Dabar [theme]

He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou find refuge: His truth is a shield and buckler
Psalms 91:4

Be it ours,when we cannot see the face of God, to trust under the shadow of His wings. C.H. Spugeon

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Tattoo-ed

Isaiah 49:16, "See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; your walls are continually before Me."


Exodus 13:9, "It shall be as a sign to you on your hand and as a memorial between your eyes, that the Lord's law may be in your mouth; for with a strong hand the Lord has (delivered you)."



It is believed that the Jewish community, predominantly the more devote, tattooed their hands or arms with a sign or representation of their city or temple. This would seem to me an example of branding, permanently identifying a person to a location or religious belief.



The personal opinions and reactions to tattoos are indicative of the emotions surrounding this form of permanent marking of the body. The upper right picture is an example of the identification system used by Nazi Germany in the concentration camps. The lower right has religious and tribal significance. Tattoos have served as rites of passage, marks of status and rank, symbols of religious and spiritual devotion, decorations for bravery, sexual lures and marks of fertility, pledges of love, punishment, amulets and talismans, protection, and as the marks of outcasts, slaves and convicts. The symbolism and impact of tattoos varies in different places and cultures.


You can read a lot into a tattoo, because, the nature of a tattoo implies a significant meaning to what is either represented or to the character of the individual sporting the tattoo. You may see art or graffiti, beauty or ugliness, obsession or aesthetics, irregardless, you will have an opinion, immediately. You will make a judgement about the tattooed individual and it will be based upon the facetious nature of the 'tat'. There is a good chance you may not even understand the whys and wherefore's of the 'tat'.


Leviticus 19:28, "You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, not tattoo any marks on you: I am the Lord." This is a commandment denouncing the sectarian and superstitious tattoos distinguishing people groups prevalent in Biblical times and still prevalent today. The idolatry that tattooing represented is as real today as it was then, really, these are 'graven images'. Although I personally do not have a problem with tattoos, I recognize that there is a justification process that has been gone through in order to pacify and dissuade the conscience if such things were in play at the moment of decision. But as Christians it is widely held that we are the most hypocritical of all religions. We are the most adept at turning the 'do nots' into the 'will dos' to serve the greater 'good'. In this lies the greatest of ironies, we mark our bodies in disobedience to declare our undying devotion, could you call this redundant hypocrisy?

It is no wonder that some have a problem with even bumper stickers declaring our Christianity, I have a tendency to notice them when they are speeding and driving erratically.

I do believe that the mark of a Christian should be personified in the words of Paul saying, "... join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern." Hebrews 12:13,14  "... and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed. Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God;..."

1 Thessalonians 4:3, "For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, ..."

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