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Welcome to Home Shalom and Shalom Farm. We pray your visit here be blessed. We are learning to walk in the Ways (Torah) of our Father YHWH and follow Y'shua, His Messiah until He returns to "set things straight". We call it a "Messi-Life". Our walk is neither tidy nor perfect, but it is filled with passion, devotion and desire to serve our King. We are learning to be humble servants, and to be good stewards of the things that He has entrusted to us: His Word, our marriage, our children, our family, our community, our health, and our farm. Hitch your horse and stay a while--our door is always open!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Covering Concerning the Angels and Culture

What does 'because of the angels' mean in 1 Corinthians 11:10?

In 1 Corinthians 11:10 Paul writes, διὰ τοῦτο ὀφείλει ἡ γυνὴ ἐξουσίαν ἔχειν ἐπὶ τῆς κεφαλῆς διὰ τοὺς ἀγγέλους. "For this reason the woman should have [a sign of the man's] authority on her head, because of the angels."

This is not any easy verse (or chapter for that matter) to understand at face value…and I am afraid I will still leave this article without having full confidence that my own understanding is complete. However, I will share with you what I have discovered thus far, as I am further along then when I started. So for that I am thankful! If you know me…I seek to understand the context of Scripture when I study it. Who is writing, to whom, when and in what setting. What is the purpose of the text and the scheme of Scripture. I have learned that this makes a huge difference in understanding Scriptures as they were written. For instance, Paul is writing a letter here to believer in Corinth, in the period of the after Yahshua had come and gone (was resurrected). Paul was a leader, raised and trained as a pharisee and zealous for Torah (self described) and for testifying to Yahshua as Messiah. He had a born again experience on the road to Damascus before this and is revered and looked up to by those who also chose to follow Yahshua and believed He is/was YHVH's Messiah. Paul was mentoring several churches in several locations traveling to and fro to minister to them, as they try to follow pure Torah (leaving the man made trappings of Judaism behind) and living out Yahshua’s example and share it with others. They are learning how to manage community and “outsiders” who are not trained in Torah and who bring with them their pagan ways and conflicting cultures and ideas. These people were joining their groups in what seemed like “alarming rates”. They are learning how to walk in the Spirit which has been released to man like no other time in history. They have expressed concerns to Paul about things happening in Corinth…We do not have the correspondence TO Paul…so we don’t know exactly what their situation was…which is the case with all the letters to the churches from Paul in the NT…however, we try to understand the best we can with what we’ve got. It is clear that there was some sort of conflict with how the women were conducting themselves in the assembly which was causing conflict…that is safe to say.So now that we have a little background, I encourage you to read 1 Cor 11 in context before proceeding.

Several explanations have been offered by scholars, but the most widely agreed upon is this: In Jewish tradition, and also in the early Church, angels are said to be present at sacred gatherings and sacred times, to watch over and to join with the saints in their spiritual exercises. Any serious offense against propriety during these sacred moments will stir up the disapproval of these angelic helpers of the saints, perhaps causing them to depart; and any good deed they witness will bring all the more aid from them. There are quite a few examples of angels as mediators between YHVH and man in Scripture.

In view of all this, it is not surprising to find a reference to the angels in the context of 1 Corinthians 11, where Paul addresses the subject of "praying and prophesying" among the saints.

The angels serve as mediators in both of these spiritual activities (praying and prophesying). Just for an example, here are some Scriptures that list activities of the angels with the YHVH's people: Ezekiel 40:3, Daniel 8:16, 9:21-22, 10:5-6, Zechariah 1:8-9, 2:1-3, etc. And also revelation is given to men through angels in Matthew 1:20, Luke 1:11, Luke 2:9-10, Acts 7:53, Acts 10:3-4, Galatians 3:19, Hebrews 2:2, Revelation 1:1, Revelation 8:2-4 , etc.

Michael Marlow from Bible-Researcher.com writes on his study of this topic: “….these passages suggest that among Jews of the first century, Paul's expression "because of the Angels" may have been a conventional way of referring to the requirements of a sacred gathering. It would be quite natural to extend the concept, in a less stringent way, to all gatherings in which prayer is offered. And so we might speculate that, by using this phrase, Paul means to say that if some unruly Corinthian women scorn the Church's "dress code" in the prayer meetings, this tends to violate the sacred spirit of the gathering—especially if they are overly bold to take a leading part in the meetings, offering prayers on behalf of the men, and so forth. Surely the angels will frown on it! Under this interpretation we would have to assume that among the Corinthians the expression "because of the angels" would have been understood in this way, through Paul's prior use of the phrase in his ministry among them.

