1 Corinthians 11:5, 17: Prophesying and Prophetesses in Corinth

1 Corinthians 11:5 does not give women the right to be prophetesses or engage in prophesying in the public assembly. This excludes preaching with or without a tune. Paul prohibited women from standing over or presiding or overseeing the local congregation. Women who preach with a tune take this authority from the senior males who are to stand over the flock. When Paul alludes to the "law" it is because the Old Testament makes it clear that paganistic women or effeminate men led Israel into destruction. It has nothing to do with inferiority-superiority. It involves one hour out of 168 after which everyone is free to teach and minister out where the people need it. The struggle over that one hour a week is a symptom of a church ignoring the purpose of the assembly where one of the "acts of worship" is not preaching.

See our review of Charles Daily Part One
Part Two
More Data on Dailey's musical prophesying
See our collection of resources about DEVIL WORSHIP
And a similar Serpent Worship

See more background to prophesying or speaking in tongues at Corinth

If God picks you as a spokesperson to deliver inspired WORD then you can predict some future and it will come true. Prophets were also God's messengers to take His Word to the people when the priests failed

The secular and Biblical evidence informing Paul is that "musical ministries" were a hallmark of the secular world, state temples or prostitute prophetesses where prophecy means "singing with musical instruments" and speaking out of their head.

See that charismatic in the Greek world involved a worship of rituals where sexual perversion was one of the acts or the initiation ceremony. Music is about 100% connected to the homosexual gods and goddesses worshipped by homosexual and often emasculated priests and worshipers who SERVED the "worshipers."

"CHARISMATIC HYMM - a chant or song composed in a special vibrational frequency so that its tone and rhythm stir the emotions of each member of the gathering;

music is played extremely loud and the words are repetitious;

puts congregation in an altered-state-of-consciousness and encourages one to
talk-in-tongues and to rise up and give prophecy. [cf. RAISE THE VIBRATIONS, MASS MUSIC].

Many ancients note that where men gathered for "in depth" discussion the women were likely to make fun or ridicule anyone who was "too technical" or who used logic. They were much more interested in, in our terms, "work books" or discussions which centered around the home, flowers, music and often charismatic worship. Legard Smith notes that if the women in Corinth quit speaking in tongues the tongue speaking would cease.

When women were allowed into these groups it was because someone wanted the sexual stimulation of wine, women and music. Clement notes that when the discussion got serious, the musicians--usually female--were excused to their own interests because common sense tells us, along with Num 10:7, that you cannot listen too well when the music is going.

Writing about the status of women in Pompeii and their role in feasts:

"To what extent did women participate in the meal? Salza Prina Ricotti has conservatively stated that women were thought to be a distraction at dinner, and that they did not make invitations, receive guests, or conduct conversation during the meal.

Juvenal disagrees in the sixth satire,

rebuking the erudite woman who belittles rhetors and grammarians in her dinner table remarks.

He exaggerates, but no less than to imagine that women took absolutely no part in dinner socializing. Catullus did not consider a dinner good without wine, wit, laughter, and the company of a lovely girl.

Judging by the (male) literature, men's reasons for female company at banquets primarily concerned

the opportunity of love, or at least sexual relations.

Women of both high and low status were depicted as prizes at the table, taken by powerful figures like emperors sometimes even from their own husbands. Thus the precepts written on the dining room walls of the Casa del Moralista at Pompeii

advise guests not to make eyes at other men's wives.

There was a clear connection between food and sex; one course at some dinners was the women themselves.

Women were also known to entertain banqueters in the roles of mimes, dancers, singers and musicians.

"The scenicae were involved in a craft aimed primarily at theatre-goers. It has been described as a 'closed craft', since daughters took over from their mothers. The classic example is that of the mother of the future Empress Theodora who put her three young daughters to work on the stage of licentious plays.

The poet Horace described in his Satires (1.2.1) Syrian girls (whose name ambubaiae probably derived from the Syrian word for flute, abbut or ambut)
........livening up banquets by dancing lasciviously with castanets and 
        accompanied by the
sound of flutes.
........Suetonius simply equated these with prostitutes (Ner. 27).

