Sunday, January 20, 2019

Tattoos and Leviticus

Someone I know mentioned he was considering getting a tattoo and I didn't say anything except Leviticus 19:28. I didn't quote it, I just cited it and said nothing else.  The response I got follows in green and my further response follows...
Ok, thanks for that verse in Leviticus, but just curious, did you read the entire chapter?  
Yes, I have read the whole chapter - and I do not find it lacking.
And to carry it a step further, it says not to wear clothes made of two different materials and not to eat meat with blood in it. So are you saying that we need to wear only pure cotton or pure leather type clothes?  Most clothing is a blend nowadays and that means no more steak or burgers or pork, ect. They all have blood. There are many laws that we as humans break in this one chapter. 
It is not really fair to pull the examples you have made out of context.  There are at least 38 rules or laws mentioned in Leviticus 19.

The law about not mixing materials has a couple different answers. According to My Jewish Learning the main reason for difference in clothing was primarily for the Jewish identity, to not do as the Gentiles did. "The ancient rabbis taught that maintaining their distinctive dress in Egypt was one of the reasons the Jews were worthy of being rescued from servitude" (MJL, 2003).

"Shatnez" is what this is called... and that is the sewing together of linen and wool. I found a couple reasons for not sewing these together.  One reason is that one will shrink and the other will not - so stitching them together will ruin the garment. Another reason, which doesn't really state the reason except that the Torah says it, is that because it is in the Torah - Jews cannot do it - "we can never truly understand the entire reason for this Mitzvah" (Being Jewish, 2017). Again, according to Being Jewish, one can where linen and wool at the same time, so long as they are not sewn together (2017).
Now, to the subject of eating meat without the blood drained... 
Well, first off - during the slaughtering of an animal the "life-blood" is drained off. The "red liquid" you see coming from, say a steak, is not blood!  That red liquid is mostly water and myoglobin.
Myoglobin is a protein that stores oxygen in muscle cells, very similar to its cousin, hemoglobin, that stores oxygen in red blood cells.  This is necessary for muscles which need immediate oxygen for energy during frequent, continual usage.  Myoglobin is highly pigmented, specifically red; so the more myoglobin, the redder the meat will look and the darker it will get when you cook it (Hiskey, 2016).
So steak and pork, etc. are not against Leviticus 19.
Not necessarily giving an excuse, more so looking for a explanation of how to look at this chapter in its entirety. Then we can talk about other things, like women not speaking in church, how are so many women pastors? Or even lead Worship? Just was saying I was thinking about getting a tattoo, not that I was.
Well again, there are at least 38 rules or laws in Leviticus 19 - most of them I am sure you support whole-heartedly, like do not slander (Lev. 19:16); do not steal (Lev. 19:11); etc., etc. The point is that Leviticus 19:28 clearly says we are not to mark our bodies, period. 
And did you ever speak to (name withheld) about tattoos? All of her kids have them and she has wanted one too. And (name withheld) has 3, how does someone who never knew about this verse go about the fact that they already have them? Many questions...
To be culpable of a sin you must be aware that it is a sin - and then have gone forward with it anyway with full knowledge and forethought. Consider the woman caught in adultery - she likely even knew it was a sin, but Jesus did not condemn her - he forgave her and then told her to "go and sin no more." (John 8:1-11) Having a tattoo prior to knowing God's Word says not to get one does not keep one out of Heaven. 

Some argue that the modern form of tattooing is not addressed in Lev. 19:28 - but as for me - knowing what this verse says, I could not get a tattoo.


Being Jewish. (2017, December 18). Clothing Mixtures: The Commandment of Shatnez. Retrieved from 

Hiskey, D. (2016, March 04). The Red Juice in Raw Red Meat is Not Blood. Retrieved from 
MJL. (2003, September 25). Jewish Clothing. Retrieved from

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