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Tattoos #11 - Keith's comments
Tattoos #12 - Unsigned comments
Biblebell's response to #12
Tattoos #13 - Matt's comments
Biblebell's reply to #13
Tattoos #14 - Deann's comments
Biblebell's reply to #14
Tattoos #15 - Jonathan's comments
Tattoos #16 - Ted's Comments

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Tattoos #11 - Keith's comments

Ref: Tattoos
Ident: 32 year old white male U.S. Naval Officer and Medical Doctor with NO tattoos.
Religion: New Christian/non-denominational

I located your discussion while researching into whether or not to get a tattoo. I have studied this subject in the past from a secular point (ref. American Academy of Family Practice, The Psychological Implication of Tattoos, Raspa et al.).

I am very familiar with tattoos and their meanings. I can often identify gang affiliations, drug preferences, psychological attributes etc... simply by looking at a patient's tattoos. I am aware of the origins of tattoos and the almost complete LACK of medical reasons NOT to get one.

Throughout your discussion, many people embark on a tangential wandering of opinions, sociology and history. In my humble opinion, the first responder (Jeffrey) has the approach correct. Instead of presuming to know the writer's motivations (Rich), he addresses the question with direct scripture (Lev 19:28).

Many of my patients have Christian tattoos and they have made it easier for me to locate Christians and discuss Christ with them (people like Jeremy, Paul, Seth, Brett etc...). They have given me the opportunity to ask about Jesus without feeling intimidated.

Now I want a tattoo. I designed it myself. It has an American flag with an eagle landing on a cross. To the right are the Chinese characters for God and Country, and family. To the left are written the Chinese characters for Loyalty, Honor, Humility.

There are only three questions that need to be addressed. Everything else (pagan origins, etc...) is irrelevant.

1. Lev 19:28 {quoted below} cannot be much clearer! Why are we discussing this??? The Question seems to be: Does Lev 19:28 apply?

Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD. Lev 19.28

2. If Lev 19:28 does not apply, then why not?

3. If Lev 19:28 does not apply then what are the implications for similar passages (Jeremy's point). Are we opening up a whole can of worms including bestiality, incest, homosexuality etc... etc...???

I'm not trying to convince anybody of anything. All of you guys seem to know what it says in the Bible and I really want to understand the answer. I want to get this tattoo and I see that preachers and pastors are getting them. Please explain how I should go about obtaining the answer. Thanks, Keith

Tattoos #12 - Unsigned comments

I am a Christian tattoo artist and member of the Christian Tattoo Artists Association. Obviously, I have dealt with the question of tattooing on many occasions.

First of all, the passage from Leviticus DOES NOT APPLY. If you read the chapter of Leviticus (particularly the part where tattooing is discussed) you can clearly see that it was directed only to the Levites (the priests of God) because God called them to separate themselves and laid heavier expectations upon them. In addition to not tattooing themselves Levites were also instructed not to marry any woman who was not a virgin, to never taste wine (not even a drop), to never wear clothing that was a mix of fabric types (such as cotton & wool blends), to never eat pigs or rabbits or anything from the sea without scales or fins (so lobster, crabs, and clams are out), to never touch a dead body or dead animal unless it was in the course of a sacrifice ritual in the temple, never shave any spot on their head to baldness, nor trim their beards, nor shave any area on the sides of the head, never uncover their head, nor touch a women who is menstruating - ultra-orthodox Jewish rabbis adhere to many of these rules.

It is unfortunate that, of all the taboo items listed, it is primarily tattooing that is singled out and taken out of context because it is such a "hot" issue.

Additionally, need I remind you that Jesus freed us from the law and instead gave us the Holy Spirit to guide our actions. Paul said it best when he claimed that it was wrong to lay the heavy yoke of the law on gentiles when even the devoutest Pharisees were not capable of upholding it.

As with anything else of this world, it is the how and why of the heart that matters.

Biblebell's response to the anonymous comments #12 above- I hesitate to publish the above comments because -- unlike all the others who have commented on this topic -- this writer chose not to sign his {or her} remarks. In the interest of balance, however, I shall do so.

The writer says that God's command against tattoos {Lev 19.28} was only applicable to Levitical priests. He is wrong. The Bible's introduction to Leviticus chapter 19 says...

And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, "Speak to all the congregation of the sons of Israel and say to them, You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy." Lev 19.1-2

Therefore the command against tattoos was NOT only applicable to priests.

The writer further states that Jesus "freed us from the law." Here is what Jesus ACTUALLY said on this matter...

{Jesus said...} Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches these commands, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Mt 5.17-20

So indeed the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and just and good. Rom 7.12

It is true that Christians are not under law, but under grace {Rom 6.14}. Thus, Christians do not obey God IN ORDER to go to Heaven. Rather, they obey God because they ARE going to Heaven. Christians obey God as an act of love and respect and gratitude. Read what Jesus taught...

{Jesus said...} He who has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me. And he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will reveal Myself to him. John 14.21

For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous. 1 John 5.3

Tattoos #13 - Matt's Comments

Matt writes - Hello, My name Is Matt and I have been a Christian for 13 years and have served as children's pastor & youth pastor. I would like to comment on the issue of tattoos.

When I was 18 I got my first tattoo. I became a Christian at the age of 24. I have tattoos on both arms, legs, chest etc. I've struggled with the "tattoo lifestyle" for the past ten years. As to whether God approved or not, yes we can refer to Levitical Law in referring to the subject of tattoos. I would like to give my input if I may. The fact that I go into a Christian Bookstore (many in fact) and I get the usual looks, people following me etc. tells me that we all should look into the life of Jesus and reflect it in our lives rather than pre-judging people based upon their looks.