That is why Jacob, Bishop of Serūgh (451-521) in Mesopotamia warned in his Third Homily on the Spectacles of the Theatre against dancing,

'mother of all lasciviousness' which 'incites by licentious gestures to commit odious acts'.
A sixth-century mosaic in Madaba in Transjordan depicts a
castanet-snapping dancer dressed in transparent muslin next to a satyr who is clearly sexually-roused.[7]

"According to Bishop John of Ephesus' fifth-century Lives of the Eastern Saints, Emperor Justinian's consort was known to Syrian monks as 'Theodora who came from the brothel'. Her career proves that Byzantine courtesans like the
........... Ancient Greek hetairai could aspire to influential roles in high political spheres.

Long before her puberty, Theodora worked in a Constantinopolitan brothel where, according to the court-historian Procopius of Caesarea's Secret History,

she was hired at a cheap rate by slaves as all she could do then was to act the part of a 'male prostitute'. As soon as she became sexually mature, she went on stage, but as she could play neither flute nor harp, nor even dance,

she became a common courtesan. Once she had been promoted to the rank of actress, she stripped in front of the audience and lay down on the stage. Slaves emptied buckets of grain into her private parts which geese would peck at. She frequented banquets assiduously, offering herself to all and sundry, including servants. She followed to Libya a lover who had been appointed Governor of Pentapolis. Soon, however, he threw her out, and she applied her talents in Alexandria and subsequently all over the East.

Upon her return to Constantinople, she bewitched Justinian who was then still only the heir to the imperial throne. He elevated his mistress to Patrician rank. Upon the death of the Empress, his aunt and the wife of Justin II (who would never have allowed a courtesan at court), Justinian forced his uncle Justin II to abrogate the law which forbade senators to marry courtesans. Soon, he became co-emperor with his uncle and at the latter's death, as sole emperor, immediately associated his wife to the throne (Anecd. 9.1-10).

"Slaves provided 'dinner-theater' entertainment for the guests while they served:

singing, playing musical instruments, reciting verse, dancing, acrobatics, and playing farce. Serving boys or girls dispensed the wine (from new wineskins, no doubt) and
........... offered sexually attractive appearances.

While slaves were accepted as part of the banquet's course and (sometimes) admired for their entertainment, they were simultaneously segregated from the real camaraderie of the meal. In a sense, they were performing puppets, subject to derision, degradation, abuse and punishment.

Because of this background, Paul divides his letter to the Corinthians into two parts. The first was outside the assembly where he warned against the uncovered prophesying which would be a hang over from their pagan practices. By definition, this form of prophesying would be with head uncovered which meant that she was not subject to her husband. This was not a boss-servant idea but she would be available for paying customers. Inside the assemblies the women were to be silent in respect to real prophecy which would be revealing the Mind or Spirit of God.

Philip's Daughters Prophesying

The prophesying and dreaming which would accompany the genuine Apostle-Prophets selected by Christ was a supernatural sign and had no "utilitarian purpose." In fact, the Greek words which define dreaming is related to the Chaldean practices. Virgins would prophesy which would be an outrage under normal circumstances because prophesying was a trade of the prostitute. The girls never predicted anything.

"Singing served as a means of inducing ecstatic prophecy

Thus the essential relationship between music and prophecy can be clearly seen.

This relationship also explains why the expression for "making music" and "prophesying" was often identical in the ancient tongues. origen contra celsum 8.67.

The Hebrew word Naba signifies not only "to prophesy" but also "to make music." (Quasten, Johannes, Music and Worship in Pagan and Christian Antiquity, p. 39)

Notice in the text about Philip's daughters that the Spirit makes a distinction between "prophesying" and being a "prophet."--

And the next day we that were of Pauls company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him. Ac 21:8

And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy. Ac 21:9

And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus. Ac 21:10

Jesus gave us divine commentary on this by sending a male prophet to give Phillip guidance!

If these young girls were truly prophets they would have warned Paul of the danger. The context is deliberately arranged to define prophesying in the musical sense as not the same as genuine revelation of prophecy by a prophet.

