To Tattoo or Not too Tattoo, That is the Biblical Question
A Mill Creek church invited its members to be tattooed during Sunday services.
By Nick Perry Seattle Times staff reporter – November 23, 2009
[Notes by DTW in Green – updated 1 Dec 2009.]
The sight of a woman being tattooed live on the altar accompanied by the sound of a buzzing ink gun provided a startling backdrop to Sunday’s evangelical sermon.
Your parent’s church service this was not. In the drive to stay relevant, the Gold Creek Community Church has been hosting a series called “Permanent Ink” that featured Sunday’s live-tattoo finale.
The Mill Creek church is not exactly staid – booming 20-minute rock sets launch regular sermons – yet the pastors acknowledge this series was pushing societal norms.
“We’ve said from the start that we are not advocating tattoos – nor discouraging them,” said pastor Larry Ehoff.
“We think of it as amoral. It’s neither immoral nor moral, it’s just the choice of a person.”
Ehoff said the church is telling the same story of Jesus as always, it’s just finding different ways to tell it.
Sharon Snell was one of several congregants who volunteered to be tattooed Sunday. At the noon service, she got on stage and faced away from about 150 parishioners while tattoo artist Matt Sawdon worked on the image of a police shield on her lower back.
It was Snell’s third tattoo and represents her husband’s work as an Everett police officer. Snell said last month’s shooting death of Seattle police Officer Timothy Brenton forced her to confront the fragility of life and the dangers inherent in her husband’s job.
“Anything can happen at any time,” Snell said. “Him being an officer is a big part of my life and of who I am.”
As Snell’s tattoo took shape, pastor Dan Kellogg told the congregation that permanent markings, both good and evil, are mentioned in the Bible. The most famous symbol, he said, is “666,” the sign of the devil.
But there’s also mention in the Bible of markings on Jesus, saying he is the king of kings and lord of lords, Kellogg said.
Another congregant who volunteered was Erica Armendariz, who was getting work done on an arm tattoo she calls her “faith sleeve.”
“Surprisingly, I was not nervous to get up on stage,” she said, adding that the tattoo process, which in her case stretched through two sermons, was getting painful toward the end.
Tattoo artist Matt Sawdon said he’d never tattooed anyone at church before. Aside from the limited time he had during each sermon, he said, it wasn’t much different from a normal day’s work.
Last week, as part of the Permanent Ink series, a member of the church had a tattoo of Texas removed.
Because the equipment was too cumbersome to transport, parishioners watched a video of the process.
The man now lives in Washington, and he doesn’t see much need for the Lone Star State anymore.
Tattooing, carvings, cuttings, piercings, etc. Throughout history has been seen as pagan practices. God wanted Israel to separate from these practices.
Strict instructions to not mark your body in ANY WAY
Leviticus 19:28 “You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves: I am the LORD.”
Your body is the temple of God
1 Corinthians 3:16 16 Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
1 Corinthians 6:19 19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?
You do not follow after the World, you abandon the things of this World
Deuteronomy 18:9 9 “When you come into the land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominable practices of those nations.
Sin is a stumbling blog for others – sends message that sin is OK.
1 Corinthians 8:9 9 But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak.
Associated with rebellion. Rebellion is sin, Stubbornness is iniquity. Satan rebelled against God.
1 Samuel 15:23 23 “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.”
Many religions practice tattooing, carvings, cuttings and piercings for religious purposes / witchcraft
Hindu followers of Shiva or Vishnu (two manifestations of Brahma) could be recognised by the tattoo on their forehead, the former having three parallel lines and the latter a “V”
Hindus believed that a person dying without tattoos wouldn’t be recognised by his relatives in the world of the spirits.
Hindu devotees pierce their cheeks and other body parts with metal rods and needles to express their devotion toward Goddess Mariamman
Westerners are tattooing Hindu gods
Roman Catholicism: During the papacy of Boniface VIII- 1292, A sanctuary was built called the Sanctuary of Loreto. The tradition of tattooing in this area came from the stigmata of the saint to reproduce them symbolically. The tattoos, were done on the forearms or on the hands.
Knights Templars took the marking of the “amorous” tattoo representing an oath sworn to God during the papacy of Sixtus V. Sixtus V, came from Le Marche and belonged to the Order of Saint Francis.
The Cross is a very universal symbol used in many cultures and religions, including the Celtic cross, the Egyptian ankh cross, and many others.
Crucifix is the cross representing Jesus Christ’s crucifixion. But in reality it is the Eucharist Christ who’s mother is Mary the Goddess of Fertility.
Sacred Heart: The origin of this devotion in its modern form is derived from a French Roman Catholic nun, Marguerite Marie Alacoque, who said she learnt the devotion from Jesus in visions. Predecessors to the modern devotion arose unmistakably in the Middle Ages in various facets of Christian mysticism.
