In Leviticus 19:26-29, we find God demanding the Israelites to remain separated from their pagan neighbors as their cultures reflected the pagan thoughts based from their myths. One of the interesting statements in this passage is, “neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard.” This carries religious pagan practices that continue the thought of gender distinction. Adam Clarke wrote, “The corners of thy beard – Probably meaning the hair of the cheek that connects the hair of the head with the beard. This was no doubt cut in some peculiar manner, for the superstitious purposes mentioned above. Several of our own countrymen wear this said hair in a curious form; for what purposes they know best: we cannot say precisely that it is the ancient Egyptian custom revived. From the images and paintings which remain of the ancient Egyptians, we find that they were accustomed to shave the whole hair off their face, except merely that upon the chin, which last they cut off only in times of mourning.”1)Adam Clarke, Adam Clarke Commentary, http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/view.cgi?bk=2&ch=19 The command again appears in Leviticus 21:5-6 identifying the priests not to profane the Holy God of Israel by adapting pagan practices. “They shall not make baldness upon their head, neither shall they shave off the corner of their beard, nor make any cuttings in their flesh. They shall be holy unto their God, and not profane the name of their God: for the offerings of the Lord made by fire, and the bread of their God, they do offer: therefore they shall be holy.” The command to be holy is reiterated in the New Testament (1 Peter 1:15-16), and it is important to note that the Christian’s concept of holiness is in no wise altered in the New Testament, nor has the emphasis on gender distinction in any passage of the New Testament been nullified, which is very relevant to this discussion.

To the Jewish concept as presented in the Old Testament, a shaved beard was a reason for embarrassment to the Jews (2 Sam. 10:4-5), and to the mid-eastern culture it was to represent defeat (Isa. 7:20).  Shaving off ones beard was self-inflicted only for the purpose of cleansing from plagues according the Levitical laws (Lev. 14:9), or mourning (Ezra 9:3; Isa. 15:2). James Freeman wrote, “To make the head bald, or to shave or pluck the beard, was a sign of mourning among the Hebrews and many other nations. See also Ezra ix, 3; Job I,20; Isa. Xxii, 12; Jer. Vii, 29; xvi, 6; xli, 5; xlvii, 5; xlviii, 37; Micah I, 16.”2)James M. Freeman, Manners & Customs of the Bible, Whitaker House, 1996, p. 256 A shaved beard was connected to idoltry and apostasy when the Jews were doing it (Isa. 15:2; Jer. 41:5). It was obviously an action that was rare in the culture and drew everyone’s attention (Ezek. 5:1). When one reads through the Bible and pays attention to this concept of facial hair (or hair in general), one will conclude that it is spoken of very frequently throughout the texts of the Old Testament. The Family Bible Dictionary defined the word “beard” as “Badge of manhood.”3)The Family Bible Dictionary, Avenel Books (New York, NY: 1958), p. 17

David had a beard (1 Sam. 21:13), as did Davids servants (2 Sam. 10:4-5), and Mephibosheth (2 Sam. 19:24) who normally kept it trimmed. Amasa had a beard (2 Sam. 20:9), Ezra (Ezra 9:3), Aaron (Psa. 133:2), and Ezekiel (Ezek. 5:1), as did Joseph (Gen. 41:14). This was part of the Jewish culture and is therefore read as a backdrop into the New Testament. Obviously the Lord Jesus Christ had a beard (Isa. 50:6).

Pagan cultures, especially Egypt, viewed the topic differently, and this is important to note to day as Hermeticism (i.e. the Egyptian mystery religion) has been exploding exponentially as Christianity is growing more and more apostate today. “The ancient Romans thought that a lack of major body hair was some kind of terrible deformity. But not in Egypt. …priests there believed that body hair was shameful and unclean. Wild animals and barbarian people had hair, not the sophisticated, super-advanced Egyptian civilization….Men, women, and even the children of ancient Egypt all shaved their heads bald…”4)http://www.egyptsearch.com/forums/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=print_topic;f=8;t=005935

