The practice of Christian women covering their heads in church has become sadly neglected in the last few generations. Paul’s stern rebuke in I CORINTHIANS 11 must be one of the most disobeyed in the New Testament. And all due to modern trends, fashion–‘irrelevance’. Call it what you like but the bottom line has written on it rebellion. Let us look at the Scripture in question verse by verse:
I CORINTHIANS 11:3-6 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Messiah; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Messiah is YHWH.
This simply shows the progression of authority from YHWH to Yahshua to man (husband, father, pastor) to woman.
V.4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head.
V.5-6 But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head (her man): for that is even all one as if she were shaven. For if the woman not be covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered.
This is a confirmation it was YaH’s Way and the Church’s practice for a woman to cover her head in any sort of communion with Heaven. To be uncovered was the same as being shorn bald or with very short hair. This refers to the fact only prostitutes uncovered their heads in order to coerce their customers, and that they had short hair. This was the sign of a prostitute–in rebellion to the Law and not under any man’s authority. Furthermore, women traditionally, as is still practised in the Middle East, considered an uncovered head ANYTIME as tantamount to going naked. Hair was and is for a woman’s husband’s pleasure only.
V.7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of YHWH; but the woman is the glory of the man.
It was permissible for a man to let his glory (from his hair -more about this shortly) shine forth because it reflects YHWH’s glory. A woman’s hair, however, reflects man’s earthly glory. In all situations where glory is manifested, YHWH’s alone is to shine forth, and any other is to be covered. Our own earthly beauty is but pride and vanity.
The attractions of the flesh should be kept under wraps so as not to distract others from their worship, as Peter writes: Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of YHWH of great price (I PETER 3:3-4).
V.8-9 For the man (Adam) is not of the woman (Eve); but the woman (Eve) of the man (Adam). Neither was the man (Adam) created for the woman (Eve); but the woman (Eve) for the man (Adam).
Again Paul shows the progression of authority, this time pertaining to YHWH’s Creation design.
V. 10 For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.
Oh how deep and mysterious is this verse. ‘Power on her head’ means authority on her own head. This authority is symbolized by a head covering indicating that she is UNDER the headship of a man as she is UNDER the scarf (or hat). The reference of the angels relates to the possibility of YHWH’s holy angels or ministering spirits being subject to temptation of earthly women as they were in the days of Noah: …the sons of YHWH saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose…and they bare children to them… (GEN. 6:2, 4).
This of course was so wicked in YHWH’s eyes (v.5) that He brought about the flood to judge mankind, and locked these fallen angels up in chains in a part of Hell known as Tartarus: And the angels which kept not their first estate (that is, they came down to Earth to live as men), but left their own habitation (in Heaven), He hath reserved in everlasting chains unto darkness unto the judgment of the great day (JUDE 6).
Interestingly, these demons will be released in the great and terrible day of YHWH–the FINAL SEVEN YEARS OF TRIBULATION. Can we expect that women not under authority may again be visited by these creatures? Even today there are women who experience assault and rape in their sleep by demons known as incubi. Demons that sexually attack males are called succubi (singular: incubus and succubus). These are documented psychiatric (but actually spiritual) conditions apparently linked to the victims being molested as children. Sufferers can be dramatically delivered through Yahshua Messiah.
There is also the other problem of men in the Church who may be attacked by demons of lust at the sight of an uncovered woman. With hair flowing freely down her back, bare shoulders, tight pants, exposed underwear. I’ve seen young women in this attire in church! There is a place for it at the beach–perhaps, but certainly not before the vulnerable eyes of men who may have who-knows-what histories of sin.
Ladies, be respectful of your husbands, fathers, pastors, other men, angels, demons, and your Heavenly Father. Cover it. Keep it for your husband or Yahshua Messiah.
V.11 Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man in YHWH.
Man and woman, especially in the Church, are not independent, but need each other.
V.12 For as the woman (Eve) is of the man (Adam), even so is the man (all men since Adam) also by the woman (all women including Eve who give birth to boys): but all things of YHWH.
This is an appeal by Paul to the Creation order once more.
V.13 Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto YHWH uncovered?
In Paul’s day it was not modest for a woman to allow her hair to be free and loose for all to see. It was PARTICULARLY not acceptable for a woman to display her own glory before YHWH, and nor is it in this present day.
V.14 Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?
