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PART 2 - Page 7 of 34
Old Testament Teachings Regarding Male-on-Male Sex
The Leviticus and Deuteronomy Holiness Codes
What Does Abomination Mean?
If one of the laws Of The Holiness Code applies today, then they all would have to be observed, Correct?
Sodom and Gomorrah
The Holiness Codes and Their Purposes
The only time that same-sex sexual behavior is mentioned in the Old Testament is in the Leviticus and Deuteronomy Holiness Codes. And I believe that God put The Holiness Code and the long list of Jewish purity laws in place for the following 3 purposes:
1) To separate the Jewish people in God’s eyes from their idol worshiping neighbors. The Canaanites and Moabites worshiped images of created things rather than God himself and God abhorred this practice. Leviticus 18:3-4 (NLT) reads:
So do not act like the people in Egypt, where you used to live, or like the people of Canaan, where I am taking you. You must not imitate their way of life. You must obey all my regulations and be careful to obey my decrees, for I am the Lord your God.
And part of these neighboring countries' way of life was the practice of male-on-male anal
intercourse by male temple prostitutes. This was part of the religious sexual
rituals or fertility rites of the pagan religions in the Canaanite and Moabite
nations that surrounded the Jews in their new home after fleeing Egypt.
2) To require that the people of Israel be ceremonially clean or ritually pure.
3) And as a side benefit for His people, to make sure that they practiced better hygiene than their neighbors.
Examples of prohibited conduct under the Holiness Codes
Leviticus 20:13 (New King James Version) reads "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."
Other commandments in Leviticus include: do not eat meat with blood
in it, do not to wear garments made of two kinds of yarn, do not to plant fields
with two kinds of seed, and do not be tattooed, as well as specific instructions
on a whole list of sexual matters. These forbidden sexual issues in Leviticus 18
and 20 include bestiality (sexual intercourse with animals), incest (sexual
intercourse between close relatives), the above mentioned male homosexual acts,
adultery, and sexual intercourse with a woman during her menstrual period. (1)
Also prohibited is cursing one's parents, eating rabbit and sea animals
without fins or scales like shrimp or lobsters, acting as a fortune teller or
medium and doing a host of other things.
What Does Abomination Mean?
And when any Israelite committed one of these abominations, the penalty was death. But when the term abomination is used in the Hebrew Bible it is always used to address a ritual impurity or wrong. It is never used to refer to something that is innately immoral. Eating pork was not innately immoral for a Jew, but it was an abomination because it was a violation of a ritual requirement (Pigs were considered unclean [Lev. 20:25 and 26 largely defines an abomination as another word for unclean] or impure because as a land animal they did not meet the requirement of being able to chew the cud). Now returning to the issue of homosexuality, remember that there is no ability to procreate when homosexual behavior is permitted. So it was a violation of a cultural norm (and therefore impure). Onan committed an abomination in Genesis 38:8-10 where he is sentenced to death because he ejaculates out of the woman's body so that his partner doesn't get pregnant. As the King James Version says [paraphrasing], "Onan spills his seed on the ground and God strikes him dead." It was ritually impure, an abomination. (2)
If one of the laws Of The Holiness Code applies today, then they all would have to be observed, Correct?
So this argument in Leviticus regarding homosexual sexual acts is religious, not ethical or moral. That is to say, no thought is given to whether the sex in itself is right or wrong. In other words it is a religious taboo, and not something unethical or wrong in itself in ancient Israel. The intent is to keep Jewish identity strong. The concern is purity. (3)
Also there are three other problems when you try to apply any Old Testament scripture to the issue of modern day homosexuality. First of all, as a Christian I believe that Christ’s death and resurrection set aside all of these laws of the Old Testament (Galatians 2:15-16) and ushered in a new way of living based on only the two love commandments that Jesus gave us in Matthew 22:37-40. And secondly, we have to ask again, what does all this have to do with two people of the same sex living in a committed, monogamous, loving relationship with the blessing of God in today’s world? And lastly, nobody believes that God meant for all these laws to apply to today's world - [see the letter to Dr. Laura below]. Because it stands to reason that if one of these laws should be applied, then they all would have to be observed, correct? For example, if all the kids in the world were put to death for cursing their parents at one time or another in the heat of an argument, wouldn't civilization as we know it and the people in it cease to exist in short order, ha-ha?
