Todd Bentley's Chinese tattoo means "King David"

My fellow bloggers John Hobbins and David Ker don’t seem to be ashamed to blog about celebrity tattoos. So why shouldn’t I blog again about Todd Bentley’s tattoos?

The subject came up again in comments here by Julie Steadman. Originally she claimed concerning one of Todd’s tattoos:

the japanese symbols exactly match what is used to depict the Budhist angel Emma-O.

I asked her for evidence, and she replied yesterday, more than a week later, with a quotation from this web page which in fact by no means supports her claim. The tattoo in question, pictured here, consists of three Chinese characters, which are also used in Japanese where they are called Kanji. According to a Japanese “expert”, the first character means “great” and the third “king”; the middle character might mean “protect”. But in this order they make no sense in Japanese, although they might be rearranged to mean “Protect the Great King”. So what is the link to the supposed Buddhist angel “Emma-O”? Only that this angel is also sometimes called “Great King”. Well, God and Jesus are also sometimes called “Great King”, so why is anyone suggesting that a tattoo on a Christian refers to a Buddhist rather than a Christian king?

But it turns out that this is not the real significance of the tattoo. Now I don’t know any Chinese or Japanese personally. But I do know how to identify Chinese or Kanji characters. It seems that the three in Todd’s tattoo are:


The middle character, the one which the Japanese “expert” consulted for the page Julie linked to had trouble identifying, is Unicode character 885E, with (according to Unicode data) the Mandarin pronunciation wèi, the Korean pronunciation wi, and the Vietnamese pronunciation vệ.

A bit of googling gave me a whole page about this character including this image, from which I determined that its Japanese pronunciation is mamoru, and its English meaning is “defence”. I also found that the combination 大衞斯 dai mamoru shi, pronounced together daieishi, is used for a man called Davids, and the first two characters here are the first two characters in Todd’s tattoo. Since the third character of the tattoo means “king”, this suggests that the tattoo could perhaps be read “King David”.

So guess what I found when I asked Yahoo Babelfish to translate “King David” into traditional Chinese for me? 大衛国王. Todd’s tattoo consists of the first, second and fourth of these characters. The third character, meaning “country”, is apparently redundant, because the whole tattoo, 大衛王, translates back into English as “David king”.

To confirm this, I looked at Bible Gateway for the Chinese Union Version (in traditional orthography) of 1 Kings 1:1. Here is the verse:

大 衛 王 年 紀 老 邁 , 雖 用 被 遮 蓋 , 仍 不 覺 暖 。

In English the first part of this of course means “When King David was very old …” (TNIV). The first three characters appear to be exactly the ones of Todd’s tattoo, clearly implying that this is the traditional Christian way of writing “King David” in Chinese. It doesn’t make sense in Japanese because it is not Japanese but Chinese.

I can only presume that Todd went to a tattooist and asked for a Chinese tattoo meaning “King David”. And he got what he asked for.

26 thoughts on “Todd Bentley's Chinese tattoo means "King David"

  1. The three Chinese characters means exactly ‘King David’. The first two is ‘David’, which was transliterated into Chinese directly, and they are pronounced ‘da wei’, which comes closer to Hebrew of ‘David’ in sound.
    ‘國王’and’王’ mean the same thing.

  2. WOOHOO!! You go, Peter – this is excellent work.

    It’s a SHAME that you (anyone) had to do it – shame on Julie and everyone else who has perpetrated lies about a brother in Christ.

  3. Thank you, Littleho. I am very pleased to have my deduction confirmed by a pastor from Hong Kong who blogs in Chinese.

    Kathi, thanks for your comment. I agree with the final sentiment.

  4. Makes some sense given the large Asian population in Vancouver. My browsers can’t read your characters, so thanks for the English.

    Peter, assuming your deduction is correct, why not contact Pat Halliday?

    And let’s not kid ourselves – the deeper issue is not being addressed. Body armour. A walking stained glass window. Magical thinking. A male abuse survivor/abuser deflecting emotional pain.

    Whose money was used for this body armour?
    Neck, to wrist, to belly to ankle tattooing costs in the range of 35 thousand dollars.

    And the bigger question, if this is a common Chinese character, why has no Chinese Christian stepped up until now to help people understand?

    I can’t get into someones head, if it means King David or a variant, why not in English?

    If Bentley can have Joel’s Army tags tattooed in English on his body, what is the purpose of Asian characters?

    How does your deduction disaffiliate Bentley’s acknowledged affection with Branham and Emma and his other angels?

