Tattoos & Body Piercing

“Encounter the Healing Love and Power of the risen Jesus Christ.”


By Bill Subritzky

The spiritual meaning behind cutting the flesh, piercing the body and getting tattoos.

In Leviticus 19:28 we read, “You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: I am the Lord.” In this article Bill Subritzky examines the scriptures in regards to cutting the flesh. He also draws on personal ministry experience where he has found that when people have removed pierced earrings and then been prayed for a great anointing has come upon them and they have been healed and set free.

When men wear earrings it can signify the following:
• They are copying the punk culture of the 60’s
• An earring in one ear used to mean a person was homosexual
• A ring in the other ear could mean rebellion or being worldly or occultic or being ‘cool’ or being available to women.
• Stud in the right ear of a man means he is available to women. This is the world’s understanding of the position.

Wearing of earrings by women

• I don’t see a problem with women wearing an earring on each ear where the earrings are clipped on and are not there as a result of piercing.

It is clear from Scripture that men, like Jacob, permitted his people to have foreign gods among them. For example, we read in Genesis 35 verses 2, 3, 4 the following words:

Genesis 35:2-4
“And Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Put away the foreign gods that are among you, purify yourselves, and change your garments. [3] Then let us arise and go up to Bethel; and I will make an altar there to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and has been with me in the way which I have gone.” [4] So they gave Jacob all the foreign gods which were in their hands and the earrings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the terebinth tree which was by Shechem.”

This includes the earrings that were in their ears.

However, it is clear that when God delivered His chosen people out of Egypt and instituted the Passover, He then gave them clear instructions as to separating themselves from the heathen practices around them. He knew they were coming to the Promised Land and would be surrounded by heathen nations involved in demonic practices.

He was calling a people to be His chosen people who would walk in holiness before Him. He forbade them from copying any of the heathen practices of the nations around them.

For this reason we find that scripture prohibits the cutting of oneself.

Leviticus 19:28
You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: I am the LORD.

Deuteronomy 14:1-2
“You are the children of the LORD your God; you shall not cut yourselves nor shave the front of your head for the dead. 2For you are a holy people to the LORD your God, and the LORD has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.

Both of the above Scriptures refer to cuttings in the flesh – “for the dead”. However in Leviticus 21:5 when speaking to the priests of Israel God said:

Leviticus 21:5
‘They shall not make any bald place on their heads, nor shall they shave the edges of their beards nor make any cuttings in their flesh.

People may argue that they do not cut their flesh for the dead. However, the custom of cutting ones flesh for the dead originated in heathen cultures and by copying this practice demonic spirits are called upon. This is why demonic activity can occur when people carry out this practice. By doing so unwittingly they are in effect adopting a heathen practice which attracts demonic spirits.

Obviously God in His wisdom knows that there can be demonic activity behind such action.

It is interesting to note that the cuttings in the flesh is associated with demonic activity.

Examples of demonic activity when people deliberately pierce or cut themselves –

The Prophets of Baal call on their gods.
1 Kings 18:28-29
So they cried aloud, and cut themselves, as was their custom, with knives and lances, until the blood gushed out on them. 29And when midday was past, they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice. But there was no voice; no one answered, no one paid attention.

New Testament

Jesus Christ casts out a legion of demons.
Mark 5:2-5
And when He had come out of the boat, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, 3who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no one could bind him, not even with chains, 4because he had often been bound with shackles and chains. And the chains had been pulled apart by him, and the shackles broken in pieces; neither could anyone tame him. 5And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones.

The demoniac (madman, under the influence of demonic activity, was cutting himself.)

In my experience, the anointing is reduced when people deliberately pierce their flesh in order to wear ornaments such as earrings. I suggest to people that they take them out because they can bring lust and quench any anointing of the Holy Spirit.

In Australia some years ago the wife of a vicar came to me concerned because her daughter had pierced her ears in order to wear seven earrings. Subsequently she herself asked for prayer and I felt strongly that the anointing of God was quenched because of earrings. She took her earrings out and was immediately slain in the spirit.


It is clear from Scripture that there may be occasions on which God explicitly permits the cutting of the flesh, e.g:

Ezekiel 16:11-12
I adorned you with ornaments, put bracelets on your wrists, and a chain on your neck. [12] And I put a jewel in your nose, earrings in your ears, and a beautiful crown on your head.

Exodus 21:6
Then his master shall bring him to the judges. He shall also bring him to the door, or to the doorpost, and his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him forever.

Where God Himself explicitly permits something, this is completely different from a situation where local culture is being copied with all its demonic associations. If God permits something to be done, this is His sovereign will. He is the author of this decision; not the enemy.

Because God speaks in a metaphoric way to Jerusalem of putting jewels in her nose, earrings in her ears etc. this does not mean that he is over-ruling His earlier commands to the Israelites regarding not cutting their flesh.

This is why we need to exercise the gift of discernment in these matters. A similar situation arises when we see a person involved in the occult exercising gifts similar to those gifts of the Holy Spirit, e.g. exercising a demonic word of knowledge or a demonic gift of healing or even demonic gifts of miracles, i.e. Si Barba was credited with creating gold coins out of the sand. By the exercise of these demonic gifts millions are deceived.

Another exception is the rite of circumcision (Genesis 17:10-11). Obviously God instructed the Israelites to circumcise their male children, but this does not contradict the Scriptures given above. This is another example of God’s sovereignty.


God’s hedge of protection around us.

Job 1:10
Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.

We can take down that hedge of protection.

Ecclesiastes 10:8
He who digs a pit will fall into it,
And whoever breaks through a wall will be bitten by a serpent.

I have found in ministering to many people who are wearing earrings where the flesh has been cut to insert them that very frequently there is demonic activity associated with the cutting of the flesh, in order to insert earrings.

When the people have taken the earrings out and have been prayed for a great anointing has come upon them and they have been healed and set free.

Many young people who have pierced their flesh have also shown me the marks on their arms and legs where they had been deliberately cutting themselves. They have told me that after they have pierced their ears or nose or mouth etc they have felt impelled by some force to cut their arms and legs with knives.
In some cases, attempts at suicide have followed. Obviously when we give ourselves over to disobedience to God and His word the devil comes to kill, steal and destroy. However this is not God’s plan for us.

It is clear from Scripture that the cutting of the flesh when God forbids it has a demonic association and can encourage the presence of demonic activity around or in the person who is involved in it. A major reason for this is the fact that by disobeying Scripture, a person is rebelling against God.

1 Samuel 15:23
For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft,
And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the LORD,
He also has rejected you from being king.”

When we rebel in this matter, witchcraft surrounds us and hence demonic activity is prevalent.

All the above comments apply to both male and female.

In the final analysis people have to be convicted by the Holy Spirit on this matter. We can only tell them what we believe is the truth and leave it up to them to make their decision.

When we obey God we are blessed. I have seen many people healed and completely set free when they have renounced the demonic activity of cutting themselves and have taken out earrings, rings etc that were pierced through the flesh.


When I was in Kaikohe on 12th – 14th March 1999, I commented about the fact that earpiercing brought demons.

A lady from Kerikeri AOG listened to my comments. We then sent to her the previously mentioned Scriptures on the matter.

On the 18th April 1999, when visiting that church, this lady told me she had been most sceptical about my comments and about the question of ear piercing. However after reading the Scriptures she took her studs out of the ears and immediately the tinnitus which had been bothering her ceased and she had a deliverance from several other spirits.

Bill Subritzky

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