Jesus Had Short Hair
sermon preached by Dr. Jack Hyles
Several years ago musical groups such as the Beatles presented to society a hair style that was new to our generation. Soon long-haired young men began to appear on our streets. The hippie movement adopted this hair style, as did the Jesus freaks and other religious cults.
Soon many men and boys who are not hippies, Jesus freaks, religious cultists or revolutionaries adopted these hair styles.
When protests began to come from parts of the Christian world, the advocates of these newer hair styles replied that they saw nothing wrong with men wearing long hair since Jesus Himself had long hair. They referred to paintings of Christ which picture Him with long flowing hair. This sent the older generation and some Christian leaders hurrying to the Bible and history books to find if, for a fact, Jesus did have long hair. This booklet is dedicated to the task of revealing such a study.
I. GOD IS CONCERNED ABOUT OUR APPAREL, HAIR STYLES, ETC.
That He is concerned about our apparel is found in Proverbs 7:10, “And behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart.” Notice the words, “attire of an harlot.” There is wicked philosophy being spread abroad by some Christians that God is not interested in our attire. This philosophy tells us that God looks on the heart and we are not to judge by the outward appearance. The embracers of this philosophy use it to justify inappropriate dress, long hair, mini-skirts, etc. They obviously ignore such passages as Matthew 5:16 where our Lord admonishes us, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father Which is in Heaven.”
They seem to believe that God is not concerned about what the Christian wears. This is not true. Proverbs 7:10 shows us that there is such a thing as the “attire of an harlot.” Now what that attire is, is not the issue at this point. The issue is that God is interested in what the Christian wears. Consequently, the Bible does teach us concerning the outside as well as the inside.
In I Timothy 2:9 the Apostle Paul admonishes Timothy to exhort women to wear “modest apparel.” “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety: not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array.” In Deuteronomy 22:5 we find God exhorting the Jewish men and ladies concerning their clothing. “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God.”
In I Peter 3:3 God shows an interest in the outward as He discusses women’s hair styles, jewelry, and clothing. “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel.”
In I Corinthians 11:14 God discusses the hair style of men, and in verse 15 He speaks about the length of the ladies’ hair. “Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.”
Hence, the most casual observer of Scripture finds that God does manifest an interest in the outward. He is interested in the way His people wear their hair, clothing, jewelry, etc. The argument that God is interested only in the inside makes a very spiritual sounding cliché’, but it is simply not based on the Word of God.
Hair was very important to our Lord. He reminds us in Matthew 10:30 and in Luke 12:7 that the “very hairs of your heard are all numbered,” signifying the importance to Him of every aspect of our life and appearance.
II. THE REVOLUTIONARIES ARE ALSO INTERESTED IN THE OUTSIDE.
The radical Jerry Rubin says in his book, DO IT, “Young kids identify short hair with authority, discipline, unhappiness, boredom, rigidity, hatred of right, and long hair with letting go… Wherever we go, our hair tells people where we stand on Vietnam, Wallace, campus disruption, dope. We are living TV commercials for the revolution… Long hair is the beginning of our liberation from sexual oppression that underlies the whole military society.”
It is no secret that outward things such as art, sculpture, dress, hair styles, etc. are changed prior to a Communist revolution. A cultural revolution precedes a political revolution. For example, Lenin set out to destroy the classics in the early days of his revolution. He said, “If we are going to spread our doctrine, we’re going to have to rework the culture.” Plato said in his Republic, “The introduction of a new kind of music should be shunned as imperiling the whole state.” Henry David Thoreau made this statement in his writing at Walden: “Music may be intoxicating. It has helped cause the destruction of the Greek and Roman Empires and it will sooner or later destroy America and England.”
Revolution requires a break from the old. Hence, revolutionaries are using modern art, modern music, and a change in dress styles and hair styles as a part of this break from the establishment. This opens the mind of the youth to a break with the old political ideologies and prepares him for a revolution. This is why the Christian should not fall prey to the enemy by adopting the outward changes that are used to bring about a new social order.
In no case is this cultural change so obvious as in our literature. For example, in the famous book CATCHER IN THE RYE, which is on the required outside-reading lists in many of our high schools, words are used which are quite distasteful, vulgar and unscholarly to the refined Christian. It is beyond comprehension that the parents of America would allow such vulgar, blasphemous words to be read by our youth.