As I indicated above, this is the interpretation accepted by most New Testament scholars. Although it is uncertain, there does not seem to be a better explanation of Paul's phrase.”

Now another resource (of many) we often like to consult is the Aramaic New Testament it has a very cultural perspective on the NT which is so often clouded by the Greek and Church Doctrinal influences. It uses the Aramaic Pashitta as its original source of the text and it explains things from a very Hebraic understanding fo the culture. Since the NT still takes place in that culture primarily it sheds light into the context of things which have not been so easy to clarify and I think the Christian Pastors and all who study Yah's word would be wise to add it to their reference materials in studying Scriptures. Below I am sharing an excerpt as to some things explained in the appendix of the Aramaic New Testament on the topic of 'head covering' and maybe you will see what I mean. Now the below writing focuses on head covering for men because that is the context in which Scripture discusses it! I encourage you to read it so that you may more fully understand the context of what Paul is writing to whom. And how it all fits in the big picture. We believe it to be very relevant and very revealing. :

Head Coverings

1 Corinthians 11:4 "Any man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head,"
Much of the contention among believers who wear and those who do not wear head coverings is based on this verse. Be as we investigated this matter it becomes very obvious that Rav Shaul (Paul) made this statement in the context of what was happening at the local level and he also states that no one has any right, whatsoever, to be contentious about it.

YHVH commanded His priesthood to wear head coverings. : " And these are the garments which they shall make; a breast plate, and an ephod, and a robe and embroidered coat, a mitre and a girdle: and they shall make a holy garment for Aaron" (Exodus 28:4)

The High Priest wore a nezer (crown) on top of their mitre or turban; " And you shall put the mitre upon his head, and put the holy nezir (crown) upon the mitre" (Exodus 29:6; 39:30;31; Leviticus 8:9) The Hebrew 'nezer' comes from the word 'nezar' which means to separate and, of course, this head covering and crown distinguishes the High Priest as seperated unto YHWH. All the sons of Aaron wore head coverings or turbans; "And for Aarons sons you shall make coats, and you shall make for them girdles, and turbans shall you make for them, for glory and for beauty. And you shall put them upon Aaron your brother and his sons with him." (Exodus 28:40-41) (See also Leviticus 8:13 and Ezekial 44:18.)

The High Priest was not permitted to remove his head covering even in time of mourning for a loved one: " And he that is the High Priest among his brethren, upon whose head the anointed oil was poured, and that is consecrated to put on the garments, shall not uncover his head, nor rend his clothes". (Leviticus 21:10) According to Scripture Aaron and his sons wore their head coverings before YHWH while they served in the tabernacle, and while Aaron was in the Holy of Holies, see Exodus 29: 38,43. From these verses a vivid picture emerges of these men wearing head coverings while they served YHWH and prayed and conducted their official duties. It is also interesting to note, then, that by the rules of Leviticus 21:10, High Priest Khayapa was in direct violation of a command not to tear his clothes when Y'shua gave an answer he did not like! (Matthew 26:65/Mark 14:63)

Head coverings and garments symbolized a priests receipt of YHWH's authority and were spiritual "crowns" He gave each of them. Notice also two distinctions in the head coverings: "And you shall make a plate of pure gold and grave upon it, like the engravings of a signet, "Qodesh l'YHWH" (Exodus 28:36). The words "Set Apart Unto YHWH" signifies a very distinct designation of ownership and belonging to YHWH. As Aaron filled his role as a high priest he was emulating YHWH's Attributes to the people of Israel and YHWH's Name was foremost upon His mind.

Aaron's garments symbolized the robes of the great multitude: "And after these things, I looked, and lo, a great multitude which no one could number, from all kindreds and nations and tribes and tongues; who stood before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palms in their hands" (Revelation 22:4) The white robes distinguish YHWH's people and are symbolic of the spiritual man. Furthermore we read in the Renewed Covenant writing about the crown of rejoicing, the crown of righteousness, the crown of life, the crown of glory and also of the "...twenty and four Elders, who were clothed in white robes, and on whose heads were crowns of gold" (Revelation 4:4) Therefore not only the garments but the head coverings are mentioned at a time in the future for those who live according to Mashiayach. (Messiah) And those two are born in the kingdom of Elohim, "...will see his face, and his name (will be) on their foreheads" (Revelation 22:4)

Here is another distinction for priests head coverings: " And you shall put it on a blue lace, that it may be upon the mitre; upon the forfront of the mitre it shall be" (Exodus 28:36) Those who are familiar with Tzit Tzit - the fringes which contain a blue thread as a reminder of all of YHWH's commandments (Matthew 9:20)- will immediately identify the importance of the blue lace one the forefront of the mitre. In others words, the head covering was a very special item given by YHWH to the priests to remind them of who they were in Him.

