The Official Journal of the Ensign Trust, London






It is clear that these are perilous times. (2 Timothy 3:1) A current trend that even some Christians seem to be picking up is tattooing. There are even “Christian” tattoo shops opening up, and deceived Christians are supporting them. They justify this activity by saying they are “tattooing for Jesus.” Tattooing has become  a cool, fun thing to do and is popularly regarded as simply “body art.” Well, let’s explore what tattooing really is and what God has to say about it.

The   Mark  of  Blood 

The  tattooing procedure involves piercing the flesh with a needle in order to make designs. The result is something called “blood-letting.” Blood-letting has occultic, demonic origins as it is considered a power source that is supernaturally unleashed. Many pro-tattoo sources describe tattooing as having a magical, occultic connection with blood-letting seen as being normal. Several pro-tattoo historians indicate the connection with scarification and blood-letting associated with religious practices. We read in 1 Kings 18:25-28 the account of the prophets of Baal who met with Elijah in an epic contest. These were satanists who were attempting to unleash supernatural power by cutting themselves (vs. 28). In the New Testament, there was a man named Legion who was possessed by demons in Mark 5:1-9 who went about cutting himself with stones. (vs. 5) Leviticus 19:28 says “Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.” 

The Cup of Devils

Historically, the origin of the tattoo is associated with paganism, demonism, Baal worship, shamanism, mysticism, heathenism, cannibalism and other similar beliefs. The tattoo has never been connected with Bible-believing Christians. But in the 21st century, the trend is from paganistic practices to include the modern Christian. Satan is the god of this world and his agenda is to deceive many Christians, especially  in the last days. The tattoo has its roots in beliefs and practices that are demonic and pagan. Some  pro­-tattoo literature indicates that  tattooing  is a magical rite and the tattooist is considered a priest or shaman; it is associated with religious ceremony; it is intended to put the human soul in harmony with supernatural forces. In other words, it is connected with the spirit world making tattoos more than simply body decoration.  Today’s popular tattooing  trend  is “tribal tattoos”, which are pure paganism with designs bearing serious symbolic mystical and occultic meanings. They are connected with channels into spiritual and demonic possession. Many pro-tattoo artists and historians can attest to this by saying things like, “tattoos have a power and magic all their own”, “there is in addition the opening of numerous inlets for evil to enter”, “allowing his clients’ demons to help guide the needle.” Ronald Scutt, in his exhaustive book, Art, Sex and Symbol, covers a lot about the history and culture of tattoos. He documents that most of the time tattoos are associated with spiritual, religious and mystical purposes; linking it to mystical significance, sun-worship, serpent worship, and the sun-god Baal. Author Steve Gilbert, of Tattoo History: A Source Book , p. 99, records, “The Spaniards, who had never heard of tattooing, recognized it at once as the work of Satan.” Yet today gullible Christians are “marking themselves for Jesus.” Pagan tattooing is not just from the dark ages: many body artists perform ritual tattoos today as the quotes from tattoo authors above bear witness. Some will burn incense or light candles. 1 Corinthians 10:21 says, “Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils.”

The Mark of Death 

Leviticus 19:28 says, “Ye  shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD .” Yet DEATH is the number one theme of tattoos! References from tattoo literature again reveal: “Death and darkness have always been a classic tattoo  theme-skulls, snakes, demons” (The Body Art Book , pg. 56); Henry Ferguson in The Art of the Tattoo, states “probably the most popular tattooed image of today, the grinning skull!”; “Skulls abound,  and depictions  of the Grim Reaper  are commonly  seen”; “Possibly, at the same time, to wear a death  figure  on  one’s body may be an invocation  of  indefinable  forces…in an attempt to protect the wearer from such a fate”. Tattoo shops mostly display morbid scenes of death, demons, serpents and hell. Grim reapers, flaming skulls, snakes crawling through skulls, demons, Satan, pornography, blasphemy, naked flames of hell – every satanic scene of hell  is glorified.  Who really  is the Master Tattooist? Satan, of course! (Revelation 6:8; Hebrews 2:14) whereas Jesus is Life (John 1:3; John 6:48; John 11:25; John 14:6; Acts 3:15; Romans 6:23; I John 1:1-2; I John 5:12).

