Chapter 8:

Head Coverings in Scripture

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In Nazarene Israel we show that the Torah is an eternal marital covenant which can never be done away with.

Mattityahu (Matthew) 5:17-18
17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Torah or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill [part of the prophecies contained in them].
18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the Torah till all is fulfilled.”

We also show how Kepha (Peter) tells us that a certain group of “untaught and unstable people” twisted the Apostle Shaul’s (Paul’s) words to their own destruction.

Kepha Bet (2 Peter) 3:15-17
15 and consider that the longsuffering of our Adon is salvation — as also our beloved brother Shaul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you,
16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.
17 You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked [i.e., lawless];

The word wicked in verse 17 is the word athesmos, which means “lawless” (i.e., without Torah).

NT:113 athesmos (ath’-es-mos); from NT:1 (as a negative particle) and a derivative of NT:5087 (in the sense of enacting); lawless, i.e. (by implication) criminal:

In Nazarene Israel we show that Kepha was warning us about the Christians, as they are the only spiritual group that twists Shaul’s words to make it sound as if the Torah has been done away with. Therefore, if we are reading Shaul’s words in a Christian translation and it sounds like Shaul is saying the Torah (or some aspect of Torah) has been done away with, then either there is an error in translation or we misunderstand Shaul’s use of terms. (For more details, please see Nazarene Israel.)

The Christians may not have intentionally mistranslated the source texts. Many Hebrew and Aramaic words can be translated into Greek (and then into English, or any other language) in a variety of ways. All that needs to happen for a mistranslation to occur is for a torahless Christian to select the word that best fits with his anti-Torah beliefs, and there will be an error in translation (however unintentional). This may be why so many Christian versions make it seem as if Shaul said it is wrong for men to cover their heads while praying or prophesying. For example, here is the New King James Version (NKJV) of 1 Corinthians 11:4.

1st Corinthians 11:4 (NKJV)
4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonors his head.

Our first clue that this is mistranslated is that it conflicts with the Torah commandments for the priests to cover their heads while on duty. For example, Exodus 29:6 tells us that the high priest was to wear both a turban and a crown as part of his duty uniform.

Shemote (Exodus) 29:6
6 You shall put the turban on his head, and put the set-apart crown on the turban.

The high priest’s sons were also to wear hats whenever they came into the set-apart place (verse 40). Yahweh said they should wear these hats as a statute forever, so that that they would not incur iniquity, and die.

Shemote (Exodus) 28:40-43
40 “For Aharon’s sons you shall make tunics, and you shall make sashes for them. And you shall make hats for them, for glory and beauty.
41 So you shall put them on Aaron your brother and on his sons with him. You shall anoint them, consecrate them, and sanctify them, that they may minister to Me as priests.
42 And you shall make for them linen trousers to cover their nakedness; they shall reach from the waist to the thighs.
43 They shall be on Aharon and on his sons when they come into the tabernacle of meeting, or when they come near the altar to minister in the set-apart place, that they do not incur iniquity and die. It shall be a statute forever to him and his descendants after him.”

Later, in Exodus 39, we are again told that while the high priest was to wear a turban, his sons were to wear “exquisite hats.”

Shemote (Exodus) 39:27-29
27 They made tunics, artistically woven of fine linen, for Aharon and his sons,
28 a turban of fine linen, exquisite hats [מִּגְבָּעֹת] of fine linen, short trousers of fine woven linen,
29 and a sash of fine woven linen with blue, purple, and scarlet thread, made by a weaver, as Yahweh had commanded Moshe.

Strong’s Hebrew Concordance defines these “exquisite hats” as migba’ot (מִּגְבָּעֹת). Migba’ot is the plural of migba’ah, a hemispherical cap.

OT:4021 migba`ah (mig-baw-aw’); from the same as OT:1389; a cap (as hemispherical).

When we look up the reference at OT:1389, we see that this hemispherical cap looked like a “little hill.”

OT:1389 gib`ah (ghib-aw’); feminine from the same as OT:1387; a hillock: -hill, little hill.

The description of a “little hill” sounds similar to the traditional large black Jewish skullcap, except that this hat was made of white linen. In complete contradiction to these Torah commands, however, most Christian versions of 1 Corinthians 11:4 say that men who cover their heads while praying or prophesying dishonor their head. For example, here is the New King James Version (NKJV).

Qorintim Aleph (1 Corinthians) 11:4 (NKJV)
4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonors his head.

While most Christian translations are generally accurate, we know this particular passage is a mistranslation, because it contradicts the Torah. So now let us look at 1 Corinthians 11:4 in Greek, to find where the error lies. [Note: We believe the Renewed Covenant was inspired in Hebrew and Aramaic, but the oldest known manuscripts we have are in Greek, so we often use those for textual analysis.]

