Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Did Jesus Regard Homosexual Acts as Immoral and Prohibited by God?



Someone asked on the CHNI forum:

I have a question about homosexuality as this was being discussed in comments on a podcast. It was said that Jesus never mentioned this and that it is not mentioned in any of the four Gospels. This appeared to be used as a reason to say it is OK, and that Jesus did not think it important. They acknowledge that Paul and Leviticus have references but take this as a "minority". I gave some answers but need some guidance to be able to explain the Catholic take on homosexuality. . . . My gay friends (I have dear friends in all circles) say that they want to be accepted not just tolerated. They want to have husbands, etc. I answer any questions they have and discuss things with honesty and with love so we have a healthy relationship even tho they know I am totally opposed to their lifestyle. BUT I need more help to answer their attacks-anyway that is how I see it- on marriage, the teachings of Jesus and the Gospels.

I would contend that there is indirect indication of Jesus' acceptance of the traditional Jewish prohibition of homosexual acts, or sodomy, in His approval of the judgment of Sodom (Matt 10:15; 11:23-24; Lk 10:12; 17:29). Obviously, He would agree with that, since, being God, He Himself judged Sodom and Gomorrah.

Elsewhere in the NT it is further explained how the Jews regarded Sodom, and why it was judged:

1 Timothy 1:10 (RSV) immoral persons, sodomites, kidnapers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine,

2 Peter 2:6 if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomor'rah to ashes he condemned them to extinction and made them an example to those who were to be ungodly;

Jude 1:4,7-8 For admission has been secretly gained by some who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly persons who pervert the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. . . . just as Sodom and Gomor'rah and the surrounding cities, which likewise acted immorally and indulged in unnatural lust, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire. Yet in like manner these men in their dreamings defile the flesh, reject authority, and revile the glorious ones.

Compare:

Genesis 19:4-5: But before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house; and they called to Lot, "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know them."

According to Gesenius' Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament (edition of Baker Book House [Grand Rapids, Michigan], p. 334; Strong's word #3045: yada):

(3) to know, to become acquainted with any one . . . Often put by a euphemism for sexual intercourse. -- (a) of a man; to know a woman, i.e., to lie with her, Gen. 4:17,25; 1 Sa. 1:19, etc.; also as applied to crimes against nature, Gen. 19:5.

The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1939), Vol. V, p. 2821 ("Sodomite"), states that "Sodomite" is the English translation of the Hebrew kadhesh (or qadesh): Strong's word #6945), which referred to male temple prostitutes (Deut 23:17; 1 Kings 14:24; 15:12; 22:46; 2 Kings 23:7).

The King James Version uses "sodomite" for all five of these passages.

RSV: "cult prostitute of the sons of Israel" (Deut 23:17)

"Male cult prostitute" (1 Ki 14:24; 15:12; 22:46; 2 Ki 23:7)

The New Bible Dictionary (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1962), notes:

Gn. 19:4,5 concentrates on sexual perversion, particularly homosexuality.

("Plain, Cities of the," p. 1003)

Another way that can be used to show that Jesus disapproved of homosexual relations is to note what the Mosaic Law stated about it:

Leviticus 18:20-30 And you shall not lie carnally with your neighbor's wife, and defile yourself with her. You shall not give any of your children to devote them by fire to Molech, and so profane the name of your God: I am the LORD. [22] You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination. [23] And you shall not lie with any beast and defile yourself with it, neither shall any woman give herself to a beast to lie with it: it is perversion. "Do not defile yourselves by any of these things, for by all these the nations I am casting out before you defiled themselves; and the land became defiled, so that I punished its iniquity, and the land vomited out its inhabitants. But you shall keep my statutes and my ordinances and do none of these abominations, either the native or the stranger who sojourns among you (for all of these abominations the men of the land did, who were before you, so that the land became defiled); lest the land vomit you out, when you defile it, as it vomited out the nation that was before you. For whoever shall do any of these abominations, the persons that do them shall be cut off from among their people. So keep my charge never to practice any of these abominable customs which were practiced before you, and never to defile yourselves by them: I am the LORD your God."

Leviticus 20:11-15 The man who lies with his father's wife has uncovered his father's nakedness; both of them shall be put to death, their blood is upon them. If a man lies with his daughter-in-law, both of them shall be put to death; they have committed incest, their blood is upon them. [13] If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death, their blood is upon them. [14] If a man takes a wife and her mother also, it is wickedness; they shall be burned with fire, both he and they, that there may be no wickedness among you. If a man lies with a beast, he shall be put to death; and you shall kill the beast.

And what did Jesus think of this Mosaic Law?:

Matthew 5:17-19 Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them. For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (cf. Matt 7:12; 22:40; Lk 16:17)

Matthew 23:2-3 The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat; so practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice. (cf. Matt 23:23)

Jesus observed the Law in its entirety. He worshiped in synagogues and the Temple; He observed the Jewish feasts (the Last Supper was a Passover dinner: Matt 26:17-19; Mk 14:12-16; Lk 22:7-15). He casually made reference to the authority of Moses over His own disciples (Matt 8:4; Mk 1:44; 7:8-13; Lk 16:31; 24:44; Jn 5:46; 7:19-23).

There is no indication that He disputed any of these received laws. Therefore, He accepted as part of the whole, the injunctions against homosexual acts. Case closed.

See also:

"Homosexuality" (Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Evangelical Theology)

Does the Bible Condemn Homosexuality?

St. Paul's Argument From Nature Against Homosexuality (Romans 1)

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