Did Jesus Have A Tattoo? Learn The Truth!

By Charalampos •  Updated: 02/19/23 •  6 min read

Revelation 19:16 contains a description of Jesus: “On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: King of kings and Lord of lords.” From this verse, some people conclude that Jesus Christ had a tattoo and try to justify tattoos for followers of Christ. 

Other people also wonder if Jesus could have tattooed himself during his lifetime. In this article, we will find out the answer to this question.

Jewish Law

Jesus, who was obedient to the Jewish law of Moses, directly says that he came to Earth to fulfill the Law of Moses, and not to break it. In Matthew 5:17, Jesus says: “Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose.”

Jesus was a Jew and lived in a Jewish society, so he observed all the traditions and customs adopted by the Jewish people.

Jewish law warns: “Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the LORD.” (Leviticus 19:28).

Jesus, as a Jew bound by the Law of Moses, would not get a tattoo. Therefore, Jesus could not betray his words that he didn’t come to break the Law, and wouldn’t disobey the Law.

The Meaning of Tattoos in Ancient Times

Tattoos were widespread among pagans in the ancient world. With the help of special signs and patterns on the body, people could find out which god a person serves, as well as his social status.

Also in Greek and Roman culture, tattoos were used to show a social status or military rank.

They were also used as a sign of belonging to a nation. It’s known that tattoos could be done on enslaved people.

In ancient Judea, the presence of a tattoo on a person’s body meant either his adherence to paganism or his servile position in society.

Read Also: Can We Go to Heaven With Tattoos?

What Does The Bible Say About Tattoos?

From the point of view of the Bible, tattoos are prohibited not because such an action is a sin due to the pagan past, but because a person decides to change his appearance given to him by God. A Christian shouldn’t get a tattoo so that his appearance doesn’t cause outrage and is not an incriminating factor for other people.

«Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak.» (1 Corinthians 8:9)

As it was mentioned earlier, the law of the Old Testament commanded the Israelites: “Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves.” (Leviticus 19:28). This order of God is fully consistent with the teachings of the New Testament since such actions are pride and have no spiritual meaning.

The Bible tells us: “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). Tattoos can’t be made for the glory of God, because they change the human body that God created.

What The Apostles Teach Us About Tattoos

In the New Testament, the apostles teach us to respect our body, for example, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 instructs us: “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.”

The Apostle Peter denounces excessive jewelry on the body: “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes.” (1 Peter 3:3).

Thus, it’s difficult to imagine that Christ made a tattoo on his skin that doesn’t correspond to the Old Testament and the truth that He told to his disciples.

The Revelation of John the Theologian

Image source: charlotteriggle.com

In John’s vision of the Battle of Armageddon, he sees Jesus descending from heaven on a white horse and waging war against the evil forces of the beast.

Revelation 19:16 includes this description of Jesus: “On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: King of kings and Lord of lords.”

However, people shouldn’t take this verse literally. The whole passage is written allegorically because the Book of Revelation is full of symbolism, for example, the same passage says that Jesus’ eyes are “like blazing fire” (Revelation 19:12),

He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood (Revelation 19:13), and a sword comes out of His mouth, «Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations.» (Revelation 19:13).

Obviously, none of these descriptions are literal. The name of Christ on the thigh is also a symbol, that is, these words were not on His skin, but for example on his clothes.

It is also likely that Christ will have a banner or belt on his body, on which from shoulder to thigh will be written “King of Kings and Lord of Lords.”

In ancient times, the honorary title of a king or nobleman was often written on his clothes, so this isn’t surprising.

The same not literal thing is described in the Bible, that 144,000 people “had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads” (Revelation 14:1).

We can be sure that the tattoos mentioned in Revelation weren’t physical tattoos, but rather spiritual marks that symbolized the person’s relationship with God.

It becomes obvious that thousands of people couldn’t have tattoos on their foreheads, and the Bible only describes their spiritual state.

This is the most logical explanation, taking into account the symbolism of the entire text and the impossibility that Christ could have violated the law of the Old Testament.

Final Thoughts

We can conclude that Christ couldn’t have tattoos, because they contradicted Jewish spiritual laws, as well as what Christ taught people. 

In ancient times, a tattoo would indicate paganism or a servile position of a human, also such a thing didn’t relate to anything spiritual in any way, which means that Christ didn’t need to get a tattoo. 

At the same time, the revelation of John the Theologian is written in symbolic language, and the mentioned inscription was written on the Clothes of Christ.


Charalampos is an Orthodox Christian who wants to help others learn about Christianity. His main goal is to help people understand the Bible and how to apply its teachings in their everyday lives. He also enjoys spending time with his family, playing sports, and hiking.

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