Whenever the Scriptures speak of a "covering", we should pay close attention. The "coverings" of God from Genesis to Revelation are highly significant and none of them are without deep meaning. Repeatedly these "coverings" are in pairs, in twos, a first and a second, a natural and a spiritual. And repeatedly if "coverings" are not in place, or are removed, judgment results.
The Important Principles of Coverings
The Hebrew word translated "atone" (and "atonement") in the Scriptures is "kaphar" which means "cover". The plural form of "kaphar" is "Kippurim" which means "coverings". Another form in Hebrew is "kopher" which means "cover" or "redeem". Understanding our urgent need for "atonement", "redemption", or "covering" is one of the most important basic principles in the Scriptures. Therefore, our ears and hearts should be at full attention any time the Scriptures speak of a "covering".
The most important day of the year to the Hebrews was called The Day of Atonement ("Yom Kippurim") which literally means, "The Day of Coverings." The Day of Coverings was a time of humility and repentance. On this day Israel sought forgiveness or literally a covering for their sins and rested from their own works (and glories) to concentrate on God and their relationship with Him.
In the Garden in Eden God set a foundation principle by providing fallen Adam and Eve with coverings from a slain lamb which pointed toward atonement in Christ.
In Gen. 6:14, God instructed Noah that in building the ark he "shalt pitch ["kaphar"] within and without with pitch [kopher]". The ark was to have two coverings for a defense against the waters of judgment, one on the outside and one on the inside.
Coverings for a "defense" is a basic principle in the Scriptures:
As with Noah's ark, the design of the Tabernacle in the wilderness where God provided a place where Israel could meet with Him was also a place where coverings taught profound lessons. Basically, the Tabernacle had:
If you are in the Tabernacle of God, you are in a covered and privileged place.
The curtains around the Tabernacle were often referred to as coverings (Psa. 61:4, Psa. 91:4).
The first top or roof covering was the Tabernacle covering or the "miskan" and the second roof covering, the "ohel", was a shorter tent covering that covered over the top of the miskan and hung part of the way down each side [looking very similar to the veil over the head of a woman]. The second roof covering, the "ohel", could be seen from far off - it was conspicuous. The second "ohel" covering hid and protected the glories of the Tabernacle. (Remember the principle that upon all the glory shall be a covering.)
The two veils in the Tabernacle are highly significant. The first veil was an entrance into the "holy" place. The "second veil" (Heb. 9:3,7) which was the entrance into the "most holy" was also called "the covering vail" in Num. 4:5 because it was used to cover the ark of the testimony when the encampment was moved.
It was on the "second veil" that Cherubim (symbols of the angels) were embroidered, signifying "the Way" into the most holy was "kept". It was the Cherubim that were charged from the foundation of the world to "keep the Way of the Tree of Life."
The Two Coverings in 1 Cor. 11:1-16
This golden theme of "coverings" weaves its beautiful thread through the Scriptures continuing in 1 Cor. 11:1-16 where two coverings are again specified.
These two distinct coverings are represented by two different Greek words used to distinguish each one in the passage in 1 Cor.:
The intended (and commanded) covering in the ecclesial meeting then is the "katakalupto", the head covering or veil. No other custom or practice is recognized in the ecclesia of God. That all the ecclesias in the body of Christ are to have the same approach to this headcovering issue (1 Cor. 11:16) agrees with the issue of a woman's silence in the ecclesial meetings which was also recognized to be "as in all churches of the saints" (1 Cor. 14:34).
We are in the epoch of time in God's plan where God now orders and establishes His congregation, or ecclesia, around a new and living way through the precious blood of the New Covenant in Christ Jesus. In Christ Jesus we are now able to see clearly the shadows of the lessons of coverings and redemption stamped on Noah's Ark and the Tabernacle in the wilderness. Now, in Christ, we have all of the safe keeping of the Ark and a much better and closer access to God than in the Tabernacle. Now, in Christ, it is the congregation of God's chosen people themselves that make up the temple of the living God (2 Cor. 6:16, 1 Cor. 3:16).
