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I. On Its Head
The United States Supreme Court has declared same sex marriage legal in all 50 states. Some hail this as a good thing, some bad. What's a Biblical perspective?
God declares the purpose of government is to terrify evil doers.
For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. (Romans 13:3)
For he is God's minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God's minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. (Romans 13:4)
In its decision to declare homosexual marriage a “fundamental right,” the Supreme Court has completely missed its God-given purpose. Instead of being “an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil,” they have exalted vileness among the sons of men. And, as the Scripture says, the wicked will prowl on every side (Psalm 12:8).
II. Homosexuality Is Evil
A. In The Beginning
God has not made Himself unclear. In the first book of the Bible in the first mention of homosexuality, the Lord shows His utter disgust for the practice. In Genesis 13:13 we read,
the men of Sodom were exceedingly wicked and sinful against the LORD.
A few chapters later we find their “exceedingly wicked” behavior.
4 Now before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both old and young, all the people from every quarter, surrounded the house.
5 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 know them."1 (Genesis 19:4-5)
The book of Jude comments on this encounter and calls it sexual immorality and going after strange flesh.
as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. (Jude 7)
Jude reveals the inhabitants of Sodom, Gomorrah, and the people of the cities around them, have continued in the afterlife physically “suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.” Their suffering has never stopped. They were destroyed with fire, and they have ever since, for thousands of years now, been suffering in fire. It's no wonder Jesus said,
Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28)
Note their initial destruction.
Then the LORD rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the LORD out of the heaven. So He overthrew those cities, all the plain, all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. (Genesis 19:24-25)
the smoke of the land which went up like the smoke of a furnace. (Genesis 19:28)
The final lake of fire is “the lake which burns with fire and brimstone” (Rev 21:8). The Lord gave the Sodomites a taste of their eternity at their death. “Turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes” He,
condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly (2 Peter 2:6).
The people were ungodly, and one clear manifestation of their wickedness was their homosexuality.
Before this, the Lord said to Abraham,
Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grave, I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry against it that has come to Me; and if not, I will know. (Genesis 18:20-21)
What did the Lord (the two Men) go down and see? They saw Lot's house surrounded “by the men of the city” demanding to “know” the Men (have sex with them).
9 And they said, "Stand back!" Then they said, "This one came in to stay here, and he keeps acting as a judge; now we will deal worse with you than with them." So they pressed hard against the man Lot, and came near to break down the door.
10 But the Men reached out their hands and pulled Lot into the house with them, and shut the door.
11 And they struck the men who were at the doorway of the house with blindness, both small and great, so that they became weary trying to find the door. (Genesis 19:9-11)
Notice what the Lord says immediately after this encounter.
Then the Men said to Lot, "Have you anyone else here? Son-in-law, your sons, your daughters, and whomever you have in the city-- take them out of this place! "For we will destroy this place, because the outcry against them has grown great before the face of the LORD, and the LORD has sent us to destroy it." (Genesis 19:12-13)
The “outcry against them” is confirmed, and the order for destruction is soon to take place.4
A similar account to Genesis 19 is found in Judges 19. In Judges 19 men of Gibeah, called “sons of Belial” (Judges 19:22 KJV),5 demand to have sex with a man of the Tribe of Levi. The old man caring for the Levite says,
No, my brethren! I beg you, do not act so wickedly! Seeing this man has come into my house, do not commit this outrage. Look, here is my virgin daughter and the man's concubine; let me bring them out now. Humble them, and do with them as you please; but to this man do not do such a vile thing! (Judges 19:23-24)
This old man saw it as a “vile thing!”
B. In The Law
Death was the order for homosexuals.
If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them. (Leviticus 20:13)
In Leviticus 18 homosexuality is listed with a whole host of other sins: uncovering the nakedness of near of kin, those near in relations, or during menstruation, adultery, bestiality, etc.. Leviticus 18:22 reads,
You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination. (Leviticus 18:22)
Everything listed in Leviticus 18 is considered an “abomination” to God and are clearly practices He has always hated. The end of the chapter makes this quite clear. Immediately after forbidding bestiality it says,
24 `Do not defile yourselves with any of these things; for by all these the nations are defiled, which I am casting out before you.
25 `For the land is defiled; therefore I visit the punishment of its iniquity upon it, and the land vomits out its inhabitants.
26 `You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations, either any of your own nation or any stranger who dwells among you
27 `(for all these abominations the men of the land have done, who were before you, and thus the land is defiled),
28 `lest the land vomit you out also when you defile it, as it vomited out the nations that were before you.
