Worldwatch News and Prophecy

Hair, Beards and Nazarites

In the scriptures it is easily demonstrated from Paul and Moses, that God intended men to have shorter hair and since hair does grow, God intended that it be cut; and that God intended for women to have hair which is given as a crown of glorious beauty.

This post is a follow up the 1 Cor 11 post in the sense of certain matters of hair, and is also addressing the idea of some, that men must not shave or trim their beards.

This is not a sexist issue; it is a simple  fact that the Creator made man and woman different in certain ways.

What then of the Nazarite?

Various commands are laid out for anyone who is not of the tribe of Levi, to also serve God through a voluntary service. In this post I will only write of the long hair  commanded for the Nazarite, and I will cover the other instructions in a different post.

Paul himself  had taken a vow and allowed his own hair to grow long; and after the end of his vow he shaved his hair according to the law.  Yet he shaved his head at Cenchrea and not at the temple.  For this I must study further because the command was to shave one’s head at the Temple; unless Paul did not take a full Nazarite Vow and only vowed some other personal vow.

Acts 18:18   And Paul after this tarried there yet a good while, and then took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence into Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila; having shorn his head in Cenchrea: for he had a vow.

Therefore when Paul said that men are best suited for short hair, he appealed to the Creator’s  self evident will, by the obvious nature of his creation.  

Paul was pointing out that God has given to women  a crown of glory befitting the female form, while such a glorious crown of hair was incongruous on a masculine body.

Paul was refuting the attempts by some men [and women] to appear like the opposite gender; which is indeed forbidden in the word of God; and was not quibbling about how long is long.

1 Corinthians 11:14  Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?

Men and women were created to be different, and it is very sad that some poor souls have tried to obviate those difference instead of delighting in them.

And being different Paul taught that a woman was to cover her glory, out of respect for her husband; lest she outshine him and appear far more glorious than her husband in the presence of God.  far from being a slam against women, this is because the woman is more glorious than the man, and so should cover her glory showing respect for the husband and for the Father and Christ as her HEAD!

For a woman to cover her glory, out of respect for her HEAD; is an act of humility and great virtue before God!  It is in no way shameful for a woman to cover her glorious hair out of respect for the one that she vowed to obey all of her life.  And if she is not married, she should cover herself out of respect for the Husband of her baptismal espousal.  This is a spiritual matter that only those truly humble before God will understand. 

The woman’s hair was manifestly not the covering spoken of by Paul, since if she did not wear a covering she should have her head shorn.  This is saying that if a woman will cut her hair and not  have long hair,  then she should cut her hair; an obviously nonsensical statement. 

This confusion is easily removed when we realize that Paul was speaking of two coverings; the one being the glorious hair, and the over being a covering over her glory out of respect for the authority of her husband and of god over her.

Now we know that the law expressly forbids either sex from trying to look like the opposite sex, and that men are not to be effeminate, nor are women to try to be seen as masculine.  The issue about hair is concerned with maintaining a clear division between the sexes.

God is NOT concerned about whether a man has some hair extending beyond his collar; or whether a woman has a shorter hair style:  As long as there is no attempt for the man to appear effeminate, or for the woman to deliberately appear masculine.

The self righteousness of some about some hair over the collar in a very masculine man; or a shorter hair style in a very feminine woman, is biblically unsupportable and wrong.

In the case of the Nazarite who was forbidden to cut any hair, as was Samson and John Baptist, and so would have VERY long hair; no razor was to come upon the head; and this would include the beard as well. 

All the hair of the Nazarite’s head sanctified the head to Christ.  And a beard with the very long hair also  prevented any possible gender confusion.

Num 6:5   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.

In Numbers 6,  God commands long hair for those who voluntarily dedicate themselves to the ministry.  This is because very long hair “Set Apart” the Nazarite from other men and made him stand out as a man of God! 

Num 6:1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 6:2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When either man or woman shall separate themselves to vow a vow of a Nazarite, to separate themselves unto the LORD:

6:3 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. 6:4 All the days of his separation shall he eat nothing that is made of the vine tree, from the kernels even to the husk.

6:5 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.

6:6 All the days that he separateth himself unto the LORD he shall come at no dead body. 6:7 He shall not make himself unclean for his father, or for his mother, for his brother, or for his sister, when they die: because the consecration of his God is upon his head. 6:8 All the days of his separation he is holy unto the LORD.

Then we have a command to shave his head because of an uncleanness.

6:9 And if any man die very suddenly by him, and he hath defiled the head of his consecration; then he shall shave his head in the day of his cleansing, on the seventh day shall he shave it.

6:10 And on the eighth day he shall bring two turtles [doves], or two young pigeons, to the priest, to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: 6:11 And the priest shall offer the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering, and make an atonement for him, for that he sinned by the dead, and shall hallow his head that same day.

Here we see that the head of a dedicated person, is hallowed [set apart] by his long hair.  in other words the long hair of the Nazarite was and is intended to set him apart from other men as dedicated to the Eternal!

