Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Does Scripture Command Us to Wear Head Coverings?

By Maria Merola אריאל

© Copyright Double Portion Inheritance, September 2007  

Often-times people ask me whether or not it is a commandment for women or men to wear head coverings. This subject comes up quite frequently, which is why I have decided to share my studies in a blog. First of all, I would like to say that I am not against head coverings in the least bit. As a matter of fact, I often wear a tallit (prayer shawl) during prayer.

However, is it mandatory to wear one all the time? There is nothing in the Mosaic Law (Torah) that commands a woman to cover her head.

The idea that a woman must wear a head-covering 24/7 has been circulating within the Hebraic Root’s Community, and people are acting like it’s in the Torah but it’s not.

Where are they getting this idea from? Well, they are using only one verse from 1st Corinthians 11:5-8 to form a doctrine concerning head-coverings.

However, I have learned from our Father, YaHuWaH, that we cannot build a doctrine using only one verse of scripture. And we certainly cannot use one verse from the Briyth Chadashah (New Testament). When following the rules of proper Hermeneutics, we must find the witness of “two or three” elsewhere in scripture. 

Our Messiah explained to us in Matthew 18:16 that all things are established “Out of the mouth of two or three witnesses.” This, of course would include the Torah & Prophets (what many call the Old Testament).

As a matter of fact, when Sha’ul (Paul) wrote his letter to Timothy, the only “Scripture that was in print at that time, was the TaNaKh (Torah, Nebiym, Ketubiym) or in other words Law, Prophets & Psalms:

2nd Timotiyos (Timothy) 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of Elohiym, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.

Hence, we must consult the entire counsel of scripture before forming any kind of doctrine!

I once used to believe that 1st Corinthians 11:5-8 was speaking about a “literal head covering” for women. However, in 2007, I listened to an excellent teaching by Michael Rood entitled “Who Is Your Unauthorized Covering?” It was after reviewing his study on this subject (and weighing it against scripture), I realized that Sha’ul (Paul) could not have been speaking of a literal head-covering.

You can view Michael Rood’s teaching about this on youtube at the following links:

Michael Rood begins by explaining that we cannot use one verse out of the entire book of 1st Corinthians to form a doctrine about head coverings. Rood goes on to explain that we must start from the beginning of Paul’s letter, to the first chapter of 1st Corinthians. When reading the entire book of 1st Corinthians, the context of  Paul’s letter becomes apparent: 

Michael Rood states in his teaching (if I may paraphrase): “…What person in their right mind, receives a ten-page letter in the mail, (and then skips over to page five); and goes down to the middle of the page, and starts reading? What sensible person would then assume he knows what the letter is all about?”

Michael Rood is right! I followed his line of reasoning, and realized that when we read from the beginning of 1st Corinthians starting with the first chapter, Sha’ul (Paul) was addressing was authority. There were people who were already beginning to set up denominational heads over themselves saying: “I am of Paul, I am of Apollos, I am of Cephas.” Let’s read it in context:

1st Qorintiym (Corinthians) 1:

12 Now this I say, that every one of you says, I am of Sha’ul (Paul); and I of Apollos; and I of Kefa (Cephas); and I of Mashiyach (Messiah).

13 Is Mashiyach (Messiah) divided? was Shaul (Paul) crucified for you? or were you baptized in the name of Shaul (Paul)?

Thus, Michael Rood explains that the entire book of 1st Corinthians is about people putting human leaders over themselves, instead of Messiah as their “head or covering.” Once we understand this, we can go to the 11th chapter of 1st Corinthians, and begin to understand the full context. In the verse below, it becomes obvious that the “head” being spoken of is not your cranium or skull, but the person who is in authority over you:

1st Qorintiym (Corinthians) 11:3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Mashiyach (Messiah); and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Mashiyach (Messiah) is Elohyim.

