Where did the idea that Jesus Christ had long hair originate? Certainly not from the scriptures. The scripture that relates to the physical appearance of Christ is as follows: “For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him” (Isa. 53:2).
Someone may be ready to say, “but what about the pictures of Christ.” There is no known picture or painting which dates back to the first century. Most of the paintings of Christ by noted painters of the Middle Ages portrayed Christ according to their own surroundings, time and religious concepts. The average picture of Christ during this period gave Him appearance of a Frenchman, including reddish hair and a pale complexion. He was also portrayed as feminine in appearance instead of masculine. At least, the paintings of more recent times reveal Him as being masculine in nature.
There was a picture of Christ at Bacone College in Muskogee, Oklahoma that gives Christ as appearance of being Indian. He also has been portrayed as a Negro. Of course when our Savior lived in the flesh He lived as a Jew. However, in eternity He is not physical in nature but spiritual. Christ is not partial to any race; He loves all mankind.
The Lord has always demanded a distinction between male and female. In the Old Testament God instructed the Israelites to keep a distinction in the dress of male and female. The scripture is as follows: “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 (Deut. 22:5). In the New Testament the scripture plainly condemns the practice of males attempting to become like females or effeminate:
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:9-10).
The length of hair is directly related to the matter of keeping a distinction between male and female. “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” (1 Cor. 11:14-15). Females who cut their hair short and dress like the men are not respecting this principle of distinction between the sexes.
We should consider who set the style of wearing long hair in our day and time. The rebellious class of people known as “hippies” are the ones who brought on the wearing of long hair in our society. This is not to say, however, that every male who wears long hair does so to emulate “hippies.” Nevertheless, the wearing of long hair has become a symbol of rebellion, We should also keep in mind the plain teaching of God’s word on this matter. Even if the stigma of long hair being a symbol of rebellion in our society could be removed this would not eliminate the instructions of the word of the Lord concerning the matter: “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matt. 24:25).
The question may now come up: “How long is too long?” We might ask this question in the reverse, “When is hair too short on a female?” The answer to both questions is when the distinction between male and female is violated.