Headcovering, a Sign to the Angels
Knowing that the first Sabbath violation occurred in heaven among the angels, we should not be surprised to find there are more scriptural passages that relate to this original sin among them. One of the most enlightening and least understood scriptures is found in Paul’s first epistle to the Corinthians. It is in his discourse concerning the issue of headcovering.
I Corinthians 11:10
Therefore the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.
Why does Paul instruct the Corinthian believers that it is the custom of the church for the women to have a covering on their heads, and what specifically does he mean when he says “because of the angels”? To find out we must look at this issue of headcovering and see what it symbolizes. The passage in which we find these words begins in this way:
I Corinthians 11:2-3
Now I praise you because you remember me in everything, and hold firmly to the traditions, just as I delivered them to you. But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ.
The apostle Paul commends the Corinthian believers for holding to the traditions that he delivered to them as being the traditions of the churches of God. The word rendered as tradition here is also properly interpreted as precept and ordinance. It refers to the doctrines and practices of the church. As an apostle, Paul was instrumental in establishing the church in Corinth. In this foundational role, he delivered to them the basic doctrines and practices of the church as revealed by the Holy Spirit and proclaimed by the apostles.
At the end of this passage on headcovering, Paul concludes this matter by stating:
I Corinthians 11:16
But if one is inclined to be contentious, we have no other practice, nor have the churches of God.
Throughout his discourse on headcovering, which covers 15 verses, Paul is speaking of that which is the teaching and practice of all of the churches of God. He begins by commending the Corinthians for adhering to these traditions that he delivered to them, and he concludes by rebuking anyone who would be contentious and disagree with these traditions. He states, “we (referring to the apostles) have no other practice, nor do the churches of God.” The custom of the church is to practice headcovering as Paul describes it in this passage. There is no other custom. No other practice is taught or accepted.
Paul establishes in these words that headcovering is not a Corinthian matter. It is the practice of all of the churches of God. He concludes that it is not proper or acceptable to have any practice other than that which has been delivered to them and described to be the practice of the churches. This is a universal matter. It is something that includes the whole church of God in its scope.
What is this custom of headcovering of which Paul speaks? He continues by declaring the heart of the matter.
I Corinthians 11:3
But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ.
The matter being discussed is one of government. It has to do with Yahweh’s established order in the kingdom of God. In the government of Yahweh, He is the head of all things. It is from Yahweh that all authority originates. Yahweh is the source of all rule.
In the government of Yahweh, He has determined that there should be authorities and there should be those who submit to these authorities. Recognizing the government of Yahweh, and submitting oneself to it, results in rest. Failing to recognize Yahweh’s government, or to submit to it, results in striving. He has set an order both among the Godhead and among all of creation.
Among the Godhead the Son takes the position of the Christ, the Sent One of Yahweh. He freely emptied Himself of His equality with Yahweh and He humbled Himself and learned obedience to the Father. He took the Father to be His head.
In essence, Christ has no head of His own. He does not determine His own way. He does not do His own will. He declares that He lives to do the will of the Father. He states over and over that He does nothing of His own initiative. He only does those things the Father reveals to Him. In His earthly walk, He was so perfect in this matter that He did not even speak a word of His own. He only spoke those things the Father commanded Him to speak. God the Father was and is the head of Christ, and Christ responds to this headship in perfect submission and obedience.
We further see, although Paul does not mention it here, that the Spirit of God also has a place in the established order of the Godhead. The Spirit is in submission to the Son. We find this stated in the gospel of John.
“But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He shall glorify Me; for He shall take of Mine, and shall disclose it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said, that He takes of Mine, and will disclose it to you.”
The established order in the Godhead has nothing to do with who is greater. It is a matter of government agreed upon in the Godhead. We are told that, as the Son, Yahshua is equal to the Father. The Jews knew that Yahshua claimed this to be true and for this reason they attempted to stone Him as a blasphemer.
For this cause therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.
In their essence, Yahshua declared that He and the Father were one (John 10:30, 17:22). The matter of order in the Godhead is not determined by who is greater, it is simply a governmental arrangement that has been established. As the Son, Yahshua is equal to the Father, but as Christ He steps into the role of a subordinate. He only does those things the Father instructs Him to do.
Among God’s creation there is also an established order. The order of creation is a matter that Yahweh has decided. Neither man’s will, nor the will of the angels have entered into the determination of the government of Yahweh. In this order we are told that Christ is the head of man and man is the head of woman.
