Head Coverings and Women
This whole Corinthians discussion by Paul is not a discussion about head coverings, either literal or figurative, but about the authority of a man over his wife. It was a discussion of the roles of men and women, and the line of authority: God, Christ, the man, the woman. If it was talking about a physical head covering, then how do you explain the statement by Paul (vs 4) that if a man covers his head, he dishonours it.
But God covered the heads of the priests with turbans in the earthly sanctuary, and their dress (including the head covering) was given them for “glory and beauty”. If it was dishonouring in the Christian church time, why was it considered glory and beauty in Israel’s time? God doesn’t change. Notice that none of the “covering” root Greek words are words for a literal head covering until it gets to verse 15, where it talks about the literal head covering of a woman’s long hair.
The covering in the rest of the chapter is talking about the figurative covering of the authority of the man over the woman. Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered (literally, “under”), dishonoureth his head. If he is under the authority of a woman, he dishonours his head–Christ. Because the head of the man is Christ. A woman who speaks out of turn, against the wishes of her husband, is dishonouring her head–which is the man.
The woman’s physical covering of hair is an illustration of the symbolic “covering” of her husband’s headship over her. Just as nature teaches us that a woman’s long hair is a beauty and a glory to her, so it is right for a woman to be submission to her husband.
There is another area of covering which the bible defines as a principle which we want to absorb in the light of Gods form of covering to do with holiness and the position of honour.
1 Corinthians 11:4 Every man praying or prophesying, having [his] head covered, dishonoureth his head.
11:5 But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with [her] head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.
11:6 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.
11:13 Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered?
11:14 Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?
11:15 But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for [her] hair is given her for a covering.
This covering of a woman is taken to do with the glory of Gods form of covering.
1 Corinthians 11:7 For a man indeed ought not to cover [his] head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.
11:8 For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man.
11:9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.
11:10 For this cause ought the woman to have power on [her] head because of the angels.
Because of the woman’s position she ought to have power on her head because of the angels. It is a covering signifying that she is under the power of her husband because of the angels. How does this relate to angels? What do angels have to do with it? Because of Gods form of positioning and the creation he has created, the head of every man is Christ. Who is the head of Christ? The head of every man is Christ and the head of every woman is man. The angels who are commissioned to do service for God are dependent on the sign to the people they are serving. The sign that this woman is submissive to Gods order is her long hair. When they see a woman with her hair as a covering, then they can see this is the power on her head. This is the indication that she recognises Gods form of government. We live in a time today when women don’t like that very much and the angels can’t work very well with that rebellious spirit. This kind of insubordination has to do with our dress. It reveals the characteristic of the women of modern society.
Isaiah 3:16 Moreover the LORD saith, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing [as] they go, and making a tinkling with their feet:
3:17 Therefore the Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the LORD will discover their secret parts.
3:18 In that day the Lord will take away the bravery of [their] tinkling ornaments [about their feet], and [their] cauls, and [their] round tires like the moon,
3:19 The chains, and the bracelets, and the mufflers,
3:20 The bonnets, and the ornaments of the legs, and the headbands, and the tablets, and the earrings,
3:21 The rings, and nose jewels,
3:22 The changeable suits of apparel, and the mantles, and the wimples, and the crisping pins,
3:23 The glasses, and the fine linen, and the hoods, and the veils.
3:24 And it shall come to pass, [that] instead of sweet smell there shall be stink; and instead of a girdle a rent; and instead of well set hair baldness; and instead of a stomacher a girding of sackcloth; [and] burning instead of beauty.
It is worth studying to see Gods mentality in this. God is particular and the angels are connected with it because when the angels worship God and relate in heaven, notice what they do in full respect and honour of their position;
Isaiah 6:2 Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.
6:3 And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, [is] the LORD of hosts: the whole earth [is] full of his glory.
What were they covered with? Garments of light and besides being covered with light, they covered themselves entirely as a token of respect and honour. Covering relates to holiness. We are to worship God how? In the beauty of holiness.
1 Chronicles 16:29 Give unto the LORD the glory [due] unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.
Psalms 96:9 O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth.