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Fighting for the Faith
Headcoverings - God's Governmental Symbol

Jesus began His earthly ministry by proclaiming, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.” (Mark 1:15) Have you repented and believed the gospel? Have you been delivered from the power of darkness and translated into the kingdom of His dear Son? (Col. 1:13) Well, if you have, then you have become a subject in God’s kingdom. And God’s kingdom is like any other kingdom. There is a king, (Jesus Christ) subjects, (all those who have submitted themselves to Jesus’ Lordship) a domain of rulership, (heaven and earth) and laws to obey. (found throughout the New Testament) Within this kingdom God has established a clear hierarchy of authority which the apostle Paul shares with us in 1Corinthians chapter 11. He writes, beginning in verse 2, “Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you. BUT I WOULD HAVE YOU KNOW, THAT THE HEAD OF EVERY MAN IS CHRIST, AND THE HEAD OF THE WOMAN IS THE MAN, AND THE HEAD OF CHRIST IS GOD.” Outlined right here is the authoritative structure of God’s government and as we will find out God has instituted a symbol which lets the world and all the angels know whether we have submitted ourselves to God and His governmental authority.

Paul continues writing in verse 4 of the same chapter, “Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth (or brings disgrace to) his head. But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered.” Immediately after Paul gives us the hierarchy of God’s government he reveals to us the symbol which represents our submission to that government. Whenever we pray or prophesy, (speak forth God’s words) men are supposed to leave their physical head uncovered (this is where no hats for men at the dinner table or at church originated from) while the women are commanded to put some type of covering, or veiling over theirs. Please notice that Paul says that it is dishonoring or disgraceful to one’s authoritative head if these simple commands aren’t adhered to. Now you may ask why does God want us to do this? Paul immediately answers that question for us.

He continues in verse 7, “For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. For the man is not of the woman, but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man. For this cause (or for this reason) ought the woman to have power (defined as a symbol of authority) on her head because of the angels.” Paul gives us the answer to “why” right here. 1) - because man is the image and glory of God while woman is the glory of man.

2) - because the man was not taken from the woman when he was created but the woman was taken out of the man. (Gen 3:21-23)

3) - because the man was not created for the woman but the woman was created to be the man’s helpmeet. (Gen. 3:20-22)

4) - because of the angels

Paul explains that because the man was God’s direct creation he therefore is the image and glory of God Himself. The woman, on the other hand, was taken from the man’s rib, and created to be man’s helper, which makes her the glory of the man. So, why must men keep their heads uncovered? Because the glory of God must always be manifest above any other glory. And why must the women cover theirs? Because the glory of man must never try to flaunt itself in the presence of the glory of God. But what about the angels?

“For this cause ought the woman to have power (a symbol of authority) on her head because of the angels.” Here I can only speculate, but the Bible says in Ephesians 3:10 that the manifold wisdom of God is made known to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places through the church. The woman’s headcovering lets all know, in heaven and on earth, that these women have submitted themselves to God’s governmental authority. They have willingly chose to obey God and the veiling of their heads symbolizes this to all. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden mankind became separated from God. But God’s manifold wisdom had a plan to restore mankind to Him through Jesus Christ. The woman’s headcovering proclaims to the heavenly authorities that God’s plan has succeeded. What an honor and a privilege for women to be able to wear this symbol, which brings so much glory to God and what a constant reminder, to those who are disobedient, both men and angels alike, that there are those who have chosen to submit to God and His ways. No wonder Satan has worked overtime trying to get women to remove the headcovering.

Even way back in the church at Corinth we find some who were contending that it should be proper for women to pray to God uncovered. (1Cor. 11:13) Paul answers them first by using an illustration from nature, showing how even the natural order of things of a man having shorter hair than the woman illustrates the fact that a woman should cover her head. Then he emphatically answers their contention, “But if any man seem to be contentious (by saying that it is proper or OK for a woman to pray to God uncovered), WE HAVE NO SUCH CUSTOM, NEITHER THE CHURCHES OF GOD.” Here Paul vehemently resisted the contentious ones and the church continued to resist for over 1800 years as the cloth headcovering or veil was a staple worn by Christian women throughout that time. But during the last 100 years or so Satan has finally wore the church down and except for a few faithful here and there, the woman’s headcovering has largely disappeared. What a disgrace to the Head of the church, the Lord Jesus Christ and how our heavenly Father must be grieved. What are some of the lies that Satan has told this modern church to get it to remove this powerful symbol of authority that God instituted? Let’s take a look at a few of them.

