The Holiness Messenger April, 1982. Address: Ralph Cox, 9737 East 66th Street, Tulsa OK 74133
"Did Jesus Christ Have Long Hair?"
There is not one single proof in the Bible that Jesus wore long hair. The unscriptural idea of Christ's long hair came from a school of artists who never saw Him and were mostly devoid of Bible knowledge. This is the same group that put wings and long hair on feminine looking angels, although the Bible always refers to them in the masculine gender.
The idea that Jesus wore long hair comes from Leonardo Da Vinci's painting of "The Last Supper" and if you will notice, six of the disciples have short hair, and six have long hair. Jesus is also pictured as having long hair. How did Da Vinci know which ones of the disciples had long hair or which had short hair? How did he know Jesus had long hair? He certainly didn't get it from the Bible. Da Vinci's painting of Christ was painted in the late 1400 A. D. about 1,367 years after Jesus ascended back to heaven. Shall we believe the devil has horns, pitchfork, and Persian shoes, because he has been painted this way or shall we believe how the Bible describes the devil?
The Britannica Encyclopedia, on the subject of hair, says that men in the 14th century wore their hair long, also the encyclopedias have sketches that Da Vinci made of himself, portraying himself with long hair. Could this be the reason he painted Christ with long hair---because he wore long hair himself?
The Bible says, "Doth not even nature itself teach you that if a man have long hair it is a shame unto him?" I Corinthians 11:14.
Someone said it is a shame, but not a sin. The Greek word for shame is Atima and is also translated dishonor 4 times, reproach once, and vile affections once in the King James Version Bible. Wouldn't anything of reproach, dishonor, shame, or vile affections be SIN?
The Bible says "Neither shall they shave their head nor suffer their locks to grow long: they shall only poll their head" Ezekiel 44:20. Webster defines the word poll as to cut short, to trim or cut closely, to clip or shear.
Someone said they wore their hair long in Christ's time because there were no barbers. The World Encyclopedia says that the barbers' trade is ancient. Razors have been found among the relics of the Bronze Age (3000 B. C.). Alexander the Great (400 B. C.) made his soldiers shave regularly so the enemy could not grasp their beard. In Genesis 41:14 Joseph SHAVED with a RAZOR about 2000 years before Christ. In Ezekiel 5:1 it speaks of a barber's razor; also in Isaiah 7:20 "THE LORD SHALL SHAVE WITH A RAZOR." These two books were written 700 years before Christ.
The very earliest pictures in the catacombs date from about 100 years after the apostles and those who sketched them were undoubtedly acquainted with individuals who were familiar with the appearance of Christ. The most ancient of the pictures is described by Roderic Dunkerly in his book, Beyond the Gospels. He says, in particular, there is a painting of the resurrection of Lazarus in which Christ is shown youthful looking and beardless with short hair. Although it is barely recognizable, this picture is of great interest since it is the oldest representation of Jesus preserved anywhere (p. 57).
History makes it clear that the Jews wore short trimmed hair. Christ was familiar with the Jewish Talmud which required the priest to cut their hair every 30 days (Aa'anith 17 a). These Jews were aware of the scripture in Ezekiel 44:20. The Talmud further states exactly what hairstyle, the "Julian or Caesar" cut. Take a look at your history book or encyclopedias and see right before your eyes what kind of hairstyle the Roman Emperors wore in Christ's day. This is what the Jewish Talmud commanded for the priests. Christ looked and dressed like any other Jew. There were times that people sought to capture Him and He would go through the crowd unnoticed. Judas had to kiss Him to show the Roman soldiers which one was Jesus, so evidently there wasn't any difference in His looks from the other Jews. When the woman with the issue of blood touched the hem of His garment He was dressed like other Jews, because the Old Testament required Jews to wear hems of blue on their garments.
Bust and statues of Roman Emperors before and after the time of Christ all wore short hair. During the time of Alexander the Great (400 B. C.) when the Grecian Empire ruled the then known world the style was short hair. Prior to the coming of the Roman Empire it was the Hellenistic Greek culture which dominated Judea. Even in Christ's day a large portion of the Jewish population were Greek speaking Jews and Hellenistic in outlook (see John 12:20; Acts 6:1).
It is often mistaken that Christ was a Nazarite and, Numbers 6 says they were not to cut their hair during the days of their vow. Jesus was not a Nazarite but a Nazarene. "He came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth; that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets He shall be called a Nazarene."
Jesus was a Nazarene because He dwelt in a city called Nazareth. Numbers 6 tells us a Nazarite could not drink wine or touch the dead and Jesus did this.
Pictures are available in many Bible dictionaries and encyclopedias of both the bust and coins of Herod Agrippa I, and Herod Agrippa II. Paul said to this king in Acts 26:3, "I know thee to be expert in all customs and questions which are among the Jews." The Herods were Jews by religion and their hairstyles were like the Romans, cut and trimmed. These kings were contemporary with Jesus and the apostles.
In Christ's day, long hair on a man was a sign of rebellion and short hair was a sign of authority. This is why Paul wrote to the church of Corinth telling the men not to wear long hair.
Let us be sincere and ask ourselves, would Jesus, who is the Living Word, have written in Ezekiel 44:20 also I Corinthians 11:4, not to wear long hair then contradict His Word?