1 in 4 Americans ages 18 to 50 now has at least one tattoo. Tattoos have permeated society to such an extent that the icon of girls toys “Barbie” hit stores late last year inked with tattoos which sparked all kinds of controversy.
Is this just the latest fashion craze, or is it something more?
Tattoos have long been an integral part of the many fashion and music subcultures. Modern tattooing came into vogue through the invention of an electric tattooing machine.
The predecessor to the tattoo machine was the electric pen invented by Thomas Alva Edison and patented under the title Stencil-Pens in Newark, New Jersey, United States in 1876. It was originally intended to be used as a duplicating device, but in 1891, Samuel O'Reilly, a successful New York tattooist, discovered that Edison's machine could be modified and used to introduce ink into the skin. O'Reilly took this invention, added multiple needles and an ink reservoir, and earned a U.S. patent in 1891
Previously done by hand, this invention transformed tattooing into a quicker, more attractive process even though the pain one goes through to get a tattoo will never dissipate. Thus the new era of tattooing began. Modern tattoo machines puncture the skin between 50 to 3,000 times per minute. The needle penetrates the skin by a millimetre and deposits a drop of ink into the skin with each puncture
As late as the early 1900’s, the tattoo was so far "out of bounds" of normal, civilized society, that tattooing was mainly as an attraction in the circus "freak show".
By 1897 tattooing had reached the United States, where it immediately became a circus sideshow attraction (Laura Reybold, Everything you need to know about the dangers of tattooing and body piercing, p. 17).
The popularity of tattooing during the latter part of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth century owed much to the circus (Gilbert, Steve, Tattoo History: A Source Book, p. 135).
One of Australia’s favourite “Christian” music sensations, Guy Sebastian, who has just released a new EP Don't worry, be happy, continues to have success in the secular music charts. In 2008, Guy said that the Lord was everything to him.
But in 2009 Guy got himself a tattoo. It was an inappropriate tattoo—a Phoenix, a bird, which has all sorts of Masonic implications – see CETF 57 – page 31.
The red Phoenix on Guy’s upper arm covers his shoulder, and extends down towards his elbow, with the bird emblazoned in full colour.
The Bible condemns the branding, or marking of our body:
You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD - Leviticus 19:28.
You can spot the INFLUENCE our society and the “church” has embraced—Satanic values in so many ways, but the visible evidence of multiple body piercings and tattoos are the strongest of all.
A tattoo is the latest fashion statement within the teen and youth culture driven by sports stars, celebrities, and pop stars. Not a day goes by without seeing someone on the sports field, or on the street who has significant tattooing beyond a name of a spouse or child.
Few people understand the use Satan makes of piercings and tattoos to control the person!
As part of this strategy 'innocent' symbols are employed as tools to communicate the spiritual attributes of the occult. And while most of these symbols are many centuries old, their meanings remain the same. In fact, the New Age movement has placed mystical symbolism squarely in the face of our modern culture.
What makes this especially disturbing is that while the "marks" of occultism can be found throughout society, yet we no longer recognize their spiritual significance. As Manly P. Hall stated,
"They are centers of a mighty force, figures pregnant with an awful power…."
Occult symbols have never lost their meaning. According to the Concise Oxford Dictionary, a "symbol" can be defined as "a mark or character taken as the conventional sign of some object, idea, function, or process."
These symbols are no more pervasive than in the world of tattooing.
Todd Bentley, (evangelist/preacher Lakeland Revival, FL) another example of a high profile "Christian" has made his body the canvas for all sorts of 'demon-strative' occult markings! Joel Houston, worship leader with Hillsong United, like Guy Sebastian, has a suspect tattoo on his upper arm. Christian leaders should know better than to follow the world’s ways, and fashion. They are poor examples to the present generation.
As they say...."a picture is worth a thousand words"
The tattoos were paid for after his "conversion"......
Notice above the skull embedded in the rose on Todd Bentley’s neck.