In 1 Cor. 11:1-16 God, through the apostle Paul, gives the proper "order" and design that should be conspicuous when God's chosen people come together into one place to form before God, Christ and the Angels that temple in which they worship and approach unto God in His appointed way.
This temple is pictured as a "body" and styled "the body of Christ" (1 Cor. 10:15-17, 1 Cor. 12:27, Eph. 4:12, Eph. 5), of which Christ is the head. The proper order of submission is clearly stated:
First Cor. 11 verses 11 and 12 show that the reasons for a woman's headcovering are rooted all the way back to Eden, where the "coverings" principle also originated.
Until the Kingdom come when "male and female" will have "dominion . . . over all the earth" together as one, we women must recognize our role and position inherent upon us in Eve's creation:
Why is it that submission to our God-appointed head is sometimes so hard to be accepted by many women (and even some sisters)? Every man and woman is subject to someone. Even Christ, our exalted savior and the coming King of all the earth, is subject to his Father, Yahweh (1 Cor. 15:28) and always will be.
The Important Principles of Glory
All glory comes from God and is to be given to God. Because we are His creation, bits of glory may be assigned to us by God. However, all glory is to be willingly returned to God. There are two foundation principles relating to glory:
There are several notable examples of severe judgment on those who did not return to God the glory due to Him. For example, King Herod took glory unto himself and was eaten by worms in Acts 12:20-23. (Compare the frantic and horrified reaction of Paul and Barnabas not to take glory to themselves when the people tried to glorify them in like manner as they had glorified Herod in Acts 14:11-18.)
So it follows that in the public assembly of the saints, in the presence of
it is entirely appropriate and respectful to cover the glory of man - the woman's hair - "that no flesh should glory in his presence" (1 Cor. 1:19-31).
When we sisters place our headcovering over our hair of glory when we are preparing to meet "in ecclesia" these two verses are helpful to memorize and repeat in the heart:
"Because of the Angels"
Mentioning the involvement of angels (1 Cor. 11:10) in these activities shows the seriousness of the headcovering. The context brings us back to the Garden in Eden. It is the ever-obedient incorruptible angels who are capable of reflecting the glory of God. This was evident to Eve who desired to be equal to the angels and take this glory unto herself. We all know the disastrous consequences of this way of thinking (Acts 12:20-23). The headcovering is a symbol that we have learned through Christ that in order to reflect the glory of God we must be obedient to God's laws. It is with this (unique) humble way of thinking that the "second" spiritual headcovering is concerned. Angels know no insubordination (nor did Christ). Bro. Lewis puts it this way in "Man and Woman", p. 98:
"Therefore, "because of the angels" she covers her head, stating that she accepts the role in the Divine scheme that the Lord has asked her to take. It is an expression of her spirit, her way of thinking; she is seeing to it that human glory is put away that the glory of God may reign supreme."
It was on the "second veil" in the Tabernacle that Cherubim (symbols of the angels) were embroidered, signifying "the Way" into the most holy was "kept" by them. It was the Cherubim that were charged from the foundation of the world to "keep the Way of the Tree of Life."
There is indeed power and authority available to the woman to become equal to the angels through that "second veil" which Heb. 10:20 defines as Christ's flesh. But that power must come from putting on the mind of Christ - total submission to God. When Eve stepped out of the line of authority designated by God through the angels and adopted a way of thinking that would glorify herself, the result was nakedness, weakness and death. If we adopt Christ's obedient and submissive way of thinking, the result will be (by Yahweh's grace) that we will become covered, powerful, and living - like unto the angels.
For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. (2 Cor. 4:6-7)
When a woman comes together with the body of Christ "in ecclesia" to approach near to Yahweh through His Word and prayer, to meet with Him through His Mercy Seat, Christ Jesus, it is synonymous with entering into the "most holy" through the "second veil". It is needful at such a time to seek only to glorify God - like the angels.
The headcovering is an outward expression that the woman has control of ("power over") her tendencies to usurp authority and seeks to be submissive to God's order and obedient to God's righteous ways. This is the only true "Way" to future power, authority and glory. The headcovering is an outward expression of an inward position because of the angels.
