By Wayne S. Walker
“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals…[will inherit the kingdom of God]” (1 Corinthians 6:9). When I was a boy growing up some fifty plus years ago, and even a young preacher just starting out forty odd years ago, there were some subjects that were considered just too sensitive and delicate to be mentioned in public. Homosexuality was one of them. However, today you cannot watch television, listen to the radio, read a newspaper, or pick up a magazine but what your senses are assaulted by the radical pro-homosexual rights agenda. When I was young I heard lessons on fornication and adultery but never homosexuality. Perhaps our failure to deal Biblically with this subject back then helped to open the door for what we are seeing today.
The King James Version reads “effeminate.” A quick look at the dictionary shows that in modern English, this word is used of men with high voices or womanly features or girlish actions. This is not what the term in the original language means. W. E. Vine defines it generally as “soft, soft to the touch; metaphorically in a bad sense.” It is a form of the word translated “soft” in Matthew 11:8, “But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Indeed, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses.” Vine goes on to say, “Not simply of a male who practices forms of lewdness, but persons in general who are guilty of sins of the flesh, voluptuous.”
However, according to Joseph H. Thayer, it was used in the first century specifically of a “catamite” (cf. New King James Version note), i.e., a male who submits his body to unnatural lewdness. The New American Standard Bible reads “effeminate by perversion.” Arndt and Gingrich say, “Men and boys who allow themselves to be misused homosexually.” Thus, the term was often used with reference to male homosexual prostitutes (as in the New International Version) and basically means the passive partner in a homosexual relationship.
In our culture, the rise of homosexuality seems like a fairly recent phenomenon, but this was a very common problem in ancient times. Most of the famous Greek philosophers and nearly all the early Roman emperors, though usually married to wives, also kept “catamites,” boys or young men as additional paramours to help satisfy their fleshly lusts. This sin was plainly condemned in the Old Testament. “There shall be no ritual harlot of the daughters of Israel, or a perverted one of the sons of Israel. You shall not bring the wages of a harlot or the price of a dog to the house of the Lord your God for any vowed offering, for both of these are an abomination to the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 23:17-18). The “ritual harlot of the daughters of Israel” (qedeshah) was obviously a female prostitute, so the “perverted one of the sons of Israel” was a homosexual male prostitute (qadesh).
But notice the parallel in verse 18. There are the wages of the harlot corresponding to the ritual harlot or female, and then the price of a dog corresponding to the perverted ones or male. Dogs were unclean animals, and the metaphorical use of it here with regards to male homosexuals indicates God’s condemnation of the practice. It is also condemned in the New Testament. “Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie” (Revelation 22:14-15).
In contrast to those who do God’s commandments and enter into the city with the tree of life, those who are destined to be without the city include “dogs.” John is not saying that your pet poodle or favorite Labrador retriever will not be in heaven. Rather, he is using the term in the same way that it is found in Deuteronomy 23:17-18. Homer Hailey notes that it is used with reference to “homosexuals.” So what will be the fate of practicing homosexuals? They will be left outside the eternal city of heaven; they “will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
—in Search for Truth, May 31, 2015 (Vol. VI, No. 43)