Here is the proper chain of command that Shaul (Paul) is describing:

1.) YaHuWaH Elohiym (the Heavenly Father).
2.) Yahuwshuwa ha’Mashiyach (Messiah).
3.) The woman’s husband or father.
4.) The wife or daughter.

The “head” being spoken of here is not our literal skull! It is the person who is in authority over us! In the very next verse, Shaul tells us that if a man prays or prophesies with his head covered that he is dishonoring his head. How does one dishonor his own head? This does not make sense until you realize that he speaking about dishonoring another person who is your “head.”

Therefore, we now have a better understanding to the next verse:

1st Qorintiym (Corinthians) 11:4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonours his head.

*Note: If it is wrong for a man to cover his head while praying, then Sha’ul (Paul) would have been condemning the Levites in the temple, who wore head coverings! Why then is Sha’ul (Paul) telling us that a man dishonors his head, if he prays or prophesies with his head covered? 

Let’s see what the Torah says about a man praying or prophesying with his head covered:

Shemoth (Exodus) 28:3 And you shall speak unto all that are wise hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron’s garments to consecrate himthat he may minister unto me in the priest’s office.

Shemoth (Exodus) 28:4 And these are the garments which they shall make; a breastplate, and an ephod, and a robe, and a broidered coat, a mitre (turban), and a girdle: and they shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, and his sons, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office.

What is the Hebrew word for “mitre?”

It is #4701 in the Hebrew Strong’s Concordance: Mitsnepheth: turban of the High Priest. 

Shemoth (Exodus) 29:6 And you shall put the mitre (turban) upon his head, and put the holy crown upon the mitre (turban).

Shemoth (Exodus) 39:27 And they made coats of fine linen of woven work for Aaron, and for his sons,

Shemoth (Exodus) 39:28 And a mitre (turban) of fine linen, and goodly bonnets of fine linen, and linen breeches of fine twined linen,

Zecharyahuw (Zechariah) 3:5 And I said, Let them set a fair mitre (turban) upon His head. So they set a fair mitre (turban) upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of YHWH stood by.

Aha! So now we understand that Shaul (Paul) was not speaking against men wearing head coverings when they pray or prophesy! He was speaking about being “under one’s head” or the person who is in authority which is Messiah! He is the “head” of the body!

Qolasiym (Colossians) 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the Assembly: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

The Greek word used for “head” as describing our Messiah in Colossians 1:18 is As follows:

#2776. kephale kef-al-ay’ from the primary kapto (in the sense of seizing); the head (as the part most readily taken hold of), literally or figuratively:--head.

As you can see, this word for “head” in Greek can mean literally a person’s skull or figuratively as the person who is in authority over you as your “head.”

The same Greek word kephale is being used in Ephesians 5:23 where Paul is describing the headship of a husband over the wife being like that of Messiah over his Assembly: 

Ephsiym (Ephesians) 5:23 For the husband is the head (kephale) of the wife, even as Mashiyach (Messiah) is the head (kephale) of the Assembly: and he is the saviour of the body.

The Apostle Sha’ul (Paul) uses this same Greek word kephale in 1st Corinthians 11:3-10

1st Qorintiym (Corinthians) 11:

3 But I would have you know, that the head (kephale) of every man is Mashiyach (Messiah); and the head (kephale) of the woman is the man; and the head (kephale) of Mashiyach (Messiah) is Elohyim.

Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonours his head.

5 But every woman that prays or prophesies with her head (kephale) uncovered dishonours her head (kephale): for that is even all one as if she were shaven.

6 For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered.

7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head,(kephale) forasmuch as he is the image and glory of Elohiym: but the woman is the glory of the man.

8 For the man is not of the woman: but the woman of the man.

9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.

10 For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head (kephale) because of the angels.

Now we know why Sha’ul (Paul) says that a woman’s “head” (her authority) must be covered. She must be under her covering (her husband or father) and he must also be under his covering or else that chain of command is broken, and that is how Satan is able to attack the family!

