Head Coverings and the Body of the Messiah
(Updated 6/21/14)


The subject of head coverings has been a source of much confusion for many believers in the Messiah. However, in this study it will be evident that the reason why it is a source of confusion is because of a lack of understanding as to its purpose.

Many have written studies which examine historical data or various theories which attempt to explain the head covering issue. But we can learn why women should cover their heads and why men should not cover their heads simply by looking at the reasons given in 1 Corinthians and studying out those reasons in other scriptures. 

Introduction  

Let's start with the first verse in 1 Corinthians:

1 Corinthians 11:1-2 Imitate me, just as I also imitate Messiah. 2 Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep the traditions just as I delivered them to you.

In the opening verses of 1 Corinthians 11, we see that Paul encouraged the Corinthians to imitate him as he imitates Yahushua. Of course, there is nothing wrong with imitating anyone who is imitating Yahushua since anyone doing so is actually imitating Yahushua. 

Tradition?  

In the second verse, the Corinthians are encouraged to keep the "traditions" that were delivered to them by Paul. Since a good portion of the following verses will be discussing the head covering, it is likely that the head covering is one of those "traditions." 

Some have suggested that since Paul chose to call it a "tradition" rather than calling it a "commandment," and we find no commandment in the law of Yahweh regarding the head coverings (with the exception of the priests), we are free to ignore the principles given in 1 Corinthians 11. However, there are several problems with this.

First of all, the Greek word translated "traditions" here is #3862 "paradosis" which literally means "transmission" or "something given over." There are some instances where it is used negatively, such as in Mark 7:9:

Mark 7:9 He said to them, "All too well you reject the commandment of Elohim, that you may keep your tradition.

But in other instances, this word is used very differently:

2 Thessalonians 2:15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle.

2 Thessalonians 3:6 But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Master Yahushua Messiah, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us.

Notice that Yahushua's name is invoked when commanding the Thessalonian brethren to withdraw from every brother who doesn't keep to the "paradosis" of the 1st century believers in Yahushua. The "paradosis" of the 1st century believers that Yahushua Himself sent out unto the world were not traditions of men that could be ignored and set aside. The "paradosis" of the body of Messiah were expected to be kept. 

So obviously, there was more to the "paradosis" of the early believers than just a commandment, idea or doctrine of men. So important was the need to keep the "paradosis" that was given by the apostles, anyone straying from them was cut off from the assembly.

In spite of this, there are some who insist that since the law of Yahweh doesn't explicitly mention whether or not the common people should or should not wear a head covering, we should look at Paul's comments in this chapter to simply be advice, or only intended for the Corinthians, or even contrary to the teachings of the Torah (Law) of Yahweh.

Since these beliefs seem to be quite popular among some Torah observant believers, I want to take a moment and address them.

First of all, the idea that we are free to ignore any commandment given in the "New Testament" simply because it can't explicitly be found in the "Old Testament" is completely without basis. Those who choose to ignore the principles given regarding the head covering in 1 Corinthians 11 on the basis that these things were not covered in the Torah/'Old Testament'/Law of Yahweh are not being consistent in their belief. 

For instance, most everyone agrees that we should obey the commandment to be baptized in Yahushua's name for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38), but you won't find this specifically commanded in the law of Yahweh. Most everyone agrees that we should partake of the body and blood of Yahushua, represented by unleavened bread and fruit of the vine, yet we don't find this commandment explicitly mentioned in the law of Yahweh.

We also follow innumerable other commandments in the "New testament" without question. Some examples:

Yahushua said

Johנ 13:34 - "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

We clearly have a "new commandment" given here by Yahushua Himself. Was He disobeying the Torah, which says:

Deu 12:32 - "Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it.

We need to understand that this commandment was a prohibition concerning any MAN who, of his own authority, adds something to the law of Yahweh. But Yahweh Himself is free to add to His own law any time He wants to, and there are plenty of examples where He does.

Yahushua's told us to "Judge not, that you be not judged" and "do not cast your pearls before swine." The New Testament contains a number of admonitions and commandments that are not explicitly found in the law of Yahweh.

Here are some examples:

1Th 5:17 - pray without ceasing,

Rom 12:10-14 - Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;
11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving Yahweh;

2Th 3:13 - But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good.

Col 3:17 - And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Master Yahushua, giving thanks to Elohim the Father through Him.

Mat 6:19-20 - "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;
20 "but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.

I haven't ever met a believer who would object to these commandments. But for some reason when it comes to the head covering commandment, there is resistance.

The truth is, we should obey all of scripture and not assume we can ignore any of it. Yahweh's word should be heeded regardless of what year Yahweh inspired the words, or what author Yahweh chose to speak through. To me, it is a question of whether or not the words written in the books of Matthew to Revelation are the inspired words of the Most High. If they are, then I need to obey them. Even if Yahweh added 10,000 more laws for us to follow, we should follow them. We must heed His voice, no matter who He speaks through--whether He speaks through Moshe, through Yahushua or through one of His apostles.

Perhaps one might believe that we are in need of two witnesses in the scriptures to establish whether or not it is a commandment, but there are a lot of commandments in the scriptures which stand alone and there aren't other places where they can be found.

For instance:

Exo 35:3 - "You shall kindle no fire throughout your dwellings on the Sabbath day."

Deu 22:5 - "A woman shall not wear anything that pertains to a man, nor shall a man put on a woman's garment, for all who do so are an abomination to Yahweh your Elohim.

These two commandments aren't found anywhere else in scripture, yet would anyone argue that we are free to disobey it because it's only found once?

Yahweh isn't subject to telling lies, so He doesn't need another witness. Yahushua appealed to David's example of eating the showbread even though this even was only recorded in scripture once. I could go on with numerous examples but hopefully this will sufficiently demonstrate that we don't need to look for a second place in the scriptures before walking in obedience. Yahweh Himself saw to it that the scriptures would include this principle of the head covering and that's all I need to know.

Another objection commonly brought up is that if Paul forbade all men from wearing a head covering during prayer, this would contradict the commandments in the law of Yahweh which state a high priest must wear a head covering. I will fully address this objection a little later because it will require us to understand exactly what 1 Corinthians 11 is speaking of, and I have not yet gone over those scriptures. I will also be addressing some other common objections throughout the remainder of this study.

Now in the case of the head covering, any man who chooses not to heed the "paradosis" of the head covering is not only ignoring scripture, they are also dishonoring Yahushua: 

1 Corinthians 11:3-4 But I want you to know that the head of every man is Messiah, the head of woman is man, and the head of Messiah is Elohim.
4
Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonors his head.

So we need to be sure that we are not dishonoring Yahushua. This scripture is either true or it isn't. It says that "every man" that prays with his head covered dishonors his head (the Messiah). At this point we must make a choice as to whether or not we will accept what this scripture says or reject it. I don't believe that we should ever reject the word of Yahweh as written in the holy scriptures. In fact, Peter stated that Paul's letters were indeed scripture:

2Pe 3:15-16 - and consider that the longsuffering of our Master is salvation-- as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you,
16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.

If I said to you that my friend Larry was persecuted along with the rest of the believers, this is no different than saying that Larry himself is a believer. Likewise, if Peter says people twist his epistles like they do the "rest of the scriptures" then this is no different than saying Paul's letters are scripture.

