Around 1984 I grew a beard to identify with the needy/the lowly whom I served in a ministry to the poor. Instantly men could relate to me because of my shared identity with them. But since then my persuasion concerning beards has become a strong conviction based soundly on the Scriptures, history, and creation.
My thoughts on this matter of the beard and coverings were sparked by an immensely significant observation my oldest daughter, who was then about twelve, shared with me. I was outside washing the car, when she came to me and exclaimed: "Dad, I've been thinking about something. It seems that men and women try to reverse the roles God intended for them. Men," she said, "whom God intended to have beards, shave their faces and become fair-skinned like women. While on the other hand, women, whom God intended [as evidenced throughout nature] to have a lesser appearance than men, darken their eyes and put makeup on their faces, assuming a more dominant appearance over men." I began to ponder her insightful statement, and since then have studied what Yahweh's Word and history (His-story) say about this subject.
Foremost, it must be recognized and acknowledged that it was Yahweh God who fashioned on man the beard; it is not man's addition. In fact, conversely, man's creation of man is – beardless. Man himself must daily resist Yahweh's creation in order to become the image of his own creation. Yahweh's creation of man with facial hair distinctly sets him apart from woman and child. Therefore, we must ask the question: Why did God give man a beard? Was it an accident or the addition of a misdirected useless annoyance, or just the addition of a little shrubbery around the old house for landscaping? Obviously, none of these! Yahweh has created all things with a divine governmental purpose, including a man's beard.
In answer to this question – first, despite what society teaches today, there is a God-intended difference between the man and the woman. Yahweh God purposed that this difference be distinct and obvious. He instructed that, "A woman shall not wear man's clothing, nor shall a man put on a woman's clothing; for whoever does these things is an abomination to Yahweh your God" (Deuteronomy 22:5). God has created distinct physical, stamina, and structural differences between men and women. In 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 Paul warns: "or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals ... will inherit the kingdom of God." He has also set forth a difference between a man and a woman by their hair, both in the length of the hair on the head (1 Corinthians 11:14-15), as well as the obvious presence of facial hair – the beard. If we respect the differences of clothing and head hair length, then why do we not also respect the equally important difference of the beard?
A second reason God gave man a beard is to
distinguish him from adolescence. Today, the distinct difference between
an adolescent and the marked wisdom of an adult is fading.
The older often try to dress like the younger. The younger
try to possess the authority of the older. But Yahweh
intended to distinguish the young man as not yet having
achieved adulthood, evidenced by the absence of the beard.
Throughout history the beard was a mark of respect, wisdom,
and experience. It set apart men as men, and boys as
boys! This distinction is healthy and proper, and is more
readily insured when there is the outward physical distinction
of the God-ordained beard. Boys can dress like men, they
can act like men, but there is still that
"mark" that they are bare boys – they cannot grow
that identifying beard. Society would be far better off
if this visible God-ordained standard of sex-distinction
and maturity-distinction was not confusingly removed.
Think about it. Yahweh could just as well have designed
the male to be born with facial hair, just like he has hair on his head.
But instead, He placed facial hair on him later in life at a period
of maturing. This is His order, His design, even His government:
and it speaks, just as our shameful removal of this divine covering speaks.
It is a shame when parents try to look like their children – to dress like them, talk like them, and act like them. Paul said, “When I was a child, I used to speak as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things" (1 Corinthians 13:11). A boy is fair-skinned the first fifteen or so years of his life. When he does become a man, he needs to put away fair-skinned boyish ideas and ways. What does the boy have to look forward to, to admire, when men stunt their maturing process, refusing to put away their own childish appearance? Ephesians 4:15 exhorts us "to grow up in all aspects into Him." In Yahweh God's design, growing up also means that a man grows a beard.
In the Scriptures the concept of getting older is related specifically to growing a beard. Excluding the book of Numbers, when one reads the word translated “old” in the Bible, the original Hebrew word most likely came from the root word “zaqan,” which is the Hebrew word for “beard.” For example, in the well known verse in Proverbs 22:6 we read: “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.” But the concept in the Scriptures of maturing is not just adding years, but more specifically, adding facial hair to a young lad’s face. Thus Proverbs 22:6 more accurately reads: “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is bearded he will not depart from it.” Even as the Scripture’s concept of maturing is related directly to being “bearded,” men today who wish to ascribe their lives to the Scriptures should likewise ascribe their face to this gauge of the maturing process.
