—The Bible and Tattoos—What is the Real Issue?

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Someone emailed me and asked:

Pastor Balaicius, your thoughts on tattoos, please. The subject is only mentioned once in the Bible, that I am aware of.  My son, while he was in the army got several.  Now it seems he has a desire for more.  I’ve discussed with him what the Bible says, but he isn’t accepting that as applicable to our times.  So, any thoughts you can throw my way I’d appreciate it.


My reply:

Heathen, savages, idolators, satanists tattoo and pierce their bodies.

—be not like the heathen!  Morality never changes.  What about that is confusing or obsolete?

Since godly women are not merely supposed to adorn themselves with makeup and pearls and gold and braided hair arrangements, but first and foremost have inner beauty — the righteousness of God — radiate outward, what does that say of tattoos?  Earings and necklaces can be taken off at the end of the day, and the hair let down.  Tatooes are permanent.  Furthermore, and most importantly, if a person is truly a Christian—his body is not his own!

While the passage in Scripture refers specifically to tattoos and marks and cuttings for the dead, a pagan religious practice, the pagan practice cannot really be disassociated from the tattoo itself; for that is its origin; even as pagan holidays like Christmas cannot be separated from their pagan roots without blaspheming God.  See my booklet and abbreviated online PDF version of Merry Antichristmas at my website.  As I express therein, how would your wife like it if you celebrated her birthday on the day of your ex-wife’s birthday, and according to the custom that you used to celebrate your ex-wife’s birthday?  

[I mentioned that to a lady who is a local postal clerk, while she waited on me, when the question of Christmas arose.  I thought it went in one ear and out the other; but she apparently mulled it over, because a few minutes later out of the blue, she said, “No, that wouldn’t go over so well.”]  

So it is with Christmas and Easter (Ishtar), but they are even more insulting and blasphemous because God is our LORD and HE COMMANDED us how He is to be worshipped and we are not free to “ad lib” and change what He commanded and invent something entirely different—especially when what we LUST AFTER to continue to practice is in its very origins PAGAN!  Christians celebrate Christmas because it gives them a good feeling and that is Hedonism and self-worship.  Furthermore, God tells us, “I am a Jealous God”.  He accepts no “competition” or “divided loyalties” or “hybrids” that would pollute His Name.

However, upon closer reading, the marks are not related only to some pagan practice for the dead.  God commands:

“Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.” (Leviticus 19:28)

Nor print any marks upon you... —that seems to apply to all marks for any reason.  Though it is in context of and a continuation of the command against cuttings for the dead, the issue is also general, as we shall see.  Christ took every mark for us, and bears in His Flesh the memory of those marks.  We are to take up our cross and follow HIM; not live like savages.

“I am Yahweh” leaves nothing to speculation.  It is emphatic and clear.  HE is SUPREME.  HE OWNS ALL. Therefore we are to obey, in the letter AND IN THE SPIRIT.

Furthermore, a peek at context in where God determined to give us this information is also illuminating:

“26Ye shall not eat any thing with the blood: neither shall ye use enchantment, nor observe times.

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

[These, it seems, were other pagan practices for the dead, or for their gods.  You cannot separate something from its origin—unless you don’t care about morality or holiness.  That is why God even forbade worshipping HIM on the tops of hills or in groves: because that is how the pagans worshipped their gods; and therefore, God gave VERY SPECIFIC, RIGID, rules concerning THE ONLY way that He was to be worshipped.]

28Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.

29Do not prostitute thy daughter, to cause her to be a whore; lest the land fall to whoredom, and the land become full of wickedness.

[Understand: Here is a perfect example of a little-understood truth in Scriptural interpretation.  When something is stated as the reason why something should not be done, that is NOT the “only” reason—and it is NOT even the “main” reason; but it is the reason that fits in with the current discussion.  Not prostituting your daughter into whoredom was not merely to be done to prevent the whole land from becoming polluted with the wickedness of whoredom.  It was not to be done, first and foremost, because God COMMANDED it in Exodus after the Israelites came out of Egypt—which giving of the Law was not something “new”, but it was the first codefied giving of the Law to the NATION, to the people as a whole.  The Law had been transmitted, by word of mouth, by each patriarch to his family (some, of course, did terrible jobs, or did not do it at all); but the majority of the Law was known since Adam, with periodic updates in the Law, as man’s descent into wickedness required.  One should also not prostitute his daughter because it is just wrong; which one should know in his spirit even had God not forbidden it.  It also causes CONFUSION of bloodlines (and it was GOD who commanded genealogies to be kept and boundaries to be observed).  It also transmits disease.  It also sets a bad example for the younger children.  So, we see (I hope) that when a “reason” is given for something in Scripture, it is not the only reason, but it is the important reason for the lesson at hand.]

