Ben's hair

Ancient of Days

Ben Beilharz

A bald man once pointed out to me the significance of Jesus' hair in the book of Revelation. In the first chapter Jesus is terrifyingly glorious:

His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.

(Revelation 1:14-16)

and part of his glory is the colour of his hair: “white like wool, as white as snow.” (1:14)

When we grow old our hair becomes grey (or so it appears). Actually, individual white hairs grow up wheat-and-the-tares style with our old-regime hairs. The overall effect is the appearance of grey hair. But if you happen to live long enough, the old regime is completely overthrown and you'll end up with an all-white head crop.

So it seems likely that when this picture of Jesus is given pure white hair, you are supposed to understand that he is ancient—his hair could not be more white. This idea becomes even more credible when you consider Daniel 7:9 in which the “Ancient of Days”—God himself—is described in the same way: “the hair of his head like pure wool”.

In the same chapter of Revelation, God says:

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

(Revelation 1:8)

and in the final chapter, Jesus says,

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”

(Revelation 22:13)

As shocking as it must have seemed and still seems, fair-dinkum real-human Jesus is co-eternal with the Ancient of Days. He always existed, just like God, and always will. Convincing us of such things is exactly what the book of Revelation is on about. The church at the time was scared and persecuted by no less than the all-powerful world government: the Roman Empire. The church needed to see that Jesus is immensely powerful, incredibly glorious, and imcomparable to the puny human powers of the time.

Today we have many attempts to see Jesus as purely human—scholars trying to find the “real historical” Jesus—scholars who “claiming to be wise, became fools” (Romans 1:22). But Jesus is the one with the white hair and the wisdom of God—the kind of wisdom that goes with having always been there, seeing everything. His image is terrifying in Revelation 1, but comforting because his wrath is coming on those who treat his bride with contempt.

It's significant that, in the gospel accounts, we are given no clue as to what Jesus looked like as a regular guy on earth, but now we have a vividly visual (and highly symbolic) image in Revelation. If we are to have a lasting picture of Jesus in our minds it should be that one: powerful, brilliant, God.

“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay everyone for what he has done.”

(Revelation 22:12)

As a person with hair himself, Ben feels qualified to address the topic with integrity. He uses a variety of shampoos and conditioners, preferring the more manly fruits such as Apple and Blueberry.


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