The Boring Stuff - A Hebrew Word Study
According to Daniel A. Helminiak, Ph.D., in his book What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality, the very Hebrew term used in Leviticus conveys the meaning as just explained above. "Abomination" is a translation of the word toevah. This term could also be translated "uncleanness" or "impurity" or "dirtiness." "Taboo," what is culturally or ritually forbidden, would be another good translation.
The significance of the term toevah becomes clear when you realize that another Hebrew term zimah could have been used - if that was what the authors intended. Zimah means, not what is objectionable for religious or cultural reasons, but what is wrong in itself. It means an injustice, a sin.
Clearly, then, Leviticus does not say that for man to lie with man is a sin. Leviticus says it is a ritual violation, an uncleanness; it is something "dirty". (4)
Genesis 19 - Sodom
and Gomorrah - (a paraphrase)
God sent two angels to warn Abraham’s nephew, Lot, about the approaching destruction of Sodom. They came to the city of Sodom and Lot, who was a resident alien in the town at best himself, welcomed them into his home and prepared a meal for them. According to L. R. Holben in What Christians Think about Homosexuality-Six Representative Viewpoints, "In the violent, tribal society of his time and place, he is to some extent a suspect personage by definition - not one of 'us'. Add to that reality the fact of his bringing two strangers into his house at night (behind the security of the city's walls and locked gate) and a situation is created in which Lot's neighbors might well feel there was a legitimate reason for concern: the two visitors could be spies, the advance party of the many hostile nomadic groups that perpetually swept the Fertile Crescent pillaging and enslaving the more settled communities in their path." Then based of these fears, all the men of Sodom, young and old, surrounded the house and asked where the strangers (angels) were, who came to spend the night. They basically shouted, “Where are those men who came to your house? We want to have sex with them!” Lot refused but offered his daughters instead, giving the reason: “Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. Don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof”. The crowd of men insisted on what they wanted and tried to break through the door. The angels ended up pulling Lot into the house and blinding the crowd.
The Sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was Not Homosexuality
Gary Lynn's Analysis: The Sin was Attempted Male-on-male Gang Rape. One example of male-on-male gang rape is what conquering armies inflicted on the conquered, the aim of which was to humiliate to the extreme, reducing the conquered male to the role of a owly passive woman, who was considered little better than a slave. Another example is what individual men or groups of men or gangs did when they wanted to hurt and humiliate men they didn’t like. Clearly this practice was not driven by sexual desire, but by brutality and hatred. Many scholars have concluded that this violence and humiliation, male-on-male gang rape, is what the men of Sodom attempted to do to the 2 strangers (angels) in the Sodom and Gomorrah story in Genesis 19. In other words, the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was the attempted male-on-male gang rape or extreme lack of hospitality (5), not homosexuality. If all the males in the street were homosexuals, the Lord wouldn’t have had to destroy the city to make it disappear. It would have disappeared on its own for lack of offspring in just a couple of generations. Also, it appears that Lot viewed the men in the street as at least bisexuals, not homosexuals, otherwise why would he offer his own two daughters in place of the 2 strangers (angels). We need to remember here that God had already decided to destroy Sodom previous to this story. So whatever the reason for the city’s destruction, it didn’t have anything to do with the specific sin described in this story at that later time. Also remember that Jesus himself pointed out that the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was lack of hospitality (Luke 10:10-12): 10"But whatever city you enter and they do not receive you, go out into its streets and say, 11Even the dust of your city which clings to our feet we wipe off in protest against you; yet be sure of this, that the kingdom of God has come near. 12I say to you, it will be more tolerable in that day for Sodom than for that city. (NASB) Jesus never said anything about homosexuality, ever.
