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"...The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
I Timothy 3:15

To Tattoo or Not To Tattoo

Terry Watkins

Dial-The-Truth Ministries. Used with Permission, Parts 1 and 2 of 8

Within the last decade the tattoo has virtually conquered the cultural world.

The taboo tattoo was until recently, the menacing fashion of heavy-metal rockers, bikers, criminals and the social outcast. But today the tattoo glamorously appears everywhere and anywhere. It’s the latest fashion craze. The tattoo has found a canvas on celebrities such as Britney Spears, Julia Roberts, Jessica Simpson, Bruce Willis, Geraldo Rivera, Halle Berry, the Dixie Chicks and thousands of others.

The sports world has also received the "baptism of tattoos". A 1997 AP Poll discovered over 35% of all NBA players sported at least one tattoo, including such mega stars as Michael Jordon, and Shaquille O' Neal. Sports reporters claim similar tattoo percentages are decorating the professional football, baseball and hockey world. Holding their own, the tattoo adorns the "conservative" golf world on such notables as Lee Trevino and Tiger Woods.

The National Geographic News stated that 15% of all Americans are tattooed. The Alliance of Professional Tattooists (APT) estimates over 39 million Americans have a tattoo. Details Magazine published a poll that stated 22% of 18-25 year olds have at least one tattoo. It’s also estimated 60% of the tattooed are women.

And many more are waiting in line. . .

Even the toy world has its very own Tattoodles doll. And it’s rumored sweet little Barbie has recently been seen flaunting a "cool" tattoo. Not to be outdone by the tattooing zealous adults, the younger generation has joined the tattoo party. A Texas Tech University School of Nursing study consisting of over 2,100 adolescents from eight states reveal that 1 in 10 adolescents were tattooed and over half were planning on getting tattooed. Another study estimated 25% of all 15 to 25-year-olds are tattooed. By the way, the average age of getting tattooed is 16 years old, while some receive their first tattoo as young as eight-years-old.

According to US News and World Report, (November 3, 1997) tattooing is the country's sixth-fastest-growing retail business, and growing at the amazing rate of more than one new tattoo studio every day.

And get this...Lycos, who ranks the Top 50 search words every week, found "tattoos" was the fourth most searched word for the year 2001! For the week of October 15, 2002 (when this was written) "tattoos" was number six. And among the highly-prized Lycos 50 Elite, which is the 50 most popular topics in the history of the Lycos – "tattoos" comes in at a solid number seven. (search results at [Note: Jesus or Christ did not even make the Lycos Top 100, "the Bible" ranked number 18.]

In other words...the world has gone "tattoo crazy".

Even among many Christians the once-forbidden tattoo is welcomed with open arms (and legs, and necks, and backs, et al). Not surprising the major perpetrator of the Christian tattoo is the Christian rock music community. And fast following their Christian rock idols, thousands of Christian young people are getting "marked for Jesus" with the tattoo. Among the fastest growing trend in the tattoo industry is the Christian tattoo shops.

We’ve received scores of emails from concerned Christian parents, young people, youth pastors, and pastors requesting information on the tattoo. Many parents have written pleading for help with their teenagers and tattoos.

This article is an examination of tattoos in the light of the Word of God and history.

TATTOO: The Bloody Truth

One of the oldest and most common satanic practices is cutting of the flesh or blood-letting. The term "blood-letting" originates from the word "let" – "to allow to pass, go or come"; hence "blood-letting" literally means to allow the blood to come, or pass.

Throughout history the cutting of the flesh and blood-letting are rituals performed to unleash demonic and supernatural powers. Because the "life of the flesh is in the blood" [Leviticus 17:11], the blood is highly valued in the occult as the "power source". And by releasing or letting the blood or the "power source" – supernatural power is unleashed.

The Dictionary of Cults, Sects, Religions and the Occult, writes of the power of the blood and its connection to Satanism and the occult.

"BLOOD (occult; Satanism). The vitalizing or life-giving agent used in the sacrament of the BLACK MASS. Blood is believed to provide power and life and therefore plays a central part in ritualistic sacrifices." (George A. Mather and Larry A. Nichols, Dictionary of Cults, Sects, Religions and the Occult, p.40)

The Encyclopedia of Witches and Witchcraft, says of the blood-letting ritual, "Blood that is let is believed to unleash power". By the way, some modern tattoo artists perform rituals during their tattoo procedure in order to unleash supernatural power. Some even lick the flowing blood bubbling from the tattoo.

