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Doctrine of coverings

Submitted: 2/19/2005
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Question: There seems to be a lot of focus on the way a woman dresses while men's clothing to some degree has evolved along with the cultural changes of our world. Specifically, when Deut 22:5 was originally penned, both men and women wore robes. Furthermore, when God made coverings for Adam and Eve's sin, he made 'coats' for both of them (Gen 3:21). By all indication from the original Hebrew word 'kethoneth', this was a robe type garment (no distinction between the two is indicated here). When we trace the history of clothing it seems that many only go back a few hundred years and the emphasis is placed again, on the woman. Considering the fact that Jesus, throghout His ministry and when he returns, will be wearing a robe should we reevaluate the standard of men's apparel as well? BTW...many will justify pants on men by pointing out that the OT priests wore 'breeches'. These were really nothing more than 'drawers' or underwear as we wear today under our clothes.

Answer: It is true that God made coverings for both Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:21). But just because one word is used to describe both the man's covering and the women's covering does not mean the coverings were identical. If I were to say that my wife and I are both wearing clothes, this would not necessarily mean we are wearing identical clothes.

Deuteronomy 22:5 shows that there was a clear difference between men's clothing and women's clothing; otherwise, the verse has no meaning. Although both men and women may have worn robes in the ancient near east, this does not mean that the rodes were identical. Even today, the traditional clothing of both middle eastern men and women are robes; yet the types of robes and the outward appearance of the robes are quite difference. It is obvious that there are robes that pertain to men and robes that pertain to women.

When middle eastern men needed to run or do manual work, they would often 'gird up their loins.' Women never did this. This practice created the breech which eventually led to the creation of trousers. Hence, there is a direct line from what was considered men's apparel in Bible days and what is generally considered men's apparel today.

Since we live in the 21th century, we must determine the application of biblical principles according to today's customs. If we insist on going by ancient practices, then I guess Christian men would need to start wearing robes of some sort. But somehow this does not seem to fit the underlying purpose of manifesting the difference between the sexes as a symbol of Christ and His Church.

The only reason this subject is debatable today is because of the 'unisex movement.' A hundred years ago their was no question as to what constituted male dress and female dress. Oh, Lord, help restore us to clear spiritual vision!