Daughters of ZionWritten by Moriel Administrator
by James Jacob PraschÂ
One of the most common questions we get asked about is things concerning women and the role of women in the church. We want to look at this question both from a Christian perspective and from aÂ Jewish perspective. We want to understand it on more than one dimension, so we'll be looking at some 'daughters of Zion'. I have to begin with a few things that most people already know. Let's look first of all at 1 Corinthians.
The women are to keep silent in the churches; they are not permitted to speak, but are to submit themselves, just as the Law also says. If they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is improper for a woman to speak in church. 1 Cor 14:34,35
Now the Closed Brethren take this very literally, and I am not saying that we shouldn't take the scriptures literally. But does that mean women should do as the Closed Brethren do? They just sit there, not allowed to speak. Is that what this means? Some people would tell you that it does. I am quite convinced, when we look at this issue and this subject in its greater context, that it does not. But neither does it mean what we are seeing today. What is Paul really trying to say? The other thing that causes problems is 1 Cor 11:3-7.
But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ. Every man who has something on his head while praying or prophesying disgraces his head. But every woman who has her head uncovered while praying or prophesying disgraces her head, for she is one and the same as the woman whose head is shaved. For if a woman does not cover her head, let her also have her hair cut off; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, let her cover her head. For a man ought not to have his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God, but the woman is the glory of man.
Paul goes on speaking in verse 9;
For indeed man was not created for the woman's sake, but woman for the man's sake. Therefore the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. 1 Cor 11:3-7
I get so many letters and people coming up to me about this all the time, that I figured that maybe we had better just deal with it once and for all!
The Seed of the Woman Crushes the Serpent's Head
It begins of course, with Genesis 3:15;
'And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.' Gen 3:15
'He shall bruise you on the head, And he shall bruise you on the heel.' There is an Australian, Kevin Conner, whose early books were quite good but now he has gone into restorationism. He says that this proves that the church will have dominion over Satan, independently of the return of Christ. However, the woman, in its context Eve (Havah),Â represents Israel before she does does the church. It is not replacementist, the woman is Israel. The scriptures speak the language of incorporation, not replacement. It includes the church by some extension, but it is not in place of Israel. Secondly, it is the seed of the woman who crushes the head of Satan, not the woman. He gets that bit wrong. In Romans 16:20
The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.'
Who gives the the woman victory? The Lord. It is not the woman ho crushes. When Jael, as we'll see in Judges, drives the peg through Sisera's head, the head gets crushed, but who does it say gave her the victory? It is only when the armies, that the Lord sent, came that it happens. That is Zechariah chapter 12. When Jesus returns, He brings the victory. The idea that the woman is going to get this victory independent of her husband, and she is going to present it to him as his treasure, that is crazy. The church will ultimately be triumphant because of what Christ does. Christ doesn't come for a triumphant church, He comes with a triumphant church, to set up His millennial kingdom. It is the seed of the woman who bruises the serpent's head. Now you have to understand the nature of this. I'm very concerned about what the bible teaches about the environment. It says in Revelation; 'to destroy those who destroy the Earth' (Rev 11:18). Men will be polluting the earth. God told man from the creation to take care of it. The rape of the environment is sin. On the other hand, I also recognize the strong new age influence in the environmental movement. Much of it comes from these eastern ideas of 'Mother Earth'. Roman Catholicism, the whole 'Mother' ethos. You know, if you say something like 'Mary had sin', to a devoted Roman Catholic, that is like insulting their mother. They can't see what the bible says, that 'All have sinned', and Mary says she needs a savior. That is their mother. A bride will always seek to honor her husband, if she is a faithful bride. An unfaithful bride is like Jezebel, who seeks to use her husband to bring honor to herself. In fact a faithful bride honors her husband, and her honor is in him. The honor of the church is in Jesus.
Daughters of Zion Come in Pairs
With one or two exceptions, the faithful women of the bible always seem to operate in pairs. Take Rachel and Leah for example. Jacob comes desiring Rachel. Only after he learns to love Leah as much as he loves Rachel does he get Rachel. In the beginning Leah is the most fruitful. She has all the babies, and then Rachel becomes fruitful. Jesus comes desiring Israel, the Jews, the daughters of Zion as such, but He has to take a gentile church first. Only after He learns to love the gentile church as much as He loves Israel, does He get Israel, in His return. In the beginning the gentile church has all the babies, at the end Israel does. Notice it is Leah and Rachel. The one he had to settle for, but then the one he actually desires. There were two of them.
Take Ruth and Naomi; once again you have two women, one is a Jew and the other is a gentile. This is always a picture of Israel and the church. We don't base doctrine on typology, the typology illustrates the doctrine and helps us to understand it beautifully. What happens at the end of the book of Ruth?
'Then Naomi, her mother in law, said to her, "My daughter, shall I not seek security for you, that it may be well with you? Now Boaz is our kinsman with whose maids you were. Behold he winnows barely at the threshing floor tonight."
(Boaz means 'in his strength'. He is a type of Jesus, on the threshing floor. He is described as doing just as Jesus is doing, with His winnowing fork in his hand.)