Practical Applications - What to Wear? and When?
What type of covering should be worn? This would be mainly up to the personal conscience of each sister. A veil or scarf seem to line up more closely with the Greek word used in 1 Cor. 11. However, a feminine, modest hat or beret would also serve as a head covering if most of the sister's hair was tucked up underneath it.
Whatever we choose as the form of our obedience should be something that is evident as a meaningful visible symbol that can be recognized as a covering of the head and hair that is distinctive to women and that serves to veil her glory (and not add to it).
When exactly should a sister wear a head covering? A sister should cover her hair and head (and remain still and silent) whenever the ecclesia is called together into one place to worship, learn or be comforted. Bro. Michael Lewis defines this as "in ecclesia" in his excellent book, "Man and Woman" in the section "What is an ecclesial meeting?" starting on page 74. Certainly all the explicit signs (women covered and silent) of the hierarchy between men and women are to be in order when believers are "in ecclesia". When men (whom God has given the responsibility of headship) "permit" [turn over to] the women to step out of this order with exposed glory and voice, it is a "shame" [or deformity] in the body.
Public worship is clear but what about private worship? Bro. Ron Abel in his book, "Let Her be Covered" details the Scriptural solution to this question: "The instructions of 1 Cor. 11 relate to [all] ecclesial meetings not to private prayer." He goes on to say that "should a sister wish to extend the wearing of her head covering from public to private worship, this is her liberty. . ." We know of several sisters that make it a personal practice to cover their heads when private prayers are given. We consider this a lovely and honorable practice. This voluntary practice (of extending the wearing of an head covering from public to private worship) openly witnesses an outward evidence of an inward position of dedication and desire to fill the sphere of life designated by God's order. Of course this same open witness of an inward position is shown forth when the sisters obey the headcovering "ordinance" in public worship.
The Type of The Humble Hidden Bride
Of all the many Biblical types teaching us about the significance of the woman's head covering in the Ecclesia, the "Hidden Bride" is one of the most beautiful. It is a good type to remember each time we sisters place a covering over our hair and voluntarily keep still and silent in the Ecclesial meetings. What a privileged position is bestowed upon the women in the Ecclesia to type what we all hope for - to be the faithful Bride.
The Identity of the Bride is Concealed
In this age before the return of Christ when the Ecclesia, the Body of Christ (1 Cor. 10:15-17, 1 Cor. 12:27, Eph. 4:12, Eph. 5), is completing its work, the identity of those faithful brethren and sisters within the Body that will become His Bride is concealed and not yet revealed upon earth. When Christ returns He will redeem His Bride out of the Ecclesia, the Body of Christ, with "an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away". This eternal inheritance is now "reserved in heaven for" those who will make up the Bride, "who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." (1 Pet. 1:4, see also Rom. 8:7-19, 29-30.)
So when the members of the Body of Christ are called together into one place, Yahweh has specifically arranged an order that shows forth the women as typical of the hidden, silent, meek, covered, modest, listening Bride. This is Yahweh's Plan and it is beautiful in His sight.
Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. 1 Pet. 3:3-4
Behold thou desireth truth in the inward parts and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. Psa. 51:6
There are many varying responses today by the Body of Christ to these instructions for women to be silent (1 Cor. 14:34-35) and covered (1 Cor. 11: 1-16) in the Ecclesial meetings, from strict reverent adherence to total disregard. But from a prophetic standpoint which reveals the Plan and Purpose of Yahweh, obeying this instruction is remarkable open testimony that a feminine bride is hidden in the body, not heard from, and even up to now unseen: a rare lily who has not yet blossomed, whose beauty is concealed as yet on the inside, seen only by the eyes of Yahweh and His Son, the Bridegroom.