What Were The Sins Of Sodom and Gomorrah?
Two verses in the book of Ezekiel tells us exactly what they were.
In Ezekiel 16:49,50 (NIV) it says, "Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen".
An arrogant, overfed and unconcerned
person, someone who does not help the poor or needy is not a hospitable
person and yes, attempted gang rape is indeed detestable.
John McNeill, a gay former Jesuit priest, notes in The Church and the Homosexual (1976, 1993) how the modern rediscovery that Sodom was destroyed for inhospitality, not homosexuality per se, presents us "with one of the supremely ironic paradoxes of history. For thousands of years in the Christian West the homosexual has been the victim of inhospitable treatment - condemned by the church, he [or she] has been the victim of persecution, torture, and even death. In the name of a mistaken understanding of the crime of Sodom and Gomorrah, the true crime of Sodom and Gomorrah has been and continues to be repeated every day."(6)
Modern Christian Family
Before we leave Genesis 19 let us reflect for a moment on the horrid morals displayed in this ancient society. As Tom Horner writes in Jonathan Loved David, "Here we are face to face with a standard that strikes us as barbaric, to say the least: women-even a man's unmarried daughters - are [of such low esteem and] not considered as important to him as these two strangers! Behind this is the ancient Middle Eastern notion that between (male) host and (male) guest there was a sacred bond, and this bond of hospitality must not be dishonored at any cost. Women were not important in this arrangement. There is no need for any further explanation. For there is nothing that can be said that will excuse the crudity of this offering of the girls to be raped instead of the men." (7)
Truly An Old Testament Message To Live By Today
"He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and
to walk humbly with your God?" Micah 6:8 (NASB)
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
(1) Scanzoni, Letha Dawson, and Virginia Ramey Mollenkott, “Is the Homosexual My Neighbor: A Positive Christian Response” Rev. Ed. San Francisco:HarperSan Francisco, 1994, page 64.
(2) Based on quotes from the Rev. Dr. Laurence Keene in the documentary, For The Bible Tells Me So.
(3) Helminiak, Daniel A., PH.D., “What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality”, New Mexico Alamo Square Press, 2000, page 55 and 61.
(4) Ibid., page 64.
(5) In Lot’s day, hospitality (offering strangers the warmth and protection of one’s roof) was a nearly sacred concept because the notion of hotels was unknown. And any refusal to grant hospitality was considered an extreme breach of the social contract.
(6) McNeill, John J., "The Church and the Homosexual", Boston, Beacon Press, 1976, 1993, page 50. Paragraph taken from "Homosexuality and The Bible: Sodom: An Ancient Story Refashioned" By Bruce L. Gerig
(7) Horner, Tom, "Jonathan Loved David", Philadelphia, The Westminister Press, 1978, page 50.
A Gay Teen Short Story ♂♂
Church is so confusing for Zack. His new pastor preaches nothing but hate and condemnation of gays and lesbians, but no matter how carefully he reads his Bible, he can’t find where it says God hates him. Will things change when Zach's boyfriend Billy suggests that they all go to his church instead? Click Here or on the icon to read the story.
Click for Page 8 of 34 -
New Testament Teachings Regarding Same-Sex Sexual
Confusing Long-Term Homosexual Monogamy With The Sexual Exploitation of Children & Adult Male Prostitution
Could The Biblical Eunuch Include Today's Homosexual?
below to go to:
The Anti-Gay Religious Right's Really Cruel and Idiotic Argument
Their Message to a Gay Person is: Be alone. Live alone. Die alone.
Click for Homosexuality is neither a Choice nor a Sin - Table of contents
Click for Gary Lynn's Home Page