30Ye shall keep My Sabbaths, and reverence My Sanctuary: I am the LORD.

31Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God.” (Leviticus 9)

Three times in 4 verses it is declared, “I am Yahweh”.  That is a matter of AUTHORITY, but it is also a matter of HOLINESS.  His people are His sanctuary, and neither they nor the physical tabernacle are to be polluted.

The Law of God was not abolished; someone who thinks so is ignorant and has not even the faintest clue about the God in whom he claims to believe.  God is IMMUTABLE.  He cannot change.  He is Perfect and Holy.  Any change would be to imperfection and unholiness.  Morality cannot change.  Evil never becomes good. Abominations never become wholesome, darkness never becomes light.  Christ said “not one jot or tittle shall pass from the Law” and “My sheep know My Voice and follow [obey] Me” —so WHOSE voice is your son (or any other “Christian” who thinks that the Law was abolished) following since he rejects the very Word of Christ?  He is following antichrist.  That is the only other option.  Christ said that he that is not with / for Me is against Me.  There is no “neutrality” in the War against God.  If you are not subordinate and on God’s Side, you are on the enemy’s side.  There are no “conscientious objectors”.  Those who are lukewarm shall be spewn out as enemies.  Those who don’t hate evil as God commanded—do not love God.  “Ye who love the Lord hate evil.”  Evil is everything antithetical to what God is.  To not hate it is to not love God.  Could you be good friends with someone who despises your entire family (your father, brothers, wife, and children)...? especially if you are a close-knit family that does everything together...?  How then can someone be a friend of the world and love God...? —he cannot!

However, other principles of Scripture govern this issue.

Whatever is not of faith IS SIN.  Faith is not a “hunch” or a personal “opinion”.  Faith is based upon the FACTS, the DOCTRINE of the Word of God.  God speaks of tattoos only in a disfavorable light.  Granted, Scripture mentions them ever so scantily—however, had God had anything favorable to tell us concerning them, certainly He would have.  Nowhere does He say that it is acceptable.  It is unnatural.  It is a defilement of God’s Temple (just like piercings, implants, slicing of the flesh of various body parts, and every other gross satanic deformity that twisted minds can imagine).  It is not your son’s body to tattoo, if he thinks it is, then he rejects God as his Lord.

“19What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (I Corinthians 6)

“If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” (I Corinthians 3:17)

This applies to consuming unclean animals that God forbade us to eat,*1 immoral perverse unions outside the racial, gender, and family boundaries that God established, tattoos, the clothes a person wears, or any other form of defilement.  Those who “disagree” again reveal that they think that they are their own god who establish their own “reality” in the universe.  They don’t know God.  They don’t have a clue about Holiness, which is what a TEMPLE infers.  Those with polluted minds think that everything is polluted like their own minds (Titus 1:15).  God gave precise, rigid, unfudgeable instructions for His Temple’s construction and the method in which every detail of His Worship was to be carried out, every possible area of life is covered in God’s Law and those not specifically mentioned are inferrable based upon principles of those things that He does command.  Not even the sound of a metal tool cutting or striking a stone was to be heard at the site of the building of the Temple!  All work on the God of the Universe’s Temple STOPPED on the Sabbath.  Those who think that God abolished His Law most probably violate the Sabbath*2 also—and disassociate themselves from the Covenant.  Not one jot or tittle... and the Sabbath was declared, “throughout all your generations forever” and declared to be a sign of the Covenant.  God’s Temple is HOLY.  It had to be built and daily affairs conducted EXACTLY as God commanded.  It was not to be festooned with rainbow-colored garlands and lights to “celebrate” any new perversion of the day; or altered in its architectural design (as Herod the Edomite did), or defiled in any way, even by not allowing those who were polluted or those whom God cursed to approach the Temple.  That is HOLINESS.  THAT is WORSHIP.  THAT is why God compares our bodies to His TEMPLE.  He who joins himself with a harlot becomes POLLUTED with the harlot.  That is why God even forbade all associations with those peoples whom He cursed and those of our own people who pollute themselves with sin.  If we pollute ourselves in anyway, we cannot be in union with Christ.  Christ will not be in union with His bride, if she is polluted IN ANY WAY that God forbade.  GOD IS HOLY.

