I Corinthians 11:7
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.
The apostle Paul declares a profound truth in the words above. All of his teaching, and that of the other apostles, relating to the role, behavior, and character of women in the church are founded upon this truth. The woman is the glory of man.
It is necessary at the very beginning of this book to define what this statement means. In the Greek language in which Paul wrote the word “doxa” serves as the counterpart to our English word “glory.” Thayer’s Greek Lexicon states that the word doxa in this application denotes “splendor, brightness.” Other Bible resources relate this word to the sense of “shining forth,” or “out-raying,” as well as “beauty,” “splendor,” or “majesty.”
I believe all of these words describe various aspects of the word glory. A man or woman may observe a spectacular sunrise or sunset and describe it as “glorious.” That is to say, it was beautiful to behold. The Sun certainly is radiant, shining forth, and it has a particular splendor and majesty to it. There are glorious sunrises and sunsets.
What makes the spectacle of a sunrise or sunset glorious? The glory comes from the radiance of the Sun being reflected by the earth, either in the clouds, or some body of water, or a terrestrial landscape. As the Sun rises and sets it is near the horizon and its rays cause all that they fall upon to glow with vibrant color. Clouds that were moments before ordinary in appearance become spectacular as they are bathed in hues of deep red, fiery orange, and brilliant yellow.
Paul states that man was created to be the glory of God. I want to look at an experience in the Old Testament in which a man who beheld the glory of God became transformed so that his own face glowed with the shining reflection of that which he had beheld. In this same book to the church in Corinth, Paul uses this same Greek word for glory when he describes the appearance of the face of Moses.
II Corinthians 3:7
The children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses for the glory (doxa) of his countenance.
This event is described in greater detail in the book of Exodus.
And it came about when Moses was coming down from Mount Sinai (and the two tablets of the testimony were in Moses’ hand as he was coming down from the mountain), that Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because of his speaking with Him. So when Aaron and all the sons of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him.
Moses had spent forty days in the presence of Yahweh on the mountain. Yahweh had revealed to Moses His glory. As a result, the face of Moses shone with the reflection of that glory. It is remarkable that even the reflection of God’s glory in the face of a man caused those who observed it to fear. This is all the more remarkable in that Yahweh did not show Moses His face, but only His back.
And Moses said, “Please, show me Your glory.” Then He said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of Yahweh before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” But He said, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.” And Yahweh said, “Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock. So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by. Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen.”
Moses saw the outshining radiance of the goodness of God. This is what Yahweh declared. “I will cause all My goodness to pass before you.” The goodness of Yahweh was so pure, so brilliant, so pure and magnificent, that it shone with a brightness that was terrifying to man. In seeing the goodness of God, Moses realized that he fell short of the holy character of God. Those born as descendants of Adam are sinful. They have become corrupted with evil. When in God’s presence, man’s condition is laid bare. In his nakedness man sees that he falls short of the glory of God, and he is ashamed.
Throughout the Scriptures, whenever a man saw the glory of God, or even beheld the face of the angels that stand in God’s presence, they were filled with fear and trembling. They immediately fell on their face, prostrating themselves. This was Moses’ response when Yahweh showed him His glory.
Now Yahweh descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of Yahweh. And Yahweh passed before him and proclaimed, “Yahweh, Yahweh God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.” So Moses made haste and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshiped.
In this brief moment as Moses beheld the glory of God, his own face was transformed. Moses’ face reflected the glory of Yahweh so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at him. This man who had appeared ordinary a moment before, became spectacular to behold as the out-raying splendor and majesty of God transformed his appearance.
This, I believe, is what is meant when the apostle Paul states that man was created to be the glory of God. Mankind was formed to be a reflection of all that is good in his Creator. In turn, the woman was created to be a reflection of all that is good in man.
At this time the goodness of God is present in those who have received the Spirit of Christ. The apostle Paul writes to this same church the following words:
II Corinthians 4:6-7
For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not from ourselves…
Man became darkened when he sinned. Like the earth under judgment described in Genesis chapter one and verse two, man’s sin caused him to become formless, void, and covered in darkness. Yet Christ has come that the glory of God might be seen in man once again. The light of God shines forth out of the darkness of man.
At this time, the goodness of God in man is veiled. The veil that covers the glory of God in man is the flesh. The flesh is described as a veil in another of Paul’s writings.
Since therefore, brethren, we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Yahshua, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh…
Even among those who have become partakers of the Spirit of Christ, the glory of God in man is largely hidden. Only in rare moments has God caused this glory to emerge beyond the veil to appear as a radiance upon the face of man. One such experience was observed in the face of the first martyr, Stephen.
