Tattoos and Cuttings (To print out or copy PDF of this article)

Tattoos are not the unpardonable sin, but not really pleasing to God, no matter how you dress them up or make excuses for the reason a person gets a tattoo.

Leviticus 19:28
(28) Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.

The English word Cuttings is Hebrew word H8296 and it refers to H8295; an incision: – cutting.

The English word Marks is the Hebrew word H3793 a letter or other mark branded on the skin: – X any [mark]. And it also refers to H7085 connected to its meaning is the same as H6970; an incision or gash: – + mark.

So, we see both Cuttings and Marks are things we are not to make on our bodies. Considering the actual Hebrew meanings of the words make it difficult to sever their connection. Many times we see both used in the process of mankind trying to stand out or make a statement with their bodies. I feel the following scripture applies to our decisions.

1 John 2:15
(15) Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary’s article on tattoos says,

“Any kind of self-laceration or marking of the body was prohibited among the Hebrew people. Such cuttings were associated with pagan cults that tattooed their followers while they mourned the dead” (1986).

From the E-sword Gill Commentary:

“Lev 19:28 – Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead,…. Either with their nails, tearing their cheeks and other parts, or with any instrument, knife, razor, &c. Jarchi says, it was the custom of the Amorites, when anyone died, to cut their flesh, as it was of the Scythians, as Herodotus (d) relates, even those of the royal family; for a king they cut off a part of the ear, shaved the hair round about, cut the arms about, wounded the forehead and nose, and transfixed the left hand with arrows; and so the Carthaginians, who might receive it from the Phoenicians, being a colony of theirs, used to tear their hair and mouths in mourning, and beat their breasts (e); and with the Romans the women used to tear their cheeks in such a manner that it was forbid by the law of the twelve tables, which some have thought was taken from hence: and all this was done to appease the infernal deities, and to give them satisfaction for the deceased, and to make them propitious to them, as Varro (f) affirms; and here it is said to be made “for the soul”, for the soul of the departed, to the honour of it, and for its good, though the word is often used for a dead body: now, according to the Jewish canons (g), whosoever made but one cutting for a dead person was guilty, and to be scourged; and he that made one for five dead men, or five cuttings for one dead man, was obliged to scourging for everyone of them:

nor print any marks upon you; Aben Ezra observes, there are some that say this is in connection with the preceding clause, for there were who marked their bodies with a known figure, by burning, for the dead; and he adds, and there are to this day such, who are marked in their youth in their faces, that they may be known; these prints or marks were made with ink or black lead, or, however, the incisions in the flesh were filled up therewith; but this was usually done as an idolatrous practice; so says Ben Gersom, this was the custom of the Gentiles in ancient times, to imprint upon themselves the mark of an idol, to show that they were his servants; and the law cautions from doing this, as he adds, to the exalted name (the name of God): in the Misnah it is said (h), a man is not guilty unless he writes the name, as it is said, Lev_19:28; which the Talmudists (I) and the commentators (k) interpret of the name of an idol, and not of God:

I am the Lord; who only is to be acknowledged as such, obeyed and served, and not any strange god, whose mark should be imprinted on them.

(d) Melpomene, sive, l. 4. c. 71. (e) Alex. ab Alex. Genial. Dier. l. 3. c. 7. (f) Apud Servium in Virgil. Aeneid. 3. (g) Misn. Maccot, c. 3. sect. 5. (h) Ibid. sect. 6. (I) T. Bab. Maccot, fol. 21. 1. (k) Jarchi, Maimon. Bartenora, & Ez Chayim in Misn. ut supra. (g)) [This information was obtained from E-sword Gill Commentary.]

King Solomon provides an additional lesson to be considered before making an important decision, saying, “The end of a thing is better than its beginning” (Ecclesiastes 7:8). In other words, consider how you will feel about the decision years later.

Ecclesiastes 7:8
(8) Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.

For people who get tattoos when they are young, many later regret their decision. It is “estimated that between 17-50% eventually regret having their body tattoo” ( Many of these people eventually undergo operations to have their tattoos removed, but these procedures are not always successful. Scarring and skin variations commonly remain.”

From Crosswalk:

“Tattoos are more popular than ever. Currently one in five U.S. adults has at least one tattoo (21 percent) which is up from the 16 percent and 14 percent who reported having a tattoo in 2003 and 2008, respectively, by the Harris Poll. Entertainers, professional athletes, and even a 2009 version of Barbie, have multiple, and very visible, tattoos. With such prevalence and rising interest, Christians rightfully ask what the Bible says about tattoos…..