The beard is a sign, or testimony, of maturity, though it certainly does not guarantee maturity. Maturity, like the beard, does not come all at once; it takes time. But we remove from our young men that outward sign and reminder of patient waiting for maturity. We blend that process to where maturity becomes meaningless. The testimony we give today by beardlessness is the abandonment and lack of maturity. It fails to see Yahweh's simple but vital way of preserving that orderly marked transition from childhood to adulthood.
Third, as we will see in this writing, removing the beard is a call for Yahweh's judgment. To be able to consider this matter of His judgment via the removal of His established coverings requires a foundation of information that cannot be laid at this point. So, we will simply mention this highly important aspect of the beard and consider it more fully later.
Let us now share what the Scriptures specifically say about the beard. First, significantly, Yahweh instructed His people to not shave their beards. In Leviticus 19:27 we read: "You shall not round off the side-growth of your heads, nor harm the edges of your beard." The Hebrew word translated here as "harm" means – to decay or ruin, to cast off, corrupt, destroy, lose, mar, perish, spoil, or waste. Yahweh instructed His people to not "cast off" the sides of their beards. A beard without sides is not a beard at all; it is a goatee. Yahweh directs His men to keep their full beards. And this is exactly what we see from His people throughout the Bible. Men from Adam to Yahshua wore the beard.
The sons of Aaron, the priests, were
instructed to "not make any baldness on their heads, nor
shave off the edges of their beards, nor make any cuts
in their flesh. They shall be holy to their God and not
profane the name of their God ..." (Leviticus 21:5-6).
We as "a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a
people for God's own possession" (1 Peter
2:9), should of all people not shave off the edges
of our beards.
We see then that the beard is a scriptural mark of an obedient relationship with Yahweh God. Men should have a God-designed, God-instructed, bearded relationship with their Heavenly Father! He has ordained it so in His Word.
Next, and very significantly, in Yahweh's
relationship with man, the removal of the beard
was a sign of humiliation, judgment, affliction, and mourning.
When He was preparing to judge Jerusalem, Yahweh had
the prophet Ezekiel to shave his head and beard, and
apportion the clippings to indicate the types of judgment
and destiny He would inflict upon them (Ezekiel 5:1-12).
In Isaiah 7:10-25, the prophet Isaiah
foretold of the devastation and judgment Yahweh would
bring on the land of Judah, "days as have never come
since the day that Ephraim separated from
Judah." Their vines were to be turned to briars
and thorns. He would call in bees and flies, and would
bring in the Assyrians with razor to shave "the head
and the hair of the legs; and it will also remove the
beard." God's judgment came with a razor.
Furthermore, when it was prophesied that the Moabites would be devastated and ruined, Isaiah characterized their destruction as a time when "everyone's head is bald and every beard is cut off," and they would gird themselves with sackcloth (Isaiah 15:2-3). Jeremiah wailed for the Moabites: "For every head is bald and every beard cut short; there are gashes on all the hands and sackcloth on the loins" (Jeremiah 48:36-37).
In Isaiah's prophecies concerning the humiliation and sufferings of Yahshua, we see further the graphic relationship between the removal of the beard and Yahweh's humiliating judgment: "I gave My back to those who strike Me, and My cheeks to those who pluck out the beard; I did not cover My face from humiliation and spitting ..." (Isaiah 50:6). In Jeremiah 41:4-5 we see eighty men traveling to the destroyed temple, sorely grieving and weeping for its destruction and the expulsion of their people to Babylon. They demonstrated their grief and humiliation by their beards "shaved off and their clothes torn ...."
