Monday, June 17, 2013

Do We Need a "Spiritual Covering?"

I am sorry to have been distracted from many things that deeply matter to me--so much so that writing here has slowed to a crawl.  I hope to be back soon.  Ken is going to Mayo at the end of the month, and we continue to seek answers. 

Meanwhile, I know of a ordained women who had expressed interest in being the senior pastor of a church not far from here.  She is qualified and gifted.  Apparently the search committee felt so as well, but expressed sadness that since her husband was not a minister he could not be her covering and thus the senior pastor position was closed to her. 

And just last week I read an article about Rev. Jack Hayford, someone I admire. He is a church leader whom many in the Pentecostal/Charimatic part of the Church could emulate.  It was a great article, except for when the author (who should know better) referred to the man being honored as "our spiritual covering."  He was speaking of how Hayford had long been a trusted mentor and advisor for him and his wife.  That is a good thing.  Thinking we need a "spiritual covering" is not. 

May I recommend this article by Gay Anderson?  It is from "God's Word to Women" and was written 13 years ago.  I would have thought it was no longer an issue.  Apparently it still is for many people.

It all began in the Garden of Eden. As we look upon the two fallen ones, gripped by the guilt of sin, and faced with a broken relationship with the Creator God, we declare: How great was the fall of man! The consequences of disobedience are in full view, for we see Adam and Eve attempting to hide and to cover themselves with fig leaves. They had lost their covering! Created in His image after His likeness, spirit people covered in his glory, filled with His power, shining in the likeness of His person--holy, but now, they stand in a covering produced by their own hands. The candle of man, his spirit, has been snuffed out. The likeness in which they were created is tarnished, no longer holy--Ichabod! The glory of the Lord is departed! What deception to ever imagine they could provide a sufficient covering for their sin!

We see the heart of a loving God reaching down, coming to make provision for the highest of His creation. The Adamic Covenant is the covenant God made with Adam and Eve after the entrance of sin. Here they lost their relationship with God, corrupted their character, lost the dominion they had been given, and caused their children to come under the dominion of sin and death. (I Cor.15:45-49 and Romans 5:12). Their merciful Creator came to reveal His provision and to restore that which was lost. Often called the "book of beginnings," Genesis is the beginning of the covenants of a redeeming God.

What a forgiving God, coming to provide the way back to Himself! He slays the animal and makes coats of skin to cover Adam and Eve's nakedness. No man-made covering could meet the demands of a holy God. Man could never provide an acceptable covering for his sin. The blood of an innocent animal was slain, which introduces a substitutionary death to cover man's sinfulness. This covenant sacrifice was the first of all blood sacrifices for fallen man and pointed to the New Covenant sacrifice at Calvary-- the body and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Within the Body of Christ today a doctrine has crept in, teaching that we all need a "covering" in order to minister in our gifts and callings. The question is continually set before us," Who is your covering, and under whose authority are you?" Again, "To whom are you accountable?" Indeed, we all must be accountable, but that is specifically and initially to the Lord Jesus Christ, who causes us to walk in the light as He is in the light. Shouldn't our response be that the blood of the Lamb covers us? Men without a covering are labeled rebels having "Ahab" spirits. Likewise, women are instantly placed in the "Jezebel Camp" with all the unsubmissive, controlling, manipulative and usurping ones possessed by a Jezebel spirit. What a sad estate.

In Exodus 26:15, 29 and Exodus 36:20, 34, Moses is told to overlay (cover) (1) the boards of shittim wood in the tabernacle with pure gold. Is that not what Jesus did for us when He grafted us into Him and we became living stones in the temple of the living God? Wood is a type of humanity. The gold suggests that God covers (clothes) us with His own nature. Surely we are made partakers of His divine nature and are clothed, covered in His righteousness. When a principle is established in Scripture, why must we succumb to a doctrine of man, which Jesus hated? (Revelation 2:6,15)

When Aaron and his sons were called by God to the Levitical priesthood, they were commanded to wear white linen trunks to cover their nakedness. (Exodus 28). Now, we see the final and last priesthood, which is the Church of Jesus Christ! In Revelation 19:8, His bride is clothed and covered in fine (radiant) linen--dazzling and white, for the fine linen is. . .the righteous deeds of the saints. Ephesians 2:10 tells us these deeds (works) were prepared for us (by God Himself) to walk in before the foundation of the world was laid. Tell me, where did the idea ever come from that we need any covering other than the Lord Jesus Christ Who called, covered, confirmed, ordained, sanctified and commissioned every believer to be His representative king and priest on this earth?

