QUESTION: "Is it wrong for women to wear pants? Many people quote me the scripture found in Deuteronomy 22:5 to teach against it." Danny P., Ranger, Georgia
ANSWER: Deuteronomy 22:5 reads: "A woman shall not wear anything that pertains to a man, nor shall a man put on a woman's garment; for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God." This verse implies transvestism, a type of sexual deviation in which the affected person derives an unnatural sense of pleasure from dressing like a member of the opposite sex. The rest of chapter 22 goes on to talk about adultery, fornication and incest.
Practicing transvestism involves wearing the clothing of the opposite sex — but the type of clothing this entails would differ drastically from society to society. So these verses are not a prohibition against either women' or men wearing specific types of clothing such as pants, if those clothing styles are appropriate for the particular sex in a given society. What the verse is condemning is a perverted use of clothing — such as men wearing certain articles of women's undergarments, for instance.
God is a universal God and His laws and principles are meant for mankind throughout all time in all of our diverse societies and customs of dress. In some countries, it is customary for men to wear flowing robes, skirts, or kilts. In other nations, such as Turkey and China, women traditionally wear pants-like garments or pajamas.
God does not dictate in the Bible what styles of clothing are to be worn by men or by women.
We are told to walk as Christ walked, to live as He lived (I John 2:6). Christ wore the style of clothing that was customary for His day. He looked like any other average Jew; in fact, he blended in with crowds so well that He escaped from enemies several times this way (Luke 4:29-30; John 8:59; 10:39). We should follow His example, wearing the styles that are customary and appropriate for our area of the world.
The basic, principle involved in women's dress is modesty. A woman should dress attractively, but not draw undue attention to herself. Her dress should be appropriate for whatever activity she is participating in. If it is the custom in her area for women to wear pantsuits to almost all activities, then it is certainly proper for her to do so. These outfits are usually much more modest than some types of short skirts or dresses, and they are in many cases better for the health since they obviate the need for tight girdles and allow a woman to sit more comfortably while still maintaining decorum and modesty, (Women's pants are designed for women — they are not "men's clothing.")
And Deuteronomy 22:5 is also not a prohibition against occasionally borrowing a garment from a member of the opposite sex for a legitimate purpose. For example, it would not be wrong for a woman to paint the ceiling in an old work shirt borrowed from her husband. And likewise it would not be wrong for. her husband to borrow her apron to wear while wiping the dishes. They are not practicing transvestism by any stretch of the imagination. Common sense should help "us to determine God's will in minor areas such as these.
Q: "The book of Acts on several occasions speaks of Christ's disciples meeting and 'breaking bread' together (Acts 2:42, 46; 20:7; 27:35). Is there a religious significance to this? Does it refer to the Lord's Supper or Communion?" Steve K., Pasadena, California
A: Bread was so important as a staple in the diet of Middle Eastern societies that it became synonymous with "food" (see Lam. 4:4; Matt. 4:4; 14:19; 15:36; Luke 11:3). Bread was baked in hard flat loaves which were not easily cut with a knife. During meals, those partaking would break off as much as they needed; hence the term "breaking bread."
New Testament scriptures read in context show conclusively that "breaking bread" means simply eating or partaking of a meal, not taking Communion.
Acts 2:46 says: "And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they partook of food with glad and generous hearts...." Notice that this was done "day by day" in their homes — they "partook of food."
Acts 20:11 states that "when Paul had gone up and had broken bread and eaten, he conversed with them a long while...." Notice that the apostle Paul ate after breaking bread. This cannot be anything but a common meal.
In Acts 27:33-38, Paul and his companions were about to be shipwrecked. The crew had been fasting and their strength was nearly exhausted. "As day was about to dawn, Paul urged them all to take some food, saying, 'Today is the fourteenth day that you have continued in suspense and without food, having taken nothing. Therefore I urge you to take some food; it will give you strength, since not a hair is to perish from the head of any of you.' And when he had said this, he took bread, and giving thanks to God in the presence of all he broke it and began to eat. Then they all were encouraged and ate some food themselves."
From these scriptures it is evident that "breaking bread" is simply a biblical expression for eating a meal.