So it is Yahweh who is actually saying that any man who prays or prophesies with his head covered is dishonoring his head (the Messiah). Anyone who dishonors Yahushua is also dishonoring Yahweh the Father:

John 5:23b He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.

Likewise, anyone who does not receive one that Yahushua sends, fails to receive Yahushua:

John 13:20 - "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me."

Paul was commissioned by Yahushua Himself in Acts chapter 9. We must receive what he says or we are failing to receive the one Yahushua sense. I shouldn't even have to defend Paul's letters as being scripture to begin with, but there are some people who so strongly against what is spoken of here, that they feel the need to either explain away his words or reject them altogether.

So, is this scripture actually talking about a head covering? Let's look at it again:

1 Corinthians 11:3-4 But I want you to know that the head of every man is Messiah, the head of woman is man, and the head of Messiah is Elohim.
4
Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonors his head.

The word translated "head covered" in this verse has been debated. Some have suggested that it doesn't really mean a head covering at all and attempt to translate it in other ways. But let's take a look at the Greek phrase which is translated "head covered" here in verse 4:

1 Corinthians 11:3-4 But I want you to know that the head of every man is Messiah, the head of woman is man, and the head of Messiah is Elohim.
4
Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered
[Greek: "kata Kaphalay"], dishonors his head.

Thankfully, the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures dating to 200-300 BCE, uses the exact same phrase "kata kaphalay" in at least one place. It is used in the following scripture when referring to Haman's head covering: 

Esther 6:11-12 - So Haman took the robe and the horse, arrayed Mordecai and led him on horseback through the city square, and proclaimed before him, "Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor!" 12 Afterward Mordecai went back to the king's gate. But Haman hurried to his house, mourning and with his head covered [Kata Kaphalay].

The phrase is also correctly translated "head covered" in various English translations of this Greek phrase. The context of this scripture is speaking of the time that Haman was humiliated by having to parade through town and honor Mordecai, his enemy. After being totally humiliated, he walked back to his house with his head covered. The Hebrew of Esther 6:11-12 reads "Kafuy rosh" which means "covered head." The same Hebrew words are used to describe David's actions of wearing a head covering when he had to leave Jerusalem in shame because Absalom had been given rule over him.

So the authors of the Septuagint, who knew Greek better than any of us, used "kata kaphalay" to describe a physical head covering worn by a man. Hopefully, this clears up any confusion as to what "kata kaphalay" means and we can move on.

The Image and Glory of Yahweh

Why does it dishonor Yahushua when a man covers his head while praying or prophesying? This is an important question. Some have suggested that "kata kaphalay" is a female head covering and it was an act of cross-dressing. But the fact that Haman was a male eliminates that as a possibility.

Thankfully, we don't have to look very far to discover the reason why a man should not wear a head covering while in prayer or prophesying. We are given the reason why in verse 7:

1 Corinthians 11:7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of Elohim; but woman is the glory of man.

So the reason why men should not cover their heads while praying/prophesying is because man is the image and glory of Elohim. This is a simple statement, and we don't need to look any further than this.

Yahweh desires to see His own glory during the times that we pray or prophesy. This is the only reason given as to why a man "indeed ought not to cover his head"

Therefore, if we take it at face value for what it actually says, the principle is: Do not cover up the glory of Yahweh while in His presence. Doing so dishonors Yahushua the Messiah.

Of course, none of us want to dishonor Yahushua. But in what way does a man praying or prophesying with a covered head dishonor Yahushua? This is an important question. 

It is important to concentrate on the words written in this portion of the study in order to grasp the full meaning of the head covering subject, and why a man should not cover his head but a woman should. We will work from this foundation to discover the reason why a woman should cover their head. Unless we really understand why a man dishonors Yahushua when covering His head, we will not really understand the purpose of the head covering.

Firstly, we know that Adam was created in the image and glory of Yahweh. 

Genesis 1:26 Then Elohim said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth."

At this time, all was perfect and Adam was indeed in the image of Elohim.

However, as we all know, Adam sinned. And because of Adam's sin, man's image and glory was no longer the true image and glory of Elohim. After all, the image of Elohim is a righteous image, and His glory is a righteous glory. But since we are sinners, we are no longer in that image and glory: 

Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of Elohim,

So how can a sinner be restored and once again become the image and glory of Elohim? Only through Yahushua the Perfect One who was indeed the image and glory of Yahweh:

Hebrews 1:1-3 Elohim, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; 3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high

So Yahushua is the true image and glory of Elohim. Yahushua never sinned and fell short of His glory. For this reason, we need Him to restore us to the image of Elohim again.

Notice that Hebrews 1:3 said that Yahushua is the 'brightness' of Elohim's glory. There are also a number of places Yahushua is called "the Word."

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with Elohim, and the Word was Elohim.

John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

Revelation 19:13 He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of Elohim.

So He is the Word and He is also the glory of the Father. We see other parallels in scripture where the word of Yahweh is called a lamp, a light:

Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.

And continuing that thought we see Yahushua saying:

John 8:12 Then Yahushua spoke to them again, saying, "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life."

So Yahushua is the light, the brightness of Yahweh's glory. He is the "Word" and the express image of Elohim fully.

Adam, the first man, was created in the image of Yahweh but he sinned. Yahushua, who came into the world as the 'last' Adam did not sin. 

Romans 5:14-15 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. 15 But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man's offense many died, much more the grace of Elohim and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Yahushua Messiah, abounded to many.

Through Yahushua, it is no longer we (Adam) who live, but Messiah who lives in us. Thus, through Yahushua we are restored as the true, undefiled image and glory of Elohim:

Galatians 2:20 "I have been crucified with Messiah; it is no longer I who live, but Messiah lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of Elohim, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Since Yahushua is living in us, Yahweh does not see our own corrupted image when we pray or prophesy, but He sees "the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person," Yahushua the Messiah IN US. He sees the living Word of Yahweh, IN US. Thus, we are made righteous.

So while praying and prophesying, the man must be sure not to cover his head, for in Yahushua he is the image and glory of Yahweh. When we pray, we need to let the image and glory of Elohim (Yahushua) be uncovered. Otherwise we are dishonoring our Head (Yahushua):

1 Corinthians 11:4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonors his head.

1 Corinthians 11:7 - For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of YAHWEH:

So during the times when we are communicating to Yahweh in prayer, and during the times when one might be prophesying by the Spirit of Yahweh, the image and glory of Elohim should not be covered. We need the glory of Elohim through Yahushua the Messiah, for it is through Him that we are saved and it is through Him we are restored to the righteous image of Elohim that was originally created. 

Hebrews 10:19 Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Yahushua, 20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and having a High Priest over the house of Yahweh, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.

Notice that it says we enter the holiest by the blood of Yahushua, through the veil, that is, His flesh. If we are looking for a veil to put on when coming to Yahweh in prayer, we need to look no further than Yahushua the Messiah. There is a reason that the veil to the holy of holies (wherein lies the mercy seat) was split in two. 

In light of these things, let's now review the verses which say a man should not cover his head:

1Co 11:3-4 - But I want you to know that the head of every man is Messiah, the head of woman is man, and the head of Messiah is Elohim.
4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonors his head.

1Co 11:7 - For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of Elohim; but woman is the glory of man.

