Has the U.S. Supreme Court placed America on a collision course with the Almighty with its 5-4 decision to legitimize same-sex marriages, putting it on equal footing with traditional marriage in all 50 states?
This is a question over which biblical scholars are engaged in a fierce debate.
On the one side are those liberal theologians who see the biblical texts as simply the words of men trying to interpret the mind of God. In their minds, the meaning of these words are highly fluid and subject to change as humanity evolves and “progresses.”
But conservative scholars take a different approach. They look at the grand sweep of human history and see foreboding examples of whole societies wiped away mainly because of two things: their sacrificing of children to idols and their deviant sexual practices.
In fact, it’s difficult to find any civilization that experimented with “marriage equality” and left any written record of how the experiment turned out in the long run.
The U.S. on June 26 became the world’s 17th country to grant full marriage rights to homosexual couples. But the modern movement for “marriage equality” is not even two decades old.
It wasn’t until 2001 that the Netherlands became the first country to legalize same-sex marriage. And there’s no written record of any civilization that redefined marriage to include two people of the same gender, “even though we know that homosexual practice has existed for millennia,” notes Michael Brown, who holds a Ph.D from New York University in near Eastern languages and literature and is the author of more than 25 books including his newest, “Outlasting the Gay Revolution: Where Homosexual Activism is Really Going and How to Turn the Tide.”
In his search for clues, Brown went to the ancient rabbinical texts that contain centuries of what was originally oral tradition handed down by Jewish sages.
“Interestingly, there are three rabbinic texts from the early centuries A.D. that speak of the pagans and/or the people of Noah’s day practicing same-sex ‘marriage.’ If these traditions are accurate – and one must wonder where they came from – that would mean that societies that did make such radical changes didn’t survive,” Brown told WND.
One of those texts is from the Midrash, a collection of rabbinical teachings on the Torah. The rabbinical commentary on Leviticus 18 reads as follows with a not-so-subtle hint that something was going on among the Canaanites that caused them to be defiled in God’s sight:
“According to the doings of the Land of Egypt … and the doings of the Land of Canaan … you shall not do” (Leviticus 18:3): Can it be (that it means) don’t build buildings, and don’t plant plantings? Thus it (the verse) teaches (further), ‘And you shall not walk in their statutes.’ I say (that the prohibition of the verse applies) only to (their) statutes – the statutes which are theirs and their fathers and their fathers’ fathers. And what did they do? A man got married to a man, and a woman to a woman, a man married a woman and her daughter, and a woman was married to two (men). Therefore it is said, ‘And you shall not walk in their statutes.'”
(Sifra Acharei Mot, parashah 9:8)
The text from Leviticus and its rabbinical interpretation leads one to the unavoidable conclusion that, in the Jewish community, it was understood that the sin of homosexuality carried a dark stain that God would deal with harshly. It was not to be tolerated and certainly not to be sanctioned by the governing authorities.
Is one sin more egregious than another?
This seems to run counter to mainstream teaching in Christianity and Judaism today, where many pastors and rabbis teach that all sins are equal in the eyes of God. Several major Christian denominations, including the Episcopalians, the United Church of Christ, the Presbyterian Church USA, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America and many Quaker sects, already teach that homosexuality is not a sin at all as long as it is practiced in a committed, monogamous relationship.
Yet there is biblical evidence to suggest that such practices are not only considered sinful but a particularly grievous sin in the eyes of God, Brown said.
“As to the question of whether homosexual acts are more vile in God’s sight than other acts, there is certainly a hierarchy of sin in the Bible, which is why some sins carried the death penalty (like adultery or witchcraft) and others did not (like eating pork),” Brown said. “Common sense would tell you this was the case as well. Which is worse: Overeating, or cheating on your spouse? Telling a lie, or raping and murdering someone?”
When it comes to homosexual practice, there are two issues to be considered, Brown said.
“First, there is the reversal of God’s order for male and female, which is major. Second, there is the impact of gay activism on society, which is also major.
“In those ways, the consequences of homosexual practice can often be greater than the consequences of other sexual sins, although all of them are wrong and God offers mercy and redemption for all.”
Carl Gallups, a Baptist minister, pastor, author and radio talk-show host, has also devoted much time to this issue in light of the Supreme Court’s June 26 ruling.
He believes the fact that homosexuality was not only practiced widely in ancient Canaan but that authorities apparently gave it their stamp of approval may well have been why God ordered the Israelites to wipe out the Canaanite society.
“Isn’t it interesting that one of the oldest known references to homosexual contracts sanctioned by a government and society references a society for which God ordered its total destruction? Not only that, but God gave the reason for its destruction as being ‘defiled’ and worthy of ‘vomiting out its inhabitants,'” said Gallups, author of “Final Warning: Understanding the Trumpet Days of Revelation.”