There were strict guidelines in attire, hair, and the Church to delineate between male and female. A man was to have reasonably short hair and never to shave his head bald (EZE. 44:20). They were to have full beards. I believe men were permitted to trim their beards so they were not long and flowing as depicted by Charlton Heston in The Ten Commandments movie.
Those under a Nazirite vow were neither to shave their heads nor grow their hair long like a woman. The Law simply says their locks were not to be shorn, but allowed to grow and be loose, unlike the priests of the surrounding pagan nations who shaved their pates, had goatee beards, and goat tails at the back of their heads. These practices were forbidden to YHWH’s men and priests.
V.15 But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.
As the woman’s hair is covered, so is the true meaning of this one seemingly innocuous sentence. First, unlike a man, a woman is to have beautiful feminine locks. YHWH likes His women to have long hair. (Afro hair excused.) Look what He says through Shelemoh (Solomon) about it in His song of love: Your head crowns you like Mount Carmel, (the flowing locks of) your hair is like royal purple; the king is held captive by its tresses (S of S: 7:5 Book of Yahweh).
Her hair is her crown, representing throne authority. It is the symbol of the crown or mitre of the royal priesthood. The reason the hair of a Nazirite was of such concern and why Yahshua was a Nazarene was this: the nezer was an engraved plate worn upon the forehead of the high priest designating him as a consecrated person (EX. 29:6, 39:30; LEV. 8:9). The word was also used of a royal crown or diadem, the token by which anyone was separated from the people at large. It indicated royalty (II SAM. 1:10; II KINGS 11:12; PSA. 89:39, 132;18).
The Laws of the Nazirite were given so any man could serve YHWH in a holy way such as did the Levitical priests. The Nazirite vow is now obsolete because all men are kings and priests. And the women have their crown too – their hair. Not only is it their crown but the covering spoken about in verse 15: her hair is given her for a covering. No, she is not like Lady Godiva! This covering–her hair–was instead of and analogous to the holy garments ordained by YHWH for His priests. And as the SONG describes so eloquently, the King is CAPTIVATED by her crowning glory. Little wonder it is to be covered when she is in HIS throne room. Like Moses’ face, it is too glorious to look upon. YHWH shares His glory with no one.
Look at the definition of glory in the dictionary: praise, honour, admiration, distinction, fame, celebrity, magnificence, splendour, brilliancy, an object of which one is or may be proud, the radiance around the head or figure of a deity. And a gloriole was the circle of rays around the heads of saints in old paintings.
If we could truly grasp this incredible truth, we women of YHWH may never uncover our hair except for our husbands or in the privacy of our own room. Does Queen Elizabeth II or any other queen wear her crown in public other than on the occasion of her coronation or for the utmost important ceremonies? No. Perhaps nor should we.
V.16 But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such (other) custom, neither the churches of YHWH.
This verse has been taken to mean there is no such custom and we may please ourselves what we do. But in most other Bibles the word ‘such’ is translated ‘other’. So the meaning is pretty clear, as is the fact that the First Century Church was as argumentative and rebellious as the Twenty-first Century one!
Let us therefore reiterate. There are four distinct reasons for which women should wear a head covering in church or when praying at the very least:
- To cover her glory or crown;
- Because of the progressive steps of Creation or authority, to show she is under authority;
- So as not to tempt the angels. We may look at this as if the only sight that turns an angel on is the uncovered hair of a woman when she is praying or prophesying, despite the fact angels see men and women naked and engaged in sexual behaviour. That doesn’t do it for them: it’s the HAIR;
- Paul gives no other command.
There is further evidence that a woman’s head covering gives her power in YHWH’s Kingdom: during deliverance sessions, demons have been unable to be cast out until THE WOMAN BEING DELIVERED HAD HER HEAD COVERED. The demons then were quickly despatched.
Another incident concerned a Christian mother and her daughters shopping late one night. They were all wearing head scarves and long dresses. A group of young thugs became threatening to them. One of the boys started pleading with the others to leave the women alone as they were under special protection from God (YHWH). This young man knew, because the family had their heads covered, so did YHWH cover them, and the bullies would be in big trouble if they proceeded with their plans.
As for me, for many years I only wore a scarf in church. Now I wear one or a hat all the time in public, except when swimming. Nor do I wear one at home, but always have one close by if I should need to pray. I have a scarf or hat to match every outfit. Women don’t have to look dowdy just because their head is covered. In fact it can look incredibly beautiful.