Our culture is turning its back on biblically-informed laws at warp speed. This is illustrated by what happened in Indiana last year – and the State’s quick reversal on a one-week old law intended to protect religious freedom. States Franklin Graham in regards to the outcome, “The elected representatives and governor of Indiana bowed at the feet of godless powers and chose to protect sexual orientation rather than religious conscience. They cravenly surrendered to the intolerant, sexually immoral agenda of gays and lesbians, and they left at great risk any business or individual that wants to live by an informed, biblical conscience.”
It is no secret that the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered (LGBT) lobby placed huge pressure on Indiana lawmakers to change their law; and they successfully bullied its reversal. In their opinion tolerance is not a two way street.
But what’s an even more foundational threat to biblicaly-based laws is not the bullying of the LGBT lobby. It is Scripture-twisting clerics who would have others believe that the Bible supports homosexuality. Given the reality of this greater threat, perhaps the best way I can aid you is to once again issue a study on the perspicuous teaching of God’s Word pertaining to this matter.
One need not look very far into Scripture to learn of God’s explanation of marriage, and His subsequent sweeping disapproval of homosexuality and same-sex marriage. In no way is God’s Word pro LGBT. Only a Scripture twister could reason otherwise.
Years ago I remember a legislator challenging me regarding my understanding of the singularity of Scripture regarding this subject. He suggested at a Bible study I was leading in the California Capitol that the Scriptures propound something other than what he thought was my personal viewpoint. He asked if he could present a Bible study the following week to represent God’s supposed approval of same-sex marriage and homosexuality. No such study ever materialized however. The following will indicate why — but in the process I will attempt to do justice to the LGBT community’s positions on these passages as I present the following exposition. This should serve to aid clarity and your formation of clear convictions regarding this matter.
By way of introducing the singularity of God’s mind on this matter — quite foundational — is this: In addition to the narrative of Adam and Eve specifically being husband and wife in Genesis 2:24 (cf. 1:27); Proverbs 12:4 underscores God’s testimony regarding His design and definition of marriage: An excellent wife is the crown of her husband . . . As in English, the Hebrew words used in these passages are unmistakably clear: wife (ishshah) means “female” and the word for husband (baal) means “male.” In one sense, I need not argue further. But Scripture is replete and unswerving in this regard.
II. A NECESSARY PREREQUISITE
Before examining the pertinent biblical passages, one should first consider who is qualified to speak authoritatively of the Bible per the Bible. That is to say the Scriptures safeguard their personal representation. In other words, who should one listen to or deem credible when considering biblical argumentation? Wise is the one who accepts not everyone’s opinion on or about the Bible, be it testimonies in subcommittees on the Hill or talk show guests in a studio. The Scriptures are clear: Those who are God-appointed teachers of His Book will be characterized by certain indicative trademarks; the existence of these qualities are intended by God to serve to identify those whom He has appointed as His mouthpieces — men like Franklin Graham who are set apart by Him to teach, herald and preach His Word. Put the opposite way, one should not listen to “Bible teachers” who possess not the qualities of an overseer. Here is one of those pertinent passages that contains such authentications:
1Timothy 3:2 An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach . . .
A legitimate spokesman for God, an overseer (episkopos) (or pastor-teacher, cf. Eph. 4:11-12) will be one who is the husband of one wife, (Lit: “a one-woman man”) indicating that he believes in male/female marriage/ monogamy to begin with! The passage proceeds to exemplify other confirming characteristics of genuine Bible teachers. Pertinent and fundamental to this study, 1Timothy 3 and Titus 1 serve to filter out illegitimate spokesmen for God and His Word.
Further, several years ago I did a Bible study on “Tares in the Church” (cf. Titus 1:11, 3John 9-11) which serves to elaborate more extensively on the existence of Satan’s pawns, false-teachers whose singular intent, per the insight of Scripture, is to mislead believers. All that to say this: Consider the lifestyle characteristics of those who claim to be God’s representatives on homosexuality and gay marriage. Naïve is the one who listens to all and everyone about divergent views on the Bible. Again:
THE BIGGEST THREAT TO A CLEAR UNDERSTANDING OF THIS SUBJECT IS NOT SECULARIST DISSENSION. IT IS CLERICAL DUPLICITY
Don’t be fooled. Consider the character of the spokesman and if his lifestyle aligns with scriptural moorings. At the risk of being too comprehensive and lengthy, what follows are the main passages in the Bible that relate to homosexuality, the presupposition behind same-sex marriages.
III. OLD TESTAMENT PASSAGES
A. GENESIS 19:4-13
In this passage, what was the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah?
