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The Head Covering of a Man: Symbol of Reverence

The Head Covering of a Man: Symbol of Reverence
The Traditional Garments of the High Priest

by Glenn Weaver

The subject of men's head coverings, is shrouded with confusion. In

this brief discussion, I would like to draw your attention to some facts, that will hopefully clarify this subject. It is not my intention to persuade you to wear a head covering, but rather to make you aware of its purpose and basis in Scripture. It is my hope that through this new understanding those whom G*d has led to wear a head covering will not be condemned by fellow believers.

In Christian communities the wearing of a head covering by men, specifically at times of worship, has met with much opposition. The basis for this argument seems to stem from Rabbi Shaul's (Apostle Paul) letter to the church as Corinth:

"Every man that has something on his head while praying or
prophesying disgraces his head. For a man ought not to have
his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God"
(Corinthians 11:4,7).

If we look at the facts that prompted the apostle to write these, words, we may gain a new insight.

Corinth, at the time of this epistle, was a melting pot of many nationalities because of the current of trade between Asia and Western Europe which passed through its harbor. The people being addressed here were primarily Greeks, who had the tendency to readily adopt customs of those with whom they came in contact. This they did, however, without necessarily understanding the meaning of the customs they had adopted. One area of influence which they retained from their pagan roots, was immorality, and this subject was the catalyst that prompted Paul to write his first letter to the Corinthian church. Paul's strong words concerning head coverings were aimed directly at this immorality, specifically effeminacy and homosexuality. The evidence that such behavior existed in the Corinthian church can be found in several places in this first letter. One such example is seen in I Corinthians 6:9:

"Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit
the kingdom of God? So do not be deceived; neither
fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate,
not homosexuals..."

Because of the effeminacy and/or homosexuality that existed among some

of those who attended the church at Corinth, and the permissiveness of others who tolerated it, Paul sought to establish guidelines for appropriate dress in worship services.

Historians tell us that Greek men of this time period (about 57 A.D.) dressed, veiled (covered) their heads, and adorned themselves in much the same way as women. The head covering itself probably bore close resemblance to the one still worn by some Muslim women to this day. This is also affirmed by "The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, vol. 2", which states, "What Paul has in mind here when he speaks of covering the head is a veil which conceals the whole head including the hair." Paul's objection to the Corinthian's manner or dress was no doubt motivated at least in part by Deuteronomy 22:5, which states:

"A woman shall not wear a man's clothing, nor shall a man
put on a woman's clothing; for whoever does these things is
an abomination to the Lord your God."

The fact that Paul was not speaking of the Yarmulke (skull cap; Kepah

in Hebrew) which is worn today is evident since it did not yet exist. If is believed that the Yarmulke (in a less refined form) and the custom of covering one's head during prayer and worship, originated sometime after the destruction of the second Temple which occurred in 70 A.D. The head covering which came into being at this time was designed similarly to a hat or can and had many different styles and designs. It is not entirely clear why or how this custom began, but it is possible that the Jews of this time were influenced by Roman customs. It was a belief of the Romans that the uncovered head of a man proclaimed freedom and human strength. It is, however, more likely the custom of covering the head, especially during prayer and worship, arose out of reverence of G*d. The word 'Yarmulke' which is a supposed abbreviation of 'Yare me-Elohim' (G*d above us) suggests that it is worn out of reverence, not as an acquired custom. For Rabbi Honah, a second century Babylonian rabbi, the covering proclaimed, "...that a man is subject to G*d who is above him."

There is Scriptural support for the wearing of the Yarmulke, and its roots can be traced back to Exodus 28:4,40:

"And these are the garments that they shall make; a
breastplate and an ephod, and a robe, and a tunic of checked
work, a turban (or, miter), and a sash, and they shall make
holy garments for Aaron your brother and his sons, that he
may minister as a priest to Me."

"And for Aaron's sons you shall make tunics; you shall also
make sashes for them, and you shall make caps (hats) for
them, for glory and beauty."

In light of these Scriptures, it can be seen that Paul was not making a blanket statement about all head coverings, for by G*d's own command Aaron and his sons were not to come before Him to minister unless they were properly attired, and part of this dress was the head covering. Obviously Paul, who was a rabbi, was well aware of this portion of Scripture and would not speak out against what G*d Himself had commanded. Scripture clearly shows that Paul was a strict observer of the Law.

