Body Piercing, Tattoos, and Marring the Body

The topic of body piercing and tattooing has gotten more popular in the last couple decades. Body piercing and getting tattoos are now trends that many young people are interested in. Lip rings, nose rings, bellybutton rings, gauges (for ears), tattoos, and such are in high demand among the youth but why are these so popular today? And, where did these practices originate?

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Body piercing and getting tattoos are not new by any means. They have been around for thousands of years and were practiced by pagan cultures around the world. The Bible speaks of such practices during the days of Moses.

God told the Children of Israel (Hebrews) not to follow after the pagan practices of the people who would surround their small country. They were to be separate from the pagans because God wanted a pure and holy people for Himself.

In Leviticus 19:28, God says through Moses: “Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the Lord.”

What is this practice of cutting the flesh for the dead and what 

did it signify?

Alexander Hislop, a historian, wrote this in his book, The Two Babylons (pg. 129): “Osiris was cut in pieces; therefore, to imitate his fate, so far as living men might do so, they were required to cut and wound their own bodies.” Hislop explained in the same book how Osiris was a god borrowed from the Assyrian / Babylonian god Nimrod (or Baal) (of Genesis 10) who was killed and his body was cut up into pieces (The Two Babylons, pp. 56-58). These pieces were sent to various places as a warning to those who served Nimrod and his idolatrous system.

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After Nimrod was killed, his followers worshiped him as a god who was cut to pieces. To mourn his death and mutilation, they would cut bald patches in their hair, pierce themselves in various places, and cut themselves with sharp knives. They also printed marks in their skin (i.e. tattoos).

Herodotus wrote: "I have before related in what manner the rites of Isis are celebrated at Busiris. After the ceremonies of sacrifice the whole assembly [...] flagellate [or whip] themselves[...] The Carians of Egypt treat themselves at this solemnity with unparalleled severity; they cut themselves in the face with swords, and by this distinguish themselves from the Egyptian natives." (Herodotus, Volume 1.)

Hislop wrote of this practice of cutting the flesh and how it was practiced by Hindus, Romans, Egyptians, and others (The Two Babylons, pg. 129).

Besides cutting themselves with swords and whips, ancient people purposely mutilated their hair and beards for the same reason.

Alexander Hislop wrote (Ibid, pg. 175):

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Centuries before the Christian era, thus spoke Herodotus of the Babylonian tonsure: "The Arabians acknowledge no other gods than Bacchus and Urania [i.e., the Queen of Heaven], and they say that their hair was cut in the same manner as Bacchus' is cut; now, they cut it in a circular form, shaving it around the temples."

What, then, could have led to this tonsure of Bacchus? Everything in his [Bacchus's] history was mystically or hieroglyphically represented, [...] [and] none but the initiated could understand. One of the things that occupied the most important place in the Mysteries was the mutilation to which he [Bacchus] was subjected when he was put to death.

Hislop showed how Bacchus, the Roman god, and Osiris were nearly identical. He also showed that the worshippers of Osiris and Bacchus would shave their heads or partially shave their heads (in a tonsure).

God’s Word forbids it.

Leviticus 21:5

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.

In 1 Kings chapter 18, we read about how the priests of Baal cut themselves so that Baal would hear them.

1 Kings 18:28

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

Again, look at Leviticus 19…

Leviticus 19:27-28

27 Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard.

28 Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the Lord.

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God does not want people to “mar” themselves or print marks on themselves. The word “mar” is defined in Webster’s 1828 dictionary as injuring something in the 1st definition. The 4th definition states: “4. To injure; to deform; to disfigure.” (Webster).

Disfiguring or marring ones hair, beard, or skin (such as tattoos and ear gauges) came from pagans and can be found in remote tribes, but marring or disfiguring one’s hair and body ultimately did not originate from a human mind. Marring the body and hair originated from Satan’s rebellion against God.

“How can this be?” one may ask. “How does a tattoo, a body 

piercing, or a tonsure haircut have anything to do with Satan?”