1) He has told this church that this command was only for the Corinthian church.

But Paul tells us otherwise in the same letter in which God’s government and the headcovering are later addressed. In 1Cor. chap. 1, verse 2 he writes, “Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, WITH ALL THAT IN EVERY PLACE call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours.” So in Paul’s salutation he lets all know that this letter is for all in every place who would call on the name of the Lord

2) He has told this church that the command for women to wear the headcovering was an isolated command to the people of that particular culture. That it was necessary during that time and place for various reasons but that those reasons are not valid now in the culture we live in.

Well, we listed the reasons that Paul gave above. Which one could possibly be looked at as cultural? Let’s briefly look at them again. First, he said it was because man is the image and glory of God while woman is the glory of man. Does this apply to all men and women for all time or just to the men and women at the church in Corinth? Clearly this applies to all people for all time. Next, he discussed how man and woman were created and what their purpose for being created was. Was Paul only speaking about the men and women at Corinth? Clearly not. Lastly, he mentions the angels. Were the angels only relegated to the church at Corinth during that time period? No... so does this lie hold any water? Absolutely not.

3) He has told this church that the hair or long hair is the woman’s covering talked about in this passage.

Could this be true? Could the church have been wrong for over 1800 years? Verse 15 in 1Cor. chap. 11 has been utilized to promote this theory and at a quick glance it may, at first, appear to be plausible. It reads, “But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.” Now this verse read out of context, by itself, does say that her hair is given her for a covering. But is this the same type of covering that Paul has just spent numerous verses trying to explain? No, and here’s why. First off, as I mentioned earlier, a question was posed in verse 13, “Is it comely (or proper) that a woman pray unto God uncovered?” And then beginning in verse 14 Paul uses an illustration from nature to begin to answer this question, “Doth (or does) not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man has long hair, it is a shame unto him? But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.” An illustration is a type or example that is used to clarify or explain something. An illustration is never the actual thing, it is something used to parallel the actual thing. So was Paul speaking of the same type of covering that he was earlier? No, he was using an illustration from nature to parallel the real thing that he had been discussing earlier, but if you’re still not convinced, here are a few more reasons why the hair or long hair can not be the covering that Paul had been talking about.

If we delve a little deeper we will find that Paul utilizes a different Greek word for covering in verse 15 than from what he had used earlier and this difference is brought out more clearly in the Young’s Literal Translation of the Bible which renders verse 15, “and a woman, if she have long hair, a glory it is to her, because the hair INSTEAD OF A COVERING hath been given to her.” Also, if the hair is the covering, then when Paul speaks of the need for men to not be covered (or not have hair?) in verse 4, is he saying that all men need to be bald when praying or prophesying? Of course not, because why would he then limit the baldness to only when praying or prophesying? Is it possible to have hair or not have hair or change our hair from long to short based upon the activity that we’re doing? No... this interpretation makes a mockery of the whole passage. Verse 6 becomes another problem if hair or long hair is the covering that Paul has been talking about. In verse 6 it says, “For if the woman be not covered (if she doesn’t have hair or long hair), let her also be shorn (or have her hair cut short)” If she does not have long hair then her hair would already be short. Once again, to view the hair or the long hair as the covering that Paul is referring to makes the rest of this passage completely illogical and nonsensical. And last, we just need to ask ourselves, if Paul merely wanted men to wear their hair short and women long, why wouldn’t he just say so? No, the historic church had it right for all those years and it is my plea that we get back to getting it right also.

So, do you consider yourself to be a part of God’s kingdom? Have you committed your life to honoring and glorifying God. Then you have a responsibility to proclaim to the world and to all of the heavenly authorities that God’s plan has succeeded. Men, your heads must remain uncovered when praying or proclaiming God’s word. And women, God has granted you an awesome privilege, He has chosen you to wear the symbol (the headcovering) as a witness to the world and to the angels. Now the choice is yours. Do you obey your king or bring disgrace to Him. May God grant you wisdom in making the right decision.

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