1 Corinthians 11:4
4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head [wholly] covered, dishonors his head.
BGT 1 Cor. 11:4
πᾶς ἀνὴρ προσευχόμενος ἢ προφητεύων κατὰ κεφαλῆς ἔχων καταισχύνει τὴν κεφαλὴν αὐτοῦ.

The word covered in verse four is Strong’s NT:2596, kata (κατὰ). This refers to a man having something “down” over his head.

NT:2596 kata (kat-ah’); a primary particle; (prepositionally) down (in place or time), in varied relations (according to the case [genitive case, dative case or accusative case] with which it is joined):

In verse 6, Shaul tells us that if a woman is not covered, then she should be shorn (i.e., she should shave her head). But if that is shameful, then she should simply go ahead and wholly cover her head.

1 Corinthians 11:6
6 For if a woman is not [wholly] covered, let her also be shorn. But if it is shameful for a woman to be shorn or shaved, let her be [wholly] covered.
BGT 1 Cor. 11:6 εἰ γὰρ οὐ κατακαλύπτεται γυνή, καὶ κειράσθω· εἰ δὲ αἰσχρὸν γυναικὶ τὸ κείρασθαι ἢ ξυρᾶσθαι, κατακαλυπτέσθω.

Here the word covered is the Greek word katakalupto (κατακαλύπτεται). It is a combination of two words, kata (which we just saw, meaning down), and kalupto, meaning wholly or completely.

NT:2619 katakalupto (kat-ak-al-oop’-to); from NT:2596 and NT:2572; to cover wholly, i.e. veil:
KJV – cover, hide.

The reference at NT:2572 refers to covering up wholly or completely.

NT:2572 kalupto (kal-oop’-to); akin to NT:2813 and NT:2928; to cover up (literally or figuratively):

So what is Shaul saying? If we plug these terms into the greater passage, Shaul is saying that a man who wears something down over his head (like a woman’s veil or a woman’s head scarf) dishonors his head; but if a woman does not wholly cover her head, then she should be shaven or shorn.

1 Corinthians 11:4-6 (Corrected)
4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head [wholly covered], dishonors his head.
5 But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head not [wholly covered] dishonors her head, for that is one and the same as if her head were shaved.
6 For if a woman is not [wholly covered], let her also be shorn. But if it is shameful for a woman to be shorn or shaved, let her be [wholly covered].

This passage cannot mean that a man should worship bareheaded, because that would mean Yahweh told the high priest and his sons to dishonor Him by wearing the head coverings that He Himself told them to put on.

So what is Shaul saying? He is saying that men should never wear a woman’s headscarf, and that women should cover their hair, or they should shave their heads (which would not be acceptable). Yet all this still begs the question as to why. If we look at the greater context of the passage, it appears that the reason Shaul tells women to cover their hair is to hide their beauty from the messengers (or pastors, verse 10).

1 Corinthians 11:4-10
4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head wholly covered dishonors his head.
5 But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head not [wholly covered] dishonors her head, for that is one and the same as if her head were shaved.
6 For if a woman is not wholly covered, let her also be shorn. But if it is shameful for a woman to be shorn or shaved, let her be [wholly covered].
7 For a man indeed ought not to [wholly cover] his head, since he is the image and glory of Elohim; but woman is the glory of man.
8 For man is not from woman, but woman from man.
9 Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man.
10 For this reason the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels [messengers].
BGT 1 Corinthians 11:
4 πᾶς ἀνὴρ προσευχόμενος ἢ προφητεύων κατὰ κεφαλῆς ἔχων καταισχύνει τὴν κεφαλὴν αὐτοῦ.
5 πᾶσα δὲ γυνὴ προσευχομένη ἢ προφητεύουσα ἀκατακαλύπτῳ τῇ κεφαλῇ καταισχύνει τὴν κεφαλὴν αὐτῆς· ἓν γάρ ἐστιν καὶ τὸ αὐτὸ τῇ ἐξυρημένῃ.
6 εἰ γὰρ οὐ κατακαλύπτεται γυνή, καὶ κειράσθω· εἰ δὲ αἰσχρὸν γυναικὶ τὸ κείρασθαι ἢ ξυρᾶσθαι, κατακαλυπτέσθω.
7 Ἀνὴρ μὲν γὰρ οὐκ ὀφείλει κατακαλύπτεσθαι τὴν κεφαλὴν εἰκὼν καὶ δόξα θεοῦ ὑπάρχων· ἡ γυνὴ δὲ δόξα ἀνδρός ἐστιν.
8 οὐ γάρ ἐστιν ἀνὴρ ἐκ γυναικὸς ἀλλὰ γυνὴ ἐξ ἀνδρός·
9 καὶ γὰρ οὐκ ἐκτίσθη ἀνὴρ διὰ τὴν γυναῖκα ἀλλὰ γυνὴ διὰ τὸν ἄνδρα.
10 διὰ τοῦτο ὀφείλει ἡ γυνὴ ἐξουσίαν ἔχειν ἐπὶ τῆς κεφαλῆς διὰ τοὺς ἀγγέλους.

