Revisiting Romans

The below is my response some years ago to an article that seems to have been removed, concerning the old Duck Dynasty’s commentary on homosexuality, after some children had killed themselves over the issue.  I do not fully remember the premise of that article, nor of the old man’s point of view, but it was something along the lines of one’s beliefs about the issue not mattering.  I had responded to the issue, because I have seen believers go way too far one way, and make themselves hypocrites, simply opposing unbelievers who do the same.  Here is my reply to the article, from back in 2013:

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I think public debate about belief on any topic is healthy, and necessary.
What one believes about sexuality is entirely relevant, and this article proves it. Because it is the “belief” of some that caused these children we all want to defend after the fact to kill themselves in the first place. What they themselves believed, and what others believed, affected them very much.
Basically, what many are saying is that this is a ‘sin’. But, there is a belief, a perception of what sin is that is erroneous. Many people think ‘sin’ is something reserved for a certain “other” crowd, when in fact the whole of mankind is riddled with it, including christians. But again, hear me out. Sin is simply “error” against the instructions God gave to mankind to make them ‘holy’ and bless them, and mankind is indeed born with a propensity to err against that. First and foremost, we err against God, and then we err against Him again when we err against our fellow man. This is the foundation of what the Messiah taught. The God of Israel said of Himself: “ יהוה , יהוה , El [God], merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in compassion and truth; guardian of compassion unto the thousandth generation; forgiving iniquity, and transgression, and sin, and pardoning;” Understanding THAT should be the goal of every worshipper who claims to love God. Why it is that this one error gets so much attention publicly, then, I have pondered for many years. And I think it is because this particular “error” is not as common among men as other errors. However, it is more common than some are willing to admit.
But, since it is perceived as uncommon, it is easy to target those who choose this way as “other.” I think that’s the basic reason this is the “big one,” but then I think this is compounded beyond belief by other things added to that perception. Nonetheless, “belief” is so intertwined in the social discussion we have over this issue, that to say that what we believe about it doesn’t matter is like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. What we, society, believe about it IS precisely the problem, and I think we as a society are trying to hammer out a public redefinition of this issue. Until we get a common understanding, this will continue to be a point of contention in society, and it will continue to harm children.
What our society has “believed” about this issue, by and large, has been an over-interpretation of the scriptures for years, but now our society is swinging so far the other way that it is just as dangerous as the former “norm.” Theologians past and present have played “Let’s Make a Deal” with defining what acts are erroneous and what are not. And the laity take their words, and the words of scripture, without having studied them with the intent of learning of God’s heart toward man, and they become the defacto enforcers of bad “belief.” This, I believe, is where the Duck Dynasty star is wrong. When a great swath of evangelicals turn to a duck-hunter-turned-week-end-theologian as the spokesperson of faith, something is amiss. But, on the other side, we have those who think that everyone who is gay wants to be that way, should be that way, must be that way, and are wrong NOT to be that way. This should be left up to the individual. The sheer fact of it is that many who ‘feel’ gay do not want to be. The reason is moot, and many times is not religious. It is the militant on this side of the argument that are JUST as self-righteous as erroneous christians. Society, as a whole, needs a ‘belief’ in the fore that is not so narrow minded and destructive as BOTH these positions are, and we will not get there if we ignore belief.
So, in former days, and even now for many evangelicals, the belief is that because of about three passages in the scriptures, this people group we’ve sequestered out of “normal” society is especially egregious in their “sin.” This is where I differ strongly with them. But I want to explain why it is I think they think this way. It is largely because of one word: תּוֹעֵבָה. This Hebrew word is “to’evah,” and in most translations is rendered as “abomination.” And this English word has subsequently been given a particular tone in society’s perception of what that is, and unfortunately, it has been wielded by the self-righteous to produce a certain “we-they” mentality, and as a weapon used to deflect attention off of one’s own errors. What they fail to recognize, or even consider, perhaps, is that this word is used of many, many things God expressed were “to’evah” to Him. Among those things are: eating shrimp, eating catfish, pork, shellfish, snake, gators, rats, buzzards, etc, and not only those, but also adultery [cheating on one’s spouse], fornication [sex before marriage], and then also forms of idolatry, especially idolatry that is mixed with worshipping God, such as decorating trees and bringing them into homes as focal points, etc. ALL of these things were seen as errors of a particular kind: to’evah. Suddenly, the “we-they” mentality has to be tabled for a moment if we are going to stand on this stump of righteousness, but ONLY IF we are HONEST with what the text is saying! This is where suddenly everyone becomes gymnastic in their scriptural interpretations, waxing philosophical, demonstrating lofty hermeneutical prowess, or simply deciding that their current perception of it is right no matter what, and not wanting to learn the heart of God on any matter of error, but only the one.

