Ask Your Preacher
Leviticus 19:28 said, “Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.” Why don't I hear too many churches preaching against putting tattoos on your body?
The Old Testament strictly forbade tattoos (Lev 19:28). God was so adamant about it because cutting your flesh and tattooing were common practices of pagan cultures (1 Kgs 18:26-28). Tattooing was a religious practice closely tied to Baal and other idols.
In the New Testament, we are given no specific command against tattoos. It is valuable, however, to see that for a very long time tattoos have had a negative connotation. As a christian, there are many things that we can do but should think carefully about beforehand. Just because I can do something, doesn’t mean it is a good idea (1 Cor 10:23). Tattoos are permanent, and the decision to get one shouldn’t be taken lightly.
In American culture, tattoos can give a negative impression – especially if the tattoo is large or in a highly visible area. Some things to consider:
- Tattoos are a deterrent for some employers. Are you willing to get passed over in a job application?
- People will automatically form judgments about you based upon their first impression of a tattoo. Are you comfortable with being thought of as ‘the weird tatted-up guy’?
- You must also consider what effects it will have long-term. Will you still want Tweety Bird on your shoulder when you are in the nursing home?
- Are you ready to explain to your three-year-old why you have song lyrics on your bicep? Are you okay with your children wanting tattoos themselves?
- Many tattoos change their shape, size, and even location with weight loss and gain. Are you ready for that “cute” bellybutton butterfly to become a condor when you get pregnant?
- Many tattoos are of things that exude evil. Snakes, skulls, demonic signs, bad words, etc. are to be avoided at all costs.
We must always consider our influence and how it will affect others. This is not a right or wrong issue, but simply one of wisdom. God tells us to be wise and seek wisdom in our decisions (Pr 8:33). Whatever decision an individual makes, I recommend seeking outside counsel before getting something as permanent as a tattoo (Pr 11:14). It is not wrong for a christian to get a tattoo, but it certainly isn’t a decision to make lightly.
In both 1 Samuel 28:3 and 2 Kings 23:24, did kings Saul and Josiah execute the mediums, or did they just throw them out of the land? Many versions say "got rid", "put away", "removed", etc., so I'm not sure whether this means they were put to death or were just expelled.
Dead Or Alive
Dear Dead Or Alive,
When Saul removed the mediums from the land in 1 Sam 28:3, the word used means “put away or removed”. Saul cast them out of the land but didn’t necessarily destroy them. The word is ambiguous and leaves room for either expulsion or destruction. The witch of Endor believed that Saul would kill her for practicing her dark arts (1 Sam 28:9).
However, when Josiah removed the occult practitioners from the land, the word used in 2 Kgs 23:24 is a different Hebrew word that means ‘burn up or destroy’. This language is backed up by the Greek Septuagint, which translates the word as ‘to parch, wither’. The stronger language used seems to imply that Josiah put to death all the mediums and spiritists.
Is the end of the world near? Is illuminati part of the antichrist? And who do you think the antichrist will be?
Dear Seeing Codes,
If the end of the world is near, we won't know about it until it happens. God promises that the end of the world will come "like a thief in the night" (1 Thess 5:2). As for the Illuminati – read our article "Naughty, Naughty Illuminati" for further details on that particular organization.
The last part of your question deals with the antichrist. The antichrist is not any single individual, and contrary to popular religious fiction, the antichrist has nothing to do with the end of the world. The apostle John defined an 'antichrist' as 'every spirit that does not confess Jesus as God'. An antichrist is anyone that is opposed to Christ and His teachings. The world is full of antichrists. 1 Jn 2:18 says that many antichrists exist. There are many false teachers and false religious figures that teach against Jesus – all of these are antichrists.
Who are the Illuminati, and what do they believe in? Is it a cult?
Not An Illuminati
Dear Not An Illuminati,
The Illuminati was a Bavarian secret society formed in 1776 in Ingolstadt, Germany. Similar to the Freemason society, the Illuminati was a secret society with religious, as well as secular, elements to it. The truth is that the Illuminati and societies that diverged from the Illuminati died out years ago. It is the pop-fiction industry that has revived the term ‘Illuminati’ by creating conspiracy-theory books that portray the Illuminati as a surviving secret society bent on ushering in a new world order. These books make for exciting fireside reading, but they are still fiction. The Illuminati was a cult that existed in Europe several centuries ago, but it no longer is a factor in today’s society.
There is a large interest in vampires and magic in books and movies. It concerns me that they glorify witchcraft, including the Harry Potter books. Young people today can't seem to get enough of this stuff. I have been told they are harmless books and movies, but when I watched a Harry Potter movie, it looked like kids doing black magic and having fun. The Bible tells us black magic is from the devil. When we allow our children to read these books and see these movies, aren't we saying a little magic and vampires are okay when it is totally against God’s teaching?
Dear Not Bewitched,
Harry Potter books, just like Halloween, can be sinful or harmless – it all depends on how we treat them (read “Costumes, Candy, And Controversy” for more on the subject of Halloween). If someone is treating the Harry Potter books as factual, or if they are glorifying Satan worship, occult practices, etc., that is obviously a problem. However, most readers are well-informed that the Harry Potter books are fiction (just like vampires) and aren’t how-to guides for life.
We must remember that the magic and occult practices that the Bible strictly condemned (1 Sam 15:23) were actually performed as a form of worship and a way to gain supernatural power. Harry Potter books are similar to watching a magician – everybody knows it isn’t real. This isn’t anything like the witchcraft condemned by the Bible. Those who practiced magical arts really did believe that they worked, and they really did believe there was supernatural power in their various spells and recipes. Every parent must make their own decisions regarding what is best for their children (and that includes what reading material they can handle), but it is unfair to say that Harry Potter books in and of themselves are a direct correlation to an occult lifestyle.