"Wash yourself therefore, and anoint yourself and put on your best clothes and go down to the threshing floor; but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking. It shall be when he lies down, that you shall notice the place where he lies, and you shall go and uncover his feet and lie down; then he will tell you what you shall do." Ruth 3:1-4
The Jewish woman tells the gentile woman how to get the man. Salvation comes from the Jews. The Jews gave the nations the Torah and the church, that showed them how to get Jesus. However, after Ruth gets the man in Ruth 4:11-14, a baby is born in Bethlehem and he is called 'goel', redeemer. Then the gentile woman takes the baby and gives it to the Jewish woman. The same as God used the Jews to give the gospel to the gentile church in the first century, God turns around and He uses the gentile church to give the gospel back to the Jews at the end. Undoubtedly 85% of the Jews who are being saved, are being led to Christ by gentile believers. And the key ingredient of the Jews being saved, in numbers we have never seen before, is the prayer of so many gentile believers. I would say that 90% of the mission budget or Jewish missions comes from gentile Christians. Now what happens? Naomi is an embittered woman, like Israel is, until this baby, who is called redeemer, born in Bethlehem, in the city of David, is taken and given back by Ruth to this Jewish woman. And in verse 16 Naomi took the child and laid him in her lap, and the neighbor women were saying "A son has been born to Naomi." It is a Jewish baby. You see, one a Jew, and the other a gentile; daughters of Zion. And it says in verse 11
" We are witnesses. May the LORD make the woman who is coming into your home...
(that is Ruth, a type of the church. The book of Ruth is read in Jewish synagogues on the day of Pentecost, hag sh'vuot, the birthday of the church),
...like Rachel and Leah, both of whom built the house of Israel." Ruth 4:11.
The twelve sons of Jacob, the foundation of Israel, are the Old Testament equivalent of the twelve apostles. As best as I can tell, the twenty four elders of Revelation are the twelve patriarchs (the sons of Jacob), and the twelve apostles. Jesus said they would be judging the tribes of Israel. You have that same picture. They come in pairs.
Let's look at the women with Moses. The messiah would be a prophet like Moses. There are two women closely associated with Moses in his ministry, after his mother. His sister, Miriam, and his wife Zipporah. One a Jew and one a gentile. And his Jewish family didn't like the fact that he had married a gentile woman. To this day, unless they are very orthodox, if a Jewish woman marries a gentile man it is usually OK. But if a Jewish man marries a gentile woman! Oh boy! And Zipporah was a black woman, a Cushite, and apparently there was some kind of a racist thing, they didn't like that she married a black woman. We have these two women associated with Moses. A Jew and a gentile, and Miriam gets cut off doesn't she? But the gentile woman replaces her as the main woman in his life.
So there is Leah and Rachel, with Leah at least representing the Gentile church. Then we get Miriam and Zipporah, a Jew andÂ a gentile, then Naomi and Ruth, another Jew and gentile pair. But when you get to judges and it's Deborah and Jael. In Hebrew 'Devorah' means bee, as the Hebrew word for honey is 'Devash'. Once again, one woman a Jew, Deborah, and the other, Jael, a gentile. And the victory of Israel depends on this Jewish woman and this gentile woman cooperating together. The daughters of Zion come in pairs. It is always a picture of the relationship between the covenants.
Son of the Old Covenant: Son of the New Covenant
So let's look at Luke.The same idea of the pairs continues in the new covenant.
When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. LukeÂ 1:41
Even in his womb, Yohanan Hamatbiel, John the Baptist, was filled with the Holy Spirit, and by the Holy Spirit, recognized Jesus in Mary's womb. And Mary was obviously newly pregnant. Elizabeth-'Elisheva', which means 'My God has sworn', was probably about six months pregnant. Don't let anyone tell you that life begins in the short journey down the birth canal, it doesn't. Obviously it begins in the womb. Now why is this? Why does John jump in his mother's womb when the two women see each other? They are the sons of the covenants. John is the son of the Old Covenant, and Jesus is the son of the New Covenant. The Old Covenant longed for the messiah, because the Old Covenant told people that they were condemned by sin and needed a savior. Religion cannot save anybody. The law could not save anybody. That's why Moses couldn't enter the promised land. Joshua had to bring the people in. The law can only teach you about your need for somebody to take you in. To do something for you that you can't do for yourself. There is only one religion God ever ordained and that was biblical Judaism. Not the Judaism you see today with the Rabbis. The only religion God ever ordained is our 'paidagogos', we are told in Galatians, our tutor, to teach us about our need for salvation. That is its main purpose. So John rejoices when he sees Jesus coming. As Paul says, 'the futility of the law'. Look at Luke 16:16.
The law and the prophets were proclaimed until John; since that time the gospel of the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it.