29 `For whoever commits any of these abominations, the persons who commit them shall be cut off from among their people.
30 `Therefore you shall keep My ordinance, so that you do not commit any of these abominable customs which were committed before you, and that you do not defile yourselves by them: I am the LORD your God.'" (Leviticus 18:24-30)
The words, “these abominable customs which were committed before you” make it quite evident these matters were all considered by God sinful and evil before He gave the Israelites His law via Moses. These are not prohibitions particular to the law. They are evil practices condemned in the law.
C. In The New Covenant
9 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 homosexuals, nor sodomites,
10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)
What is translated in verse 9 as “homosexuals” is translated by the KJV as “effeminate.” It is the Greek word μαλακοὶ (malakoi) and is literally the word “soft.” It is found three other times in the NT, all three times for “soft” clothing (Matthew 11:8 [2x]; Luke 7:25).
What is translated in verse 9 as “sodomites” is the Greek word ἀρσενοκοῖται (arsenokoitai). It is a compound word. The first part, ἄρσεν (arsen), means “man” (e.g. Galatians 3:28 KJV) or “male” (e.g. Matthew 19:4 KJV), and the second part, κοίτη (koitê), means “bed” (e.g. Luke 11:7), and is used in a sexual way (e.g. Hebrews 13:4 “bed”; Romans 9:10 “conceived”; 13:13 “lewdness”).
This compound word, ἀρσενοκοῖται (arsenokoitai), can also be found translated “sodomites” in 1 Timothy 1:10.
the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine (1Timothy 1:9-10)
Lesbians are specifically noted as evil in Romans 1:26.
24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves,
25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature.(Romans 1:24-26)
Immediately after the above, male homosexuals are addressed with these words:
Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. (Romans 1:27)
III. What Is Marriage?
Marriage has never properly been for anyone other than between a man and a woman. It was established in the beginning with clarity.
Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and cling to his woman, and they shall be one flesh. (Genesis 2:24, a more literal translation)6
The “one flesh” is a reference to the sexual union and dictates what should be a lifetime commitment. Jesus spells this out in His discussion on divorce.
3 The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?"
4 And He answered and said to them, "Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning`made them male and female,'
5 "and said,`For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh '?
6 "So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate." (Matthew 19:3-6)
Marriage is a permanent bond (or should be) between a man and a woman. Scripture reveals a man has the freedom to have this marriage bond with more than one woman, if he so desires (see our article on polygamy). But, anything beyond this is a perversion.
For example, in Genesis 6 angels came down and “took wives for themselves of all whom they chose” (Genesis 6:2). They even “bore children to them” (Genesis 6:4). But, this displeased the Lord, and He,
did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment (2 Peter 2:4; see also Jude 6).
Jude 7 compares the angels' sin with the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah and calls both accounts “sexual immorality” and going “after strange flesh.”7
So, even though an angel is called a man (e.g. see “the man Gabriel” in Daniel 9:21, “the angel Gabriel” in Luke 1:26), angels are not allowed to marry women. It is a perversion.
Furthermore, becoming “one flesh” with a woman to whom you are not committed in marriage is a perversion. Paul illustrates this kind of sexual immorality in his discussion about a harlot.
15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? Certainly not!
16 Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For "the two," He says, "shall become one flesh."
17 But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit.
18 Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. (1 Corinthians 6:15-18)
Heterosexual intercourse creates a “one flesh” union that should be kept together.
They are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate. (Matthew 19:6)
But, when it is done outside of the lifetime commitment of marriage, as with a harlot, it is sexual immorality and condemned by God.
Jacob's sons illustrate this in Genesis 34.
Now Dinah the daughter of Leah, whom she had borne to Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land.
2 And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, prince of the country, saw her, he took her and lay with her, and violated her.
3 His soul was strongly attracted to Dinah the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the young woman and spoke kindly to the young woman.
4 So Shechem spoke to his father Hamor, saying, "Get me this young woman as a wife."
5 And Jacob heard that he had defiled Dinah his daughter. Now his sons were with his livestock in the field; so Jacob held his peace until they came.
6 Then Hamor the father of Shechem went out to Jacob to speak with him.
7 And the sons of Jacob came in from the field when they heard it; and the men were grieved and very angry, because he had done a disgraceful thing in Israel by lying with Jacob's daughter, a thing which ought not to be done. (Genesis 34:1-7)
Clearly, Shechem had sex with Dinah without being married to her. Jacob's sons were “very angry.” They knew it was “disgraceful” and “a thing which ought not to be done.”