Since the outward is so important to the revolutionary, it is not surprising that he resorts to the use of symbols as a part of his tactics. For example, one of the methods that the revolutionary is using in his battle for the minds of men and in his effort to capture the youth is the now-familiar peace symbol. This symbol is found embroidered on jackets and other garments which Americans wear. It is manufactured as a metal trinket which is worn on a chain, TIME magazine carried on its cover on June 7, 1968, a picture of a young man with a long beard representing the 1968 graduate. He wore the peace symbol. Men’s stores and ladies’ ready to wear stores sell it openly on garments and advertise it to the American public. Many misguided Americans wear it not realizing what it represents.
It is believed that the peace symbol goes back 2,000 years, and tradition says that the first one was designed by Nero in 67 A.D. , for the crucifixion of the Apostle Peter. The peace symbol was reportedly found stamped on the closed doors of Russian churches and branded on dead bodies of Jewish martyrs. it is the symbol of the broken cross. it is the emblem of anti-Christ.
Richard Wurmbrand, formerly of Romania, is quoted as saying, “The symbol of the Community PEACE is a very well-known symbol. it was called the witch’s foot in the Middle Ages and it was a common symbol of the devil, with the cross reversed and broken.”
In our generation it was designed February 21, 1958, for use in an Easter peace walk in England. In the beginning it was supposedly merely a composite of the semaphore letters “N” and “D” standing for nuclear disarmament. When the symbol is inverted it is a composite of the semaphore letters “U” and “D” standing for unilateral disarmament. Its designer was reportedly Mr. Bertrand Russell, who was reportedly a Marxist from youth. He is quoted as saying, “The world is damnable…There is no hope in anything but the Soviet way.”
The hippie movement also makes much use of the symbol of the flower. This flower is sold as decals and stickers and can be found regularly on American cars, mailboxes, book covers, etc. This flower is a symbol of the hippie movement. Hippies speak readily of “flower power,” as many of them get their “power” from the flower. It is tragic, but true, that oftentimes this flower power is marijuana and heroin. Many Americans do not realize what they are doing when they display this emblem on their car, clothing, etc.
Alongside the aforementioned signs is the definite sign of long hair worn by boys and men. Such a sign should not be worn by patriotic and loyal Americans who love our heritage, who embrace Christian principles, and who oppose the Communist revolution. Since long-haired youths use as an argument the fact that Jesus supposedly had long hair, it is only fair to examine the Scriptures to find if this be true.
III. THE BIBLE PLAINLY TEACHES THAT IT IS A “SHAME” FOR A MAN TO WEAR LONG HAIR.
I Corinthians 11:14 says, “Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?” The Greek word for “shame” in this verse is translated elsewhere in the New Testament as “dishonor,” “vile,” “disgrace.” In Romans 1:26 the same word is translated “vile”, “For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature.” You will notice that these “vile affections” have to do with homosexuality. It is very interesting that as the trend toward long hair increases, the acceptance of homosexuality increases. This is not to say that long hair and homosexuality always go together, but it is to note the fact that both are on the rise in our generation. Several of the major denominations have now accepted homosexuals. In some cities there are churches for homosexuals pastored by avowed homosexuals. At least one major denomination has ordained a homosexual preacher and others are considering following suit.
IV. THE BIBLE SAYS NOTHING ABOUT JESUS HAVING LONG HAIR.
The paintings of Christ are simply artists’ conceptions and have no Scriptural authorization. At least one historian of His day described Him as being a tall man with chestnut-colored hair, parted in the middle, with short hair which turned up at the end. In the book, THE MODERN STUDENT’S LIFE OF CHRIST by Irving Vollmer, published by Fleming H. Revell, the author says, “Archeologists 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 a doubt a closely cut. For this we have 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 pictures of Christ down to the beginning of the first century and even later are of this kind. Students of the first century and of Roman history are aware of the fact that the time of Christ was characterized by short hair for men. This author has seen many coins and statues which bear the likenesses of emperors who reigned during and after the time of Christ. Such likenesses reveal that the Caesars and other rulers and emperors had short hair, and of course, the subjects followed the example set by the emperor. The plain simple truth is that during the life of Christ, short hair was the acceptable style. That Jesus wore the conventional style of His day is proved by the fact that Judas had to kiss Him to point Him out to the soldiers. Had Jesus been somewhat different, as a long-haired freak, Judas could have simply told the soldiers that Jesus was the One with the long hair. This, of course, is not true, as Judas had to place a kiss on Him in order to identify Him.