One isolated passage in I Corinthians 11:5-6, which was and is based on Jewish law,

5. But every woman who has her head uncovered while praying or prophesying disgraces her head; for she is one and the same with her whose head is shaved. 6. For id 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. 1 Cor. 11:5-6 NAS

will not suffice for those who have become sons and daughters of the free woman.(2) In Galatians 4: 21, Paul asks: "Tell me, you who are bent on being under the Law, will you listen to what the Law (really) says?" Read on and savor what Calvary purchased for every blood-bought child of God! The Apostle Paul wrote the church in Corinth that he did not come to take dominion over anyone's faith (II Corinthians 1:24). Many saints have been hindered by false teachings on covering and have not been permitted to go forth into the work of the ministry. God forgive and set us on a new path of liberty in His Spirit.

God's word to Moses in Exodus 33:22 reads: "And while My glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand until I have passed by." The word cover here signifies: to cover over, to protect, defend, hedge in. God covered the tent or tabernacle (Ex. 40:34) with a cloud, which was His very Presence. In Psalm 91:4, the Lord's care, protection and love flows out as He promises to cover His people with His feathers. Psalm 105:39 tells us He spread a cloud (His presence) for a covering.

Tracing and highlighting the words cover, covered, covereth, covering in the scripture, God, the Almighty, reveals Himself as The One Who covers. Our Lord Jesus Christ is our covering, and His presence in, upon and over all believers is sufficient in every respect. The blood covering provided for every believer, whether Jew, Greek, slave, free, male or female, far surpasses the blood of bulls and goats, which only covered sin in the Old Testament. But now, the blood of Jesus does more than cover. It completely washes all our sin away.

Beloved of the Lord, male or female, we must return to Biblical foundations.

Jesus said, "And when one is fully taught, he will be like his teacher." Who do we want to be like? Do we wish to be like a person or institution that takes the place of Jesus, or to become like Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit resident within us?

Some years ago, I chose to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as my complete COVERING. May I share with you how the Lord brought me under His covering? For many years I taught Bible studies in my home and in the church. I'm sorry to say that I taught a mixture of God's Word and the doctrine of men. A deep desire to please my husband and those who were supposedly my covering brought me to the realization I was walking in a futile attempt to serve two masters.

Once I was invited to teach in a church. When I approached the pastor, who was our covering in a home Bible Study group, he saw no problem in my going provided my husband went along to be my covering. My husband said he felt no responsibility for that church and declined to go. Therefore, I told the church I could not come. Needless to say, the Spirit of God within me was deeply grieved, and I began to seek the Lord for His wisdom and light. This hunger to know truth began to expose the error and bondage in which I walked. How lovingly and gently He showed me Covenant love and that He alone is my covering.

I heard my Lord, my covering, ask clearly and distinctly, "Who called you to teach?" My response was, "Lord, You did." He replied, "Then go teach." That is exactly what I've done ever since in total liberty and joy! My soul escaped out of the snare of the fowler. I had to follow up with those to whom I had taught error through the years and ask their forgiveness. I removed a number of books and articles from my home and never embraced or taught from them again.

Knowing that He has called and overshadowed us with His mighty love, that He alone is our covering, and that He has set us under His holy name to give account to Him, let us walk in the liberty of the wonderful COVERING of His presence devoid of all flesh.

1. In Hebrew, more than one word is used for "cover." The word used here is defined in Strong's Exhaustive Concordance as: fill up hollows, to cover (for clothing or secrecy), clad self, close, clothe, conceal, cover self, flee to hide, overwhelm.

2. See Galatians 4:21-31.