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, nor sodomites…[will inherit the kingdom of God]” (1 Corinthians 6:9). For “sodomites,” the King James and American Standard Versions have “abusers of themselves with mankind (men),” whereas the New American Standard Bible reads “homosexuals,” and the New International Version says “homosexual offenders.” Obviously, this category of the unrighteous who will not inherit the kingdom of God is very closely related to the preceding one, since the same words are used of each in different translations, but they must have different shades of meaning.
Joseph H. Thayer defines the word as “one who lies with a male as with a female, a sodomite.” According to Arndt and Gingrich, it was the common Greek word for a homosexual or pederast, which is one guilty of sodomy between men, especially between a man and a boy. Thus, it basically identifies the active partner of a homosexual relationship. The word is also found in 1Timothy 1:8-10 in another listing of those who are contrary to sound doctrine. “But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully, knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine.” Instead of “sodomites,” the familiar King James Version reads “them that defile themselves with mankind.”
The sin of sodomy is plainly condemned in the Old Testament. When God appeared to Abraham to warn him of Lot’s danger in the city of Sodom, we read, “And the Lord said, ‘Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grave’” (Genesis 18:20). So the people of Sodom were guilty of a sin that was very grave. What was it? God did not specify here, but we learn what it was in the next chapter. When the angels, appearing as men, came to Sodom to warn Lot, we are told, “Now before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both old and young, all the people from every quarter, surrounded the house. And they called to Lot and said to him, ‘Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may know them carnally’” (Genesis 19:4-5).
Indeed, this is the source of our English word “sodomite” as a synonym for homosexual. We read of Asa in 1 Kings 15:12, “And he banished the perverted persons from the land, and removed all the idols that his fathers had made.” The King James Version reads, “And he took away the sodomites out of the land, and removed all the idols that his fathers had made.” Some try to claim, based on the reading of the King James Version, “bring them out unto us, that we may know them,” that all the men of Sodom wanted was to get to know the “men” (angels) and show them hospitality. However, it is clear from Lot’s response in verse 7, “Please, my brethren, do not do so wickedly!”, that something more than that was involved. The New King James Version adds the word “carnally” to show that the term “know” is being used in the same sense that Mary used it in Luke 1:34, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”
Also, Jude verse 7 clearly shows what the sin of Sodom entailed. “As Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.” The inspired prophet puts it in the general category of “sexual immorality” (or fornication in the King James Version) and labels it specifically as going after “strange flesh.” It is not strange for a man to desire a woman or vice versa because God created us that way. However, it is strange for a man to desire a man or a woman to desire a woman because that is not God’s plan. So Jude is quite explicit in identifying the sin of Sodom as homosexuality.
This sin is condemned in the New Testament as well. “Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due” (Romans 1:24-27). Here, Paul refers to women with women and men with men as uncleanness, lusts of their hearts, dishonoring their bodies, vile passions, against nature, what is shameful, and an error due a penalty. What could be plainer?
Yet, even with these clear condemnations of sodomy or homosexuality, even back in 1985, on June 30 a quarter of a million people celebrated “gay pride” in San Francisco, CA, with then Senator Allan Cranston as guest speaker, and tens of thousands of homosexual men and women marched in a “gay-lesbian” pride day parade along with then Mayor Ed Koch in New York City, NY. And it has only gotten worse since then. Today, we have boneheaded, leftist judges declaring that the right to so-called “same sex marriage,” an oxymoron if there ever was one, is guaranteed by the United States Constitution. “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20). What does the word of God say about sodomites? They “will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
—in Search for Truth, 6/7/2015 (Vol. VI, No. 44)