In 2 Samuel 10:1-5 we further see a very
interesting account concerning the great humiliation
associated with the removal of even a portion of the
beard. King David had sent some of his servants to the
new Ammonite king to show kindness at the death of
the king's father. In an act of reproach, the new king
"took David's servants and shaved off half of their beards,
and cut off their garments in the middle as far as
their hips, and sent them away." This
incorrigible act "greatly humiliated" the men, and undoubtedly
David as well. So greatly offensive was it that David
sent out messengers, instructing his disfigured servants:
"Stay at Jericho until your beards grow, and then
return." This defacing act of insult caused
the Ammonites to "become odious to David," and led
to a war that ended in the thorough defeat of the Ammonites
and the Syrians.
And most importantly, the testimonies of the first man
and the last man in the Bible to shave are exceptionally revealing. The
first man to shave was Joseph – when he went before Pharaoh (Genesis
41:14). And while the outcome of that meant temporary deliverance
for Israel and his sons and family, it was in fact by going to Egypt that
they were led into bondage as slaves. The last man in the Bible to
shave was Paul (Acts 21:23-26). Against everything he had taught,
he too shaved; and as a result, he too was taken into bondage, only his
was immediate. But Paul only had one life to live, and while the
sons of Israel in time were delivered from their bondage, Paul was never
released from his and was killed. Thus we see testified by both the first
man to shave, as well as the last to shave, that this defacing act produces
bondage and death. And of course, this is exactly what we saw evidenced
by the prophets as well.
It is a great sorrow and reproachable humiliation when men forsake the Scriptural shame associated with defacing their appearance. And literally, men are, by their own design, defacing themselves – taking off the face Yahweh has given them. If only men could see His perspective regarding beards. But then again, as we have just seen, for a harlotrous people who do not walk in His ways, it is only fitting that men be defaced. For men have, in many ways, turned away from Yahweh God, entered into bondage, and justify the humiliation of their sorrowful appearance, calling for His judgment.
In 1989, this same oldest daughter and I were
attending a seminar in which the instructor took
a strong position in opposition to men wearing beards.
During a break, she asked me why he felt this way.
I explained that his feelings were based on the attitudes
of the 60's, and he felt that beards were a sign of
rebellion; to which she responded: "It looks like he
would base his beliefs on the Scriptures and not on
a brief point in time." Her answer was straight to
the point – simple and innocent, yet piercing
to the heart of the truth! She was exactly right!
It is shortsighted and an insult to the Scriptures
and to the Creator's design if we base our beliefs on
the whimsical nature, the attitudes, or even the accepted
styles of man.
Men should base their actions, including their appearance, on Yahweh's instructions and His established order. He has a beard! Is He rebellious? The Son of God, the very image and glory of the Father, wore a beard (Isaiah 50:6). Was He too rebellious? We should have a far greater concern for our testimony of unhindered and unadulterated conformity to Yahweh God, rather than conform to what men think. Some good-intentioned people who do not want to appear rebellious, are actually rebelling against God each day as they remove the beard that He has given them to wear.
Throughout Yahweh's creation, one can plainly see
that the Master Designer ascribed more abundant
glory and outstanding appearance to the male. To
the lion He ascribed the majestic and full mane, as well as
to the goat, the stag, and to the apes. To the stag He also
added the magnificent towering antlers. To the
peacock He displayed the showy spray of tail
feathers with their marvelous colors. On and on we
could go with examples throughout the span of creation
– the mammals, the birds, the fish – Yahweh has ascribed
a greater glory to the male. Why? The widely accepted
secular "scientific" notion is that the male
needed to attract a female, or to draw away a
predator. This most certainly cannot hold true. There
are too many cases in which this does not prove necessary.
Ravens and doves that show no outward sex differences
have no trouble wooing a mate; and often it is the more
splendid and colorful male bird that sits on the eggs,
which would only attract a predator to the nest. No,
there is a higher purpose for this design that is consistent
with the Creator's plan for man.
This testimony of Yahweh's creation that He has given more abundant honor and appearance to the male is clear, affirming, consistent evidence and truth that the man "is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man" (1 Corinthians 11:7). God created the man as His "image and glory," and He consistently confirms this position throughout all of His creation by the greater appearance He has given to the males in nature. This fact is certainly not by accident, but by divine testimony and design. Why else would Yahweh assign a greater appearance to the males except that it affirms the glory and image He has given the man?
