transcribed and annotated by M.W. Bassett
M.D. Treece reading and translating from a Greek manuscript of Hebrews:
Heb 2:1 Because of this it is necessary that you carefully tie down the things that you have heard, lest at any time you slip past. For if the words spoken by angels were firm and every "stepping around" and every "listening around" receives a just payback of reward, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great a salvation, which had its beginning to be spoken through the Lord, and was confirmed to us by them who heard him, with God witnessing together with signs and wonders and with many kinds of powers and divisions in the Holy Ghost according to his wish.
The word that the writer uses saying to be very careful to "tie down" means to "moor": as in "to tie or moor down the boat." He is admonishing the Christian to tie down the things that you have heard, very securely, just as you would a boat, lest at any time it slips away out of the harbor. He says that the gospel truth of salvation must be tied down securely, for if it is not tied down, it will slip, as it were, past the harbor. We are reminded here that if the word spoken by angels was firm, and every stepping around them, or listening around them received just payback, then those who today listen around or avoid certain truths, as many do, can expect no less certain a reward for their neglect. Such people will receive a just payback if they are allowed to slip out past the harbor.
The writer has one main purpose here: to display the greatness of salvation. He is making it clear that if you do not keep life and the precious gift of salvation in focus, and do not retain an understanding of what's what, and of who's who, then the truth will slip away, and you will eventually become a mimicker of some religious pattern, passing by the true gospel. Do not "step around", or "listen around" the understanding of how great God is! How great is God ? The Old Testament gives us a picture:
Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters: who maketh the clouds his chariot: who walketh upon the wings of the wind: (Psa 104:3)
Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, 5Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. (Psa 19:4-5)
The rafters of his house are in the firmaments. He rides the thick clouds and marches upon the wind. He is bigger than this world, and views this world from outside of the galaxy. He marches forth as a bridegroom from the outward edge of the orbits.
We can be in danger of imagining God to be as small as our thinking. But the psalm writer says otherwise. He tells us that the planets and the firmament grow old, but God does not. He changes the universe as one would change clothing, when it becomes old and puts on a brand new cloak. God is very great indeed. If we do not "tie down" how great God is, we will confine him to a certain limited time period, or a limited dimension, and this loose this and many other truths, and let it all just slip away. But that is not all.
Salvation is great because God is great because God is great, but also because man is great. The writer goes on to look at man, the recipient of salvation:
But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? (Heb 2:6 [Psa 8:4])
Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands:
Here is man: everything was subjected to him beneath his feet, and there was nothing left which was not subjected beneath him! (vs. 8) God made man a little below angels according to verse 7. The source of this verse, and then the Septuagint both say here that man is made a little lower than Elohim. The New Testament translates angels, or messenger, but the here says Elohim, the word most frequently translated "God", in the Old Testament. Adam and the son of Enoch (human being) was crowned with glory and honor, and placed him over the works of God's hands. But if man looses the perspective of great man is, in that he was created in the image of God, he will loose the grasp upon salvation itself, and it will "slip past the harbor." We must not misunderstand how great God is, neither must we misunderstand how great man is.
Then man is made just a little lower than Elohim. You may ask the question "Is God interested in how man looks?" He certainly is. Paul spoke to the Athenians and said referring back to their own philosophers showed that while God made all sorts of creatures, man is unique: Their own philosopher said "We are the offspring of God" (Acts 17:28-29), and Paul talked with them about what then we could suppose God looks like. Paul said that God certainly did not resemble stone, silver or gold, or the substance of the idols which they had constructed. No, man is the offspring of God. Does it not stand to reason that if we are the offspring of God, then God does look somewhat like us for we are made to lack just a little from Elohim.
Paul carried this instruction relative to the image of God into the book of 1 Corinthians, in dealing with the sunerchomai or "the gathering together of the church". He says here that it is important how you appear, especially how you hair is, when you come before God. Anyone praying or prophesying with their head in the wrong condition, dishonors their head. The reason for this is that one's hair is the symbol for the order of creation.