[*1 —which Law was NEVER abolished.  It was never for salvation: It was MORAL STANDARD, God’s “House Rules” that He commanded His children live out throughout all their generations forever.  Morality never changes, but immoral people decide not to recognize and obey it.  See my, What’s Keeping God From Delivering...?, Ten Commandments for Youth, and So, You Call Yourself A Christian....  Again, abominations never become wholesome.  Evil never becomes good.  Those who use Peter’s Vision to justify defiling their bodies with unclean, forbidden animals, show that they are spiritually stillborn in the matter of spiritual discernment.  Peter’s Vision had NOTHING to do with food.  NO OTHER New Testament passage abrogates God’s dietary laws.  Those who think so are spiritually blind, and if they don’t order the above booklet (So, You Call...) it shows that they WANT TO REMAIN spiritually blind and don’t care about sinning against God.

*2 The majority of those who in ignorance think that God changed the eternal Sabbath to Sunday, most probably do not even hallow Sunday as the Sabbath, but seek their own pleasure and it is just like any other day, except they may throw God a bone, for an hour or two before they resume their own pleasure; thinking that by doing so “the gods are appeased” and that they have fulfilled their entire obligation toward the God of the universe until next week.  However, NO New Testament passage changes the Sabbath to Sunday, and the very few vague verses that are used to justify its change, say NOTHING of the sort and merely flaunt the ignorance of the Bible “experts” concerning what God’s Word actually says.  See my Ten Commandments for Youth for more details.  The Catholic Church—devoid of any authority—changed the Sabbath to Sunday; even as it created the hybrid pagan holidays of Christmas and Easter with a thin veneer of Christianity.  If you think you are a Christian, that means that you are supposed to follow Christ.  If you think that the God of the Bible is your God, then it behooves you to actually understand what God says, not modern corrupt humanistic notions that make the Word of God of none effect and incur the Wrath of a Holy God who commanded that we walk in His Ways and promised to Judge us when we departed from them.]

Again, “whatever is not of faith is sin” and other clear principles in the Word of God govern tattoos or any other practice, even if Scripture does not mention such practices specifically.  Our bodies are not our own.  God determines what we are to put “in” them and with whom we can “join” ourselves; therefore, it is no stretch of the imagination to believe that He tells us what we may put on them either.  God indeed tells us what we cannot wear as clothing: no mixed fabric; the man cannot wear that which pertaineth to the woman, or vice versa; men are not to pray with their heads covered, women are not to pray with their heads uncovered; etc.  Those who think these are silly rules are free to become your own God and create your own universe and order it the way that you think is right.  Then YOU can be “judged” by YOUR creatures, who think they know better.  God does all His Own Pleasure and none has any authority or standing to question Him (Daniel 4:35)—our job is to submit, honor, and obey.  Such who think that Laws God established are silly or obsolete have no concept of the Fear of God (or obedience and submission to God, whom they claim to be their “LORD”), even as they have no concept of Holiness.

Furthermore, pierced ears are the sign of slavery:

“Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl; and he shall serve him for ever.” (Exodus 21:6)

“Then thou shalt take an awl, and thrust it through his ear unto the door, and he shall be thy servant for ever.  And also unto thy maidservant thou shalt do likewise.” (Deuteronomy 15:17)

And more modernly, a few centuries ago, Spanish pirates pierced an ear as a sign to others that they were homosexual / perverse / deviant / bisexual.

What are such people then advertising?  You cannot ignore 4,000 years of history and association.  Why instead are they not being holy, pure, undefiled, without blemish before their God...?

Further still, animals and conquered people / slaves have rings or hooks put through their nose or lips.