To’evah simply means that it is displeasing because it was not part of the design.  A better English word would probably be ‘perversion.’  Each of the things listed as ‘to’evah’ is a perversion of the design of God, and using things He designed for one purpose for another purpose is what He is displeased with. But, His displeasure is with the act, not the person’s ‘soul.’ And, if He has dealt with one erroneous act by surrendering the Messiah to execution, then He has dealt with the other.
The next over-interpretation is of the first chapter of Romans, where people ‘think’ that it is about those in Sodom and Amorrah who were “gay,” that this is why they were destroyed. This is not what the text says, and this is not why they were destroyed in the first place. It is because they had forgotten God. Paul is not writing about Sodom and Amorrah, but of Rome and Greece and the rest of the nations in his day. They, too, had forgotten the Creator. Forgetting Him produced ALL MANNER of behaviors, and most importantly that of not caring about their human neighbors. The big “error” was forgetting God, the rest of what he expresses here is the RESULT of that. The first result of their having forgotten the Creator was idolatry, worshipping created things and not the Creator. For that reason, God gave them up to their passions. So, the BIGGER ISSUE is forgetting the Creator. And readers of this passage always seem to leave off the first verse of the next chapter, which says DO NOT PASS JUDGMENT, because you do the same things! Most people in this country are committing some sort of biblical “abomination!” And every one of us err against Him in some way, forgetting the creator and His desire for man on one issue or another during the day.
What tickles me about this is the duality on both sides. The doublespeak. On the one side, we have those who want everyone to tolerate everyone else and every behavior, EXCEPT those who disagree with their particular level of “toleration.” On the other side, we have those who want to quote the “old testament,” while at the same time disavowing it as irrelevant and ignoring the Sabbath that the Creator made for all mankind! “Let God be true, and every man a liar.” Getting honest with Him means facing the fact that our understanding of things is wrong.
God loves every human being on the face of the earth. He gave us some boundaries on a path, that if we would follow that path, we would be blessed beyond measure, protected from our own tendency to self-destruct . NO ONE is going to be perfect in following that path, so the Messiah was sent, to save us from our errors, and return us to that path. That path is very narrow, and christians are not the gatekeeper, nor are Jews, but only the Messiah Yeshua. Not every person who deals with the notion of sexual ‘divergence’ has forgotten the creator. They simply are wandering through this life without a guide, and if they do find Him, morons from both sides of the fence confuse them about this one error, making them feel as if they are never going to please God because they deal with this one thing, which no one else seems to deal with. Or, making them feel that they do not have to be concerned about pleasing Him. Both are wrong. I think this sensation is true of many other things people deal with, too, such as alcoholism and drug addiction. People get a sense of defeatism because of what SOCIETY BELIEVES: right now, that is in flux on many of these issues: on the one hand, some ‘say’ that God does not love them, OR on the other hand, that what they do is irrelevant to God. What some are unwilling to admit on the one side is that there are indeed many who are ‘struggling’ with homosexuality precisely because they do not want to be gay, and it has nothing to do with religion! They just do not understand how they got there, and they want out in a different way, and they are not offered hope by the side of society that tells them to “come out.” Some Christians believe that God hates gays, and they spew hatred. Some do not, but they still ‘reject’ them as people, deride them, talk ugly about them, and drive many of them into the grave, or into a life of deviance in more than one way. Many, however, who hate homosexuality, are not christian, and hate them for other reasons. But, the media never seem to point out those haters, and this is a legitimate gripe on the part of christians. So, there are many “beliefs” about this issue, and the public forum needs to open up the discussion more. Because of the two polar opposites, which are both wrong in their conclusions in some way, there are those within the ‘struggle’ who want help coping with their issue, but the vitriol on BOTH sides causes these tragedies. Belief is VERY MUCH a part of this issue, and public debate is necessary in order to STOP the tragedy. But, the public debate is not CIVIL, and THAT is the problem.
The word for “hate” in the scriptures is “saneh”, and these are things God hates, which are also “to’evah” to Him: [Mishlim 6]
Haughty [proud] eyes (we call it ‘looking down’ on someone)
A lying tongue
Shedding innocent blood
Those who are quick to do evil
A lying talebearer [running someone down, character assassination]
Those who sow strife
When those who are having this discussion publicly can curb their vitriol, we might be better able to help those who struggle in this situation. Our ‘belief” about it, then, should be public, and it should be a public message of acceptance and love, and one that offers help to those who want it. And some in this situation do want help, for their OWN reasons. And that usually stems from their belief about it. It does matter.

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Turn Turn Turn!

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I took a leisurely walk today during lunch, enjoying the rare, cool, sunny day, probably our one day of Fall here in Houston.  As I walked, I noted the weather, and the lack of much of a crowd walking on this Friday, and some of the old hotels, one of which was just completely refurbished.  I am a fan of many of the older style buildings here in the city, such as the old court house.  And at least the new one has a throw-back theme.  I don’t like but maybe two of the more modern buildings in Downtown Houston.  As I turned up Smith street today, one of those hovered over the skyline, and I saw more of it than I usually do, as the east side of Smith street had shorter buildings, so I could almost see the whole building from that approach.  It’s the tall one in the picture, hovering over the old Houston Library, which is another of my favorite Houston buildings.