    Bentley is being positionr for a grand return, it will be interesting for some to see what new body art has been added to his body.

    Seriously; write Pat Halliday, if you are interested in correcting the record, I’m sure she’d be open to hearing from you.

  5. >>what is the purpose of Asian characters?<<


    And I imagine that TB paid for his tattoos the same way any other workingman does – from his paycheck. (oooooh that must be sinful *somehow*)

  6. Bene, who is Pat Halliday, why should I contact him or her, and how? I have addressed most of the deeper issues you raise elsewhere. Littleho, a Chinese pastor, has now come forward to confirm what I wrote.

    Kathi, thanks for giving some obvious answers.

  7. Pat Holliday I believe wrote this:

    Her main site is here (my computer has trouble with Scrib docs); the tatoo thing started with her. She’s been looking for someone to The doc is listed on one of her pages.
    She was asking for help with those characters on his arm.
    If you believe she is wrong why not tell her?

    And sorry it’s Holliday, not Halliday.

    If you don’t want to show your deductions, why not let your Chinese pastor friend?

  8. Thanks, Bene. I knew I had seen the name somewhere but couldn’t find a relevant person with a search on the mis-spelled name. I have found where Pat asks of this tattoo “COULD THIS BE THE NAME OF EMMA-O? Let me know.” Well, my answer is very clear: no! I have just sent Pat Holliday a link to this post.

  9. Hi Kathi

    Thanks its nice to be accused of perpetrating lies. That is not what I am doing. I want to get to the truth of what is going on here.

    There are alot of unanswered questions even if this tattoo does only say ‘King David’.

    If you look at Todd Bentley’s theology from his ‘Angelic Hosts’ document you find he is into healing through angels even though he claims he is not.
    I have documented this under an Angel Called Emma. He is into eating fruit from the tree of life on the last page of this document. You also have his theologian Dr Greig defending healing through angels and he uses scriptures out of context to try and prove it is ok.

    Someone who is healing through angels is opening you up to something other than God.

    Todd says the same angel that started his ministry started Branham’s in the 1940’s and Paul Cains. Branham has strange visitations from a young age and fortune tellers would tell him he had a light following him. His parents were into the occult. Branham did make a commitment to Christ but his 2nd church was one that did not believe in the Trinity.
    Branham always healed through his angel and not the Holy Spirit (as 1 Cor 12 says we should).

    With all of this there is a false theology which says there is going to be an end times revival. There is nothing like this in the Bible which talks about an end times apostasy with plenty of false prophets with signs and miracles following.
    Although I wouldn’t rule out small revivals here and there the general trend is away from God the nearer the end we get.

  10. Julie, I think we should accept that you did not know that this was a lie. What you wrote the first time (my first quote in the post) was I would imagine your mistaken memory of what you had read in the Eternal Path article. That article is certainly misleading; the error may not be deliberate, but the author has refused to correct it. I think you should be more careful in what you write, checking your facts rather than relying on your memory. But I don’t think you are a deliberate liar.

    I really don’t see why you have such a problem with healing through angels. Why is God not allowed to use his angels to minister healing? I don’t think Todd ever denied that angels sometimes help in healing; he may have correctly denied that they are the ultimate source of healing.

    As for eating from the tree of life, I accept that this is a controversial idea (interestingly also the teaching of Frank Viola) but Genesis 2:16-17 clearly does not prohibit this, at least pre-fall.

    I have had enough of you and others trying to taint Todd with false teaching by alleged association with William Branham. Please stop repeating this ridiculous charge unless you have something new to say about it. Each person is responsible for their own false teaching, not someone else’s.

    I am also not prepared to brand anyone a false teacher based on their idea of the end times, in the light of the huge range of views on this subject and the ambiguity of most of the biblical material.

  11. Hi Peter
    Thanks for your comment. I am sorry that I posted the tattoo story without checking it out. I in fact just copied and pasted it from their web site.
    At the time I couldn’t think of where to go to verify it or not.
    So, one of the reasons I posted it was to get peoples comments and for people to look into it.
    Since you posted what you did, I had the idea of looking at the Buddhist angel Emma-O on Wikipedia and that confirms that Todd’s tattoo doesn’t represent that angel as they have the Chinese characters there
    閻魔大王 that represent this.

    Regarding the angels thing. I think we are to put our trust in Jesus and the Holy Spirit for healing, so I do believe that healing through angels is wrong. I believe angels are used as messengers and as warring angels but they don’t actually do healing.
    I know of people who have had such experiences of an angel appearing in human form as messengers and helpers.

