The Head Covering
The Head Covering by Tom Shank
When the Lord Jesus was on earth, on the one hand He came to be Savior of the world, to deliver men from sin. This is according to the system of grace. On the other hand, God sent Him to the world that through the work of the cross He might establish His own authority and set up His kingdom so that the heavens might rule on the earth. This Is the system of government. Its work will continue until the power of the devil is destroyed and the kingdom and the new heaven and the new earth are brought in.
Many hold to a fundamental error: they foolishly maintain that grace can set government aside. The truth is that what God does in grace never alters God’s government.... Grace only complements government.... Grace is for the purpose of redeeming and restoring those who are insubordinate and rebellious so that they may be subject to God’s governmental system.... Grace can never nullify government; rather, grace enables people to obey government. May I say with all Seriousness that grace gives us strength to be subject to government.
Head Covering and God’s Government
The matter of head covering belongs to God’s government. For those who do not know God’s government, it is impossible to exhort them to have their heads covered. They will not be able to understand how much is involved in this matter. But those who have seen God’s government in God’s revealed Word are able to appreciate the tremendous connection between head covering and government.
The meaning of head covering is: I submit myself to God’s government: I accept God’s appointed position: I dare not nullify His government by the grace I have received; I do not even dare to think about it; on the contrary, I accept God’s government. As Christ accepts God as His head, so should every man accept Christ as his head. Likewise, woman should representatively accept man as her head. In covering the head, the woman signifies that she is not head, that she is as if she has no head—for it is covered.
God calls upon the sisters to show this arrangement. It is through the sisters that God’s governmental system is to be displayed. It is the sisters who are responsible to have the sign of obedience on their heads. God specifically requires women to have their head covered when praying or prophesying. Why? Because they ought to know God’s government when they come before Him. In going before God to pray for people or in going before people to prophesy for God, whether In praying or in prophesying, whether in that which goes to God or in that which comes from God, in whatever is related to God, head covering is demanded. The purpose Is to manifest the government of God.
Today woman has a sign of authority on her head because of the angels, that is, as a testimony to the angels. Only the sisters in the church can testify to this, for the women of the world know nothing of it. Today when the sisters have the sign of authority on their heads, they bear the testimony that, “I have covered my head so that I do not have my own head, for I do not seek to be head. My ‘head is veiled, and I have accepted man as head, and to accept man as head means that I have accepted Christ as head and God as head. But some of you angels have rebelled against God.” This is what it meant “because of the angels.”
I have on my head a sign of authority. I am a woman with my head covered. This is a most excellent testimony to the angels, to the fallen and to the unfallen ones. No wonder Satan persistently opposes the matter of the head covering. It really puts him to shame. We are doing what he has failed to do. What God did not receive from the angels, He now has from the church.
When many of the sisters in the church take the place given to women and learn to cover their heads, they send out an unspoken word of testimony to the angels in the air, to the effect that God has obtained in the church what He desires. Because of this, woman must have on her head a sign of authority, a testimony to the angels.
Let us remember that although in practice it is only the woman who has her head covered, yet, in reality, Christ has His head covered before God and every man has his head covered before Christ. Why is it that God only requires woman to have the practice of having her head covered? This indeed is marvelous, for it involves a very deep principle.
When a sister covers her head, she is standing before God on the basis of Christ’s position before God and man’s position before Christ. God wants the woman to cover her head in order to manifest His government on earth. This privilege falls only to the woman. She does not cover her head merely for her own self; she does it representatively. It is because she represents man before Christ and Christ before God. So when a woman covers her head before God, it is just the same as if Christ covered His head before God.... Man and woman should have no head since Christ is the head. If one’s head is not covered, there will be two heads. Between God and Christ, one head must be covered; so too must it be between man and woman and so between Christ and every man. If one head is not covered, the result will be that there are two heads, and God’s government does not allow two heads. If God is head, then Christ is not; if Christ is head, then man is not; if man is head, then woman is not.
Regarding the Contentious
So, for man to be uncovered and woman covered is a charge that only Christian apostles have given. It is a practice the churches of God alone hold, for it is different from both the Jewish and the Gentile custom. It is something few observe and understand, and it is from God.
All the apostles believed that woman should have her head covered. If anyone today professes to be an apostle and yet does not believe in the head covering of woman, he cannot be counted as one of the apostles. He must be taken as an outsider. There is no such practice among the apostles of not believing this. If any church does not believe, Paul’s answer is, “We have no such custom, neither the churches of God.” None of the local churches which the apostles had visited had any such custom as arguing about woman’s head covering. So the answer to any who argue is that there is no such practice as arguing about It. Paul is willing to reason in a few earlier verses, but after that he reasons no more. If any seems to be contentious, Paul says no apostle will approve of that one’s opinion. If anyone wants to argue, no church will agree with his view. You are outside the fellowship of the churches as well as of the apostles.
Therefore, let our sisters cover their heads in the church when praying or prophesying. Why? To manifest that in the church God has obtained that which He has failed to get in the world, in the universe, and among the angels.
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