It has been often said that Paul deals only with a local custom, or cultural matter here. That is incorrect. Paul references all the way back to creation in this teaching, and states that any woman praying or prophesying with her head uncovered dishonors her head (1 Cor 11:5). The previous verse (vs. 3) tells us who her head is:
" ... the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God."
Man is the head of woman, but God is the head of Christ. Many people do not know why women ought to wear uncut, long hear, and men ought to cut their hair short. The reason is that it establishes and promulgates the knowledge of the order of creation of man. Three times in chapter 11, Paul refers to the order of creation. This scripture is not arbitrary and does not describe an option regarding the keeping of one's hair. It tells us that when in the presence of God, he is looking at us. If you do not have the appropriate covering or keeping of one's head (hair), further dealing with God will be on an improper being that he or she is ill equipped to be in the presence of God. God is great, and to be honored above all, but man is the image and reflection of God. In 1 Cor 11:7 Paul uses the word doxa to express that man (in his redeemed state) reflects the image and light of God. When He sees man, He sees Himself. Woman is on the other hand, is the image and reflection of man. Man is the only creature that can stand in the presence of God bare headed because he is the only creature that is made in the image and likeness of God.
In verse 10, Paul said a woman ought to have her head covered in the presence of God because of the angels, and that this is power for her. What have the angels to do with a woman's appearance? The angels also cover their faces when in the presence of God. Only man is made to be uncovered in God's presence. The woman needs authority upon her head because of the angels. The covering is her authority, or means to come before God.
The length of the hair of man and woman is distinct inasmuch as woman is out of man, and man is not out of woman, but both of them are out of God. The distinction needs to be understood by Christians. It has nothing to do with intelligence, superiority or any controversies which have been associated recently with "women's liberation". This doctrine's clear and principle message has to do with the order of creation, and God wants us to maintain creation's order bearing witness to the fact that man alone was made in the image and likeness of God, and woman was made differently. When a woman comes into the presence of God, and has her hair cut like a man, she is removing herself from the order of creation because she is not the image and reflection of God: man is God's image.
We must be careful to "tie down" the knowledge of how great God is, and how great man (and woman) is, or our boat will "slip past the harbor". In Romans 1:18-32 Paul warns of the danger to those in whom the knowledge of the order of creation becomes confused and distorted. If we forget the order of creation, man begins to think of himself differently. He begins to worship anatomy, putting the creation before the creator, and soon makes gods from four-footed creatures. Then they begin to indulge among themselves for sexual gratification. Women together with women moving from their natural order, into the perversion of lesbianism (vs. 26), and men among men (vs. 27), doing the same thing. To describe these abhorrent perversions, Paul uses two words describing these activities in 1Cor 6. One is malakos, means "soft", and refers to boys purchased and used for homosexual purposes. The other is arsenokoites simply meaning "abusers of one's self sexually. He is saying that we will get utterly out of balance and in conflict with nature if we loose focus of the order of creation, and that hair is a symbol of that greatly important order!
The head of man is Christ. A man who comes to prayer with his head covered, that is, having his hair hanging down (the word used is kata, meaning "down from", repeated in vs. 7 by katakalupto meaning to cover over), dishonors his head; Not his skull but Christ. Many have taught that this refers to a veil apart from the hair. This does not refer to a cloth or other material for veiling! No reference to a veil does not enter until verse 16. The normal word for veil is kaluma, but the word peribolahyon is found in verse 16 translated in KJV as "covering". But seeing the term kata combined with katakalupto we can easily understand that God is forbidding a man to coming before him with hair "hanging down", covering his head. Man was made in his image and likeness, and is the only one who can stand in the presence of God.