Scriptures indicate that covering the head while praying is showing brokenness and humility while petitioning Elohim: " And David went up by the ascent of Mt. Olive, and wept as he went up, and had his head capheh (covered), and he went barefoot: and all the people that were with him covered every man his head, and they went up, weeping as they went up" (2 Samuel 15:30) At times of deep anguish and mourning elders of Israel put dust upon their heads while petitioning YHWH: " And Joshua rent his clothes, and fell to the earth upon his face before the ark of YHWH until the eventide, he and the elders of Israel, and put dust upon their heads" (Joshua 7:6) (See also Job 2:12; Lam 2:10; Amos 2:7) Putting dust upon the head symbolizes mankind's human nature as dust before YHWH who is powerless without YHWH's help.

In Psalm 140:7 we read that YHWH covered or defended David's head when he went into battle: "O YHWH, my master the strength of my salvation, you have covered my head in the day of battle." The imagery here is manifold as David unashamedly declared that YHWH wins his battles and that he as the anointed King of Israel wore a crown that symbolized the authority YHWH gave him (See Psalm 110:1).

In Daniel 3:21 We see how the king of Babylon ordered three Jews to be thrown into the fiery furnace, turbans and all: "Then these men were bound in their coats, their tunics, and their turbans, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace." This is further proof like other cultures with their own respective head covering customs, righteous Jews also wore head coverings.

Zechariah had a vision of Joshua the High Priest wearing a head covering: "And I said, let them set a fair Mitre upon his head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. and the Angel of YHWH stood by." (Zachariah 3:5)

In the light of what Scripture teaches about head coverings we must consider Raz Shaul's letter to the spiritually "deteriorated" Corinthians who "were pagans....led away by idols" and were practicing high-handed rebellion against Mashiyach. Here we discover that other cultures boasted their own head coverings and had very different values than what YHWH had instructed. Rav Shaul wrote: "In short, it is reported, there is sexual sin among you; and such sexual sin is not even named among the pagans, that a son should even take the wife of his father. And you are puffed up, and have not rather sat down in grief, that he who has done this deed might be separated from you." (1 Corinthians 5: 1, 2) If the recipients of this letter were even worse than unregenerate pagans, then their particular use of "head coverings" must not apply to all households of the righteous. Rav Shaul would never honor unregenerate souls by using them as model examples for all other assemblies. In reality some pagans (and Jews) abused Jewish customs as a way of renouncing the "G-d of the Jews" and thus showing their displeasure towards YHWH's Word.

Greek scholars point out that the use of katakalupto for the male "covering" and peribolaion fpr the female "covering" may have indicated something beneath the text. Apparently men would wear veils when worshipping pagan female deities to look femanine; and Rav Shaul, of course, taught against this practice. Pagans were known to wear clothing of the opposite sex while performing perverse sexual rituals. In this passage Rav Shaul does not distinguish the type of head coverings the men wear wearing or the reason they were wearing long hair, but given the culture they came out of it is easy to see that what they were doing had nothing to do with the Jewish practices. Also, he would have been a hypocrite if on one hand he renounced all long hair on men while also participating in Nazerite offerings. (Acts 21:24) Rav Shaul clearly reprimands certain individuals for their "Impurity, the sexual sin, and lustful acts" (2 Corinthians 12:21).

The bottom line is, in light of what the Scriptures tell us, it would be very reckless to conclude that Rav Shaul sent out a blanket halakha for all men everywhere to stop wearing all manner of "head coverings" while praying. YHWH sanctified head coverings as a apart of man's service unto Him. If Rav Shaul's directive (the temple was in operation when he wrote this letter) was levied to "every man", than he would have also had two or three witnesses establish the matter as halakha (Matthew 18:20). In reality Rav Shaul would have appealed to Ya'akov Ha Tsaddiq and other Shlichim in Jerusalem to establish such a directive. But in fact just a few verses later Rav Shaul issues this statement, "But if any one is contentious about these things, we on our part have no such custom, nor has the assembly of Elohim" (1 Corinthians 11:16) In other words, whatever these people were doing it had not been a custom of the Jews, or any assembly of Elohim prior to this.

