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Subtitle: The Mental Image Of Jesus Christ That Comes To The Minds Of Most People Has Been "Manufactured" And Is Without Basis In Fact

I'll just about guarantee you that if you are like most folk, when the name Jesus Christ is mentioned--a very definite "picture" pops into your mind as to what He looks like. And the absolute fact of the matter is that regardless of what you "see"--that image is totally bogus! History bears no record of any eye-witness portrait or other facsimile made of His likeness. And some Bible scholars believe that perhaps the closest representation may be a charcoal drawing found on a wall in the catacombs under Rome--apparently put there by a Christian hiding from the authorities. Persecuted believers often hid in those underground caverns trying to avoid being put to death. And that particular sketch portrays Him with Jewish features and short dark hair cut well above the shoulders, as was the custom among Jewish men of that day. To claim He had long hair is to show ignorance of Jewish tradition--something the apostle Paul affirms in the following verse:

"Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?" 1 Cor. 11:14 (KJV)

The widely accepted public perception of a slightly effeminate man with long blonde hair so typical of portrayals today (in both artist's renditions and movies) can largely be traced back to the "Sallman's Head of Christ" (below) painted by the artist Warner Sallman in 1941.

All of us need to understand this portrait originated from the creative imagination of Mr. Sallman and not from factual information.

Admittedly, it evokes an emotional response from most people--because they "see" within it a loving, compassionate, and tender figure--all of which, of course, are attributes of our Savior. But I am of the opinion it does an grave injustice to His manhood and definitely leaves the wrong impression. We must understand that Jesus of Nazareth was a carpenter--a trade He learned by hands-on experience at Joseph's side. Hard manual labor was involved in building the houses of that era and stonework as well as wood was used. His hands would have been heavily calloused and his physique very muscular, due the physical exertion required. At that time the average life expectancy among poor working class men was 35-40 years (if that high, because of the rigors of hard work, malnutrition, and sickness). And because of these factors, His appearance would likely have been that of an older man:

"Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? John 8:57 (KJV, emphasis mine).

And, as a man over the age of 30, his beard (and mustache) would have been been much fuller and less neat than that portrayed in the picture, because the Law forbade Jewish men from trimming facial hair.

"You shall not round the corners of the hair of your heads, nor trim the corners of your beard [as some idolaters do]" Leviticus 19:27 (Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified Bible Commentary).

The old Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown commentary (late 1800's) has some interesting remarks concerning that practice by heathens:

".....The Egyptians used to cut, or shave off their whiskers, as may be seen in the coffins of mummies, and the representations of divinities in the monuments. But the Hebrews, in order to separate them from the neighboring nations, or perhaps to put a stop to some existing superstition, were forbidden to imitate this practice....."

And from a prophecy found in the Book of Isaiah, it would seem likely our Lord's appearance was intended to be that of an ordinary working man of His day:

"For [the Servant of God] grew up before Him like a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground; He has no [royal, kingly pomp] form or comeliness that we should look at Him, and no beauty that we should desire Him" Isaiah 53:2 (Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified Bible commentary, emphasis mine).

Now ask yourself this question: Does the mental image inspired by Sallman's painting (and other representations of Christ you have seen) really do justice to the reality of the man Who cleansed the Temple--not just once, but twice?!!!!

"And the Jews' passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem, [14] And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables; [16] And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise. [17] And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up" John 2:13-17 (KJV).

" And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, [13] And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves" Matthew 21:12-13 (KJV).

The immediate context of both accounts show that the first cleansing took place at the beginning of His public ministry. The second took place after His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, just prior to His rejection and crucifixion:

I cannot speak for anyone other than myself, but to me these passages of Scripture portray "a man's man"--someone Who had enough courage to resort to physical force if it was warranted. The currently popular notion that Jesus Christ was a pacifist and would never lift a finger against another person is clearly proved wrong by these two passages. Did the Lord make "the scourge of small cords" just for looks? Please note  it says that after He made it (the scourge--the whip), "he drove them all out of the temple and the sheep and the oxen...." My friends, Jesus Christ--the perfect and sinless Son of God--not only exhibited premeditation (making the scourge shows intent for His subsequent actions), but in righteous indignation He also used that whip--giving them additional incentive to leave! We have no way of knowing exactly how many men were involved on those occasions, but it seems safe to assume there were quite a few. Due to the large numbers of worshipper who routinely availed themselves of the services offered (exchanging Roman currency, or coinage, for the Jewish money required as Temple dues--and the selling of sacrificial animals), it is likely that several individuals were earning their living there. And human nature usually does not roll over and play dead when attempts are being made to disrupt one's means of livelihood! So it is highly probable that these men did not go peacefully and offered resistance. This of course only serves to heighten the degree of courage and conviction displayed by our Lord.

