Genesis 3:7a - At once they saw what they had done, and they realized they were naked, ie., uncovered.
naked: This is the Hebrew word עֵירֹם erom (Strongs 5903) . It means naked or nakedness and is used seven times in Scripture, including this verse, to designate both physical and spiritual nakedness or lack of spiritual cover. It implies also that they now know they are guilty before Elohim. It’s root is either ur, the Hebrew word for ‘to be exposed’ or ‘naked’, or ara, the Hebrew word that can mean nudity but also indicates exposure, lack of concealment, or lack of resources. Either way, we understand that there is more going on here than just lack of physical covering.
Genesis 3:7b - Then they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves.
cover - Hebrew word חֲגוֹר hagor (Strongs 2290), means apron or loin cloth, girdle, belt. It is first used in this verse and makes it clear that this garment or clothing covered only a small portion of the body. It was a partial physical covering.
Genesis 3:21 - Then YHVH Elohim made garments out of animal skins for the man and his wife and clothed them.
garments - Hebrew word is כְּתֹנֶת kutonet (Strongs 3801). This is a tunic-like garment covering the whole body. Abba made the first ones for Adam and Chavah, of the skins of animals. The word is used subsequently to apply to the garments of priests, usually of linen fabric. It fully covers the body from shoulder to knees or ankles.
clothed - Hebrew word לָבַשׁ labesh (Strongs 3847). The word indicates a level of spiritual covering and is used other places to show the qualities of being clothed with majesty, strength, righteousness, salvation, etc. See Ps. 91; Is 51:9; Is 59:17
These are the definitions of the Hebrew words used in these texts. This is the first place they are used in the Scriptures and so define how we are to interpret their meanings when used in similar contexts.
For many years, Abba has been opening up to me my role as a woman and wife. His designation for this role in Genesis 2:18 is the term, ezer k’negdo, a helper like and opposite (as in facing) or opposing him. It does not mean a subordinate being at the beck and call of Adam. The word ezer is helper and is used a number of times to indicate YHVH’s role to us. Is He subordinate to us when He takes this role? Of course not. So, when He designates this role to the woman, it must be not be a role of subordination to the man. When the disobedience occurred, both the man and the woman were held accountable. If Adam was created to hold authority over the woman, then YHVH would have only dealt with him. The woman was taken from the man and separated out, so that they could be re-reconciled as one flesh through their own choice to work together as partners.
When they “realized they were naked, together they sewed fig leaves to cover their nakedness”. Even at this point they were working as partners, equals. YHVH’s complete covering over them had been pulled back. His covering was physical and spiritual and included everything they needed to be whole. (See 2 Pet 1:3) It was their choice to cut off YHVH’s covering and then try to cover themselves. With YHVH as their covering, there was nothing between them and Him. The man was not designated as an authority over the woman to mediate between her and YHVH. They were both covered equally and only by YHVH.
What about the verse (Gen 3:16) that says the man will rule over the woman? This is not a mandate or commandment, it is a consequence of sin. There is nowhere in Scripture that a consequence of sin is ever positive. This negative consequence has reaped untold pain and suffering for women down through the ages. Women were not brought forth to be subjugated and abused. They have a proper and powerful role as single women as well as in the context of marriage, the besar echad, one flesh. Each person has a spiritual covering and that covering is YHVH through Yeshua. When a marriage occurs, the two become one and the spiritual authority is still only YHVH, individually and corporately.
According to the verses and word definitions above, man is incapable of providing spiritual covering for anyone. He can provide limited, partial covering as in physical protection through housing, clothing, and food. In fact, this is part of the definition of a husband’s role (Ex 20:10).
Serious questions arise from Renewed Covenant misunderstandings. Taking verses and assigning meaning that is outside the scope of the original intent is destructive and often self-serving. The foundation of the Tenach must be the plumb line by which all other scripture is measured. If what is said does not line up with the foundation, then it cannot have authority. If spiritual covering is assigned only to YHVH from the beginning, and YHVH does not change, how does it become something different in the Renewed Covenant?
The Renewed Covenant supports the foundation when it says, “There is one mediator between man (word means mankind and includes women) and Elohim, the man Messiah Yeshua, who gave himself a ransom (atonement, covering) for all.” (1 Tim 2:5,6) The meaning of the word adultery is literally “to add another”. Repeatedly in the Tenach, we read about what YHVH terms as spiritual adultery. Anytime another god, spiritual authority, or covering is introduced, we are told that it is an abomination to YHVH. This mixture is not to be tolerated and He cannot and will not bless it. So, my question is this: Is the doctrine of the husband as the spiritual covering over the wife validated by the foundation and if not, is it a form of spiritual adultery? Is it possible that this can be one of the reasons for marital disfunction within “Christianity” (divorce rate equals non believing marriages)?
We have already covered the foundational truth that the original intent for the man and woman was to live within their roles as equals/partners. The “head” passages in 1 Cor 11 that are read out of context and given to mean authority as opposed to origin or source are not in alignment with the foundation. A man can and should be a covering for his wife physically. He is to protect her from the dangers of physical abuse and/or neglect. He cannot, however be a spiritual covering for her, as there is only one spiritual covering and that is YHVH Elohim through Messiah Yeshua. (Abba has provided many with a proper understanding of the intent of this passage and the misinterpretation of the Greek word kephale as meaning authority as opposed to source. See Kippur section below.)