"It is probable that Miriam, Deborah, Huldah, and others were called 'prophetesses,' not so much because they were supposed to be gifted with knowledge of futurity, like the seers, as because they possessed a poetical inspiration..." (Book, Hist. Digests., p. 265). (Note: there may be one exception in the case of Huldah).

"It should be noted, however, that women like Miriam (Exod. 15:20), Deborah (Judges 4:4) and Hulda (2 Ki. 22:14) were not credited with the seer's insight into the future, but were called 'prophetesses' because of the poetical inspiration of their speech." (Int. Std. Bible Ency., Prophetess, p. 2467).

Culver defends women in ministry by equating the prophesying outside the assembly with the judgmental prophesying of the professional "musical prophesiers" at the Canaanite high places:

"Similarly the prophesying is in the singing of psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Also included is the playing of instruments. Because in the Temple worship the sons of Asaph and Jeduthun 'prophesied with a harp, to give thanks and praise the Lord' (see 1 Chron 25:1-7), it seems quite reasonable that in the context of public worship, to 'prophesy' in 1 Corinthians 11 should mean the same as in 1 Chronicles 25." (Culver, Women in Ministry, p. 29).

Note: of course this was outside the assembly while the inside the assembly begins in 1 Cor 11:17. The Levitical prophesiers were added to the temple state which God permitted when Israel rejected God and His Word. They were to keep the worshipers away from the Tabernacle and signal them to fall on their face: this did not involve public worship.

Paul made his point about prophesying outside of the assembly because of the religion of Corinth. The seeker model was in full swing as the women performed outside the assembly to attract foreigners (unbelievers) to the festivals to get their money:

"This mountain was covered with temples and splendid houses; but was especially devoted to Venus, and was the place of her worship... and it was enjoined by law, that one thousand beautiful females should officiate as courtesans, or public prostitutes, before the altar of the goddess of love.

In time of public calamity and imminent danger,
"these women attended at the sacrifices, and walked with the other citizens singing sacred hymns...

"Foreign merchants were attracted in this way to Corinth; and in a few days would be stripped of all their property... It became the most gay, dissipated, corrupt, and ultimately the most effeminate and feeble portion of Greece." (Barnes, Albert, Introduction to 1 Cor., p. iv).

Paul is speaking of "uncovered prophesying" outside of the assembly because "inside the assembly" begins in 1Cor 11:17. During the assembly women and uninspired men were forbidden to pretend to speak for God. The pagan practice was identical to that which primarily women tried inside the Christian assembly. The women intoxicated by some means spoke in tongues which was prophesying. Another priest interpreted for her and said that the message was from the gods and you had better believe it.

The Corinthian women were susceptible to this because they were "just out of paganism" and because not a single person in Corinth had even the tiny Spiritual gift to solve their problems by making a decision:

"The Greeks sought the god's approval for any important decisions they had to make. They often went to the temple of Apollo at Delphi, where a priestess sat over a gas fissure in the volcanic rocks and

muttered unintelligible words of prophecy.
Other priests
interpreted her words, which were supposed to come from Apollo himself.

But the oracle usually gave people vague instructions that could mean almost anything--so that, no matter what happened, the priests could say she was right." (Sumrall, Lester, p. 75, Where was God when Pagan Religions Began, Thomas Nelson.)

In the book of Revelation Apollo is Abaddon or Apollyon. He comes to unleash the MUSICIANS or MUSES who were cast into the underworld as LOCUSTS or GRASSHOPPERS symbolic of musical performers.

Strabo Geography [10.3.10] And on this account Plato, and even before his time the Pythagoreians, called philosophy music; and

they say that the universe is constituted in accordance with harmony,
assuming that every form of music is the work of the gods.
And in this sense, also, the
Muses are goddesses,
Apollo is leader of the Muses,
poetry as a whole is laudatory of the gods.

And by the same course of reasoning they also attribute to music the upbuilding of morals, believing that everything which tends to correct the mind is close to the gods.

Now most of the Greeks assigned to Dionysus, Apollo, Hecate, the Muses (9 women team), and above all to Demeter, everything of an orgiastic or Bacchic or choral nature, as well as the mystic element in initiations; and they give the name "Iacchus" not only to Dionysus but also to the leader-in-chief of the mysteries, who is the genius of Demeter.

