Tattoo (divin)Nation

Trigger Warning:  This article is NOT an apologetics crash course on whether getting tattoos is “right” or “wrong;” or whether it is a “sin” for Christians to get tattoos. I have been commanded by my Savior to work out MY OWN salvation with fear and trembling…not yours. Rather, this article is about a frightening new divination trend that is entering the Church.   

Many of you have heard of Bethel Church’s BSSM evangelism course—the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry. The course includes teachings on the “7 Activations” for evangelism. This article is going to concentrate on only one of those seven “activations”—tattoo interpretation. In their own words, Bethel explains this technique thusly:

“In pairs, go to a busy, public area and look for people with tattoos. Ask them if you can interpret the meaning of their tattoo. Ask the Holy Spirit for His meaning of their tattoo. Share what you hear and encourage the person. A fun take on this outreach is to set up a booth at a street fair. As they share their interpretation, have them keep in mind to use language that makes the person feel comfortable and that they will understand.”[1]

A “fun take” on it? Come on, Bethel, wake up! Do you have a “fun take” on adultery you can share with your married evangelists? How about a “fun take” on money laundering? You can jazz this up any way you wish, but at the end of the day, it’s still good ole fashioned DI-VIN-A-TION.

How is reading someone’s tattoo any different from reading their palm?

How is the “evangelist” in this scenario any different from a medium? 

Folks, there is only ONE mediator between God and man—and it’s not some BSSM grad with a booth set up at the local Farmer’s Market—it’s Jesus Christ.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I completely advocate using a person’s tattoos as a conversation starter, especially if that conversation leads to relationship or a means of sharing the Gospel. But that is not what BSSM is suggesting.

Doug Addison, in his online article, “Prophetically Interpreting Body Art,”[2] explains:

“An example of this is that over the past few years I have been having success with explaining the prophetic symbolism and location of people’s tattoos and piercings. When someone tells you the story behind a tattoo they are opening up their life to you and it often reveals revelation about their destiny that they did not know was there. When I tell them what God is saying to them and that even Jesus comes back with a tatt in Revelation 19:16 (King of Kings and Lord of Lords is written His thigh) there is a glimmer of new hope imparted to a hopeless generation.”

I wish to reiterate here that I am in no way advocating for or against tattoos, and I apologize for veering slightly off topic here, but I cannot let Addison’s crack that, “Jesus comes back with a tatt” slide.

Prophetic Scriptures point towards Christ, the Gospel, the unfolding of redemptive history, and the fulfillment and consummation of the Covenant. Bible verses are not meant to be yanked out of their context and thrown down on the mat as “tie breaking” gauntlets—declaring who’s “Champ” in the latest, postmodern “does the Bible say this is a sin?” debate.

Messiah Ben Joseph (Jesus Christ) came to earth as a suffering servant. But He is coming back again as Messiah Ben David—the conquering King–the Warrior. Revelation 19:26 isn’t a Bible verse about tattoos, advocating tattoos, or tattoos, period. It is a declaration that the New Age “man bun Jesus” is a figment of our flawed imaginations. Hippie Jesus isn’t coming back for his girlfriend—Sergeant Major of the Heavenly Marine Corp is coming back for His bride!

In Roman times, Roman soldiers who rode on horseback strapped their swords to their waist. This would produce significant chaffing, slicing, and dicing of the “thigh” region (the upper portion of the hip to the knee) as the sword bounced around to and fro as the horse galloped. To protect their bare thighs, they would wear a linen girdle, to act as a protective layer between the blade of their sword and their bare flesh. The soldiers would often embroider their names on the linen tunics. Their names would also be engraved upon the hilt of their swords, which would lay upon the thigh.

It is very likely that the name “written” on Christ’s thigh, is not literal ink scrawled (written on, tattooed on) His bare flesh at all, but rather a description of His vesture—which were the garments of a warrior. The idea that Christ’s name is “written on His thigh” doesn’t mean He’s coming back with a tattoo—it means He is coming back with a SWORD!

I could personally care less if someone—Christian or otherwise—wants to go out an get tattoos. But to reduce perhaps one of the most glorious verses in the entire Bible—the long-awaited return of our King, Messiah, and Bridegroom—down to nothing more than a permission slip to go out and get tatted up is a sad commentary on the biblical literacy of today’s believer.