Before I could see the library, I walked while staring up at the modern building behind it.  Its top emerges as stone from amidst the modern glass.  Nothing is more boring architecturally, to me, than a square, glass building.  But, this one changes at the top, and enough so, such that it causes me to really like the design.  I mused over it a bit, wondering if the architect had any point he was trying to make: if so, would it be, ‘the old emerging again from the new,’ or, ‘the new swallowing the old’?  As a man getting up toward his senior years, I’m ‘cautiously pessimistic’, and first thought it should be the new swallowing the old.  But, the old, in this case, is the only beauty the building has to offer, other than the sky and clouds reflected in the glass of the rest of the edifice.  So, perhaps it is more about the old retaking a place in our new, ‘flat,’ homogenous society, exerting independence and individuality again.  We certainly need it!  When I got to the vantage point of this picture, the theme in my head rang true, as the old library is very much pre-modern architecture, and out of it stems the boring, flat part of the building in question, and then, from the top of that an old style bursts out again.  It’s encouraging to me, as I must forge the latter half of my career better than the first.

But, the reason I write is not to bore those disinterested in Houston’s or any architecture, but to say that it meshes with the theme I’ve been forced to meditate over for the last week or so.  Our society has gone the way as much as these two buildings imply.  We are in the middle of a struggle, where the new, ‘homogenous’ generation wishes to blur the lines of distinction between any two paradigms, and create a single, behemoth society that decries any individuality of thought, of politics, of faith, of economy; and it wishes to swallow the old, which, in spite of its issues, does possess much beauty.  And, they do it while ‘saying’ that they are championing the individual.  The truth is, they champion only those individuals who think as they think.  The left is effectively the ‘borg’ of our society, and resistance, in their minds, is futile.  But, I resist.

What started my thinking was an ad I saw concerning “LGBT” month.  It was posted by someone professing to be a believer in Messiah.  It was a subtle push at conformity.  “Show them you love them just for being themselves.” 

Many times these days, the left makes these ridiculous statements, clothed in flowery words that make them ‘sound’ as if they care.  They pre-impugn anyone who would dare to take a differing view. It’s a depth charge; a booby-trap.  If anyone takes an opposite view, they are ransacked with judgmental accusations of lack of love and civility, which truly betrays their own lack of such worthy commodities.

LGBT people are victims.  They are victims of a society that has abandoned not only ‘norms’, which they decry, but also simple, biological truths.  It was not good enough that they be given the ‘right’ to practice sexual depravity.  But, they needed to force the rest of us not to think of their behavior as depraved.  They needed to force us to accept their very public displays of affection, which go beyond the bounds of affection to near pornographic at times. They needed to force us now to disbelieve simple, biological facts, that there is a boy, and there is a girl, male and female, and they are NOT “equal” physically, but are very different.  That wasn’t good enough.  They further needed us to be forced to believe that there is no wrong in their actions.  While this post I saw tells us to love them, quietly shouting the imperative, it also says that they are just being themselves.  No, they are not.  And it is not hateful for me to say that.  It is not ‘incorrect’ for me to assert that there are wrongs in their behaviors.  They are forcing their BEHAVIORS on us, as if they are inherent to who they are.  And they use the virtues of ‘love’ and ‘tolerance’ to excuse their hate and intolerance of us!  That is the evidence of their sick desire to pervert anything true.  They are re-inventing even our vocabulary, in order to incriminate anyone who does not change with them. 

LGBT behaviors are learned behaviors.  Society teaches them these behaviors, passively and actively, through media, people, our education system, and more.  And they succumb.  They give in.  And in order to make themselves feel good for bending to the temptation, they assert that it is not temptation to wrong, but it is just their ‘being themselves.’  No.  They are becoming what they are not.

No one is born who is forced to practice those behaviors.  They may be born with a greater proclivity to succumb to the temptation and the resulting behavior; or, they may be born with that proclivity into circumstances surrounding them that promote and encourage that behavior.  But, no one person is born that way.  Every baby is born “male” or “female”, and has no reason to overturn that role.  Modern psychobabble and a failing ‘church’ has poured gasoline on what was a very small fire of temptation, once held at bay by society clinging to the truth that once was the norm: it is wrong.  It is sin.  The congregations have failed people with this proclivity, because instead of TRULY loving people who are born with the proclivity to be weak to these temptations, they bend to a society that has accepted psychobabble as truth.  Our Society has replaced the Word of G-d with the ramblings of academes who say they know better than G-d. True love for these people would be to tell them that this behavior is a perversion.  It is sin.  And since it is sin, it CAN be overcome, by the blood of the Lamb, and by their confessing their NEED for Messiah.  Other people, ALL other people, have other sins from which they need to be cleansed.  They are not better than these.  But, for society to tell these people that their sin is normal, and acceptable, is opening pandora’s box for normalizing all OTHER heinous activities.  And we are already seeing that happen.  Soon, those who have a perversion for mating with animals will be demanding their ‘right’ to have sex with and even marry whatever beast they encounter or choose, due to some perverted affinity they developed.  Muslims are already demanding we allow them to marry nine-year-old girls, as did their so-called ‘prophet,’ that liar, Mohammed.  Others will come forth with their demands too.  And since we have abandoned the foundation of our laws, The Word of G-d, there is nothing that will stop them from twisting the minds of society further.  Our land will be uninhabitable, much as Europe is becoming, if it goes unchecked.

