Did Jesus Have Long Hair?
Many men today are wearing their hair long. This style seems to have had its start in modern times by certain musical groups such as the Beatles, and others. The hippie movement, which has spread like a plague, has adopted the long hairstyle for men. The “Jesus freaks” and other religious cults have taken the long hair road. Unfortunately, many men and boys who are not hippies have started to wear their hair in this manner. Many try to justify long hair by stating that Jesus Christ wore long hair. The time has come to set the record straight.
History Does Not Support The Idea That Jesus Wore Long Hair
Many pictures drawn by artists in recent times, picture Jesus with long hair. In this they are wrong. The following is taken from the book, “The Modern Student’s Life of Christ,” by Philip Vollmer, published some years ago by the Fleming H. Revell Company.
“Archaeologists object to the conventional pictures of Christ because they are not true to history. A German painter, L. Fahrenkrog, says: ‘Christ certainly never wore a beard and his hair was, beyond doubt, closely cut. For this we love historical proof. The oldest representations, going back to the first Christian centuries, and found chiefly in the catacombs of Rome, all pictured Him without a beard. All the Christ-pictures down to the beginning of the fourth century at least, and even later, are of this kind.’ ” [Editor’s note: Though the above historian says that Christ never wore a beard, the Scriptures nowhere prohibit a man from wearing a beard.]
Even from Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, we have pictures of Christ in the Final Judgment according to this older type.
Authentic busts from the ancient world of the Roman Empire leaders prove that short hair was the accepted mode in Roman-occupied Judea. The busts of General Pompey, Julius Caesar, Caesar Augustus, Emperor Trajan, and King Herod Agrippa -all indicated that short hair was the style.
“For example, on pages 126 and 127 of Avi-Yonah’s work (A History of the Holy Land) are found busts of Pompey, Augustus, and one believed to be Herod-all with short hair. All statues and carvings of legionnaires show them with closely cropped hair. A Roman with long hair was an oddity as it used to be the case for men in our society. In fact, all Roman emperors before, during, and after the time of Christ, from Julius Caesar to Trajan, wore short hair. And the emperor was the individual who set the pattern in style and mode of dress for the whole empire.”
Many popular pictures of Jesus that were painted in relatively recent times, have perpetuated the satanic idea that Jesus wore long hair.
There Is No Biblical Evidence That Jesus Wore Long Hair
“Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?” 1 Corinthians 11:14.
Jesus was not a Nazarite! According to Numbers 6:1-27, a Nazarite did wear long hair. However, Jesus was a Nazerene and not a Nazarite. While the two words look similar in English, they are entirely different in looks and meaning in the original language of the Bible. A Nazarene was one who lived in Nazareth, according to Matthew 2:23. A Nazarite was one who took a Nazarite vow, according to Numbers, the sixth chapter.
The Nazarite vow was usually temporary. (Samson and Samuel seem to be notable exceptions, for their vows were for life. See 1 Samuel 1:11, and Judges 13:5; 16:17).
The Nazarite vow was a vow of separation. Three things were forbidden as long as he was under the vow: (1) “He shall separate himself from wine and strong drink, and shall drink no vinegar of wine, or vinegar of strong drink, neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes, nor eat moist grapes, or dried.” Numbers 6:3. (2) He could not cut his hair. (3) He could not touch, or come near a dead body. Numbers 6:6-9.
A Nazarite could not have used any product of the vine, and thus Jesus could not have instituted the Lord’s Supper if He had been a Nazarite. For in this, He used the fruit of the vine.
If He had been a Nazarite, He could not have touched the funeral “bier” (open coffin) of the dead man in Luke 7:11-15.
If He had been a Nazarite, Judas would not have needed to identify Him in Gethsemane, since Jesus would have been the only long haired man there. Everything in the New Testament seems to indicate that Jesus looked much like the other Jewish men of His age. If there had been any radical difference in His appearance, we believe that it would have been mentioned in the Bible.
“Doth not even nature itself teach you,” that a man should have short hair and a woman long hair? I HAVE NEVER SEEN A BALD HEADED WOMAN, but I have seen many bald headed men. Very few women became bald, and those that do, are careful to conceal it with a wig. This surely must be “nature” teaching them.