What does he mean when he says “a woman ought to have power on her head because of the angels?” Does a piece of cloth have power over angels? No! 

When Sha’ul says “A woman ought to have power on her head” he is referring to being under the proper chain of command so that the fallen angels can’t have access to her! Do you honestly think that a piece of cloth has supernatural power to protect you from fallen angels? That sounds absurd doesn’t it? 

I have heard people argue that when the Nephilim (fallen angels) in Genesis 6:4 saw women and their beautiful hair, that they lusted after them and desired them. The argument that I hear is that women should wear a head covering to prevent these fallen angels and even men from lusting after them. But that argument falls apart when you realize that if a fallen angel wants to wait until a woman takes a shower, and she has to wash her hair, then she is uncovered and that fallen angel will then have access to her! That argument just does not hold water. 

Also, if a man has a lust problem, he will lust over a woman even when she is covered. I have gone jogging in the dead of winter with a hooded sweatshirt, sweat pants, and a face mask to protect my face from the cold. Even when I was bundled up this way, there were lustful men who would drive by making sexually explicit remarks. Lustful men will be lustful no matter how much a woman is covered! 

Now I am not suggesting that women should dress however they want, without regard to how it may cause a man to stumble. 

Certainly, I believe that women should dress modestly, and she should cover up parts of their body that might cause a man to think lustful thoughts. However, there are those who want to define what modesty looks like, and often-times they are not always basing that on what is truly modest in the eyes of YaHuWaH. 

Often-times these modesty-driven people are trying to draw more attention to themselves by making themselves “appear more holy” than others. Modesty should be defined by scripture, and by the leading of the Holy Spirit. 

We should not allow anybody to force their moral superiority on us, based on some man-made code of conduct. If you want to know is modest, ask your husband or brother if an outfit you are wearing would cause a man to think lustful thoughts. If your husband does not want you to wear something in public that may cause men to lust, listen to him! 

Now let us examine the context of these verses:

1st Qorintiym (Corinthians) 11:

8 For the man is not of the woman: but the woman of the man.

9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.

10 For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head (kephale) because of the angels.

*Note: Notice that he is not talking about veils or hats here. He is talking about the wife being made for the husband in marriage, is he not?

That is why he says this in the following verse:

“For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head (kephale) because of the angels.”

The fallen angels have access to the family when people are not under their proper chain of command, and there is not order in the family. A piece of cloth cannot protect us from fallen angels. How silly for people to think that, huh?

That is why YaHuWaH gave the woman HAIR for her covering:

1st Qorintiym (Corinthians) 11:15 But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.

Her hair is GIVEN TO HER BY YAHUWAH! Her hair is already her covering to symbolize that she is under her husband and her Messiah!

Now, I don’t know about you, but I would rather choose the covering that YaHuWaH has “given me” which is my hair than a covering made by a human being!

An interesting thing that I learned when I decided to look up this verse in the Greek Textus Receptus suggests that women are to prefer their own hair as a covering instead of a man-made cloth.

The Greek word “for” in the following verse, is the word “anti,” which literally means “instead of, in place of, substitute.” The Greek word for “covering” literally means “a veil, or a mantle.”

1st Qorintiym (Corinthians) 11:15 But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for [anti] a covering [veil].

It sounds to me like Elohiym has given women a gift called “hair,” which should not be covered up! I am not suggesting that it is a sin to wear hats or veils. However, our Creator knew that there might be times when a woman has no veil or hat to wear, so he gave us hair as a natural covering.

Now, I will admit that when I pray, I like to wear a prayer shawl or a “tallit” to remind me that I am under the covering of Yahuwshuwa my Messiah. But I will not be put underneath “The doctrine of the Nicolaitanes,” which is something that our Messiah hates:

Chazown (Revelation) 2:15 So have you also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.

The word Nikolaites in Greek is: #3531 and it means: “destruction of the people” and it also means “to conquer or dominate the people.”