And branch-bearing, choral dancing, and initiations are common elements in the worship of these gods.

As for the Muses and Apollo,

the Muses (female pastors) preside over the choruses,
Apollo presides both over these and the rites of divination.

But all educated men, and especially the musicians, are ministers of the Muses;

and both these and those who have to do with divination are ministers of Apollo;

and the initiated and torch-bearers and hierophants, of Demeter; and the Sileni and Satyri and Bacchae, and also the Lenae and Thyiae and Mimallones and Naļdes and Nymphae and the beings called Tityri, of Dionysus.

So Judas came to the grove, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons. Jn.18:3

The Greek hoplon can mean either an offensive weapon or an INSTRUMENT. In the same way, the Hebrew word Keliy is translated as both weapon and musical instrument.

In some cases the women were just filled up with air to an intoxicating level. Therefore, when they mumbled they were speaking to the god (14:2) which was just speaking into the air (14:9). Jeremiah condemns the false prophets, often women, for assuming the voice of a prophet and stole words:

Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the Lord, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the Lord. Je 23:32

Paul repeated this to the Corinthians. Because they were so carnal that they could not solve the slightest spiritual dispute, and even joked about a man having his father's wife (in the Classics, this was his literal mother). To discredit them, Paul wrote:

Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine? 1 Corinthians 14:6

On the other hand, the Corinthian women and effeminate men were involved with charismatic speaking in tongues pretending that their madness was proof that the "gods" were literally inside of them giving them a message. Paul would say, "well, let's test it by having two of you make the same revelation" -- one to speak one to interpret:

"The spirits were thought to speak in murmurings or piping sounds (Isa 8:19), which could be imitated by the medium (ventriloquist)...Most spiritual and popular was the interpretation of dreams.

It also was the case that mediums

intentionally would convert themselves into a semi-waking trance. In this way the suitable mediums attained to a certain kind of clairvoyance, found among various peoples.

This approaches the condition of an ecstatically aroused pseudo-prophet.. In Greece, too, oracles were pronounced by the Phythian prophetess who by vapors and the like was aroused to a practice of the mantic art. (Int Std Bible Ency, p. 2466)

The medium was a person with an ohb or familiar spirit. This is defined much like the booms and clangs of 1 Cor 13:1 which, through ventriloquism, was converted as the voice of the god spoken in unknown tongues which had to be translated. "Those who practiced incantations with the musical-instrument like device were generally women." The "brass" was a bronze vase which gave the same murmuring sound as the familiar spirit which was an old, stiff wineskin.

And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped? 1Cor 14:7

All of Paul's message speaks clearly of the charismatic, uncovered prophesying which was outlawed by Paul. He did allow true prophesying but it seems that Corinth had no supernatural gifts.

Inside and Outside of the Assembly

Paul begins 1 Corinthians 11:2 with the Greek word "de." This word (Strongs g1161) shows that Paul is beginning to discuss a new issue. We might say, "But" or "also" or "now"to begin a new thought.

Beginning in verse 17 Paul says:

Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse. 1 Corinthians 11:17

The other phrase "first of all" beams that the problem with the Lord's Supper was the "first" problem taking place during the assembly which needed correction:

For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. 1 Corinthians11:18

In chapter 14 Paul absolutely prohibits any non-sedantary roles for women. Therefore, we must understand that "prophesying" in 1 Corinthians 11:5 does not give women the role of prophesying, teaching or preaching with or without a tune..

Women Prophesying Outside the Assembly in Corinth

In First Corinthians chapter ten Paul warned of the idolatry at Mount Sinai where they "rose up to play." This was somewhat like Miriam's "leading the women out" with charismatic singing, dancing and instrumental music. This was singing with musical instruments and more. This usually involved naked women and naked men with a gender problem. The word is used elsewhere of David as he was separating the ark from the Tabernacle as a "congregational" effort. When he tried the second move as a secular-state rather than a "congregational" move he succeeded in establishing his own musical worship team. We note earlier that

Miriam tried to usurp the teaching role.

