- ‘You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.” (NASB)
- “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.” (ESV, NKJV)
Clearly, the Old Testament condemns homosexuality. What else does it mean when it says “you shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female”? The term “lie with” here refers to sexual intercourse in the phrase “lie with a male as one lies with a female.” It is an abomination. The word here is תֹּועֵבָה towʿebah, toʿebah.
117 occurrences; AV translates as “abomination” 113 times, “abominable thing” twice, and “abominable” twice. 1 a disgusting thing, abomination, abominable. 1a in ritual sense (of unclean food, idols, mixed marriages). 1b in ethical sense (of wickedness etc).1
- “If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltiness is upon them.” (NASB)
- “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.” (ESV)
The word “detestable” is the same Hebrew word found in Lev. 18:22, “abomination.”
There can be no doubt that the Old Testament condemns homosexuality as a detestable act worthy of death. But we might ask, why such harsh penalty for a simple “sexual orientation?” The answer lies in the overall context in which the Old Testament is written. God had promised the Messiah who would be the Savior, the Deliverer of people from the judgment of God. If homosexuality was to run rampant, it would threaten the arrival of the Messiah and thereby make God’s Word invalid (essentially making God a liar), and this cannot be. Since God works through people, he provided the harshness of the law in order to guard people from their own sins, the sins of others, and ultimately provide a way by which the Messiah would come and die on the cross for our sins.
Of course, the Old Testament Law is no longer in effect in this area because the Messiah has come and we are not under a theocratic governmental system. Therefore, we are not to execute homosexuals. We are to pray for them and their repentance so they might find salvation in Christ.
- Leviticus was part of the mosaic law that was written to the Jews, not the Christians. Therefore, the condemnation of homosexuality in Leviticus does not apply to present day Christians.
First of all, it is obvious that homosexuality was condemned as a sin in Leviticus. Are we to conclude that God changes his mind and says that for one group of people homosexuality is a sin but for another it is not?
Second, God created Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. This signifies the God ordained order of male and female, not male and male or female and female. This is important because it was before the mosaic law was given. The mosaic law properly reflects the created order of God that excluded homosexuality. Therefore, the argument that homosexuality is not for Christians because it was intended for Israel under the Old Testament law does not apply.