Someone might object by asking, “Did I hear you say it is a sin for women to wear trousers? What verse in Scripture tells you that trousers are for men only? Deuteronomy 22:5 is the verse that is always quoted. However, that is one of many other laws in that chapter. Why not obey all the other laws in that same chapter? Many girls, who have claimed it is sinful for them to wear trousers, do wear them in youth services or in the house. Is this not hypocrisy? Don’t condemn what has not been condemned in Scripture. The Bible does not condemn this practice. Rather, it simply teaches us to dress modestly.”
For the sake of this article, please allow me to reply to that objection, assuming that someone reading this may actually share that perspective. If you are suggesting that cross-dressing is not detestable to God, then you will give an account for that before him. Are you suggesting men wear that which pertains to a woman? Scripture says explicitly:
"A woman shall not wear man's clothing, nor shall a man put on a woman's clothing; for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD your God.” (Deu 22:5)
If you agree that Scripture teaches us cross-dressers are an abomination to the Lord our God, then why do you defend women’s trousers?
If you will research the origin of trousers, you will find that God’s holy people in the Bible never created them for women. Ancient Hebrews wore robes, which were drawn up when working or running (2 Kings 4:29; 1 Kings 18:46). However, trousers have been a style of clothing developed especially for men to wear while running, performing heavy manual labor, or during battle. We should avoid all that is worldly and immodest.
“Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.” (1Jn 2:15-17)
Is Deuteronomy Irrelevant to us Today as Christians?
First of all, we should remember that our Lord did not come to abolish the Law and the Prophets, but to fulfill, and said that not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass until all is accomplished (see Mt 5:17-20). So the Law and the Prophets have not been abolished.
Secondly, we know that the Law is good if one uses it properly. The apostle Paul said, “But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted.” (1Ti 1:8-11). Notice he said the law is for the ungodly and the unholy, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God. Since cross-dressing is unholy, ungodly, and is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, then Deut 22:5 may legitimately be applied to the practice of women wearing trousers (see The Law is Good if Used Lawfully).
I think Deut 22 is a great passage of Scripture to read and understand in the Spirit. As partakers of the New Covenant, we now read the Old Covenant with the veil removed, since in Christ it has been taken away (2 Co 3:14). For example, building a parapet around your roof (22:8). That's a wall around a flat roof, so that a guest walking there does not fall and die. God expects you to love your neighbor as you love yourself, and consider them even when building a house, lest their blood be on your hands. He says,
“When you build a new house, make a parapet around your roof so that you may not bring the guilt of bloodshed on your house if someone falls from the roof.” (Dt 22:8)
And God also sees every sparrow that falls to the ground (Lk 12:6-7). So of course the Lord wants you to let the mother bird go free, so she can reproduce more offspring. It's God's wisdom to prevent extinction of the animals He created. He says,
“If you come across a bird’s nest beside the road, either in a tree or on the ground, and the mother is sitting on the young or on the eggs, do not take the mother with the young. You may take the young, but be sure to let the mother go, so that it may go well with you and you may have a long life.” (Dt 22:6-7)
And when it comes to wearing clothes of mixed fabrics (e.g., wool/cotton), which the Lord Himself warned us about (Dt 22:11), that must also be great wisdom for our lives! Certainly there is a spiritual lesson in this verse, regarding the purity of our hearts. But there are plenty of verses about having a pure heart, and this verse seems to speak plainly of a practical matter regarding our clothing. I know of one sister in Christ who wears only clothing made of 100% cotton or pure wool, for the sake of her health, since it is healthier. God our Creator knows what's best for us. He says,
“Do not wear clothes of wool and linen woven together.” (Dt 22:11)
Synthetic Fibers Are Harmful to Your Health
Science is always proving the Bible to be true. One day we may find that the electrostatic charge that is on mixed garments (e.g., cotton/polyester or cotton/wool) or garments made of synthetic materials (e.g., polyester, acrylic, Spandex polyurethane, olefin, or rayon) is actually harmful to the body. If we discover scientifically that it causes cancer or skin problems, then everyone would be changing to only pure cotton or pure wool clothing. They all care about their physical health and want to save their lives.