"blood: Called the "river of life", blood is identified with the soul and is the vehicle that carries the vital energy of the universe through the body. In magic, blood is revered and feared for the miraculous power it possesses and confers. Blood that is let is believed to unleash power." (Guiley, Rosemary Ellen, The Encyclopedia of Witches and Witchcraft, second edition, p. 26)

The Word of God in 1 Kings 18 gives a detailed and perverse example of blood-letting by Satanists (aka prophets of Baal) attempting to unleash supernatural power and ignite the fire for the sacrifice.

25 And Elijah said unto the prophets of Baal, Choose you one bullock for yourselves, and dress it first; for ye are many; and call on the name of your gods, but put no fire under.

26 And they took the bullock which was given them, and they dressed it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, O Baal, hear us. But there was no voice, nor any that answered. And they leaped upon the altar which was made.

27 And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked.

28 And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon them.  (1 Kings 18:25-28)

Notice how 1 Kings 18:28 describes this devil-worshipping, self-mutilation, blood-release act – "...after their manner..." In other words, this "blood-letting" was common practice among the prophets of the devil. Blood-letting was a familiar ritual among the prophets of Baal.

It’s also evident from other scriptures that cutting of the flesh or blood-letting was common practice among the pagan, wicked nations.

In Leviticus 21:5 and Deuteronomy 14:1, the Lord condemns such demonic practices.

5 They shall not make baldness upon their head, neither shall they shave off the corner of their beard, nor make any cuttings in their flesh.

6 They shall be holy unto their God, and not profane the name of their God: for the offerings of the LORD made by fire, and the bread of their God, they do offer: therefore they shall be holy. (Leviticus 21:5-6)

Ye are the children of the LORD your God: ye shall not cut yourselves, nor make any baldness between your eyes for the dead. (Deuteronomy 14:1)


Mark chapter 5 contains the familiar account of the devil-possessed man of Gadera. Notice in verse 5, among the demonic acts, and a tell-tale sign of possession – cutting himself with stones.

1 And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes.
2 And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs 
a man with an unclean spirit,

3 Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains:
4 Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him.

5 And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones.

6 But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him,

7 And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not.

8 For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit.

9 And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many.

(Mark 5:1-9)

It’s also interesting that this "cutting himself with stones" was associated with a man possessed not with one, but legions or many devils. Luke describes the same account as "...a certain man, which had devils long time. . ."

"And when he went forth to land, there met him out of the city a certain man, which had devils long time, and ware no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs."

(Luke 8:27)

The morbid practice of cutting oneself and blood-letting has a long and dark history in the demonic pages of Satanism, demonism and the occult.

Under the definition of "Satanism", the highly-acclaimed, Encyclopedia of American Religions, lists among the activities performed by Satanists is "bloodletting":

"In this branch of can expect to find those individuals engaged in grave robbery, sexual assaults and the ritual bloodletting. . ." (Melton, Gordon, Encyclopedia of American Religions, 3rd Edition, Gale Research Ltd., 1989, p. 145)

An article in The Independent newspaper, acknowledges the pathway from blood-letting to Satanism found on web sites aimed toward children.

"The Association of Teachers and Lecturers said the popularity of children's programmes and books featuring witchcraft could encourage children to search for sinister material on the internet. Researchers for the union found websites promoting Satanism, blood-letting and Wicca (witch)...One website found by the union describes in detail how to carry out blood-letting and blood drinking. . ." (Buffy 'prompting pupils to access the occult", Ben Russell, Education Correspondent, The Independent, April 22, 2000,

In 1996, the satanic, Kentucky vampire cult led by the self-acclaimed 500-year-old vampire and Satanist, teenager Rod Ferrell brutally murdered two people. Ferrell began his dark journey of blood, Satanism, vampirism and murder by walking around cemeteries at night, cutting himself and practicing blood-letting. ("Vampire Cult Slaying Case," Court TV [Online].


There’s no question that tattoos originated from the satanic ritual of blood-letting and cutting of the flesh as described in 1 Kings 18.

In fact, in Leviticus chapter 19 verse 28, where the Lord clearly condemns the tattoo, "Ye shall not make any ...print any marks upon you." Notice what else is included in the same verse...Obviously, by the context, the Lord connects the forbidden "marks" or tattoo, – "Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh. . ." (more on Leviticus 19:28 later)

"Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the deadnor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD." (Leviticus 19:28)


Perhaps it would be a good time to give a few brief descriptions of the tattoo procedure. May I remind you again, these are all from pro-tattoo resources.