So it should be pretty clear as to why it dishonors Yahushua when a man chooses to cover his head. He is rejecting the work of the High Priest, Yahushua, who entered to holiest place in the heavens to atone for us with His own blood. Yahushua came to this earth and died for our sins so that He might be raised again, enter the Holiest place with His own blood and live in us, a people who don't even consider ourselves to be alive, but consider Yahushua to live and reign in us. To put some artificial cover on our heads is to disregard the work of Yahushua in us. That's how we are dishonoring Him. Yahushua's veil is all we really need. 

So, in conclusion, any man covering his head while in prayer or during prophesying is dishonoring Yahushua the Messiah, the One whose glory should be made manifest unto Yahweh. Many give their reasons as to why a man should or should not cover his head. But the scriptures give us the reason. We only need to dig a little deeper and then we can grasp the full meaning. 

What about the "Old Testament?"

Upon reading what is often called the "Old testament,", we see some examples of men covering their heads. But we must understand that once Messiah came and died for our sins, there are some things that we now do which were never required before. As I mentioned earlier, we now must baptize people in Yahushua's name and we now must partake of the body/blood of Messiah. These are new things that have appeared as a result of what Yahushua has done for us.

Likewise, the scriptures forbidding a man from praying with his head covered does appear to be related to what Yahushua has done for us. So even if it is a new commandment altogether, I can certainly understand why it would be.

I don't believe it necessarily contradicts the law which commands the High Priests to cover their heads while functioning in the tabernacle or temple. The law of Yahweh teaches that the High Priest wore a miter (Heb. #4701 mitsnepheth):

Exodus 29:6 (KJV) And thou shalt put the mitre upon his head, and put the holy crown upon the mitre.

And again we see this in Leviticus 16:

Leviticus 16:4 (KJV) He shall put on the holy linen coat, and he shall have the linen breeches upon his flesh, and shall be girded with a linen girdle, and with the linen mitre (mitsnepheth) shall he be attired: these are holy garments; therefore shall he wash his flesh in water, and so put them on.

So the High Priest wore a type of head covering, (Heb. #4021 migba`ah). This was not commanded to be worn every time the priest would pray his personal prayers or prophesy, but it was commanded to be worn whenever he performs his priestly duties in the tabernacle/temple:

Exodus 28:43 "They shall be on Aaron and on his sons when they come into the tabernacle of meeting, or when they come near the altar to minister in the holy place, that they do not incur iniquity and die. It shall be a statute forever to him and his descendants after him. 

Scripture teaches us that Yahushua is also a high priest, but of the heavenly temple:

Hebrews 5:9-10 And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, 10 called by Elohim as High Priest "according to the order of Melchizedek,"

Hebrews 8:3-5 For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices. Therefore it is necessary that this One also have something to offer. 4 For if He were on earth, He would not be a priest, since there are priests who offer the gifts according to the law; 5 who serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. For He said, "See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain."

Notice it says that if Yahushua were on the earth, He would not be a priest of the earthly tabernacle. This is because He is the High Priest of the heavenly tabernacle, "according to the order of Melchizedek." So the sons of Aaron are the priests of the earthly tabernacle, and Yahushua is the High Priest of the heavenly tabernacle. 

The priesthood and tabernacle on the earth are a "copy and shadow" of the heavenly priesthood and tabernacle. So as a part of Yahweh's desire for it to be a copy and shadow, the priests were commanded to wear linen garments--including a linen head covering. 

Leviticus 16:4 "He shall put the holy linen tunic and the linen trousers on his body; he shall be girded with a linen sash, and with the linen turban he shall be attired. These are holy garments. Therefore he shall wash his body in water, and put them on.

What did the linen represent? According to scripture, linen is used as a symbol for righteousness:

Revelation 19:7-8 "Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready." 8 And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.

A similar scripture is found in Isaiah 61:

Isaiah 61:10 I will greatly rejoice in Yahweh, My soul shall be joyful in my Elohim; For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

And earlier in the 61st chapter of Isaiah it says:

Isaiah 61:1 "The Spirit of Yahweh Elohim is upon Me, Because Yahweh has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound; 2 To proclaim the acceptable year of Yahweh, And the day of vengeance of our Elohim; To comfort all who mourn, 3 To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty (Heb. #6287 Pe'er) for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of Yahweh, that He may be glorified."

When Yahushua returns, His bride will receive "beauty" for ashes, that we might be called "trees of righteousness" and glorify Yahweh. The Hebrew word translated "beauty" in this verse is "Pe'er." It's interesting that the same Hebrew word is used to describe Ezekiel's turban:

Ezekiel 24:17 "Sigh in silence, make no mourning for the dead; bind your turban (Heb. #6287 Pe'er) on your head, and put your sandals on your feet; do not cover your lips, and do not eat man's bread of sorrow."

We can gather from all of these scriptures that the linen turban specifically is a symbolic representation of having righteousness upon our heads. Ashes were often put upon the heads of those who were in great distress (2sam 13:19). Yahushua said that He would give us "beauty" instead. So rather than having ashes on our heads, we will have something glorious. Perhaps the ashes (created by burning) represent what we might have had without Yahushua the Messiah: death and damnation by burning. 

So it can be clearly seen that the priestly head covering represents righteousness. Because the priesthood and tabernacle on the earth is a "copy and shadow" of the heavenly priesthood and tabernacle, the linen garments were given to represent the righteousness of the heavenly High Priest, Yahushua the Messiah. Again, this was only necessary during the times that they functioned in the tabernacle or temple area:

Exodus 28:43 "They shall be on Aaron and on his sons when they come into the tabernacle of meeting, or when they come near the altar to minister in the holy place, that they do not incur iniquity and die. It shall be a statute forever to him and his descendants after him.

Thus when the High Priest entered the temple and went beyond the veil into the most holy place, he would need to have a representation of righteousness upon him or He would die.

So is there anything contradictory here? I don't see anything at all. If a temple were functioning today, the priests should indeed continue to obey what the law of Yahweh commands in regard to the head covering while ministering in the temple. This fulfills the function of the temple/tabernacle on the earth, to serve as a "copy and shadow" of the heavenly one. 

Would they be able to pray during their time of functioning in the temple/tabernacle without dishonoring the Messiah? Yes, because in this context they are walking in the function of representing the Messiah's service before a Heavenly Tabernacle. This glorifies the Messiah rather than dishonors Him. In this case, they are representing His function in the Heavenly Tabernacle, but outside of that service they would not cover their heads during prayers because praying without a head covering would be representing their own need for the Messiah themselves...and His work in restoring us to the image and glory of Yahweh once again.

So if I were a priest in the first century temple, yes I would cover my head during the time I was functioning in the temple, but outside of that specific function I would demonstrate my own desire to honor the Messiah's work in restoring me, a son of Adam, back to to the image and glory and righteousness of Yahweh. The Messiah said we should circumcise a man on the Sabbath even though work was involved in it. The Sabbath command was suspended so that another commandment could be observed. Likewise a priest should continue to cover his head even when praying in an earthly tabernacle so that he may observe the commandment to wear a turban.
 

What about the "Kippah?"

Today, some are claiming to justify the Jewish tradition of wearing a kippa (a round skullcap), or covering your head with a Talit (a rectangular garment) while praying. The reasoning is that we are all "priests of our home" and should therefore wear a head covering just as the priests of Yahweh did who functioned in the tabernacle. 

