Sharp knife, freedigitalphotos.net Although the act of people cutting themselves has been discussed over the last few years as if it were a recent fad, self-mutilation has been around for centuries.  The Bible mentions it as being a ritual in pagan societies.  It is first mentioned in Leviticus.  Throughout this book, God through Moses gives a whole list of practices that he commands the Israelites not to do because he wanted them to be a holy nation.  In the midst of the commands, God would sometimes pause to tell them why he gave them these commandments:

“And ye shall not walk in the manners of the nation, which I cast out before you: for they committed all these things, and therefore I abhorred them.” Leviticus 20:23

Among the things God abhorred was the practice of cutting–

“They shall not … make any cuttings in their flesh.” Leviticus 21:5

“Ye are the children of the LORD your God: ye shall not cut yourselves.” Deuteronomy 14:1

There were a few reasons given in the Bible why heathens cut themselves, such as to memorialize a dead loved one or friend (Leviticus 19:28) as part of ancestor worship.  But there were two more sinister reasons also mentioned.  One of them has to do with the worship of Baal as displayed when Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal to a contest–

“And they took the bullock which was given them, and they dressed it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, O Baal, hear us. But there was no voice, nor any that answered. And they leaped upon the altar which was made. …And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon them.” 1 Kings 18:26, 28

It was the common practice to self-mutilate when worshipping the false god Baal.  This scripture also reminds me of the self-flagellation that some Catholics and Muslims do to appease their false gods.  The other instance of self-mutilation is mentioned in the New Testament–

“And when he [Jesus] was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, …And always, night and day, he [Legion] was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones.” Mark 5:2, 5Jesus healing possessed man, biblepicturegallery.com

In this case, cutting was a ritual of a man possessed by devils.  Taking into account what Legion did and that “the things which the Gentiles [pagans] sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils,” as it says in 1 Corinthians 10:20, we can conclude that the act of cutting is a ritual of those who are being influenced (willingly or unwillingly) by evil spirits.  In pointing out the problem of cutting, the Bible also points out the solution to be delivered from cutting.  That solution is to call on the name of the Lord, the Lord Jesus Christ, to be saved from Satan’s influence.  It’s only the anointing of the true and living God that can break this spiritual yoke over an individual’s life.

“…if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Romans 10:9-10

–posted by Harry A. Gaylord–

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