Hair removal was so important to Ancient Egyptians that kings would have their barbers shave them with sanctified, jewel-encrusted razors. When a king died, he was often buried with a barber and his trusty razor, so he could continue to get his daily shaves in the afterlife. While Dynastic Egyptians eschewed facial hair, they still reverenced the beard as a symbol of divinity and power. Kings during this period were often depicted sporting beards. But rather than embracing the full-on natural beard like their predecessors in the Old and Middle Kingdoms, Dynastic kings sported a small fake goatee called the “osird,” or “the divine beard.” The osird was usually made of precious metals like gold or silver and was worn during religious rites or celebrations. While living, a king’s osird was straight. When he died, an upward pointed curl would be added at the end, denoting that the pharaoh had become a god.5)http://www.artofmanliness.com/2012/06/07/shaving-rituals/

Joseph was forced to shave before entering the presence of Pharaoh (Gen. 41:14), which is why his brothers would not recognize him (Gen. 42:8), as they would have expected facial hair worn by any Hebrew man. Bernard Ramm’s classic work on biblical hermeneutics, wrote, “Joseph’s shaving before he saw Pharoh, his receiving Pharoh’s ring, and his wearing the gold chain about his neck, are now understood as Egyptian practices.”6) Bernard Ramm, Proestant Biblical Interpretation, Third Revised Edition, Baker Book House (Grand Rapids, MI: 1970), p. 6 Spiros Zodhiates stated, “As an Egyptian leader, he would have been clean-shaven and well-dressed.”7)Spiros Zodhiates, Th.D., Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible (KJV), AMG Publishers (Chattanooga, TN), 1984, 1991, p. 65 This is because Egyptians were involved with worship of the goddess Isis, hence the men were effeminate due to the matriarchal religion. Peter Jones notes the connection between Gnosticism in the early Christian era with Egyptian Isis religion:

The connection is appropriate, since Isis was the Egyptian Goddess of Wisdom….

… Gnosticism serves most admirably as a bridge for paganism to infiltrate Christianity…

Isis was thus the giver of magical, occult knowledge and wisdom through which, like Sophia, she revealed the distant, unknown Egyptian God behind all things, Re….

Through the gender confusion Sophia brings, she deconstructs the God of the Bible. But her ultimate role is to point beyond the feminine gender to the androgynous state of true monism. For, as one Gnostic specialist rightly notes, in Gnosticism “the ultimate image of salvation is neither male nor female but the restored unity of an androgynous Mother-Father, who has passed through diversity.”8)Peter Jones, Pagans in the Pews: How the New Spirituality Is Invading Your House, Church and Community, Regal (Ventura, California: 2001), p. 155-156; citing Pheme Perkins, “Sophia and the Mother-Father,” The Book of the Goddess, Past and Present: An Introduction to Her Religion, ed. C. Mackenzie Brown and Carl Olsen (New York: Crossroads, 1983) p. 107

    The early church fathers took appropriate reactions against pagan ideas and practices from infiltrating their new faith by recognizing obedience to the biblical principle of separation ignited by the perverse culture they lived in. Such response to the gender confused culture confirms that a clean-shaved face on men was never part of the historical Jewish or Christian heritage. Clement of Alexandria wrote of on what basis a man’s facial hair should be cut: “that of the moustache similarly, which is dirtied in eating, is to be cut round, not by the razor, for that were not well-bred, but by a pair of cropping scissors. But the hair on the chin is not to be disturbed, as it give no trouble, and lends to the face dignity and paternal terror.”9)Clement of Alexandria, The Instructor, bk. III, chap. XI.; The Ante-Nicene Fathers, ed. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson; 1885-1887, Hendrickson (Peabody, Massachusetts) 1994, fifth edition 2012, Vol. 2, p. 286 He also wrote, “About the hair, the following seems right. Let the head of men be shaven, unless it has curly hair. But let the chin have the hair.”10)Clement of Alexandria, The Instructor, bk. III, chap. XI.; The Ante-Nicene Fathers, ed. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson; 1885-1887, Hendrickson (Peabody, Massachusetts) 1994, fifth edition 2012, Vol. 2, p. 286