The Greek word 'forcing your way into' is 'auton biezetai'. Now ludicrously, someone with absolutely no knowledge of the Greek language, Morris Cerillo says, and Andrew Sherman does it, thatÂ ' auton biezetai' means 'we're taking the kingdom by force'. They use this for triumphalism, but this is not what it means. The law shows we are condemned and need to be saved. Sort of like an emergency alarm going off on a sinking ferry and the people are forcing their way into the lifeboats to be saved. The law is preached until John, but then the kingdom from Jesus. John, the son of the law, sees the son of grace. Forget all this triumphalist stuff, it is absolute idiocy. Nobody who reads the Greek language would believe such idiocy. It's just that most pentecostals and charismatics don't even think about the Greek language. That is one of the reasons why Andrew Sherman's brother David Sherman signed a statement and sent it to me saying that the original language doesn't even matter. He said it only matters what it means for us today, not what it meant in the original text in the original language. Because he knows that the original language proves that he is teaching a pack of lies. Do I sound ungracious? Jesus was very gracious when he dealt with tax gatherers and prostitutes, but when He dealt with religious leaders who mislead God's people and wouldn't repent, in Matthew 23, He called them a generation of snakes. Was he gracious? Sure He was! He was very gracious with the people being misled, but He wasn't too gracious with the people doing the misleading when they refused to repent. The gospel names people like this. There's Caiaphas. There's Herod; 'go tell that fox'. With Paul it was Alexander the coppersmith; "watch out for him, he is teaching error". With John, Diotrophes; "watch out for him, he is teaching error and doesn't accept what we say". Hymaneous; "watch out for him," says Paul, "he is teaching error." Hananiah; "watch out for him," says Jeremiah, "he is predicting things that don't happen." Were Jesus and Paul, Jeremiah and John, ungracious unloving people? They loved the sheep so much they were willing to take a stand publicly and openly accuse the leaders who wouldn't repent and were misleading the people. That is how 'ungracious' and 'un-Christian' they were. When people didn't repent when they were misleading God's people, God's real people stood up and said who they were and what they were doing. People today, because they are more afraid of their careers, their ministries and their pension, don't want to rock the boat. They will know these things are wrong, but the only things they will take a stand against are the ones who take a stand. They cannot argue from scripture. What do they have to do? Exceed the things that are written. None the less, let's go back to the daughters of Zion.
That is one pattern we always see with the 'benot tsion', the daughters of Zion, they always seem to operate in pairs. One somehow prefiguring the law, the other prefiguring grace. Frequently, one prefiguring Israel, the other prefiguring the church. One prefiguring the Old Covenant, the other prefiguring the New. Now, let's look at some further patterns in scripture.
Her Head is Always Covered
What happens when God uses a woman in the Old Testament, the 'tenach'? Heads covered? Did God use Esther to bring a national salvation to Israel? Yes, He did. But when God used Esther, her head was covered, with Mordecai. Did God use Ruth to begin the lineage of David, through whom the messiah would come in Bethlehem? Yes, He did. But her head was covered by Boaz. Did God use Deborah to bring victory to Israel? Yes, He did. But her head was covered by Barak. Does God use Beryl Hunter to promote Jacob Prasch and Tony Pierce up in Mercy Side? Yes, He does. But thank God for Peter. That is the way it always was. That is the way it is now. Heads covered. The husband of Ruth was Boaz. In 'His strength'- Boaz. Her strength is in her husband. Women have an inner strength that men don't. If you don't believe it watch a childbirth. You put a rugby player through that and he'll be out for the season! But spiritual strength, emotional strength, psychological strength? A wife needs to draw that strength from her husband, or from her male covering in some way.
Let's look again, in this light, at 1 Corinthians 11:3-16. She has to have her head covered because of the angels. What does that mean? Anything that God designs for good, because of the fall of man, the enemy will try to use for evil. Men are thick. I am thick. Men depend upon female sensitivity. When a husband and wife get saved, I would say in 85 percent of the cases I know of, the wife was saved first. When a husband and wife are praying for direction, 85 percent of the time it will be the wife who hears from the Holy Spirit. Women hear clearest and first because they are more sensitive.Â Women were always more sensitive, but because of the fall, men have become insensitive. On the other hand, because of the fall, women have become over-sensitive. So while it is easier for a woman to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit, it is also easier for a woman to hear the voice of another spirit and be deceived. Women are much more vulnerable to spiritual seduction and deception. The serpent got to Adam through his wife. Satan can't attack Jesus, so he tries to attack Jesus through the church now. That is why it is so important for men in ministry to have the right wife. Either God is going to use her or the devil is. John Wesley was a case where the devil used his wife to hold him back, until the Lord took her. Let's look at Second Corinthians.
I wish that you would bear with me in a little foolishness; but indeed you are bearing with me. For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin. But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.
2 Cor 11.:1-3
The dragon and the serpent in are Revelation 11. Satan has two modes of attack. The dragon is persecution, the serpent is seduction. Women are vulnerable to the serpent's bite, which is just as deadly as the dragon's devouring. It is poison. Male authority, therefore, is not based on domination, it is based rather on protection. Husbands are called to love their wives as Christ loved the church. How did he love the church? He gave himself for her. Women who have submission problems are usually women whose husbands are not loving and giving themselves for their wives. Very few Christian women would be fundamentally rebellious if they saw a husband who was obviously giving himself for his wife as Christ gave Himself for the church. Female submission is something that a male has to earn, even though it is expected that a female has to do it. A wife should see her husband's authority as protective, not as the boss. She has to expect that, because God is going to hold her husband accountable for her spiritual welfare as well as her physical welfare. God is going to hold me responsible for the welfare of my wife. The wife has to understand his responsibility. On the other hand she has to see him giving himself for her in that responsibility. Ideally, that is the way it is supposed to be. In the real world, there is a curse on the relationship between men and women because of the fall. Now, God redeems us, but He will use the friction in our marriage to make us both like Jesus. 'heet ha brut' in Hebrew, "iron sharpens iron, thus a man strengthens his friend's countenance". The closest kind of fellowship God ever ordains between any two people is a Christian marriage. It was the kind of fellowship that God ordained before man even fell, and it is not culture bound.