Later, Miriam, who was a musical prophesier claimed to be a true prophet with the power to mediate between God and mankind and get and speak messages. For this she was struck with Leprosy. We noted that Paul warns that tongue singers or prophesiers be silent when the "assembly comes together" (11:17). This is smack in the middle of the warning about the Mount Sinai events. Therefore, Miriam must have been in Paul's mind when he silenced the women as "musical overseers of the flock." This is why Paul uses the Law as his authority.

"The triumphal hymn of Moses had unquestionably a religious character about it; but the employment of

music in religious services, though idolatrous,

is more distinctly marked in the festivities which attended the erection of the golden calf." (Smith's Bible Dictionary, Music, p. 589).

Of such prophetic bands which were used as a judgmental sign of musical madness that God had rejected Israel for demanding a human king it is said that--

"This is the first mention in the OT of a band of prophets. These were men who went about in companies and were able by means of music and dancing to work themselves up into a convulsive and ecstatic frenzy (2 Ki. 3:1-10). Their abnormality was believed to be caused by the invasive influence of the spirit of god.

"The word prophesied here does not mean either foretelling the future or preaching after the manner of the later prophets, but engaging in the ritual dance of the prophetic guild (19:18-24). Their behavior was commonly regarded as a form of madness (2 Ki. 9:11; Jer. 29:26)" (The Int. Bible Ency., I Sam. p. 932).

This is why Paul denounced the "uncovered" form of prophesying which was taking place in Corinth. This was just after he warned against demon worship similar to that of Israel in the wilderness. It was just before he compared the tongue speaking or "uttering semi-coherent oracles" in the belief that they had a gift when Paul said that it came out of their own spirit or mind.

When children "piped" and demanded that the other children "dance" the female child is usually involved. Therefore, it is noted that the Hebrews institutionalized the music of women but then excluded them from the ruling clergy class. This was repeated in early Catholicism--

"The trained musicians which eventually appear around the time of David and Solomon mark a distinctive change in the history of Jewish music. Before this time much of the music was made by women." (Zondervan Pict., Music p. 313).

Because "agriculture" placed an emphasis upon the "feminine principle in nature and among the gods" there was an "analogy between human sexuality and the fertility of the earth." You cannot have a fertility worship without the involvement of women, or the effeminate, primarily in music and the dance--

"Awed by the mysteries of his own spirit no less than by those of nature, primitive man was

likely to attribute to divine influence any abnormal emotional state, whether above or below the usual level.

"Medicine men customarily went into states of trance in which they were believed to be in communication with the gods, and many tribes

supposed lunatics and sexual deviants to be divinely possessed.

"In most early societies, moreover, men evolved techniques for deliberately inducing the abnormal forms of consciousness in which they supposed themselves to achieve union with divine power, sometimes by the use of drugs and other physiological stimuli,

sometimes by hypnotic dances and music.

The wild utterances to which they gave vent on such occasions were regarded as the words of a god

and were interpreted as divine commands or predictions of future events." (Parkes, H.B., Gods and Men, p. 32-33).

This was also true when Paul told the Corinthian church that the watching world of unbelievers who knew what was happening down the streets with the pagan prophetesses, would see them as insane--mad.

Paul warned in First Corinthians 12:1f that they were close to or over the boundary of induced ecstasy which, in the pagan sense, was created by singing with musical instruments out of their own head or spirit (1Co 14:2). They were trying to sing to God when God wanted them to teach--what He already knew--to the congregation. This would be the only thing which would expose the unbeliever to the power of the gospel which "ain't in the melody." They would just be "speaking into the air" (14:9) which has a strong hint of the worship of Juno. Speaking to the gods of the air was a common pagan practice as was the wineskins and musical worship of Dionysus in Ephesus, Colosse and throughout the environment of the young church "just out of idolatry."

