The Heavenly Tattoo
by Joseph Franks
Tattoos have always been controversial. In the Old Testament Church, they were strictly forbidden by God. Additionally, throughout the majority of the New Testament Church era, they have been taboo. However, in the books of Ezekiel and Revelation, there is a heavenly tattoo that is most holy and desirable. When one receives this tattoo, he or she finds safety from the judgment to come. The question is, “Do you have the heavenly tattoo?”
In Ezekiel 7, we see the Lord is hot with wrath over the sin of Israel. For many centuries she has disregarded the holy will of God. Her culture is rank, and now disaster is coming. Doom is on the horizon.
Ezekiel 7:1–4 The word of the Lord came to me: “And you, O son of man, thus says the Lord God to the land of Israel: An end! The end has come upon the four corners of the land. Now the end is upon you, and I will send my anger upon you; I will judge you according to your ways, and I will punish you for all your abominations. And my eye will not spare you, nor will I have pity, but I will punish you for your ways, while your abominations are in your midst. Then you will know that I am the Lord.
In Ezekiel 8 we see gross iniquity is even found in the holy Temple. There is a fascinating verse that all men should take to heart, especially ministers.
Ezekiel 8:12–13 Then he said to me, “Son of man, have you seen what the elders of the house of Israel are doing in the dark, each in his room of pictures? For they say, ‘The Lord does not see us, the Lord has forsaken the land.’ ” He said also to me, “You will see still greater abominations that they commit.”
I do not think Ezekiel has pornography in mind, but you would have to admit this would be a fantastic verse to read before preaching a message on visual sexual sin. However, I digress.
In Israel, the sinful culture is not restrained by the church, for the church and her ministers are equally perverse. Once again, God declares his wrathful intentions.
Ezekiel 8:18 Therefore I will act in wrath. My eye will not spare, nor will I have pity. And though they cry in my ears with a loud voice, I will not hear them.”
Then comes the relevant passage in chapter nine. Angels of death are in the city and about to do their work. However, before they are sent out, the Lord gives the following order:
Ezekiel 9:4–6 And the Lord said to him, “Pass through the city, through Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed in it.” And to the others he said in my hearing, “Pass through the city after him, and strike. Your eye shall not spare, and you shall show no pity. Kill old men outright, young men and maidens, little children and women, but touch no one on whom is the mark. And begin at my sanctuary.” So they began with the elders who were before the house.
God is ready to execute his justice and devastate sinners. However, some are to receive his heavenly mark and be spared. God will tattoo and save those who “sign and groan over all the abominations that are committed.” When the angels of death see hatred for sin, they are to pass over the sinful individual and pour out their judgment elsewhere.
So once again, do you have the heavenly tattoo? Does God, who reads the heart, see within you a loathing for sin? Or does God see someone who thinks sin is cute. Does God see someone who can do that which is evil and could not care less, or does he see someone broken over iniquity?
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “Blessed are they who mourn for they will be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4) Hatred for sin is a characteristic of God’s people found in both the Old and New Testaments. When God sends his Spirit of revival, hearts are made new and affections change. The Old Nature is still present and active, but it is warred against by the New Nature. If you find yourself like the Apostle Paul saying, “O wretched man that I am, who will save me from this body of death,” that is great news. Sighing over abomination, the heavenly mark of God’s good favor, and salvation go hand in hand. It is unnatural for you to sigh and grieve over sin. To do so is a mark of supernatural new birth. Allow your loathing of sin to improve your assurance of grace.
However, if you and I are individuals who can sin freely and are not internally troubled, we should be trembling right now. God does not change. He appreciates sin no more today than in Ezekiel’s time. However, there is still an opportunity for repentance. I encourage you to call upon Christ to change your affections. Perhaps today is the day of your salvation. Perhaps today is the day you will find a true internal hatred for sin. And until the final day, all who call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Devotional Reading Schedule:
Friday, November 15: Ezekiel 7-9; Hebrews 10:24-39
Saturday, November 16: Ezekiel 10-12; Hebrews 11:1-19
Sunday, November 17: Ezekiel 13-15; Hebrews 11:20-40