But when we don't understand the reasons why God requires certain things of us, why do we scoff or make excuses or call such things legalistic? It's because of our own ignorance. Do we know better than our Maker?
In fact, in writing this article, after I wrote the two previous paragraphs, I did discover that “chemically treated natural and synthetic fabrics are a source of toxins that adversely affect your health.” An article called The Top 6 Fabrics You Should Avoid Wearing lists the following as harmful to your health: polyester, acrylic, rayon, acetate/triacetate, nylon and anything static resistant, stain resistant, permanent press, wrinkle-free, stain proof or moth repellant.
There is another article called The Clothes that Kill You Slowly but Surely, which amazingly confirmed my suspicion that synthetic fibers may contain harmful electrostatic charges. It states: “Electrostatic charges accumulate in synthetic clothing. There are stories of shocking mini-explosions from mixing layers of synthetic clothing with synthetic carpeting. And get this: synthetic undergarments contribute to infertility in men.” The article goes on to state: "Today's clothing (a $7 trillion/year industry) is manufactured using an astounding 8,000 synthetic chemicals...Nowadays, clothes also contain toxins like formaldehyde, brominated flame retardants, and perfluorinated chemicals (Teflon) to provide "non-iron" and "non-wrinkle" qualities. Insecticides are even applied in the name of good health...For half a century, skin and chemicals have been interacting… creating problems like infertility, respiratory diseases, contact dermatitis, and cancer...The more synthetic clothing you wear, the greater your risk of absorbing toxic chemicals that harm your health.”
All of these points somewhat indirectly confirm what I had suspected, and which I had written down in this article before doing a quick bit of research on it. I had stated that we might find out that mixed fibers contain electrostatic charges that are harmful to your health, and I did not even know about the studies. By the way, the studies did not directly prove my point, but only confirmed the possibility that the same issues they have found in synthetic fibers may also be true of mixed fabrics. Whatever the reason is for God giving the prohibition against mixed fabrics, it must have been in His wisdom that He did so. My main point here is that if God said it, there is a very good reason for it, which we do not need to know, if we trust Him.
These days it is nearly impossible to find affordable garments made of purely organic materials like 100% cotton or 100% wool. I agree that in many countries like the US, it would be a very difficult – if not impossible -- task to find an entire wardrobe (i.e., undergarments, shoes, pants, dresses, shirts, coats, mittens, hats, and pajamas) like that for an entire family on a tight budget. I am not suggesting you go out and do that! But I am demonstrating that the laws in Deuteronomy 22 are full of wisdom, and our Father knows best. The Law is still profitable for addressing that which is ungodly and the unholy, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God.
In Deut 22:11, we see that the Lord’s heart is for His holy people to even wear clothing that is pure, so that everything about us is pure. This still has relevance for today. Even Jude speaks of “hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh” (Jude 1:23). God’s heart hasn’t changed. But the clothing we buy in the stores has changed, and it is not pure. Therefore, it is important to pray and fully commit everything we buy to into the hands of God through prayer with thanksgiving, destroying the satanic powers it may come with, and purifying it. And I want to be clear that I am merely pointing out the wisdom of Deut 22:11; I am not saying you need to wear textile of a single, natural fabric in order to be justified before God. We are not under Law, but under grace, and we have been released from the Law. We are justified by faith in Christ.
Arguments from Culture
Some people try to argue from culture, by attempting to show that certain cultures have customs that other cultures would consider cross-dressing. One example is the Scottish kilt. They argue that what appears to be women’s clothing to other cultures is men’s clothing to the Scotsmen. If you research the kilt, you will find that it was originally much longer, covering the legs down to the ankles. They shortened the kilt to make it easier to work in them.
And now they have turned them into a decorative costume, which not only exposes the naked legs below the knee, but has many worldly aspects to it that disqualify it as a Christian garment. In fact, Scottish custom states that a true Scotsman should wear his kilt without underwear, which is certainly immodest. So this is nothing more than a worldly custom. And just because it has been made to resemble a women’s mini-skirt, we cannot use it to prove that the biblical command against cross-dressing is either subjective, depending on what country you are in, or irrelevant in the 21st century.