There is no controversy in scripture. In Exodus 34:33-35 Moses put a veil on his face after the passing of the glory. It was profane to look up that from which glory of God was being withdrawn. While he was prophesying, he was uncovered. When a man seeks to enter before God to pray or prophecy, he should prepare himself by cutting his hair. A Bible believing Christian should believe that to do otherwise, is futile. One preacher tells a story of the earlier days in which he had spent his tithe money on groceries, and left them in the house while attending to an errand. Upon returning he discovered that his hogs broke into his house and destroyed all the groceries. Intending to go to prayer and seek relief from God for his misfortune, his knees bent and as they hit the floor God spoke one word to him: "Tithes". The preacher realized that it was no use to complain to God, since he stood condemned of robbing God to obtain the food in the first place. Bible believing Christians ought to realize that their hair ought to be prepared to honor their head, and that prayer and worship without such preparation is defiant, and hypocritical.
Unlike Moses, children of God under the new covenant are changed, as they behold the image of God, day by day, into His image. We can see in a mirror, his image forming in us. The issue for a woman is scripturally another matter.
Controversy has arisen from time to time regarding the reading of 1Co 14:34. Some have flatly denied the place of a woman to prophecy, always a verbal annunciation. This controversy is addressed as we notice that Paul is writing in 1Cor 11:5 concerning the sunerchomai, the gathering of the church. Here, Paul teaches concerning women who do pray and prophecy in the church. The same words are used for praying and prophesying by women, as were used for men. Evidently a woman can prophecy in the sunerchomai! If it is insisted that women should keep silence unconditionally, we have either a very inconsistent apostle, or a misreading of 1Co 14:34. So much for Paul forbidding women from a public and verbal involvement in the public worship in the presence of God!
If the woman is uncovered, that is if she does not have the "hanging down" covering (akatakaluptos, see the terms kata, and katakaluptos above) then she dishonors her head (man), because she is the image and reflection of man. As emphasized numerous times already, the order of creation is established by this relationship. If we blend and blur the sexes, the world responds with a volume of perversities, and looses all track of right and wrong.
Having simply heard that a woman ought to have long hair, many ask "How long?" There are two words used to deal with the cutting of hair in this chapter. Taking the verse containing both from context, lets look at them:
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 (1 Cor 11:6)
The word shorn is from the Greek kiero. It means to take knife or scissors to the hair, in trimming or cutting and is applied to the shearing of sheep as in Acts 8:32. The second word is xuaro and this means, to shave, raze, or utterly remove. Kiero appears in Acts 18:18 where Paul took a vow, and cut his hair.
And Paul [after this] tarried [there] yet a good while, and then took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence into Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila; having shorn [his] head in Cenchrea: for he had a vow. (Acts 18:18)
The vow referenced in this verse is from euche, and is the same word used in James 5:15 for "the prayer of faith". He cut his hair, because he had a prayer. Paul believed what he preached. Paul had just been delivered from the court of Gallio. Paul did not shave his head because he was taking a vow (we would re-enact no such imaginations today, yet we say Paul is an apostle of our church), rather he trimmed his hair because he was going to prayer! Men ought to ask themselves, "when I come to pray, how does my hair look?". When foolishly imagining that God does not care what we look like, we need to remember that we are being changed into His image. There is no authority in scripture to exclude the matter of one's appearance from the domain over which God has jurisdiction.
The two words are equated in 1 Cor 11: 5, where Paul says it is one and the same if a woman is shorn or shaven: in either case she is uncovered (ou katakalupto), and dishonors her head. If a woman cuts some of it off, she may as well shave it as it relates to a covering before God, and it's power or authority to pray and prophecy. This is the clear instruction of apostolic leadership.
A word found in verse 14 which is found no where else in the Bible: komao. In the passage:
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. (1 Corinthians 11:14-15)
The verb implies a condition which remains to be seen, expressed in the present tense, active voice, and subjunctive mood. By expressing in this manner, Paul is saying that if a man continues to have short hair, or regularly cuts it, he maintains his authority in the presence of God with respect to His head. That is, he is not shamed. But, if a woman continues to have uncut, and therefore long hair it is a glory to her. The tense and mood of this verb leaves no room for debate. The condition of a man or woman's hair is a continuing and incomplete project. It must be maintained. For a man, cutting maintains his relationship to his head. But the head of a woman is honored by continued growth, acknowledging the covering and her position in creation.