Celtic knots (aka mystic knot, endless knot) work really well as a tattoo design or part of a tattoo. The symbolic meaning of Celtic knots is not really clear, although some people attribute magical powers to the knots. The Celtic trinity knot is a very simple, but powerful symbol and very suitable for a tattoo. It is a triangle knot, the 3 corners have various meanings:
Celtic Trinity Knot Tattoo:
Christian: Father, Son and Holy Spirit / Pagan: Mother, Crone and Maiden / New age: Mind, body and spirit
Islam: Koran forbids tattooing. However Muslim pilgrims who go to Mecca or Medina will tattoo themselves. Muslims who indulged in this justify the practice by saying that before entering paradise they would be purified by fire, which would cancel their tattoos.
The crescent moon and star tattoo has a certain popularity as a tattoo design. It is the symbol of Islam and in a more political meaning also the symbol of the Middle East
Sudan, where Islam is widespread, black Muslims, would scar their cheeks with three lines, saying that Mohamed himself wore the same markings.
Arabic: Another Arabic inspired tattoo design is the Hamsa tattoo. The Hamsa, aka Hand of Fatima or Eye of Fatima (Fatima is the daughter of Muhammad), is a symbol that protects against the evil eye.
Judaism: The hamsa is also known in the Jewish culture, as Hand of Miriam. The hamsa is used on charms, painted on houses and… used as a tattoo design.
Egyptians loved to adorn themselves elaborately, and even restricted certain types of body piercings to the royal family. In fact, only pharaoh himself could have his navel pierced. Any one else who tried to get a belly button ring could be executed.
Fiji Islands: the spirits of non-tattooed women were attacked by the souls of other women, cut to pieces and served as food to the gods
Eskimo women also treated their tattoos very seriously, believing them to be signs of divinity in the afterlife
Aztecs, Maya and some American Indians practised tongue piercing as part of their religious rituals. It was thought to bring them closer to their gods and was a type of ritual blood-letting.
Thailand: A devotee of the Sapam Chinese Shrine in Phuket, will work himself into a trance prior to having his cheeks pierced multiple times with sharp steel rods, an assortment of weapons and other large implements during a religious Vegetarian Festival.
North American Indians had other types of religious tattoos as well. In a ceremony called the “ghost dance”, a tattoo was performed with ritual precision according to the indications received by the person to be tattooed, who falls into a state of trance during the dance and has a vision of a relative tattooed with the subject that he is to have on his skin.
Buddhism: Sak Yant (aka yantra tattoos) is the art of sacred tattooing as done by Buddhist monks in Thailand and Cambodia. Sak Yant tattoo designs came from India together with Buddhism and were tailored by the Khmer. The scripts used for these tattoos are Pali and Khmer. The tattoos are meant for protection.
Om (aka ohm or aum) is the sacred syllable in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. Every Hindu text begins with it and it is alsouttered before praying or doing puja (a ritual).
Angel Tattoos: The word angel comes from the Greek word aggelo, which means to pass along something new or to announce something. The word aggelos stands for the God Acolytes. Angels are a link between heaven and earth. Angels belong to Judaist, Christian and Islamic traditions.
According to the Koran and the “Bible”, angels have the following tasks: (DTW Note: see my notes below on what is true and what is not true.)
- Bring messages to the people, warn them or bring the word of God. (DTW note: The Word of God is our messenger, the Bible brings the Word of God to us, nothing else with the guidance of the Holy Spirit)
- Worship God. (DTW note: True, but they serve the one and only Living God who’s only begotten Son is Jesus Christ. Today when someone says God, it could be any God, any Christ as there are many religions with a God and await their saviour.)
- Angels serve and protect humans. (DTW note: Jesus Christ protects us. Angels do not serve humans, they serve God only. The only angel that will serve a human is a fallen angel for the sole purpose to deceive them and lead them astray – Satan appears as an Angel of light.)
- They fight evil. (DTW note: The Bible speak about the angels clearing the heavens before Jesus returns. If they did fight we would not need Jesus Christ the Son of God as our Saviour and Jesus Christ is the one who delivers us from ALL evil.)
- They carry out God’s orders (they do have a free will though, they can choose to obey or disobey, just like humans). (DTW note: No, those angels who disobeyed were cast out with Satan in the beginning. There are no angels that currently disobey. On the other hand humans will be punished for disobedience and refusing to repent of sin and will go to hell WITH Satan – Hell was created for Satan and his followers.)
- Angels guard heaven and hell. (DTW note: Guard heaven and hell? No)
- They keep track of all deeds done by every human being (DTW note: No, this sounds like something Choo Thomas would have written in her Heaven is So Real book. Oh wait she did write this.)
TODD BENTLEY FRESHFIRE MINISTRIES – LAKELAND OUTPOURING REVIVAL
And last but not least, let us not forget Todd Bentley from Freshfire Ministries who had no tattoos, then became a ‘Christian’ and then covered himself with tattoos.