We need to take a brief look at Satan and his rebellion against God before we can answer those questions.

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A powerful angel called Lucifer used to worship God in Heaven. Ezekiel 28 speaks of this angel and how he was “the anointed cherub that covereth” (Ezekiel 28:14). Lucifer became proud one day and decided he didn’t want to worship God anymore (verse 17). Lucifer rebelled against God and led a third of God’s angels in this rebellion. Afterward, his name was changed to Satan, the deceiver. They wanted to rule over Heaven, but they were foolish to fight against the only true, all-powerful, infinite God, and God cast them out of Heaven.

Revelation 12:4 tells us that Satan, the dragon, led a third of the “stars of heaven” (figurative of angels). Revelation 12:4: “And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth…”

These fallen spirits lost their holiness and glory after they rebelled against God. They became deformed and ugly with skin that looked as if it was charred in a fire (Job 30:30 and Lamentations 5:10); their hair was gone (Ezekiel 7:18); they lost their glory and light (Job 18:5 and Proverbs 24:20); they behave like cruel animals (Psalm 59:14Daniel 4:162 Peter 2:12); they inflict physical pain on each other (Galatians 5:15), and these evil spirits influenced (and still influence) people to cut and mar their own skin (Mark 5:1-5). (Please note that the Bible has multiple applications, but they must be understood as God leads.)

In Mark 5:5, we read that a demon-possessed man “was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones.”

Why do evil spirits want people to cut and mar their own skin? Genesis 1 holds the answer.

Genesis 1:27: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”

God created us in His image. Satan rebelled against God and hates God. Satan hates everyone who bears God’s image. That is why Satan wants humans to deform their hair and bodies. Evil spirits themselves are deformed, as a result of their great evil, and evil spirits want God’s image and creation to be deformed and twisted.

Pagan tribes in remote parts of the earth poke bones through their ears and noses and modify their bodies with scars, rings, bones, tattoos, and with growth-modifying bands. The Mursi people are an example of a tribe where lip-stretching and ear-stretching are common.

Today, many young people in America, Asia, and Europe are getting their ears pierced and stretched with gauges, having tattoos, and sporting multiple body piercings. These all originate from pagan cultures which ultimately got their inspiration from the spirits that they worshiped.

God does not want us to be conformed to the world (Romans 12:2). God wants us to be conformed to His image (again Romans 12:2 and 1 Peter 2:21) and saved by the precious blood of His Only Begotten Son Jesus Christ, the Creator of the Universe (see John chapter 1 and Colossians chapter 1).

Colossians 1:14-17

14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:

15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:

16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:

17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

Would you like to find out how to Know God's Name Personally?

IF YOU ARE SEEKING TO KNOW GOD, please read this message.

1 Timothy 2:5: “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;”

Acts 4:12: “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”

God loves us so much that He sent His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to die for our sins and shed His precious blood to pay for all of these sins. (See John 3:16 and 1 Corinthians 15:3-5.)

If you repent (turn away) from your sins (Acts 3:19), and believe and confess aloud that Christ has done this for you (Romans 10:9-10), and have made Him your Lord and Savior (again Romans 10:9-10) you are saved.

Now seek God with all your heart. Seek to know Him and you will (Jeremiah 29:13).

John 17:3: "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”

Jeremiah 29:13: “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.”

John 14:6: “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

Acts 4:12: “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”


Works Cited

Herodotus. Herodotus, Volume 1. n.d. Web. 20 Oct. 2014.

Hislop, Alexander. The Two Babylons. Dahlonega: Crown Rights Book Company, 2002. Print.

Webster, Noah. American Dictionary of the English Language. Baltimore: United Book Press, Inc., 2009. Print.

[This article includes links to a PDF file of The Two Babylons. The page number references are based on this PDF file.]

[PDF File:

Hislop, Alexander. The Two Babylons. n.d. Web. 21 Oct. 2014. <>]

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