Resounding gongs and clanging cymbals in 13:1f were associated with pagan prophesying which pretended to have a personal, knowing relationship with the gods in order to get a revelation. Paul then connects this to Molech worship of burning bodies while the instruments made a great noise to get a message from the gods. Remember that in chapter eleven Paul warned against uncovered prophesying because it could not be distinguished from normal "Corinthinizing" prophesying:

But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. 1 Corinthians 11:5 (That is, she would be seen as a prostitute prophetess)

"I saw in Byblos a great temple of Aphrodite of Byblos, in which they perform ceremonies in memory of Adonis, and I was told about the ceremonies. They say that the story of Adonis and the boar actually took place in their country, and in memory of this unhappy incident, they beat their breasts each year and wail and perform certain rites, and hold a great funeral ceremony throughout the whole land. When they have given their breasts a good beating (tabering) and done enough weeping, they first bring presents to Adonis as though to a dead man; but then, the morning after, they say that he is alive and up in the air.

"Then they shave their heads as the Egyptians do at the death of Apis. As for the women, all those who do not wish to be shaved pay the following forfeit: for one day, they must put their beauty on sale, but the market is open only to strangers, and the price is used for a sacrifice to Aphrodite." (de Vaux, p. 224-225)

Paul had just declared that the Mount Sinai event was our "pattern" and demanded:

Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. 1 Corinthians 10:7

Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. 1 Corinthians 10:8

Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. 1 Corinthians 10:9

Ophis (g3789) of'-is; prob. from 3700 (through the idea of sharpness of vision); a snake, fig. (as a type of sly cunning) an artful malicious person, espec. Satan: - serpent.

See the Mount Sinai musical play connection.

In church history the people in community often met together in a social sense on Saturday night or on Sunday.  This was the time for doing much of what might be confused as "church."  Social singing "at the places of watering" was common as understood from Deborah's effort to force the "princes" who had become "princesses" to take the male lead.  However, even among the Arians, a time was set aside on the first day of the week and the members went into a private room--often an upper room--and took the Lord's Supper, prayed and did other things "in decency and in order."  There would be nothing or no one to distract them from honoring Christ in His supper. This quiet honoring of Christ, as full Deity, would be totally defeated if launched by loud, charismatic singing (with or without an instrument) and preaching.

Paul praises the Corinthians for their concern for his instructions outside the assembly. The women had not uncovered their head in the sense of leadership:

"No woman had as yet tried to dispense with the covering for the head while they were at worship; Paul is thus able to insert his word of praise.

When he comes to the new subject, the truth is quite different. Abuses had actually crept in,...
Thus while he transmits his directions regarding women with a word of praise,
this praise must be omitted when he comes to speak about
the assemblies for the purpose of celebrating the Sacrament....

Paul thus marks with great plainness that the disorders of which he now speaks occur in the public assemblies of the congregation." (Lenski, Commentary,1 Corinthians 11:17)

Women Could not Prophesy (sing and play) Inside the Assembly

Speeches or sermons (with or without a tune) by women were forbidden "inside the assembly" because Paul speaks of it by saying:

In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good. 1 Corinthians 11:17NIV. Or as the Living Bible reads:

Next on my list of items to write you about is something else I cannot agree with. For it sounds as if more harm than good is done when you meet together for your communion services 1 Corinthians 11:17 LIV.

The divisions and heresies which existed among them did not permit the central theme of honoring Christ Who died to make us all one. The disunity and division in the Corinthian assemblies--even outside the assembly--meant they did not go into their private quarters where the Supper is explained and observed without any cheerleaders or questions:

When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lords supper. 1 Corinthians 11:20

If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad? 1 Corinthians 14:23

What was the problem? The Corinthians came together to engage in pagan celebration seen in modern "worship" rituals by men really speaking in tongues by composing their own sermons and the whole tribe singing four-part sentimental poetry which we may or may not comprehend. The purpose of the assembly was not what we confuse with worship which is rank effeminate paganism.

This "law" extended to men also. One without a revealed message had any authority to "stand over" or "preside over" the assembly (this is a vertical position for whatever purpose) unless he had some revealed knowledge which the congregation did not have. Even those men who presumed to be inspired must not preach during this short interval. That is, he must be "audited" by some other inspired person who could tell whether he was "drunk on ignorance" while pretending to be inspired. Paul makes it clear that the churches were plagued by the "many" who wanted to have a position so that they, like the displaced prophets of old, could "have a crust of bread."