Some of the tattoos that have puzzled people are the three large Japanese Kanji symbols on Bentley's left arm.(see above).
Takanori Tomita, a native speaker of Japanese and fluent in English, who translates Kanji, Hiragana and Katakana Symbols, has studied the tattoo. Each Kanji character represents an entire object, idea, or meaning in a visual character. Many kanji characters are similar to each other, and some can have different meanings depending on context. The first letter on Todd’s arm means DAI=Big or Great, the middle one EI=Protect or Defend, the last one OU=King or Monarch.
In Japanese, DAIOU is often added to provide honour to the subject. In proper order, it would would seem to read “Protect Great King,” however not only is the order wrong, but the character in the middle is incorrectly rendered. Furthermore, even if the middle character is used at the top, there’s no such word combination like “Protect the Great King”. It doesn’t make any sense in Japanese even if the character order is corrected and the middle character is properly written. It is not unusual for Western tattoo translations to be in error.
Alex Mizuno, also well versed in Japanese tradition and writing styles, who produces Japanese documentaries, revealed that there is a Japanese expression "Emma Daioh" which means "Emma, the Great King", and which is used very commonly in his culture. This “god” is sometimes simply called "Emma-sama (sama is added for respect)" or "Emma." Buddhists recognize Emma-Sama as Yama, who rules the spirits of the dead in “Naraku” (hell). He said Todd's 'erred' tattoo was in favour of the latter translation. The tongues of flame around the kanji symbols also support his position depicting the god of Naraku.
It is a well publicised claim that Todd has had visitations from an 'angel' called Emma?
He got these witchcraft-oriented tattoos after preaching for some time. He says that an Angel called Emma O is a “female angel” that he was introduced to by another evangelist, Bob Jones. (No female angels appear in the Bible. They are always male).
Emma, Angel of the Prophetic
Bentley claims that Bob Jones told him that Emma O was the angel that was leading the recent revivals in Canada and Brownsville, Florida.
Todd recounts the story on the etpv.org website in 2003;
Now let me talk about an angelic experience with Emma. Twice Bob Jones asked me about this angel that was in Kansas City in 1980: "Todd, have you ever seen the angel by the name of Emma?" He asked me as if he expected that this angel was appearing to me. Surprised, I said, "Bob, who is Emma?" He told me that Emma was the angel that helped birth and start the whole prophetic movement in Kansas City in the 1980s. She was a mothering-type angel that helped nurture the prophetic as it broke out. Within a few weeks of Bob asking me about Emma, I was in a service in Beulah, North Dakota. In the middle of the service I was in conversation with Ivan and another person when in walks Emma.Todd Bentley’s Emma
As I stared at the angel with open eyes, the Lord said, "Here's Emma." I'm not kidding. She floated a couple of inches off the floor. It was almost like Kathryn Khulman in those old videos when she wore a white dress and looked like she was gliding across the platform. Emma appeared beautiful and young-about 22 years old-but she was old at the same time. She seemed to carry the wisdom, virtue and grace of Proverbs 31 on her life.
Bob also told him that this same angel was the healing angel that walked the aisles when the late William Branham was evangelising. Bob asked Bentley if he wanted Emma O to join his ministry. Bentley agreed and claimed that while he was “ministering” EMMA O walked in. Bentley claimed that the “Lord” told him that EMMA Ohad just entered the meeting.
Years ago (William Branham) told his interpreter, pastor Ruff,
If my angel does not give the sign, I cannot heal.
As in many areas of the occult, we are here reminded again that the devil appears as an angel of light (cf. 2 Cor. 11:14).
There are many problems with this, starting with the fact that no angel in Scripture is ever described as being ‘female’. Then The World Kigo Database of seasonal words covering Japanese Festivals and Ceremonies from Buddhist, Shinto and other backgrounds, tells us:
Enma or Emma is the Japanese name for the Sanskrit: Yama or Yama-raja, the King of Hell.
Enma is not female, but the ruler of the underworld in Buddhist mythology and is often referred to as Great King Enma.