The custom and natural appearance of men in Israel is to cut their hair regularly; and the long hair of the Nazarite set him apart from the common man so that he would be easily recognized as someone hallowed and dedicated to serve god by a vow. 

Even the vain Absalom cut his hair once a year.

For the common man to let his hair grow long, without having taken a Nazarite vow is wrong, in that it obscures those who have taken a vow and dedicated themselves to God!  Paul was quite correct; long hair in a man is contrary to what God had intended.

The question arises:  How long is long?  And the answer is that a Nazarite cannot cut his hair or beard for the full length of his vow.  The ordinary man should cut his hair as needed to preserve a masculine appearance, and how long the hair is kept, is up to his own personal discretion, as long as he does not begin to look feminine.

No one should be criticized for a little hair over the collar, but if it is shoulder length or longer, or styled like a woman; it is becoming a problem: unless he has taken a vow for a specific period of time and also abstains from all alcohol, keeps a beard,  and keeps all the conditions of the vow while dedicating himself in service to God full time. 

A Nazarite vow cannot be made today as there is no temple at which to offer the sacrifice.  It is highly unlikely that Paul had taken a Nazarite vow; which is a common assumption but is not stated in scripture;  scripture merely says that Paul had taken a vow and it many have been some other personal vow.

6:12 And he shall consecrate unto the LORD the days of his separation, and shall bring a lamb of the first year for a trespass offering: but the days that were before shall be lost, because his separation was defiled. 

[And in the circumstance he must make up those lost days by beginning his period of service again.]

6:13 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: 6:14 And he shall offer his offering unto the LORD, one he lamb of the first year without blemish for a burnt offering, and one ewe lamb of the first year without blemish for a sin offering, and one ram without blemish for peace offerings,

6:15 And a basket of unleavened bread, cakes of fine flour mingled with oil, and wafers of unleavened bread anointed with oil, and their meat offering, and their drink offerings.

6:16 And the priest shall bring them before the LORD, and shall offer his sin offering, and his burnt offering: 6:17 And he shall offer the ram for a sacrifice of peace offerings unto the LORD, with the basket of unleavened bread: the priest shall offer also his meat offering, and his drink offering.

6:18 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.

WHY must he shave his head and place the hair in the fire of the peace offering? 

Because it represents his “Set Apartness”  and his Service to God:  Which is  a holy and precious and a most acceptable thing to God!  And the burning hair on the alter of the peace offering ascends in the smoke to God the Father as a sweet savor and a most pleasant thing to the Father!  No God does not necessarily like the smell of burning hair or flesh;  it is the loyalty ad dedicated service that is represented which is most pleasing to him.

The Law Concerning Beards and Hair

There are only two religions in this world:  The true religion of the Holy Scriptures; and all other religions which are but different paths to the same god, Satan.   People are either zealous to learn and keep the whole word of God, or they are following another path to a different God in rebellion against the Eternal!

Soon after the great flood Nimrod rose up to rule the people and built a great tower temple for his religion at Babel;  This was a ziggurat or pyramid temple to observe the heavens for the religion of  astrology.  The people were taught to worship the heavens and the sun; and to follow the priests of the sun and the celestial gods  as a means of maintain power over the people through a priestly caste system. But behind this was Satan the devil who was worshipped through the symbol he adopted, which was sun worship. 

When God confounded the languages and races at babel the people were scattered and carried the same religion with them throughout the world, only using different languages.

That is why you will find pyramids across the world, and the same god with different names. 

All human religions being basically sun worship; and you will fond sunbursts, halos and sun symbols in all religions except the religion of Holy Scripture.

God wanted to keep his people SEPARATE from this false god of  sun worship being deceived by  Satan; and commanded certain things to avoid doing the ways of the heathen.

From the most ancient times the heathen shaved circles on the heads of the priests which were symbols of the sun, you can still see this today in certain Catholic orders and in eastern religions.  Of course they will not consider this as sun worship being kept ignorant of its real and historical meaning, but will simply say that it is a token of dedication to their particular religion, not comprehending that their religion is a fraud masquerading as truth.

This shaving of circles on the top of the head has largely evolved in the west, to simply wearing a small round skull cap, which the wearers claim represents humility. 

The ancient baal [sun] worshippers would also  style their hair by cutting the edges of the hair and beard around the face to give the face a circular appearance.  This also being a style of baal worshippers in Canaan.

Now notice the specific command of God in regard to these paganisms.  Nowhere does God command us not to cut our hair or beards; rather he commands against this pagan practice. 

It is clear that the cutting of hair is accepted even condoned by God, as we see in the instructions of Paul; it is the style of paganism which seeks to style the hair in dedication to the round sun that is forbidden. 

Lev 19:27   Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard.

Now consider this command to the priests of the millennial temple service.

Ezek 44:20   Neither shall they shave their heads, nor suffer their locks to grow long; they shall only poll their heads.

Clearly the cutting of hair is not only permitted but required.  These temple workers were to have their hair cut short, but not in the manner of the baal worshippers.

And since we are called to become the priests of the order of Melchesidek; the Called Out men of today should also cut our hair and not wear long hair.