Before someone goes off half-cocked, I do NOT give anyone a pass.  The reason we are here, and dealing now with THIS sin becoming ‘normal’ and acceptable, is because some time back the notion that adultery and fornication are normal and acceptable became the new rule.  We stopped treating the body as a temple.  We stopped looking at sexual behaviors outside of marriage as sin.  We have become base in our thinking, and driven by our passions instead of by truth.  My forefathers left Europe to escape this very kind of thinking.  Now, there is nowhere on earth to go in order to escape the open acceptance of sin, not only as ‘not wrong,’ but as a very ‘human right’, and as part and parcel to who we are at birth.  So, we, those who say we believe, had better start dealing with the sins in our own houses, and then begin to deal with these further perversions of truth being forced on us.  Anything short of that, and G-d will have no choice but to judge this nation as He has others in the past who have turned from truth to the lie, and stopped worshipping the Creator, and instead worshipped the creation.

The other big monster under the bed is abortion.  Believers seem so very afraid to confront the abortionist left. Politicians placate the left with laws that permit one of the most BASIC violations of the law of G-d: YOU SHALL NOT MURDER.

It is ludicrous that the so-called ‘elite’ can say with any sincerity that killing a baby just on the other side of the vaginal wall is not murder, no matter at what stage of ‘life’ (!) that baby is.  Most do not know that Roe, the person who pushed this issue to the supreme court, was NOT raped as she said, but LIED, in order to cause those justices to make their decision based on EMOTION and not on fact, and on what is RIGHT and MORAL.  So very rare it is that a baby needs to die to save a mother’s life.  So very rare it is that a victim of rape gets pregnant.  Yet we allow promiscuous people to kill 50 million babies, for the POSSIBLITY that some day, some one woman will be raped and conceive.  FIFTY MILLION babies died, for a LIE. 

These perversions of simple, basic FACT and TRUTH are going to be the death of this country.  There is but ONE way to recover from this.  TURN from this heinous behavior, and TURN to the WORD of G-d AGAIN, and believe the TRUTH.  Common sense is good.  A boy is a boy, and a girl is a girl. But TRUTH is unimpeachable.  G-d CREATED MAN and WOMAN, MALE AND FEMALE.  And G-d HATES MURDER.  Those of you who say you believe in G-d, you better start defending these SIMPLE TRUTHS, publicly.  You better start voting for people who do so.  Or, your children and grandchildren will never have a chance. 

Today’s Big Issue

וְאֶת זָכָר לֹא תִשְׁכַּב, מִשְׁכְּבֵי אִשָּׁה: תּוֹעֵבָה, הוא

Above is the verse that relates to one of the most difficult and controversial topics about which people opine very near daily in every forum. I have refrained from doing so, so as not to lend to the cacophony, but have been compelled, seemingly from within and/or above, to raise my voice in an attempt to lend some clarity about this subject, or at least to apply some balm, if that’s possible.

Many are very emotional about this issue. And part of the reason for that is because of its prominence in social discussion; but, also, part of the reason for such emotion is because of one’s personal exposure to the issue, one’s perspective, and also due to the very polar positions people take on this politically, especially if a loved one has embraced the behavior.

The verse above reads:

“And unto a man you shall not bed, as one beds a wife. It is a repulsive thing.”

This verse is in VaYikra [Leviticus] 18:22, and is listed among a whole host of other things that are repulsive to יהוה. [His ‘NAME’, the name of the Creator of the Universe to whom all men will one day give an account of their lives.]

But, for some reason, this one verse is the ‘topic du jour,’ and the other repulsive things slip into oblivion.

The word there for ‘repulsive thing’ is “toh’evah,” which means disgusting, or abhorrent. It is usually translated as ‘abomination,’ but there are so many societal overtones and stereotypes to that word, I chose not to use it here, but bring it up to point out that society has created a perverted concept around this whole issue.

Christian society believes that this is the ONLY thing ‘abominable’ to יהוה . It is not. There are many things abominable, or repulsive to Him, not the least of which is violating His Sabbath and perverting His feasts with pagan idolatry. So, to avoid the hypocrisy of religion and the stigma around this word, we will use a different word for toh’evah: repulsive.

Toh’evah is a word that describes an ‘act,’ a behavior that Elohim [G-d] abhors. But, once again, there are many other ‘acts’ or ‘behaviors’ that He abhors passionately, like when we eat shrimp, bacon, and catfish [which we do not do any longer, having repented [turned from it], for that reason, so don’t assume and call us hypocrites!].

Idolatry mixed with the worship of Elohim is abhorred by יהוה . So, when evangelicals beat the ‘abomination’ drum, they do indeed come off as hypocrites, and so the argument just stays in the spin cycle. “First, take the LOG out of your own eye; then you will see clearly enough to take the spec out of your brother’s eye.” ~ Yeshua the Messiah

VaYikra 18 is full of OTHER sexual sins that, again, get NO attention from the political ‘right’ or evangelicals. Plain ole adultery is also ‘toh’evah,’ or repulsive; EVERYTHING in that chapter is called ‘toh’evah.’ [see verse 29!]

I said all of that to say this: I in no way have any ill will against those who call themselves ‘homosexual/gay,’ nor do I think they, as a group, are ‘bad people,’ any worse than anyone else. Neither are they in any greater danger of going to hell than anyone else.

Now, to the question, ‘is this a sin?’:

The Father says yes.