Paul appeals to the nature of creation as well as the recorded examples in the "law" or Old Testament where women such as Jezebel led the musical worship of Baal and Asherah. However, his immediate concern is that the women had practiced "pretend prophecy" in their roles as pagans. Researchers refute the notion that music had the magical ability to improve character. Indeed, Job, Amos, Isaiah and Ezekiel make the connection between instrumental music and disregard for the once-for-all delivered Word of Christ. The false "prophesiers" were most often women or effeminate men who could fall into singing, dancing, spiriting, shouting ecstasy while pretending to get a message from their instrument in which dwelled "their god."

This is born out among the pagan women who were the almost-exclusive practitioners of instrumental ecstasy. Paul would call it madness. The ancient story of Genun (a composite Babylonian type of Jubal, Jabal, Tubal-Cain and Naamah) shows that mixing sexes in musical choirs leads inevitably to a break down of sexual walls (some walls need to remain up). The practice of the Romans was common in the ancient world and informs us that the men prophesiers were often "tilted" off to one side of sexuality and needed keepers to make their promises of masculinity stick:

"From the time when the rites were held promiscuously, with men and women mixed together, and when the license offered by darkness had been added, no sort of crime, no kind of immortality, was left attempted. There were more obscenities practiced between men than between men and women.

Anyone refusing to submit to outrage or reluctant to commit crimes was slaughtered as a sacrificial victim. To regard nothing as forbidden was among these people the summit of religious achievement.

Men, apparently out of their wits, would utter prophesies with frenzied bodily convulsions: matrons, attired as Bacchantes, with their hair disheveled and carrying blazing torches, would run down to the Tiber, plunge their torches into the water and bring them out still alight - because they contained a mixture of live sulfur and calcium. Men were said to have been carried off by the gods - because they had been attached to a machine and whisked way out of sight to hidden caves; or to submit to violation." Titus Livy, History of Rome, Book 39.13

This describes prophesying in terms of David's musical team used to signal animal sacrifices for affairs of the state.  It also describes prophesying in terms of pagan worship and at Corinth.  This uncovered prophesying was "singing with instrumental music." Doesn't that sound like the unbiased accounts of Caneridge?

Let's look at the two locations again:

Women Outside the Assembly

The women prophesiers (1Cor 11) were just out of paganism where they taught without their head covered. This meant that they were deliberately singing and playing in order to attract the angels or demons to meet the needs of paying customers. They were effective because this signaled that the prophetess (musical prophesier) was available after "worship services."

In discussing Paul's warning against demons, Lenski wrote--

"All altars, all sacrifices, and all worship that are not intended to serve the true God are thus actually though not necessarily consciously and intentionally devoted to these demons. As these wicked angels, under the leadership of Satan, rule the entire evil world, so in particular they are the originators of the spiritual darkness of which idolatry is the most terrible evidence. Hence all idol sacrifices, whatever the pagan ideas concerning them may be, are really sacrifices unto devils." (Lenski, on 1 Cor. p. 415).

Of the word demon: "It is used in the Septuagint, Deut. 32:17, to translate the Hebrew word which seems, originally, to have meant a supernatural being inferior to the gods proper, applied among the Assyrians to the bull deities which guarded the entrances to temples and palaces." (Vincent, p. 244)

In the temple in Israel, they may have been pedestals or asherah poles (columns) upon which the bull deity stood.

The figure is an old woodcut showing the WOODMONTISH Asherah poles upon which their astral gods were mounted AT THE BUSINESS END.

Women Inside the Assembly

Beginning in 11:17 Paul described what was to happen "when you come together" to prevent the assembly from "doing more harm than good." In chapter fourteen he silenced women in the singing-speaking roles which "ruled over" others. You cannot ignore Paul without first denying that He was inspired.

"An issue has been made of the point that Paul speaks of a woman as prophesying as though it were a matter of course that she should prophesy just as she also prays, and just as the man, too, prays and prophesies.

Paul is said to contradict himself when he forbids the women to prophesy in 14:34-36.

