There are different interpretations that people have concluded on from this verse. The issue of tattoos has been very controversial in many religious groups, especially in Christianity. Some people have used this verse to justify the wearing of tattoos. Other people have tried to make an argument by questioning the meaning of the passage.The question is whether this verse tells the reader that Jesus will have a tattoo on his thigh upon his second coming.
Growing up, I was taught that tattoos just did not look good. I went to a Christian School and heard different opinions on the topic. Once, I heard a teacher quote “You shall not make any cuts on your body for the dead or tattoo yourselves: I am the Lord” from Leviticus 19:28. This verse has been used widely to try to convince people that, in God’s standards,it is wrong to have tattoos. They go further to explain that Jesus would not have a tattoo on his thigh as we would imagine today since it would contradict God’s standards. I believe looking at the context in this verse is essential. God is making a covenant with the people of Israel and is telling them how to stand in the pagan culture they live in. As Barbara Lardinais states in her article:
“Whenever we point to one of the Old Testament laws it is extremely important to understand why God required it. That can give us understanding about whether or how to apply it in New Testament times. In the case of tattoos, the Lord was forbidding his people from common pagan practices, which used cuttings and markings in fertility rites, worship of the dead and to secure attention or favor from a false deity. A tattoo might then have identified a person as in service to a certain god. Notice how in the end of the verse in Leviticus it says, “I am the Lord” as if that’s the reason for forbidding the practice. He’s telling them: “If you do this kind of thing you are worshiping another god. That’s wrong because I alone am the Lord worthy of worship.”
I can see that this verse in Leviticus applied to one group of people in a certain place and time. Not everyone is an Israelite. Not all of us live in that culture or setting. So, could it be possible then that Jesus will have a tattoo on his thigh upon his return if it’s not as wrong as some believe? Maybe that the verse does not really say that Jesus will have letters engraved on his skin.
In his website, Mike Oppenheimer, states that he believes that “the meaning is that this inscription is written on his robe in the area of his thigh, not a tattoo on the skin. It is on the garment where it covers the thigh, otherwise his robe would be quite short and not like the robes they wore, nor that a high Priest would wear. As there robes often went to the ankles.” He uses the following references to support his argument:
“Revelation 19:16: “There are several such images yet extant, with an inscription written either on the garment, or on one of the thighs, or on that part of the garment which was over the thigh; and probably this is the meaning of the apostle” (from Adam Clarke’s Commentary) Why does this make sense, because it will be seen by people. The Greek word is epi, i.e. over, upon, it means upon, not in, as an engraving Gr. en, not in the skin.”
I think that this verse in Revelation can be interpreted in many ways because that is just what people do. Everyone has their own point of view. It’s clear that God was not against tattoos in general. Whether the words “King of kings and Lord of lords” are engraved on his skin or on a garment on his thigh, one can still get the idea that this name is identified with the deity of Jesus Christ. I personally choose to believe that Jesus would have a tattoo on his thigh just to throw religious people off like he did when he walked the earth, why not? I think it would be pretty cool.
For more perspective on the topic, go to: http://www.sacredink.net/tattoo_and_the_bible/