Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):
Homosexuality and the Bible -- Twisting the Truth!
Biblical Christianity represents the greatest obstacle to the normalization of homosexuality. The reason for this is quite simple -- the Bible emphatically condemns all forms of homosexual behavior. If homosexual advocates are to succeed, they must either marginalize or neutralize the Bible as an authority.
by Albert Mohler
Different approaches are taken toward this end. For some, an outright rejection of biblical authority is explicit. With astounding candor, William M. Kent, at one time a member of a committee assigned by United Methodists to study homosexuality, declared that "the scriptural texts in the Old and New Testaments condemning homosexual practice are neither inspired by God nor otherwise of enduring Christian value. Considered in the light of the best biblical, theological, scientific, and social knowledge, the biblical condemnation of homosexual practice is better understood as representing time and place bound cultural prejudice." This approach is the most honest as found among the revisionists. These persons do not deny that the Bible expressly forbids homosexual practices -- they acknowledge that the Bible does just that. Their answer is straightforward; we must abandon the Bible in light of modern knowledge and sensitivities.
The next step taken by those who follow this approach is to suggest that it is not sufficient for the authority of the Bible to be denied -- the Bible must be opposed. Gary David Comstock, Protestant chaplain at Wesleyan University charges: "Not to recognize, critique, and condemn Paul’s equation of godlessness with homosexuality is dangerous. To remain within our respective Christian traditions and not challenge those passages that degrade and destroy us is to contribute to our own oppression." Further, Comstock argues, "These passages will be brought up and used against us again and again until Christians demand their removal from the biblical canon, or, at the very least, formally discredit their authority to prescribe behavior."
A second approach taken by the revisionists is to suggest that the human authors of Scripture were limited by the scientific immaturity of their age. If they knew what we now know, these revisionists claim, the human authors of Scripture would never have been so closed-minded. Victor Paul Furnish makes this case: "Not only the terms, but the concepts ‘homosexual’ and ‘homosexuality’ were unknown in Paul’s day. These terms like ‘heterosexual,’ ‘heterosexuality,’ ‘bisexual,’ and ‘bisexuality’ presuppose an understanding of human sexuality that was possible only with the advent of modern psychology and sociological analysis. The ancient writers were operating without the vaguest idea of what we have learned to call ‘sexual orientation’."
Indeed, Paul and the other apostles seem completely ignorant of modern secular understandings of sexual identity and orientation -- and this truth is fundamentally irrelevant. Modern notions of sexual orientation must be brought to answer to Scripture -- not vice versa. Scripture must not be called upon to defend itself in light of modern notions. Paul will not apologize to Sigmund Freud or the American Psychological Association, and the faithful church must call this approach what it is -- a blatant effort to subvert the authority of Scripture and to replace biblical authority with the false authority of modern secular ideologies.
A third approach taken by the revisionists is to deny that biblical passages actually refer to homosexuality at all, or to argue that the passages refer to specific and "oppressive" homosexual acts. For instance, some argue that Paul’s references to homosexuality are actually references to pederasty [the sexual abuse of young boys], to homosexual rape, or to "non-committed" homosexual relationships. The same is argued concerning passages such as Genesis 19, Leviticus 18:22, and Leviticus 20:13. Yet, in order to make this case, the revisionists must deny the obvious -- and argue the ridiculous.
Likewise, some argue that the sin of Sodom was not homosexuality, but inhospitality. John J. McNeill takes this line, arguing that the church oppressively shifted the understanding of the sin of Sodom from inhospitality to homosexuality. The text, however, cannot be made to play this game! The context indicates that the sin of Sodom is clearly homosexuality -- and without this meaning, the passage makes no sense. The language and the structure of the text are clear. Beyond this, Jude, verse 7, self-evidently links the sin of Sodom with sexual perversion and immorality, stating, "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."
This verse is sufficient to indicate the severity of the Bible’s condemnation of homosexuality. Leviticus 18:22 speaks of male homosexuality as an "abomination" -- the strongest word used of YEHOVAH God’s judgment against a human act.
The most extensive argument against homosexuality is not found in the Old Testament, however, but in Romans 1:22-27, a passage which is found within Paul’s lengthy introduction to his Roman letter:
"Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, that their bodies might be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason, God gave them over to degrading passions; for the 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."
As Romans 1 makes absolutely clear, homosexuality is fundamentally an act of unbelief. As Paul writes, the wrath of YEHOVAH God is revealed against all those "who suppress the truth in unrighteousness." YEHOVAH God the Creator has implanted in all humanity a knowledge of Himself, and all are without excuse. This is the context of Paul’s explicit statements on homosexuality.