This obvious important distinction that Yahweh our Creator has affirmed throughout creation should be affirmed and respected and upheld by men and women today. Where then is the beard on man? Does a lion shave his mane? Shall the stag lob off his antlers or the peacock pluck out his tail? Never may there be such marring and humiliation to creation! These things would be most repulsive and pathetic to see! Then pray tell, why does man forcibly remove the distinction Yahweh has placed uniquely on him in contrast to the woman?
MALE MALLARD AND MANDRILL
The cow's in the
stable; the cock on the roof.
The fish in the
pond; the bird in the air.
All creation knows
its rightful place;
A horse on the roof?
A lamb in a lair?
When creation does
not take its rightful place;
Into this scene
comes farmer Smith;
And something fits,
as we examine this man;
This natural scene,
and order to boot,
His hands are firm,
his brow is stern;
His face is covered,
not only with years of work,
He's worn it proudly
upon his jaw;
He knows his Creator,
and plainly sees throughout the land,
His male goat has
a heavy mane; his nanny none.
Even the great lion
in Africa, though he's personally not seen,
The peacock, his
roosters, all display,
For who can dispute
throughout the land
If God's Word says
He gives His image and glory to the male,
Would we pluck the
Would we discount
the colors sublime
Of guppy and betta,
with colors so stark?
It is the will of
God that man should show
Farmer Smith well
knows what he plainly sees,
His beard he wears
proudly, and so should you;
listen to the farmer, and observe throughout the
Drawing further from Yahweh’s creation,
what example has He given us of the female possessing
the dominant appearance over the male? What He reveals
in nature regarding the answer to this question is
very interesting and remarkably significant. Some animals
show little to no dissimilarity between the sexes – e.g., crows, doves,
dogs, etc. And in a few examples the female is larger
in size, when she carries large quantities of eggs, as
in fish. But I know of only one isolated example that Yahweh
has given where the female is both larger and
more splendid – the black widow spider!
In this isolated case, the female is not only much larger, but substantially more attractive. While the female is large, shiny black, and has the distinct red hourglass marking on her abdomen, the male is dramatically smaller, dull light brown or gray, and spindly. This fiendish female will capture and eat her mate if she is not cautiously approached and restrained by him, thereby obtaining for herself the name “widow.” Is there not a clear message here for us? In similar regard, time and time again, the sad, destructive results of a dominating wife are demonstrated. The family is brought into upheaval when the wife prevails, and the children bear the chilling consequences – troubled homes and lives, homosexuality, a confusion of the sexes, divorce, and many other tragic ills. The results are devastating!
The Scriptures clearly teach Yahweh's design for a marriage: "Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of woman" (1 Corinthians 11:3). When this is reversed, there is spiritual anarchy, mutiny, rebellion, and confusion. From the beginning the man is the head – dominant in physical appearance and responsibility. When the “black widows” prevail, man and his seed are the victims! When women dress, adorn themselves, or wear cosmetics (from the Greek word "kosmos" or "world" – that ought to tell us something ladies) that draw attention away from their husbands, they follow in the usurping steps of Satan and the angels "who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode" (Jude 1:6). And when weak men passively or purposefully abdicate their God-ordained glory and headship to the wife, they doom the wife, children, and society to a troubled pit. Men need to be the head Yahweh has ordained them to be. And to the ladies, Tertullian (an early church writer around 150 to 210 A D) wrote this like truth:
Obtain your whiteness from simplicity. Get your ruddy hue from the blush of modesty. Paint your eyes with meekness and your mouth with silence. Implant the words of God in your ears. Array your neck with the yoke of Christ. Submit your head to your husband, and you will be adequately adorned. (From A Glimpse at Early Christian Church Life, by David W. Bercot.)
In stark contrast to Tertullian, consider this poem:
the black widow spider; the glory is mine!
see, my husband is small; a worrisome sort.
me, I'm the more beautiful; I'm shiny and large.
hourglass spot I have on my back –
frail weasely husband approaches me,
go along with his frivolous tact,
let him think he's got me bound;
bite him, and bite him, till you'll surely see,
the exception in creation; I like it that way
I'm not alone in my supplanting act;
let that male reduce his appearance
when you can, ladies, with glee,
dearies, I know, what you have at hand,
say "paint your face;” it's easy to see,
the red of male cardinal, and the green of he
don't forget my shimmering black!