The Bible makes no specific reference to tattoos as we understand them in modern times. Some Christians condemn all tattooing as immoral because God clearly forbids them in Leviticus 19:28….. Further, the word tattoo did not enter into the English language until the late 1700s. This is probably why the KJV, written in the early 1600s, is closer to the literal translation saying, “ye shall not…print marks upon you.”…

Medical concerns – There are real health risks with tattoos. The Mayo Clinic warns, “don’t take tattooing lightly”. They’ve resulted in severe allergic reactions, infections, unsightly scars, and blood-borne diseases like Hepatitis B and C. Tattooing deliberately opens skin and exposes your blood to unknown bacteria. Tattoo parlors are not medical clinics, although they are puncturing skin and exposing blood.

Please, think before you ink. Don’t make this decision hastily or rashly. Use these guiding questions to think through your decision. Discuss them with mature Christian adults you trust.”

From Bible Resources:

“There are many dedicated and sincere Christian people who have tattoos. This article is not meant to say they do not love the Lord. God not only can use them, but does use them. The issue is not whether God can use someone, but rather should Christians pursue getting tattoos? Just because something is popular does not mean it is right. We should always examine things by the “roots and the fruits” of the thing in question.

Tattooing Has Witchcraft “Roots” In addition to the above verse, Scripture also warns us not to disfigure our bodies in following verses:

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

Ye are the sons of the LORD your God; you shall not cut yourselves, nor make any baldness on your foreheads for the dead. Deuteronomy 14:1

When it speaks here about doing this in relation to the dead; this was a witchcraft rite done to mourn or remember their dead. Therefore tattooing, cutting one’s body and shaving one’s head in defiance have their origin in witchcraft practices. Tattoos have their “roots” in witchcraft. Many young people today are doing these very things because of some evil witchcraft influences in their lives that they are unaware of. They do not realize that partaking of these can open the door to wrong and defiling influences in their lives. Evil videos, depraved rock music albums, wicked Internet games and violent movies are displaying evil trends in order to destroy our youth. Satanic tattoos, skin heads and other cultic rites are opening many of our children to demonization.

This is what makes it spiritually dangerous for people. People do not realize displaying a satanic mark or symbol can open the door for Satanic attack which allows the enemy entrance in their lives. It is not the mark itself, but rather the sin behind it. Today this practice is growing because of the spread of False Religions. Some people are so hideously covered with tattoos that their appearances look evil. Others, only have small tattoos that they believe are trendy or artistic.

Now this article is not meant to hurt or offend those that have tattoos, but rather to help people avoid getting tattoos that later on they might regret (especially young people). Many tattoos have evil and witchcraft themes that are portrayed as devil faces, skulls, ugly demonic signs, vulgar pictures, etc. These things hurt the human spirit, just as satanic displays of any kind do. Some tattoos are obviously Satanic as they look devilish, while others may be flowers or innocent looking names or objects but it is the spirit behind this compromise that makes it dangerous for a Christian. God loves the person who has tattoos just as He loves all of us. However, He would rather we did not deface our bodies in any fashion….. Just because a person has had a tattoo, it will not prevent God from using people to witness, nor keep them from being a minister of God. God looks on the heart and can use different things to testify of Christ’s love, even tattoos. However, well-meaning people can be deceived in their methods of evangelism. The highest form of testimony is a life lived for Christ before the world.” (

Can DNA be inserted into your tattoo?

Yes – “A powdery substance synthesized from a simple DNA from your loved one (or your furry friend) that can be added directly to a new or existing tattoo. A mere few thousand cells from the swab of the inner cheek is all they need to create your vial of DNA. The process can also from the cremated ashes of someone who has passed. Once the powder is developed it can be added to any type of tattoo ink and tattooed by any artist willing to do it. The substance is so clear it won’t alter a compromise the look or quality of the tattoo it’s been added to.
This certainly isn’t the first time someone has played with the idea of adding organic substances like hair or a into tattoos underground tattoo artist have been dead in the world of biogenetic tattoo artistry for years. Although [it is]often looked down upon by scientists for their more relaxed approach to Medical ethics. Whereas Everence is made from medical grade materials under the strict strictest quality control standards in the world and has been developed by Leading scientist from both Brown and Duke Universities.”

From Bustle:

“Adorning your body with ink dedicated to a loved one or getting a matching design with your best friend is about as intimate as a tattoo can get. That is, until now. DNA tattoos have become the latest trend to sweep the body modification sphere. And it’s an inked commitment like never before.