"I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in
this city, educated under Gamaliel (a respected rabbi of
Paul's day), strictly according to the law of our fathers,
being zealous for God, as you all are today" (Acts 22:3)

"...I (Paul) have committed no offense either against the
Law of the Jews or against the Temple..." (Acts 25:8)

"...brethren, though I (Paul) had done nothing against our
people, or the customs of our fathers, yet I was delivered
prisoner from Jerusalem to the hands of the Romans" (Acts
28:17)

In the above Scriptures, Paul testifies that he has done nothing,

whether in word or in deed, against the Law given to Moses, or against the Temple, or even against the customs of the fathers. Obviously, then, he was not speaking against all head covering when he wrote his first letter to the church at Corinth. In light of this understanding, a head covering which is worn out of reverence for G*d, not out of bondage to the Law or custom, should be accepted and those who feel led by Him to wear one should be encouraged, not condemned. I personally have found it a blessing and an honor to wear one, but let each man do as he is led in his own heart.

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"Every man that has something on his head while praying or
prophesying disgraces his head. For a man ought not to have
his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God"
(Corinthians 11:4,7).

This is a command from YHWH, through Paul. If a man wears a head covering while praying or prophesying, he is showing reverence for the talmud, and he disgraces himself and disobeys YHWH. Even though the Levitical priests wore a head covering, they were a temporary priesthood. The order of Melchizedek existed long before Aaron was born. The Levitical priests also wore many other clothes that we don't wear today. These clothing rules were specifically for Levites, and during services. For example, the High priest wore the breastplate, but not all Israelites had to wear it. The Levites had to keep their hair trimmed, but nazirites could not cut their hair. Many a Christian may say that Samson had long hair, but it is a shame for a man to have long hair now. What was a sin then may not be a sin now. Paul was a Jew, and a Pharisee as well. He knew Torah better than you or me. He knew that men should uncover their heads when we pray or prophesy, and women should cover their heads. By wearing a kippah or other head covering during prayer or prophesying, you are doing what YHWH commanded women to do and not men. Modern messianics have a hard time with the writings of Paul because he breaks the talmud, perhaps more than anyone besides Yahshua. What they fail to see is that Paul was a Pharisee. He kept the talmud as it was then. Until he realized that the talmud was a man-made dogmatic burden. That is why Yahshua nailed it to the cross. We cannot keep the laws of man (talmud) if they contradict the Holy Laws of YHWH.

Paul knew that the Levitical priesthood ended when Yahshua was crucified. This message was not Paul's "general advice just for Corinthians only". It is a message to all mankind from YHWH. A Messianic Levite was a guest speaker at our congregation and he left his head uncovered the whole time. Just because the Levitical priests wore a headcovering for a temporary period of time does not mean all men should wear a kippah. Nowhere in the Bible are we told that all men must wear a headcovering, as this would clearly contradict YHWH's message in Corinthians. The custom of a man keeping his head covered is not Biblical. Although you may try to use the Levitical priests as an example, we are not Levitical priests. And if a Levitical priest believes in Yahshua, he is no longer a Levitical priest. Instead, he is now greater. Part of the "royal priesthood".

1Pe 2:9

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
This royal priest hood does not mean that we are now all Levites.

Heb 5:1

For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins:

Heb 5:2

Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity.

Heb 5:3

And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins.

Heb 5:4

And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.

Heb 5:5

So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee.

Heb 5:6

As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

Heb 5:7

Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;

Heb 5:8

Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;

Heb 5:9

And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

Heb 5:10

Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec. 
Actually the word for "covered" in 1Cor. 11 in the Aramaic (and even the Greek) means "veiled" and does not apply to a "hat" at all.

Paul wrote "head", not "face". If he meant face, he would have wrote face. I believe he was referring to a head covering of any kind, including veils, but also hats. Since he does not specifically say "wearing a veil", but instead "head covered". Artwork of early Messianic men had the head uncovered. Women were covered. The tradition of wearing a kippah or skullcap is first seen among the Roman Catholics. Look at the cardinals today, they still wear a red skullcap. I do not know why the Jews chose to adopt a custom of the Roman Catholics, unless it was to avoid persecution. I would rather obey the plain words of YHWH than twist what He commands so that we can keep a Roman custom.

