The Head Covering And God’s Order
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About the author: Brother Greg is the founder of SermonIndex.net which started in December 2002. The ministry began with a burden for true genuine revival from the ministry of Leonard Ravenhill and specifically his book: “Why Revival Tarries.” The ministry of SermonIndex is continually reaching more people with classic preaching from the past and the message of revival.
But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. – 1 Corinthians 11:3
The topic of head covering has never been such a heavily debated topic as in the last 50 years of the Church. Scores of liberal thinking, humanistic and cultural ideas have led to the place where people have repudiated the idea that women should wear head coverings. Multitudes of examples have been given on why someone should not wear a head covering but the interesting fact is very few of these arguments address the clear references to the biblical truth of the meaning behind head covering. Everyone is quick to try and dismiss the need for a piece of cloth on the head yet why is this practice even done in the first place? Some will quickly read over the passage in 1 Corinthians and say it is just a requirement for women to pray in that culture or time. But many statements in the passage clearly show there was a deep spiritual meaning and significance behind the practice. It was not simply a requirement of order for prayer but a much deeper reality of the Church, concerning the angels, and the government of God.
In our modern culture the individual’s rights reign supreme and there is a casting off of restraint, an unwillingness to submit to anyone or anything. This is a republic type thinking where each individual is autonomous, free to have their own rules and ideas. As Christians, though Christ sets us free from the old covenant and the power of sin, yet believers are not free to live any way they please or practice Church as they best see fit. Rather God has established leaders, practices, traditions and godly symbols in the Church that we are to follow, as are all who gather in His Name.
Head Covering is one of the New Covenant practices that God has instituted as a symbol of great significance. In fact, in 1 Corinthians 11:6 we find a statement that seems extreme to our modern minds but should at least give us pause, “If a woman does not cover her head, she should cut off her hair…” Again in verse 10 Paul hints at the importance of the practice by clarifying that, “the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.”
In regard to how universally it was practiced among the early believers, Paul the Apostle was emphatic, “we have no other practice–nor do the churches of God” (1 Corinthians 11:16). If someone was wanting their own way and did not want to submit to this, Paul was saying to the Corinthian believers: if you want to be part of the Church this is the way we are all obeying our Lord.
We should realize there is grace is not being forced to do something, but if our Lord commanded it and all the Churches practice it, there is wisdom in the Lord’s timing to do the same. If we carried the same idea over to water Baptism, and someone simply refused to do this, what would you think? You cannot have your own way, if you commit your life to the Lord, the simple clear command is to be baptized. There should be no fighting or arguing over this. To be dipped in water seems just as strange as to wear a piece of cloth covering the head in the eyes of the world.
Now, let us for a moment look at this matter of God’s government and why it is important for not just sisters in the Church to learn this. We clearly see in this head covering portion of Scripture that God speaks to us about His order of headship. God, Christ, man and then woman. This is not about inferiority but rather role and place. When a sister in the Church obeys the Lord and covers her head she is testifying to God and the unseen realm of her willingness to obey God’s order. Just as Jesus Christ obeyed the Father in Heaven and humbled himself (Philippians 2:1-5).
Watchman Nee speaks of this wonderful responsibility and privilege sisters in the Church have:
“It is the sisters who are responsible to have the sign of obedience upon their heads. God specifically requires women to have their head covered when praying or prophesying. Why? Because they ought to know God’s government when they come before Him. In going before God to pray for people or in going before people to prophesy for God, whether in praying or in prophesying, whether in that which goes to God or in that which comes from God, in whatever is related to God, head covering is demanded. The purpose is to manifest the government of God.” 1) HEAD COVERING, Watchman Nee, accessed July 19, 2015
Just as water Baptism speaks of the new life in Christ, Communion speaks of the death of Christ, Head Covering speaks of God’s order. It is not just a rule that brings pressure on a sister but there is a great spiritual reality that is manifested when this is practiced to the Lord. Sisters should feel greatly humbled to be able to represent this before the world and angels as a testimony of obedience. See the great spiritual meaning behind the practice, just like Baptism or Communion, it will set you free on a wonderful journey with the Lord to see really why this practice is there. God has a significant role for each part and member in the body of Christ and only as a whole can we fulfill God’s eternal purpose (Ephesians 3:11).