Homosexual acts and homosexual desire, states Paul, are a rebellion against YEHOVAH’s sovereign intention in creation and a gross perversion of YEHOVAH’s good and perfect plan for His created order. Paul makes clear that homosexuality -- among both males and females -- is a dramatic sign of rebellion against YEHOVAH God and His intention in creation. Those about whom Paul writes have worshipped the creature rather than the Creator. Thus, men and women have forfeited the natural complementarity of YEHOVAH’s intention for heterosexual marriage and have turned to members of their own sex, burning with an illicit desire which is in itself both degrading and dishonorable.
This is a very strong and clear message. The logical progression in Romans 1 is undeniable. Paul shifts immediately from his description of rebellion against YEHOVAH God as Creator to an identification of homosexuality -- among both men and women -- as the first and most evident sign of a society upon which YEHOVAH has turned His judgment. Essential to understanding this reality in theological perspective is a recognition of homosexuality as an assault upon the integrity of creation and YEHOVAH’s intention in creating human beings in two distinct and complementary genders. This text may be dismissed and ignored by those who reject its message, but it cannot be neutralized.
As we open up YEHOVAH’s Word and examine what YEHOVAH God has to say about homosexuality, there are three main points that should be noted. The first point is readily apparent from the passage in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11...
1. Homosexuality is a sin.
We are all well aware of how incredibly culturally and politically incorrect it is these days to say that homosexual behavior is a sin, but if you believe the Bible is the Word of YEHOVAH God, then there’s no escaping the crystal-clear teaching that any kind of homosexual behavior is outside of YEHOVAH’s plan for human sexuality and is therefore sin. There are a number of passages that could be highlighted to make this point, but for the sake of time, let's touch on just three. The first comes out of the Old Testament, found in Leviticus 18:22. YEHOVAH God, speaking to the Israelites says, "You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination."
Perhaps one could falsely object that we don’t follow Old Testament laws anymore since the Messiah has fulfilled the Law and therefore this isn’t applicable to us. That objection might hold water with some if the New Testament was silent on the matter, but it is not. The New Testament also condemns homosexuality as a sin, even more clearly than we find in the Old Testament! The second passage addressing the issue is found in Romans 1. After describing how people exchanged the truth of YEHOVAH God for a lie and worshipped created things instead of the Creator, we’re told that YEHOVAH gave them over to wickedness.
In particular, v. 26-27 describes YEHOVAH’s thoughts on homosexual behavior. It says, "For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error." Once again, the biblical teaching on homosexuality is clear and unambiguous: one would have to engage in serious hermeneutical acrobatics to try to escape the plain meaning of the text.
The third passage to be highlighted is one based on the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God. Paul gives a vice list in 1 Corinthians 6 which includes, among other sins, homosexual behavior as a characteristic of those who are "unrighteous" and will not inherit the kingdom of YEHOVAH God. Paul says in v. 9, "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God."
The Bible is absolutely clear: homosexual behavior, whether between two men or two women, regardless of whether it takes place in the context of casual sex or a committed relationship, is condemned by YEHOVAH God as sinful. Having said that, it’s important to also say that homosexuality is not worse than any other sexual sin; a man who is sleeping with his girlfriend is no better than a man sleeping with his boyfriend. Both are sins and both equally kindle the wrath of YEHOVAH God. YEHOVAH punishes the wicked because they are sinners, not because they are special kinds of sinners, as if YEHOVAH God is more lenient towards heterosexual immorality than homosexual immorality.
YEHOVAH punishes sinners for their sin, whatever it might be. Some people are more prone to sexual sins while having no temptation to get drunk; for others they may be faithful spouses all their lives but yet constantly engage in drunkenness. The particular expression of sin makes little difference: YEHOVAH’s wrath will fall on all those who persist in sin, regardless of the variety. As a result, we shouldn’t act as if homosexuality is somehow a worse sin than pride or greed: it’s not. But nevertheless it is a sin and Scripture is abundantly clear in its teaching that YEHOVAH God condemns it.