And fixing their gaze on him, all who were sitting in the Council saw his face like the face of an angel.
The glory of God is not to be fully revealed in man as long as he is clothed in sinful flesh. It is only after this corruption has put on incorruption, and after this mortal has clothed itself with immortality, that the glory of God will be unveiled in man (I Corinthians 15:53-54). John looked forward to that day, and spoke of it to the saints.
I John 3:2
Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is.
John was present when Christ prayed that His disciples might share His glory. The glory in Christ was itself veiled while He was “in the image of sinful flesh.” The body God had prepared for Yahshua hid the glory of God in Him from man. Only on the mount of transfiguration was the glory of Christ observed by His disciples.
Christ has now passed through the veil. The flesh has been set aside and He has received a new, glorified body. His appearance is now such that the beloved disciple, John, fell down as a dead man at His feet when he saw Him.
And I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands; and in the middle of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His breast with a golden girdle. And His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire; and His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been caused to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters. And in His right hand He held seven stars; and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength. And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as a dead man.
This same disciple of Christ was not afraid to lay his head on Christ’s chest as they reclined at supper, for then the glory of God in Christ was veiled. One day soon, a firstfruits group of men will appear with Christ on Mount Zion. These ones will share in the glory of the firstborn Son of God. In them will be fulfilled the prayer of Yahshua.
John 17:5, 22-23
And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was… And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one…
It is God in Christ that makes Him radiant, and it is Christ in man that is the source of man’s glory. Can we not by extension declare that it is the goodness of man in woman that makes her glorious? I believe this is what is intended when the apostle states that man “is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man.”
It is important to note that woman was formed prior to the fall of man. When Adam was still in his innocence, having not yet been corrupted by sin, God took a remnant portion of the man’s body and with it He formed the woman.
So Yahweh God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh at that place. And Yahweh God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. And the man said, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”
God did not form woman from the sinful flesh of man, but from man in his innocence. Innocence is arguably the highest manifestation of the spiritual woman. This is why the Scriptures place such a great emphasis upon a woman being chaste. Before she is wed she is to remain a chaste virgin. The word virgin means “pure, undefiled.” After she is married the woman is to be a chaste wife, avoiding the sexual defilement that adultery would bring. The word chaste bears a similar meaning to the word virgin. It is defined as “undefiled, stainless.”
The innocence of the man and the woman were lost after they both sinned in the Garden. Immediately their eyes were opened and they perceived that they were naked. Shame drove them to make coverings for themselves of fig leaves, but this covering was insufficient in God’s eyes. Yahweh made for the man and woman garments of skins. An animal had to be slain to cover the nakedness of mankind. This animal that was slain served as a type of the Lamb of God who would one day be slain to become a propitiation (a merciful covering) for the sins of man.
Through Christ the innocence that was lost in the Garden can be regained. We live in an hour where innocence is derided. Those who are sexually pure are scorned as unsophisticated, backward, or socially deficient. We live in a world that calls evil good, and good evil. It is the pure, and innocent man and woman that God esteems.
For the report of your obedience has reached to all; therefore I am rejoicing over you, but I want you to be wise in what is good, and innocent in what is evil.
It is the will of God that the saints be full of His goodness, while being innocent in what is evil. Many women have transgressed grievously. They have cast away their innocence, embracing great impurity, and uncleanness. Some have reveled in their defilement, putting on a brazen face, glorying in their shame. If this has been your experience in the past, you need not despair. The innocence lost can be regained in Christ. He is the One who makes all things new.
I Corinthians 6:9-11
Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Yahshua Christ, and in the Spirit of our God.
As we will see in the following chapters of this book, the work of God among women is two-fold. Yahweh seeks to restrain the woman from casting away that which is pure and innocent in them. He is also at work to help them gain back that meek, holy, and innocent nature that has been lost. Even as man was created to be a manifestation of all that is good in God, woman is to be a reflection of the goodness of the spiritual man. The goodness of the spiritual man is observed in untarnished form in the life of Yahshua. Of Him, we read:
Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart…
“He will not cry out or raise His voice, nor make His voice heard in the street. A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick He will not extinguish…”
The qualities of a gentle, quiet and humble spirit that were observed in Christ are particularly singled out as attributes of the woman who aspires to godliness.
I Peter 3:3-5
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful.
That which is esteemed by God is despised by mankind today. It is my hope that as you read this book you might be inspired to pursue that which finds favor with God. May you be a reflection of that goodness Yahweh intends to be revealed in the life of the woman. One day soon the presence of Christ will be observed in unveiled form through the lives of all men and women. To the degree that each one has had Christ formed in them, to the same degree the glory of Christ will be revealed through them.
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