“Because thy rage against Me and thy tumult is come up into Mine Ears, therefore I will put My hook in thy nose, and My bridle in thy lips, and I will turn thee back by the way by which thou camest.” (II Kings 19:28; Isaiah 37:29)

“And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth.” (Ezekiel 38:4)

“The Lord GOD hath sworn by His Holiness, that, lo, the days shall come upon you, that He will take you away with hooks, and your posterity with fishhooks.” (Amos 4:2)

“1Canst thou draw out leviathan with an hook? or his tongue with a cord which thou lettest down?  2Canst thou put an hook into his nose? or bore his jaw through with a thorn [hook]?” (Job 41)

Bulls and cattle and other animals have their noses pierced and have a ring put in them, to control them; and Manasseh and others who sinned shamelessly before God, God had the Assyrians put fish hooks through their lips and then attached that to line, and the captives were forced to walk to Assyria behind the soldiers who rode on their horses and keep up or have their lips ripped out.

“Wherefore the LORD brought upon them the captains of the host of the king of Assyria, which took [caught, captured] Manasseh among the thorns,* and bound him with fetters, and carried him to Babylon.” (II Chronicles 33:11)

[#2336 KHO-akh; from an unused root apparently meaning “to pierce; a thorn; by analogy a ring for the nose:—bramble, thistle, thorn.”]

God says that those who do not have His mark / seal in the end days of tribulation, will be tortured by the beasts (demons?) that come out of the bottomless pit.

“4And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the Seal of God in their foreheads.  5And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man.  6And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.” (Revelation 9)

Such abominable markings and piercings of man are barbarism and the work of savages and are insults to God and are actually signs of God’s Judgment.  Those who do so may be putting a “bulls-eye” on themselves, though God does not need one.

Those who pierce other parts of their body are also simply showing their self-hatred, and their hatred and disrespect for their parents, their ancestors—and God, who made and owns their bodies.

Many ancient peoples tattooed their slaves (the Nazis weren’t the first to think of it or do it), even as men brand cattle.  It is a sign of slavery.  It is a sign of debauchery.  It is a sign that one rejects God as his Lord.  It is a sign that one has no respect for God and has no concept of holiness or that his body is not his own.  This comes very close to having an utterly reprobate mind, which is an indicator that such a person has never been converted / regenerated / saved.  Every tree is known by its fruit.

More principles could be added, but if this is not enough, then the person is a hedonist who thinks of himself as the only god in his life who makes his own moral decisions concerning what he will consider “right” or “wrong” (and change those standards whenever the circumstance is convenient), and God will eventually confront him in Judgment.
Tell him to tread lightly.

“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you.” (I Peter 4:12)

“...the curse causeless shall not come.” (Proverbs 26:2)

If he so casually spends the amount of money that tattoos cost, he must have a lot of money that he doesn’t know what to do with... does he support God’s ministers / tithe?  If not, he is robbing God on top of defiling his temple and wasting (presumably) hard-earned money (which is also poor stewardship—all that we have is on loan to us from God and we will give an account with what we did with it; every secret thing will be called into Judgment: whether it be good or whether it be evil).

When tribulation comes upon the nation he will not be able to eat those tattoos, or sell them to buy food... or defend his family with them; and he will not have treasure stored up in Heaven.

He is at a cross roads.

May God turn him from folly.

P.S. ...and then there is the health issue (which is also a continuation of the fact that the child of God’s body is not his own, but God’s—and it is even God’s temple):


Final Thought:

One can’t change the past—but he can repent of it and he can follow the right path in the future.  It is possible that if you have your own ozone generator (which has a thin, clear tube like those used with home hobby fish aquariums, with which you can oxygenate things in a bag, a jar, a bucket, the bathtub, etc.,) that you can saturate olive oil with the ozone and apply that to the skin that has the tattoo, and then wrap in celophane, or if on an accessible place, like the hand, foot, etc., you can put the whole leg or foot in a large bag, after coating the tattooed area with olive oil, and ozonate the bag for 30 to 60 minutes, every now and then.  The oil helps the O3 to penetrate the skin.  The ozone may be able to neutralize the toxins in the ink, and it may even help the tattoo to fade.  This is just theory.