    The Lord promises if we go to him he will not give us a stone when we ask for bread etc but we must be going to Him for this to remain true.

    The teaching in the Bible is that the gifts of healing are given through the Holy Spirit to the Body of Christ. 1Cor 12 and no-where does it say that angels do or assist in healing which I painstakingly try to show under ‘Angel Called Emma’ blog 47835 and 66945

    I know Peter you have said that the angels are just present, or if they are doing healing its ok because we have not asked them so they are just doing God’s bidding.
    However, I still maintain that angels don’t do healing because its not in the Bible even though Dr Greig’s document takes scriptures out of context to try and prove otherwise.
    It gets more dangerous if you start saying you can’t move in so much power unless the angels are present.
    Todd says that the miracles go off the charts when his angel appears. This is in his Angelic Hosts document.
    This is then saying that God hasn’t got enough power to heal unless angels are present. This is then subtly causing you to put more trust in the angels than God which is idolatry.

    Regarding the end times, I would have said the same as you about a month ago but as I’ve been thinking about it I have changed my mind. The reason being that as the end times approach (and they are getting near) it will matter what we believe.
    If we don’t believe there will be false teaching, a falling away and an anti-christ we will be much more easily taken in by it all as it happens.

  12. Julie, thanks for your comment 109952 which I retrieved from the spam box. I accept your apology. Thanks for the research on Emma-O. The last two characters of the Japanese name you give are indeed the first and third of Todd’s tattoo, but they simply mean “Great King” and it is the first two characters which identify Enma rather than David. The other characters are quite different.

    I agree that we should put our trust in Jesus and the Holy Spirit, not angels, for healing. Perhaps Todd was out of balance at times on this point. But God is able to use angels to heal and very likely does so at times.

    As for the end times, I am not denying that there will be a falling away. My provisional understanding is that there will be both a revival and a falling away, a great division between those who turn to Jesus and those who reject him. I’m sure false teaching will play a part in this, and so we all need to be careful. But I fundamentally disagree with you on what is false teaching.

  13. Hi Peter
    Yes, if you don’t believe the Bible is the final authority on these things then we are arguing from a different premise.
    Although having said that, I don’t wear a hat on Sundays, so although I believe that the Bible is the final authority I am still working out how to interpret that as indeed we all are as we walk with the Lord.
    So the first thing I ask myself is this a gnat or a camel teaching Matt 23:24
    So for me ‘healing angels’ is in the ‘camel’ category as I believe it causes us to start putting our trust in them instead of the Lord or saying they are more powerful than he which is idolatry.

    Wearing a hat I see as a ‘gnat’ as it is superficial and doesn’t change your heart. Churches that are into wearing hats are usually legalistic (law without love) and generally speaking concentrate on outward appearances to the detriment of love.

  14. Julie, do you believe the Bible is the final authority on whether you should have had a church wedding? Perhaps that is a gnat as well. But to me healing angels are also a tiny gnat compared with the greater things in the previous verse, justice, mercy and faithfulness, which are so conspicuously absent in your attitude towards Todd and those you associate with him.

  15. Hi Peter

    Yes, I do see whether you get married in a church or not as a gnat. Probably what isn’t a gnat is the amount of money a wedding like that costs !!
    (Thanks for the compliment about the wedding pics, shame about the front page of the web site ! which I created about 10 years ago !!!) PS Theres hope for you, I didn’t get married until I was 43, that was 5 years ago !!)

    The reason I don’t see the angel thing as a gnat is because I think you open yourself up to the demonic this way. Branham moved powerfully in the supernatural, he could give very accurate detailed prophecies but then he led alot of people astray with false teaching.

    The problem is ‘what is loving’ – if what someone is teaching can take people to hell, then the loving thing is to warn people. If you believe someone is a false prophet then you need to warn people, that is the loving thing to do.

    But then I suppose its one’s motive that really dictates whether one is being loving or not. I know when I started debating on this web site, I felt the Lord say to me “Have you prayed for anyone yet?”!!
    …mmmm. I hadn’t, then I started to.

    I suppose if I had Todd in the category of someone who was genuinely following the Lord and had fallen I would be sympathetic and extend grace towards him. However, I believe that there was alot wrong with Todd Bentley before he started Lakeland as Robert Ricciarelli says and yet he ended up ministering to the world wide church and the people around him kept quiet / or used him.
    I have all the time in the world for someone who is genuinely trying to follow the Lord and struggling.

