The Bible and Homosexuality
|What Was the Sin of Sodom?|
By Jagannatha Prakasa (© May 3, 1999; last updated April 15, 2017)
Jude 7 and 8: "Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vegence of eternal fire.
In like manner also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities" - King James Version.
The word translated as "fornication" here is ekporneuo, which comes from the root, ex or ek referring to the place from whence a thing comes, i.e. the motivation for the act; and porneuo which refers to any type of unlawful lust, sexual or otherwise.
Not all lust is sexual of course. People lust for good food, for more money, etc. The word is also often used in scripture for the act of idolatry, the lustful passions invoked in Pagan rites (as Strong's Greek Dictionary - entry 4203 - confirms). This would include the lusts that comes from mistrust and the refusal to show hospitality based thereon, as was the case in Sodom and Gomorrah.
Moreover, the Exegeses Ready Research Bible, a very conservative source, translates the word as "whoring" and explains that the term includes the concept of physical or spiritual infidelity (Lexicon).
The Hebrews were strictly required by the Law of Moses (the Torah) to show hospitality to strangers. Failure to do so would be spiritual and legal infidelity to God's Law, habitually failing to do so would in fact be spiritual whoring since throughout the Hebrew Scriptures the command is that the Hebrews are not to "follow the ways of the nations." Their security and indeed very existence was to be due solely to the divine protection of God. They were to live by faith and not by sight.
The refusal of the people of Sodom to show the biblically mandated hospitality to the visiting "strangers" arose from - "ek" - their lustful fear of strangers. This word, "ekporneuo" only occurs in the Bible in this single verse. Understanding the word as I have shared here is fully in harmony with the account in Genesis. The people of the cities of the Jordan Plains had been recently involved in a bitter war and had even been enslaved by the neighboring warrior tribes. Paranoia was thus understandable from a human point of view, their lustfully hateful reaction to the "men" who came to them by night was not arising from a spiritual perspective based on trusting God. It demonstrated a lack of faith in God and was a violation of the hospitality codes.
That this understanding is correct is supported by Jesus of Nazareth, who clearly said the cities were destroyed due to their inhospitably to strangers:
"And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for that city."And Matthew 10:14,15:
"And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.
Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for that city"
Scripture tells us that had the Hebrews not historically found refuge in times of trouble they would have been wiped out, "like Sodom and Gomorrah" were. Are we to understand from this that the Jews would all have become homosexuals? Obviously not. The meaning is clear. Had they received the same inhospitable treatment manifested by the peoples of the Jordan Plains, the Hebrews could not have survived. Such treatment therefore was reprehensible, as confirmed by our Master Jesus.
God chastised Israel, comparing them to Sodom. Why? Because of their sexual sins? No! Because of their hypocritical religious piety and their failure to observe the more important things, love, compassion, the showing of hospitality to strangers
9 Except the LORD of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah.
10 Hear the word of the LORD, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah.
11 To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the LORD: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats.
12 When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts?
13 Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting.
14 Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them.
15 And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.
16 Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil;
17 Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.
18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
19 If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:
20 But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.
21 How is the faithful city become an harlot! it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers. 22 Thy silver is become dross, thy wine mixed with water:
23 Thy princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves: every one loveth gifts, and followeth after rewards: they judge not the fatherless, neither doth the cause of the widow come unto them.
24 Therefore saith the Lord, the LORD of hosts, the mighty One of Israel, Ah, I will ease me of mine adversaries, and avenge me of mine enemies:
25 And I will turn my hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin:
26 And I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counsellors as at the beginning: afterward thou shalt be called, The city of righteousness, the faithful city.
27 Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness.
Deuteronomy 29:25 says the cities were destroyed because they failed to honor the covenant they had made when leaving Egypt. The laws of hospitality were an important part of these codes - Compare Genesis 15:13, with "Thou shalt not vex the strangers - Exodus 22:21. At Sodom the people were intent on vexing the strangers! This would be so even if there were a sexual component to the assaults, thus it was the motivation behind the assaults (ek) which was sinful, not the act itself.
The code also condemned worshiping other gods and taking part in their traditions, which is the reason for the two Levitical Laws which are often pointed to as condemning homosexuality and which was doubtless going on in Sodom as well.
Furthermore, this passage says the people of the city "went after strange flesh." Again, even if one insists on seeing Sodom's sin as their sexuality, there is nothing "strange" about human flesh, it's common to every one of us. The "strange flesh" here is the same flesh referred to with the Nephilim in Genesis. These persons were angelic beings, angelic flesh is strange to us and they refused to these beings hospitality as the Torah demands.
This however is not the topic of discussion here. The guests were "strange flesh" in that they were strangers and the people of Sodom sought to abuse them for this reason only.
As I have pointed out elsewhere, offering one's daughters to a pack of raving homosexual rapists makes no sense (even if we allow for such a reprehensible act on a cultural basis). If the issue at hand were homosexuality surely Lot would have offered his sons-in-law, not his daughters.
One simply can not make a sound biblical case for condemning committed homosexual Christian relationships or homosexual Christian people based on such passages. What can be shown, and that quite clearly, is what Jesus thinks of those who, in God's name, keep others from receiving salvation.
6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. 7 Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!
Jesus clearly warns here that any Christian who offends someone coming to God in faith is in serious trouble! Millions of gays and lesbians want to know God and yet millions of Christians, most with the best of intentions, are telling these people for whom Jesus died that God will not accept them 'just as they are'; that unless they can change the very core of their beings and begin having sex with members of the opposite gender, they can not be saved. Clearly this heresy is adding to the scriptural requirements for salvation and pushing millions of people away grace for whom Jesus died.
Assuming for a moment that you, dear reader, are heterosexual, if you were told that unless you become a homosexual you could not be saved, would you receive Jesus? Could you for the love of God deny something so intrinsic to your nature as your sexual orientation? Could you reject your spouse of many years based on someone else's dubious interpretation of the Bible? Not to be course or put too fine a line on this, but could you force yourself to feel sexual desires towards persons stimulating no such passions within you simply because someone said you were supposed to? Probably not. It would violate the very core of your being. It is the same with homosexuals.
Praise be the God, this herculean task is not required. Even heterosexuals can come to Jesus! * smile *
Whoever you are, whether gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, questioning, straight... I urge you to come to Jesus right now! Jesus says in scripture: "Whoever comes to me I will never drive away" - John 6:37 and again, "For God sent not the Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved" - John 3:17.
Wont you come to Jesus right now, just as you? Scripture assures us that "...If you will confess with your mouth the Master Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved" - Romans 10:9. Period.
Please pray this prayer with me:
I know that I sin and that in myself I can never deserve your mercy and pardon. But I also believe that you died on the cross to make a way out for me and I gratefully receive what you have done. I place my trust in you and ask you to be my deliver.
Dear Jesus, I don't know how to follow you or become your disciple, but I'm trusting in you. Please lead me. I give my life to you.
Pray this prayer in your own words. Invite Jesus into your life right now! If you do, he will accept you and will give you freedom from fear and doubt.
Once you have invited Jesus into your life, you will want to find a Bible believing Christian congregation in your area where you can worship God and fellowship with the other Believers. You'll want to ask them to baptize you "in the name of the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit," to begin reading the Bible to learn more about Jesus and this new life and so on. There is much to learn and experience as you joyfully grow in Jesus' love.
It breaks my heart that I have to tell you this, but if you are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered you must be especially careful when seeking a Christian fellowship. Many Christians who appear to love and walk with God have major blind spots in this area, as you already know. Going to a congregation where you will be condemned and rejected or where you must remain closeted is worse than not going to church at all!
Peace, Love, and Light!