Bentley's testimony includes an account of visiting Heaven and meeting with Paul the apostle. Emma the female angel gave him a vision of gold coins, and Bentley states this was a sign of his future financial stability. In response to criticism about the biblical inspiration of a female angel, Bentley wrote that it was God's choice, and not his own, that an angel appeared to him in that manner.
Another look at the same photo....
This is a demon god on Bentley’s shin. The hexagram and the all seeing eye of Horus on his right arm. Todd Bentley has virtually covered every inch of his body in art and dark symbols that would never be sanctioned by our Lord Jesus Christ!
What did God say?
You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD - Leviticus 19:28.
God gave us these commandments, to keep us from bondage, and idolatry. Yet Todd Bentley has completely ignored or totally disobeyed these commands.
This is to say nothing of his:
Divorce and remarriage
His association with the heretic William Branham
His strange theatrics
His false testimonies
A. W Tozer wrote:
Many tender-minded Christian fears to sin against love by daring to inquire into anything that comes wearing the cloak of Christianity and breathing the name of Jesus.
They dare not examine the credentials of the latest prophet to hit their town lest they be guilty of rejecting something which may be of God. They timidly remember how the Pharisees refused to accept Christ when He came, and they do not want to be caught in the same snare, so they either reserve judgment or shut their eyes and accept everything without question.
This is supposed to indicate a high degree of spirituality. But in sober fact it indicates no such thing. It may indeed be evidence of the absence of the Holy Spirit. Gullibility is not synonymous with spirituality. Faith is not a mental habit leading its possessor to open his mouth and swallow everything that has about it the colour of the supernatural. Faith keeps its heart open to whatever is of God, and rejects everything that is not of God, however wonderful it may be. Try the spirits is a command of the Holy Spirit to the Church. We may sin as certainly by approving the spurious as by rejecting the genuine. And the current habit of refusing to take sides is not the way to avoid the question. To appraise things with a heart of love and then to act on the results is an obligation resting upon every Christian in the world. And the more, as we see the day, approaching.
The Mark of Disgrace:
Steve Gilbert, in the very popular, pro-tattoo book, Tattoo History: A Source Book, documents that even the word "tattoo" means, "a mark of disgrace or reproach".
The Latin word for ‘tattoo’ was stigma and the original meaning is reflected in modern dictionaries. Among the definitions of ‘stigma’ listed by Webster are a ‘prick with a pointed instrument,’ . . .’ a distinguishing mark cut into the flesh of a slave or a criminal,’ and ‘a mark of disgrace or reproach (Gilbert, Steve, Tattoo History: A Source Book, p.
Slaves marked during the Roman Empire
In fact, for most of its history the tattoo was used to mark criminals, adulterers, traitors, deserters, the deviant and outcast. The tattoo was a dreaded mark of reproach and disgrace.
Adultery, also, was punished in this way [tattooed] in some parts of Britain, and ‘bad characters’ were marked 'BC' [= Bad Character] . . . In 1717, branding was abolished in the Army, and replaced with tattooing. ..with the letter ‘D’ deserter’ (Ronald Scutt, Art, Sex and Symbol, 1974, p. 162).
But now, without question, there is a resurgence of the hidden art, and tattoos are the latest status symbols. They started being accepted and practised within the life and culture of rock stars back in the sixties. There was a time that no lady would think of having a dragon or a flower tattooed on her body. Motorcycle gangs, rock stars and city gangs started the wider practice as we see it today where civil people and even professed evangelical Christians are going to the tattoo parlours to receive their mark of the world.
When a thing becomes a popular fad in the world then Christians should be very careful not to follow the multitude. But the licentious grace taught today ignores the apostles' teachings and declares that we must imitate the world so we may win more, even using Paul, the apostle, as their example, to justify their compromise. - cf. 1 Corinthians 19:22.