In reference to the cleansing of a leper God requires that all the hair of the body including the head and beard by shaved.

Lev 14:1  And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 14:2 This shall be the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing: He shall be brought unto the priest: 14:3 And the priest shall go forth out of the camp; and the priest shall look, and, behold, if the plague of leprosy be healed in the leper; 14:4 Then shall the priest command to take for him that is to be cleansed two birds alive and clean, and cedar wood, and scarlet, and hyssop: 14:5 And the priest shall command that one of the birds be killed in an earthen vessel over running water: 14:6 As for the living bird, he shall take it, and the cedar wood, and the scarlet, and the hyssop, and shall dip them and the living bird in the blood of the bird that was killed over the running water: 14:7 And he shall sprinkle upon him that is to be cleansed from the leprosy seven times, and shall pronounce him clean, and shall let the living bird loose into the open field.

14:8 And he that is to be cleansed shall wash his clothes, and shave off all his hair, and wash himself in water, that he may be clean: and after that he shall come into the camp, and shall tarry abroad out of his tent seven days. 14:9   But it shall be on the seventh day, that he shall shave all his hair off his head and his beard and his eyebrows, even all his hair he shall shave off: and he shall wash his clothes, also he shall wash his flesh in water, and he shall be clean.

 In Mourning

In Lev 21 God commands that a priest may not shave his head or beard in mourning; except for his near of kin.

And again, since all the Called Out are called into a Royal Priesthood, 1 Peter 2:9; we should all obey this command.  Thankfully we do not have this tradition of mourning today anyway.  Yet it was the custom of those days and the making of baldness etc. is used throughout scripture as a euphemism for mourning.

Please notice that this WAS ALLOWED for the priests in the case of a near of kin, and WAS ALLOWED by non priests in general mourning.  Then notice that the issue was shaving the head and beard and cutting oneself [this was usually the striking of ones breast with small stones (like a handful of gravel) in grief; the ponding of the breast in deep sorrow].

There is no command by God against the cutting of male hair or beards; The issue here is the mourning of priests; and the priest degrading himself in mourning before the people and so degrading his office.

Lev 21:     And the LORD said unto Moses, Speak unto the priests the sons of Aaron, and say unto them, There shall none be defiled for the dead among his people: 21:2 But for his kin, that is near unto him, that is, for his mother, and for his father, and for his son, and for his daughter, and for his brother. 21:3 And for his sister a virgin, that is nigh unto him, which hath had no husband; for her may he be defiled.

21:4 But he shall not defile himself, being a chief man among his people, to profane himself.

21:5 They [the priests] shall not make baldness upon their head, neither shall they shave off the corner of their beard, nor make any cuttings in their flesh.

The context of the passage is explicitly defiling oneself for the dead.  In this case the  Kohanim are forbidden from various mourning practices.  Not only are they forbidden  from coming in contact with the dead bodies of their deceased friends  but  they are also forbidden from defiling themselves by shaving their heads,  by shaving their beards, and by cutting their skin. 

We see here that the three  prohibitions found in Lev 19 and Dt 14 are repeated in Lev 21.  In all three passages  both the implicit and explicit contexts are that of mourning practices.  Every ancient  person knew that one cut one’s skin or shaved one’s head as an act of mourning and it  was these acts of mourning that are being prohibited in Lev 19.

The prophets used the shaving of the head and beard as a euphemism for inexpressible grief and deep mourning.

Shaving the head and beard  was a common  mourning practice as is also mentioned by the  prophets.  Thus we read “And I will turn your feasts into mourning, and all your songs  into lamentation; and I will bring up sackcloth upon all loins, and baldness upon  every head; and I will make it as the mourning for an only son, and the end thereof as  a bitter day.” (Amos 8:10) 

Similarly, we read: “Make yourself bald, and shear  yourself for the children of thy delight; enlarge your baldness as the vulture; for they  are gone into captivity from thee.” (Micah 1:16). 

These are only two of many verses  that relate to the fact that in ancient times shaving the hed and beard  was an act of  mourning along with lamentation, rending of clothes and donning of sackcloth. 

Deu 14:1 also forbids Israel itself from shaving a round bald spot  ”between your eyes” for the dead.

Deu 14:1   Ye are the children of the LORD your God: ye shall not cut yourselves, nor make any baldness between your eyes for the dead. 

This is specifically about a pagan shaving of a small round bald spot in mourning and has no connection with any hair style of shaving of the beard.  This is a direct reference to making a round bald spot [sun symbol] on the forehead between or over the eyes. 

In conclusion we  see that shaving the beard and indeed all the hair is not only permissible but  can be an act of purification.  In contrast, the prohibition of Lev 19 is to shave the  head or beard as an act of mourning!

We are not to cut our hair or beard in the fashion of making our face look deliberately circular as a sun symbol;  we are not to shave round circles on our hair as sun symbols and we are not to shave our heads and beards  in mourning.

Beyond the restrictions against paganism, we are permitted to style and cut our hair and beards as we like.

World Watch © 2010-2017 All rights reserved.