Sin is when we break His Torah. It is the Brit Khadasha [Renewed Covenant scriptures] that defines this very plainly: “He who sins breaks the Torah [law]; because sin IS transgression of the Torah.” [Yokhanan Alef 3:4 (1st John)] VaYikra is the book of being ‘set apart,’ or made ‘holy,’ and is a big and important part of the Torah, defining many of the behaviors that He says are good, and those that He says are harmful. This one is indeed harmful. We will discuss how later. But, for Christians to quote this one verse out of this book on the one hand, and on the other say ‘we do not have to follow the ‘law’ because it is a burden, their hypocrisy is laid bare, so their argument is ineffective.

So, why does this one error get SO MUCH attention above all the other harmful behaviors listed in Torah but that are very nearly ignored? Well, there are likely many reasons for that, but the first one I will address here is this: because some people only read ONE side of the Bible, reading it without the pretext of the Torah. Many do so innocently, because they are taught that way. Our hope is that someone reading this will see that error and stop doing that, no matter what side of this argument they choose.

But, theologians fall into two categories, usually, about this topic. Some of them wittingly ignore the ‘old testament’ texts so as to perpetuate an erroneous system of MAN’S DOCTRINE. This group deliberately points at this ONE error, and screams and hollers about it, so as to draw attention away from the other errors in the ‘church.’ Truly, homosexuality is the modern scapegoat for many. The other group, however, is completely and wittingly dismissive about this one verse, and about the verses in the Brit Khadasha that do say something about this particular error, quite at length.

Since we have said that this is ‘sin,’ or error, let’s further define what that is, beyond just ‘breaking Torah.’ Torah and Khata [law and sin] are two archery terms in the Hebrew language. ‘Torah’ is more accurately ‘translated’ as ‘instruction,’ and NOT ‘law.’ Instruction is ‘directional,’ in the sense that it is the arrow pointing at the bull’s-eye in the target; and khata is the arrow in flight that has ultimately missed the target.

Messiah Yeshua gave us the ‘goal’ of PERFECTION, His perfection. He never sinned; He never broke the Torah. He tells us to be like Him. He [Messiah] is the ‘goal’ at which the Torah aims. [Rom 10:4, check the greek!] And He gives us an opportunity to be conformed, as closely as possible, into that perfection while we are on this earth. There are many who do not strive at all to reach that goal after they come to believe. And there are many who strive, as if fighting inside an open fishing net, because they don’t ‘see’ that the Messiah’s Perfection is HIS TORAH. He embodied Torah: “The Word [Torah] became a BODY [flesh] and lived among us.” He kept it perfectly, and told us to strive to do so as well. [Matt 5:19, John 14:15] Breaking this ‘controversial’ command is just ONE way of not reaching toward the perfection of Messiah.

So, having established that this is error, ie sin, and having established that it is NOT the only sin, and that we do not patently condemn all who commit this sin, let’s now look at what the Brit Khadashah says about this type of ‘missing the target.’

Chronologically, the first place in the Brit Khadashah where this error is mentioned is in Romim 1:19-2:1 [Romans].

We read:

“Because that which may be known of Elohim is manifested to them, for Elohim has revealed it to them. For, from the very creation of the world, the invisible things of Elohim have been clearly seen and understood by His creations, even His eternal power and divinity; so that they are without excuse. For they knew Elohim, and did not glorify Him and give thanks to Him as Elohim, but became vain in their imaginations, and their hearts were darkened so that they could not understand. And while they thought within themselves that they were wise, they became fools, and they have changed the glory of the incorruptible Elohim for an image made in the likeness of corruptible man,

[Some of Christianity has violated that last line. They ‘think’ that because Yeshua is a man, that Elohim is just like man. Doctrine has made people think that “Jesus” is just like us, and overlooks our sins. That is a manmade ‘image’ of Elohim [G-d]. The ways of Elohim are far HIGHER than our ways, and He does NOT think like us. Many Christians pervert the words of “Jesus” and Shaul [Paul], and TWIST scripture to fit their ‘idea’ of “god.” That is IDOLATRY.]

Romans 1 goes on to say:

and in the likeness of birds, and of four-footed beasts, and of creeping things on the earth. That is why Elohim also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their own bodies among themselves; and they have changed the truth of Elohim for lies, and worshipped and served the created things more than their Creator, to whom belongs glory and blessings forever. Amein. Therefore Elohim gave them up to vile [repulsive] passions; for even their women have changed the use of their natures into that which is unnatural; and likewise also their men have left the natural use of the women and have run wild with lust toward one another, male with male committing shameful acts, and receiving in themselves the due recompense of their error. And as they did not consent in themselves to know Elohim, Elohim gave them over to a vain mind, to do the things which should not be done; being filled with all manner of iniquity, fornication, bitterness, malice, extortion, envy, murder, strife, deceit, and evil thoughts. They are slanderers, backbiters, haters of Elohim, revilers, proud boasters, inventors of evil things, without reason, disobedient to their parents; these have no respect for a covenant. They know neither love nor shalom, nor is there mercy in them. Knowing the judgment of Elohim, that those who commit such things He condemns to death, they not only do them, but also associate with those who practice them. Therefore you are without excuse, O man, to judge your neighbor; for in judging your neighbor, you condemn yourself; for even you who judge practice the same things yourself.”

The first issue in this passage is the mixture of worshipping created things with worshipping the Creator. That is the reason Elohim gave them over to the lusts of their hearts. That is the reason they changed their sexual practices. This is all of mankind. They were NOT CONTENT to know Elohim [G-d], but wanted to do things that should not be done, because of their idolatry.