    I wrote something that was quite strong along the lines of dishonesty but I think it ended up in the spam filter.

  16. Thanks, Julie, for giving me hope about marriage, but I’m afraid I’m well past 43!

    Perhaps I should clarify again what I wrote somewhere but haven’t seen you or anyone else answer. If we write off Branham as someone ministering entirely through evil spirits, and by association anyone else in succession of “anointing” from him, then we have to write off as fundamentally evil, in direct succession from Branham, for a start Paul Cain, John Wimber and John Arnott, and then through them everyone associated with St Andrews Chorleywood (hence also New Wine and Soul Survivor) and with Holy Trinity Brompton (hence the Alpha Course) both of which are closely linked with Wimber and Arnott. You end up with not much left of Anglican charismatic movement, nor indeed of anything charismatic here in the UK and in most of the rest of the world. Are you, as a self-identified charismatic I think, prepared to take this logical step? If not, why do you accept these Anglican leaders but not Todd Bentley? Could the real reason be nothing to do with the link to Branham?

  17. Hi Peter

    Well, yes, I find myself not happy with the direction that St Andrew’s, Chorleywood has taken. I think they are in danger of losing it by embracing this. My church would have embraced it had Todd Bentley come over here, I think I would have had to leave if they had of.

    That is why I am trying to warn people about this. I think myself I have opened myself up in the past through the Assemblies of God church I used to attend. I always went up for prayer and I realise now that people ministered there who were into angels healing and all sorts. I have had to do some repenting.

    I would not lump together the group that you quote in your blog above.
    I believe that John Wimber was a genuine Christian but that Paul Cain and the Kansas City Prophets were looking for a platform to get their name out there again and came to John Wimber at a low point in his life because of his influence. He ended up embracing them.
    Later John Wimber had John Arnott’s Toronto Airport church removed from the Vineyard group of churches in the end.
    [[In a 1997 article in Christianity Today, John Wimber said:
    “Toronto was changing the definition of renewal in the Vineyard. Our decision was to withdraw endorsement; their decision was to resign]] Taken from the link below.

    He also regretted taking the KCPs on board, quote below taken from above link.
    [[In relation to his acceptance of the Kansas City prophets, John Wimber said:
    “However, their entrance into the Vineyard was entirely my fault, and I take full responsibility for that . I turned my brain off for a couple of years. My son Sean went through years of alcohol and drug addiction. Some prophetic people came and said, “God is offering you a grace package. If you’ll do thus and so, God will retrieve your son.” This man prophesied when and how. And it came to pass exactly as he said. ]]
    Here Bob Jones used the supernatural to win John Wimber’s affection and caused allot of trouble for him and the church.

    But it depends on how much we embrace what they are trying to bring in. I believe it is an assault on our church by the enemy through these people. So I don’t see the whole of the Charismatic movement as wrong but we are open to deception as we don’t stick to the Lord and our bibles particularly closely.

    I do believe that the KCP were trying to bring in the Manifest Sons of God (Extreme Latter Rain) teaching through John Wimber but due to John Wimber’s humility they were not able to in the end.

    I think Todd Bentley is a platform in the same way but a more willing one. Bob Jones is one of his close associates and advisors. If Todd Bentley has a genuine heart and is walking with the Lord I believe the Lord will show him where he is in error as he did with Wimber.

    Writing off Paul Cain isn’t much of a problem for me after his announcement to everyone on God TV that he was a celibate when he was caught as a practising homosexual 2 years previously, aged 70. He has supposedly been a Christian all his life, there should be some fruit by now. So for me this is the end result of his false beliefs and teaching.

    As for the Alpha course, it was written in the 1970’s by Rev Charles Marnham and not by Nicky Gumble. So it was around a long time before the KCPs. I think it is a good course as long as you don’t think you are saved just because you’ve done it !!
    I also only see it as an introduction to Christianity, there should be a proper discipleship course after this for those who make a commitment. – Where is the teaching in our churches ??!!

  18. Hi Peter

    I’ve just realised I’ve gone on about the Manifest Sons of God again. I havn’t looked for verification of whether they are or not still into this. There are alot of web sites that say they are but havn’t authenticated them

    … I need to retract my bits about ‘Manifest Sons of God’ – its getting late, I’m sorry.

  19. Julie, thanks for these two comments, which I had not read when I wrote my response to you on another thread. Interesting that you seem to suggest that John Wimber repented of his wrong involvement with the Kansas City bunch. I’m sure he was opposed to some of the extreme doctrines like the Manifest Sons of God which were around at that time. It seems that in the mid-90s he didn’t quite know what to believe.