Having established that YEHOVAH God clearly regards homosexual behavior as sinful, one might ask the question, "Why? What is it about homosexuality that causes YEHOVAH to condemn it? Couldn’t YEHOVAH just as easily have said that homosexuality is acceptable, especially if it takes place within a committed relationship?" While Scripture doesn’t explicitly explain why YEHOVAH God regards homosexual behavior as sinful, it can be argued that it implicitly does when one understands the biblical teaching on the nature of YEHOVAH God and His relationship with Israel. So our second point which answers the question of "Why does God regard homosexuality as sinful?" is that…
2. Homosexuality misrepresents the example of YEHOVAH God and the Messiah.
Yeshua the Messiah explained that the command to be "one flesh" goes far beyond just the sexual act. It describes a man and wife working together toward a rich and meaningful lifetime goal. It means being "one" in a mutual partnership built to withstand the storms of life. The Messiah's vision of marriage was a committed husband and wife working together in harmony, as they share the burdens and experience the joys of life together.
Even more amazingly, the unity between a husband and wife was meant to depict the oneness between YEHOVAH God and the Messiah, and the oneness the glorified saints will experience after the resurrection. Just before his crucifixion, the Messiah prayed these words: "I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in me, and I in You…" (John 17:20-22).
A husband and wife are to strive to reflect -- however imperfectly -- the love and unity that YEHOVAH God and the Messiah have in their harmonious relationship with one another. Husbands and wives are to endeavor to be truly selfless in dealing with one another; each spouse learning to love the other -- their closest neighbor -- as themselves (Matthew 22:39).
YEHOVAH God wants to see this "oneness" in married couples -- both for the benefit and welfare of the couple, and for the nurturing of godly children.
YEHOVAH God set the example in His marriage to the Children of Israel. In Egypt, after the death of Joseph, the children of Israel became slaves to the Egyptians. The new pharaoh forced them into hard bondage in order to keep them in submission to him. They were oppressed and were filled with sorrow and pain, so they cried out to YEHOVAH God to deliver them from their captivity. YEHOVAH heard their cries and felt compassion for them. That is when YEHOVAH God called Moses to lead them out of Egypt and into the wilderness where He would redeem them and take them as His own people -- notice!
"Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments: And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians" (Exodus 6:6-7, KJV).
"And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows" (Exodus 3:7, KJV).
"Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt" (Exodus 3:10, KJV).
"And afterward Moses and Aaron went in, and told Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Let my people go, that they may hold a feast unto me in the wilderness" (Exodus 5:1, KJV).
"God sent ten plagues on Egypt before Pharaoh finally let them go. Moses lead the children of Israel out of Egypt by the presence of God in a cloud, and into the wilderness by God's Power through the parting of the Red Sea. GOD went ahead of them in a Pillar of Cloud during the day to guide them on the way, and at night in a Pillar of Fire to give them light; thus they could travel both day and night. The Pillar of Cloud by day and the Pillar of Fire by night never left the people" (Exodus 13:21-22, The Message).
“Hold your staff high and stretch your hand out over the sea: Split the sea! The Israelites will walk through the sea on dry ground” (Exodus 14:16, The Message).
“And because He loved your fathers, and chose their seed after them, and brought you out with His presence, with His great power, out of Egypt” (Deuteronomy 4:37, Green's Literal Translation).
“For I do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, of the fact that all of our ancestors were under the cloud, and they all went through the sea” (1Corinthians 10:1, International Standard Version).
"In the third month of the going out of the sons of Israel from the land of Egypt, on this day [Sivan 15] they came to the wilderness of Sinai. And they pulled up stakes from Rephidim and came to the wilderness of Sinai. And they camped in the wilderness. And Israel camped there before the mountain" (Exodus 19:1-2, Green's Literal Translation).
At the mountain in the wilderness, YEHOVAH God made a union by covenant between Himself and the children of Israel. Exodus chapters 19 and 24 explain how Moses recited to the children of Israel the words that YEHOVAH God had given to him, which he had written in the Book of the Covenant (Ten Commandments and the Law). Then, the children of Israel agreed to accept YEHOVAH's Covenant. YEHOVAH God had vowed to love, treasure, protect, heal, and provide for them (Groom says "I do" -- see Exodus 19:5-6, Deuteronomy 7:6-24). United together, the children of Israel vowed to love, honor, and obey YEHOVAH God and His Word (bride says "I do" -- see Exodus 24:3, Exodus 19:7). So, here is the “bride” vowing to love, honor, and obey, and here is the “Groom” vowing to cherish, protect, and provide for His bride, giving her His name and all that He has.
Notice that the children of Israel are always referred to in the FEMININE sense -- never masculine! No same-sex marriage here!