"Early people cut open their skin and rubbed soot into the wounds to mark themselves. They punctured their skin with the bones and teeth of animals." (Jean-Chris Miller, The Body Art Book: A Complete, Illustrated Guide to Tattoos, Piercings, and Other Body Modifications, p. 28)

"You’ll see little drops of blood emerge from the freshly tattooed spot...How much you bleed has a lot to do with your personal physiology as well as outside factors (like the presence of alcohol in your bloodstream, which can make you bleed like a stuck pig). Usually your blood will coagulate within a few minutes, clotting up the tiny punctures that have been made. . .

When your tattoo is finished, the artist will clean it gently with an alcohol/water solution. Once that dries and little blood bubbles have ceased rising to the surface, the artist may want to snap a few photos of your piece." (Jean-Chris Miller, The Body Art Book: A Complete, Illustrated Guide to Tattoos, Piercings, and Other Body Modifications, pp. 97, 98, 99)

"The tattooist guides the tattoo machine over the skin. He or she stops the needle every minute or so to wipe the blood and ink cleanThe amounts of bleeding and pain in the tattoo process differ according to each person...After the first two hours, remove the bandage and wash away any collected or dried blood." (Bonnie B. Graves, Tattooing and body piercing, p. 22, 24)

"As soon as he stops working with the needle, the sailor’s skin sends up its blood beads...the eagle’s eye reddens but there is now no telling blood from ink...Carmey floods the flesh behind the eagle with red and the finished eagle poises on a red sky, born and baptized in the blood of its owner." (Ronald Scott, Art, Sex and Symbol, 1974, p. 19)

"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 bloodwhich 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] (Gilbert, Steve, Tattoo History: A Source Book, p. 162)

Rolling Stone magazine gives a first-hand description of the blood-letting tattoo procedure:

"Evan Seinfeld, the bassist for Biohazrd, sits in the chair, offers his hand and waits for the bleeding to begin...The instrument whirs to life, humming across Seinfeld's hand, creating a vibrating pool of blood and ink."(Rolling Stone, March 28, 2002, p. 40)

Beware – the tattoo procedure is a fashion of the satanic practice of blood-letting or cutting of one’s flesh. Rubbing a little ink or pigment in it doesn’t change the fact – you are cutting your flesh – you are practicing blood-letting.

Don’t take my word for it. Here’s what the pro-tattoo, historians write. By far, the most extensive work ever published on tattoos was Dr. W.D. Hambly’s, The History of Tattooing And It's Significance. Author Steve Gilbert, in his popular Tattoo History: A Source Book, writes, "Hambly concluded that historically tattooing had originated in connection with ancient rites of scarification and bloodletting. . ."

"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)

Did you also notice in the above quote, that Hambly also concluded that tattoos were "associated with religious practices?" Hmmm… Now I wonder what kind of "religious practices" would practice "blood-letting?" Hint: If you forgot, go back and read 1 Kings 18.

There’s no doubt that the cutting and marking of one’s skin [tattooing] is connected to and associated with the Satanic and demonic practice of blood-letting.

Author Gilbert again links the tattoo to blood-letting, and magic. And even gives an enlightening and frightening description of a modern day blood-letting, blood-licking, satanic, tattoo procedure. Notice, the connection to the demonic "spiritual manifestations."

"In northwest Alaska, traditional practices of tattoo and ritually induced bleeding were often related and may have even overlapped to some extent. Around Bering Strait, shamans commonly performed bloodletting to relieve aching or inflamed parts of the body. Nelson watched a shaman ‘lancing the scalp of his little girl’s head, the long, thin iron point of the instrument being thrust twelve to fifteen times between the scalp and skull [which is the identical technique for tattooing …It is plausible that the release of blood functioned to appease various ills and spiritual manifestations. For instance, several St. Lawrence Islanders explained to me the importance of licking the blood that was released during tattoo ‘operations’." (Gilbert, Steve, Tattoo History: A Source Book, p. 181)

May I again remind you – all this information and documentation are from books promoting and glorifying the tattoo! These are not Christian authors writing with any anti-tattoo slant. But this is hard, documented facts from tattoo artists, tattoo historians and people who endorse tattoos.

You can try to justify and close your eyes to the documented FACTS – but the FACT is – the tattoo is clearly connected to satanic blood-letting.

And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon them. 1 Kings 18:28

And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones.

Mark 5:6

Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.

2 Corinthians 2:11