V. JESUS WAS NOT A NAZARITE.
Since it is generally believed that a Nazarite has to let his hair grow long, and since Jesus was from Nazareth, there are many who mistakenly identify Him as a Nazarite. There is no such Scriptural evidence. Jesus was a “Nazarene” because He was from Nazareth, but He was not a “Nazarite,” and He did not take the Nazarite vow. A Nazarite could not eat grapes or drink grape juice or eat anything made of the vine.
Numbers 6:2-4 says, “Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When a man or woman shall separate themselves to vow a vow of a Nazarite, to separate themselves unto the Lord: He shall separate himself from wine and strong drink, and shall drink of no vinegar of wine, or vinegar of strong drink, neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes, nor eat moist grapes, or dried. All the days of his separation shall he eat nothing that is made of the vine tree, from the kernels even to the husk.”
Hence, our Lord could not have been a Nazarite. Observe the last Passover in Luke 22: 14-18, “And when the hour was come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him. And He said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. And He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: For I say unto you I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come.” The Passover was characterized by the fruit of the vine, and as a Nazarite our Lord would not have been allowed to partake of the Passover.
He also partook of the fruit of the vine when he instituted the Lord’s Supper. Luke 22:19, 20 says, “And He took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is My body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of Me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in My blood, which is shed for you.”
Likewise a Nazarite could not touch a dead body. Numbers 6:6, “All the days, that he separateth himself unto the Lord he shall come at no dead body.” When our Lord raised the daughter of Jairus in Mark 5:41, the Bible says, “And He took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise.” Then He also touched the bier which contained a dead man’s body in Luke 7:12-15. “Now when He came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and much people of the city was with her. And when the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not, And He came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And He delivered him to his mother.”
Since the Nazarite could not touch the fruit of the vine or touch a dead body, and since our Lord did both, we must arrive at the definite conclusion that He was not a Nazarite.
VI. IF JESUS HAD BEEN A NAZARITE, HE STILL WOULD NOT NECESSARILY HAVE HAD LONG HAIR.
The Nazarite vow was taken for only a short period of time. The Bible says it was just for “days.” In Numbers 6: 5,6, and 13 we read, “All the days of the vow of his separation there shall no razor come upon his head: until the days be fulfilled, in the which he separateth himself unto the Lord, he shall be holy, and shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow. all the days that he separateth himself unto the lord he shall come at no dead body. and this is the law of the Nazarite, when the days of his separation are fulfilled: he shall be brought unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.”
After these “days” were over the Nazarite was to shave his head. Numbers 6:18 says, “And the Nazarite shall shave the head of his separation at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shall take the hair of the head of his separation, and put it in the fire which is under the sacrifice of the peace-offerings.”
So it is obvious that the Nazarite was as likely to be bald-headed as he was to have long hair. Of course, this argument is needless as our Lord was not a Nazarite.
VII. ABSALOM WAS BOTH REBELLIOUS AND LONG-HAIRED.
The only long haired person other than a Nazarite mentioned in the Bible was Absalom, a son of David. It was he who rebelled against his father. It was he who started a revolution. It is worth noting that even in Bible days rebellion, revolution, disobedience to parents, and long hair were associated.
Now what should the Christian’s attitude be concerning male hair styles? First, we men should follow the admonition of the Scripture and have short hair. It should be short enough as to be obviously contradictory to the revolutionary symbol. Many Christians allow their hair to become longer in an effort not to be identified as fundamental believers. Why shouldn’t a Christian be just as proud of his identity with the Word of God as the hippie is to identify himself with the revolution? Men, let us wear our short hair with pride as a symbol of our belief in the Bible and its Christ.
Parents, start your son with haircuts and short hair when he is a baby. With discipline and, if needs be, punishment, see to it that as he grows up he uses his hair as a symbol of patriotism and Christianity, thereby following the admonition of the Scripture that says in Romans 12:2, “And be not conformed (fashioned) to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”