Then the covenant was sealed with a sacrifice of blood at the mountain of YEHOVAH God (see Exodus 24:8). The children of Israel became a “wife” and YEHOVAH God Himself became their “Husband”. It was a formal and legally binding commitment, just like a legal marriage. YEHOVAH God did this in order to preserve a people for Himself in this sinful world and to highlight the correct form of marriage.
"For your Maker is your husband; Jehovah of Hosts is His name; and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He [YEHOVAH God] is called the God of all the earth" (Isaiah 54:5, Green's Literal Translation).
The marriage of the Church (YEHOVAH's called out ones) to the Messiah is pictured in Revelation 19:7-9 and is also an example of the right kind of relationship between a man and a woman. The Marriage Supper of the Lamb (the Messiah) precedes the taking over of the Kingdom rule by YEHOVAH God. Writes Howard B. Rand:
"It [the Marriage Supper] is the induction into office of his [the Messiah's] friends who are present with him at the Marriage Supper. They are destined to reign and rule in the Kingdom. These constitute the true Church or his Body, the spirit-filled men and women who are overcomers and will sit down with him in his Throne even as he sat down with his Father in His Throne" (A Study in Revelation. Destiny Publishers: 1985, page 289).
The Church is called in the New Testament the bride of the Messiah.
Notice the comparison: “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church...that he might present it to himself a glorious church...” (Ephesians 5:23, 27). This reveals plainly that the husband-wife relationship is also that of the Messiah and the Church.
When will the Messiah present the Church to himself? Yeshua has already become the firstborn Son of YEHOVAH God by the resurrection. He has been glorified! He is the firstBORN of many brethren (Romans 8:29). We who are begotten of YEHOVAH God, now heirs of YEHOVAH God, are to be glorified with him (Romans 8:17) -- our vile bodies of mortal fleshly matter changed -- made like his glorified body (Philippians 3:21).
The Messiah will present the Church to himself a glorious Church -- when it has been glorified -- changed from matter to spirit -- from human to spiritual.
And when shall that be? Shortly after the return of YEHOVAH God as the KING of kings and LORD of lords, to reestablish the government of YEHOVAH God over all nations (Revelation 19:11-16). The God family -- the God Kingdom -- will rule and govern all nations.
That will occur at the time described in the prophecy of the Revelation as “the last trump.” “And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our LORD [YEHOVAH God], and of his Christ [Yeshua the Messiah]; and He [YEHOVAH God] shall reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 11:15).
Again, “And I heard as it were the voice...saying, Alleluia: for the LORD God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the MARRIAGE of the Lamb [Yeshua the Messiah] is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints” (Revelation 19:6-8). The Church -- the righteous saints -- are here described as being presented to the Messiah a glorious (or glorified) Church, without spot or wrinkle.
But continue, same passage: “And he said unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb” (verse 9). The “Lamb,” of course, is Yeshua the Messiah (John 1:29, 36; Revelation 5:6).
But the true Israel of the New Testament are not unconverted natural-born Israelites by race, but through grace by the holy spirit, as explained in Ephesians 2:11-22 and Romans 11.
Let me make that point very plain. The apostle Paul said to those Christians of the House of Israel in Galatia: “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye [you Christians of the House of Israel] Abraham’s seed [Israel], and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:29). It has been made plain (Romans 8:9) that only those in whom is dwelling the holy spirit from YEHOVAH God are the Messiah’s. They are Israelites by grace, not necessarily by race!
To the Ephesians of the House of Israel, Paul wrote, “Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh...that at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel...but now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off [from the nation of Judah] are made nigh by the blood of Christ....Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God [family relationship]” (Ephesians 2:11-13, 19).
Romans 11 shows plainly that spiritually “Israel” today means the Church -- regardless of whether Israelite- or Gentile-born. Unconverted natural-born racial Israelites are cut off by sin.
Yeshua the Messiah was born again, by the resurrection -- the first so born of many brethren! And when they -- these “brethren,” these Christians who now form, spiritually, the true Israel of the New Testament -- having been perfected (Ephesians 4:12-13), are resurrected at the time of YEHOVAH God’s return -- and thus also born of YEHOVAH God -- and are presented to the Messiah “without spot or wrinkle,” they shall be marrying him!
YEHOVAH God the Father is the Head. The Messiah is His firstborn Son. The Church is then to be changed to spirit immortality, to become the Messiah’s wife -- and also more children of YEHOVAH God. It is a family relationship! Notice further!