But if this is the real reason, why stop with the head covering? With that reasoning, you would also need to wear the linen tunic & sash, the crown on top of your head covering, the breastplate with the 12 stones, and the whole outfit! Of course, this argument doesn't really hold water at all because we are not High Priests who are functioning in an earthly tabernacle.

A popular teaching today is that Yahushua told us to enter our

Matt. 6:5-6 - "And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room <Grk , and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.

The Greek word translated "room" is #5009 Tamien:

5009 tamei/on tameion {tam-i'-on}
Meaning: 1) a storage chamber, storeroom 2) a chamber esp. an inner chamber 3) a secret room
Origin: contraction of a presumed derivative of tamias (a dispenser or distributor;; n n
Usage: AV - closet 2, secret chamber 1, storehouse 1; 4

This is clearly an inner room and not a "Prayer shawl" or "Talit." It has been said that the word "Talit" is from Hebrew and it means "Little tent." Talit is an Aramaic word meaning "to cover." Either way, Yahushua wasn't telling anyone to cover their heads during prayer. He was telling them to find a secret place to pray. If a man is in public and puts a "prayer shawl" over his head, this will accomplish quite the opposite. Everyone will know he is praying!

Scripture says that man should not cover their heads in prayer because Yahushua (the image and glory of Yahweh) should be manifest. As a result of His work we are now His body, the body of the Messiah. Men who choose to wear a head covering are causing the image and glory of Elohim to be covered. Thus, scripture says they dishonor Him and are failing to give proper recognition to Yahweh's work in them through Yahushua the Messiah.

We need to be a people who not only accept the good news that Yahushua lives in us, but also acting like it and proclaiming this good news to all the world. When a man obeys the principles of the head covering in 1 Corinthians 11, he is recognizing Yahushua's work in him and the heavenly High Priesthood of Yahushua the Messiah, a priest after the order of Melchizedek, the priest that gave us access to the true Holy of Holies: 

Hebrews 10:19 Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Yahushua, 20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and having a High Priest over the house of Yahweh, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.

This is a "new and living way," so let's not fear something that scripture teaches on the basis that it is new, or old. Let's learn to obey all of Yahweh's inspired words in the scriptures, no matter when they were written, or who happened to be holding the pen. Let's be like the wise scribes:

Matthew 13:52 Then He said to them, "Therefore every scribe instructed concerning the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things new and old."

Our participation in Messiah's death and resurrection is a new principle that was never directly taught in the law. 1 Corinthians 11 and other scriptures show that the head covering issue is directly connected to this. If He lives in you, don't dishonor Him in your prayers by covering the image and glory of Yahweh: Yahushua the Messiah living in you. 

Instead of trusting in our own glory to approach the throne of Yahweh (which would cause our sins to be made manifest), Yahweh desires that Yahushua, the High Priest of the heavenly tabernacle, is seen in each us. We are His body. With Him, we are declared righteous. Without Him, we cannot approach the Father. He is the way, the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father, except by Him. 

We are ministers of the new covenant (2Cor 3:6). The promise of the new covenant was that the law of Yahweh would be placed in our hearts and minds. 

Jeremiah 31:33 "But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says Yahweh: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their Elohim, and they shall be My people.

This is accomplished by His Spirit dwelling in us through Yahushua the Messiah, the "Word" which became flesh:

John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

It is His image and glory that dwells in us. This is the good news (gospel) that should not be rejected:

2 Corinthians 4:3-6 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 whose minds the elohim of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Messiah, who is the image of Elohim, should shine on them. 5 For we do not preach ourselves, but Messiah Yahushua the Master, and ourselves your bondservants for Yahushua' sake. 6 For it is the Elohim who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of Elohim in the face of Yahushua Messiah.

The word is a light, a lamp unto our feet. And now it is in our hearts through Yahushua. Yahushua is the word made flesh who dwells within us. Thus, the light has shown in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the "glory of Elohim in the face of Yahushua the Messiah." 

Therefore, let's not cover that glory. Let's allow this "image and glory of Elohim" to shine in His presence, giving thanks to Yahweh our Elohim for this awesome work in Yahushua! Unlike Haman, we don't have to cover our heads in shame. We can boldly come to the throne of grace. For it is this awesome work that enables us to be declared righteous before Yahweh. Let's rejoice over the treasure that Yahweh has given, Yahushua the Messiah living in us:

2 Corinthians 4:7-10 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of Elohim and not of us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed -- 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of the Master Yahushua, that the life of Yahushua also may be manifested in our body.

Yahushua is indeed a treasure in our otherwise weak earthen vessels to show forth Yahweh's AWESOME power in redeeming our souls. In our prayers, and in all that we do, let's cause the life of Yahushua be manifested in our body. 

Colossians 3:1-3 If then you were raised with Messiah, seek those things which are above, where Messiah is, sitting at the right hand of Elohim. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Messiah in Elohim.

So rather than bringing Him dishonor, let's honor and lift up the name of Yahushua the Messiah:

Revelation 5:11-13 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice: "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain To receive power and riches and wisdom, And strength and honor and glory and blessing!" 13 And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: "Blessing and honor and glory and power Be to Him who sits on the throne, And to the Lamb, forever and ever!"

John 5:23 that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.

So let's accept the inspired words of scripture and beware of dishonoring His Son, or anyone the Son chooses to send. Men should not cover their heads in prayer, for it is Yahushua the Messiah, the image and glory of Elohim, who resides in us. Let's not dishonor Him!

 


Head Coverings for Women

This section of our study into the head covering is difficult for me to talk about because I know that a woman's appearance is going to be affected in some ways by what I'm about to teach. I do want to be clear that it is not my intent to place women in a lower class than men. Both men and women have equal standing before Yahweh. Yahweh does not regard men to be of more value or worth than women.

It is clear, however, from the scriptures that men and women have different roles to fulfill. Men cannot bear and nurse children. Men are more suited for tasks that require more physical strength. Each of us are different and that is something to be celebrated and appreciated, with neither men nor women seeing the other person as less important. Likewise, each member of the body of Messiah need one another. We are all part of one body, but each of us have a different function. This is glorious and necessary for us to embrace.

I'm saying this so that it is understood that this will not be a message about the inferiority of women. Yahweh values women so much that He required men to stay home with their wives for one full year, bringing joy into her life so that their marital relationship and their family would start on a firm foundation (Deut. 24:5), and she would know that she is loved and cherished.

Our culture has a tendency to base a woman's worth on her outward appearance, but Yahweh's word says:

Proverbs 31:30 (ISR) Loveliness is deceptive And prettiness is vain, A woman who fears Yahweh is to be praised.

So I would encourage everyone reading this section to mentally remove themselves from any concern about appearance because a woman's worth isn't based on that.

Our goal is to let the holy scriptures speak for themselves, and willingly yield to anything Yahweh is asking us to do. I believe if we do that, the conclusion we will reach is that a woman should indeed cover her head during prayer or prophesying.  This was the position of nearly all Christians in the early 1900's and all throughout church history. However, since the women's liberation movement began, women slowly began to pray while uncovered. I don't know if there is a direct connection here or not, but the two things do seem to have coincided historically.

Before I begin I should mention that it's important that the above section on "head coverings for men" be fully understood before proceeding on to this section. If you haven't read the first section of this study, please do so. 