Before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, surrounded the house, both young and old, all the people from every quarter; and they called to Lot and said to him, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may have relations with them.” But Lot went out to them at the doorway, and shut the door behind him, and said, “Please, my brothers, do not act wickedly. Now behold, I have two daughters who have not had relations with man; please let me bring them out to you, and do to them whatever you like; only do nothing to these men, inasmuch as they have come under the shelter of my roof.” But they said, “Stand aside.” Furthermore, they said, “This one came in as an alien, and already he is acting like a judge; now we will treat you worse than them.” So they pressed hard against Lot and came near to break the door. But the men reached out their hands and brought Lot into the house with them, and shut the door. They struck the men who were at the doorway of the house with blindness, both small and great, so that they wearied themselves trying to find the doorway. Then the two men said to Lot, “Whom else have you here? A son-in-law, and your sons, and your daughters, and whomever you have in the city, bring them out of the place; for we are about to destroy this place, because their outcry has become so great before the LORD that the LORD has sent us to destroy it.”
The general homosexual “Christian Community” interpretation expounds that the sin in evidence is not sodomy, but rather inhospitality. Proponents claim that the Hebrew word for have relations, or know (yada) has “an unknown or ambiguous meaning.” Secondly, sexual activity, they claim, is not in sight in the passage; this is supposedly supported via their referencing of Ezekiel 16:49-50 (this passage will be examined next).
To the interpretive contrary, the word yada appears 943 times in the Old Testament and is not ambiguous in meaning: “To gain knowledge or become better acquainted with someone or something” is its meaning. Keep in mind however:
CONTEXT STRONGLY INDICATES THAT YADA IS USED IN GENESIS AS A POLITE EUPHEMISM FOR SEXUAL INTERCOURSE
Yada is used euphemistically in Genesis 4:17 wherein Scripture states Cain knew (yada) his wife and she conceived . . . To think of this word usage any differently leads to interpretive problems in both chapters 4 and 19. To illustrate, why did Lot plead with them to not act wickedly (v. 7)? Why did Lot panic, offering sexual substitutes (v. 8)? Is it not somewhat contradictory to attempt to break down another’s door (v. 9) in reaction to their inhospitality? It is apparent from context that Lot did not understand their advances in a friendly way.
Further, the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah brought the following response from God: And the LORD said, “The outcry of Sodom and Gomorrah is indeed great, and their sin is exceedingly grave” (18:20). In chapter 19, verse 13, God’s angels stated, “For we are about to destroy this place, because their outcry has become so great before the LORD that the LORD has sent us to destroy it.” All of these references argue against the sin being one of inhospitality.
B. EZEKIEL 16:49-50
The homosexual community nonetheless cites this passage in support of inhospitality being the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah. But as will be seen, this passage hinders, not helps, their argument:
“Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and needy. Thus they were haughty and committed abominations before Me. Therefore I removed them when I saw it.”
Arrogance, slothfulness and blindness toward the needs of others are certainly evidences of self-centered, sinful behavior worthy of admonishment in any culture. But an additional listed iniquity in this passage is the word abomination (toebah) which is translated elsewhere from Hebrew to English as “detestable acts.” For this to mean homosexual acts is in clear view in light of Leviticus 18:22 which uses the same word synonymously to homosexual activity:
C. LEVITICUS 18:22
“You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.”
The word abomination is the same Hebrew word as used in the Ezekiel 16: toebah wherein homosexual activity is clearly described. Toebah is characterized by males lying together. Leviticus 18 and Ezekiel 16 serve to further link, identify and illuminate the specific sin of Sodom and Gomorrah as being one of homosexuality.
D. LEVITICUS 20:13
“If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their blood guiltiness is upon them.”
Notice detestable acts. Again, it is the same Hebrew word abomination (toebah).
BUT WHAT ABOUT PUTTING HOMOSEXUALS TO DEATH?
The OT book of Leviticus is God’s manual for Israel — His chosen, set apart people in His Old Covenant — whom He intended to be His distinguished-from-all-others representative people. It follows that He gave them special ceremonies, laws, rituals, dietary restrictions, a personal holiness code and enforceability in order to achieve their exclusivity from the practices of the surrounding Canaanites and Egyptians. These surrounding pagans, among other immoral actions, subscribed to all kinds of sexual deviancies. Accordingly Leviticus 18 and 20 have to do with the impermissibility of various forms of sexual immorality — from sleeping with family members to bestiality. All sexual degradations are roundly prohibited and punishable in order to retain cultural purity and witness. Keep in mind God had said,
Deuteronomy 7:6 “For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.”
In the NT Church Age, under the New Covenant, God abrogates (“to abolish by authoritative, official, or formal action”) Israel’s ceremonial laws, dietary regulations, Levitical priesthood, etc., as evidenced in various respective passages such as Acts 10:1-16, Colossians 2:16-17 and 1Peter 2:9, etc. These elements, like the stoning of Homosexuals, are to no longer to be practiced, in that God has instituted a New Covenant for His people in the age of the Church, per Matthew 26:28, 2Corinthians 3:6-18, and Hebrews chapters 7 to 10.