Furthermore, the wearing of head coverings by observant Jews and Christians hierarchies neither validates nor invalidates YHWH's authority. In reality, there are two main purposes for religious men to wear head coverings. First it is to symbolize their authority in their organisations where only the hierarchy is allowed to wear head coverings. Secondly, some men wear the head coverings as a reminder that the Master is above them. Like tzit tzit, the head covering reminds them to heed what comes out of their mouths and to judge their actions and cause them to maintain thoughts that are pleasing unto YHWH.

Rav Shaul taught: "But if any one is contentious about these things, we on our part have no such custom, nor has the assembly of Elohim" (1 Corinthians 11:16) Clearly if anyone wants to be contentious about these matters they can not presume to use Rav Shual as their authority.



An article by Michael Marlowe at http://www.bible-researcher.com/angels.html
I found his article helpful, but very academic (i.e. DRY) and included lots of historical references from other sources which are helpful and seeing how things were viewed to try to understand the context of what Paul is his letter to Corinth.

For further reading on the place of the angels in Judaism and early Christianity you might consider reading a resource receommended by Marlowe - http://www.abu.nb.ca/Courses/NewTestament/Hebrews/Angels.htm , it is another very academic (DRY) and very thorough study – so it isn’t a quick read, but it is interesting to say the least.

Do you still love me?? :-)


Michelle said...

Very interesting! I am undecided on headcoverings. Paul is saying something but I am unsure because it is not a command in Torah (for women) and the Torah has to be our standard in all that we do. We can't add to it or take away from it. Torah is our measuring stick against all other Scripture. =)

Mommy Set Free said...


I absolutely agree completly. I hope that this study actually helps people to see that!

Covering one's head is not commanded in Torah for woman and for men it was specified for the Levites in Torah. It is a disputable matter though, as to how we "rate" as being a named a "kingdom of priests" in the Renewed Covenant. In light of that...I could easily accept one's desire to cover as an expression of that, also to express being set apart (which is what the Spirit put in my heart when I wrestled Him on the call to cover)...A command for all - no...but lets get real...we all do things as expressions of our love and worship for Him that are "spelled out" in Torah. And I beleive that is permittedand even pleasing to Him - especially if HE is glorified or it is an act of personal obediance to the work of teh Spirit in ones own life...AS LONG AS we don't go saying that YHVH commanded it or it is "required" -when in fact it wasn't.

I cover..but make sure that people know that is my position. Because I believe many people are decieved in that area. My husband does not cover (at the time of this writing) not do our children...but we all wear tzit tzit - that is a specific command...Oranges an apples as far we undersatnd it...

Michelle said...

I knew you covered, so I was not sure of your stance ~ what you said is very well said and I agree wholeheartedly! I have been undecided because of just what you said ~ being cohenim in the kingdom.

I like how you said that you could easily accept it as an expression of one's desire to be set-apart ~ because we do have much freedom in Torah! ~ as long as we are careful to not impose our halacha on others ~ like you said.

I like to cover because it reminds me of my role as a wife with my husband as my covering. I needed this reminder because I went through a season in my life where I had to be self-reliant and became very independent. I have had to learn to step down, look to my husband and help him step up into his role as my husband. =)

Andi said...

I still love you! And I find it thought provoking and interesting also....one that will give me something to think on for a while....thank you for taking the time...to write it and to share it!
Shalom Pamela!

Anonymous said...

I do appreciate what you've written here and also appreciated the link in your sidebar to A Pondering Heart and the post Jocelyn did about covering.
I do cover sometimes--mostly on the Sabbath, but occasionally at other times too. I did feel more of a desire to do so after reading Jocelyn's post because I want to honor my dh, but after reading your post today, I see that it could also be an expression of my love for YHVH-even though it is not a command.
I'm not sure that I would ever get to a place where I covered every day though--mostly because I often end up with a headache when I do cover. :-/ But you never know. One thing I have learned is to never say never. ;-D

CarmenV said...

Dear sister, thank you for your article. I have not been able to read it in one sitting and would like to read it again. Much to ponder and pray about. Especially the headcovering for men. Another study on this for sure.

I too agree as scripture reveals, covering is not a commandment. Some days I feel led to cover and some days I don't and no longer wear my hear loose except maybe in our house.

I will read the article again and maybe come back Pamela.

many blessings