“So, not only do we have the plain-text biblical example of Sodom and Gomorrah, but we also have the biblical/historical/Midrash example of the Canaanites,” Gallups said.
Not only has the Supreme Court passed an unconstitutional and illegal gay marriage law, but also the current U.S. administration is exporting the Sodom spirit, in some cases by threat and force, throughout the world of its reach and influence.”
The latest example of this exportation of the “Sodom spirit,” Gallups notes, took place last week when President Obama publicly chastised the president of Kenya for not promoting the homosexual agenda in his country. As is the case in almost every African country, the mere practice of homosexuality in Kenya remains a serious crime, and there is no “marriage equality” offered to non-heterosexuals.
Like the ancient Canaanites, Gallups believes the U.S. will ultimately encounter serious consequences for its sanctioning of same-sex marriage and its exportation of the practice abroad.
“If this is not a prophetic end-time occurrence slapping us in the face – I don’t know what is,” he said. “I still maintain we are living in the days of God’s final warning. We had best take heed, lest the Creator of life, marriage, and sexuality render His Court’s decision upon us – and it won’t be pretty.”
Like Brown, Gallups believes the practice of homosexual sex is not just one of many equally distasteful sins in the eyes of the Almighty.
“The Word of God makes this truth clear from Genesis to Revelation – with Paul’s statements about the matter in Romans 1 being the exclamation point on the entire subject,” Gallups said.
The reason is that the practice represents a twisting of God’s natural order, he said.
Not only is it dangerous physically to one’s health – even the CDC is adamant about this fact – it is, even more importantly, dangerous to one’s spiritual health, Gallups said.
“The Bible says that even when a man and woman engage in a sexual relationship that the two become one in spirit and in flesh,” he said.
When God created the first female, he started by taking a part of Adam, his rib. So when the two engaged in sexual intimacy, they were in a sense reuniting what God originally intended to be one flesh. It is a mystical union that cannot be duplicated by two men or two women.
“There is something deeply spiritual, emotional and psychological attached to our sexual activity,” Gallups said.
Going deeper into the biblical text
Mark Biltz, author of “Blood Moons: Decoding the Imminent Heavenly Signs,” has done a deep study on the Bible’s use of the word sin, going back to the original Hebrew for clues.
Exodus 34:6,7a says, “And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.”
Biltz said there are at least eight variations in the Hebrew word for “sin.”
1. Sin חטאה 2398 chata’ah to miss the mark
2. Transgression פשע 6588 Pesha to revolt or break away from just authority
3. Iniquity עון 5771 Avon to twist or distort
4. To disobey then to
5. Refuse to obey then to
6. To Trespass מעל 4604 ma’al to act treacherously
Numbers 31:16 adds, “Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the Lord in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the Lord.”
7. To rebel מרה 4784 marah To make God bitter through stubborn disobedience
Isaiah 1:20 But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.
This develops into:
8. Wickedness רשע 7563 rasha, an actively bad person.
Isaiah 57:20 uses this terminology: “But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.”
Then we have a similar word to עון but with the letter aleph at the beginning און
9. Iniquity און 205 Aven To live without any worthy purpose
Micah 2:1 explains: “Woe to them that devise iniquity, and work evil upon their beds.”
10. Wicked/Evil רע 7451 Ra be evil, to destroy into pieces what God created.
Genesis 6:5,6 says: “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.”
‘Signs’ of the last days
Gallups is the first to admit that knowing the mind of God is beyond the grasp of mere mortals. But He did create every human with a conscience and for those gray areas, He gave them holy writ to serve as the guideposts.
“Even the greatest minds among us do not fully understand the mechanics of it all, but the truth of the matter is undeniable,” he said.
While he teaches that no Christian should hate the sinner, it is just as important not to “celebrate” the sin, which is a sign of pride and arrogance against God’s word.
“This is why God has so much to say about how we use our sexual nature – and especially when we degrade His plan for sexuality and marriage by engaging in, celebrating, and legalizing homosexual activity and marriage,” Gallups said. “It never, in the entirety of history, has ended well for individuals, much less a society, that has disobeyed the Word of God in this matter.”
Jesus Himself points to the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah (homosexuality) as “signs” of the last-days generation.
“He says, in effect, that when you see this spirit sweeping the planet, you will know that the Son of Man is soon to return (Luke 17). Jesus said it would be ‘just like this’ in the very last days. I believe we are very close to those days now.”
Even in spite of the biblical warnings about homosexuality in both the Old and New Testaments, God in his infinite love did not see it as an unforgivable sin, Gallups points out.
“The wonderful truth of it all is that even in this sin of degradation there is forgiveness, healing, and wholeness offered in Jesus Christ,” he said. “Romans Chapter 8 tells us that when a person turns from their sin and trusts in Christ as savior and Lord that we are made new creations in God’s sight – we are forgiven – we are made right with our Creator. And that really is good news. Especially for the times in which we are now living.”