In returning to the beginning, we see that man is incapable of providing what YHVH has decreed to be something only He provides. The man attempted to cover himself with a partial and inadequate covering. After the disobedience, Abba first established a way of reconciliation to Himself through the seed of the woman and then He provided His complete covering over both the man and the woman. He made tunics (full coverings) of animal skins by shedding blood as a precursor to the great and complete covering/atonement of Messiah Yeshua.
Results of this doctrine
The teaching of “the church” regarding the unfitness of women goes back millennia. It states that men are superior spiritually to women and therefore must control them. The same scriptures taken out of context today were used then to justify this.
This teaching was again emphasized during the shepherding movement of the late 60’s and 70’s. It allowed that there were those who had more spiritual authority than others and so needed to be in control to keep the less spiritual safe from deception. Good intentions but loaded with potential for abuses.
“These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you. But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.” (I John 2:26-27)
This verse clearly states that both men and women have received the anointing and are capable of discerning deception. This movement kept both men and women in bondage, but ultimately women were in double bondage as they were under the “spiritual” authority of their husbands who were also under the “spiritual” authority of the leaders.
When women are deceived by this doctrine to believe that they only have spiritual authority granted by their husbands if they are married or their male leaders if they are single, their gifts and callings established by YHVH from the foundation of the earth are at best severely diminished and at worst stopped, thereby nullifying their effectiveness in the Body of Messiah.
When men are required to maintain a position they have not been created for, I see two things that can happen. They either become belligerently authoritarian over all things in their domain, or sensing a total inadequacy to control anything, they abdicate their responsibility to their family or themselves by focusing on worldly tasks or pleasures. Both are equally destructive.
“Now there was also a dispute among them, as to which of them should be considered the greatest. And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called ‘benefactors.’ But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves. For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves.” (Luke 22:24-27)
Kippur is the Hebrew word for covering. We sometimes translate it as atonement. In the covering doctrine, it seems man becomes the atonement for the woman as her spiritual authority/covering, determining what she is and is not able to do spiritually. It is Messiah’s atonement that broke down the wall of partition between YHVH and man and it is my understanding that no man, not even my husband or pastor, can put it back.
1 Corinthians 11 is the passage from which this doctrine gets its (false) teeth. The context of this passage is not who has authority over whom. Paul is addressing questions from the assembly at Corinth where certain women were still operating under false teaching learned prior to their belief in Messiah. One of these beliefs was that man originated from woman (v. 8 clarifies this). If the word kephale translated into head was intended to mean authority, then verse 10 could have used kephale but did not. The word for authority (exousia) and head (kephale) were both used here, making it clear that two separate ideas are being addressed by the two different words. In taking this into consideration, source makes perfect sense and does not contradict foundational truths.
Also before addressing the particular misunderstandings of this passage, I would like to quote from vv. 11-16, which give us a summary of the passage:
11As far as the Lord is concerned, men and women need each other. 12 It is true that the first woman came from a man, but all other men have been given birth by women. Yet God is the one who created everything. 13 Ask yourselves if it is proper for a woman to pray without something on her head. 14 Isn't it unnatural and disgraceful for men to have long hair? 15 But long hair is a beautiful way for a woman to cover her head. 16 This is how things are done in all of God's churches, and this is why none of you should argue about what I have said.
In v.4, we read - every man praying or prophesying having his head covered . . . The word for covered here is kata and means something that hangs down from the head, as in a veil a woman would wear, or long hair like a woman - see v. 14.
In v.5, we read - every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered . . .
The word for uncovered is akatakaluptos - meaning without covering, unveiled, or in other words having her hair cut off as was the customary practice to shame prostitutes, or unvelied as was also the custom of women who prostituted themselves - see v. 6,15
If kephale means source or origin, then it has to mean source or origin all the way through the passage. How does this work for v.10?
v.10 - For this reason ought the woman to have authority on her head on account of the angels.
If the word head (kephale) is to mean authority in the previous verses, as opposed to origin, then in this verse we would read: For this reason the woman ought to have authority on her authority . .
However, if the word translated as head (kephale) means origin or source throughout the rest of the passage, the translation could read:
The woman ought to have authority because of her origin on account of the angels.
The word ‘ought’ is about meeting a moral obligation or legal responsibility to the god you serve. Could it be that the woman is to take the the rightful authority given her because of her source or origin for the sake of the angels - for they long to look into these things?1 Pet 1:12
I am sure I am not the only person (man or woman) who has suffered under the mistaken idea that men are somehow more able to lead and direct a woman’s spirituality. I have not embarked on this writing to cause division. I just want to know YHVH’s Truth. I want to know that the God Who set me free from bondages of all kinds has not taken that back. I am convinced that He loves me as a woman, as much as any man, and that I have been created for a purpose to operate out of love and Holy Spirit Power according to the plan for my life that is good and not evil to give me a hope and a future. I believe I am as valuable to the Body of Messiah as anyone and have a function to fulfill and that function is valid whether or not a man in my life approves it. The matriarchs of old are my inspiration. They are not exceptions. They are examples of women throughout time who have walked out their calling with YHVH’s blessing. May you have eyes to see, ears to hear, and hearts to receive, not my truth, but YHVH’s.