Does this mean a tattoo?
Deuteronomy 6:4 - 9
NKJV - 4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! 5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
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I believe that Moses' instruction given to the Israelites to tie God’s law on the right hand or on the forehead (Deut 6:8) was meant only in a symbolical way. The right hand in the Bible is a symbol of work (Ecclesiastes 9:10), which has to do with action and behavior, while the forehead has to do with the mind or mental commitment. It meant to be mindful of God’s law in everything they did and thought. In Matthew 5:21, 22 Jesus explains that one can commit murder not only with his hand but also in his mind. The Pharisees in their zeal developed this system where Torah texts were written on parchment and placed in small black leather cubes and worn on the forehead and right arm. In Matthew 23:5-7 Jesus was rebuking the Pharisees for this practice, for only pretending to keep the law and showing off. The same reference is found in Revelation 13:16, 17. In the final days, there will be two systems of worship - the true God's worship and Satan's counterfeit worship. Some will choose to receive the mark of the beast on their hands out of convenience (symbolically marked by their actions) while others will be fully committed mentally and spiritually to the false worship (marked symbolically on their foreheads). The devil doesn’t care whether one worships him out of conviction or out of coercion. God, however, wants us to serve Him out of love, not fear (1 John 4:18).
My understanding is that this command was/is observed by Jews in biblical times (as well as by Orthodox Jews to the present day) not through the use of tattoos, but by writing the Hebrew words of passages such as Deuteronomy 11:15-21 or Exodus 13:1-16 on small parchment rolls, which are then encased in metal covers (referred to in Hebrew as "tefillin") and worn bound to the brow (where they were commonly referred to as "frontlets" in English versions of the Bible) and arm during periods of prayer.
When we read this verse in context from the beginning of chapter 6 the meaning makes more sense. Moses said to the Israelites: “These are the commands, decrees and laws the Lord your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. Hear, Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, promised you.” (Deuteronomy 6:1-3) Obeying God was the most important thing they needed to do. And Moses knew who easily the people could be distracted and enticed by the cultures around them and their old way of life. That’s why Moses also said “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates” (Deuteronomy 6:6-9). Moses is exhorting them to remember the Lord and his commandments all day long and in everything they do, so they would obey them. We look at our hands all day long and we would be reminded of God’s commands if they were tied there. Others would see our foreheads every time they looked at us and would be reminded too. For centuries Christians have worn a necklace with a cross attached as a reminder all day long that we belong to Jesus, that he is our Lord and Saviour. In this culture we live in, with so many distractions, attractions, and enticements, how do we remind ourselves how important it is to obey God?
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