Wool and linen

It is easy to see the reason for many of the commands God gives but there are others that don’t seem to make any sense.  For example, what about this one?

You shall not wear cloth of wool and linen mixed together.
Deuteronomy 22:11

What difference can it possibly make what our clothes are made of?

There is another place in the Bible where wool and linen are mentioned together.  The last part of Ezekiel includes a description of the temple that will exist during the Millenium and this is part of the instructions for the priests who offer sacrifices there.

When they enter the gates of the inner court, they shall wear linen garments. They shall have nothing of wool on them, while they minister at the gates of the inner court, and within. They shall have linen turbans on their heads, and linen undergarments around their waists. They shall not bind themselves with anything that causes sweat.
Ezekiel 44:17-18

The significance of linen is revealed in Revelation 19:6-8.

Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns.  Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory,  for the marriage of the Lamb has come,  and his Bride has made herself ready;  it was granted her to clothe herself  with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.

A saint is someone who has been saved by faith in Christ.  Ephesians 2:8-10 shows how a Christian’s deeds are related to his salvation.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

The good deeds a Christian does are not the means of acquiring salvation but the result of salvation.  Salvation isn’t the result of anything we do but being saved will lead us to do what is good.  Linen symbolizes the good works that are the result of salvation and not intended as a means of acquiring it.

The passage from Ezekiel equates wool with what causes sweat.  This means that wool is a symbol of trying to achieve salvation by our works.

Many people think that salvation is the result of a combination of faith and works.  There are many variations of this belief: for example, we must believe and be baptized or we are saved by faith but we must live a good life in order to keep our salvation.  Wearing something made of both wool and linen is a symbol of this kind of teaching.

Posted on August 2, 2012, in Bible study, practical lessons and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Reminds me of an improper mixture of both Jew and Gentile. Maybe, even the Scriptures of Samaritans. Laypersons must not wear what is sacred…. and the Samaritans were a part mixture of Jew, and Gentile. They corrupted the first five books of Moses to serve their own religion and purposes. And were looked upon by the Jews as apostates, idolaters, and even as Heathens. Also the Scripture of \”shake the dust off of your feet\” comes to mind. To shake off the dust from the feet, therefore, was a significant act, denoting that Jews regarded the Gentile as impure, profane, and paganish, and that they declined any further connection with them.

    ”Wearing something made of both wool and linen is a symbol or this kind of teaching.” — much like mingling with a peoples and putting their garments on, that is, in adjusting history to suit oneself or religion?

    Liked by 1 person

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