Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Same Old Debate

Once again, I got into a debate with a friend of mine who is Jewish. And the debate...ta da is on the subject of tattoos.

For those who don't know (and I cannot believe that they don't know), the Bible states in Leviticus 19:28 "Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD. (King James Version).

It's pretty plain and obvious, I would think. Don't get a tattoo. But it gets so complex from there on.

  My rebuttal. as an individual that was raised both Christian and Jewish, always begins with a "Yes, but."....You take the Bible too literal....But you can't hold modern society to ancient law", and so and so forth.   And I can understand his side being from a quite conservative Jewish family that eats, dresses and lives according to ancient law. 

But for Christians, it's just different. 

First of all, the writing: 
Leviticus 19:23-28 23 “When you enter the land and plant fruit trees, leave the fruit unharvested for the first three years and consider it forbidden.[f] Do not eat it. 24 In the fourth year the entire crop must be consecrated to the Lord as a celebration of praise. 25 Finally, in the fifth year you may eat the fruit. If you follow this pattern, your harvest will increase. I am the Lord your God. 26 “Do not eat meat that has not been drained of its blood. “Do not practice fortune-telling or witchcraft. 27 “Do not trim off the hair on your temples or trim your beards. 28 “Do not cut your bodies for the dead, and do not mark your skin with tattoos. I am the Lord.

If you read this certain section, you will see the God was telling the Jewish people to stay away from their rather heathen neighbors who practiced the art of carving into their flesh in mourning of their dead. Of course He also warned them to not follow the practice of swallow fresh animal blood, which was also an ancient pagan custom. God did not want the mixing of the Jewish community with the heathens for He knew that this would lead his people to 'false' Gods and we remember what turmoil that would lead into. 

The point is that the scripture was for the Jews, but not the Christians. Sometimes this is a difficult aspect for today's Christians to wrap their head around because the scripture is so 'to-the-point' that it must be a law or even close to a commandment. Hence the reason why a great many Christians still debate this subject. 

This calls for a trip back in time on not the Christians but the Jews. The ancient Jewish community had become influenced by many other countries. Most of us know about the Egyptian influences(which also influenced the art of tattoos). But The Jewish people were also influenced by the Greeks thus forming the Hellenic Judaism of the second Temple movement, among others.
This group was more Greek than Jewish , a Rabbi could be seen participating in physical-Olympic type events and there were many mixed marriages between the Jews and other races; even pagan races. Of course they weren't the only ones. The Cypriot of Non-Egyptian North Africa, Aramaic Jews, Turkish, etc. And they were creating mixed marriages. 

After reading about what surrounded the ancient Jews, I can very well understand God's viewpoint in protecting His people. He protected his children, gave them abundance only to have the bad neighbors next door come and mess up all of His hard work.  I imagine that is how God felt when he checked in on his children, and like any parent, it was 'Oh, NO,  Not on my watch!" 
  
But we, as modern folk are always in a hurry, never checking the milk's expiration date. We want to rush ahead and not read the fine print. We don't read the whole story before judging what is right or wrong. And we definitely don't spend enough checking out the why's and when's of the situation.

Now I'm not real crazy about tattoos but I'm also not one that is going to say that it's against the rules. Being a Christian I don't believe in categorizing people. If she wants to have half her body covered with ink and finds God, that is great. However I doubt the debate with will ever end because there are more than a few of God's children who believe in looks rather than heart.









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