Moreover, in the law, if a man had sex with “a virgin who is not betrothed” he was to marry the girl, or at least pay the bride-price, if her father utterly refused to let him have her (Exodus 22:16-17). Also, if a man seized8 a virgin who was not betrothed, he was to pay her father fifty shekels of silver, marry her, and “not be permitted to divorce her all his days” (Deuteronomy 22:28-29).9
Finally, humans are not to marry (become one flesh with) beasts.
Nor shall you mate with any animal, to defile yourself with it. Nor shall any woman stand before an animal to mate with it. It is perversion. (Leviticus 18:23)
IV. How Is Marriage?
Marriage is a lifetime commitment between a man and a woman, and it begins when the commitment begins. It's that simple. As it is written,
A man shall leave his father and his mother and cling to his woman, and they shall be one flesh. (Genesis 2:24)
God lays no other burden upon men (1 John 5:3). Scripture gives no ceremony requirement, license to be obtained, papers to sign, or ring to wear. It's simply a mindset between a man and a woman to consider themselves husband and wife.
For example, when Isaac got married he simply,
brought her into his mother Sarah's tent; and he took Rebekah and she became his wife, and he loved her. (Genesis 24:67)
The making of a marriage license (etc.) is a creation of man. It is not a requirement of the Word of God.
1In Judges 19:22 they likewise demand,
Bring out the man who came to your house, that we may know him! (Judges 19:22)
2“Know” is used in Scripture for sexual intercourse. For example, the first recorded sexual encounter is put this way:
Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, "I have acquired a man from the LORD." (Genesis 4:1)
4Denying the account of Genesis 19, some argue via Ezekiel 16 that Sodom was not destroyed because of their homosexuality. But, that is not what Ezekiel 16 says. Ezekiel 16 says,
Look, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: She and her daughter had pride, fullness of food, and abundance of idleness; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty and committed abomination before Me; therefore I took them away as I saw fit. (Ez. 16:49-50)
Besides the fact that it says they “committed abomination” (homosexuality is an abomination), this passage further states,
When I bring back their captives, the captives of Sodom and her daughters, and the captives of Samaria and her daughters, then I will also bring back the captives of your captivity among them (Ez. 16:53).
The Sodom in Genesis 19 had no captives. They were all killed. The Israelites (Judah) are also called Sodom.
The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. (Isaiah 1:1)
Hear the word of the LORD, You rulers of Sodom; Give ear to the law of our God, You people of Gomorrah: (Isaiah 1:10)
5Belial (בְלִיַּ֗עַל) is a reference to Satan. See, for example, 2 Corinthians 6:14-15.
6 Genesis 2:24 in Hebrew reads עַל־כֵּן֙ יַֽעֲזָב־אִ֔ישׁ אֶת־אָבִ֖יו וְאֶת־אִמּ֑וֹ וְדָבַ֣ק בְּאִשְׁתּ֔וֹ וְהָי֖וּ לְבָשָׂ֥ר אֶחָֽד׃
7 The flesh of angels is not the same as the flesh of humans, as Hebrews says,
For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. (Hebrews 2:16 KJV)
The Greek for this verse reads, οὐ γὰρ δήπου ἀγγέλων ἐπιλαμβάνεται, ἀλλὰ σπέρματος Ἀβραὰμ ἐπιλαμβάνεται, (Heb 2:16), more literally, “For indeed He does not take on angels, but He takes on the seed of Abraham.” Note the context of this verse:
14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.
17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. (Heb 2:14-17 KJV)
ἐπιλαμβάνεται (epilambanetai) “take on” - present indicative - used for “caught” (Matthew 14:31); “took” (Mark 8:23; Luke 9:47; 14:4; Acts 9:27; 17:19; 18:17; 21:33; 23:19; Hebrews 8:9); “seize” (Luke 20:20; Acts 16:19; 21:30); “catch” (Luke 20:26); “laid hold” (Luke 23:26; 1 Timothy 6:12, 19). ἐπιλαμβάνεται (epilambanetai) is a compound word. It is the prepostion ἐπι (epi) “upon” or “on,” with the verb λαμβάνεται (epilambanetai) “take” or “receive.”
8NKJV; NAS “seizes her”; KJV “lay hold on her”
9This could be more bitter than death. See Ecclesiastes 7:26.
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