You can argue your position based on culture, defending women’s trousers, but that is a dangerous approach. If we realized just how much satan has corrupted the cultures of the world, we would be shocked. Demons are behind extra-biblical cultural practices, since satan is the god of this world. If you say that we cannot base our doctrine on anything extra-biblical, such as prophecies or revelations, then how can you use culture as the basis for your doctrine that women should wear trousers? Since the Word of God is our standard, then everything else must measure up to it, including prophesies, revelations, and cultural practices.
A Case from Christian or Hebrew Queens or Princesses of Old
In fact, if we do the research on Christian or Hebrew Queens or Princesses of old, we will find them depicted wearing dresses, not trousers. Jewish and Christian noble women would never wear trousers, since that would not befit royalty. You might find a female warrior from a pagan culture, such as the Amazon Indians, Egypt, or Babylon, depicted on an ancient vase with trousers, but not a Hebrew or Christian one.
Can you imagine a Hebrew or Christian queen, such as Queen Elizabeth or biblical Queen Esther sitting on her royal throne, wearing trousers? How about imagining a princess in her royal carriage wearing trousers? If you were going to play that part in a movie, do you think the costume designer would choose pants for your character? If they did, and you were the actress, wouldn’t you be disappointed they did not cloth you with a proper princess dress?
One might even say that the traditional wedding garments worn by brides throughout the centuries express an inward desire of women to look like a princess. That is why they wear gowns and not trousers on their wedding day. Can you imagine a bride wearing trousers? I have never seen one, and think it would look very strange.
The Bride of Christ
As followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, we are kings and priests. The apostle Peter said, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;” (1Pe 2:9). The apostle John wrote, “And He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father--to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (Rev 1:6). Again the saints in glory sang, "You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth." (Rev 5:10).
We are also the royal Bride of Christ (as depicted by my daughter in her artistic rendition above), according to the apostle Paul (Eph 5:25-27). That includes every male and female one of us, who are betrothed to Jesus Christ our Lord. And He is in the process of sanctifying us “that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.” (Eph 5:27) But it’s not just a passive process that happens spiritually without any participation on our part. In heaven they sang, “"Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready." (Rev 19:7). The Bride of Christ must make herself ready. It’s not only an inward preparation of the heart, but one of the body, too. “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1Th 5:23).
The sisters in Christ are not only the Bride of Christ, but also daughters of the King, His royal princesses. They should desire to be a worthy Bride such as He is coming for right away, and put off every worldly, unholy practice, including those related to how they dress. In fact, we men, too, must look at how we dress and be sure it is appropriate for those who profess the name of Christ.
Origin of Women’s Trousers in Modern Christian Culture
If you want to know whether trousers are women’s clothing or not, it’s worthwhile to do a study on their origin. Women in countries like Korea have been wearing trousers since at least the 15th century, but it was unusual for them to do so without a covering skirt. However, in modern Christian culture, only men wore trousers until about a century ago. Women in the Western Christian world began to wear them during the 1900’s feminist movement, when they began to perform jobs that were traditionally done by men, such as coal mining. An 1890 census reported that out of 369 occupations, women were represented in 360 of them. And by 1900, ladies in the U.S. employed away from the home comprised 20% of all women in the country.
And even to this day, at public restrooms (WC) around the world, if the sign on the door is a person in trousers, it still means that restroom is for males -- not females. This is an internationally recognized symbol. Although Arabic countries may show a man in a robe, rather than trousers, you will never see a ladies' room identified by the symbol of the person in trousers.
"She Wears the Pants in the Family"
Have you ever heard the expression, “She wears the pants in the family”? I know that this is considered sexist and offensive to many, but I am merely making a point by using an expression. It means that the wife in a particular family is the dominant partner, who is the head of the household. It means that she is the most powerful person who makes all the decisions in the family. Where did that idiom come from? It originally meant that the wife functioned in the role that was traditionally held by the husband in the family. It’s just another example that proves pants or trousers were not ladies’ garments until the sexual revolution and the feminist movement of the 1960’s.
Argument from Hypocrisy
Someone might argue that there are some girls who claim it is biblically wrong for them to wear trousers, and yet they themselves wear them in certain situations. I would agree that this is a type of double standard. But just because someone is inconsistent in living out his or her Christian beliefs does not give anyone else a license to sin. Two wrongs don’t make a right. And just because there are hypocrites in the world does not mean there cannot be sincere followers of Christ.