This simply means that there are sects out there that want to “force” their beliefs on you and they do not allow you the freedom to be led by the Ruach ha’Qodesh (Holy Spirit) for yourself.

But what did our Messiah tell us?

1st Yahuwchanon (John) 2:27 But the anointing which you have received of him abides in you, and you need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teaches you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it has taught you, you shall abide in him. 

Now if a woman wants to wear a head-covering to remind her of the fact that she is under her husband’s authority and the authority of her Messiah, I see nothing wrong with wearing a head-covering as a reminder. 

However, this is not a commandment in the Torah and people need to stop forcing their beliefs on others and making them feel “less spiritual” for not wearing a head-covering. By turning this “head-covering” issue into a Torah commandment is just wrong and sinful on the part of the people who are doing this. We are commanded not to “add to the word, nor diminish from it:”

Debariym (Deuteronomy) 4:2 You shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall you diminish ought from it, that you may keep the commandments of YHWH your Elohiym which I command you. 

Debariym (Deuteronomy) 12:32 What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: you shall not add thereto, nor diminish from it.

Mishle (Proverbs) 30:6 Add you not unto his words, lest he reprove you, and you be found a liar.

Chazown (Revelation) 22:18 For I testify unto every man that hears the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, Elohiym shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:

Chazown (Revelation) 22:19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, Elohiym shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

It is a very serious matter to add commandments that are not in the Scriptures! You can have curses added to you, and worse yet you can have your name removed from the book of life for removing things from the Scriptures! 

If we use the same logic that men are not allowed to wear a head covering while praying or prophesying then we have to conclude that it is also a sin for a woman to pray or prophesy with her head covered. 

However, since I just established that Sha’ul could not have been speaking about a man’s literal head in 1st Corinthians 11:7, (because Levites wore head coverings while ministering to YaHuWaH in the temple), then it also stands to reason that Sha’ul was not speaking of the literal head or skull of a woman either.

I wear a prayer shawl when I pray to remind myself that I am under the covering of YaHuWaH Elohiym. But sometimes it begins to slip off of my head and after several hours of wearing it, I get hot and sweaty underneath it and I have to take it off, because it distracts me from focusing my attention on YaHuWaH in prayer and hearing his voice.

If a woman wants to cover her head during prayer or prophesying, or even 100% of the time, then she is allowed to do so, but it is wrong for people to put others under this man-made law and treat them as if they are breaking Torah if they choose not to do so. Likewise, if a man wants to wear a prayer shawl or a tallit, he too is allowed to do so. But nobody should be forcing either male or female to wear head coverings full-time or at any time for that matter.

Commandment or Culture?

I have heard the arguments of some people who insist that because there are references to woman wearing a head-covering in scripture that this constitutes a commandment.

Bemidbar (Numbers) 5:18 And the priest shall set the woman before YHWH, and uncover the woman’s head, and put the offering of memorial in her hands, which is the jealousy offering: and the priest shall have in his hand the bitter water that causes the curse:

Now it is unclear throughout the entire context of scripture whether or not this was customary for a woman to cover her head specifically for this “Law of Jealousy.” Was this just a cultural thing for a woman to wear a head-covering 100% of the time? Or did she wear a head-covering only when she went into the temple? Either way, such logic defies the scriptures themselves. 

For if we were to suppose a circumstance found in scripture constitutes a commandment of YaHuWaH, then we are violating Torah for we are commanded not to “add nor diminish” from his word. 

Whether or not women wore head-coverings in those days as the “norm” (because it was their culture), or if it was for this specific “Law of Jealousy” remains unclear. Historically, we know that both men and women wore head coverings almost 100% of the time. But does this mean it was a commandment?

A Royal Priesthood

1st Keefa (Peter) 2:9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show forth the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;

As a royal priesthood after the order of Melchizedek, both male and female are in eternity called to be “priests” and ministers. Are we always on duty? We should be! If we are his royal priests, then we should always be ready to minister to him and to others. 

