Moses and the Copper Serpent

“The Head of Every Man is the Christ” – Study 2021/05

“The head of every man is the Christ.” 1 Corinthians 11:3.

 [Study 5 from ws 2/21 p.2, April 5 – April 11, 2021]

The first paragraph highlights attitudes of men to women that are prevalent in the world today. It correctly then states that “However, those attitudes do not reflect the way Jehovah wants men to exercise their headship. (Compare Mark 7:13.)”. What does Mark 7:13 remind us? When talking about corban, Jesus told the Pharisees and scribes, “Thus you make the word of God invalid by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like this.”. So, clearly, we should be on the lookout for traditions that make the word of God invalid. Are there any to be found in this study article? Let us investigate!

Making the Word of God invalid by their tradition

The very next sentence of paragraph 1 sets the tone for the rest of the study article when it then goes on to say “How, then, can a man learn to be a good family head?”. Now, you might be thinking, just one moment Tadua, you have the wrong theme for the study article. The theme you show is about Christ being the head of every man, not the man being the head of the woman. In fact, that is also exactly what I thought while preparing this review. I then reread the study article 3 times to make sure I understood what material was being provided. But, no, Tadua did not get the theme wrong. The problem is that the Organization did not follow the theme they themselves provided. Instead, as usual they went off at a tangent to deliver their own message. How so?

From the theme you would expect the study article explain how Christ is the head of every man. Then, you would hope it examines how he treats that relationship with men. If that is your expectation, then you would be wrong. For example, Jehovah is mentioned 43 times. However, Jesus is mentioned only 26 times, 11 of which were in a phrase “Jehovah and Jesus”. Further, I would challenge our readers to find one sentence in the whole article which specifically describes how “Christ is the head of every man in this way or that way …” or similar wording.

Was the Apostle Paul talking about headship?

Perhaps it would have helped if they had done some research on the matter.

A look at Biblehub at “kephale”[i] the Greek word translated “head” only gives a slight hint, but a clue nonetheless. It indicates that “kephale” as the head, was used to indicate the source of life. Why? Because without a head, one dies or does not live. The Thayers Greek Lexicon states “Since the loss of the head destroys the life, κεφαλή is used in phrases relating to capital and extreme punishments: so in τό αἷμα ὑμῶν ἐπί τήν κεφαλήν ὑμῶν (see αἷμα, 2 a., p. 15{b}), Acts 18:6, and similar phrases in classical Greek; see Passow, under the word, p. 1717{a}; Pape under the word, 3; (Liddell and Scott, under the word, I. 3 and 4).”.

There is no need to reinvent the wheel as the saying goes. Therefore, why not take a read of this research on the Beroean Pickets site.  In the article about The Role of Women in the Christian Congregation – Headship! It’s not what you think it is,[ii] you will find an in-depth examination of what the Apostle Paul really meant when he wrote 1 Corinthians 11. Enjoy!

The reference to Mark 7:13 by the Organization was clearly relevant, although not for the reasons they mention it. Traditions have certainly made the word of God invalid by obscuring its true meaning.

It is therefore meaningless to review the rest of the study article, because of two things. Firstly, the study article is nothing to do with the theme they give. Secondly, the article is all about the man being a good family head. If the basis of the article is a false premise, i.e. that the man is the head of a woman, then the conclusions and suggestions mentioned in the article could likely be irrelevant.

As next week’s Study article is about the phrase “the head of a woman is the man” we will leave the discussion about male headship (or lack of it!) till then.

In what sense is Christ the head of the man

However, we will return to the theme given “The Head of the man is the Christ”. If we substitute “source of life” (as per the true meaning of ‘kephale’ in this part of 1 Corinthians) into the theme we get “the source of life of the man is the Christ”. How would this be true?

Firstly, working with God, Jesus created man. One scripture that confirms this is Colossians 1:18. It reads, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; 16 because by means of him all [other] things were created in the heavens and upon the earth, the things visible and the things invisible, no matter whether they are thrones or lordships or governments or authorities. All [other] things have been created through him and for him. 17 Also, he is before all [other] things and by means of him all [other] things were made to exist, 18 and he is the head of the body, the congregation …”. Interestingly the “head” of the body, the congregation, is the same word “kephale”, meaning source of life. Jesus both initiated the early Christian congregation, giving the congregation life and he is also its savior, its source of life for the future. In the same way, men owe life to Jesus as he had an equal part in creating man. Also, through his death, men who accept him as their savior, accept him as their source of future life.

This reminds of Numbers 21:7-9, where those bitten by the plague of snakes had to look to the serpent of copper. Moses had put this serpent of copper on the signal pole at God’s command to save their lives. Jesus applied this to himself in John 3:14-15. Here he said, “And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so the Son of man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone believing in him may have everlasting life.” Yes, unless we look to the impaled Jesus as our savior, we cannot gain everlasting life, from him, the source of life.

Moses and the Copper Serpent
Moses and the Copper Serpent Copyright Moody Publishers

It would be good to leave the final word with Jesus as to how he is the true bread from heaven. He is bread that gives not life, but everlasting life to those partaking of that bread (symbolically speaking). We take up the account in John 6:27-40, Jesus said to all his audience including the disciples, “Work, not for the food that perishes, but for the food that remains for life everlasting, which the Son of man will give YOU; for upon this one the Father, even God, has put his seal [of approval].”

28 Therefore they said to him: “What shall we do to work the works of God?” 29 In answer Jesus said to them: “This is the work of God, that YOU exercise faith in him whom that One sent forth.30 Therefore they said to him: “What, then, are you performing as a sign, in order for us to see [it] and believe you? What work are you doing? 31 Our forefathers ate the manna in the wilderness, just as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” 32 Hence Jesus said to them: “Most truly I say to YOU, Moses did not give YOU the bread from heaven, but my Father does give YOU the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.34 Therefore they said to him: “Lord, always give us this bread.”

35 Jesus said to them: “I am the bread of life. He that comes to me will not get hungry at all, and he that exercises faith in me will never get thirsty at all. 36 But I have said to YOU, YOU have even seen me and yet do not believe. 37 Everything the Father gives me will come to me, and the one that comes to me I will by no means drive away; 38 because I have come down from heaven to do, not my will, but the will of him that sent me. 39 This is the will of him that sent me, that I should lose nothing out of all that he has given me but that I should resurrect it at the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone that beholds the Son and exercises faith in him should have everlasting life, and I will resurrect him at the last day.



Moody Publishers /

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