Follow the Money Trail
Since today's clothing industry in the US is a $7 trillion/year business, and since most clothing would not meet biblical standards of godliness, we must ask some hard questions. Who are the people getting rich from this great evil? Follow the money trail, and I can assure you that you will not find godly Christians at the very top of that industry. Any godly woman knows it is very difficult these days to find modest clothing. All the styles have changed and the way they design the cut of the garments, they are not made for modesty. The clothing manufacturers are getting rich by selling garments that are unfit for a godly woman to wear, and I am sure they would not want anyone to interfere with their lucrative business. It’s no wonder the enemy gets so angry when people preach against this.
I am reminded of the incident in the Bible, during the apostle Paul’s ministry, when those who had made a good income making idols had become furious with Paul that he was hurting their business. By preaching the truth of the gospel, Gentiles were turning to Christ from idols, and no longer buying from the craftsmen that sold them.
“About that time there occurred no small disturbance concerning the Way. For a man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Artemis, was bringing no little business to the craftsmen; these he gathered together with the workmen of similar trades, and said, ‘Men, you know that our prosperity depends upon this business. You see and hear that not only in Ephesus, but in almost all of Asia, this Paul has persuaded and turned away a considerable number of people, saying that gods made with hands are no gods at all. Not only is there danger that this trade of ours fall into disrepute, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis be regarded as worthless and that she whom all of Asia and the world worship will even be dethroned from her magnificence.’ When they heard this and were filled with rage, they began crying out, saying, ‘Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!’” (Act 19:23-28)
When Paul’s biblical preaching threatened their income, they started a riot. That’s similar to the way some people act when you uphold the biblical dress code for women. They get angry and protest vehemently. It’s like they are crying out, ‘Great is the Queen of the Coast!’ ‘Great is the Queen of the Coast!’ They are supporting the ungodly clothing manufacturers, and the demons that inspire their popular, worldly designs. They don’t realize that they are standing up for a bad cause.
The Scripture says: “Obey the king’s command, I say, because you took an oath before God. Do not be in a hurry to leave the king’s presence. Do not stand up for a bad cause, for he will do whatever he pleases. Since a king’s word is supreme, who can say to him, ‘What are you doing?’ Whoever obeys his command will come to no harm, and the wise heart will know the proper time and procedure.” (Ecc 8:2-5)
The reason well-meaning Christians stand up for such a bad cause is that “the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (2Co 4:4). They think that verse only applies to those who have never given their lives to Christ, but they themselves have become unbelieving “believers”!
Those who are preaching this message of holiness are causing something like an earthquake in the heavenly realm above the earth. It’s shattering and demolishing the strongholds of satan.
The apostle Paul said, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” (2Co 10:3-5)
Through the Word of God and by the power of the Holy Spirit, we are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.
Take Heed Lest You Fall
The apostle Paul said that if you think you stand, take heed lest you fall. Do you think you stand, and that the Lord has no issue concerning cross-dressing?
"Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall. No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry." (1Co 10:12-14)
We all face many temptations in our lives. But no matter what the temptation, it is common to all men. You will never be able to use the excuse that this temptation was unique to you, and more difficult than any that others have faced. When I have been tempted, and prayed to God for the way out, I have found that the cross is the way out. If I will deny myself, take up my cross, and follow Jesus in that situation, then I will have victory.
Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me." (Mat 16:24).
Love the Truth
You’ve got to love the Truth. If you will approach this matter with an open mind, sincerely wanting the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth, you will find it. I know this from personal experience, since that’s how I came to know Christ. When a friend first told me I was searching for Jesus, as a nineteen-year old soldier in the US Army, I didn’t believe him. But when I searched the Scriptures and asked God to show me the whole Truth and nothing but the Truth, then the Truth set me free, and the Lord Jesus Christ saved me (see The Truth Set Me Free!). He is the Truth!
Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (Joh 14:6)
So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, "If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." (Joh 8:31-32)
I elaborate further from Scripture in my article, “An Open Mind that Loves the Truth,” on the biblical way to approach this matter of cross-dressing and godly attire with an open mind.