Paul's topic in this chapter is what is appropriate for men and for women. Men should have short hair, women should have long. Men should pray or prophesy with the head uncovered, women should have it covered. These are direct opposites. If men and women dress alike, it causes confusion between the genders. It's hard to tell who is male and female if they dress the same.

Paul was not writing against Torah. We must remember that the Levitical system was temporary, the Melchizedek priesthood is eternal, it existed before Levi, and it exists after.

I strongly suggest reading Paul's letter to the Hebrews, especially chapter 7.

Heb 7:12

For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.

Again the word indicates that which covers entirely or hides i.e. "veils" so a hat CANNOT be what Paul refers to here.  Only something that covers the entire head (like a veil). 

 

Remember Paul does not add to Torah, he can only elaborate on it.  What Torah command is it that you think Paul refers to here?  I would say that he refers to that commandment against a man wearing that which pertains to a woman.

 

BTW the High Priest was commanded to wear a hat, so even if your interpretation were correct, Paul would be saying that YHWH commanded the High Priest to commit an abomination.

I know Hebrews well, I translated it from the original Hebrew.  The Hebrew and English are available in Parallel columns at:

http://www.lulu.com/nazarene

 

There is also the Hebraic Roots Commentary to Hebrews at http://www.lulu.com/nazarene

 

The following ins an excerpt from the commentary:

 

7:12 But as a renewal is in the priesthood, so a renewal also is in the Torah.

Paul later equates the oath which makes the Melchizadek figure "a priest forever" (Ps. 110:4) with the "New (or renewed) Covenant" (Jer. 31:31-34). The word for "renewal" in 7:12 is in the Aramaic shuchlapa from a root which means "to change, transform or renew." Here context indicates renewal.

 

Monte Judah writes:

 

Let's conduct our own examination of the book of Hebrews to see if the author was "pro-Torah" using just a few clips of the writer's presentation.... He wrote that there must be changes to the Law of Moses (Heb 7:12) because the priesthood has changed from Levite to Melchizedek....let's ask some fundamental questions at this point.

These are the questions that should cause you to pause and question whether this book is consistent with the rest of the Scriptures. ... Do we believe that some of the commandments given in the Torah should be changed?

 

He basis this on the Greek version of Hebrews 7:12 which reads:

 

For the priesthood being changed,

there is made of necessity a change also of the law.

- Heb. 7:12 KJV (from the Greek)

 

However the word for "change/changed" here in the Hebrew is SHENISHTANA from the verb root SH-N-H (Strong's 8131) meaning "to repeat, to do a second time" thus the Hebraic Roots Version reads:

 

It is saying that according to which there is a repetition of the

office of the priesthood, of necessity it is saying there is a repetition of the Torah.

- Heb. 7:12 HRV

 

In the original Hebrew there is no indication that the Torah or any of its commandments are changed, only that they are repeated.  This repetition is all part of the renewal of Torah which is a primary paradigm of the Book of Hebrews in the original Hebrew.

 

-----------

 

As for the Melchizadek priesthood, the phrase "according to the order of" in the Hebrew may also be translated "by the same reason as".  Messiah was a priest by the same reason as Melchizadek.  Melchizadek was able to be a priest without being a Levite by virtue of the fact that he received the priesthood BEFORE the Torah limited it to Levites.  Messiah was a priest BY THE SAME REASON as Melchizadek because he also received it before the Torah limited it to Levites and thus has it eternally. 

 

No change.

James, I am aware that the Melchizedek priesthood already existed before Levi, I stated that above. The change in the priesthood Paul referred to was a change back to the original priesthood. Paul explains that well enough. Yes there are changes from the Torah. We no longer have to offer sacrifices for sin, for one. Remember that Abraham kept the Torah, as it was then. The Torah is the whole Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. Yeshua came to fulfill or complete the Torah. By your logic, only the laws in the Pentatuech need to be followed.

James, please show me what dictionary you are using because I am using Strong's.