But some will likely disagree by asking, "What about His Words in the Sermon on the Mount where He told us to 'turn the other cheek'?" May I suggest to you He was teaching against sinful retaliation on our part? The  righteous indignation He displayed at the Temple was prompted by sinful men profaning His Father's house and the intent was to rectify the situation--not "get even" with them.

The Lord's manliness has also been challenged by liberal theologians as they try to portray Him as a whimpering and terrified coward in the Garden of Gethsemane--prior to His arrest and crucifixion. Piecing the narrative together from accounts found in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, we learn that after entering the Garden He told most of the apostles to sit and wait while He took Peter, James, and John aside with Him to pray (Matt.26:36). Then after the four of them withdrew to pray, the Lord told His confidants that He was suffering extreme distress:

"Then He said to them, My soul is very sad and deeply grieved, so that I am almost dying of sorrow. Stay here and keep awake and watch with Me." Matthew 26:38 (Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified Bible commentary, emphasis mine).

And from the accounts which follow, we are given a glimpse into the very heart of God as our Lord agonizes about what lay ahead for Him:

"And going a little farther, He threw Himself upon the ground on His face and prayed saying, My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will--not what I desire--but as You will and desire" Matthew 26:39 (Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified Bible commentary).

We are told He prayed three times--essentially repeating the same request--and each time He would turn back to find His closest friends asleep. Then in Luke chapter 22 we find these astonishing comments:

"And there appeared to Him an angel from heaven, strengthening Him in spirit. [44] And being in agony [of mind] He prayed [the] more earnestly and intently; and His sweat became like great clots of blood dripping down upon the ground" Luke 22:43-44 (Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified Bible commentary). 

His anguish was so intensely felt that His sweat became bloody from ruptured capillaries in the skin. And I submit to you that this degree of distress was not caused by the fear of dying. Of course we all understand that His humanity recoiled at the very thought of the physical suffering which lay ahead, but accusations of cowardice are ridiculous! He not only predicted what would happen, but stayed in the same place until they came to arrest Him. Cowards run, folks--but men face the opposition.

And the fact so many fail to understand is that His deity--His pure and sinless perfection--was about to be degraded by God the Father!

When Jesus Christ was placed upon that cross, God the Father made Him to become the essence and totality of sin and at that awful moment was forced to turn away from Him!

"For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him" 2 Cor. 5:21 (KJV).

"And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Matthew 27:46 (KJV).

God the Son, as the Lamb of God--the Perfect Sacrifice--took upon Himself the sin of His people and died in our place. And all the while He was praying in the Garden, His humanity dreaded what lay ahead, but only God can fully appreciate the agony of soul His deity suffered in anticipation of separation from the Father. Cowardice? Get serious!

Where such unwarranted criticism is concerned, one must take into consideration that those who offer such opinions do not have a clue as to the spiritual nature of His distress! 1 Corinthians 2:14 very clearly states the natural man--the unregenerate man in whom the Holy Spirit does not dwell--cannot understand that which is spiritually discerned:

"But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (KJV, emphasis mine).

So those who hold such opinions are clearly "professors, not possessors" and are to be pitied. Our Lord is the perfect Man and every masculine attitude and action of His Person should be emulated by fathers and taught to their sons.

If you have been born again and received Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, but have been very lukewarm in your spiritual walk with Him, you need to immediately ask Him for forgiveness and for renewal. He will instantly forgive you, and fill your heart with the joy of the Holy Spirit. Then, you need to begin a daily walk of prayer and personal Bible Study.

If you have never placed your trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior, but have come to sense His reality and the approaching End of the Age, and want to receive His FREE Gift of Eternal Life, you can do so now, in the privacy of your home. Once you truly believe in Him as Lord and Savior, you are spiritually Born Again, and are as assured of Heaven as if you were already there. Then, you can rest assured that the Kingdom of Antichrist will not touch you spiritually. If you would like to become Born Again, turn to our Salvation Page now.

We hope you have been blessed by this ministry, which seeks to educate and warn people, so that they can see the coming New World Order—Kingdom of Antichrist—in their daily news.

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