The reasoning is that by being no different from the world we can more easily attract them to salvation and faith. This is the careless and stupid theology publicised today! Simply Google search, “should Christians have tattoos”, and see how many sites come up advocating that the Bible does not directly prohibit tattoos—it’s a personal choice. On the contrary the world is attracted when the church stands in stark contrast to their immoral lifestyle—not because we conform to their ways.
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven - Matthew 5:16.
And be not conformed to this world: but be transformed by the renewing of you mind (thinking differently than we did when we were in the world), that you may prove what is that good and acceptable, and perfect, will of God - Romans 12:2.
To know the moral quality of a practice—as to whether it is right for a Christian or not—the first thing we should do is study the Bible, and trace the practice back to its origin. Where did this recent craze of tattooing have its start? Who made tattoos popular? Who made tattoos look "cool?"
ANSWER - Hard Rock stars on stage with their bodies tattooed and with hundreds and thousands of screaming fans ready to imitate their admired idols. This belongs to the world and it's not our business as Christians to force the world to obey God's Word, but rather to teach and inform the church. Our business as a Christian ministry is to inform Christians to live a holy and separated life and stay true to the Lord in these perilous times.
A tattoo is a mark that identifies you with the world, and those who defy the teaching of the Bible.
Yet we have Christians in places of leadership, and prominence being the ones leading the charge in promoting the idea of the tattoo being acceptable. Todd Bentley, Guy Sebastian, and Joel Houston, 'Christian' celebrities, have made their tattoos the latest overt and shameful sign of this endless downgrade and ongoing apostasy.
Israel, like the church was living among heathen who worshipped false gods and held practices that honoured their gods. God forbade Israel from any and all of the practices of the heathen so that the children of Israel would not be corrupted by them and turn to false gods.
God didn't want His people to have anything in common with the heathen they were living among or nearby. The church should have very little in common with the world because that becomes a temptation for us to conform to the world, and ultimately to destroy the peculiar holy nature of the church.
The Leviticus Prohibition
So why the taboo of Tattoos?
You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD - Leviticus 19:28.
What does it say? - "You shall not. . .print any marks upon you. . ."
A lot of people when confronted with Leviticus 19:28, seem to think that the prohibition is not for today; that’s the Old Testament; it’s not relevant to us today!
If we take the time to read the verses around Leviticus 19 verse 28, we get the overall context:
You shall not eat anything with the blood: neither shall you use enchantment, nor observe times. (27) You shall not round the corners of your heads, neither mar the corners of your beard. (28) You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the Lord. (29) Do not prostitute your daughter, to cause her to be a whore; lest the land fall to whoredom, and the land become full of wickedness. (30) You shall keep my Sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the Lord. (31) Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the Lord your God. (32) You shall rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear your God: I am the Lord. Leviticus 19:26-32
By the way, have you ever read, and thought about Leviticus 19:29?
Do not prostitute thy daughter, to cause her to be a whore....
This is the only place in the Bible that God directly forbids someone to prostitute his/her daughter. Since, it’s ONLY in the Old Testament Levitical Law can we ignore it as a prohibition to parents in New Testament times to cause their daughter to be a prostitute? Remember it’s the only time this particular prohibition appears in the Bible!
There are many other 'moral laws’ that are ONLY forbidden in the Old Testament, such as the human sacrifice of children. Nowhere in the New Testament is it mentioned or forbidden.
And you shall not let any of your seed pass through the fire to Molech, neither shall you profane the name of your God: I am the LORD - Leviticus 18:21.
Did you know that "bestiality" is ONLY forbidden in the Old Testament Levitical Law and NOT mentioned in the New Testament? It is mentioned only twice—once in Leviticus 18:23 and again in Leviticus 20:15-16. Does that mean a Holy God NOW, under the New Testament, somehow approves of bestiality?
Here are some other verses again in context - Leviticus 18:20-24
Moreover you shall not lie carnally with your neighbour's wife, to defile yourself with her. (21) And you shall not let any of your seed pass through the fire to Molech, neither shall you profane the name of your God: I am the Lord. (22) You shall not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. (23) Neither shall you lie with any beast to defile yourself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it is confusion. (24) Defile not yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you.