It is a disgrace for a man to pray with his head covered. He is writing to a Corinthian church where you have some Jews but mostly gentiles. You are not dealing with a middle eastern Jewish culture, you are dealing with a diasporic, Helenistic, Jewish culture. And you are dealing with gentile Christians.
Jewish men have a Talit, a prayer shawl. Even in biblical times you see the high priest's garments. When the high priest went to 'lehakriv' -make intercession, he wore a turban. A Jewish man prayed with his head covered. Now there are some people who will tell you that it is unnatural and dishonoring for a man to pray with his head covered. That is a cultural thing. The principle is what is not cultural. In our culture, a wedding ring is a symbol of marriage. In other cultures it is a woman having her head covered. Do you understand? Long hair is the glory of women in some cultures, in other cultures it is not necessarily. The cultural reflection of the principle is relative, but the principle is for every culture and every time. I know a woman who wears a hat, even to the shower! And she's got the biggest mouth you have ever heard in your life, and her husband is on a dog chain. But she wears that hat! Is her head covered? She thinks it is. The principle is not culture bound. The expression of the principle is. Now, I have no problem if in the tradition and custom of some church, women wear head covers like some of the Bretheren churches do. I have no problem with that, some Pentecostals do it. I am simply saying that that is not the thing Paul is trying to get at in Corinthians. He is trying to get at the vulnerability of women to spiritual seduction and their need for male protection. Though males are thick, they are also less naive and less gullible. Most of the people first to follow crazy trends and crazy doctrines will be women. Let's look a bit further.
Men Who Won't Take Responsibility
Likewise, I want, women to adorn themselves in proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments, but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness. A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. For it was Adam who was first created and then Eve, and it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. But women will be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self restraint.
1 Tim 2:9-15
Now this tells us a couple of things. When you have a pushy wife who wears the trousers in the marriage, the problem is not the woman, the problem is the husband for not taking authority in the relationship. The problem in the church with women pastors, is not women. Women by spiritual nature, because of the fall, are inherently insecure and are looking for strength from a male. I'm sorry if it sounds sexist but it is true. The same as the church looks for its strength and direction and security from Christ, a wife should be getting her sense of direction and security and strength from her husband. Now she contributes to his strength. A sensible wife understands that there is no such thing as a Prince Charming. Not even among Christian men. Therefore she ought to say "I am God's vehicle to help him become the man I want him to be. He is not that yet, but I have to be God's vehicle to help him become that man."Â There is only one Prince Charming and that is Jesus! That is it. The same thing is true of a Proverbs 31 wife.
As we looked at with the rite of ordeal and the law of jealousy, in Hebrew, when you get married, you say "with this ring I wed you according to the laws of Moses and Israel." "Ani 'mekudeshet lach" I make you holy, I sanctify you. The husband is to be God's vehicle in sanctifying the wife and making her holy unto God. Even the act of sex, while it is erotic, is still holy. "Let the marriage bed be undefiled." Hasidic Jews say, during intercourse, the 'shekinah' the holy Spirit hovers over the marriage bed. You know, they have a point. I wouldn't take it Kabalistically, as they do, but there is a truth in it.
So there is that aspect. The woman was deceived, not the man, and if a man is not being the head of a family in the marriage, the woman's pushiness or brashness is not just her fault it is his fault. Even if it is her fault, it is his problem, and if he doesn't correct the problem it becomes his fault. If something goes wrong in my marriage or with my kids, until they reach grown up age, it may not be my fault but in the eyes of God it is my problem because I am His authority in that relationship. I don't like hearing complaints about women being pushy in the spirit of Jezebel. If the men were being men it wouldn't happen. I see it today in the church. So many of the letters of support that I get are from women who are tired of wimpy men in the pulpit and even wimpy men in their mariages. "Why won't my husband say this is wrong. We have been in this church twenty years. There is the prosperity stuff and the ecumenical stuff. Why won't my husband take a stand?"
I get letters like that from women all the time. There is nothing wrong with those women.
With spiritually mature women, what happens is like what happened with Deborah. "If you don't want to take the responsibility, Barak, I will take it. You will have to cover me to do it, but I will do it. But I'm going to get the reward, not you." When God uses women in that way, it is because the men are not doing their jobs. There may be exceptions, thank God, but so many leaders in the church today, they see Toronto for what it is, a counterfeit of what God is really doing, they see the Word of Faith and the ecumenism, but they won't stand. Pastors see their churches being seduced but they won't stand.
Behold your people are women in your midst! The gates of your land are opened wide to your
enemies; fire consumes your gate bars. Nahum 3:13
The Principle and the Culture
Let's look at what else it says in First Timothy.