Come on, my dearies, let nature agree,
RESPECT AND INTIMACY
A groomed beard is the only proper appearance
for a godly man. In the Greek, the word "godly,” as
used in 2 Peter 1:6-7 and other verses, actually means – to honor
others by one's actions. It does not mean – God-like.
It was used to describe Greek children who honored their
parents by what they did. Likewise, we honor God and
respect His design when we wear and groom the
beard. Wearing the beard is godly – honoring God
our Creator who made men with a beard. It is His
order for men’s faces, not fair skin like women or
“IN HIS OWN IMAGE”
In the Beginning God made man, in His very own image according to His plan .
Of sinew strong
and features stark, of ruddy appearance man
was not to depart!
Despite Paul's warning to "not be conformed
to this world" (Romans 12:2), the world has often regrettably set
the course for the Christian's face, hair, and dress.
Joseph naively gave himself to the world after being
Egypt's slave and prisoner for thirteen years. In the
Scriptures, Egypt represents the place of bondage and curse. It was in
Egypt where, three generations earlier, great-grandfather
Abraham jeopardized his wife, and acquired Sarah's Egyptian
maid, Hagar, who concubined the son of the flesh – Ishmael.
Now, likewise in Egypt, Joseph was also adversely
impacted by his abode in "the world."
He conformed to being like them by shaving his head
and beard and dressing like the Egyptians. In Genesis
41:14 we read: “Pharaoh sent and called for Joseph,
and they hurriedly brought him out of the dungeon; and
when he had shaved himself and changed his clothes,
he came to Pharaoh." The Hebrew word for
"shaved" means – to be bald. In most cases in its
usage, it means to shave the head; but in other instances
it was applied to "balding" the face as well.
The Egyptians fittingly had such a disdain for Yahweh's created hair that daily, wealthy men and women visited barbers who shaved and plucked the hair from their balded heads and face. "Hair was not only shunned but it was considered evil.... Egyptian priests had their heads and entire bodies shaved at least three times a week" (The Long And Short of It, by Bill Severn, pp. 22, 23). Such was the world this bearded Hebrew conformed to – not only in baldness but also in dress. His identity with Egypt led to other transgressions – taking an Egyptian wife, entering into the occult practice of divination (Genesis 44:5, 15), and intentionally misleading, lying to, and deceiving his brothers as he further altered his appearance. In fact, his appearance was so altered that his own family could not recognize him, though he talked face to face with them – bare-faced to bearded-faced! Joseph had conformed to Egypt, their soon-to-be captors!
I have a friend who, like Joseph, shaved his beard. In fact, his name is Joseph. As with so many others, he too at one time was concerned that his beard created an "image" that he was afraid would interfere with his worldly success. Also, he did not think it "looked good" on him, so he shaved it off. I shared this with another friend who responded – "he is trusting in the flesh, rather than faith." So true! He was relying on his conformity to the world to produce his success, and not on humbling himself before Yahweh God who would exalt him through His ways and plans. My friend was overcome by his lower nature of vanity (as so many are), being more concerned about how he appeared before other vain men and women, thereby becoming like them. Shaving the beard is most often a vain decision. Men who will not wear a beard because it makes them look older or less attractive are simply giving themselves over to pitiful vanity! (However, my friend did later become very convicted that wearing the beard was not a choice, and now wears it out of conviction.)
When shaving the beard for worldly promotion and acceptance, one relies upon the flesh, both literally and figuratively. Isn’t it interesting that it is indeed the flesh that a man misguidingly presents upon removing the beard? Every man must thus choose whether he will daily work at removing the covering Yahweh has placed upon his flesh, and trust in self for promotion; or rest from his daily works and yield to that which Yahweh has placed on the man's face, trusting in Him for promotion, success, acceptance, and, if necessary, a new job. A man who daily labors to keep the beard off does so by works; while a man who ceases from that daily labor enters into Yahweh's rest – with the glorious results of a God-honoring beard!