Paul approach this discussion in 1 Corinthians 11, speaking of gender distinction as observed in men having short hair and women having long hair. He makes the brief comment, “Doth not even nature itself teach you” (1 Cor. 11:14). Paul’s discussion on gender distinction address how one wears their hair, but nature does not tell us that a man’s hair is short since it is not nature that cause short hair on men, but the intervention of the hair’s growth by implementing a scissors. The backdrop of a Christian morality assumes modesty (as does the contextual discussion of virgins in the earlier chapter), so it is not indicating hair on one’s chest is the evidence nature gives for gender distinction. No, the hair that nature gives to identify gender distinction is on their face–men have it there, women do not. A late second century Christian author, Tertullian, wrote with acknowledgment of this implication in Paul’s words about nature teaching us: “If it is true, (as it is,) that in men, for the sake of women (just as in women for the sake of men), there is implanted, by a defect of nature, the will to please; and if this sex of ours acknowledges to itself deceptive trickeries of form peculiarly its own,– (such as) to cut the beard too sharply; to pluck it out here and there; to shave round about (the mouth); to arrange the hair, and disguise its hoariness by dyes; to remove all the incipient down all over the body; to fix (each particular hair) in its place with (some) womanly pigment; to smooth all the rest of the body by the aid of some rough powder or other: then, further, to take every opportunity for consulting the mirror; to gaze anxiously into it:-while yet, when (once) the knowledge of God has put an end to all wish to please by means of voluptuous attraction, all these things are rejected as frivolous, as hostile to modesty.” (italics added)11)Tertullian, On the Apparel of Women, bk. II, chap. VIII.; The Ante-Nicene Fathers, ed. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson; 1885-1887, Hendrickson (Peabody, Massachusetts) 1994, fifth edition 2012, Vol. 4, p. 22

The late third century Christian author, Lacantius, stated, “Then the nature of the beard contributes in an incredible degree to distinguish the maturity of bodies, or to the distinction of sex, or to the beauty of manliness and strength; so that it appears that the system of the whole work would not have been in agreement, if any thing had been made otherwise than it is.” (italics added)12)Lacantius, On the Workmanship of God, chap. VII; The Ante-Nicene Fathers, ed. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson; 1885-1887, Hendrickson (Peabody, Massachusetts) 1994, fifth edition 2012, Vol. 7, p. 288 Arnobius questioned why men “should acquire gems, precious stones, pearls, at the expense of their purity; should entwine their necks with these, pierce the tips of their ears, bind their foreheads with fillets, seek for cosmetics to deck their bodies, darken their eyes with henna; nor, though in the forms of men, blush to curl their hair with crisping-pins, to make the skin of the body smooth, to walk with bare knees, and with every other kind of wantonness, both to lay aside the strength of their manhood, and to grow in effeminacy to a woman’s habits and luxury?”13)Arnobius, Arnobius Against the Heathen, bk. II chap. 41; The Ante-Nicene Fathers, ed. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson; 1885-1887, Hendrickson (Peabody, Massachusetts) 1994, fifth edition 2012, Vol. 6, p. 450

The word “effeminate” in Greek μαλακος literally means “soft.” Aristotle recognized the word as “uttering some insult … as being effeminate14)Aristotle, “Athenian Constitution” 18:2; translated by H. Rackham. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1952; accessible at http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.01.0046:chapter=18&highlight=effeminate Demosthenes expressed it as an insult, saying “so effeminate and so cowardly”15)Demosthenes “On the False Embassy” speech 19, sect. 218; Demosthenes with an English translation by C. A. Vince, M. A. and J. H. Vince, M.A. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1926; accessible at http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.01.0072:speech=19:section=218&highlight=effeminate Polybius spoke of “a man of disgraceful and effeminate character”16)Polybius, Histories, book 4, chap. 4; Histories. Polybius. Evelyn S. Shuckburgh. translator. London, New York. Macmillan. 1889. Reprint Bloomington 1962; accessible at http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.01.0234:book=4:chapter=4&highlight=effeminate Thayer’s lexicon defines the Greek word as “soft,” and also states “of a catamite, a male who submits his body to unnatural lewdness”17)Joseph Henry Thayer, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, Harper & Brothers (New York, NY: 1886, 1889), p. 387 James Strong also indicated “catamite” as one of the definitions. The term “catamite” refers to young boy slaves who were forced to adopt an effeminate appearance and be sodomized by the  master or served as prostitutes at the pagan temples in a similar fashion. Historian Robin Lane Fox refers to the Greece-Roman culture of the New Testament era, saying, “In civic life, homosexuality between young men, or an older and younger partner was socially acceptable.”18)Robin Lane Fox, Pagans and Christians, Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. (New York, NY: 1987), p. 341 If one was rich enough to afford a catamite, pedophilia and sodomy was social acceptable as well.