There is also an order established among the angels, but this has no bearing upon man, so it is not discussed here by Paul, except in the one brief mention.
Christ being the head of man is the same as Yahweh God being the head of Christ. Man is to have no head of his own. He is to not will things of himself. He is to have no initiative of his own. As the sons of God are being conformed to the image of Christ, they are to walk as He walked. Although many would consider it almost blasphemous to entertain the thought, the saints of Yahweh are to get to the place where they can say as did Yahshua, “I do nothing of my own initiative. The very words I speak are not my words, but the words the Father gives me to speak.”
As Christ has Yahweh God as His head, and as man has Christ as His head, through the agency of the Spirit making known to man the will of the Son, man will ultimately be doing the will of the Father. All will be at rest. There will be no striving anywhere. This is the Father’s will, the will of the Son, and the will of the Spirit. I trust it is also the will of a chosen remnant of the people of God.
There is one more mention of the order of authority and headship in this passage. We are told that man is the head of woman. This is Yahweh’s established order. Woman is to have no head of her own. She is to have man as her head. If she is unmarried, her father is to be her head. If she is married, her husband is to be her head. She is to have no will or initiative of her own before man. She is to practice submission to man even as man is to practice submission to Christ and even as Christ practices submission before Yahweh God.
In other places in scripture we are told that this was always the practice of godly women ever since the creation of man and woman.
I Peter 3:5-6
For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands. Thus Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear.
Even as man calls Christ Lord, and Christ has Yahweh as His Lord, woman is to have man as her lord. In each case, when the one under headship is submissive to their head, this finds favor with God and it results in peace and rest among His creation. To uncover one’s head is to enter into striving, and this brings the judgment of God.
This is the deep principle of which Paul is speaking to the Corinthians. There is an established governmental order in the Kingdom of God, an order that Yahweh has established by His own counsel, and when we recognize this order and submit to the one who is our head we will enter into Sabbath rest.
Peculiar among those under authority is the practice of woman. She is to have a symbol of authority upon her head. The woman alone is given the privilege and honor of proclaiming the government of God and to give an outward testimony of her willingness to rest under that government. She does this by wearing a covering over her hair.
I Corinthians 11:4-10
Every man who has something on his head while praying or prophesying, disgraces his head. But every woman who has her head uncovered while praying or prophesying, disgraces her head; for she is one and the same with her whose head is shaved. For if a woman does not cover her head, let her also have her hair cut off; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, let her cover her head. For a man ought not to have his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man. For man does not originate from woman, but woman from man; for indeed man was not created for the woman’s sake, but woman for the man’s sake. Therefore the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.
I have labored in other writings to go more into depth in this matter of headcovering, and indeed there is much more that can be said. However, I wish to not stray too far from the subject at hand, which is Sabbath rest. We saw in the previous chapter that Satan uncovered his head. He was not content to remain in the place in creation that Yahweh had established for him. Although he was perfect in beauty, full of wisdom and the sum of perfection, he was not satisfied. It was not enough that he was the anointed cherub that covered. He desired more. He did not want to submit to Yahweh’s order for him.
What is to be observed in this passage of scripture in I Corinthians is that it is the precept and practice of the churches of God to refuse to continue any longer with Satan in his rebellion. It is the precept and practice of the church to declare that they recognize Yahweh’s governmental order, and they freely accept and embrace it. As an outward testimony to this, the women of the church are to wear a covering over their heads. In doing so they are testifying that they find Yahweh’s governmental order acceptable. They do not wish to overthrow it as did Satan.
Paul states that women wear the covering “because of the angels.” The church is always being observed by both the holy and the fallen angels. As an outward and visible symbol the woman covers her head and in effect is stating that she has chosen to accept the place Yahweh has determined for her in His Kingdom. She seeks to neither rise above it, nor to fall below it. She refuses to take the path of Satan and to overthrow the government of God and to begin to walk in her own initiative.
By having a symbol of authority on her head, the holy women are giving a rebuke to the fallen angels, and they are giving a positive affirmation to those angels who did not follow Satan in uncovering his head. If women could understand how they are constantly being observed by the angels, and what a powerful witness headcovering gives, they would not so casually dismiss these words of Paul as something that was merely a custom of the time, or something that was simply a practice of the Corinthian church.