Concerning the head coverings for women, let's first look at the principles involved in 1 Corinthians. The backdrop to the entire chapter is the following verse:

1Co 11:3-5 - But I want you to know that the head of every man is Messiah, the head of woman is man, and the head of Messiah is Elohim.
4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonors his head.
5 But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, for that is one and the same as if her head were shaved.

Notice that it says here that a man will "dishonor his head" if his head is covered. Does this mean a literal, physical head covering or could it be speaking of a man placing a covering over his spiritual head, Yahushua the Messiah?

Some have suggested that Paul is using a figure of speech here, and is essentially instructing the Corinthians that they should not fail to recognize the Messiah when they are praying. Also, the women should not feel as though they need to go through the man when praying, but that her head (the man) should be "covered" while praying.

While it may sound plausible initially, this interpretation presents several problems.

  1. It isn't just talking about prayer, but also prophesying. A prophecy is a "thus saith Yahweh." If a man were dishonoring the Messiah by failing to acknowledge Him, why would Yahweh even speak through him to begin with? And if a woman were dishonoring her husband by placing him in a divine "god-like" position, how could Yahweh be speaking through her at the very moment she is practicing idolatry?
     

  2. It says in verse 5 that a woman praying with her (husband uncovered?) is one and the same as if her (physical) head were shaved. Some say that shaving a head prior to praying is what the pagan prostitutes did in Corinth when praying to their gods. But I don't know of any evidence that this was actually the case in Paul's day. One encyclopedia even states:

    "There appears to be a lack of historical evidence showing that short hair was the distinguishing mark of a prostitute in Corinth during Roman times or that Roman Corinth was a center of temple prostitution, bearing in mind depictions of prostitutes in Roman wall paintings (29) and Strabo's comments in Geography 8.6.20c referring to temple prostitutes which applied only to Greek Corinth in existence several centuries before the time of Paul, not the Roman Corinth of Paul's day" Wikipedia 6/27/14

    The fact that a physical head is even mentioned at all in verse 5 indicates that the "head" spoken of in "head uncovered" is actually a physical head rather than allegorically uncovering her husband during prayer.
     

  3. Later in 1Corinthians 11:13-15 Paul says "Is it proper for a woman to pray to Elohim with her head uncovered? ...if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her; for her hair is given to her for a covering." Again we see that a physical head and the hair on the head are certainly in the discussion here rather than a spiritual head.
     

  4. The term "head covered" in verse 4 is from the Greek "Kata Kaphalay." This same Greek word is used in the Septuagint (a Greek translation of the OT dating to 200-300BCE) to describe Haman covering up his head in mourning after having to exalt Mordecai "But Haman hurried to his house, mourning and with his head covered (Kata Kaphalay)" in Esther 6:12

So if it is speaking of a physical head covering, what would be the purpose in a woman wearing a covering and man keeping his head uncovered? We mentioned earlier that the reason provided in scripture is that man "is the image and glory of Elohim." This is because he has the righteousness of Yahushua the Messiah upon him.

But what about woman?

1 Corinthians 11:7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of Elohim; but woman is the glory of man.

This scripture says that the woman is the glory of man. Because she is the glory of man (Adam), she would need to cover her head. What might this have to do with the head covering?

We know from Genesis that Chawah (Eve) was taken out of Adam. 

Genesis 2:21-24 And Yahweh Elohim caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. 22 Then the rib which Yahweh Elohim had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. 23 And Adam 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." 24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

In light of the fact that woman was taken out of Adam, we can see why woman would be the glory of man. Woman was taken from man and she was created for him. Thus, she is the glory of man:

1 Corinthians 11:7-9 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of Elohim; but woman is the glory of man. 8 For man is not from woman, but woman from man. 9 Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man.

So the principle given here is that the image and glory of Elohim must not be covered while praying and prophesying, but the glory of man must be covered.

This is still related to the original principle given regarding headship. Since man is the head of woman, she is the glory of man. Since man is under Messiah and Elohim, he is the image and glory of Elohim.

But since she was taken from man, isn't she also the image and glory of Elohim? Certainly yes! She is still under Elohim and Messiah's headship, and because she came FROM Adam, she would be a reflection of the image and glory of Elohim. Thus, she is able to be seen as righteous and holy because Messiah dwells in her just as He does the man.

However, since Woman was taken from Adam, she is also Adam's glory as well. Adam isn't Eve's glory because he did not come from her and was not made for her. He would not have to cover his head because the only glory that he bears is the image and glory of Elohim. But since woman bears the glory of Adam, she is instructed to cover her head during prayer/prophesying.

Remember that it says, "woman is the glory of man. For man is not from woman, but woman from man. Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man" So the fact that she was created for Adam, and from Adam shows that she is the "glory of man" rather than man being her glory.

This would not be a problem if Adam had not sinned. If Adam had not sinned, it would have been acceptable for Adam's glory to be manifest while in the presence of Yahweh. But since Adam's glory is not a righteous glory, she would place a covering on her head during prayer & prophesying.

But since she is also created in the image and glory of Elohim, isn't she covering the Messiah's glory when she covers her head?

This would create somewhat of a conflict. On the one hand she needs to cover the glory of Adam. On the other hand, she would not want to cover Messiah's glory.

The head covering, if understood in the same manner that it was understood in the Torah, is actually a symbol of the Messiah's righteousness. In the last segment on head coverings for men it was shown that the priestly head covering was a representation of the righteousness that is in Messiah Yahushua.

Ezekiel 24:17 "Sigh in silence, make no mourning for the dead; bind your turban (Heb. #6287 Pe'er) on your head, and put your sandals on your feet; do not cover your lips, and do not eat man's bread of sorrow."

Exo 28:40 - "For Aaron's sons you shall make tunics, and you shall make sashes for them. And you shall make hats for them, for glory and beauty.

Notice here in verse 40 that the head covering is for glory. Since the high priest was a representation of the Messiah, he would have a head covering that represented glory, and "Pe'er." The "Pe'er" is seen in Isaiah 61 as something that the Messiah gives us instead of ashes:

Isaiah 61:1 "The Spirit of Yahweh Elohim is upon Me, Because Yahweh has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound; 2 To proclaim the acceptable year of Yahweh, And the day of vengeance of our Elohim; To comfort all who mourn, 3 To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty (Heb. #6287 Pe'er) for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of Yahweh, that He may be glorified."

So when Yahushua returns, His bride will receive "beauty" for ashes, that we might be called "trees of righteousness" and glorify Yahweh. The Hebrew word translated "beauty" in this verse is "Pe'er" is the same Hebrew word is used to describe Ezekiel's turban.

We can gather from all of these scriptures that the linen turban specifically is a symbolic representation of having righteousness upon the heads. Ashes were often put upon the heads of those who were in great distress (2sam 13:19). Yahushua said that He would give His bride "beauty" instead. So rather than having ashes on the head, which perhaps represents the lake of fire, mourning and judgment, a woman will have something representing the glory of Elohim, Yahushua the Messiah and His righteousness upon her head.

So with the head covering she simultaneously covers the glory of Adam while having a representation of the glory and righteousness of Messiah upon her head. The man, as we discussed in the former segment would not need a head covering because he is not the glory of Eve, or anyone other than the image and glory of Elohim.