The gentile Mediterranean world of the apostle Paul’s day viewed men without beards as effeminate. This opinion went further than just the Jewish culture. It was practically worldwide in the ancient cultures with Egypt as the primary exception. Aretaeus spoke of manhood beginning at puberty, said, “For it is the semen, when possessed of vitality, which makes us to be men, hot, well braced in limbs, hairy, well voiced, spirited, strong to think and to act, as the characteristics of men prove. For when the semen is not possessed of its vitality, persons become shrivelled, have a sharp tone of voice, lose their hair and their beard, and become effeminate, as the characteristics of eunuchs prove.”19)The Extant Works of Aretaeus, The Cappadocian. Aretaeus, book 2, chap. 5, Francis Adams LL.D. Boston. Milford House Inc. 1972 (Republication of the 1856 edition); http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.01.0254:text=SD:book=2:chapter=5&highlight=beard%2Ceffeminate Quintilian discussed “For just as the slave-dealer regards strength and muscle, and above all, the beard and other natural characteristics of manhood as blemishes… But I take Nature for my guide and regard any man whatsoever as fairer to view than a eunuch, nor can I believe that Providence is ever so indifferent to what itself has created as to allow weakness to be an excellence, nor again can I think that the knife [for shaving the beard] can render beautiful that which, if produced in the natural course of birth, would be regarded as a monster. A false resemblance to the female sex may in itself delight lust, if it will, but depravity of morals will never acquire such ascendancy as to succeed in giving real value to that to which it has succeeded in giving a high price. Consequently, although this debauched eloquence (for I intend to speak with the utmost frankness) may please modern audiences by its effeminate and voluptuous charms, I absolutely refuse to regard it as eloquence at all: for it retains not the slightest trace of purity and virility in itself, not to say of these qualities in the speaker.”20)Quintilian, Institutio Oratoria, Book 5, chap. 12, sect. 18-20; Harold Edgeworth Butler. Cambridge. Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann, Ltd. 1921; http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:2007.01.0063:book=5:chapter=12&highlight=beard%2Ceffeminate Aulus Gellius ” reproached Publius Sulpicius Gallus, an effeminate man” by citing Publius Africanus who wrote about Publius saying, “For one who daily perfumes himself and dresses before a mirror, whose eyebrows are trimmed, who walks abroad with beard plucked out and thighs made smooth, who at banquets, though a young man, has reclined in a long-sleeved tunic on the inner side of the couch with a lover, who is fond not only of wine but of men—does anyone doubt that he does what wantons commonly do?”21)The Attic Nights of Aulus Gellius. With An English Translation. John C. Rolfe. Cambridge. Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann, Ltd. 1927; http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:2007.01.0072:book=6:chapter=12&highlight=beard%2Ceffeminate