Some have been known to say that this is a "gray area of scripture". The only reason to call it gray is because of a refusal on the part of such debaters to believe and obey the clear message. Paul used everything at his disposal to convincingly relate the matter of one's hair to the order of creation. A woman, he says, ought to have power on her head because of the angels! (Verse 10) Why? Because angels were present in the creation; They know the order of creation! The woman has authority: not dunamis, but exoucia, or a legitimate place in the order of things. The hair on your head is a woman's authority in the presence of God, and in the world of angels and demons. I would adjure you: do not attempt to cast out demons with your hair cut, Sister. I would advise you not to come to pray or prophecy into the presence of God having your hair cut. When you come into the presence of God having your hair cut, or you have some idea in your head of changing your image to look like a man in some way, it changes your relationship with God, and you have no authority.
Angles know authority. Even demons know where things culminate. When the demons in the man of the Gadarenes saw Jesus they called him the Son of the Most High God. They served the devil, but called Jesus the Son of the Most High God, and had to ask permission regarding their future. They knew authority.
Elsewhere we read of a centurion whose working knowledge of authority was equated to faith:
And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this [man], Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth [it]. When Jesus heard [it], he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, [so] be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour. (Matt 8:5-13)
This man said that He believed that Jesus had sufficient authority to carry out his word and will through simply issuing it. Jesus responded by lifting him as an example of faith above anything known in Israel.
These examples show how very important that a knowledge and obedience to the proper order of things is to the Lord, and to victory in spiritual matters. Indeed, the key to whole power of God rests in the obedience of those who approach Him, and their honor of His authority in keep their true place. Your hair is the symbol of your place in creation order of man, and becomes your authority before God and angels.
Nowhere else does Paul exert so much emphasis in using so many comparisons as here. In verse 14 he asks
"Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?"
This part of the discussion begins with verse 13, where Paul asks, "Is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered". Right here, many are lost right away and without an answer. Let's look into it. The word comely is prepo and means "proper". It is the same word used were Jesus is requiring that John baptize him saying, "It is becoming, it is necessary, it is right, it is proper for us to do so ...". It is needful or required to fulfill all righteousness! Again the same word is used to say that we needed such a High Priest as Jesus, for we could do with no other (Heb 2:10). It was essential and needful, or proper.
So, returning to the earlier matter of vs. 14, Paul is saying that long hair is improper. Remember this is not a simply matter of option or style. It is a question of requirement. Nature, says Paul is teaching that men ought not to have long hair.
But how does nature teach this many ask? Take a look at a number of men who have reached mature years. No doubt the answer will stand out eminently. We find very few bald women in humanity, but as men age, by some complex genetic mechanism, most men will experience some baldness. He is clearing off the head of the man as time goes on. Sickness is associated with the balding of women, but many men begin to bald as early as their mid twenties. Nature's teaching may be so plain that it escapes our sophisticated minds, but observe men spending thousands of dollars attempting to reverse the work of nature. They did not miss it's lesson, although they do not understand it.
God's love is demonstrated in that man is allowed to stand before God, with his head uncovered. But when woman comes in, she wears her hair long. That is not to say that she is lesser, or insignificant, but she is agreeing in the truth, "I am not the first in the order of creation". We are substantiating the order of God's creation in obedience to this teaching. When any preacher says that they were simply dealing with a local culture, or custom, just remember, he wants to dodge the word. There is no stronger scripture anywhere in the Bible than is used here.
When you come into the presence of God, look at yourself. He wants to know, "where is your authority?" and the first thing he looks at is your hair. The Charismatic world tells us that God does not look in the outward appearance, yet both Paul and Peter told the women how to dress.
