The Sin Of Sodom According To Jesus Was Not Homosexuality

Pagan worshipers of the fertility goddess.

The sin of Sodom was homosexuality, according to many Christians (but not according to the Bible). We are told by modern preachers that Sodom’s destruction proves that homosexuality was the problem in Sodom and therefore, homosexuality is wrong.

The problem with that viewpoint is that it goes against the testimony of history and the testimony of scripture.

Some archeologists believe this is Lot's Cave, where Lot fled with his two daughters, to escape the destruction of Sodom.

For 1700 years after God destroyed Sodom, the human authors of the Bible and the Jews as a nation described Sodom's sin as lack of hospitality, pride, idolatry, greed or gluttony but never as homosexuality.

If the problem in Sodom was homosexuality, God would have clearly stated that in the Bible.

If the problem in Sodom was homosexuality, some Jewish rabbi, scholar or writer would have pointed that out in the 1700 years after God destroyed Sodom.

The Wickedness Of The People of Sodom

The wickedness of the people of Sodom is well attested in ancient Jewish writings yet the Biblical witness never links Sodom to homosexuality.

Reproduction of an ancient Hebrew scroll.

The belief that God destroyed Sodom because of “homosexuality” is a late interpretation. It came into being approximately 1700 years after the destruction of Sodom.

No human author of the Old Testament linked Sodom with homosexuality. In fact, until the inter-testamental period, around 150 BC to AD 100, it is difficult to find any Jewish literature which links Sodom with homosexuality.

Since the Biblical text makes no mention of homosexuality, anti-gay commentators must read into the text, something the text does not say, in an attempt to make scripture say what they wish it said.

Moses and Ezekiel emphasize Sodom’s lack of hospitality, greed, idolatry, gluttony but never mention homosexuality as the sin of Sodom.

The world must wait until the 163 BC - AD 93 time frame for extra-biblical Jewish writers to begin linking Sodom to particular kinds of same sex activity (pederasty and male prostitution).

Jewish Philosophers Depart From The Biblical Witness

Talmudic scholars allowed Plato’s philosophy to influence their interpretation of Genesis 19.

Near the time of Christ, Jewish philosophers began to reinterpret the Sodom story to reflect the views of Greek philosophers, including Plato’s views of human sexuality. This Hellenistic influence is reflected in The Sibylline Oracles, 163-45 BC, where the emerging Jewish reinterpretation, points out Roman pederasty and male prostitution as sin.

Later on, around the time of Christ, two Jewish writers, Philo, the Alexandrian philosopher, 20 BC-AD 40, and Josephus the Roman/Jewish historian, AD 37-100, are cited by Christian traditionalists to defend their theory that the Sodom story is about homosexuality.

Is there a more plausible explanation why Jewish writers, 1700 years after the destruction of Sodom, began to link Sodom to pederasty and male prostitution?

Cultural Pressures On Diaspora Jews And The Sin Of Sodom

The Jews of the Diaspora faced a desperate situation. Because of their sin of idolatry, God had driven the Jews from Palestine and scattered them (the Diaspora) throughout the known world.

Bas relief of an ancient fertility goddess.
Despite losing their homeland, the Jews maintained their distinctive culture, resisting assimilation into foreign cultures.

Then Philip of Macedon, 382-336 BC, conquered Greece, with its culturally enshrined celebration of pederasty (an older male in sexual relationship with a younger male).

Throughout Old Testament history, some Jews rebelled against God by embracing same sex activity in worship of the Canaanite fertility goddess. Sexual worship of the fertility goddess has no connection to modern homosexual relationships.

In the Bible, individuals who engage in same sex activity in worship of the fertility goddess are called sodomites. The term "sodomite" has no linguistic relationship to the inhabitants of Sodom or their physical descendants.

Don't believe a lie. People with an anti-gay agenda will try to tell you that the term 'sodomites' is connected to the men of Sodom and therefore sodomites are homosexuals.

Notice however that the Hebrew words translated Sodom and shrine prostitute (sodomite in the KJV) are linguistically unrelated.

The Hebrew word for Sodom has no linguistic relationship to the Hebrew word translated “sodomites.” This Link will open in a new page.

The Hebrew word for sodomites in the KJV has no linguistic relationship to the Hebrew word translated Sodom. This Link will open in a new page.

The Jewish Diaspora or Scattering Among The Nations

The spiritual apostasy of the Jews was one cause of the Diaspora, when God drove the Jews from Palestine and caused them to be scattered among the nations.

After Philip of Macedon died (336 BC), his son, Alexander the Great, 356-323 BC, consolidated his hold on Greece and in thirteen violent years, conquered much of the known world. Greek culture, Greek sexuality and Greek social conventions exerted enormous pressure on Jewish culture.

The Old Testament is filled with stories about Jews adopting the religious views and cultural mores of their pagan neighbors. The spread of Greek culture during and after Alexander’s reign, threatened to destroy Jewish culture.

Ancient Rome contained hundreds of pagan temples.

