I was at a Barnes & Noble bookstore recently and was surprised how many magazines are devoted to “body art” – or tattoos specifically. I paged through a few of the magazines and some of the models were covered from the top of their heads to their feet with tattoos.
And when you go to the beach or a beachside resort, what do we see? Men, women and even teens with tattoos. You’ve probably seen some people tattooed from head to toe!
What does YHVH say about tattoos? What does God’s holy word say about it? Would Yeshua ever have had a tattoo? Or does having a tattoo break God’s law?
It has become a worldwide craze. What was once the realm of navy sailors, gangs or certain ethnic groups or tribal custom, is now being practiced by a wide swath of humanity. Now even teens and young adults everywhere seem to have tattoos. Some are of pretty butterflies. Others, from a distance, appear more like a bad bruise on one’s leg or arm! I’ve been in locker rooms where men have tattoos even on very private parts. I hear the same is true for women. And of course once a tattoo is done, it’s very difficult and painful to try to un-tattoo. I’ve heard it can be done, but how painful it must be.
I’m writing on this not because it’s the most important thing to talk about. It isn’t. But it IS important enough that GOD talks about it. Did you realize that? Anything HE says IS important just so we know His mind on a topic. And I am concerned because I have seen even more and more believers starting to get tattoos.
What does our Father in heaven say to his children on this topic?
First of all, we’re told in the beautiful passage in 1 Peter 3:3-4, directed more at wives, but there’s a principle there for us all: that our adorning should NOT be focused on outward adorning but inward. We should not be focused on things the world focuses on to get attention and to look beautiful to humanity such as having impossibly white teeth, or where we bought our dress or suit, or how much we paid for our shoes, or the gold rings we wear.
What is FAR more important to our God is that we have a beautiful HEART and an inward spirit that is gentle and quiet. That’s gorgeous to God. Remember when Samuel was to anoint the next king of Israel, YHVH says – “Samuel, don’t judge by what you see, by one’s outward appearance, or one’s height or physique, but look at the man’s HEART, like I do. That’s what I look for!” (I paraphrased it quite a bit--1 Samuel 16:7). Be sure to heed Christ’s words – “…For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.” (Luke 16:15)
We are to come out of this Babylon, this world, and represent the values of God instead. Our Creator is not against beauty, or wearing jewelry or having nice clothes, but that should not be our FOCUS. There are lots and lots of examples of the people of God having and wearing jewelry, for example, but God is looking at our hearts.
But is that your focus? Are you overly concerned about how you look? Where’s God’s focus? And where God Most High has made clear statements, we would be eager to listen to him.
Is God really concerned about how pretty or striking your tattoo is? Of whether you are a B or a DD cup? Or whether you are 5 ft. tall or 6 ft. tall? Or if you’re “ripped” and your abs show lots of muscle? There is SO much emphasis on outward beauty that people are even becoming suicidal over it sometimes if they feel they don’t measure up.
Believe it or not, your Maker does say something about tattoos.
Click on “Continue reading” to the right of this page, to find out what our Abba, our dear heavenly Daddy, who is also Almighty God, has to say to His children.
First let’s remember who owns us.
1 Cor. 6:20 – “For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and spirit, which are God’s”
And in verse 15, Paul reminds us that our bodies “are members of Christ (a part of HIM).” He goes on to say that what we do to or with our bodies – we’re doing to a part or “member” of Christ (v. 15-18).
Once we have surrendered to our Creator and accepted Christ as our savior, I am no longer my own. HE owns me. You and I are bought with a price. When God’s spirit is given to us, God’s very presence shines inside us and we become the very holy temple of God. Our God takes very seriously what we do with, or do to, our bodies which now belong to him and which now are the very temples of God.
1 Corinthians 3:16-17 -- Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 17 If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.”
The biggest way we can defile God’s temple – our bodies – is by sin. Perhaps abusing our bodies with poor diet and bad habits that weaken us can also be seen as “defiling” His temple. But just think: We are “God’s building” now. What we do with HIS temple obviously means something. Do you or I have a right to mark up someone else’s “building”?
Here’s what God himself says in scripture, and remember we are to “live by every word of God”. Jesus himself said that (Luke 4:4), quoting from Deuteronomy 8:3.
Leviticus 19:28 --- “You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: I am YHVH”.
Leviticus 19:28 (Holman) ---“You are not to make gashes on your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves; I am YHVH.”
Your body is the temple of the Shekinah glory of God. I have a recent sermon on that. Almighty God says NOT to mark his temple – your body.
Sin is going against what YHWH tells us. It’s the transgression of his teachings, his law (1 John 3:4).
If you have already had tattoos, repent of it – and move on. I am not recommending you go through the painful process of trying to remove them. Like any sin or transgression, we confess, say we’re sorry, quit doing the transgression, turn from the wrong way and walk in His way from this point forward.
God’s children can sometimes have a mark put on them by God himself, but that’s his prerogative. In Ezekiel 9, we read of God putting a mark identifying certain ones as God’s people; the ones sighing and crying over the abominations in the land. We also have the seal of the Holy Spirit placed on us.
We also know that in the very last days of this age, the political “beast” power will require everyone to have a mark of some kind placed on their forehead and right hand (Rev. 13:16-17; 14:9, 11, etc.). Whether that’s a literal or symbolic mark – it’s a mark. Some of God’s children will be beheaded for refusing to be marked with the “Mark of the Beast”, whatever that ends up being (see Revelation 20:4).
So, if you’re a child of God, AND thinking of having a tattoo – please, don’t.