Now I should mention that this scripture does not say she must cover her head all the time. It only says that she would need to cover her head during prayer and during prophesying.

Thus, the principle given here in 1Corinthians is summed up by saying, "Let the Messiah (the second Adam) and all His glory be manifest during prayer and prophesying, not man (the first Adam) and his glory."

If we simply let the scriptures themselves provide the reason and purpose for the head covering, I don't know how we can come to any other conclusion.

 
Could Hair be the Covering?

Another statement that should be addressed in this chapter is how the head covering relates to a woman's hair.

1 Corinthians 11:3-7 I want you to know that the head of every man is Messiah, the head of woman is man, and the head of Messiah is Elohim.
4
Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonors his head.
5
But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, for that is one and the same as if her head were shaved.
6
For if a woman is not covered, let her also be shorn. But if it is shameful for a woman to be shorn or shaved, let her be covered.
7
For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of Elohim; but woman is the glory of man.

Notice first of all that if a woman were to pray with her head uncovered, it would dishonor the man. How would it dishonor a man if a woman were to pray without a head covering? Somehow honor and dishonor is connected to headship and authority. And somehow the head covering is connected to both.

In the same way a man would dishonor the Messiah by not wearing a head covering because he is not recognizing Messiah and His headship, image and glory within him, the woman would dishonor her head by acting as if she were the man, and not recognizing man's headship over her.

She would be ignoring the fact that "man is not from woman, but woman from man. Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man." She is not recognizing that she is Adam's glory and instead trying to act as if she is a man. This is why it says that if a woman prayed with her head uncovered, "that is one and the same as if her head were shaved." If her head were shaved, she would look more like a man. 

1 Corinthians 11:13-15 Judge among yourselves. Is it proper for a woman to pray to Elohim with her head uncovered? 14 Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him? 15 But if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her; for her hair is given to her for a covering. 

Here we see that Paul is further cementing his point that a woman should not cover her head by pointing out that even nature itself teaches the proper head covering principles. Typically, women will grow their hair long but men keep their hair cut short. The long hair is given to a woman "for a covering." The word translated "covering" is the Greek word "peribolaion." (#4018). This word is found in one other verse of the 'New Testament:

Hebrews 1:10-12 And: "You, Yahweh, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. 11 They will perish, but You remain; And they will all grow old like a garment; 12 Like a cloak "peribolaion." (#4018) you will fold them up, And they will be changed. But You are the same, And Your years will not fail."

Since this verse in Hebrews is a quote from the book of Psalms, we can learn more about it by looking up this verse in the Psalms:

Psalm 102:26 They will perish, but You will endure; Yes, they will all grow old like a garment; Like a cloak You will change them, And they will be changed.

So we gather from these scriptures that the long hair of a woman is is given to her for a cloak or garment. 

Some have suggested that since the long hair is given to woman for a cloak, a woman can cover her head by simply growing her hair long while a man can keep his head uncovered by keeping his hair cut short.

But there are at least 7 reasons why this cannot be:

  1. Long hair doesn't actually cover the head. It only covers the back of someone's neck and a part of their back at best. So whether one has short hair or long hair, the actual head is still covered with hair. Only the neck and back are covered when a person has long hair. How then could the long hair be given as a head covering? It makes no sense.
     
  2. If a man took a Nazirite vow (as Paul did in Acts 18:18 and four brethren did in Acts 21:23) then they would at some point not be permitted to pray because a Nazirite vow involved growing your hair long (Num 6:5). If a man prayed while having long hair as a result of taking a Nazirite vow, he would be dishonoring the Messiah because his long hair is supposedly a "head covering." 
     
  3. Whether a man has short hair or long hair has nothing to do with him being the image and glory of Yahweh through Yahushua the Messiah.
     
  4. Scripture says in 1Cor 11:10 that the covering is a "sign of authority because of the angels". How could a woman's hair length (her own glory) be a sign of authority? It doesn't make any sense to me.
     
  5. If a woman's long hair were a proper "head covering" to cover the glory of Adam, why would the glory of Adam need to be covered in the garden of Eden before sin ever came? Adam was righteous and holy on the day that Eve was taken from his side.
     
  6. Even if the hair were given as a head covering to cover the glory of Adam, the hair itself is said to be "a glory to her." It is the glory of Elohim that should be manifest during prayer and prophesying, not our own glory.

So what was it actually talking about here? Let's read it again for clarification:

1 Corinthians 11:13-15 Judge among yourselves. Is it proper for a woman to pray to Elohim with her head uncovered?
14
Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him?
15
But if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her; for her hair is given to her for a covering.
 

So nature itself teaches the need for some kind of covering for a woman, but not for a man.

A man doesn't typically grow his hair long and so he he doesn't have a natural cloak/garment attached to his head. But a woman typically does have long hair so she does have a natural cloak/garment attached to her head. But again, the long hair doesn't cover the head. It only covers her neck and part of her back.

For the unconvinced, Paul used this illustration to demonstrate that even nature itself parallels the need for a woman to have a head covering attached to her head while men do not. He asked them the question of "Is it proper for a woman to pray to Elohim with her head uncovered?" He then answered it with an illustration from nature. We can even judge for ourselves that a woman praying with an uncovered head is improper because there is no shame in a woman having the natural cloak/garmen but it is a shame for man to have it.

Nevertheless, Paul quickly points out in the next verse that a man having short hair and a woman having long hair is not necessarily a custom of the assembly:

1 Corinthians 11:16 But if anyone seems to be contentious, we have no such custom, nor do the assemblies of Elohim.

If it were an official custom of the assembly that men must have short hair and women must have long hair, Paul himself would have violated that himself it when he took the Nazirite vow (Acts 18:18, 21:23) which required one to let their hair grow long. Paul was simply using the long hair/short hair illustration to further demonstrate that women should wear head coverings and men should not. Women naturally wear a type of garment but men naturally generally do not. 

Some have suggested that the "custom" spoken of in this verse 16 refers to the head covering. In other words, the assembly doesn't actually teach that women should cover their heads and men shouldn't. But this cannot be. Consider what is said here:

1 Corinthians 11:4 - Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonors his head.

If the head covering principles are not a "custom" of the first century believers, Paul would basically be saying "If anyone chooses to dishonor Yahushua, don't contend with him because we have no such custom of honoring Yahushua, nor do the assemblies of Elohim."

Wouldn't this be double talk? Scripture would be contradicting itself. It states unequivocally that a man wearing a head covering dishonors the Messiah. But if it didn't really matter, then Paul's statement would not actually be true. A man could cover his head and it really would not dishonor the Messiah.

It absolutely must be a custom to refrain from dishonoring the Messiah. How could it ever be otherwise?

For this reason, it makes much more sense if we understand that he is speaking of long/short hair not being a custom in the assembly. Paul himself took a Nazirite vow which would require him to grow his hair long (Acts 18:18, 21:23). There were also situations where even a woman might need to shave their head, such as for the cleansing of leprosy (Lev 14:9). Thus, it would make much more sense if the custom being spoken of is the long hair for women and short hair for men.
 

Because of the Angels?

1 Corinthians 11:10 For this reason the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.

Concerning this phrase "Because of the angels", there have been many interpretations. It seems to come out of nowhere and has caused much conjecture as to its meaning. Of course, this is where the belief that a woman's hair is an adequate covering starts to really fall apart. How could a woman's long hair give her the authority to come to Yahweh in prayer? What would happen if she cut her hair short? She would then be unable to have any authority to come to Yahweh in prayer.