Confirming Divine Revelations
I mentioned in my introduction to this article that several people have received divine revelations from the Lord warning against cross-dressing. Here are just a few excerpts:
In Visitation of Jesus to Samuel Oghenetaga, I wrote that the Lord told him to give this warning: "A man should not put on the attire of a woman, and a woman should not put on the attire of a man or harlot: silver, gold, attachments, changing of skin, painting of eyes and mouth, or fixing of any artificial thing (Prov 7:1-27). The Lord has spoken; now obey. I will curse them that disobey."
In Michael Thomas Sambo's Revelation of Heaven and Hell, I wrote that he testified: "When we arrived to hell, a young lady saw me afar off and shouted, 'Oh, have you come to help me out of this place?' I could not respond to her question. Then she began to tell me the story of her life. She said, 'I was a member of a Pentecostal Church. My pastor told me that wearing trousers, as a lady, was not a sin against God..."
The Lord spoke to each of these people separately and independently without any collaboration between them. Some of them were even guilty of committing this sin before the Lord warned them. And He gave them many other warnings for the Church besides women wearing trousers. Therefore, I urge you to begin by reading Godly Attire and Adornment -- Seven Divine Revelations, and then listening to the entire testimonies of each person highlighted in that article, as well as the others I have mentioned above.
Those Who Practice Abomination
Finally, perhaps you thought that abominations were limited only to the law of Moses; however, this is clearly taught as part of the New Covenant. At the end of the book of Revelation, we learn that those who practice abomination will not enter the holy city, the new Jerusalem. It says, "And nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life." (Rev 21:27).
Moreover, according to Scripture, those who practice abomination end up in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone. It says, "But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death." (Rev 21:8). Therefore, since the Lord said it is an abomination for a woman to wear that which pertains to a man (Deut 22:5), then it should be quite plain to see from Scripture that no woman who wears trousers will enter the holy city, but will go to the lake of fire.
Note: The Greek word for abomination in Rev 21:27 is "bdelugma", meaning "a foul thing or detestable thing; an abomination." This same Greek word is used in Deut 22:5 for "abomination" in the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament. The Hebrew word for "abomination" in that same verse is "tô‛êbah", meaning "something disgusting (morally), that is, (as noun) an abhorrence; especially idolatry or (concretely) an idol: - abominable (custom, thing), abomination." There is absolutely no difference between the meaning of "abomination" in Rev 21:27 and Deut 22:5. It is the same exact word.
Likewise, the word for "abominable" in Rev 21:8 is "ebdelugmenois", which comes from the root word "bdelussomai", meaning, "1) to render foul, to cause to be abhorred 2) abominable." Obviously the words "ebdelugmenois" and "bdelussomai" are directly related to "bdelugma". This proves that both Rev 21:8 and 21:27 are related to Deut 22:5 in the sense that they all speak of abominations and/or those who practice such things, otherwise known as those who are abominable.
For more on this topic, please see my article Abominations in the Sight of God.
Putting it All Together
Why can’t Christians understand and accept that trousers are not women’s clothing and should not be worn by women according to Scripture? Why can’t we realize that they are immodest and worldly, rather than godly attire? Why can’t we let go of women’s trousers? It is because trousers have become a modern type of golden calf.
There are some people who say that we should not talk about these matters, and we should focus only on the Lord, and on being Christ-centered. Yet God cares about purity and holiness. And this matter of bodily purity cannot be separated from a Christ-centered life. It is definitely God’s heart. People who don’t see this do not really know who Jesus Christ is.
Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. The "Christ's Bride" drawing is from my fifteen-year old daughter, C.V. Lacroix, and may be found in the art gallery at A Brush with Life.
Author's note: Also see Garments of Godliness, Godly Attire and Adornment -- Seven Divine Revelations, Garments of Righteousness, The Forgotten Sin of Worldliness, Abominations in the Sight of God, Crucified with Christ, The Law is Good if Used Lawfully, An Open Mind that Loves the Truth, Faith Works!, Visitation of Jesus to Samuel Oghenetaga, Pleasing the Lord, and Is Practical Righteousness a Lost Truth? My daughter has also written a lovely poem called Cross Bearing. You can access the Seeking the Lord Main Directory or my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master." Now I'd like to ask a very important question.
Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus. Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?
“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15). He preached that we must repent and believe.
Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International. He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.