In verse 10, the Greek word for angel is Strong’s NT:32, aggelos (pronounced ang’-el-os). It has multiple meanings, one of which is pastor (i.e., a minister).

NT:32 aggelos (ang’-el-os); from aggello (meaning, to bring tidings); a messenger; especially an “angel”; (or) by implication, a pastor: KJV – angel, messenger.

Why would Shaul say that a woman should wear a symbol of Yahweh’s authority on her head because of the pastors? To answer this question, let us be frank and realistic. To do his job right, a pastor and his wife must develop close personal relationships with everyone in the assembly. This is good, but there is also a danger. It is natural for men to develop feelings for those they are in close contact with, and it is natural for women to feel attracted to men in leadership. This creates a need for safeguards, especially for leaders, and for women. One of these safeguards is a reminder of Yahweh’s authority. Such symbols act like a wedding ring, reminding us of our promises to Elohim.

It would be wonderful if pastors automatically became perfect when they got called to serve, such that they were no longer subject to temptation. However, that is not realistic. Our forefathers said, “Yahweh does not call the qualified, He qualifies the called.” That means Yahweh calls some very imperfect men to service (and He trains them on the job). Ministers are simply men with an impossibly-high calling, and they have more than enough challenges without being distracted by cleavage, form-fitting clothing, or sensual displays of hair. Therefore, even though the pastors are ultimately the ones responsible to control their eyes and their thoughts, women should have compassion on them, and conceal their cleavage and curves. Realistically, it helps not only the ministers, but all of the men to keep their focus on Elohim, if the women dress modestly, and wear symbols of Yahweh’s authority on their heads.

In verse 13, Shaul rhetorically asks if it is proper for a woman to pray to Elohim with her hair uncovered.

Qorintim Aleph (1 Corinthians) 11:13
13 Judge among yourselves: is it proper for a woman to pray to Elohim with her head uncovered [i.e., with her beauty exposed]?

Shaul’s answer is clearly no—and yet many Christians say yes, it absolutely is okay for women to pray with their heads uncovered. They say it was “only” first century custom and tradition for women to cover their heads. The Christians go on to tell us that since they are not Israelites, since they do not live in the Middle East, and since it is no longer the first century, they do not need to follow the Israelite customs or traditions (or even heed the advice Shaul gives us in this verse).

What many Christians forget is that while Yeshua spoke ill of the rabbinic customs and traditions, He kept the Hebraic customs and traditions. In fact, at the start of 1 Corinthians 11, Shaul praises the Corinthians for keeping the Israelite customs and traditions.

Qorintim Aleph (1 Corinthians) 11:1-2
1 Imitate me, just as I also imitate Messiah.
2 Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep the traditions just as I delivered them to you.

Notice how the Christian argument contradicts what Shaul said. Shaul praised the Corinthians for keeping the Hebraic customs and traditions! The reason it matters is our customs and traditions make us who we are. Customs and traditions are our culture. When we raise our children with the Hebraic customs and traditions, we raise them to be good Hebrews. (And when we raise them with torahless Christian customs, they will grow up to be torahless Christians, Elohim forbid!)

In verses 14-16 we find another obvious mistranslation. Most Christian versions have Shaul saying that it is not right for men to have “long” hair.

1 Corinthians 11:14 (NKJV)
14 Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him?

We know this is a mistranslation because it conflicts with the Nazirite vow (in Numbers 6). When one takes a Nazirite vow, one becomes set-apart (holy) unto Yahweh, and one lets the locks of his head grow long.

Bemidbar (Numbers) 6:5
5 “All the days of the vow of his separation no razor shall come upon his head; until the days are fulfilled for which he separated himself to Yahweh, he shall be set-apart. Then he shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow.”

When we look up the word long in verse 14, it is the Greek word koma (κομᾷ). This refers not to long hair, but to “tresses of hair.”

NT:2863 koma/komao (kom-ah’-o); from NT:2864; to wear tresses of hair.

The reference at NT:2864 also speaks of tresses, and of ornamentally dressing (or plaiting) the hair.

NT:2864 kome (kom’-ay); apparently from the same as NT:2865; the hair of the head (locks, as ornamental, and thus differing from NT:2359; which properly denotes merely the scalp):

In context, then, Shaul is saying that it is not Hebrew tradition for a man to put his hair up in tresses, or to decorate his hair—and that if he decorates his hair (as women do), it is a dishonor to him.

1 Corinthians 11:14 (Corrected)
14 Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has [decorated] hair, it is a dishonor to him?

Verse 15 is easily misunderstood, so let us read it most carefully.