1Co 11:4

EveryG3956 manG435 prayingG4336 orG2228 prophesying,G4395 havingG2192 his head covered,G2596 G2776 dishonourethG2617 hisG848 head.G2776
None of these words mean "veiled".
As I explained above, Paul was not commanding the Levites to sin because the Levitical priesthood was now obsolete. He explains this also in Hebrews.
Just remember that you are defending a Roman Catholic tradition.
Lastly, I believe the Greek Corinthians is the original letter. But feel free to post the Aramaic if you want.

This is a command from YHWH, through Paul.

who says that it is commandment? who said that a letter to the gentile church could become a torah? Mr. Hernandez no one would ever care if you remain a christian; but doing your christian blahs here is much of a misplace.

If a man wears a head covering while praying or prophesying, he is showing reverence for the talmud, and he disgraces himself and disobeys YHWH.

where in torah does it sasys head covering is obedience to talmud? do you understand what talmud is?

Paul was a Jew, and a Pharisee as well. He knew Torah better than you or me. He knew that men should uncover their heads when we pray or prophesy, and women should cover their heads. By wearing a kippah or other head covering during prayer or prophesying, you are doing what YHWH commanded women to do and not men.

how is phariseeism related to "head covering"? is that necessary?
now, the muslims cover their heads, are they pharisees too?

Modern messianics have a hard time with the writings of Paul because he breaks the talmud, perhaps more than anyone besides Yahshua.

hey Mr. Blah, at the time of Paul and Yeshua THERE WAS NO TALMUD yet, and don't tell us Paul broke talmud for talmud IS NOT A WRITTEN TORAH.


What they fail to see is that Paul was a Pharisee. He kept the talmud as it was then. Until he realized that the talmud was a man-made dogmatic burden.

how could a dogma be a burden? will you define how the word "dogma" is used in your post?

That is why Yahshua nailed it to the cross.

how can a dogma be nailed into the cross?


We cannot keep the laws of man (talmud) if they contradict the Holy Laws of YHWH.

you are not a keeper of oral torah, so better, stop blurting about things you do not know.


Paul knew that the Levitical priesthood ended when Yahshua was crucified. This message was not Paul's "general advice just for Corinthians only". It is a message to all mankind from YHWH.

read the epistle to whom is it intended to. do not twist Paul's intentions for you are not a prophet greater than him. the best way to knowing for whom is a letter is to read from its "addressee" and please put some mufflers into your mouth.

A Messianic Levite was a guest speaker at our congregation and he left his head uncovered the whole time.

your guest speaker acquired your customs. he is not a reliable model. much he cannot make a good argument for you.


The custom of a man keeping his head covered is not Biblical.

this is wrong. the bible teachers the priests to cover the head. if you think you  belong to a priestly nation go cover your head, if not, then that is your own keeping.

Although you may try to use the Levitical priests as an example, we are not Levitical priests. And if a Levitical priest believes in Yahshua, he is no longer a Levitical priest. Instead, he is now greater. Part of the "royal priesthood".

then the royal priesthood does not cover the head? you mean, at graduation from college you wear the head gear, now graduating in doctorate you must leave the head bear? and where do you get that academic custom? so is life. if you feel you are a "royal priest" just think what the word "royal" means. it is not a privilege. it is a duty.




The Greek word in 1Cor. 11:4 is KATA "down over"

 

The Aramaic word is K'SA "covered, concealed, hidden"

 

I am defending a Jewish tradition which was adopted by Roman Catholics.

 

Hegesippus the Nazarene writes of the Apostasy which began in the late first century saying:

 

Up to that period (98 CE) the Assembly had remained like a virgin
pure and uncorrupted: for, if there were any persons who were
disposed to tamper with the wholesome rule of the proclaiming of
salvation, they still lurked in some dark place of concealment or
other. But, when the sacred band of Emissaries had in various ways
closed their lives, and that generation of men to whom it had been
vouchsafed to listen to the inspired Wisdom with their own ears had
passed away, then did the confederacy of godless error take its rise
through the treachery of false teachers, who, seeing that none of
the emissaries any longer survived, at length
attempted with bare and uplifted head to oppose the proclaiming of
the truth by proclaiming "knowledge falsely so called."
(Hegesippus the Nazarene; c. 185 CE; quoted by Eusebius in Eccl.
Hist. 3:32)

 

Point being that the Nazarenes wore the Kippah and the apostatizing Gentile Christians often did not.