Idolatry was the great sin; Elohim gave them over to their lusts because of that. This is not new. This has been going on since the beginning. But, there is not one human who escapes ALL the behaviors listed in this passage, who hasn’t at one time or another committed ANY of these repulsive acts. This is what the hypocrisy is among the religious who point the finger only at the ‘homosexual.’

One should not be alarmed that people outside the Body of Messiah would do these things. But, when people who claim to know the Messiah do several of these things, but point out only the one behavior of others, there is the great hypocrisy. That is why the ‘church’ makes very little headway in this debate. That is why so many who say they believe in the Messiah feel ‘okay’ embracing this one behavior, because so many who claim to believe in Messiah commit so many of the OTHER behaviors here listed!

The next place where this error is addressed in the Brit Khadashah is:

“Do you not know that the wicked shall not inherit the kingdom of Elohim? Be not misled, neither the sexual sinners, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor the corrupt, nor men who lie with males, nor extortionists, nor thieves, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor defrauders shall inherit the kingdom of Elohim. And some of these evils were to be found in some of you, but you have been cleansed, and have been sanctified, and made righteous in the name of Adoneinu Yeshua HaMashiakh and through HaRuakh of our Elohim.”

Korinti’im Alef [1 Cor] 6:9-11

Now, this is quite compelling, as again we see this one error listed with a host of other errors: [all] sexual sin, idolatry, adultery, corruption, extortion, theft, drunkenness, reviling, defrauding; yet very rarely does anyone get as up in arms about these things as they do about ‘homosexuality.’ Why does this particular ‘sin’ garner so much attention, when the others do not? In my personal life, as a consumer of news, I see these others FAR MORE than I see homosexuality! Our society glorifies most of these as acceptable, even laudable behaviors! And has for years. Yes, homosexuality gets a lot of ‘play time’ these days in television and movies, but what I’m talking about is the number of people ACTUALLY COMMITTING these errors. The truth is that less than 5% of people actually adopt a homosexual lifestyle, 10% at the most, whereas the corrupt, the adulterers, the fornicators, the drunks [and drug users], extortionists, etc, are many of today’s leaders! Why is the believing community not speaking against these things as vehemently as against this one error? Again, only if we address the others will we effectively deal with this one.

If one studies scripture, one finds that these other behaviors are all forms of IDOLATRY! They are all forms of turning from Elohim, and they lead to the one sin many are upset about. Society turns to this egregious behavior because of idolatry!

The next place where this particular error is mentioned is the last specific reference to the behavior that is only modestly detailed in the Torah in Leviticus 18. But, this passage teaches something about the Torah and those who follow it, as well:

“Now the fulfillment of the mitzvah is love out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of a true faith, from which some have gone astray and have turned aside to foolish words, desiring to be teachers of the Torah; not understanding what they speak, nor even whereof they argue. But we know that the Torah is good, if a man walks in it according to Torah, knowing this, that the Torah is not made for the righteous, but for the wicked and rebellious, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the profane and unclean, for those who abuse their fathers and ill-treat their mothers, for murderers, for whoremongers, for those who defile themselves with males, for kidnappers of well-born sons, for liars, for perjurers, and for whatever is contrary to sound doctrine; this is according to the glorious B’sorah of the blessed Elohim, which was entrusted to me. And I thank Adoneinu Yeshua HaMashiakh who has given me strength, and has counted me trustworthy and has appointed me to His ministry, who was before a blasphemer and a persecutor and a reviler; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. Now the grace of Adoneinu has become abundant in me, as well as my faith and love in Yeshua HaMashiakh. It is a trustworthy saying and worthy of all acceptation, that Yeshua HaMashiakh came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause He had mercy on me, that in me first Yeshua HaMashiakh may show forth all patience, for a pattern to those who should hereafter believe in Him to life everlasting.” 1 Tim 1:5-16

Shaul understands that EVERYONE is counted in the list of sinners given above, and included himself as a chief violator! The Torah is meant for us ALL, so that we can correct our behavior after Messiah cleanses us, so we do not again defile ourselves. Those who do not understand this and yet desire to be teachers of the Word are confused themselves [though they think not], and so they confuse others. They speak out both sides of their mouths! They have not seen that they themselves were [and many still are!] among those in need of the Torah! Sha’ul understood this! And he lists ALL the things that are repulsive to יהוה. And, again, the ‘homosexual’ error is counted among that same list of OTHER offenses, all of which are offensive to יהוה.

Interestingly, Sha’ul writes another letter to this same person, and warns him about the “Akharit HaYamim,” the last days, which many believe we are now in or encountering. He again makes a list of things not pleasing to Yah, but does NOT specifically mention this particular error:

“And men shall be lovers of themselves and lovers of money, proud, conceited, blasphemers, disobedient to their own people, ungrateful, wicked, false accusers, addicts to lust, brutal, haters of good things, traitors, hasty, boasters, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of Elohim; having a shade of the fear of Elohim, but far from the power of Elohim; from such turn away.” 2 Tim 3:1-3

It is easy to see that this, and all sexual sins listed in Leviticus 18, are included in the phrase, “addicts to lust.” But, so are a lot of other errors included in that one phrase: greed for money, alcoholism, addiction to facebook, etc…we give ourselves over to many things that take control of our minds more than they should!