Don't do these things - why? Because they bring cursing, not blessing. God's judgment eventually falls on such people.
Matthew Henry’s Commentary at the beginning of Leviticus 19 explains that most of Leviticus 19 (such as verse 28) are moral commandments that apply not only to Israel but also to the New Testament Christian today.
Some ceremonial precepts there are in this chapter, but most of them are moral. . . Most of these precepts are binding on us, for they are expositions of most of the ten commandments (Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible,Leviticus 19:28).
You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.
Notice also, the phrase "for the dead" is ONLY referencing the "cuttings in your flesh". The condemnation of "nor print ANY marks upon you" is not qualified by the phrase "for the dead". Also, if you’ll notice the verse clearly says "ANY marks" – period (full stop).
Unger's Bible Dictionary under the definition for "mark" includes the following reference:
In Lev. 19:28 we find two prohibitions of an unnatural disfigurement of the body: 'You shall not make any cutting in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you.' The latter (Heb. qa aqa, incision) refers to tattooing, and has no reference to idolatrous usages, but was intended to inculcate upon the Israelites a proper reverence for God's creation. (Merrill F. Unger, Unger's Bible Dictionary, 1974 ed., p. 696)
Notice that Unger teaches that tattoos were forbidden without any reference to pagan, heathen, or idolatrous usages. In other words, the tattoo itself, regardless of the reason, was forbidden.
Wycliffe’s Bible Encyclopedia under the definition for TATTOOING says:
While ‘cuttings in the flesh’ have reference here to mourning customs [for the dead], the tattooing does not appear to pertain to such practice (Wycliffe Bible Encyclopedia, 1975 ed., p. 1664).
The New American Commentary on Leviticus 19:28 writes the condemnation was for, "cutting the body either for the dead or with tattoo marks." (Mark F. Rooker, The New American Commentary on Leviticus, 2000 ed., p. 262). This explicitly recognizes that the tattoo was not "for the dead."
Tattoos and Worship
You worship you know not what . . . - John 4:22.
Throughout history the tattoo bears the mark of paganism, demonism, Baal worship, shamanism, mysticism, heathenism, cannibalism and just about every other pagan belief known. The tattoo has NEVER been associated with Bible Believing Christians; and whenever and wherever, in history true Christianity appears – tattoos disappear. The only exception is -- 20th century, lukewarm, carnal, disobedient, Laodicean Christians (Laodicea = “luke warm” - cf. Revelation 3:14-20).
The birth of the tattoo has always borne the fruits of pagan religion and mysticism. Without exception, research after research, study after study, book after book, the roots of the tattoo never wavers. The following documentation is just a small (very small) drop in the ocean of research documenting the pagan and demonic source of the tattoo.
Please note. . . The following is from pro-tattoo books simply documenting the obvious spiritual and religious link to the tattoo. These are not Christian writers trying to paint a negative portrait of the tattoo. No matter how much the carnal, rebellious Christian desires to justify their perverse reasoning for "marking" themselves with the forbidden demonic tattoo, the facts are loud and clear – the foundation, origin, meaning and purposes of the tattoo is pagan demonism, shamanism, Baal worship, and occult mysticism.
A tattooist in many cultures is also a shaman, magic-man, priest or priestess. According to Dictionary.com, shaman is an "intermediary between the natural and supernatural worlds, using magic to cure illness, foretell the future, control spiritual forces, etc."
Tattooing is often a magical rite in the more traditional cultures, and the tattooist is respected as a priest or shaman (Michelle Delio, Tattoo: The Exotic Art of Skin Decoration, p. 73).
In Fiji, Formosa, New Zealand and in certain of the North American Indian tribes, tattooing was regarded as a religious ceremony, and performed by priests or priestesses (Ronald Scutt, Art, Sex and Symbol, 1974, p. 64).