 

Paul says "Messiah our Passover is sacrificed for us THEREFORE LET US KEEP THE FEAST..." (1Cor. 5:7-8). The fact that Messiah fulfills the typological meaning of a an element of Torah does not mean we no longer keep that element, it means we keep it all the more, now with a full knowledge of why, and what it represents.

Paul’s point in Hebrews is NOT that the blood of goats and bulls used to atone for sin, and then the Messiah came along, its that the blood of goats and bulls never could atone for sin, they were only symbolic of the blood of Messiah in the first place.

So whereas we once performed these offerings looking forward to something, now we do so year after year as a remembrance. In Heb. 10:1-3 Paul tells us this and makes the point that they “continue” as a “remembrance again of sins every year”.

In Acts 21:15-26 Paul takes the Nazarite vow, this requires sacrificial offerings (Numbers 6) and so Paul made them (Acts 21:24, 26; 24:17-18).

Of course we repeatedly read of sacrifices and offerings being made in the Millennial Temple in Ezekiel (Ezek. 40:1-43:27 esp. 40:38-43; 42:13; 43:18-27) this disproves forever the “Yeshua was the final sacrifice” mantra.

Moreover the offerings are part of the Torah itself which we are repeatedly told is for all generations forever, and is not to be subtracted from.

...it shall be a statute forever
to their generations.... (Ex. 27:21)

...it shall be a statute forever to him
and his seed after him. (Ex. 28:43)

...a statute forever... (Ex. 29:28)

...it shall be a statute forever to them,
to him and to his seed
throughout their generations. (Ex. 30:21)

It is a sign between me
and the children of Israel forever. (Ex. 31:17)

There is no shortage of passages in the Torah which specify that the Torah will not be abolished but will be for all generations forever. (For more see: Lev. 6:18, 22; 7:34, 36; 10:9, 15; 17:7; 23:14, 21, 41; 24:3; Num. 10:8; 15:15; 18:8, 11, 19, 23; 19:10 and Deut. 5:29)

Moreover the Psalmist writes:

Your word is truth from the beginning:
and every one of your righteous judgements
endures forever.
(Psalm 119:160)

Furthermore the Tanak tells us that the Torah is not to be changed or taken away from:

You shall not add to the word
which I command you,
neither shall you diminish a thing from it,
that you may keep the commandments
of YHWH your God which I command you.
(Deut 4:2)

Whatever thing I command you,
observe to do it: you shall not add thereto,
nor diminish from it.
(Deut. 12:32)

2 Cor.3:13-18 And not as Moshe, which put a veil over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished: But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Mashiach. But even unto this day, when Mosehe is read, the vail is upon their heart.  Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away.  Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. (Ex.34:33-35)

Perhaps a bit off subject

-----------------------------------

Interesting angle in relation to the culture and immoratity of the nations ("Greeks"). The culture of the audience seems to be somewhat helpful to understanding the perversion. I have always heard 1 Cor.11:4 was about perversion in relation to shame (fornication/ immoral /homosexuality/ effeminate/). I knew that it was tradition that women be veiled for being uncovered would be a shame (as being shaved in the same culture). The passage is refering to the differ gendar roles (vs.3,7,8,9,13,14)as well. Vs 10 says Cause of the angels?  (Gen 6?) If it is in relation to Gen 6 this would lead me to think it would be perversion for a man to be veiled (vs7)in realtion to being effeminate or even in realtion to being submisive to seducing spirits. (IMO, fellowship with an un conservative woman may tempt a man to have a more physical focuss 2 Cor.4:18). My views have seemed to me to be vague on the context of men not being "veiled" (having their head covered) but after seeing more conformation from another angle i tend see it more clearly.

AMEN! You just about said it all Bro. Kaplan. If I may add something, I have found that a good number (certainly not all) of those who oppose headcoverings for men have a latent anti-Semetic tendency deep in their hearts. We do well to remember 2 Shemuel (2 Samuel) 15:30 as additional proof that Hebrew men did indeed cover their heads, at least while worshipping. And that was written long before the Talmud came into existance. 

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