"The matter becomes clear when we observe that

from 11:17 onward until the end of chapter 14 Paul deals with the gatherings of the congregation for public worship and with regulations pertaining to public assemblies.

"The transition is decidedly marked: 'that ye come together,' i.e., for public worship, v. 17; 'when ye come together in the church' (ekklpsia, no article), v. 18; and again: 'when ye assemble together,' i.e., for public worship, v. 20) In these public assemblies

"Paul forbids the women, not only to prophesy, but to speak at all, 14:34-36 and assigns the reason for this prohibition just as he does in 1 Tim. 2:11." (Lenski, 1 Cor. p. 437).

The "house" is built up (edified) and not destroyed by teaching without any chief performers. Women were restricted, in part, because they had been the beautiful, articulate and musically talented in pagan temples. Paul understood men. He knew that men would be listening to the women and admiring them and not admiring (worshiping) God. Vicariously, they would remember the sacred prophetesses-musicians in Corinth and that she would be available after services for a "private lesson." Some of the men would be unnaturally attracted to the male (often dressed up and powdered like females) to the male singers. The acting-singing-playing religious musicians were often sexually mixed up or ambiguous.

Performing singers must remember that the men were "overseers" and the women musicians were always "for my own pleasure." One word is translated as both "musical instruments" and "concubines." Jephthah's daughter had no business being with camp-follower-choir meeting the army. Modern women should not want to be either the overseer or the overseen. Indeed, God has removed the ritual overseers from the back of both men and women. This leaves the church free of performance and able to teach one another with Psalms (revealed), hymns (prayers, usually "to yourselves") and spiritual songs (defined as the revealed Word of God).

Women who prophesied (often musically) were to be veiled (1Cor 11) because of the sexual attraction created by musical skills--even ugly old men become sexually attractive if they are charismatic singers. This would warn against female singers even outside the assembly. In ! Cor. 11:17 Paul begins to describe the destructive nature of "when you come together" and in chapter fourteen completely outlawed women (who would be unveiled in the family setting) from singing or speaking musically or otherwise. "If she can preach with a tune why cannot she preach without a tune?" Indeed! Call it the "first step of the camel getting into the tent" performing roles which only qualified pastor-teachers are to occupy.

Because of the Angels in Corinth

Deborah and others sang "at the place of watering" but it was to chide the men for not taking the lead. And, traditional literature strongly implicates musical instruments as Eve took the oversight in the Garden of Eden. "Because of the angels" has a strong connection to the Apocalyptic literature which says that Jubal was under the influence of Satan and his band of "disfellowshipped" angels who taught him how to make and play instruments and organize mixed choirs. There were no women as members of the Levitical "worship team" and Solomon clearly choose men and women as "concubines" or "musical instruments" -- "for my own pleasure"

Clergy Musical Worship Teams Added About 360 A.D.

Male musical worship teams were not permitted to usurp the rights of the congregation until late in the apostacy of the church. Modern scholars note that performing singers was the first wide-spread heresy.

However, Truth is Usually Sacrificed:

"Psalmody thus came to be increasingly the monopoly of trained singers, and the 15th canon of the Council of Laodicea, 360 AD, proscribed that 'no others shall sing in the church save only the canonical singers...who go up into the ambo and sing with a book. (Int Std Bible Ency, Psalms, p. 2494A)

"The first change in the manner of singing was the substitution of singers who became a separate order in the church, for the mingled voices of all ranks, ages, and sexes, which was compared by the great reformer of church music to the glad sound of many waters (H. H. Milman, Hist. of Christianity, Vol, iii, pp. 406, 409).

The most beautiful singing I hear most Sundays comes from a young woman who can't read and has a range of about three notes. She remembers the words and teaches me while her singing is vertical: melody in the heart and directed to God, not me.

McClintock and Strong identify the "musical clergy as the first heresy largely pervading the church." Musical worship teams are the new fad for the new Jubilee which will overturn the old order and make the church into what we all would like it to be. However, in the end, the arrogant usurping of the existing leadership and imposing the "idolatry of talent" to oversee and lead the congregation in worship will--has always--done more harm than good because it is directed to our own sensual appetite.

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Kenneth L. Sublett  

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