The woman's praying or prophesying with her head uncovered

 

 

Paul says to the Corinthians: “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head. 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. 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. 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. For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man. For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head [the woman ought to have a sign of authority on her head] because of the angels. Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord. For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God. Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered? Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering. But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God” (1 Corinthians 11:3-16).

Sister, know that your head, that is, the one who is in a role of authority over you, is man. Whether you are an unmarried woman or a married woman (or even a widow), know that your head is man. Therefore, because of the angels (that is to say, because the angels are being taught through the Church that the woman is under man’s authority) you must have on your head, when you pray or prophesy, a sign of man’s authority over you and that sign is the veil, which I advise you to tie well in order to keep it from falling on your shoulders. You will say to me: ‘What offence do I commit if I don’t put on the veil (that is to say, if I don’t cover my head)? Here is my answer: If you pray or prophesy with your head uncovered you dishonor your head, that is, man (in other words, you deprive him of the honor he is worthy to receive from you). Therefore, you must recognize that if you pray or prophesy with your head uncovered (obviously, not only when you are in the place of worship but also when you are in any other place, because your head is the man and the angels looks at you even outside the place of worship) you commit a sin.

 

Replies to the main objections

 

‘The words of Paul about the veil are just an advice’.

The words of Paul about the veil are not an advice, for Paul says: “For this reason the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels” (1 Corinthians 11:10 – NKJV. The NIV reads ‘a sign of authority’). That ‘ought to’ does not indicate that Paul advised believing women to put on the veil, but rather it indicates that he commanded them to put it on. Paul advised the Corinthians to do something when he said to them: “And herein I give my advice: for this is expedient for you, who have begun before, not only to do, but also to be forward a year ago. Now therefore perform the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which ye have” (2 Corinthians 8:10-11), but surely he does not give them an advice when he speaks of the veil. I am convinced that many sisters, if their boss told them that they ought to wear a veil or a particular hat, then they would keep that order lest they should make an enemy of their boss. But as chance would have it, God has commanded them through Paul to cover their head with a veil when they pray or prophesy and they don’t want to obey God. ‘It’s just an advice!’ they say, while it is a commandment of the Possessor of heaven and earth and of their life as well. That means that they fear men more than God; they fear the punishment which a man may inflict on them more than the punishment which the One who gives them life, breath and all things, may inflict on them. We are really surprised and filled with indignation because of such a behaviour. I am also convinced that if one day it becomes fashionable to cover one’s head with a veil, many sisters who refuse to cover their head with a veil will buy a veil immediately lest they should appear anticonformistic. But again, as a chance would have it, the custom of covering one’s head is a holy custom which is confirmed by the New Testament, which is the Word of God, a custom which must be kept as long as the Church is on the earth, but they are indifferent to it. They don’t want to look ‘outdated’, they don’t want to keep what Paul says. Therefore, they don’t want to conform themselves to the Word of God, but they are willing to conform themselves to the fashion of this wicked world! How many contradictions we see with our own eyes!!

 

‘The order about the veil given by Paul had to be kept only at that time and only in some places’.

That’s something we can’t affirm after reading carefully all the words of Paul. For we read that Paul said that the woman ought to have a sign of authority on her head, “because of the angels”, that is to say, because the angels are being taught through the Church that the woman is under man’s authority.

Now, I ask you, ‘Did the angels observe only the saints who lived in the city of Corinth, or did they observe also the saints who lived in Ephesus and in Thessalonica and anywhere else at that time? We believe that the angels observed the saints wherever they were. Therefore, women had to cover their head with a veil – when they prayed or prophesied – also in Ephesus, in Thessalonica and anywhere else, because they had to show a sign of authority to the angels of God everywhere.

That is confirmed by the fact that Paul says that the Churches of God did not have the custom of letting women pray with their head uncovered (therefore it was not only the Church of Corinth which had the custom of letting women pray with their head covered).

But there is another question I want to ask you: Did the angels of God, after the death of Paul and of the other apostles, cease watching the Churches of God? The answer is ‘no’, therefore the woman must still cover her head because of the angels, when she prays or prophesies (I say it again, both inside and outside the place of worship).

What happens if she refuses to obey this commandment? The Scripture says that she “dishonors her head”, that is, man, because Paul says that the head of woman is man.