I have realized in my life that I have to live the rest of my life with my tattoos.
So why not embrace it and use it for the glory of God. I have skulls snakes
gargoyles etc. My plan is to cover them with new tattoos that will witness to
God's glory.

If we look at Leviticus 19:28 and base our lives around Levitical law then we need to rip the book of Galatians out of our Bibles. Gal. 5:1 says it is for freedom that Christ has made us free. Stand firm, then, and don't let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Read on in Galatians and you will see that Paul was teaching us that if you are bound by one part of the law you must be bound by it all. If you declare that Christians should not get tattoos because of the "Law" then we must go to every church in the world, rip the pants off of every man and make sure that they are circumcised. I will glorify God in my body and decorate my temple for the furthering of the kingdom.

By the way I am also a tattoo artist. And regulations that have come about show that you have more of a chance of getting disease from a public toilet.

In Christ, Matt

Biblebell's response to Matt's comments #13 above- If Christians feel that they have NO responsibility to obey God's law, then we are free to lie, murder, steal, practice idolatry, commit adultery, and so forth. To totally ignore obedience to the Law, as some have advocated, is to practice LICENSE not liberty. A licentious person is not showing forth Jesus but is instead showing forth worldliness.

In the Old Covenant, people obeyed the law in the erroneous belief that doing so would earn them their entrance to God's kingdom. Christians should obey the Law, not in order to BECOME SAVED, but as an act of gratitude and love toward God because WE ARE SAVED.

The New Testament clearly teaches that righteousness cannot be attained by seeking to obey the law (Rom 3.28 et al). However, the New Testament books do not advocate thumbing one's nose at the Law. Instead, they teach that obedience should be done as acts of love and gratitude to God for our salvation, and as acts of love toward both the saved and unsaved who observe our manner of living.

I need not elaborate further upon these principles. All I need to do is quote the Bible, and ask you to meditate carefully upon the following verses . . .

For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. Gal 5.13

All things indeed are pure, but it is evil for the man who eats with offense. It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak. Rom 14.20b - 21

Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. John 14.23

If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love.
John 15.10

For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. 1 John 5.3

This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it. 2 John 1.6

Tattoos #14 - Deann's Comments

Deann writes - I have a comment on all the tattoo replies. There are so many different point of views and disagreeing on what is right.

  • First of all "God is not the Author of confusion" (1 Corinthians 14:33).
  • We should search for answers from God in His Word, not in the words of man.
  • If you read a Scripture and you are condemned about something you've done or are thinking of doing, then pray for strength and wisdom.

Deann

Biblebell's response to Deann's comments #14 above-

Dear Deann, I basically agree with what you have said. It is especially true that there is *no room for give-&-take opinions* concerning those doctrines which are foundational to the Bible-based Christian faith -- such as the deity and sonship of the Lord Jesus Christ.

*** ...I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. (Jude 1.3b)

***But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient
(2 Tim 2.23-24 -- see also Rom 14.1, 16.17)

There are some matters, however, which God did not see fit to specifically & explicitly deal with in His Holy Bible. One example is smoking cigarettes. Another is bodily decorations. There are many other such areas.

  • In those cases, I think it is appropriate and helpful for Bible-believing Christians to search the Scriptures in order to seek the mind of God on a given matter.
  • It is equally appropriate, I think, for Christians to share their conclusions (in a non-disputatious manner) with each other.
  • Therefore, I have published *some* of the views of various visitors concerning tattoos in those specific cases where I felt the writers were primarily seeking after God's truth rather than simply trying to prove a point or practice one-upsmanship.

Tattoos #15 - Jonathan's Comments

Jonathan writes - To add to comments regarding Levitical Law located on the Tattoo issue pages, I wanted to point out these verses... it is important to me that people understand, also, that we are all Kings and Priests, and all called to
the higher calling that the Levites were called to.

In fact, I think we are all called to something so much higher than we ever thought possible, when in reality we can't follow even the least list of standards... without Jesus.

Anyway, read below -- these verses are among the most important of Jesus' words that reference the "old" Covenant. The New Covenant does not remove the old, rather it is the perfect fit to the Old and you cannot have one without the other. The Old was incomplete, now it is complete, but not abolished.

(Jesus said...) Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For verily, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.

"Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men to do so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

"For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven." (Mt 5.17-20)

Tattoos #16 - Ted's Comments

Ted writes - Our bodies are the temple of God and the way we present ourselves reflects a bit of what is in our hearts. Our Christian conduct should be expressed with our everything, our voices, our actions, our lifestyle in Him.

If wearing a tattoo to show someone you're Christian is all you have, then what do you have? The Bible says not to be a stumbling block to others and Tattoos, like it or not, do carry a stereotype. Yes, there are those who have not come to know Christ and do have marks on their bodies which are permanent from their prior life experience. But when you're a young Christian person who knows what it means to be Christian you realize that Christianity is not a fad or a genre like things of this world. Christianity is a total surrender to Christ. And that means being in the world and not being of it.

God your creator is like the Mercedes Benz Company who has taken the best of the best to engineer and design beautiful cars that don't need alterations. Would you think it wise to spray paint your Benz with a picture of any type thing or logo on it? Why then do it to your body? Your life from head to toe, from inside out, was paid for by an awesome God who could have destroyed us all.

Wear and Express His reality by your every word, your every action, your every breath, your every waking moment of your life as this will speak greater than any tattoo that covers your beautiful pure skin God has created you in.

I say this not to offend, but to express concern for our Youth.

Grace to you all,
Ted

P.S. There's a physician in LA who has a ministry that removes Tattoos from those who know the burden they've been in their lives and he's doing it for free.

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