One interpretation states that the angels would again 'see that the daughters of men were fair' and would be tempted to sin like the fallen angels of old (Gen. 6:2). One problem with this is that the angels are present at any given time, not just praying and prophesying. What if she's in the shower? Obviously this could be a problem at any time. 

Another interpretation says that the angels of Yahweh would be shocked at the conduct of the women when they are uncovering their heads in prayer or prophesying. But it seems to me that there behaviors far more shocking than a woman not covering her head and there aren't any other verses in scripture saying "Don't do this because of the angels."

The fact that it says women ought to have the 'sign of authority on her head BECAUSE of the angels' seems to indicate that the whole purpose of the head covering is because of them. This doesn't really line up with the reasoning given in rest of the chapter which states that she must wear a head covering because she is the glory of Adam.

So what might it mean? It is important to understand that unlike the English language where "angel" always refers to a spiritual being, in both Hebrew and Greek there is a dual meaning. 

The Greek word used for 'angel' (#32 angelos) here is most often translated 'angel' but it is also translated 'messenger' 7 times in the KJV. In each case it is translated 'messenger,' it is referring to a person, not an angelic being. Here is an example:

Luke 7:24 When the messengers (#32 angelos) of John had departed, He began to speak to the multitudes concerning John: "What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind?

The word 'messengers' here is the word in question. It is the Greek word most often translated "Angel" (angelos, #32). So we can see that in Greek, this word has a dual meaning. It can indeed refer to an angelic being, but it also might be referring to men. The context will determine the actual meaning.

In Hebrew, the word has the same basic dual meaning only with even greater variation. The Hebrew word "Malak" (#4397) is translated "angel" 111 times and "messenger" 98 times. Here is a great example of this:

Malachi 2:7  "For the lips of a priest should keep knowledge, And people should seek the law from his mouth; For he is the messenger of Yahweh of hosts.

Here we see that Yahweh calls the priest a "malak" because from his mouth the people would learn the instruction and teaching of Yahweh. 

In the body of Messiah, men have been given this responsibility. As it is written:

1Timothy 2:12 And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve.

Notice that the reasons given here parallel the reasons given for the head covering. Eve was formed from Adam and men have the position of headship. Again, this has nothing to do with a woman having less worth than a man. Women were not called to be priests and teachers of men. Men were not called to nurse and bear children. We each have a job to do and both men and women have equal standing before the Father.

So we see that the word "Malak" can refer to the job of a priest. It says:

Malachi 2:7  "For the lips of a priest should keep knowledge, And people should seek the law from his mouth; For he is the messenger of Yahweh of hosts.

We often refer to a scripture study as a "message." Messages are given by messengers. So with this in mind, let's read the verse in question again. This time we will insert the alternative translation:

1 Corinthians 11:10 For this reason the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the messengers.

It makes far more sense in my view to say that a woman wears a head covering "because of the men/messengers." This is more in line with the other scriptures in this chapter such as:

1 Corinthians 11:5 But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head

It is because a woman should not dishonor her head that she is told to wear a head covering. It makes more sense that she is wearing the head covering "because of the men (messengers)" than because of an angelic being being offended in some way. This is much more in line with the teaching found in the rest of 1Corinthians 11.

A husband is the teacher of his wife and is commanded to "cleanse her with the washing of water by the word" in Ephesians 5:26. The men are given the role of teaching the Torah in both the assembly and in the family.

Also, let's examine the word "authority" in verse 10

1 Corinthians 11:10 For this reason the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the messengers.

The word translated "Authority" is #1849 "exousia" and means "Power of choice, liberty of doing as one pleases" in the Thayer's Greek lexicon and "(in the sense of ability); privilege" in the Strong's Greek Lexicon.

With a head covering, a woman has the ability, liberty and privilege of coming to Yahweh in prayer. The head covering is representing the glory and righteousness of Messiah upon her head in place of the glory of Adam. Therefore, the head covering is referred to as an "exousia" on her head, which she wears "because of the messengers" (men) who will be dishonored if she chooses not to wear it. Adam's righteousness was not honorable and for her to not wear a head covering would be an act of disregarding the headship position of men because she is trying to act as if she is in their position.

 
1 Corinthians 11: Verse by verse

Up to this point in the study I have chosen to address each of the verses in an order that I believe will best help to explain the principles given in each verse. For instance, I desired to address the men's and women's head coverings separately even though Paul mentions both of them together. I felt this was needful in order to understand the reasons given in scripture as to why a man should not cover his head but a woman should. 

But now that we have carefully examined each principle in detail, let's now go through each of these verses in 1 Corinthians 11, in their original order.

1 Corinthians 11:1-4 Imitate me, just as I also imitate Messiah.
2
Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep the traditions just as I delivered them to you.

The word "traditions" comes from the Greek word "Paradosis" and it can refer to something that Yahweh requires or something that Yahweh does not require. This particular chapter is speaking of the head coverings and the need to partake of the body and blood of Messiah as symbolized in the unleavened bread and fruit of the vine. These are two "paradosis" of the apostles that are required by believers in Yahushua. They are not commanded in the Torah, but Yahushua expects us to obey them nonetheless. Paul mentioned to the Thessalonians that they should withdraw from believers who do not walk according to the Paradosis (tradition) that were given by the apostles.

1 Corinthians 11:3 - But I want you to know that the head of every man is Messiah, the head of woman is man, and the head of Messiah is Elohim.
4
Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonors his head.

Men do not cover their heads because man was created in the image and glory of Yahweh. Even though man was created in His image and glory, we have all fallen short of the glory of Yahweh. Therefore, we all need to receive the good news of Yahushua the Messiah, cleave to the new covenant promises, and be "crucified/impaled with Messiah" so that He might live in us:

Galatians 2:20 "I have been crucified with Messiah; it is no longer I who live, but Messiah lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of Elohim, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

We need Yahushua in us as the "brightness of the glory of Yahweh" and the "express image of His person" (Heb 1:3). If we, who receive the heavenly High Priest (Hebrews 7:21) as the One dwelling within us, choose to cover our heads in prayer, then we are in essence doubting that "Yahushua dwelling in us" is adequate as the glory needed to approach the Father. 

Over and over again (particularly in Hebrews) it is written that the priesthood of Yahushua the Messiah is a spiritual one. The sacrifices are spiritual, the temple is spiritual, everything is spiritual. This why men also only need the spiritual covering of Yahushua the Messiah upon their head when we spiritually come into the presence of Yahweh. We already have the veil needed to appear righteous unto Yahweh while in His presence.

When Yahweh sees us...He must see Yahushua and His righteousness in us. We dishonor our head (Yahushua) by not recognizing that it is He who dwells in us through the promises in the new covenant, a covenant we receive by faith. 

There is nothing about this that changes any of the laws given in the old covenant. The laws of the old covenant are silent about whether or not one should be baptized in Yahushua's name, and whether the common people needed to wear a head covering or not. Both baptism and the head covering issue are interconnected because baptism represents the death of the old man (Adam) and the new man (Yahushua) dwelling in us.

Therefore we ought not cover the glory of the second Adam (Messiah) and we ought to cover the glory of the first Adam (woman).