Adding insult to injury, in 65 BC, the Romans, who embraced Greek culture, pederasty and shrine prostitution, conquered Palestine.

How could Jewish culture withstand the influence of Greek and Roman culture, which embraced shrine prostitution and celebrated same sex relationships?

Something had to be done to counteract the immense cultural pressure and preserve Jewish identity.

Reacting to Syrian and Greek religious and sexual mores and later, to Roman religious and sexual mores, the Rabbis and Jewish philosophers adopted Plato’s view. They began to reinterpret the Sodom story as God’s condemnation of same sex activity.

This late Jewish reinterpretation, diverged from the Biblical witness of Israel’s prophets, concerning Sodom.

Philo and Josephus departed from the Biblical witness, forsook the trajectory of Biblical truth and wrote what they wrote under this Jewish reinterpretative influence.

The $64 Million Dollar Question - Will Jesus Affirm Or Deny The Jewish Reinterpretation About The Sin Of Sodom?

When Jesus begins his public ministry, He instructs His disciples to depend on the hospitality of strangers as they preach the gospel, Matthew 10:11-15.

Our Savior informs His disciples that cities which do not display hospitality to the disciples will be judged more harshly than Sodom and Gomorrha.

“Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgement, than for that city” [which will not receive you]. Matthew 10:15.

Jesus Denies The Jewish Reinterpretation

An old folio copy of The Babylonian Talmud

Had Jesus accepted the Jewish revision of the Sodom story so popular in the first century, that the sin of Sodom was some form of same sex activity, this was His opportunity to make His views crystal clear.

Jesus never links Sodom with same sex activity of any kind.

Instead of affirming homosexuality or same sex activity as the sin of Sodom, Jesus says that Jewish cities which reject His disciples (Inhospitality) and refuse to hear their message will receive judgement more harsh than Sodom received.

Apparently, Jesus believed that rejecting His disciples, or refusing to show Hospitality, was a worse sin than anything that went on in Sodom.

Had Jesus believed about homosexuality, what modern conservative Christians believe about homosexuality, we would expect Him to condemn same sex relationships when He talks about Sodom.

Yet when He mentions Sodom, Jesus not only refuses to condemn same sex relationships, He also rejects the first century viewpoint expressed by the Sibylline Oracles, Philo and Josephus.

The sin of Sodom, according to Jesus, was inhospitality to God’s messengers.

Here was a perfect opportunity for Jesus to clobber homosexuals.

If ever we would expect scripture to clearly state the traditional Christian, Complementarian, anti-gay position, this is the place.

Jesus Takes A Remarkably Countercultural Position On The Sin Of Sodom.

An Open Bible
Jesus completely ignores the opportunity to clobber homosexuals. Instead, Jesus takes a completely countercultural position on Sodom.

Jesus flat out refuses to affirm the popular, first century, Jewish reinterpretation, that Sodom was about pederasty and male prostitution.

Jesus ignores the Jewish reinterpretation and restates the historic Biblical witness, that the sin of Sodom was inhospitality.

According to many Christian traditionalists, “the Bible says God destroyed Sodom for the sin of homosexuality.” Yet scripture never says that and Jesus never said that. In fact, no verse of scripture anywhere in the Bible mentions homosexuality in connection with Sodom.

“And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgement, than for that city.” Mark 6:11.

Jesus refused to go along with the popular first century Jewish view of Sodom, that the sin of Sodom was some kind of same sex activity.

The sin of Sodom that Jesus points out is inhospitality.

Do you have the moral courage, based on the evidence, to change your mind about the sin of Sodom?

Sunset Praise
Many Christians scoff at the assertion that the sin of Sodom was inhospitality yet that is precisely the sin Jesus references when He talks about Sodom.

Scripture is clear about this.

Do you agree or disagree with Jesus about the sin of Sodom?

As a Bible believing Christian, I agree with Jesus about the sin of Sodom. The sin of Sodom was inhospitality or lack of hospitality, not homosexuality.

To Christians, what the Bible says is very important. The Scriptures are the basis of our faith. We place the scriptures above human opinion.

If Jesus clearly says that the sin of Sodom was lack of hospitality (without ever mentioning homosexuality as the sin of Sodom), wise Christians are content to agree with Jesus on this issue.

I sincerely hope you are a wise Christian.

What really happened in ancient Sodom?

Find out what ancient Jews believed about Sodom by reading the Babylonian Talmud.

The sin of Sodom is not homosexuality, according to the Bible.

Don’t be so quick to believe that sodomites = homosexuals. The Bible never says or implies that.

Inhospitality or Lack of Hospitality was a very serious sin in the ancient near east. The Old Testament has a lot to say about this particular sin.

The New Testament also has a lot to say about Hospitality and Lack of Hospitality. Were these issues important to Jesus?

Portions of this article about sodomites are excerpted from the book Gay Christian 101: Spiritual Self-Defense For Gay Christians This book will be available in May, 2007.

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