Part 3 – Homosexuality and the Law

The Law of Moses

Did the Law of Moses (in the Old Testament) actually condemn homosexuality as some say?  Let us consider a couple of passages that might help us to find that answer.  Leviticus 18:22 says, “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman.  It is an abomination.”  20:13 says, “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.”  It sure sounds like it was condemned under that law, doesn’t it?

What Does the Law of Moses say about Homosexuality?

What Does the Law of Moses say about Homosexuality?

To “lie with” (in the sense of these two passages) means to have sexual relations with (compare to Genesis 39:7-14).  Theorizers who attempt to justify homosexuality from the Scriptures tell us that these two passages (Lev. 18:22; 20:13) are merely in reference to abusive sexual encounters between those of the same-sex (specifically homosexual rape, or, abusive cultic practices).  They insist that the law was only given to prohibit the kind of activity that the heathen nations around them practiced, but that it “says nothing pertaining to the issue we are faced with today—that of loving and committed homosexual relationships.”

It is true that the Law of Moses laid down prohibitions that specifically countered the practices of the nations around them (Lev 18:24-30; cf. 1 Tim 1:8-10), yet neither passage (Lev. 18:22; 20:13) mention anything about cultic practices or homosexual rape. They specifically, clearly, and simply state that a man is not to have sexual relations with another man such as he would with a woman.  Both passages state that “It is an abomination.”  (Please notice that Leviticus 18:22 implies that “lying with a woman” is the natural act, designed by God Himself – Gen. 2:24; Matt. 19:4-5).

Under the Israelite Law of Moses, homosexuality, adultery, incest, bestiality (etc.) were all punishable by death (according to Lev. 20:10-16).  If Leviticus 20:13 refers to “homosexual rape,” then the adultery, incest, and bestiality also had to be rape (for they share the same context).  The truth is, however, that rape is not considered in this passage; but sexual immorality is.  Notice too that if Leviticus 20:13 refers to “homosexual rape,” why is the victim being put to death?  (Such a view is inconsistent with Deuteronomy 22:25-27 which states that the innocent victim of rape shall not be put to death). Clearly then, both Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 are not talking about homosexual rape, but about mutual homosexual relations.

Friends, it is clear that the Law of Moses did in fact condemn homosexuality.  But is there any other divine law in the Bible that approves of it?  Let us continue to study this issue to find out.  Please look for future articles in this series as we will examine some other points of interest, including what the New Testament says regarding homosexuality.

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