The Mark of Rebellion

The  Bible condemns rebellion throughout its  pages  and declares that rebellion is as bad as witchcraft. (1 Samuel 15:23) It is clear that the tattoo has always been an indication of a spirit of rebellion and deviancy on its wearers. In addition, the tattoo is considered  a mark  of disgrace or reproach.  Throughout  history  the tattoo was used to mark the criminal, adulterer, traitor, deserter, the deviant and outcast. Thirdly, it has been the mark of the sideshow freak throughout history. Also, it is the mark of indecency. It was  associated with barbarians, immoral Greece and Rome. The tattoo is also considered a mark of depravity and a high percentage of troubled persons with deviant behaviour are tattooed. Studies have also been done that link tattoos to male  homosexuality,  lesbianism and sexual perversion. Recent studies on today’s tattooed young people indicate they are nearly four times more likely to engage in illicit sexual intercourse, over two times more likely to experience alcohol­ related problems, nearly two times more likely to use illegal drugs, over two times more likely to display violent behaviour and more likely to drop out of high school.

Tattoo’s Deadly Little Secret 

It is a fact that tattooing brings a risk of a number of diseases including Hepatitis C and Tattoo shops are not regulated by law to uphold medical standards and many tattoo artists do not inform their clients of possible infection from needle or ink. The Mayo Clinic sounds a warning about commercial tattooing: “Few states have hygienic regulations to ensure safe tattooing practices in commercial tattoo parlors, and even fewer monitor and enforce standards”. (Body Piercing and Tattoos: More than Skin Deep, Mayo Clinic,

Tattoos can cause skin disorders such as sarcoid, keloid scarring, allergic dermatitis, photosensitivity reactions, psoriasis, and tumours.

Tattoos and the Bible

We know already what Leviticus 19:28 says.  But people say, “That’s in the Old Testament, what about the New?” Well, do you know that while Leviticus 19:29 says not to prostitute your daughter Scripture says nothing in the New Testament about that, which does not make prostituting your child ok today. Moral laws are timeless, as applicable now as then. Leviticus 19:28 indicates that we are to not print   any  marks   on us. Leviticus  19:26- 28 is  a condemnation of assorted pagan, witchcraft and heathen practices, of which tattooing is clearly one. Finally, because a Christian’s body is the Temple of the Living God (I Corinthians 6:19-20), we must keep them pure, for His glory – see I Corinthians 3:16-17; Numbers 23:19; Galatians 6:7-8. II Corinthians 6:16 says, in part, ”And what agreement   hath  the  temple  of  God   with  idols? For ye  are the temple of the living God.”

Tattoo: The Mark of Regret

Those who get tattoos will lifelong have to live with them. And those who get laser surgery to remove tattoos will have to endure expensive and painful procedures and yet the skin damage will never be totally removed. Many who do get tattoos later regret. There are many consequences of getting “marked”: physical, psychological, spiritual, social even. Once a person has that mark put on them, they are in a different category. Getting a tattoo can also affect relationships with friends, family, teachers and employers. According to Bonnie B. Graves, Tattooing and Body Piercing, p. 43, many jobs are not available to those who have visible body art.

Tattooing  has  increased  greatly in recent years – amongst mainly unsaved worldlings and as such is obviously a phenomenon of the world. Consider then that the Bible expressly tells us to keep ourselves unspotted from the world (James 1:27), to abstain from the appearance of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22), and that friendship with the world is enmity with God. (James 4:4). We are instructed to come out from among  them  and  be  separate  from  the  world.  (2 Corinthians 6:17) Christians, who have the responsibility to obey God ‘s commands, must abstain from worldly associations, pastimes and habits, not just out of duty but because we love God and have a living relationship with Him. (John 14:15). Please know that all tattooing is wrong, not just the graphic stuff described above. It all has the same origin in paganism and it is expressly commanded by the Lord that we are to avoid this practice. If you received tattoos before conversion to Christ, then you have already been forgiven for that at the point when you were born-again. If you have received tattoos after giving your life to Christ, you need to repent of this sin in accordance with 1 John 1:9.