On a related study, some ask whether we have any scripture to reprove the painting of the face. Jude tells us that it was the fallen angels who taught them to defile the flesh. The term which we read as defile is literally means to stain or paint. Both Jude and Peter quote the book of Enoch. It tells how they taught the women alchemy, that is the shadowing of the eyes with a silver metallic program. He taught them that you do not braid gold and hair (1Tim 2:9, 1Peter 3:3). Also, the putting on of pearls is abjured (1Tim 2:9). Paul was indeed very concerned with the "outward appearance", as a part of the spiritual tabernacle. The wearing of expensive clothes is also denounced among the church.
Attitudes of boldness among women, and other defiance against the order of nature is rejected by God. If a woman has long hair, it is a radiance, and a splendor to her. Of course, this goes beyond the hair and touches the meaning ascribed to the hair by God the Creator.
Style is not mentioned in this scripture. Only cutting and shaving are involved. The reason is clear: it is because of the order of creation.
Most visual depictions of Jesus Christ arrive with us from the middle ages, and from a time when most rich nobles had Catemites (see above) for sexual appetites , and wore long hair, often believing perverse ideologies suggesting that they received power through the long hair. A society which looses track of the order of creation will become investing in all the perverse side-streets which darkness has before mapped. When women and men loose their place, homosexuality and bestiality will be inevitably adjoined.
Until very recently Israelites were not found depicted in ancient artifacts unearthed by archeologists. This is obviously because of the injunction against the making of graven images. We are familiar with the ancient depiction Assyrians, Philistine and other heathen with long hair and beards often woven together. However, recently an image discovered in northern Israel, above Galilee shows Israelites being enslaved by Philistines and we see all of the men there with hair cut very short, unlike the manner of the heathen round about Israel.
The women in the images are covered with veils as was the custom of the time, but the men are clearly visible in these images. So, in the mind of some, the question remains: "Is Paul talking about a veil, or hair?" There should be no question after reading verse 15:
15But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.
Reading Paul literally, a woman' hair is given to her instead of a veil. As mentioned earlier, this is the first appearance of the term peribolaion (veil). The word "for" comes from anti, or "instead of". It literally reads, a woman' hair is given to her instead of a veil Ladies, will you be properly covered in the presence of God, or will you forfeit your authority, claiming an illegitimate place in the order of things? God did not intend for women to wear a piece of cloth over their head for he gave the natural covering of her hair instead.
To complete the course we must acknowledge that even the last verse here has often be misread. Reading 1 Cor 11:16:
"But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God."
This does not say "If you don't like it, you don't have to do it.". It reads, "If a man is considering being a philoneikos, we don't have such a habit, neither any of the churches of God.". It doesn't say that if you don't like what I've written in 16 verses, don't do it. In fact, Paul says, "if you don't like what I've said, and don't agree with it, and want to argue about it, we don't have the custom of being a fight lover." He leaves no road open except understanding.
Equivalents of the word for standard is used multiple times in the scripture. We need to distinguish between man's tradition and Bible standards, but sixteen powerful verses of scripture here in Paul's first letter to the Corinthian church leave no doubt as to the authority which teaches the order of nature and the wearing of a Christian's hair. We have no custom of fighting, but are used to people loving and obeying God.
Returning to Heb 2:8-10 ...
8 Thou hast put all things in subjection under [man's] feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing [that is] not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.
9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
10. For it became him, for whom [are] all things, and by whom [are] all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
Everything man was not, Jesus is. We see Jesus Christ, and all
things subjected unto him so that he might lead many sons into
glory. Women, your long hair is given to you as a covering,
so that when you come into his presence, praying or prophesying,
you may show him that you are complying with his divine order
in creation, otherwise you have no authority. Men, your hair
is to be cut short when you come before the presence of God, for
you are made in the image of God and are His reflection. In
all things, let Jesus Christ be preeminent, and head as the Head
of man, Head of the Church receiving the Highest praise and worship!
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