    I know the original Alpha course predates Nicky Gumbel’s work on it. But I suspect that the part of it about healing and the work of the Holy Spirit was written or revised after HTB was involved with Wimber, and probably after they were strongly into the Toronto Blessing. And it was only after this “anointing” came on the course that it expanded rapidly outside the one congregation. So if Wimber in the 80s and Toronto in the 90s were inspired by Branham’s angel, then so was the worldwide spread of Alpha.

    So, Julie, you have to choose one way or the other: go with your Cross+Word friends into rejecting anything charismatic happening today, or accept that God is at work by his Holy Spirit through even flawed preachers like Todd Bentley.

  20. Hi Peter

    I think there is a mid way Peter. I do believe the Holy Spirit and the gifts are for today. But we have an enemy who seeks to take us off track and that we have to be aware of and test everything.

    I know you are fond of Todd Bentley and are sure that he is just a bit misguided and it hurts when you feel people are unjustly criticising him so you do well to let everyone have their say here.

    For my part I think we are far more at home with our flesh and the enemy than we realise. We hold our hands up in horror when we realise someone is moving in an evil spirit but the Bible says ‘rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft’ 1 Sam 15:23 NKJV
    We are a bit like a heard of smelly cows in a field but we all think we smell quite nice really !!!

    So in the interests of discerning our new experience I found this link to an article by Tozer, interesting.

    He gives a test for our new experience to see whether it is from God or not.
    Briefly stated the test is this:
    This new doctrine, this new religious habit, this new view of truth, this new spiritual experience – how has it affected my attitude toward and my relation to god, christ, the holy scriptures, self, other christians, the world and sin.

    It goes into all of the categories listed above but a couple I found interesting were as follows:
    In terms of self it talks about our need to have died to ourselves enthroning Christ (Rom 6-8).
    From there does this experience I have had humble me in my own eyes, then it is of God
    but if it has given me a feeling of self-satisfaction it is false and should be dismissed as emanating from self or the devil. Nothing that comes from god will minister to my pride or self-congratulation.

    Then he also talks about how it makes us feel towards our fellow believers. Do we now feel superior to them in some way, morally or spiritually or does it cause me to want to love and serve them more.

    I was shocked when I first read of the fact that alot of the Charismatic movement (New Frontiers, Ixthus) were strongly influenced by Branham’s preacher Earnie Baxter and the links to Latter Rain. However, I think the conclusions she drew were too narrow because everyone has the bible for themselves anyway and even thos who were influenced actually hold opposite theologies.

    I think one of the main tests which Tozer also brings out is, does this new teaching, experience or theology make me think I can sin and it will be OK & I will quote Tozer here from the above article

    “Anything that weakens his hatred of sin may be identified immediately as false to the Scriptures, to the Saviour and to his own soul. Whatever makes holiness more attractive and sin more intolerable may be accepted as genuine. ”

    The first temtation in the Bible was to Eve when the serpent said to her, ‘if you sin you will surely not die’ and that is exactly what Satan says to us today in various subtle ways.

    Peace 😉

  21. Thank you, Julie. I certainly don’t think Lakeland has made me “think I can sin and it will be OK”. The quick action of removing Todd from the platform when his sin was revealed has made sure no one else can think this. I am convinced that Lakeland has brought me and many others closer to God, even if the aftermath has left some of us confused. Yes, there are others it has driven further from God into ungodly hatred, anger and bitterness, but that is because they have refused to recognise God at work among them.

  22. I have discovered a few otehr reasons to doubt Todd Bentley’s abilities to lead and teach other Christians. See here: and here:

    There are so many teachers out there who are very nice people. We want to like them and be liked by them. We want to believe the best in people. We want to believe that when someone tells us they are a Christian and have a Word for us that they in fact do. Sadly, sometimes these people are either self-deceived or outright liars. Discernment is called for. Sad but true. Not trying to flame or be critical here, just trying to share some information. 🙂

  23. Flamegurl, there is nothing new in the allegations you link to, which I have discussed before on this blog. It is strange that people condemn Todd for being deceived but no one is condemning the people who told a deliberate lie about the Holy Spirit’s work in order to deceive him – except of course for God who is not going to overlook such blasphemy.

  24. Pingback: Todd Bentley’s Chinese tattoo means “King David” | Actual tattoo trends and the history of tattoos

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