Does this mean that we should always wear head coverings like the Levites did? That choice is up to you. There is no physical temple standing right now in Yerushalayim (Jerusalem), and our bodies are the Temple for YaHuWaH. 

Are we supposed to take all of the commandments that pertain to the Levites and apply them to the eternal priesthood of Melchizedek? Well, we can within reason, but if we do so, then we would have to do that on every point. 

That would mean that we have to wear the ephod 100% of the time as a breastplate. I personally own a miniature ephod that I wear as a medallion around my neck but does this mean that if I don’t wear it sometimes that I am sinning? How far do we take this?

Within the confines of the marriage relationship, the wife is to be subject to her husband. But outside of the confines of marriage, there is no difference between male and female roles in the body of Messiah, for we are all one:

Galatiym (Galatians) 3:28 There is neither Yahuwdiy (Jew) nor Greekthere is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Mashiyach Yahuwshuwa.

This means that both male and female are seated in heavenly places as his royal priesthood:

Ephsiym (Ephesians) 2:6 And has raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Mashiyach Yahuwshuwa.

As ministers of righteousness and ministers of reconciliation, let us stop seeking to be righteous by the external things that we do and let our righteousness be from the hidden attitude of the heart. 

I see people trying to appear holy and righteous by the external things that they do such as wearing head-coverings, blowing shofars, and of course the wearing of Tziyt-zit (which indeed is a commandment). But if we only appear to be “holy” outwardly by what we wear, and yet we treat the brethren shamefully, we are engaging in nothing more than a costume party!

Our Messiah had a rebuke for those who made themselves appear righteous by the external things that they do, but inwardly they were full of sin:

Mattithyahuw (Matthew) 23:

25 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.

26 You blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.

27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.

28 Even so you also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

*The bottom-line: If you are wearing a head-covering because that is how the Ruach ha’Qodesh (Holy Spirit) is leading you, then by all means, do so! But if you are wearing a full-time head covering in order to fit into your peer group or to appear more righteous or to appear more like a Hebrew, then you are doing so for all of the wrong reasons!

There are people within the Hebraic Root’s Community who are trying to find their “identity” by these external things, and they are trying to make themselves “appear” more Hebrew by what they wear and what they do outwardly. These things are fine to do, but you must make sure that your identity is founded upon one thing alone---that you are a child of the King Messiah Yahuwshuwa!

If you are washed in the blood of the Lamb, and you have been sanctified by the Holy Spirit (1st Peter 1:1-2), then you are called “the elect,” after the foreknowledge of the Father and not merely by what you do or wear. We are justified by our faith in the finished work of the sacrifice of Messiah. And yes, of course we must also “work out our own salvation with fear and trembling” by doing good deeds outwardly.

But let us not forget the weightier matters of the Torah, such as loving your neighbor as yourself. And let us not condemn each other over head-coverings. Especially since this is not even a commandment in the Torah! 

If you wear head-coverings as an outward sign of who you are in Messiah and you are not seeking to make yourself “appear more holy than others” then fine!

But if your righteousness is defined by these external things and you make others feel less spiritual because they do not share your convictions, then chances are, your motives are all wrong. When a person’s conscience has been cleansed, they do not seek to make themselves “appear righteous” by doing external things. If you already know who you are in Messiah, then you do not need to “cover up” a guilty conscience by doing external things. 

There is a difference between doing external things (because you are already righteous by faith), and you find yourself wanting to do those things out of your love for Messiah. 

Versus, someone who has not repented of sin, and yet, they go around forcing others to conform to their wardrobe choices (as a means to making themselves feel better). If you are seeking to sooth a guilty conscience, by forcing others to wear what you wear (and dress the way you dress), then you are in sin.

Anything that you seek to use to make yourself “appear righteous” is nothing but filthy rags!

Yeshayahuw (Isaiah) 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

No comments:

Post a Comment