As then, what should be focused on today is the divine character behind the rituals and penalties spoken of in Leviticus. The spiritual principles upon which Ancient Israel’s rituals were rooted are timeless because they are manifestations of the very nature and essence of the purity and holiness of God.
You might want to add or clarify, “Is everything in the Bible that was stated in God’s Old Covenant about Ancient Israel repeated in the New Covenant about the Church? Certainly not!”
Further, “Putting to death of a man who lies with a male” is not a tenet found recurring in the New Covenant of the Church Age. However, the New Testament most certainly does reiterate and uphold the prohibition of homosexuality, but not the corporeal punishment of it.”
It is naïve, if not disingenuous, to falsely insinuate that Christian legislators hold to a belief that governments today should stone homosexuals. On the other end of the spectrum of biblical ignorance are those who suggest that homosexuality is no longer prohibited because Israel’s holiness code is now obsolete. Both suppositions stem from a biblical illiteracy pertaining to a chronological misunderstanding of Ancient Israel and the Church today. Such a lack of knowledge is unfortunately too common with journalists and lawmakers. (Challenge them to begin attending a good Bible study that may lead to their salvation: 1Corinthians 2:14 states in this regard, But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.)
E. JUDGES 19:22-23
This is a parallel passage to Genesis 19, providing further insight into the meaning of God’s narrative.
While they were celebrating, behold, the men of the city, certain worthless fellows, surrounded the house, pounding the door; and they spoke to the owner of the house, the old man, saying, “Bring out the man who came into your house that we may have relations with him.” Then the man, the owner of the house, went out to them and said to them, “No, my fellows, please do not act so wickedly; since this man has come into my house, do not commit this act of folly.”
The words wickedly (rawah) and act of folly (nebalah) roundly mean “profane actions of immorality; senselessness and disgrace.” These words exhibit the wrongfulness of what it means to have relations (yada).
IV. NEW TESTAMENT PASSAGES
The Gay community claims that Jesus Himself never condemned homosexuality. Note however the following passage:
A. MATTHEW 10:14-15
“Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet. Truly I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the Day of Judgment than for that city.”
In this passage Jesus makes specific mention of Sodom and Gomorrah as He teaches His disciples. His main point is that people who reject God’s messengers — whom herein He is sending out to be His witnesses — will undergo a stricter judgment than comparatively speaking, did Sodom and Gomorrah. Jesus is therefore acknowledging the appropriateness of the condemnation of these cities for the reason previously established.
B. ROMANS 1:26-27
For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.
Paul’s reasoning in Romans is based upon congruity with creation. God distinguishingly created male and female (Gen. 1:27) and as mentioned in the introduction, Genesis 2:24 states that marriage is between a man and a woman: For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. Literally ish shall be joined to ishshah.
ROMANS COULD NOT BE ANY CLEARER
This passage pronounces the sin of lesbianism and homosexuality. The literal Greek for the English translation their woman exchanged the natural function is “changed the natural use for the use beside.” The homosexual interpretive idea that natural function relates to the natural homosexual desire one already possesses is unfounded here and in the corpus of Scripture. To travel that road is to fight the increasing weight of context and cross references. Nowhere in Scripture is this Gay community idea validated; it is eisegesis, or reading one’s own biases into the text.
Further and importantly, note Paul’s choice of the Greek words for women and men. He uses not gune and anthropos which describe the dignity of women and men. Rather he uses theleia and arsen which are descriptive of sexual gender only. Paul’s refusal to ascribe even an implied dignity to those who degenerate into homosexuality is a powerful insight into the mind of God on the subject.
Additionally Paul uses the Greek word aschemosune in this passage. Translated into English it is indecent acts. He uses the same word in 1Corinthians 13:5 in opposition to true love when he states, “love does not act (aschemosune) unbecomingly. This literally means true love does not seek after its own lust and want.
In broader context, this section of Romans relates to evidences indicative of a point at which God no longer restrains sin — when He withdraws His common grace. Homosexuality, in this passage is evidence of “God giving over” someone to their own fallen, base ways. When God removes His restraint a person is said to be reprobate. Homosexuality then is a sign of reprobation. A sentence summary of Romans one is this: “When one forsakes the author of creation, he or she inevitably forsakes the order of creation.”
C. 1CORINTHIANS 6:9-11
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.
The Greek word here for homosexuals (arsenokoitas) is a compound noun. Male, (arsen) and sexual intercourse (koitas) (Eng: “coitus”). The word is unmistakable in its meaning. These two words are individually used repeatedly throughout the NT with those respective meanings. Arndt and Gingrich in their classic and highly respected work, The Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament state on page 109, “Arsenokoitas: ‘A male who practices homosexuality’ was the use of the word in extra-biblical literature of the time.”