Likewise, I want, women to adorn themselves in proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments,.. 1 Tim 2:9
Once again, we have to understand the difference between principles and culture. In the Song of Solomon we have an allegory of the messiah's relationship with His bride, God with Israel. And she is all decked out with this very stuff that this Greek woman was not to wear. Peter writes to a more Jewish readership in 1st Peter, while Timothy, who was half Jew and half gentile, was over churches that were predominantly gentile, with a certain amount of Jews in them. Let's look at how Peter puts it.
In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives,as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands; just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear. 1 Pet 3:1-6
Paul says "Do not have your hair braided or wear jewelery". Peter says "Do not only do that". In the Jewish culture braided hair and a bit of jewelery didn't say anything negative. Peter was writing to a predominantly Jewish situation. However in the Greek situation, that stuff was associated with harlotry and lewdness, where you had cult prostitution. The text is appealing to a principle. He was saying "Don't look like a hooker! Don't look like an immoral or promiscuous woman!" I wouldn't want to see Christian women coming to church dressed like prostitutes. That would be terrible. In the Greek culture, the braided hair and the jewelery automatically made you look like a harlot or a cult prostitute or something like it. In the Jewish culture it wasn't quite like that. He appeals to the principle. The way that principle is communicated comes across in the culture. You can see how the same instruction was given to a predominantly Jewish church with one emphasis, and a predominantly gentile situation with another. It is the same principle, but the way it is expressed is relative.
When you see the people making the rules, like, 'don't wear make-up', those people are getting into nomianism; not legalism, nomianism. They are not saying you have to do these things to be saved, that are saying you have to do it in addition to trusting in Jesus to be justified by Him. Now, I have no problem with a woman who does not feel free in the Lord to wear make-up. Woman have a natural beauty. That is OK. It is beautiful in itself. Every female has something that God gave them which is attractive to their husbands. Every one. But when you say that Christian women should never put on make-up or jewelry because of this text, you are misunderstanding that this text is appealing to a principle. That principle is relative to the time and culture. If I go to Eilat, a clothing optional beach in Israel, I can give out tracts to all these people called sun worshippers. They are very pretty girls, mostly Scandanavian, German and Dutch, not wearing anything. I can give out tracts and not even think about sex. But if I go to Tel Aviv, where they are wearing these seductive swimwear fashions that are designed to generate lust, it drives me crazy, I can't stand it. She is only wearing that thing to promote lust in men other than her husband.Â For me it is "Put in on or take it off but don't tempt me!" It is wrong for women to behave seductively or promiscuously. I have seen a lot of things with charismatic women. You can go to a bible study and there are women who always put their arms around other men in a way that they should only do with their husband. Christian women shouldn't behave in that way. They shouldn't wear overly tight clothes or things that are designed to generate lust. That is the principle. However, just what it is specifically, is relative to the time and the culture. Paul is appealing to the principle. Don't look worldly, don't look gaudy. A female's true beauty is from within. It is like the Song of Solomon. The most sexual women are the ones who have a true beauty. It doesn't matter what they look like physically. Godly women have an attraction to their husbands that radiates from something that is internal.
Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored. Titus 2:3-5
'Not malicious gossips.' Men are inclined more to certain kinds of sin than women. Violent anger is more common in males than females. With women malicious gossiping is more common. They are more inclined to that kind of sin. Older women should teach the younger women not to be like that. Paul says women shouldn't teach, but he also says women should teach other women. There is nothing wrong with a woman being in leadership in the ministry of teaching other women. The scriptures say you should do that. But when you get into women trying to be teachers of churches which have mixed congregations, that is where you begin to get into trouble. Let's look once again at First Corinthians.
Do the Women Speak?
The women are to keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but are to subject themselves, just as the Law also says. 1 Cor 14:34
Now this is the law. It is not referring to the Orthodox Jewish tradition which you will hear uttered to this day; "Thank God I was not born a dog, a gentile or a woman." Christianity was the faith of women's liberation. Do you know what it was like for women in most of the Helenistic world and even the Jewish world before Christianity came along? When Peter began talking about mutual submission and women as co-airs in Christ, that shattered just about every concept of what marriage was supposed to be. It was very radical for its time. So too, was the negative view the scriptures took on slavery. It was radical for its time. Now, he wants the women to be silent. And then he goes on to say;
"If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, let him recognize that the things which I write to you are the Lord's commandment. But if anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized.
(In other words, "Don't recognize him." )
Therefore, my brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak in tongues. But all things must be done properly and in an orderly manner. 1 Cor 14:37-40.
Does that mean that women must be silent and not talk in church? Certain Brethren sects, certain pentecostal sects, certain churches with a holiness emphasis would say that it does. Once again we have to look at the entire concept of what Paul is talking about. Obviously it could not mean that, full stop. It would be impossible. Why? Let's look at why:
But every woman who has her head uncovered while praying or prophesying disgraces her head, for she is one and the same as the woman whose head is shaved. 1 Cor 11:5
How can a women pray or prophesy out loud, audibly in a meeting if she has to remain silent? It obviously doesn't mean that women are expected to be just silent and not say anything. It can't possibly mean that, because just before that, Paul said they could pray and prophesy. How? With their head covered. If a woman has a message for a church, she should go through her husband. If a woman wants to do something in ministry, her head has to be covered. If a woman does not have a husband who is a Christian, or if a woman is single, it should be her Christian father or an older brother. If she has none of those things it should be the male leadership of the church. It is always protective. Always! Obviously it does not mean that women should just stay there and be quiet because in the same book, earlier he says that is not what it means. The principle is that her head should be covered. Let's see what this means then. The people who say that people shouldn't speak in church at all are not reading the epistle as a letter. They are just taking one section of it instead of looking at it comprehensively.