The Messiah gave a further picture of this marriage in the parable of Matthew 25: “Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins [the Church], which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom [the Messiah]....And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.” This pictures the Messiah arriving for the marriage ceremony and his Church going out to greet him. “...And they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut [on the others]” (verses 1, 6, 10). The marriage of the Church to the glorified Messiah is referred to also in Matthew 22:2, where the Father (YEHOVAH God) is pictured as a King making a marriage for His son.
Throughout the Bible the marriage covenant is ALWAYS pictured as a uniting of a MAN and a WOMAN (often representing YEHOVAH God or the Messiah marrying ancient Israel or the Church) in a holy relationship -- NOT a marriage of a MAN to a MAN or a WOMAN to a WOMAN. This is an abomination to YEHOVAH God!
But there’s one more essential aspect of the biblical teaching on homosexuality we need to address, which brings us to our third point…
3. Homosexuality can be redeemed.
In 1 Corinthians 6, after listing those who will not inherit the kingdom of YEHOVAH God, Paul says in v. 11, "And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God." While homosexuality is a sin, YEHOVAH God can redeem those who are enslaved by it. Through His holy spirit, YEHOVAH can change your heart to liberate you from sin’s power and provide full forgiveness for whatever you’ve done. Homosexuality is not the unpardonable sin; The Messiah suffered YEHOVAH’s wrath for all sin and he offers forgiveness to those who would turn from sin and trust in him.
I know it is popular for homosexuals to claim, "Well, I was born this way; therefore being gay can’t be wrong." But such a fatalistic view of human nature is totally foreign to Scripture. YEHOVAH God is in the business of changing our nature. While we were all once "by nature objects of wrath," YEHOVAH transforms us through the regenerating work of the holy spirit to make us into sons and daughters of YEHOVAH God and heirs to the kingdom.
Being "born that way" is no more an excuse for homosexual behavior than it is for heterosexual immorality. We’re all born a certain way, which Scripture describes as being born into sin. We are sinners by birth and we all naturally gravitate towards sin, although some of us are prone to certain sins more than others. Someone born into an alcoholic family will be more prone to give in to the sin of drunkenness. Others may find themselves more prone to stealing or lying or anger or being contentious.
Some heterosexual men find the sin of lust to be quite natural for them. They could say, "Well, I was just born this way with this strong attraction to women" and therefore excuse cheating on their wives and looking at porn on the web because, after all, that’s just how YEHOVAH God made them. But that won’t fly in the light of Scripture! YEHOVAH not only forgives us of the sin to which we were once enslaved, he also sets us free from its enslaving power. When we’re born again at the resurrection, we will be spirit beings having overcome the pulls of the flesh and the broadcasting of Satan's wiles. At this point we will have chosen righteousness over sin. You don’t have to be what you once were. "And such were some of you," Paul says. Past tense. You were once a slave to sin but not any longer.
But we need to be fair to those struggling with homosexuality and realize that coming to faith in the Messiah does not mean YEHOVAH God will immediately take away all of those desires. When some of us became Christians, we didn’t suddenly stop finding women attractive. Bikini-clad women can still make some of our heads turn! But the difference is that now as a Christian we have the power to resist the temptation, to struggle and wrestle against it, instead of being a slave to it. YEHOVAH God has created a new desire in our hearts to love and obey Him that wasn’t there before, so that we can now can chose to resist the sin of lust rather than give ourselves over to it.
So for Christians who still have homosexual desires, YEHOVAH has forgiven you and set you free, but he has not eliminated those desires. Sinful desires will only be completely removed at the resurrection; until then, as Martin Luther put it, we’re both saint and sinner. Sanctification is the process of growing in our desire for YEHOVAH God so that we’re less inclined to give into our desires for sin. As a Christian, you’ll struggle with sin, but you are no longer enslaved to it. YEHOVAH has indeed set you free through His holy spirit in you; now we must put to death our sinful desires and nurture a heart that desires to obey YEHOVAH God in every aspect of our lives.
So then, it’s important for us to see that the biblical teaching is clear: homosexuality is a sin but YEHOVAH God is in the business of redeeming those who have been enslaved to sin. If you have YEHOVAH's holy spirit, you are no longer who you once were: through the sacrifice of the Messiah, homosexuals and all those trapped in a life of sinful rebellion can find forgiveness and freedom.
-- Edited By John D. Keyser.
Hope of Israel Ministries -- Proclaiming the Good News of the Soon-Coming Kingdom of YEHOVAH God Here On This Earth!
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