It seems appropriate to ask a simple question at this point: Are we to conform our lives to the standard of worldly acceptance and reward, or do we conform our lives to the plan and design of God? The beard – this unique visible point of acceptance and trust – can be the building block for further faith and trust in Yahweh! The natural always precedes the spiritual (1 Corinthians 15:46), and this one important natural act of accepting His beard can precede and produce added spiritual yieldedness and growth. It can be a constant, important, physical reminder of an important spiritual truth – to not trust in the flesh but in God who made us. "God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised, God has chosen, the things that are not, that He might nullify the things that are, that no man [Lit. – flesh] should boast before God" (1 Corinthians 1:27-29). The beard in our society may seem base (though, thankfully, less so today; and not without meaning), but God will use it as a point of spiritual growth – to cover the "flesh" in our life.
What the Egyptians did for Joseph, the Greco-Romans have accomplished for man today. It is the Greeks who have most influenced the beard's removal. Let us quote at length from the book Apologia Dome. Apologia De Barbis, edited by RB. C. Huygens (pp. 58, 59).
In Greek society, hair-style was an important aspect of liminality [the transitional phase in social status], especially during the period between youth and adulthood, when young men all shared the characteristics of their age group. The offering of cut hair to a god was a form of thank offering or dedication through which the god acquired some power over the person whose hair was offered. Hair was regarded as a source of life in Roman society and was cut at the approach of death. The traditional tearing of hair as a sign of grief was "the first offering or sacrifice to the dead" and has been seen by some scholars "as a substitute for blood and human sacrifice."
The beard in particular was a sign of age and physical maturity. It marked the borderline both between boys and men and between men and the gods, who never grew old. Alexander's shaving of his beard, which inaugurated a long period of beardlessness in the Greco-Roman world, may have been inspired by his desire for the appearance of perpetual youth associated with the gods. In ancient Greek society, the growth of a beard marked the end of the stage when a boy might legitimately be the object of sexual advances from an older man. It was also the distinction between the two major categories of performers, the juniors and the adults, in the Games. The custom of shaving was introduced at Rome probably in the third century BC.
For chronology sake, we will insert a portion from The Long And Short of It, by Bill Severn, pp. 28-29. This quote gives us further insight about the accepted styles during the time of Yahshua and the early church.
Shaving was so customary by the time Cicero was delivering his orations in the 1st century BC that senators with "five-o'clock shadow" were turned away from the senate and refused their seats until they visited the barber. Caesar, it was said, went unshaven only once, during a vow to let his beard grow until he avenged a military defeat. Caligula, who became emperor in the year 37, sometimes wore a false beard of gold [as did the Egyptians]. Nero, who came to power a decade later, made a public ceremony of dedicating his beard to the gods, presenting it at the temple in a small casket covered with jewels.
The Greco-Roman society has unquestionably had the greatest influence of any other society on man today – in government, in art, in architecture, in language, in literature, in thought, and, yes, in the clean-shaven image. But the early church rejected this gods-worshipping vain appearance. Instead, they accepted the design of their Creator. Let us continue this quote from Apologia Dome.
Beards thus came into the Christian world with a heavy baggage of pre-historic and classical symbolism, of which the Church Fathers were not unaware. Lactantius in the De opificio Dei wrote, "It is incredible how much the reason of beard (barbae ratio) confers, either for distinguishing the maturity of bodies, or for differentiating the sexes, or for adorning virility and strength." The beard for Epiphanius was "the proper form of man,” and for Clement, the sign of his superiority to woman. In Augustine's De civitate Dei the fact that beards served "not for protection but for manly adornment" was evidence that some things were placed on the body for decoration rather than for use. These texts helped to establish the basic Christian view of beards, in both East and West, as the natural mark of manhood, both in a general and in a specifically sexual sense. According to a medieval proverb, "A beard suites a man."
To specifically examine what the early church fathers did say about removing the beard, let us quote from the book, Why I Wear A Beard, by William R. Mc Grath, pp. 15-16. Here he quotes the early church fathers.