What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. 1 Cor 14:26
He is talking about charismatic ministry. People bring their gifts. People bring a teaching, words from the Lord etc. He is not saying women shouldn't pray or prophesy. What he is saying is that they should go through their husbands. If your wife gives a prophecy, not only is she responsible for it, you are responsible for it, because you are her covering.Â If she brings an exhortation, not only is she responsible for it, you are responsible for it. That is what he is saying. Women are not to speak at joint meetings on their own authority. However they are to teach other women. I myself do not have any problem with, and see no problem in scripture with women sharing testimonies, with giving prophecies, with praying vocally, with sharing encouragement, with sharing with the body things that God may have laid upon them to say, as long as their heads are covered. I do not believe that women should be in leadership over mixed congregations. I do think they should be in leadership over other women. Female leadership is again what we read, "Let the women also...' A female leadership gift will be exercised in the body one of two ways: Over other women directly, or under the covering of her husband. Women pastors are out! They are wrong. It is unbiblical. But on the other extreme, so is the suppression of women wrong. Remember the covering is always protective.
Women are vulnerable. I once had a woman want to come and touch me, like I was some kind of power or something. My wife just says "Oh, its you."Â The sister said, "When you walked into the room I saw an angel walking in front of you." I said "Was it a good or a bad angel?" She thought about it! Women are more emotionally vulnerable to get into weird stuff. That is one of the reasons they have husbands to keep them out of trouble. On the other hand, there is no getting around the fact that men are thick. That is why they need wives who don't have so much wax in their ears. They need each other. It is not a question of superiority, it is a question of roles. It is a question of function. Now let's look further at some of the daughters of Zion. Let's look at judges 4:8-24.
Then Barak said to her, "If you will go with me, then I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go."
What a wimp! Maybe. But I am a wimp too. Because there have been a lot of times I've had to take a stand, and I ask my wife to pray with me, and if she has a check that it is wrong, that check that she has in her spirit carries a lot of weight. I say "Let me at 'em!" Pavia says, "If you get at 'em, why are you so sure that you will knock his head off and he won't knock your head off?" Women are also a strength to men. Not in the same way as men are a strength to women, but don't kid yourself, women are a strength to men.
Who Has the Grace to be Single?
Look at a guy who doesn't have the grace to be single. He figures, "What is wrong with me?" if he doesn't have a girlfriend or a wife. The same as girls, if they don't have the grace to be single, especially if the biological clock begins ticking away, they begin climbing the walls. They called London bible college, London bridal college. They assured us you could see fingernail marks in the walls of the girls showers. If an older one saw a younger one getting married it would drive them nuts! It is the same for men in a different way. It is not good for man to be alone. If you have the grace to be single that is fine, but single man is incomplete. Without the grace to be single, not having a female to stand with him will give the man a sense of insecurity. Both the male and the female will lack a sense of completion. Let's talk about that grace, because there is a lot of confusion. When a male of female have the grace to be single you will normally find three things. If any of these three things are not present, it is very reasonable grounds to doubt that they have the grace to be single.
Firstly, if a man or a woman has the grace to be single and they stay single, it doesn't affect their masculinity or their femininity. When a man without the grace stays single and irons his shirts for too long, he begins to get dainty in his old age and even begins to write like a girl! You know how they get, right? The same with a woman who has been chopping the firewood for too long and gets big muscles. If a man has the grace to be single and stays single his masculinity will not erode. And if a woman has the grace to be single her femininity will not erode. They are still ladies, they have their sexuality, they have their feminine charm, they have everything that every other woman has. When you see these things being eroded in a woman or a man, that person most likely doesn't have the grace to be single.
Secondly, when someone has the grace to be single it is almost always where God has called them to a particular ministry where a wife or a husband would not be a help meet but a hindrance. If someone is going to smuggle bibles into Iran, and they don't know whether they will come out in once piece, they don't need a wife and kids waiting for them in Devonshire, do they? They are called to a particular ministry, that's why God gives them the grace. Think of Paul. He didn't need a family at home while he was being shipwrecked all the time.
The third thing is that they have a peace about it. They are not obsessed. They are not worried about becoming menopausal and never conceiving children. It doesn't bother them that they won't have a home life like their parents had. When you see people who are bothered by that, they don't have the grace to be single.
If they don't have a peace about it, if they aren't called to some special ministry, and certainly if it affects their masculinity or femininity as they get older, they don't have the grace to be single. Now it is a difficult situation because in most western countries there are two women to every man in most churches. When I was young there were two or three times more women than men getting saved. Women get saved faster than men. Even ugly guys get pretty girlfriends in churches! If you have the grace to be single, don't lose it. Marriage is the natural state for men and women as God created us. But because of the fall there are other more pressing demands. If you have that grace don't mess up by getting married. And on the other hand, don't let someone try to put it on you if you don't have that grace. Let's look at Judges chapter 4 again.