The Bible clearly indicates that the hair style of a man should be short, and that the woman’s hair should be long. There should be a clear distinction between the hair of a man and a woman. Many scriptures teach that a woman’s hair should be, or was, long. (See Luke 7:38, 44; John 11:2; 1 Peter 3:3; 1 Timothy 2:9, and many others.) On the other hand, the scriptures indicate just the opposite for the man, for you can find no such list of scriptures as above, in relationship to the man. Other than the very few Nazarites mentioned in the Old Testament, we can think of only one long haired man in the Bible and that was Absalom. He was the wicked, rebellious son of David.
“If A Man Have Long Hair, It Is A Shame Unto Him.”
The above quoted words were written by Paul and were divinely inspired of God. Therefore, we are going to accept what God says, rather than the fashion trend of the day. For the Christian, the Bible is the final word, not some picture or popular tradition.
For evidence, we quote what scholars have said about 1Corinthians 11:14:
Lange says: ” . . . there has grown up among the most civilized nations, that good taste which declares itself in favor of short hair for men and long hair for women. Among men, the wearing of long hair is now reprobated as a mark of effeminacy and dishonoring to them, inasmuch as it prevents the free exposure of the countenance.”
Matthew Henry says, “The woman’s hair is a natural covering; to wear it long is a glory to her; but for a man to have long hair, or cherish it, is a token of softness and effeminacy.”
“If a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him.” The Greek word “ATIMIA” is translated “shame” in the above text. Elsewhere in the New Testament it is translated, “dishonor,” “reproach,” and “vile.” Thayer’s comments on this word are interesting and informative. He says: “Atimia-dishonor, ignominy, disgrace, 1 Cor. 11:14; 1 Cor. 15:43, (in a state of disgrace, used of the unseemliness and offensiveness of a dead body); . . . base lusts, vile passions, Romans 1:26.”
Could anything be more plain? The “shame” (atimia) of long hair is elsewhere used in connection with a dead, putrefying, decaying body. In Romans 1:26, “atimia” is translated “vile.”
What Does Long Hair Mean Today?
Let the radical subversive, Jerry Rubin, answer from his book, “DO IT.” “Young kids identify short hair with authority, discipline, unhappiness, boredom, rigidity, hatred of life-and long hair with letting go. . . . Wherever we go, our hair tells people where we stand on Vietnam, Wallace, campus disruption, dope. We’re living TV commercials for the revolution. . . . Long hair is the beginning of our liberation from sexual oppression that underlies the whole military society.”
Preachers, The Church, and Parents Must Stand Against Long Hair
Parents who allow a son to grow and wear long hair are contributing to a rebellion against God and against our country
This is a sure step in losing control of a child. Preachers and congregations who compromise on this subject, hoping to reach more young people, are actually fighting against God. Let us stand, whatever the cost!
We believe that Christian young men, when taught the truth, will want to wear their hair short. Informed Christians will not want to be identified with the “shame” or revolutionary element that long hair symbolizes.
In 1 Cor. 11:3, 4 the Apostle Paul writes: “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered [with long hair], dishonoureth his head [which is Christ].” In order for a man not to dishonour his head [Christ], he must have short hair when he prays or is in divine worship. Jesus was a man on earth, and if He prayed wearing long hair, He would have dishonoured or disgraced His Head, which is God. (See verse 3). “For a man indeed ought not to cover his head [with long hair], forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God.”Verse 7.
In Gal. 1:12, Paul affirmed that the gospel he preached was received “by the revelation of Jesus Christ.” If Jesus had long hair, that practice was contrary to the revelation which He gave to Paul for the Corinthian church. Jesus is our example, and throughout the New Testament we are exhorted to follow in His steps and to pattern our lives after His conduct, but nowhere in the Bible do we find any indication that He wore long hair.
The artist’s imaginary pictures of Jesus with His disciples at the “Last Supper,” showing Jesus with long hair and many of His disciples with short hair, are inconsistent because Jesus instructed Hie disciples to follow His example. People have seen the traditional pictures of Jesus with long hair for so many years that they have taken it for granted, but such an idea has no sound basis in the Scriptures. Since the recent “hippie movement” has focused attention on this question, it is well that we re-consider this tradition in the light of the Scriptures, and not by mere secular history. It is indeed difficult for even sincere and honest people to break away from a long-standing tradition, and it often takes a period of time for light and truth to affect their thinking and conduct.
L. D. Pruitt