Qorintim Aleph (1 Corinthians) 11:15-16
15 But if a woman has [tresses of] hair, it is a glory to her; for her hair is given to her for a covering.
16 But if anyone seems to be contentious, we have no such custom, nor do the assemblies of Elohim.

It is common Christian practice to use one verse to explain away another one—and some Christians try to use this verse to say that if a woman has long hair (or decorates her hair), that she does not need to cover her hair. Yet this cannot be Shaul’s meaning, as Shaul already said that if a woman does not cover her head, then she should be shorn (verse 6).

So what does Shaul mean? First let us remember that Corinth was a center for Greek temple cult prostitution. Shaul wrote to encourage the Corinthians to keep the Israelite customs and traditions, and to discourage them from keeping pagan customs and traditions. He was further saying that Hebrew men should behave like men, and that Hebrew women behave like women—and that they don’t mix gender roles.

With that in mind, Shaul probably meant that it is indeed a glory for women to have long hair—but that a woman’s hair should be covered, so as not to provide a distraction for the pastors (or any man besides her husband). Then in verse 16 he probably meant that if anyone seems to contend this, Israelites do not have a custom that men should wrap their heads in a woman’s head scarf.

Some people reject the idea of head coverings because there is no direct “thus sayeth Yahweh” commandment for women to cover their heads. About the closest thing we find to a direct command is in the torah of the jealous husband.

Bemidbar (Numbers) 5:18
18 “Then the priest shall stand the woman before Yahweh, uncover the woman’s head, and put the offering for remembering in her hands, which is the grain offering of jealousy. And the priest shall have in his hand the bitter water that brings a curse.”

While this does not say, “Thus sayeth Yahweh, women should cover their heads,” before a woman’s head can be uncovered, it must have been covered. This seems consistent with Shaul’s teaching that women should cover their heads because of the pastors (or in this case, the priests).

Regarding head coverings for men, earlier we saw that the Levitical priests covered their heads as part of a duty uniform. It also appears that the Melchizedekian priests wore a duty uniform. Note how the historian Eusebius recorded a letter from Polycrates to the Roman Bishop Victor (circa 180 CE), telling him that the Apostle John had worn a “sacerdotal plate” while serving as a Melchizedekian priest.

Among these are Philip, one of the twelve apostles, who fell asleep in Hierapolis; and his two aged virgin daughters, and another daughter, who lived in the Holy Spirit and now rests at Ephesus; and, moreover, John, who was both a witness and a teacher, who reclined upon the bosom of the Lord [sic], and, being a priest, wore the sacerdotal plate. He fell asleep at Ephesus.
[Eusebius, Church History, Book V, Chapter 24. Translated by Arthur Cushman McGiffert. Excerpted from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series Two, Volume 1.]

This sacerdotal plate was perhaps the Melchizedekian equivalent of the Levitical breastplate; and if the Melchizedekian priests wore a kind of breastplate, it also seems likely that they wore head coverings while on duty.

Some ministers object to head coverings because the small rabbinic Jewish kippah has its origins in pagan sun worship. While this is true, we cannot ignore the argument for head coverings made from Scripture.

Some object to head coverings for ministers because they are uncomfortable, or unfamiliar. Also, since there is no direct Torah commandment for Melchizedekian ministers to wear them, some may reject them on the basis of verses such as Deuteronomy 4:2, which tell us not to add to or take anything away from the Torah.

Devarim (Deuteronomy) 4:2
2 “You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of Yahweh your Elohim which I command you.”

The problem with this argument is that it implies that Shaul added to the Torah. That, however, is to accuse Shaul of heresy. That is an unsubstantiated charge, because while Kepha did say it is easy for Christians to twist Shaul’s words to justify a torahless agenda, we also know that Yahweh hand-picked Shaul to teach Torah to the returning gentile Ephraimites (us).

Ma’asei (Acts) 9:15
15 But Yahweh said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.”

So why did Yahweh choose Shaul, knowing that his words would be misunderstood for two thousand years? Perhaps it is because Shaul wrote with love, and Yahweh knew that it was only by love that the effect He wanted would ultimately be achieved.

In the Melchizedekian order, we are not to enforce anything. Rather, we are to help people get to know their Husband. Then, as a profound love for Yeshua blossoms in their hearts, they will become eager to begin doing the things He wants. We will be changed from the inside out.

As love transforms us, and we draw closer to Elohim, our men will begin to realize that Yeshua wants us to become men under His authority. And while we may find it uncomfortable or unfamiliar to cover our heads, and while it may get hot at times, we may also find it is worth a little discomfort to wear a reminder of our covenant, since it benefits not only us, but all His people.

And as our women draw closer to Elohim, they may realize that their beauty really can distract imperfect men from focusing on the Spirit. They may decide it is worth a little discomfort, not to put a stumbling block in front of imperfect men who are doing their best to focus on Him.

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