In Canticles, Solomon, who had much to do with lily work . . . in the building of the temple, makes the Bridegroom term the Bride the Lily; and speaking of herself, she says, "I am . . . a lily of the valley. And in another part of this Song of Songs, the bridegroom says of the saints forming collectively the Bride, A garden enclosed is my sister spouse; a spring locked up, a fountain sealed. Thy shoots are plants of Paradise. . . (Bro. John Thomas, Eureka; see also Song of Solomon 2:1-2; 6:2-3; Hosea 14:4-7; 1 Kings 7:19-22)
Adam's Bride/Christ's Bride
The first Adam and the last Adam, Christ, provide the instruction that their brides will be taken out of the side of their body. What Yahweh performed in Gen. 2:21-22 in taking Adam's bride out of his side is a pattern for what Yahweh would do in providing a bride for the second Adam, Christ (John 19:32-34). Even as the first Adam was put to sleep and a rib was removed from his side in order to fashion a bride for him; likewise, the last Adam, Christ, was put to sleep in death and a spear went between His ribs into His side, and out came the provision for the creation of His bride - blood and water.
Adam's bride was not revealed until after Adam had finished his labors in the Garden in Eden of providing names for "all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field" which Yahweh had brought to him (Gen. 2:18-20).
Even so in the last Adam we find Christ's labor beginning at the age of thirty and continuing for three and a half years until he finished each and every work His Father gave him to do.
Adam was created, completed his work and then his bride was created. They were not created at the same time. The time of Adam's work came in between his creation and the creation of the woman.
The last Adam, Christ, was made a quickening spirit, a new creation, and the work of the Body of Christ precedes the creation and the revealing of the Bride of Christ.
The Ecclesia today is the Body of Christ which has been laboring now for some 2,000 years. When the work of the Ecclesia is complete, the Bride will be taken out of the Body of Christ at the Judgment. It is then that the identity, glory, beauty and new authority of the Bride will be revealed in the earth. It is then that the Bride will be Christ's spokesmen and powerful, mighty leaders in the earth. It is then that the men and women who make up the multitudinous Bride will be equal and made one in Christ Jesus. If we hope to be a part of this glorious Bride, we must now humbly and willingly take the lowest place.
The Lowest Place
We recently studied the parable of "The Lowest Place" in our Nazareth Revisited Ecclesial class. Our Lord, the Son of the Most High God, humbly chose the lowest place throughout his life on earth, and especially in his death. As Bro. Harry Tennant beautifully puts it in his book, The Man David,
"Having become the servant of all; he [Christ] had taken the lowest place. From the height of heaven the Spirit of God came to his lifeless body in the tomb of Gesthsemane and called him to come forth. 'Friend, come up higher,' the words of the Lord's own parable, were exquisitely fulfilled in the Master himself."
Phil. 2:6-11 - "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not [something to be grasped at] to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."
"Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
Many women in the world chaff at being in the lowest place (Gen. 3:16, 1 Pet. 3:7, 1 Cor. 11:3). Not so the Bride of Christ, which we sisters are honored to represent in the Ecclesia. Many women despise their place in creation and earnestly seek "to grasp at" being equal to men in this present age. Not so the daughters of Yahweh who understand that this equality is a promised future reward and joyfully accept the mind of Christ and count it an honor to take the lowest place for now. It is necessary for the women in the Ecclesia to be in the lowest place in order to represent the humble Bride of Christ who will in due time be highly exalted. (Luke 18:14, 1 Pet. 5:5-6, James 4:10, Prov. 15:33, Prov. 18:12)
What an honored privilege is bestowed on sisters to represent within the Body of Christ the attitude of those who will make up the Bride of Christ. Those who quietly and humbly join their Lord in taking the lowest place for now, convinced by faith that in due time they will be exalted - highly exalted. Understanding and believing that when the work of the Ecclesia is complete, the meek ones will indeed inherit the earth and their glory, authority and identity will be revealed to all the earth. But before honor, is humility (Prov. 15:33 and 18:12).
So each time we sisters take our quiet, covered place in the Ecclesial body, the Body of Christ, we are filled with joy at the wonder that we (who are in the lowest place) are so blessed to be in the honored position to represent the listening, concealed, Hidden Bride, whose inward beauty is greatly desired by our coming Bridegroom (Psa. 45:11) and precious now in the sight of Yahweh (1 Pet. 3:4).
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