Lest someone get bogged down in the semantics of the language, the greek in 1 Tim and 2 Tim, and in 1 Cor, all referenced herein and that is translated as ‘man who lies with man, ‘ is arsenokoites, and cannot be translated any other way; and it perfectly expresses a violation of the topic of this article, Leviticus 18:22. “Man shall not lie with man as with woman.’ ‘Arseno’ means ‘man’ and ‘koites’ means ‘bed’ as a verb meaning the sexual act: ‘man-bedder,’ a man who ‘beds’ a man. Further, Romans 1 spells out the behavior, instead of using the one word that the other three scriptures used to encapsulate the behavior so detailed in Romans 1. All of these passages were written by the same man, and we can conclude that he was speaking of the same behavior in each passage. Also, just because the female rendering is not given in those three later verses does not release females to the behavior, because Romans 1 also addresses that gender, very specifically and detailed. It is error on the part of both male and female to ‘bed’ a member of the same gender.

My point is this: yes, there is error in doing certain things, and having sex outside the biblical boundaries is indeed error: it is sin. But, it is NOT any worse a sin than any other listed as ‘repulsive’ to יהוה . Where people get really upset is in the phrase in 1 Corinthians, where Sha’ul twice states that anyone who does these things ‘shall not inherit the Kingdom of Elohim.’ The reason they get so upset is because they think this is a ticket of condemnation: the religious see it as justification for stating that someone is going to hell [but again, they excuse the adulterer, fornicator, drunkard, angry, etc etc.]. Then there are those who have a loved one who has given in to this behavior, and they worry they will not ‘see them in heaven,’ but that they will ‘go to hell.’ Neither of these conclusions is true! Talk to any homosexual, and you will find that this behavior is merely a ‘part’ of who they are, and that they are just like every other person on earth, and in many cases, better behaved and more kind than most who ‘hate’ homosexuals!

Inheriting the Kingdom of Elohim and ‘going to heaven’ are vastly misunderstood today: “some have gone astray and have turned aside to foolish words, desiring to be teachers of the Torah; not understanding what they speak, nor even whereof they argue. But we know that the Torah is good.”

Those who inherit the kingdom are those who not only trust in Yeshua the Messiah as their salvation, but also OBEY HIS TORAH. These are they who will assemble around His Throne and see the face of Elohim, The Father. These are those who turn from ALL these behaviors. They will rule over MANY who did trust in Yeshua for salvation, but did NOT choose to obey Him fully! Those who rule with Him do so because they understand that He will rule by HIS TORAH.

Those who are the ruled did not seek Him with a whole heart. They will not see Elohim and His Throne! But, they will not ‘go to hell,’ provided they repent in the great time of testing that is to come. They are those who, like Sha’ul, committed these sins unwittingly, not KNOWING that they themselves were sinning, because of the TEACHERS who told them they could keep on living a life outside of Torah and what is Righteous. They are the ones who ‘have the smell of smoke on their garments.’ They are ‘saved,’ but not much more than that. These are the ones over whom those who DO inherit the Kingdom will rule during the Millennium, the 1000-year reign of Messiah on earth.

Inheriting the Kingdom of Elohim is NOT the same thing as ‘salvation,’ or ‘going to heaven.’ Salvation is being rescued from eternal destruction. Inheriting the Kingdom means ruling with Messiah. Those who do not rule with Him are ruled BY Him, AND by those who rule WITH Him, with Torah as the body of ‘law’ governing His Kingdom. [See Isaiah 2:1-4, and other places that show us Torah is the mechanism of His rule].

The ones who ‘go to hell’ are those who KNOW that they should do right, but they choose NOT to; they DEFY Elohim, REJECT Yeshua, twist their philosophy/religion to make themselves arbiters over what is ‘right and wrong,’ saying ‘anything goes,’ deigning to say that G-d does not exist, or that they do not care if He does. They hear of His Son Yeshua and they REJECT Him. They are persecutors of His People. They are deceivers. These people are those who say ‘whatever MY heart tells me is right is right.’ They are the ‘iniquitous,’ the ‘wicked,’ the ‘evil’ people in this world. And, yes, this is MOST people. And some of them claim to be ‘Christian.’ The wicked have always far out-numbered the ‘righteous.’

The difficulty for many who have succumbed to homosexual behavior is that they ‘think’ that they must succumb to it, and they are now being told by society that they should. They have been told that they are born that way. Irresponsible ‘scientists’ are insisting there is a ‘gay gene,’ which is a lie, and their assertion is not backed by scientific method.