To confirm that the commandment about the veil for the woman when she prays or prophesies was not just for a place nor temporary, I want to point out to you that Paul commands man not to cover his head when he prays or prophesies, for he says: “A man indeed ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God” (1 Corinthians 11:7 – NKJV), and that if a man does not keep this commandment he dishonors his head, that is, Christ, for Paul says: “Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonors his head” (1 Corinthians 11:4 – NKJV). Why do I say that this prohibition to men confirms that the necessity for the woman to wear a veil did not apply just to that time and to a place? Because today when believing men pray or prophesy, if they have a hat on their head, they feel they have to uncover their head, while if they have their head uncovered they don’t feel they have to cover their head. Why that? Because they feel inwardly that if they prayed with their head covered they would dishonor the Lord (and this confirms what Paul says to the Corinthians). And if they prayed or prophesied with their head covered, surely their conscience would immediately rebuke them. With regard to this, I want to tell you an incident which happened to me many years ago. I was doing my military service (I was a babe in Christ at that time and I did not understand that according to the Word of God we must not learn to fight against other men) and I wore a military hat very often while I was in the barracks. I always took off my hat before saying grace. However, one day, maybe because I was in a hurry to do something or because I was lost in thought, I forgot to take it off and I gave thanks before my lunch. But after I prayed, since I noticed that I had not taken off my hat as usual, my conscience rebuked me because I knew that according to the Scripture I had dishonoured Christ. Therefore, I immediately confessed my sin to the Lord and I resolved not to fall into the same transgression any more. Therefore, since we who are men dishonour Christ if we pray or prophesy with our head covered, we must abstain from praying or prophesying with our head covered. I remind you that Christ is worthy of all honor being Lord of lords, King of kings, and the supreme head of the Church, and thus we must not dishonour Him. Maybe someone thinks that to dishonour Christ is not a mistake so serious, thus I want to remind this person that Jesus said to the Jews: “He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him” (John 5:23). On another occasion, precisely when the Jews insulted Him by saying: “Do we not say rightly that You are a Samaritan and have a demon?” (John 8:48 - NKJV), Jesus said to them: “I do not have a demon; but I honor My Father, and you dishonor Me” (John 8:49 - NKJV). The words ‘you dishonor Me’, spoken by Jesus to the Jews after they insulted Him, indicate that those who insult Christ dishonor Him. Therefore if Jesus rebuked the Jews because they had dishonoured Him, surely if we dishonor Him by praying or prophesying with our head covered He will rebuke us also. Therefore, if we, who are men, must not pray or prophesy with our head covered, for sure women must have their head covered when they pray or prophesy lest they dishonor man. Therefore, sisters in the Lord, I exhort you to cover your head when you pray or prophesy. Daughters of Zion, do not be contentious.

 

● ‘Long hair is given to the woman for a covering, therefore since she has long hair she does not need to cover her head with a veil’.

Long hair is certainly a glory to the woman (for it adorns her as an ornament and its appearance contributes to her beauty), but long hair is not the sign of authority on her head which must be seen by the angels of God, because her hair is given to her “as a covering” (1 Corinthians 11:15 – NIV), that is to say, it serves as a shawl for her, thus her hair is not the veil she must wear.  This is confirmed by what Paul says in verse 6: “If a woman does not cover her head, she should have her hair cut off,” (NIV) for if we were to substitute ‘hair’ for ‘covering’ this statement of Paul would be ludicrous. Listen how it would read, ‘If a woman does not have her hair, she should have her hair cut off’!!! My question is: ‘But if her hair is already off, how can she have her hair cut off?’ That’s why to the question of Paul: “Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered?” (1 Corinthians 11:13 – NKJV), we answer that it is not proper for a woman to pray God with her head uncovered (even if she has long hair).

 

● ‘So, should women go around always veiled as the Arab women, so that only their eyes or their face may be seen?

The Word of God does not say such a thing. First of all, it says that the woman must cover her head only when she prays or prophesies and not always. Obviously, if a sister prays continually or often, it is right for her to keep her head covered even while she does her housework, etc. And then it must be said that Paul doesn’t say that the woman must cover her face, as the Muslim religion commands the woman to do, but that she must cover her head, thus her eyes and her face can remain uncovered.

 

● ‘Will a sister who does not cover her head go to hell then? Isn’t she a daughter of God any longer then?

Absolutely not, a woman in Christ is a sister in the Lord even if she prays or prophesies with her head uncovered, but the fact is still true that in so doing she demonstrates that she does not want to obey the Word of God with regard to this particular order which applies to her. Therefore she proves to be a rebellious woman. And God does not take pleasure in any form of rebellion because He is righteous. Will she be punished then? Yes, even this disobedience will not go unpunished.

I conclude with the following words of Paul: “But if anyone seems to be contentious, we have no such custom, nor do the churches of God” (1 Corinthians 11:16 – NKJV).

 

 

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