From Clement of Alexandria (ca. 190 AD): "Men are also infected with the disease of vanity.... But for those who are men to shave and smooth themselves; how ignoble! ... how womanly! For God wished women to be smooth, and rejoice in their locks alone growing spontaneously, as a horse in his mane; but has adorned man, like the lions, with a beard, and endowed him, as an attribute of manhood, with hairy chest – a sign this of strength and rule. This, then, the mark of the man, the beard, by which he is seen to be a man, is older than Eve, and is the token of the superior nature.... It is therefore impious to desecrate the symbol of manhood, hairiness. But the embellishment of smoothing (for I am warned by the word), if it is to attract men, is the act of an effeminate person, if to attract woman is the act of an adulterer; and both must be driven as far as possible from our society. 'But the very hairs of your head are all numbered,' says the Lord; those on the chin, too, are numbered .... For it is not lawful to pluck out the beard, man's natural and noble ornament.”
From Tertullian (160-220 AD): "Are there then, some things that to men are also not permissible, if we are god-fearing, and have a due regard for gravity? There are indeed .... My own sex recognizes some tricks of beauty which are peculiarly ours, for example, to cut the beard too sharply, to pluck it out in places; to shave round about the corners; to arrange the hair and conceal grayness by dyes .... But all these tricks are rejected by (Christians) as being frivolous and hostile to modesty, as soon as the knowledge of God has destroyed the wish to please."
From Cyprian (195-258 AD): who was writing of the reasons for apostasy among the churches, mention is made of a worldliness among church members which led them to have "no discipline in manners. Men defaced their beards (or wore their beards disfigured), and the beauty of women was a (painted) counterfeit. Their eyes were changed from what God had made them, and a lying color was placed upon the hair."
From Lactantius (240-320 AD), we read a condemnation of the effete and effeminate walk, dress and appearance of the worldly men and a defense of the beard for Christians: “The nature of the beard contributes in an incredible degree to distinguish the maturity of bodies, to the distinction of sex, and to the beauty of manliness and strength; so that it appears that the system of the whole (body) would not have been in agreement if anything had been made otherwise than it is.”
As in the words of Yahshua to a hardened
world concerning divorce, we see that, though men of
God shave today, "from the beginning it has not been
this way" (Matthew 19:8). The early church had a single-hearted
resistance to effeminatizing the man by vainly removing Yahweh's
appointed beard. But due to division of heart
between the vanity of this world and Yahweh's design,
man has defaced his appearance. One must choose whether
he will establish his appearance like unto the examples
of Abraham, Moses, Eli, David, Yahshua, et al; or rather,
like unto the Egyptians and Greco-Romans and those
today who follow in their denuding practices. And in
making this decision; remember, the first and last men in the Bible to shave,
Joseph and Paul, were thereby given into bondage and death by both of these.
I'm on, I'm off,
I'm sometimes a snare;
LET THERE BE BEARDS
We know Yahweh God did not create anything without a
purpose. He did not put hair on the man's face
just because it was a cute, unfulfilling, or even distracting
idea, or just to needlessly cover a face. Yahweh
gave us hands for a purpose. He gave us feet for a
purpose. He gave us eyes, ears, taste, feel,
everything for a purpose. He does not make
mistakes or add to His creation needlessly. When Yahweh said, ”Let
there be ...,” He included a beard on a man. So, “Let there
be” a beard on His created man!
Yahweh has numerous purposes for the beard – to distinguish the sexes, to distinguish from adolescence, to place His image upon the man, and far more, as we will see in the pages yet before us. But when men remove this distinguishing mark, they confuse creation and Yahweh's order in masculine headship, promoting an unmooring and slipping away from His ways.
Women may wear our clothes and cut their hair short like ours. They may work at our jobs and join the military. They may teach in seminaries and become pastors and priests. But there is one thing they can never do, no not ever – they can never grow the beard! The beard is clearly and overtly male! But, woe-men shamefully accommodate the woman's inability and cut it off!
GROOMS, BRIDLED BRIDES, AND FATHERED CHILDREN
A groom we be called,
then to groom bid we be,
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