It is therefore quite dishonest for the homosexual “church” to state that the original meaning of this compound Greek noun “has been lost . . . and that it would appear to have no relationship to consensual homosexual activity.” In addition they mislead, reasoning that the word “homosexual” (the English word) does not appear in the original manuscripts of the Bible. True, but naïve as the Greek word: arsenokoitas does appear, being a much more precise, descriptive and definitive word of the sin in question than does its English counterpart.
D. 1TIMOTHY 1:9-10
Realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching.
In this passage, Paul’s point is that the law of God is intended to reveal by way of comparison to it, a person’s need for Christ so as lead to trust in Him. For any evangelist, be it Timothy or presently, to fail to state what sin actually is, is to confuse a person: what is it one need be saved from? Here listed as a sin is the same compound Greek noun arsenokoitas. This passage and 1Corinthians 6:11 illustrate:
ONE NEEDS TO BE SAVED FROM THE SIN OF HOMOSEXUALITY AS WERE SOME CORINTHIANS
E. 2PETER 2:6-10
And if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly lives thereafter; and if He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men . . . then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority.
Peter incorporates these OT cities as an historical example to illustrate his point. The pertinent words in this passage, and the passage as a whole, are oft intentionally overlooked by pro-homosexual interpreters. The late Peter J. Gomes is such a man; the former pro-homosexual chaplain of Harvard University. For him to have mentioned these passages would have destroyed the thesis of his book.
Condemned (katarkrino) means, “To pass sentence on because of a crime.” In the construct of the passage, such condemnation is directly related to the sensual conduct (aselgeia) “wantonness and licentiousness” of the men of Sodom and Gomorrah. The ancient use of aselgeia was a description of “whatever was disgraceful . . . that which is characterized by moral impurity or filth.” Lastly corrupt desires (miasmos epithumia) further defines the reasons for God’s condemnation. This Greek word sequence means, “A strong desire to defile.”
This is another passage (as if necessary) that helps to interpret the meaning of the sin of Genesis 19. In light of the specific and descriptive words used here in 2Peter, it is intellectually impossible to interpret yada to mean “to get acquainted and build a friendship.”
F. JUDE 7
Just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.
Jude underscores more of the same. The homosexual community generally states that the translators of the original Greek New Testament were unclear as to the meaning of these passages and therefore selected their favorite sin(s) to attack. However, the word for gross immorality (ekporneuo) is a heighted sense of porneuo which means “fornication,” accordingly “excessive fornication.” Strange flesh (heteras) means “another man.” Lastly, the context of this passage pertains to apostasy — those who seem to be followers of Christ but in actuality are imposters. Jude’s point
is similar to that of Romans: Homosexuality is an indication of reprobation, and Sodom and Gomorrah are used repeatedly to illustrate God’s attitude toward reprobation.
Homosexuality and Same-Sex Ceremonies are illegitimate in God’s eyes. His word is repetitive, perspicuous and staid on the subject. For the single or society to engage in or endorse it is to practice sin.
Not only is homosexuality and same sex marriage voided by God in His Word, but biology as well condemns homosexuality and same sex marriage: One cannot be a homosexual evolutionist.
There is hope for all caught in such a pernicious addiction. Jesus Christ came to liberate sinners! Such were some of you, but you were washed . . . states Paul regarding homosexuals in 1Corinthians 6:11. Therein is the heart of the minister and the believer toward those who are addicted to whatever sin — to love the sinner, while inalterable on sin. Contextually, some of the Corinthian church members were formerly homosexuals, but by God’s grace they found new life in Christ! One need repent and believe on the Savior today to receive the gift of eternal life, freedom from, and power over the bondage to whatever sin. Lastly,
IT IS NOT THE PLACE OF THE STATE NOR ITS POPULACE TO REDEFINE WHAT GOD HAS CREATED. SUCH IS ARROGANCE OF THE HIGHEST ORDER. MAN SHOULD NOT DEFINE GOD’S WAYS; GOD’S WAYS SHOULD DEFINE MAN’S.
Legalizing same-sex ceremonies in any state is a very, very serious matter in the eyes of God, and in light of Genesis 19, such “progressive thinking” eventually evokes His wrath.
2 Gomes, Peter J. The Good Book (New York, William and Morrow Company, 1996). In his supposedly comprehensive biblical treatment of the subject he ignores even mentioning some of the pertinent passages recorded in the Bible and dealt with herein.
3 Helpful to understanding what Jude means is the fact that the angels who came to visit Lot in Genesis 19, came in physical form (ref. 19:3, wherein they ate bread). One can conclude that the angels had angelic beauty in physical form. In this sense then, the Sodomites went after “strange flesh.”