This matter of Christians rejecting the biblical truth of gender distinct is essentially a form of Gnosticism reviving in these last days. As mentioned above, Hermeticism is a growing fad in contemporary apostate Christianity. Gnosticism taught that man was originally created androgynous (that is as a hermaphrodite–both male and female) and the fall was not the sin of rebellion but separation of genders, hence salvation is to merge them together once more. In the Gnostic scripture entitled The Secret Book of John, it is stated, “Adam became a mortal person, the first to descend and the first to become estranged.”22)The Secret Book of John (22,28-22,28), The Nag Hammadi Scriptures: The Revised and Updated Translation of Sacred Gnostic Texts, ed. Marvin Meyer, HarperOne (New York, NY) 2008, p. 125 Adam is reported to have said, “God, the ruler of the realm and powers, angrily divided us. Then we became two beings, and the glory in our hearts departed from your mother Eve and me, as did the previous knowledge that breathed in us.”23)The Revelation of Adam(64,6-65,23) The Nag Hammadi Scriptures: The Revised and Updated Translation of Sacred Gnostic Texts, ed. Marvin Meyer, HarperOne (New York, NY) 2008, p. 347 Jesus allegedly says “…when you make male and female into a single one, so that the male will not be male nor the female be female… then will you enter [the kingdom].”24)The Gospel of Thomas (22), The Nag Hammadi Scriptures: The Revised and Updated Translation of Sacred Gnostic Texts, ed. Marvin Meyer, HarperOne (New York, NY) 2008, p. 143 And “I will guide her [Mary] to make her male, so that she too may become a living spirit resembling you males. For every female who make herself male will enter heaven’s kingdom.”25)The Gospel of Thomas (114), The Nag Hammadi Scriptures: The Revised and Updated Translation of Sacred Gnostic Texts, ed. Marvin Meyer, HarperOne (New York, NY) 2008, p. 153 Thus, woman desiring the salvation of Gnosticism are seeking to make herself resemble a male. Excerpt from the Perfect Discourse related it this way: “If you wish to see the nature of this mystery, consider the marvelous image of sexual intercourse between male and female.”26)Excerpt from the Perfect Discourse (65,15-38), The Nag Hammadi Scriptures: The Revised and Updated Translation of Sacred Gnostic Texts, ed. Marvin Meyer, HarperOne (New York, NY) 2008, p.430 That is to identify the two genders becoming one flesh. A text entitled Zostrianos tells women, “Flee the madness and the bondage of femininity and choose for yourselves the salvation of masculinity.”27)Zostrianos (130,14-132,5), The Nag Hammadi Scriptures: The Revised and Updated Translation of Sacred Gnostic Texts, ed. Marvin Meyer, HarperOne (New York, NY) 2008, p.583 So the female role of submission is bondage and this bondage is identified in her long hair and clothing. Even today men crack jokes on each other about their wife wearing the pants in their house. Such jokes represent a remnant of biblical thinking in our culture is being reversed when women rejected their “bondage of femininity” and begin to dress and act like a man whom they should be submitting to.

This is not to be understood as focused on masculinizing women only, but also feminizing men. “Hippolytus witnessed it and documented the fact that the Naassenes [a Gnostic sect] he knew openly attended the pagan worship ceremonies of the Goddess. There they sought spirituality what the pagan priest realized physically, namely androgyny through castration.”28)Peter Jones, Stolen Identity: The Conspiracy to Reinvent Jesus, Victor (Colorado Springs, Colorado), 2006, p. 100 Of course it is well known that castration was widely practiced in pagan religions which Hippolytus discussed in his ten books entitled Philosphumena or A Refutation of All Heresies in which he identified the “pagan origin of all heresies”29)Ed Reese, Reese Chronological Encyclopedia of Christian Biographies, AMG Publishers (Chattanooga, Tennesse), 2007, p. 17 that infiltrated the churches of his day through Gnosticism. Strangely, the few churches and Bible colleges today that remain biblical in the teaching of gender distinction of women wearing modesty dresses ignore the topic of a man’s facial hair as part of this doctrine. Every Bible school that I am personally aware of that teaches gender distinction also implement rules that the men must be clean shaven. Where does such thinking come from? Adam Clarke (1762- 1832) commented on Deuteronomy 22:5, wrote, ” It certainly cannot mean a simple change in dress, whereby the men might pass for women, and vice versa. This would have been impossible in those countries where the dress of the sexes had but little to distinguish it, and where every man wore a long beard. It is, however, a very good general precept understood literally, and applies particularly to those countries where the dress alone distinguishes between the male and the female. The close-shaved gentleman may at any time appear like a woman in the female dress, and the woman appear as a man in the male’s attire. Were this to be tolerated in society, it would produce the greatest confusion.”30)Adam Clarke, Adam Clarke Commentary, http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/deuteronomy-22.html

The early years of Christianity utterly opposed any art forms depicting the Lord Jesus Christ as being condemned by the second commandment (Exodus 20:4). Only Gnostics produced images and art of Christ. “Only one group of early Christians, the heretical Carpocratians, are known to have owned portraits of Christ… By the mid-third century, variable figures of Christ, with and without a beard, could be seen in wall paintings of the house-church in Dura…”31)Robin Lane Fox, Pagans and Christians, Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. (New York, NY: 1987), p. 393 An interesting note is that the earliest dated depiction from art produced considered within orthodoxy of a “Christian” with a shaved face is the emperor Constantine. He obviously was influenced by paganism. Why should we not assume it is the influence of paganism on Christians today? The problem is most Christians have simply never thought of the topic of facial hair from a gender distinction or pagan influenced perspective.

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