Q: "How often should the Lord's Supper be observed?" Alice A., Houston, Texas
A: The Passover service, or Lord's Supper, is a yearly memorial of Christ's sacrifice which occurs in the spring. For more information on this subject, read our free booklet How Often Should We Partake Of The Lord's Supper?
Q: "You say Easter is a pagan holiday. How come Acts 12:4 says that the Jews were going to bring Peter forth to the people after Easter?" John S., Kenedy, Texas
A: The word "Easter" occurs only once in the Bible — and that only in the King James translation. Here the Greek word pascha (elsewhere translated "passover" ) is mis-translated "Easter." The Revised Standard Version and other modern translations correctly render it as "Passover." This subject is covered in more detail in our free booklet The Plain Truth About Easter.
Q: "Would you please answer a question for me? The Temple curtain covering the entrance to the Holy of Holies was torn from top to bottom in the earthquake that took place at the time of Christ's death. Does this torn curtain have any special meaning for the true Christian? If so, what?" Thomas H., Fulton, Missouri
A: Indeed, it does have meaning — a tremendous meaning.
Exodus 26:31-33 describes the original curtain which was installed when ancient Israel first built the tabernacle in the wilderness: "And you shall make a veil of blue and purple and scarlet stuff and fine twined linen; in skilled work shall it be made, with [woven-in designs of] cherubim.... And you shall hang the veil... and the veil shall separate for you the holy place from the most holy." Similar curtains were made and installed in Solomon's Temple (II Chron. 3:14) and in the Temple of Zerubbabel (Ezra 3, 5, 6; Haggai 2); being renewed or replaced whenever necessary as centuries passed.
At the death of Jesus, there was a tremendous earthquake, and apparently it was the swaying of Temple walls as the earth rocked and heaved beneath which tore the heavy veil or curtain apart from top to bottom. This exposed to view the innermost room — the Holy of Holies — which was symbolic of the heavenly throne of God Himself (Matt. 27:50-51). The beginning of the tear at the top, some 90 feet above the floor (Josephus, Wars, 5:5:5), was a sign. No man could have caused it. Only God could be held responsible.
But why did God cause this to occur? Hebrews 6:18-20 tells us that we — Christians — now have a hope set before us "as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner shrine behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest for ever...." Christ has entered behind the curtain into that restricted throne room (not into a room on earth, but to the actual throne in heaven — see Hebrews 9:24). He entered as a forerunner for us — implying that we also may be privileged to come to God's throne. And the torn and severed curtain shows the way for us is open, even now; that in prayer we may go now direct to God our Father (see Eph. 2:18).
With a few exceptions, there was no spiritual salvation offered in the Old Testament. To the people who lived before Christ, God the Father was not accessible and was virtually unknown. It was Christ who came and revealed the Father (John 1:18; 5:37). "For a tent [which was superseded later by a Temple compartment] was prepared, the outer one, in which were the lampstand and the table and the bread of Prescence; it is called the Holy Place. Behind the second curtain stood a tent called the Holy of Holies.... But into the second only the high priest goes, and he but once a year, and not without taking blood which he offers for himself and for the errors of the people." Now notice carefully what follows: "By this the Holy Spirit indicates that the way into the sanctuary [that is, directly to God the Father] is not yet opened as long as the outer tent is still standing" (Heb. 9:2-3, 7-8). Nor was the way to the Father's throne open during Temple times; this did not occur until the death of Christ and the ripping asunder of the veil or curtain.
"But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the Holy Place, taking not the blood of goats and calves but his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption (verses 11-12).
Christ has opened the way and obtained redemption for us. So what should we do about it? "Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary [we can enter boldly] by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way which he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near..." (Heb. 10:19-22).
Q: "Will you please tell me if the Holy Spirit and the Holy Ghost are the same person?" Roy D., Sanford, Florida
A: The King James version of the Bible translates the Greek word pneuma (meaning a current of air; breath; or, used figuratively, "spirit" ) into the archaic English word "ghost," meaning "spirit." So the Holy Ghost and the Holy Spirit are one and the same thing — but it is not a person. For more on this, read our free booklet Is God a Trinity?