As one reads this passage, one can see that this was not a Corinthian matter. It was the practice of all of the churches of God. Furthermore, as one understands what headcovering symbolizes they will realize that it touches on the great struggle of all of creation. It relates to the issue of Sabbath rest and whether the saints of God will enter into God’s rest, or whether they will continue to uncover their heads and perform their own works.
Headcovering is a declaration of being in a condition of rest under the government of God.
As one looks at Christendom today they will find that headcovering is seldom practiced. This is in keeping with the days we live in. There are precious few saints that are truly walking in a position of rest before God. Myriads are following their own will and their own ways. They are speaking their own words. They are choosing for themselves what their activities will be. They are prophesying as it seems right to them. They are casting out demons according to their own counsel. They are building church buildings and creating their own kingdoms according to their own desires. They are asking the Father to satisfy their lusts and to prosper them in the mammon of the world. They are failing to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.
In actuality, Christianity by and large has their head uncovered before Yahweh and in turn women in the church have their heads uncovered before their husbands and fathers. Many women know nothing of submitting to their husbands. Calling their husband lord is the height of absurdity to them.
Likewise, men know little of submitting to Christ. They do the things that seem good to them, and if Christ happens to ask them to do something they agree with they will do it. However, they know little of what it is to die to self and to follow Christ down paths that are not attractive to the flesh and to the soul.
Like many wives, men tell Christ that they will do what He asks if it seems good to them. The Father is merely letting us see in marriages within the church a reflection of the relationship between the church and Christ. There is currently little submission in either realm.
Paul stated in Ephesians 5:22 and following that the relationship between a man and his wife is a mysterious representation of the relationship between Christ and the church. It is my belief that the state of marriages within the church is an accurate reflection of the church’s relationship with Christ. Currently there is very little reverence, obedience, submission and love present. The church to a large extent has its head uncovered. But these things will change among a remnant of believers before we enter the 7th millennium and the Sabbath rest of God.
Knowing that Satan’s original transgression before Yahweh was uncovering his head, it is no wonder that he works so tirelessly to get all others to follow his pattern of rebellion. Even as he desired to be like God, he also enticed Eve by telling her that if she ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, she would be like God. Even as he uncovered his head and abandoned his place in the order and government of Yahweh, so he entices men and women to do the same.
It requires humility to walk in submission to God’s order, but Paul in describing the last days to Timothy said that in these days men would be proud (II Timothy 3:2). Due to the pride of men and women today, even those in the church, there is little headcovering practiced. Like Satan, many have cast off the headship established by Yahweh and they declare this to be good. To be uncovered, however, is to fall from the place of Sabbath rest in God. It leads to barren lives that do not produce fruit that is acceptable and pleasing to the Father.
As we are poised to enter into the 7th day of mankind, the day that typifies Sabbath rest, a great upheaval must occur among the saints of God. Men and women must learn to cover their heads and to have no initiative or will of their own. They must return to a place of rest before God where they can say with Yahshua, “My meat, (that which gives me sustenance and life), is to do the will of the Father.” Yahshua said, “Those who do the will of My Father in heaven will enter into the kingdom of God.”
Is it not amazing that the Father has given a charge to the church to provide an outward sign and testimony that they have refused the error of Satan, the error of not being satisfied with Yahweh’s will for His creation? How the church has failed to discern that in casting off obedience in this matter, they are walking in the same original sin as Satan. Satan wanted to determine his own way. He wanted to do as he pleased. Many men and women in the church have this same attitude. They do as they please and they think that the Father should be satisfied with the offerings of their own rebellious will.
It was a minority of Israel who left the bondage of Egypt and entered into the promised land. Only two men out of a whole nation reverenced Yahweh enough, and demonstrated faith in Him that they were willing to go in and possess the land as directed. Paul states that the generation of those who perished in the wilderness are given as an example to the church today, and they are a warning of the consequences of disobedience.
The church’s failure today to practice the ordinance, precept, and custom of headcovering that the apostles delivered to the churches is more than just an external failure. The church’s failure is a spiritual one as well as physical. Not only have the majority of women scorned this instruction to cover their heads with a sign symbolizing their understanding and acceptance of the government of God, but the men and women of the church have by and large spiritually uncovered their heads before God. They prefer to govern their own lives and determine their own course and actions. The church is full of independence and of man’s initiative. Multitudes are unaware of the peril before them of failing to enter into God’s rest.
Let us apply all diligence in seeking to enter into God’s rest.
This is an excerpt from the book Sabbath.
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