The Battle of Deborah and Barak
Then Barak said to her, "If you will go with me, then I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go." She said, "I will surely go with you; nevertheless, the honor shall not be yours on the journey that you are about to take, for the LORD will sell Sisera into the hands of a woman." Then Deborah arose and went with Barak to Kedesh.Â
(You see? When men don't want to take the responsibility.)
Barak called Zebulun and Naphtali together to Kedesh (which means holy), and ten thousand men went up with him; Deborah also went up with him. Now Heber the Kenite had separated himself from the Kenites, from the sons of Hobab the father-in-law of Moses, and had pitched his tent as far away as the oak in Zaanannim, which is near Kedesh.Â
(The oak always has to do with strength)
Then they told Sisera that Barak the son of Abinoam had gone up to Mount Tabor. Sisera called together all his chariots, nine hundred iron chariots, and all the people who were with him, from Harosheth-hagoyim
(that is like the iron or copper of the gentiles)
to the river Kishon. Deborah said to Barak, "Arise! For this is the day in which the LORD has given Sisera into your hands; behold, the LORD has gone out before you." So Barak went down from Mount Tabor with ten thousand men following him. The LORD routed Sisera and all his chariots and all his army with the edge of the sword before Barak; and Sisera alighted from his chariot and fled away on foot. But Barak pursued the chariots and the army as far as Harosheth-hagoyim, and all the army of Sisera fell by the edge of the sword; not even one was left.
Now Sisera fled away on foot to the tent of Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite, for there was peace between Jabin the king of Hazor and the house of Heber the Kenite. Jael went out to meet Sisera, and said to him, "Turn aside, my master, turn aside to me! Do not be afraid." And he turned aside to her into the tent, and she covered him with a rug. He said to her, "Please give me a little water to drink, for I am thirsty." So she opened a bottle of milk and gave him a drink; then she covered him.
He said to her, "Stand in the doorway of the tent, and it shall be if anyone comes and inquires of you, and says, 'Is there anyone here?' that you shall say, 'No.'" But Jael, Heber's wife, took a tent peg and seized a hammer in her hand, and went secretly to him and drove the peg into his temple, and it went through into the ground; for he was sound asleep and exhausted. So he died.
And behold, as Barak pursued Sisera, Jael came out to meet him and said to him, "Come, and I will show you the man whom you are seeking." And he entered with her, and behold Sisera was lying dead with the tent peg in his temple. So God subdued on that day Jabin the king of Canaan before the sons of Israel. The hand of the sons of Israel pressed heavier and heavier upon Jabin the king of Canaan, until they had destroyed Jabin the king of Canaan. Judges 4:8-24
That is the basic story. Now as we saw already, when males will not take authority and God uses a woman, He still won't circumvent her covering. Barak might have been a wimp, but God still wouldn't let her operate without her head being covered. Even though she gets the credit for it. You will find that today. When God uses women because men are wimps, He still will not circumvent His order of authority.
In verse 14 the impetus came from Deborah. Be careful! Women are very good at two things; giving
men the right counsel and giving men the wrong counsel. Sometimes the same woman does it. Look at Sarah. She got Abraham to create an Ishmael. Sometimes my wife can be so right, and other times right out in left field. God certainly speaks through her, but like any woman, emotion is always a factor. Here, the right impetus comes through Deborah.
In verse 21, Jael slaughters Sisera. However the she only conquers him after Barak comes with the army. The church's victory is Zecharaiah 12, He comes with the church. There is no victory before the Lord returns with His army. Forget the Restoration, Kingdom Now rubbish! Now let's lookÂ at verse six and seven.
Now she sent and summoned Barak the son of Abinoam from Kedesh-naphtali, and said to him, " Behold, the LORD, the God of Israel, has commanded, 'Go and march to Mount Tabor, and take with you ten thousand men from the sons of Naphtali and from the sons of Zebulun.
'I will draw out to you Sisera, the commander of Jabin's army, with his chariots and his many troops to the river Kishon, and I will give him into your hand.'"Â Judges 4:6,7
It all Happens at Har-Megido
Now where does this happen? At the foot of Mt Tabor. It is the place which this text calls Megido. If you go there today you can see Mt Tabor in the distance, but the place where this battle actually happens, the place of reckoning, is Megido. In Hebrew we say 'Har Megido', 'the mount of Megido'.
It gets mistranslated from 'Har-Megido' to 'Armagedon'. Somehow what happens here is one of the things in the bible which teaches about what is going to happen in the last days. When things happen in the same geographical location in the bible there is a reason. There is a reason that Ruth gave birth to a baby, who was called redeemer, in Bethlehem. Because Jesus came from Bethlehem.
Now let's look at the book of Revelation.
And they gathered them together to the place which in Hebrew is called Har-Magedon. Rev 16:16
We take this back now to Judges. The same story.
