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Saturday, August 10, 2013

Bible History Condemns Homosexuals

Abominations that Bring Desolations

Persecution Begins book cover imageHistory shows that mankind in general has always found homosexuality to be repulsive, offensive, and a behavior to be inhibited by condemnation and punishment.

The following is an excerpt from Come Out of Her My People: Persecution Begins

Excerpt:

"Homosexuality

Homosexuality is another abomination that will justify America’s desolation.  No one could read through the Bible and conclude that the practice of homosexuality is not a sin.  It is called “an abomination” in the Mosaic law.  Sodom was destroyed for its sodomy.  The tribe of Benjamin faced extinction because of this sin.  And it is found among specifically mentioned sins in the New Testament.  But for a society which has been overtaken by the sins of fornication and adultery, the sin of homosexuality has come to be tolerated.  Now some states have even sanctioned the practice of tempting little school-age children with this sin under the guise of diversification education.  Even the Church itself has become unwilling to admit that the Bible speaks out against homosexuality.

We hear the statement more and more, “Well the Bible doesn’t really say that homosexuality is wrong.”  This is a lie.  The fact that this lie is so pervasive can only lead to the conclusion that people aren’t reading their Bibles.  We are about to study a section of scripture which speaks out so vehemently against this sin that the reader might be shocked by the severity of God’s condemnation.   Homosexuality is not the only sin which is exposed by Romans Chapter One.  Homosexuality is, however, the most explicitly described in Romans Chapter One, Verses 24 through 28.

Before we examine those verses we need to understand their context.  What we find in the following verses is that God’s wrath is revealed by the gospel; and that He utterly condemns every form of ungodliness.  But in order to honor man’s God-given free will, God allows people who reject Him to commit the destructive sins that they desire.  This, however, doesn’t mean that God’s attitude toward those sins has changed.  The Bible also says that, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork.”-Psalms 19:1  God says He has made His creation in such a way that He cannot be denied – that He can only be ignored.  The consequence for ignoring the Creator, who is also the Sustainer, is to be given over to corruption; the opposite of being sustained.  We have the choice to be sustained, or to be corrupted.

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

Three times in the next verses, God uses the term “given over.”   God is going to let them have it!  Because they’re worshipping corruptible man, God is going to “give them over” to corrupt their own bodies among themselves.  Among themselves” distinguishes this behavior from an act of sin that is carried out alone.  This could be the first reference to the sin of homosexuality.  And then, because they exchanged the truth for a lie, God “gives them over” to self-destruction.  And thirdly, because they don’t want to think about God, He “gives them over” to a debased mind.  So let’s read verses 24 through 28; and then we will look at the Greek words from the original manuscripts in order to understand precisely what is being said.

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. 27 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.  28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.”

Verses 29 through 32 are included so that we might recognize that all of these things are evidence that people are not worshiping Creator God as they should.  They’re not serving Him.  They’re not acknowledging Him.  They’re not thinking about Him, or glorifying Him in their lives.

The opening verses of Chapter Two drives home the fact that no one is pleasing God perfectly by their desires, their thoughts, or their behavior.  Without the redeeming work of Jesus we would all be disapproved by God.  But praise be to God’s grace by which He has made us accepted in His Beloved Son!

Now let’s go back to verse 24 and observe how strongly God condemns the sin of homosexuality.  If you are reading the electronic version, you may click on the Greek words and go directly to Strong’s Online.

“Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness (ἀκαθαρσίαν (akatharsian) uncleaness).”  Katharas means clean, or pure.  So, “a-katharas” means not clean or pure, indicating filth or defilement.  So, God gave them up to be dirty and defiled.   In the Old Testament, anyone defiled was disqualified to serve before God in the tabernacle, and later in the Temple.

in the lusts (ἐπιθυμίαις (epithymiais) desires) of their hearts.”  Epithumia is a strong desire –in this case in a bad sense.   So it means an irregular or inordinate desire.

“to dishonor (ἀτιμάζεσθαι (atimazesthai) to be dishonored) their bodies”  Atomotzo is another Greek word that uses an alpha prefix to express the antonym of the word.  Here the root word is timao: to honor or give honor.  Timothy means God honorer; from timao and Theo.  (A)- tomotzo means; to dishonor, to treat with indignity, or to abuse.

“among themselves”  I think it’s interesting that it adds “among themselves” because it points to an inward or private focus, a selfish aspect.  “Among themselves” gives the impression of a separate group which exists apart from the whole of humanity.  They have gone off by themselves and they interact only among their own kind – those who have rejected God.

“who exchanged the truth of God for the lie (ψεύδει (pseudei) falsehood), and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.”  The word for “lie” is pseude.  Pseudei is translated “falsehood”.   Everyone believes in something.  They can either believe the truth of God, or they can believe in something else.  But here we are talking about the truth of God vs. the falsehood.  The Father of all truths, vs. the father of all lies.  The context of the prior verses indicates that the truth is the fact that God IS – as God has given His name as “I Am,” or “I Exist”.  The lie would then be that God is not – the denial of God’s existence or the willful ignorance of God.