It’s already a commitment enough to tat a partner’s name onto your arm or decorate your back with a portrait of a loved one that passed away. Now a process that infuses genetic cells into the ink of a tattoo exists, taking that devotion to a whole new level. Dubbed as “morbid ink”, the process developed by Patrick Duffy’s Endeavor Life Sciences injects a sample of DNA — from cremated ashes or a swab of someone’s mouth, for example — into a tattoo, so that it may be forever persevered onto the skin.”

From article entitled Human Gene Therapy: (Optimization of Intradermal Vaccination by DNA Tattooing in Human Skin). This article has much information that is too complicated for most of us to understand, However there are several things that causes me to wonder just how far will the medical industry go to promote the transfer of DNA into us and by the end of the article, I read about clinical trials being done now and the name alone gave me pause, Luciferase expression.

“The intradermal administration of DNA vaccines by tattooing is a promising delivery technique for genetic immunization, with proven high immunogenicity in mice and in nonhuman primates. However, the parameters that result in optimal expression of DNA vaccines that are applied by this strategy to human skin are currently unknown. …..Finally, in spite of the marked immunogenicity of this vaccination method in animal models, transfection efficiency of the technique is shown to be extremely low, estimated at approximately 2 to 2000 out of 1?×?1010 copies of plasmid applied. This finding, coupled with the observed dependency of antigen expression on DNA concentration, suggests that the development of strategies that can enhance in vivo transfection efficacy would be highly valuable. Collectively, this study shows that an ex vivo human skin model can be used to determine the factors that control vaccine-induced antigen expression and define the optimal parameters for the evaluation of DNA tattoo or other dermal delivery techniques in phase 1 clinical trials……
Skin has become increasingly used as a successful delivery route for DNA vaccines (Mitragotri, 2005). The excellent immunogenicity of dermal DNA vaccination is probably related to the high prevalence of antigen-presenting cells …….More importantly, the efficacy of DNA tattooing in inducing strong vaccine-specific immune responses has been established in murine models (Bins et al., 2005) and the superiority of DNA tattooing over intramuscular DNA vaccination has been demonstrated in nonhuman primates (Verstrepen et al., 2008).
Luciferase expression [wonder why this name was chosen] was measured in intact skin samples 3, 18, 24, 48, and 72?hr after tattooing. The substrate luciferin (Xenogen/Caliper Life Sciences, Hopkinton, MA) was added to the medium to a final concentration of 45?μg/ml. During this procedure extra medium was added to the box in which skin was incubated, to completely cover the epidermis of skin samples with fluid to guarantee full accessibility of luciferin to the tattooed areas. …As a first step toward such a comparison, we evaluated the capacity of intradermal tattoo and intradermal DNA injection to induce luciferase expression in intact skin. Remarkably, on intradermal injection, luciferase expression levels were not above background levels (whereas a tattoo with the same solution gives an expression level that is at least 10- to 20-fold higher as background), indicating that within ex vivo human skin, the expression on DNA tattooing is at least 10-fold higher than that obtained on classical intradermal injection….Having established the feasibility of performing longitudinal measurements of DNA vaccine-induced antigen expression in human skin, we aimed to optimize variables that we considered likely to influence the efficiency of DNA vaccination. …It seems reasonable to assume that the preclinical testing of such DNA vaccine formulations in this ex vivo human skin model will form an efficient strategy to select promising vaccination strategies for subsequent testing in clinical trials.”

From Scientific American:

“It is true that some red inks used for permanent tattoos contain mercury, while other reds may contain different heavy metals like cadmium or iron oxide. These metals—which give the tattoo its “permanence” in skin—have been known to cause allergic reactions, eczema and scarring and can also cause sensitivity to mercury from other sources like dental fillings or consuming some fish. While red causes the most problems, most other colors of standard tattoo ink are also derived from heavy metals (including lead, antimony, beryllium, chromium, cobalt nickel and arsenic) and can cause skin reactions in some people.

Helen Suh MacIntosh, a professor in environmental health at Harvard University and a columnist for the website, Treehugger, reports that as a result of a 2007 lawsuit brought by the American Environmental Safety Institute (AESI), two of the leading tattoo ink manufacturers must now place warning labels on their product containers, catalogs and websites explaining that “inks contain many heavy metals, including lead, arsenic and others” and that the ingredients have been linked to cancer and birth defects.

