I heard this term “Federal Headship” used by a brother last year and I have been using it ever since. It went off in my spirit like a tuning fork being tapped with a hammer. The Holy Spirit immediately said to me, “I want to teach you about this truth.” And He has taught me a great deal in this area, and I will attempt to bring across some of the truths as I have seen them in scripture and in experience.
One brother who has stepped over into the everlasting habitations used to say, “I have a million dollars worth of experience, and I wouldn’t give five cents to go through it again.” How true this is. In my own living and in my own experience I have seen the truth of Federal Headship work beautifully and I have seen it fail to work because of my lack of belief or my lack of a godly standard of living before Him.
Lets give a definition of Federal Headship first before we delve into the teaching. In our American government we have the Local (civil), State, and Federal branches. In God’s government (which is a Monistic Theocracy; in which “Monistic” means One Person and “Theocracy” meaning the Government of God), it is kind of the same. Meaning He (God the Father) passes His wishes and thoughts along to Christ who in turn gives them to us via the Holy Spirit. In a family it is the same way. The husband (whom Paul said was the image and Glory of God) passes the Holy Spirit’s wishes and thoughts down to those in his care.
According to scripture, his wife and children are in his care. He has been entrusted with them. Now, if this man is a godly man (not just a professing godly man or just a church-goer), his family will be blessed because of his relationship with the Lord. 1st Corinthians teaches us that the wife is sanctified because of the believing husband and his children are holy. This doesn’t mean that his wife and children will be saved because he is saved and serving God…it means that they are sanctified. The husband’s personal living and godly inner life opens a door if you will for God to move in the lives of his wife and children.
Now we know that there are many single, believing moms out there; and it is not the direction of this particular teaching to address this. But we will say that God said He would be their husband. And we know from experience that He bestows greater grace on those who are alone and struggling and doing good works for the Lord in raising their children in the fear and admonition of the Lord.
But this teaching is addressed to those brothers who are married and have children and may need further instruction along these lines.
Now consider a few things if you will. You will notice that Adam and Eve’s eyes were not opened when Eve ate of the fruit (the fig tree in all probability as Jeremiah 24:8 says, “And as the evil figs which cannot be eaten, they are so evil.”). Let’s look at the verse together, “When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened.” Please pay very close attention to the word “Then.” When were their eyes opened? Not until Adam ate of the fruit. His sin was that he was the one told not to eat of it. In Genesis 2:16 the Lord told Adam (Eve wasn’t even created yet) to never eat of the tree. How then did Eve know not to eat of it? It was passed down to her from Adam who received it himself from the Lord in private communion with her not around.
I would also like to draw your attention to Genesis 3:23-24a, “therefore the Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. So He drove out the man…” So who got sent out of the garden? Just Adam? No. Adam and his wife. You see, Adam is the representative of his family before God. When God sees Adam, He sees his wife in him, and not just “of him.”
You will remember a teaching from a while ago where I told you that the word “drove out” here in this scriptural reference is the same word for divorce. So then, who divorced who and which one is the only one mentioned as getting divorced from God? God divorced Adam for spiritual adultery (he slept with the enemy on purpose – Eve was deceived…this is why Paul brings out that Adam was in the transgression) and you’ll notice that God divorced Adam – NOT Eve. But Eve had to suffer the consequences of her husband’s blatant rebellion against God.
Who did God save in the day of the great deluge? The scriptures tell us in 2nd Peter 2:5, “And did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, …a preacher of righteousness.” Notice that it says that He saved “Noah.” But in saving Noah, He saved those under his care and under his responsibility. Hebrews 11:7 says, “By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household.”
Are you beginning to see something here brethren? God is a God of order and a God of authority. He gives authority unto man in many areas of his life. His words carry power, weight, and spiritual substance. He had given unto man dominion over all the works of His hands. Have you ever noticed in Genesis 1:26 that the Lord said, “Let Us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over… (basically everything).” You’ll notice the word “man” (singular) and then you’ll notice the word “them” (plural) in the same verse and then in the very next verse it says, “So God created man (singular) in His own image…” Could the “them” be referencing Adam in his three parts (spirit, soul, body)?