“For this reason God gave them up to vile (ἀτιμίας (atimias) of dishonor) passions (πάθη (pathē) passions)”   The word for passions is pathe.  It is the root from which we get the English word “pathology” - the study of disease.  Notice how derogatorily it is used in Colossian 3:5, Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion (πάθος (pathos) passion), evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.”  Greek scholar Spiros Zodiates describes “pathe” as a diseased condition of the soul, from which the outwardly expressed defilements spring forth.  They emanate from this diseased condition.  But in Romans 1:26, pathe is further modified by the word atimias.  We learned above that timao means; to honor.  Therefore a-timias means “degrading.”  So the compound rendered in English as “vile passion” is properly interpreted as “degrading unhealthy desires.”  The pathe atimias describes a diseased lust which dishonors those that indulge in it.  It is a self-destructive mechanism which degrades the perpetrator just as the homosexual has chosen to degrade God.

“For even their women exchanged the natural (φυσικὴν (physikēn) natural) use for what is against (παρὰ (para) against) nature(φύσιν (physin) nature) .  Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman”

This is the most explicit description of homosexuality found in the Bible.  Some people have said that the Bible doesn’t say anything about homosexuality.  It may not use the English word, but what would they call men burning with lust for other men?   The Greek in this passage is self -explanatory.  Homosexuality is para fusen; “against nature.”  It is paranormal.  It is not instinctive.  Isn’t it peculiar that the same society which is so concerned about nature would embrace an activity that is contrary to nature?

“burned (ἐξεκαύθησαν (exekauthēsan) were inflamed)in their lust (ὀρέξει (orexei) desire) for one another”  Here the word for lust is not epithomia .  This time Paul uses a form of orexis.  This word comes from orego.  It means to reach for, or to grab. 

“Men with men committing what is shameful (ἀσχημοσύνην (aschēmosynēn) shame)”   Askemeneo is a very unusual word.  It is used in the Greek Septuagint in Leviticus 18:16.  The verse reads, “Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness (askemeneo) of thy brother’s wife.”  Here it literally means “to inappropriately expose someone’s private parts.”  The word is translated here, politely in English, as “shameful.”  God says that men being inflamed by other men is shameful.

and receiving in themselves the penalty (ἀντιμισθίαν (antimisthian) recompense)   A misthos is a reward.  An anti-misthos is just the opposite of a reward.  It is a retribution.  There’s a penalty attached to this shameful behavior.

“Of their error (πλάνης (planēs) error)  Note that this is not pseude, which was used above for “falsehood.”  Plane is where we get the English word “planet.”  It means to wander out of the way.  So this “error” is a delusion, a deviation, or wrong opinion.

“which was due (ἔδει (edei) did it behove) (ἀπολαμβάνοντες (apolambanontes) receiving)”  Edei is used to tell us that the penalty is just, certain, and appropriate for the offense.  And just as men received other men, they will also receive the penalty.

“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind (ἀδόκιμον (adokimon) a depraved)  The root word for depraved is dokomon meaning “approved.”  It is akin to dokome, which is Greek for “character”.  A-dokimon describes disapproved character.  This could easily be a reference to men whose character has already been damaged as a result of the just reward which they have already received.

“to do those things which are not fitting (καθήκοντα (kathēkonta) fitting)”  Katheko means “proper” or “right”.  Kathekonta means “wrong” or “improper.” 

So let’s summarize this section of Romans, which purportedly doesn’t say anything against homosexuality.  God’s Word lists fourteen derogatory terms for the practice of homosexuality.  They are: unclean, lustful, dishonoring, self-focused, based on a falsehood, degrading, from a self-destructive disease of the soul, against nature, a craving, shameful, deserves a penalty, the result of wandering off, degrading, and, not fitting (wrong).  So in this little area we see this behavior thoroughly exposed and explicitly described as sin.  Never let it be said that the Bible doesn’t speak out against homosexuality.

God speaks out very strongly against it.  In fact, because it is the most explicitly described sin among the many sins listed in Romans Chapter One, homosexuality is the most obvious indicator that someone has stopped worshiping God as they should; that their heart has turned away from God, that they’re not serving God, and that they don’t want to think about God.  No matter what they might say, this text tells us that in their hearts they do not even believe in the existence of God.

So why would a homosexual be appointed to model Christ to the Church?  This is counter-productive to building up the body of Christ, to say the least.  How could Christ be glorified by something shameful?  It’s like promoting a card-carrying coward to the office of five-star general.  This makes a mockery of the precious body of Christ.  Simple logic would mandate that we not honor a behavior that is the most indicative of someone who is not honoring God.  Nor may we approve of those who practice such things.

The approval of sin is a sin." - end excerpt
[Excerpt above is from "Come Out of Her My People: Persecution Begins" copyright 2013 by C.W. Steinle.  Section may be copied and shared for non-profit purposes only]Details at Amazon