Of course, exposure to mercury and other heavy metals is hardly the only risk involved with getting a tattoo. The term tattoo itself means to puncture the skin. Tattoo ink is placed via needles into the dermis layer of the skin, where it remains permanently (although some colors will fade over time). Some people have reported sensitivity springing up even years after they first got their tattoo; also, medical MRIs can cause tattoos to burn or sting as the heavy metals in the ink are affected by the test’s magnetism.

Beyond the long term risks of walking around with heavy metals injected into your body’s largest organ (the skin), getting a tattoo in and of itself can be risky business. If the tattoo parlor’s needles and equipment aren’t properly sterilized in an autoclave between customers, you could be exposing yourself to hepatitis B or C, tuberculosis, mycobacterium, syphilis, malaria, HIV or even leprosy.

“The potential risk of infectious spread from tattooing (particularly due to Hepatitis B) is high enough that it is a practice that should be avoided by pregnant women to safeguard the health of the baby [and that of the pregnant woman herself] whose immune system is down regulated and is much more vulnerable to these types of infection,” reports dermatologist Audrey Kunin, who runs the popular Dermadoctor website. Dr. Kunin advises to be careful about choosing a tattoo parlor: “Make sure the place is reputable, perhaps check with the health department to see if there have been past claims against the parlor in question if you still have doubts.” She adds that since tattoos are essentially open wounds, they must be cared for properly, especially in the first few weeks, to stave off infection.”

From Phenomenex:

“Tattooing has been practiced for centuries around the world. These permanent designs have served as status symbols, declarations of love, amulets, religious beliefs, and even sometimes forms of punishment. However, studies are now finding that the nano particles in modern tattoo ink, can end up in a person’s lymph nodes—a crucial part of a functioning immune system that acts as filters for foreign particles and cancer cells.

These tiny particles are measured at a few millionths to a few billionths of a centimeter. Even though most tattoo inks contain organic pigments, they also contain preservatives and contaminants such as nickel, chromium, manganese, and cobalt.

Besides carbon black, the second most common ingredient used in tattoo inks is titanium dioxide (TiO2)—a white pigment usually applied to create certain shades when mixed with colorants. TiO2 tends to cause tattoos to have delayed healing, skin elevation, and itching. It is also commonly used in food additives, sun screens, and paints.

Bernhard Hesse, one of the authors of the study conducted by the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment and the European Synchrotron, said, “We already knew that pigments from tattoos would travel to the lymph nodes because of visual evidence. The lymph nodes become tinted with the color of the tattoo. It is the response of the body to clean the site of entrance of the tattoo. What we didn’t know is that they do it in a nano form, which implies that they may not have the same behavior as the particles at a micro level. And that is the problem, we don’t know how nanoparticles react.”

Researchers found a broad range of particles with up to several micrometers in size in human skin, but only smaller nano particles were transported to the lymph nodes. This is believed to lead to the chronic enlargement of lymph nodes and lifelong exposure.

The study found convincing evidence for both migration and long-term deposition of toxic elements and tattoo pigments, as well as alterations of biomolecules that can be linked to cutaneous dangers from tattooing.

Researchers will continue their observations through studying samples of patients with adverse effects in their tattoos to find links with chemical and structural properties of the pigments used.

This study is not alone in that modern ink has been under scrutiny due to health concerns related to the purity of its contents for many years.

Formed during ink production, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are listed as human carcinogens by the International Agency of Research on Cancer (IARC). Additionally, tattoo ink contains azo dyes that can form byproducts or break down into hazardous substances that cause allergic reactions or hypersensitivity. Black and red dyes are usually polyaromatic azo dyes, which can break down into individual polyaromatic amines.

Phenomenex wanted to explore which HPLC methods would be best for the testing of impurities in tattoo ink. We started with exploring techniques for preparation and extraction of analytes from tattoo dye, followed by analysis using GC-MS.”

From Nontoxerevolution:

“Tattoos have quickly gained mainstream popularity in the last few years. In fact, 45 million Americans, including 36 percent in their late twenties, have at least one tattoo. It’s becoming more and more rare to not tattoos. Although tattoo inks are not something we are doing every day, like toothpaste or deodorant, it is still important to be aware of what carcinogens may be lurking in them. Do those chemicals have long-term effects? How toxic are they? What we can do to get safer tattoos?

Just like personal care products and other cosmetics, the FDA does not regulate or approve any tattoo pigments for injection into the skin. This includes UV and glow-in-the-dark tattoos. Even Henna isn’t approved for skin injection, just for hair dye.