"The kings came and fought; Then fought the kings of Canaan At Taanach near the waters of Megiddo; They took no plunder in silver. The stars fought from heaven, From their courses they fought against Sisera."Â Judges 5:19,20
Now again, Revelation;
"And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. The dragon and his angels waged war..." Rev 12:7
There is a connection between what is happening in the heavenlies and on earth. What you see happening in Har-Megido was somehow a reflection of what was happening in heaven. Stars are figures of angels and of Christians. In Revelation, we see Jesus with the stars in His hands, they are spirits, but Abraham's descendants would be like the stars of heaven. Now look at Judges chapter 5. The Song of Deborah.
The peasantry ceased, they ceased in Israel, Until I, Deborah, arose, Until I arose, a mother in Israel.Â Judges 5:7
She becomes a maternal figure. But then we see;
"Awake, awake, Deborah; Awake, awake, sing a song! Arise, Barak, and take away your captives, O son of Abinoam. Judges 5:12
She sings the song of victory. In verse 24, "Most blessed of women is Jael" Blessed are you among women... do you see what I am saying?Â The enemy's head is destroyed, Mary is blessed among women. Going back to Genesis, the seed of the woman would crush the head of the serpent. Now the typology doesn't fit exactly, but that is what it is getting to. There are two who are called 'blessed among women'. We see it in the song of Deborah, and we see it in the 'Magnificat', the song of Mary. Luke 1:48. The other woman is in Exodus 15:20-21. We see Miriam the sister of Moses. Miriam's name is the same name as Mary, the mother of Jesus.
"Miriam the prophetess, Aaron's sister, took the timbrel in her hand, and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dancing. Miriam answered them, "Sing to the LORD, for He is highly exalted; The horse and his rider He has hurled into the sea." Ex 15:20,21
Somehow what happens with Miriam -the mother of Jesus, who would bring victory and redemption, happens with the other Miriam. She says the same thing. Victory and redemption. Then Jael brings victory and redemption. These are the daughters of Zion. Jael and the song of Deborah prefigure Mary. The song of Miriam prefigures Mary. All of these women in some way represent God's woman in different aspects.
The Ultimate Daughter of Zion
Her ultimate character is found in Proverbs chapter 31. We normally think of it as a wife. But it is speaking midrashically on more than one level.
An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, And he will have no lack of gain.
(The husband is Jesus, the bride is the church)
She does him good and not evil All the days of her life.
She looks for wool and flax And works with her hands in delight.
She is like merchant ships; She brings her food from afar
She rises also while it is still night And gives food (spiritual food) to her household And portions to her maidens.
She considers a field (as it were a mission field) and buys it;
From her earnings she plants a vineyard.
She girds herself with strength And makes her arms strong.
She senses that her gain is good; Her lamp does not go out at night. Prov 31:10-18
Who else's lamp does not go out out night? Mat 25, the wise and foolish virgins. Do you see how it is talking about a wife but at the same time it is talking about the church? In the tribulation she will have oil in her lamp.
She extends her hand to the poor, And she stretches out her hands to the needy.Â
(That is a faithful church)
She is not afraid of the snow for her household, For all her household are clothed with scarlet.
(Like in Isaiah 1:18)
She makes coverings for herself; Her clothing is fine linen and purple. (spiritually)
Her husband is known in the gates, When he sits among the elders of the land...
Strength and dignity are her clothing, And she smiles at the future.
She opens her mouth in wisdom, And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
(The church should be seeking wisdom)
She looks well to the ways of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness.
(She is not a lukewarm church)
Her children rise up and bless her; Her husband also, and he praises her, saying:
"Many daughters have done nobly, But you excel them all."
Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.
Give her the product of her hands, And let her works praise her in the gates. Prov 31:20-31
That is the bride without blemish that Jesus wants. Now yes, it applies to an ideal Christian wife, or an ideal Jewish wife. But it is talking about a true daughter of Zion. The character of the church is female, not male. It is easier for males to relate to Jesus on one level because He is a male. Women cannot see Jesus on one level unless they see Him through their husbands. They should be seeing the love of Jesus through their husbands because they can't relate to Him as a male. On the other hand, males cannot relate to Jesus as a lover, unless there is something wrong with them. So the way a female wants to be loved by her husband and wants to honor her husband, a male has to see that in his wife to know how to honor Jesus. He has to be seeing something about what God wants through his wife. The same as a wife has to see something about what God wants, through her husband. It is not a question of superiority, it is a question of compliment, a question of roles.
Now there is a caveat I always have to say when we talk about a subject like this. If you are a female and single or a widow, never under any circumstances personalize Jesus as a husband or a lover. He is always the husband of a collective bride, never a personal one. I know cases where women get into emotional confusion, it can open up the door even to demonic oppression when they begin to get into the idea that Jesus is a personal lover. It is a Roman Catholic concept where the nuns say they are brides of Christ, and when they take their final vows they put on a ring and have a wedding ceremony. It is absolutely false and un-biblical. Some of the Roman Catholic mystics like Saint Theresa, would read the Song of Solomon as erotic literature, fantasizing about a love affair with Jesus. This is absolutely wrong. His bride is always corporate, never personal.
What is the best way a church can be the bride of Proverbs 31? Women who are really going to get what they want, are going to be women who get what God wants. And Proverbs 31 is the way they are going to get it. There is no man who wouldn't do anything for a wife like that! Do women like that exist? When Christ comes, He is not going to accept anything less.
God bless you.
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