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What about Deuteronomy 22:11?

Submitted: 6/5/2006
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Question: Deuteronomy 22:11 says, 'Do not wear clothes of wool and linen woven together.' A skeptic said that we don't follow this passage today. What exactly does it mean, where does it apply today? We use the scripture before this to apply to men and women dress. What exactly does this mean? Thank you and keep up the great studies!

Answer: There is undoubtedly some practical reason why wool and linen should not be woven together (though I don't know what it is). But the deeper purpose of this teaching was to establish the principle of separation. God calls His people to be separate from the world. This is the essence of holiness. This verse is therefore part of what is generally called the ceremonial law. These are the parts of the law that pointed toward New Testament realities, which were ultimately fulfilled in Christ and the Church.

Deuteronomy 22:5 is different because it says that all who dress in clothing of the opposite sex are an abomination to the Lord. If something was an abomination to the Lord back then, it is still an abomination to the Lord today. This part of the law was not ceremonial but moral.

Another deeper meaning of Deteronomy 22:11 might be this: Isaiah 1:18 says, 'Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.' This indicates that wool is symbolic of the forgiveness of sins we experience when we repent and are baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. But Revelation 19:8 says, 'And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.' This indicates that linen represents the righteous acts of those who have been forgiven. These verses show the distinction between the two kinds of righteousness the Bible speaks of.

Many people confuse the first kind, the gift of imputed righteousness, with the second, our acts of righteousness. Failing to understand that forgiveness and salvation are given to us by Jesus Christ as free gifts, they struggle to earn their salvation by doing acts of righteousness. The problem is, none of us can ever do enough good works to deserve salvation. We do acts of righteousness BECAUSE we are saved, not to earn salvation.

Titus 3:5 makes this clear saying, 'Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.' Could it be that Deuteronomy 22:11 is reminding us that we should be careful never to mix these two kinds of righteousness together.