State and local authorities are charged with regulating tattoos in their area, but the FDA does have the authority to investigate safety concerns if needed. Only recently, with the growing number of tattoos, have the FDA shown some interest in the safety of ink. Unfortunately, like fragrance, tattoo ink recipes may be proprietary, and therefore are not required to list their ingredients. So consumers are left to do their own investigations.

Some recent studies have been done to see the possible long-term effects of tattoo inks. These studies are few and far between, but are the beginning of really getting to know the possible skin and health reactions to tattoos. Some fairly common reactions to tattoo ink include allergic rashes, infection, inflammation from sun exposure, & chronic skin reactions. These reactions could be linked to the presence of harmful chemicals in most mainstream tattoo inks. Phthalates and benzo(a)pyrene are two of the most harmful chemicals present, both having been linked to cancer and endocrine disruption. They can also be found on the EPA’s carcinogen list.

Black ink is often made of soot, containing products of combustion, called hydrocarbons. Black ink can also contain animal bones burned down into charcoal. That’s right, not all inks are vegan. Some ink also contains animal fat as the carrier, as well as gelatin and beetles.

Heavy metals are often present in colored inks. Colored inks can contain lead, cadmium, chromium, nickel, and titanium. These metals can trigger allergic reactions and potentially lead to disease. Scientists are unsure of the exact effects.

Scientists have seen possible connections with tattoos to skin cancer, but the overwhelming conclusion is that they are unclear of the role of tattoos and cancer. There have been rare cases of skin cancer malignant tumors found in tattoos, but scientists say these could just be a coincidence. There are even theories that phthalates clear the body within hours and could be the case with tattoos since they are not continuous, like some phthalate exposures.

One question the FDA has tried to answer is, where does the pigment go when it is faded by sunlight or removed by laser light? Are they flushed out by the body? Or disbursed throughout our body somehow? Some of the ink could be absorbed into the bloodstream. Making it possible that getting a tattoo removed can be even more dangerous than the original. These are questions that will hopefully start being answered and lead to more studies conducted about the toxicity of tattoo ink.”

Tattoo Removal:

In just about every tattoo removal case, multiple treatments will be required. Unfortunately, the number of sessions isn’t something that can be predetermined during your initial consultation. Be cautious if your technician gives you a standard answer of 6 to 10 treatments, since that number could be much higher. “It is difficult to estimate the number of laser tattoo removal treatment sessions required before evaluating the tattoo, due to the many factors that are involved with the procedure,” says Dr. Green. “The age of the tattoo, the size of the piece, and the colors and the types of ink used all impact the overall response to treatment and can influence how many total sessions are required.”

Downtime between treatments is another key factor. Getting a laser treatment again too soon can increase the risk of side effects, like skin irritation and open wounds. The average time between sessions is 8 to 12 weeks, says Dr. Green, meaning that it can take up to two years to remove a tattoo.

After a treatment: There are a handful of symptoms you might see post-treatment, including blisters, swelling, raising of the tattoo, pinpoint bleeding, redness, and temporary darkening. These are common and usually subside within a couple of weeks. As always, consult your doctor with concerns.”

The following two links deal with tattoo removal and should be consulted if you make the decision to do so.

My conclusion:
I think, the bottom line is that we need to consider if it is a good decision to get a tattoo or even to get the ones we already have removed. It may seem right now to get a tattoo, but not later. The purpose of this article is to be informed of many facts we would never know for many people have gotten tattoos without knowing the information provided. With all I have researched for this article, and learned from many who regret getting tattoos, and others who just wanted a biblical perspective – When we choose to get tattoos, we are directly disobeying God and we may be causing physical harm to God’s temple that cannot be reversed. We can pray and receive spiritual cleansing, but it will be much harder to explain our choice to get a tattoo in the first place as some tattoos are clearly visible, and we may never know what physical harm we have done to our bodies. The enemy constantly uses our desires to fit in with the crowd, and our weakness in choosing rebellion rather than just being obedient to God’s word.

Proverbs 14:12
(12) There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

Proverbs 16:9
(9) A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.

Proverbs 21:2
(2) Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts.

We get questions about tattoos from time to time. When people come to us with tattoos, we will anoint those tattoos and pray for anything from the occult to be cleansed and removed by the power of Jesus. We also pray for any chemicals that were put into the tattoos that would change the DNA to be null and void and be stopped harming the body of the person.

There are some doctors who will remove tattoos or at least get them to fade, but this is not always the case. There are also some other methods on the internet that say they work. Since that is not always possible, we choose to count on the cleansing power of our Lord to do what needs to be done.

Written by Sister Donna Carrico August 28, 2022

P. O. Box 671
Tell City, IN 47586