of Robes.
The tradition of The Changing of Robes are so common amongst diverse cultures that it goes unnoticed and disconnected, not only from other cultures, but also from their original intent. Anyone attending a graduation commencement, have witnessed graduation robes and caps, and the changing of the tassels. It all indicates the end of their old life of ignorance, and commences, or begins, a new life of enlightenment. In old Hawaii the “kihei” (a rectangular tapa garment worn over one shoulder and tied in a knot) was changed from the left shoulder to the right shoulder, when becoming a Kahuna (High Priest). The original source of The Changing of Robes, originate from the temple, as part of the rites given to Adam to direct his return from the fall.
As Adam partook of the fruit, all men die, but through Christ, all men can be made alive. The temple rites given from Adam, and passed through the patriarchal lineage of fathers have preserved instructions for all of Adam’s posterity to make their return from the fall. The original intent of the temple and it’s rites is directly related to what is called the “Ritual Combat,” …and over the centuries it has transitioned into many different cultural new-year-rite celebrations. The roots of Hawaiian Makahiki is a return to the new-year rite. The Native American “Sundance” also ties to the new-year-rite. The merry-go-round (carousel) has it’s origins in the Trojan new-year-rite. To explain it, I’ll break down the “New-Year-Rite” into three parts:
- The Creation
- The Ritual Combat
- The Ascension
The New-Year-Rite was done at different times, for different cultures, but were commonly observed on one of the four-corners of the Earth (Equinoxes or Solstices). It began with a drama of the creation of one form or another, with all the world being tied together. Matter was organized, land and water separated, lights separated to communicate signs, plants introduced prior to animals, and then lastly men. When this part of the dramatization was complete, the games began (the olympics has the same origin, as light begins the ceremony). The games began as events of combat were represented by athletic games, like: wrestling, foot races, spear throwing, sword fighting, etc. In Hawaii, surfing played a huge role in the Makahiki. The King participated in the games. Ritually, the King was killed, but then he put-off his “common-robes,” changing Into “heavenly-robes.“ and conquered the entire Ritual Combat. Once the games had ended with the King’s victory, the people threw a huge luau in the honor of the King’s victory. It was a sacred last meal before the King departed into the heavens, in an ascension.
The may-pole and the carousel are symbolism that ties men to a tree of life. They go around and around in combat, clockwise (meaning ascension) or counterclockwise (meaning defeat or descending). The Blackfoot Okhan similarly ties the ritual participants to the symbolic tree, and they dance in a ritual combat in a similar fashion as the Scandinavian May-pole, and Trojan Carousel. In all cases, through the ritual combat there was a Changing of Robes.
The Changing of Robes from common-robes, into heavenly-robes, was the key to the successful come back of the King. Thinking in terms of great movies, it was the training scene, where there was a physical change in the main character. Or it was the psychological change that gave the main character drive to overcome all. It all points back to The Changing of Robes. But what does it really mean?
“33. For whoso is faithful unto the obtaining these two priesthoods of which I have spoken, and the magnifying their calling, are sanctified by the Spirit unto the renewing of their bodies.”
I have studied the Book of Enoch, the Ascension of Isaiah, the Assumption of Moses, and other pseudopigriphal and apocryphal texts, …studying The Changing of Robes, …only to find out that it is right there in scripture. I just did not understand it. The common terms that are used are: garments, robes, coats, and cloaks. When these words show up in your next scripture study, your minds should point to the New-Year-Rite, and the ritual combat. Consider the following:
- Nephi slays Laban, and then puts on his robes
- Nephi, Jacob, and King Benjamin washes their garments clean of the blood of their people
- The mighty change of heart of Alma the younger and the sons of Mosiah was another robe change
- When the prodigal son returns, the father puts a ring on his finger and a robe or a cloak on his shoulders
But, that still doesn’t tell you what it means, does it? It should, however, give you a hint that this is a game-changer, right? The renewal of the body is a direct connection to the promises of The Changing of Robes. It is accompanied by being healed, miracles, prophesying, and gifts of tongues (gifts of the spirit). Common examples of robe changes include: the blind whose sight was restored, the lame man who was able to walk, and Lazarus who was raised from the dead. Each of them turned to Christ, and their robes were renewed as they followed Christ. This is the change required through the sanctifying and purifying fire, in order to prepare one for returning into the fulness of the glory of Christ. This is the cleansing of the temple. Your body, being the temple, set apart from the world, doing the will of God.
The Changing of Robes, if stuck only in symbolism, becomes a tool of unrighteous dominion, controlling, coercing, and manipulating the minds and will of men on earth. However, if The Changing of Robes are properly understood as the changing of a person from a fallen state, to being filled with the glory of God, it will produce in you the ability to sacrifice all things, including your life, and to overcome all by faith, having been sealed by the holy spirit of promise. It matters!
Conclusion: The picture above is my rendition of John the Baptist. I messed up on how old he looks, as he was only a few months older than Christ, and Christ was in his early thirties when he was crucified. However, I intended to make him look sunned, rugged, and wild looking, but happy, …as he was described as living off of locusts and wild honey, wearing a camel skin, with a leather girdle to cover his waist (Matthew 3:4).
Funny enough, while The Changing of Robes is the subject of this blog, tattered robes were the signature of true prophets, because how the world views clothing meant little or nothing to those whose treasures were in the heavens, where moth and rust doth not corrupt. John the Baptist’s clothing was described as a coarse pile of camel hair (Matthew 3:4). Elijah’s mantle was made from sheep skins (Kings 2:8). Others wore goats hair or coarse wool. Costly apparel was always associated with the wicked, because what they wore outwardly reflected emptiness inwardly, while prophets did exactly the opposite. (Side note: Now reflect on Joseph who was sold into Egypt, and ask yourself what the coat of many colors really meant, concerning the person Joseph was?)
Awake, and arise, O Isreal. Shake off the dust from your garments. Arise, sit down, …meaning: arise into the heavens in ascension, and be seated upon the throne of God, that your garments may be cleaned from the blood and sins of this generation. Put aside your ignorance of the things of God, by taking a serious effort to study the scriptures for yourselves. Repent.