1 Corinthians 11:5-9 But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, for that is one and the same as if her head were shaved.
6
For if a woman is not covered, let her also be shorn. But if it is shameful for a woman to be shorn or shaved, let her be covered.
7
For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of Elohim; but woman is the glory of man.
8
For man is not from woman, but woman from man.
9
Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man.

Because woman was created for and from man (Adam) she ought to cover the glory of Adam (the old man). Our glory is a lesser glory...and an unworthy glory. The only glory that should be uncovered is Yahushua the Messiah, the glory of Yahweh!

If a woman were to uncover her head, it would dishonor her head (the man) because she is trying to bypass him and act as a male. Man was not created for the woman but the woman was created for the man. This concept is what is behind the principles of authority in this chapter and in the other scriptures as well. 

1 Corinthians 11:10 - For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels (messengers).

The Greek word "angelos" can refer to angelic beings or to male messengers of Yahweh such as priests. The High Priests were called messengers (malak) in Malachi 2:7 because they taught the Torah. For this reason, the purpose of the head covering is not because of angels, but because of the men who are in the position of headship. A woman who places a head covering on her head during prayer/prophesying is acknowledging the holy order that Yahweh has established.

Since we must come to Yahweh with full reverence for His established authority, it is the head covering that gives the woman the ability/privilege/authority to come to Yahweh. Without the glory of man (Adam) man being covered, she should not come to Yahweh because she is not respecting Yahweh's order.

1Co 11:11-12 - Nevertheless, neither is man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in Yahweh.
12 For as woman came from man, even so man also comes through woman; but all things are from Elohim.

This acknowledges that although woman is from the man, man cannot now exist without the woman for she gives birth to the man in childbearing. Man is not "from" the woman but man does now exist "through" the woman, who gives birth to men in childbearing. Of course, all things are ultimately from Elohim rather than man or woman.

1Co 11:13-16 - Judge among yourselves. Is it proper for a woman to pray to Elohim with her head uncovered?
14 Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him?
15 But if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her; for her hair is given to her for a covering.
16 But if anyone seems to be contentious, we have no such custom, nor do the churches of Elohim.

For the unconvinced, Paul used this illustration to demonstrate that even nature itself parallels the need for a woman to have a head covering attached to their head while men do not.

He asked them the question of "Is it proper for a woman to pray to Elohim with her head uncovered?" and answered it with an illustration from nature. We can even judge for ourselves that a woman praying with an uncovered head is improper because there is no shame in a woman having long hair but it is a shame for man to have long hair.

Since the long hair functions as a type of garment for covering, the natural thing would be for a woman to be covered and a man uncovered. Nevertheless, there are exceptions to this so it is not an official custom of the assembly.

However, it is always a custom and principle in the assembly that we ought to honor Yahushua. Respect and honor for authority is very important in the eyes of Yahweh. He included the principle of honoring our Father and Mother in the Ten Commandments. We must inherently honor the one who took part in bringing us life. Were it not for our parents, we would have no life, therefore we must honor them. 

Woman was taken from man, therefore woman must honor the man. Of course, men should honor women as well because women were given the role of granting us birth and nursing us when we were infants.

1Pe 3:7 - Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.

It's not as though men are the only one to be honored. All of us should show the proper honor to one another:

1Pe 2:17 - Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear Elohim. Honor the king.

Yahushua must also be honored, for none of us would have eternal life abiding in us, therefore we must all honor Him. Men should be honored by women, and women should be honored by men. A man should honor Messiah by not wearing a head covering. And women should honor men by wearing a head covering during prayer/prophesying.

The Heavenly Father who is the giver of all life, therefore all (including Messiah) must honor Him. 

So as a token of honor, let's heed the principles of the head covering given in this chapter of scripture. When we examine the reasoning given for the head covering in 1 Corinthians, and compare it to the rest of the holy scriptures, it all lines up and makes perfect sense.

Therefore, let's set aside any societal pressures, any efforts to justify Jewish traditions, and let's allow Yahweh to teach us about the head coverings and what it means to Him. By heeding these principles, it is He that we are ultimately honoring and obeying. If we won't do it for anyone else, I would hope that we would do it for Him. He is worth it.
 

Some questions answered:

Should an unmarried female wear a head covering?

From what I see in scripture, it is more so a man-woman issue. The terms husband and wife are not found in this scripture, but certainly it is ultimately fulfilled in the husband and wife. The scripture actually says "every woman" who prays and prophesies without a head covering is dishonoring man. Since we are all called to honor one another, "every woman" should wear a head covering while praying/prophesying.

Should a woman wear a head covering at all times?

According to scripture, it is only needed when praying or prophesying. However, there is a scriptural principle of "praying without ceasing" (1Thess. 5:17). In other words, keep the lines of communication with Yahweh always open.

Having to locate and put on a head covering every time can be a hindrance to that. As believers, we will often say short little prayers during the day as various circumstances arise. I would hope that a spiritually minded woman could hardly go an hour without praying.

Also, we do want to follow the principle of "praying in secret" that Yahushua shared (Mat 6:6). If a woman wore a head covering always, she could pray often in secret and only her and Yahweh would know. Then our Father, who sees in secret, will reward her openly.

Through all of this, let's not lose sight of the real purpose in prayer, and that is to communicate with the Heavenly Father. We want to always approach Him in reverence, and with respect. His hand is not too short to accomplish anything that we ask in faith, and He loves it when we speak to Him, and about Him in truth.

What kind of head covering is a proper head covering?

A true head covering will actually cover the head. The Mennonites sometimes wear a screen to cover a woman's hair which is tied up in a bun. Some sacred name believers wear a see-through doiley or garment that doesn't actually cover the head. In the same way I wouldn't wear a see through screen or a see-through garment to cover my thighs or chest, I wouldn't think that a see-through garment or screen could qualify as a head covering.

So how much of the head should be covered? I don't know that one need cover their face, for it is a head covering and not a face covering. The face pretty much ends with the hairline near the top of a person's head. For this reason, I would think that the area between the hairline, between the top of the ears and the top of the neck should be covered by some kind of garment. I don't know that anything else could properly constitute a head covering.

Some believe that a woman's hair should also be covered because of the scripture which says a woman's long hair is "a glory to her." Paul didn't directly address this as a part that requires covering, but perhaps it is inferred. For this reason, it's a matter of personal conviction and I don't see a need to be clear when scripture itself isn't clear on that. Perhaps it is inferred, and it's best to be on the safe side. But that's up to each individual.

Should a head covering only be worn during meetings and gatherings of believers?

On the head covering question, the scriptures never say that this only applies when a person is gathered and praying with other believers. For this reason I cannot make this assertion. For a person to make this assertion, they would need to assume that this is the only context in which it would apply. I don't like to assume.

Shouldn't this be a matter of personal conviction as to whether or not a person wears or doesn't wear a head covering?

Everything is a matter of personal conviction. Even our faith in Yahushua is a matter of personal conviction and it is not for anyone to force their beliefs on anyone else. A husband should share with his wife what he believes, but it is up to a wife to come to that same belief and walk in it. Part of respecting one another is respecting each other's walk with Messiah. If a person only believes something because of what another person says rather than because of what they believe Yahweh is saying, it is not a genuine act of faith and obedience to the Father. Our goal is that everything we do is an act of faith, of love, and obedience to the Father.


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