Many homosexuals have been labeled all their lives by many who think that their ‘tendency’ to behave like the other gender MEANS that they are ‘gay.’ Because they did not fit in societal molds, and because peers and parents did not understand that their ‘personality’ was not a sexual identity, they have been ‘informed’ by society that they are made that way, that their ‘tendency’ should be translated into their sexual ‘choice,’ which, to them, is really no choice at all. Words are powerful, and when a young man hears from his ill-trained, hateful peers that because he is ‘soft’ or ‘artsy’ or ‘intuitive,’ then he must be ‘gay,’ he begins to look for others who ‘feel’ the same way. He seeks companionship with those who are the same as he, and it eventually ends up that his sexual behavior becomes defined by his affection for those who share his plight. Most of them are without the plain reading of The Word on the issue, and they are just trying to be loved, as everyone in society is, in some way or another. They do not see that every behavior, every sexual ACT, is a choice, and they become trapped in the lie, seeking like-minded persons to help them be happy. This is the very reason the underground homosexual community began to call themselves ‘gay,’ when they began to reveal their behavior to society: gay means ‘happy.’ They thought they were now ‘happy.’ The truth is, they just ‘unionized’ their behavior.

They have been told that it is ‘right’ that they embrace this behavior. Yet, many who are raised in the confines of faith and yet identify with this are perplexed, because they have been told they will go to hell. And this is where this issue gets so difficult. Many have believed the contrived doctrine that all homosexuals go to hell, so when they have children who evince a ‘tendency’ toward behaving like the other gender, they threaten their child with hell, hoping to ward off the behavior, and instead drive the child into the arms of the seemingly more merciful and accepting homosexual community. Many times, this gives the child the idea that the god of their parents is hateful, so they reject G-d altogether, or embrace a man-made version of one, and accept the twisted interpretations of scripture. In many cases, the parents end up also doing the same, out of love for their child and a desire to make amends and have a relationship with their child.

Some parents today who believe in Messiah go ahead and embrace the deceit, and accept their child’s ‘behavior,’ thinking that it is how they were ‘created.’ No. Elohim does not create sin. Society fails these individuals, and it is idolatry that has given them the ‘green light’ to go into the behavior, because SOCIETY has rejected Elohim and His Word! “And as they did not consent in themselves to know Elohim, Elohim gave them over to a vain mind, to do the things which should not be done; being filled with all manner of iniquity…” This is just ONE result of most of society turning away from HIS WORD.

Yes, some homosexuals will ‘go to Sheol,’ or be cast out of His Presence for eternity. But, some will not, because they are victims of bad and false teachers in the religious community. They may never hear the truth about their plight. They are trapped in this sin, because people are telling them they can be. “The law has been fulfilled, so we don’t have to worry about doing all those Jewish laws….” LIE. Since they do not seek Elohim diligently, they will barely escape the flames, but SO WILL MANY OTHER BELIEVERS who reject HIS definition of sin and do all those other behaviors, because of bad and false teachers. “Sin IS breaking the Torah.” 1 John 3:4 The reason they barely escape the flames is because they should ALL have sought Him in His Word more diligently, instead of allowing society, and bad and false teachers, to define their lives and tell them how to behave.

Are we giving all homosexuals a ‘ticket to ride’ if we take this position? No. They should stop behaving that way. It is very distasteful behavior to
יהוה . But, so are MANY other behaviors. Those who call themselves ‘gay’ or ‘homosexual’ and also call themselves believers or Christians, they should stop the behavior. Not because anyone tells them to, but because the Creator made them for better things, and because they should love HIM enough to do what He says. And, if they want to be a prince in His Kingdom, they MUST stop that behavior. But also, if they learn that it IS a thing that יהוה abhors but then INSIST on doing it, then their ‘belief’ and professed love for G-d is a false confession:

“For if any man sins [breaks Torah, 1 John 3:4] willfully after he has received the knowledge of the truth, [“Your Torah is Truth, Ps 119:142] then there is no more sacrifice to be offered for sins, but only impending fearful judgment, and the fiery indignation which shall consume the adversaries. He who transgressed the Torah of Moshe, on the word of two or three witnesses died without mercy: how much more punishment do you think he will receive who has trodden underfoot HaBen HaElohim, and has considered the blood of His covenant, through which he had been sanctified, as ordinary blood, and has blasphemed HaRuakh of Grace? For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says יהוה.”
And again, ” יהוה shall judge His people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living Elohim.” [Hebrews 10:26-31]

Only those who REJECT correction will actually be rejected by Elohim. And this applies to ALL those who break Torah commands, once they have heard them and understood them plainly. This is a GREAT LOT of people, even in the Christian community. If we are going to apply this principle to the homosexual community, we need to apply it to the wider berth of ALL of society. Those homosexuals who have heard the B’sorah [Good News of Messiah] and received it need gentle correction; they need to be shown the validity of the Torah, versus the hypocrisy of religion. Those who have not heard the B’sorah of Messiah need to hear it. But, the fact that so many are now ‘coming out’ is SOCIETY’s fault, because we have TURNED TO IDOLATRY of every variety. If religious people are looking for someone to blame, they should blame themselves. They created this mess, by rejecting the PLAIN MEANING OF HIS WORD:

“Consider that the longsuffering of יהוה is salvation; even as our beloved brother Sha’ul also, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his letters, he speaks concerning these matters, in which there are certain things so hard to be understood that those who are ignorant [of Torah] and unstable twist their meaning, as they do also the other scriptures, to their own destruction. You therefore, my beloved, seeing that you know these things beforehand, beware, lest you follow the error of the Torah-less, and fall from your own steadfastness. But grow in grace and in the knowledge of Adoneinu and Savior, Yeshua HaMashiakh, and of Elohim.” [2 Peter 3:15-18]

May our hearts be turned to do His Truth.

Shalom!