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What does the Bible say about tattoos?

Is it OK to draw on skin?

Postby Henleezy » Sun Dec 21, 2014 4:19 pm

okey am just little lost, in the scriture were is it writen that no man(human) should not draw or write anything on the flash(skin)
Henleezy
 

Re: Is it OK to draw on skin?

Postby jimwalton » Sun Dec 21, 2014 4:21 pm

I'm not aware it says that anywhere, but Lev. 19.28 says, "Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the Lord.” The teaching doesn't apply to the way tattoos are used today. What was going on in Lev. 19 was tattooing the body as part of a religious ritual. Such markings may have been designed to protect a person from the spirits of the dead or to demonstrate membership in a cultic group. There is nothing morally wrong with tattooing. These practices were part of heathen rituals, and that's what the problem was. The marks were usually in honor of some idol, and they were forbidden because they were signs of pagan worship. Even the context (the first part of the verse) shows us that cultic practices are what was in mind. Nowadays tattoos are a body-decorating fad and have nothing to do with the heathen rituals/pagan worship that the Bible forbids. If I didn't answer your question, feel free to ask again.
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Re: Is it OK to draw on skin?

Postby Henleezy » Sun Dec 21, 2014 4:24 pm

I don't understand. Are you saying that the drawing of tattoos is not a sin?
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Re: Is it OK to draw on skin?

Postby jimwalton » Sun Dec 21, 2014 4:26 pm

Yes, that's what I'm saying. The Bible only forbids it if it is about devil worship or idolatry, but in that case it's the devil worship or the idolatry that are the problem, not the tattoo. Tattoos in the olden days were religious rituals, and the problem was what it meant, not what it was.
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Re: Is it OK to draw on skin?

Postby HEnleezy » Sun Dec 21, 2014 4:29 pm

But as you said Lev.19:28 says, "Do not cut your bodies for the dead or PUT TATTOOS ON YOUR BODIES."
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Re: Is it OK to draw on skin?

Postby jimwalton » Sun Dec 21, 2014 4:32 pm

Right, it does, but we have to understand what is meant by it. "Cutting bodies for the dead" and "putting tattoo marks on yourself" were religious rituals. They are not religiously anything in our day and age. They were to protect a person from evil spirits or to demonstrate membership in a demonic group, but that's not what tattoos are now. The problem in Leviticus is that tattooing was part of religious rituals and were symbols of demonic things. So we have to understand what THEY meant by it, not by what it means now.
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Re: Is it OK to draw on skin?

Postby Henleezy » Sun Dec 21, 2014 4:35 pm

Okay, for us to prevent ourselves from sin we have to obey what the Scripture says, do you know why? Because the scripture did not say that it is the mark of the evil spirit.
Henleezy
 

Re: Is it OK to draw on skin?

Postby jimwalton » Sun Dec 21, 2014 4:38 pm

I asked an Old Testament expert. He said, "The prohibition against marking the skin may involve either tattooing or painting the body as part of a religious ritual. Such markings may have been designed to protect a person from the spirits of the dead or to demonstrate membership in a group. Some evidence for this has been found in the examination of human remains in Scythian tombs dating to the 6th century BC. The Israelite law may prohibit this practice since it involves a self-imposed alteration of God’s creation, unlike circumcision which is commanded by God."

The commentary by Gaebelein says, "There was nothing morally wrong with tattooing. These practices were part of heathen rituals, and that was the problem."

Another commentary said, "It is probable, from the association of verse 29, that a strong propensity to adopt such marks in honor of some idol gave occasion to the prohibition in this verse, and they were wisely forbidden, for they were signs of apostasy, and, when once made, were insuperable obstacles to a return to the true God. This practice is possibly referred to in Isaiah 44.5; Rev. 13.17, or Rev. 14.1."

Somebody else said, "This refers to the disfiguring of the skin, probably with the emblems of pagan deities, dishonoring the divine image in a person, and was forbidden because it did not reflect God’s holiness. See Dt. 14.1-2."

So that's what I have and what I know. It's the idea that that's what it MEANT. Their rule about tattoos was not just about marks on the body, but about religious rebellion against God.
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Re: Is it OK to draw on skin?

Postby Henleezy » Sun Dec 21, 2014 4:41 pm

I also asked some religious leaders, and they said, Once a law is always a law, and that is what the Scripture says so we have to obey it.
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Re: Is it OK to draw on skin?

Postby jimwalton » Sun Dec 21, 2014 4:42 pm

Right, but we have to understand what the writer meant by what he said, not to make it mean what it means to us. It means what the person who wrote it meant it to mean.

Let me give you an analogy. Suppose you are a parent, and your son is hitting your daughter, so you say, "You are not allowed to do that." OK, so the next day, your daughter is digging a whole in your yard, and your son says, "Mom said, 'You are not allowed to do that.' " Well, you DID say that, but it was a different situation, and you didn't mean "Don't dig in the yard" when you said it. You meant "Don't hit your sister."

So we have to know what the writer meant by it when they said it, not the way we want to apply it. Does that help?
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