Do Birthmarks Have Meaning in The Bible

Do Birthmarks Have Meaning in The Bible?

Today, birthmarks don’t have a significant spiritual meaning. The Bible does talk about spots and imperfections in the Old Testament, and they primarily impacted the works of priests. 

Birthmarks have been around ever since the creation of humans. They’re normal, and about 10% of babies are born with birthmarks. Birthmarks are usually small and unnoticeable, but some people have very large birthmarks. There’s no way to predict if a baby will have them or not, and they’re not a reason for concern.

In the Old Testament, birthmarks are called spots or blemishes. The word birthmark wasn’t used until the early 1800s. 

Throughout the Old Testament, people’s outer appearance was how they were judged. There were stricter rules about someone’s physical appearance, and it included birthmarks or blemishes. 

According to the Bible, having a small birthmark wouldn’t mean much. Based on some Old Testament scriptures, a birthmark could disqualify you from being a priest. In the New Testament, birthmarks don’t have any significant meaning.

The priests also inspected animals that would be sacrificed. If an animal had any marks or blemishes, it wouldn’t be used as a sacrifice. 

We can’t be exactly sure about how strict the rules about spots and blemishes are. Some birthmarks are very small and covered by normal clothes. If a birthmark was obvious, that person would likely be disqualified for priestly duties. It might sound ridiculous that a birthmark could disqualify you as a priest, but the rules for priests were very strict. 

Leviticus 21 gives us a list of rules for Old Testament priests. 

They weren’t allowed to shave their head, their hair had to be well kept, they couldn’t shave the edges of their beard, and they couldn’t have any physical blemishes or defects.

Hebrews 10:22

"Priests must not shave their heads or shave off the edges of their beards or cut their bodies. They must be holy to their God and must not profane the name of their God. Because they present the food offerings to the Lord, the food of their God, they are to be holy."
Leviticus 21:5-6 NIV
“The high priest, the one among his brothers who has had the anointing oil poured on his head and who has been ordained to wear the priestly garments, must not let his hair become unkempt or tear his clothes."
Leviticus 21:10 NIV
The Lord said to Moses, “Say to Aaron: ‘For the generations to come none of your descendants who has a defect may come near to offer the food of his God. No man who has any defect may come near: no man who is blind or lame, disfigured or deformed; no man with a crippled foot or hand, or who is a hunchback or a dwarf, or who has any eye defect, or who has festering or running sores or damaged testicles. No descendant of Aaron the priest who has any defect is to come near to present the food offerings to the Lord. He has a defect; he must not come near to offer the food of his God."
Leviticus 21:16-21 NIV

Thankfully, we live in a new covenant with God. Instead of relying on a priest to communicate with God for us, we can go to him ourselves. And unlike many other religions, our outward appearance doesn’t affect our relationship or closeness with God.

What was considered a defect in the Old Testament is considered uniqueness in the New Testament. If we want to, we can shave our heads, or trim our beards however we like. God created us to be 100% unique and doesn’t make judgements based on our appearance. 

Today, God is more concerned about the condition of our heart, and we can draw near to him through our faith, and not by what we wear, how we style our hair, or the marks we have on our skin. 

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