The actual tattooing process, which involved complex ritual and taboos, could only be done by priests and was associated with beliefs which were secrets known only to members of the priestly caste. . . Hambly concluded that historically tattooing had originated in connection with ancient rites of scarification and bloodletting which were associated with religious practices intended to put the human soul in harmony with supernatural forces and ensure continuity between this life and the next (Gilbert, Steve, Tattoo History: A Source Book, p. 158).
The tattooist, shaman or the occult priest uses the tattoo as a POINT OF CONTACT, or inlets into the spiritual world, many times. Just like the practice of Acupuncture is more than just healing through needles, so the tattoo is much more than just a body decoration. It’s more than just a layer of ink cut into the skin. In fact, the tattoo in every culture, in every country, up until the 20th century, was a vehicle for pagan spiritual and religious invocations. Even today, in many countries (including the United States), the tattoo is believed to be a bridge into the supernatural world.
Famous witch and author Laurie Cabot writes of the tattoo:
The origins of tattooing came from ancient magical practices. . . (Laurie Cabot, Power of the Witch, cited in Masonic and Occult Symbols Illustrated by Dr. Cathy Burns, p. 301).
Among today’s latest tattoo craze is "tribal tattoos", which are total paganism. Tribal tattoos are designs that bear serious symbolic mystical and occult meanings. Tribal tattoos are possible channels into spiritual and demonic possession (Michelle Delio, Tattoo: The Exotic Art of Skin Decoration, p. 13).
The reasons why puncturing the skin should be regarded with some degree of awe are not far to seek, for in the first place, there is the drawing of blood, which to the savage world over, is full of significance as a rejuvenating and immortalizing factor. “There is in addition the opening of numerous inlets for evil to enter. . ." (Hambly Wilfrid D. 1925. The History of Tattooing and its Significance, p. 233, cited in Gilbert, Steve, Tattoo History: A Source Book, p. 162).
Rolling Stone magazine describes famous tattoo artist Paul Booth during his tattoo as, ". . . allowing his clients' demons to help guide the needle” (Rolling Stone magazine, March 28, 2002, p. 40).
Remember Todd Bentley's tattoo on his neck?
Skulls imprinted on skin abound, and depictions of the Grim Reaper are commonly seen. . . These images, indelibly marked on the skin, reflect uncertainty about the future, and sublimate the pervasive fear of the unknown. Possibly, at the same time, to wear a death’s figure on one’s body may be an invocation of whatever indefinable forces of nature and the cosmos that exist, in an attempt to protect the wearer from such a fate (Henry Ferguson and Lynn Procter, The Art of the Tattoo, p. 76).
Ronald Scutt, in his exhaustive book, Art, Sex and Symbol covers a great deal about the history and culture of tattoos. Scutt documents that most of the time tattoos are connected to spiritual, religious and mystical purposes. The following documentation is from Scutt’s book:
[Tattooing] - In association with sun-worship, megalithic building, ear-piercing, serpent worship, . . . (Ronald Scutt, Art, Sex and Symbol, 1974, p. 22).
These marks [tattoos] are believed to be associated with the worship of the sun-goddess Neith (ibid p. 24).
Yet the worship of the sun god Baal had involved the marking of the hands [tattoos] with the divine token in a mystic attempt to acquire strength (ibid. p. 64).
Dr. Hambly, probably the greatest tattooist historian and researcher, writes over and over, that tattoos are based on pagan spiritual and religious rituals. Any serious and honest study of the origin and foundation of the tattoo will clearly expose the demonic and supernatural intent of tattoos.
I have made reference to Leviticus 19:28, but because the previous verse refers to getting a haircut or trimming a beard, some people conclude that these too must be wrong and a sin as well.
NEXT - PART 2 - The Forbidden Haircut
About the Author
Lance Goodall and his wife Norilyn left the Australian church growth movement in 2009. They both have a concern for the knowledge of God and His glory. They carry in their heart, a love for God’s honour, for His Word, and for the salvation of the lost. Lance can be contacted via email firstname.lastname@example.org
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