David said in Psalm 84:10 that “I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.” Let’s ask ourselves a question here: what is a doorkeeper? This means “one who sits at the threshold” In other words this man is the gate-keeper. What door is he keeping then? How about the door that he can open for his family by his obedience to God? This is what I think David (the Holy Spirit actually) meant when he penned that verse. He is the one who has been given the authority to open or to close the door. Jesus said, “I am the door.”
To you husbands and fathers out there reading this today; know this…you’re spiritual life affects your family!!! If you are cold or unconcerned about the Lord or spiritual things, the chances are your family will be also. They will follow you either way. I have seen this in my own life. When I was backslidden and cold and indifferent, my wife and children were also. When I turned my heart to the Lord in all seriousness and solemnity then my wife and children’s hearts began to turn as well. My life (my LIVING) is the benchmark and the example for them to follow. And you should remember what Paul told the fathers in his writings.
God will bless your wife and children to the degree that your heart is turning towards Him. Does that sound a bit like works to you? Then I encourage you to look up the word “works” in the New Testament and you might just be amazed as to what you’ll find and read and what the Holy Spirit will reveal to you.
Paul told the jailer in Acts 16:31 to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved and your whole house would be saved. The jailer was the God-given and God-ordained and God-entrusted authority to open the door for his family. And we know that his entire family believed according to scripture. Your believing opens up a door for the Lord to work through you to get to your family. I have seen this in actual experience. You wouldn’t believe the stories about my family when I decided to “fully follow the Lord.”
But there is a negative side to all this as well. Consider this verse in Numbers 20:24: “Aaron shall be gathered unto his people: for he shall not enter into the land which I have given unto the children of Israel, because you rebelled against My word at the water of Meribah.” You will remember the story of Moses getting angry at the children of Israel and striking the rock when God had told him to speak to the rock. But Moses’ sin affected his family. His own brother couldn’t enter into the good land because of his own personal sin. Moses was the spiritual representative of himself and Aaron in the eyes of the Lord.
Consider Korah. His one sin caused himself, his wife, and all his little ones to be “swallowed alive into the pit.” I mean, what did they do to deserve that? They were just innocent bystanders so-to-speak. Their lives were wrapped up in his; as he was the spiritual head in the eyes of the Lord. Consider Judas. You can read about what happened to his mother and father and children in Psalm 109:6-13. We know this is referencing Judas because of verse 8b, which is a verse that Peter quotes of Judas in Acts 1:16-20.
Consider Achan from Joshua 7. His one sin cost him his own life, the life of his sons and daughters, livestock, tent, and all his belongings. Just imagine this scene. All his children??!!! Yes, all his children…because he was the doorkeeper either positively or negatively.
Are you building an ark for the saving of your family? Is your personal living right before the Lord today? Does your wife and your children really see Christ in you and on you? When you speak into their lives, do your words carry life, grace, and authority or are they just empty words that fall to the ground?
Awake from your spiritual sleep and Christ will give you life!! He said in His word that He loves those who love Him. Do you really love Him? Jesus said that if you did love Him, then you would obey Him and do what He said. Are you obeying Him…really? Are you doing what He said to do? Your living (if it is not godly) and your sin (secret sins, hidden sins, sins of the flesh and of the mind) will kill you and them spiritually. You are responsible to tend your own sheep and take them to the door. But are you slamming the door in their faces by your living and your disobedience? Are you keeping the blessing of God away from them so that you can do your own thing? Are you so selfish that you would risk their very lives to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season?
We will all find out in that great day when all will be made manifest before all.
Your obedience to God in loving Him and serving Him will determine how far and how deep God moves in your life and the life of your family. Yes, it is your responsibility oh man (father/husband). Will you squander it away? Will you reason it away? Will you explain it away? I encourage you to just simply read the New Testament with an open heart and ears to hear and God will show you and teach you these things and many more.
Love not the world or the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is NOT in him. 1st John 2:15
See you on the front lines