Does Isaiah 56:4-5 speak of born eunuchs and/or gay people?

by Rene

Rick Brentlinger Answers -

What an intriguing question! My answer is Yes, because I understand Isaiah 56:4-5 to be referring to all three classes of eunuchs Jesus listed in Matthew 19:12.
"For there are (1) some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb: and there are (2) some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be (3) eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it." -Matthew 19:12

Jesus lists three kinds of eunuchs:

1. Those so born from their mother's womb, anatomically whole but not inclined toward opposite marriage

2. Those made eunuchs by men via castration so that they are incapable of consummating a marriage

3. Those who make a choice to abstain from marriage (metaphysical eunuchs) so they can serve God without distraction

Here's the context of Isaiah 56:4-5 as I understand it. We have the prophesy of the coming Messiah in Isaiah 52. Jesus is God's "holy arm," Psalm 98:1.

"The LORD hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God." -Isaiah 52:10

In Isaiah 53, we have the prophesy of the crucifixion, where Jesus becomes the Substitute for sinners, suffering in their place, taking upon Himself the wrath of God, for others, not for Himself.

So when we get to Isaiah 56, it speaks prophetically of a time in the future when obedient eunuchs will be given their rightful place in the kingdom of God. This promise does not apply to all eunuchs. It is specifically aimed at eunuchs who obey God. Notice Isaiah 56:4 - the promise is based on obedience to God, i.e., it applies to saved eunuchs.

Because it is an incontrovertible historical fact that gays and lesbians were included in the ancient categories of saris (Hebrew for eunuch) and eunuch, you are absolutely right to believe that saved gays and lesbians are included in the promise of Isaiah 56:4-5.

I have additional information about eunuchs at these Links, including an entire chapter in my book, Gay Christian 101, pp. 223-257.

Is there such a thing as homosexual eunuchs?

Was the Ethiopian eunuch a gay man?

Would it surprise you to discover that eunuchs are gay?

Is there any historical evidence of same sex attracted eunuchs?

Is gay marriage scriptural?

Original Question:

"Dear Rick - I just read the prophecy in Jes 56:4-5 (Isaiah 56:4-5) which leaves me somewhat confused. Does Jesaja include 'eunuchs who were born thus from their mothers womb' (Mt 19:12) or does he in this context exclusively address 'eunuchs made eunuchs by men'? The latter case obviously contradicting Deut 23:1, I tend to believe gays are meant as well and I strongly do hope so, but I am not sure.
May I please have your opinion?

Many thanks and God bless you. -Rene"

Comments for Does Isaiah 56:4-5 speak of born eunuchs and/or gay people?

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Mar 10, 2010
Was the Ethiopian eunuch a celibate gay man?
by: Orlando in Mexico

I read what you said about the Ethiopian eunuch in the Bible (Acts 8). As you said in other study, Jesus mentioned three types of eunuchs, lgbt, castrated, and celibate people.

What if he was a celibate eunuch?... Is it possible or is more possible that he was gay?


Mar 10, 2010
Not enough information to even guess
by: Rick Brentlinger

Thanks for asking if the Ethiopian eunuch was a celibate gay man. As far as I am aware, history gives us no concrete details about the Ethiopian eunuch except what is recorded in the Bible.

Based on what the Bible says, we have no way of knowing if the Ethiopian eunuch was in a same sex relationship or if he was celibate. The Bible does not give us that information. Based on what I've written on this page about him, we can reasonably infer that the Ethiopian eunuch was an anatomically whole eunuch and therefore, likely a gay man.

Any answer to the question of whether he was same sex partnered or celibate would only be a guess.

What we do know is that the Ethiopian eunuch believed the gospel and trusted Jesus Christ to save him, which is something everyone needs to do. Because the Ethiopian eunuch genuinely repented of his sins and got saved, Philip baptized him as an outward symbol of what had already happened in the man's heart.

I hope this answer is helpful to you.

May God bless as you walk the path of his purpose for your life.

May 26, 2010
Why are gays allowed to have sex outside of marriage?
by: Loren

So if the laws of marriage only apply to heterosexuals as stated by Matt19:12 - why are homosexuals allowed to have sex outside of a holy union? I am a gay man, I have been in a few relationships and therefore have had more than one sexual partner, is this not a sin?

My dear heterosexual christian friend sees this as very unfair being that she is a divorced woman and feels she can't have a sexual relationship without marriage even though she can't produce any children. I do understand her thoughts but I don't even know how to begin to discuss with her.

I feel like there is a huge gap here but I thank you for getting the truth of God's holy word out there. I hope it spreads. I worry so much for my fellow gay people. Society has banished them to bars and the devil has them tied down to drugs, alcohol and sex.

Sincerely, Loren

Nov 23, 2010
Gays and sex
by: Rick Brentlinger

Hi Loren-

Sorry its taken so long to answer your intelligent question. Many anti-gay Christians teach that sex is ONLY permissible in a one man with one woman heterosexual marriage. According to their opinion, NO GAY PERSON ANYWHERE may have sex unless they're married to an opposite sex partner.

The problem with that view is that it substitutes their opinion for what God says in the Bible. God never makes the absolutist assertions that they make, that sex is ONLY for male-female marriages. They read Genesis 2:18 and 2:24, which doesn't say what they believe and then read their opinion into the text.

Then they teach their opinion (something the Bible never says) as if the Bible had actually stated their opinion. Here are Links which explain why its okay for gays or lesbians to have sex within a committed relationship.

Since gay couples cannot legally marry is sex in a committed relationship sin?

Isn?t it all about sex for you gays and lesbians?

Is there any evidence of an actual gay marriage in the Bible?

Did God intend for men and women to have committed same sex partnerships?

When is it appropriate for a same sex couple to begin a sexual relationship?

Nov 28, 2013
Does Bible speak against gay relationships?
by: Greg

Yes, it does. Read carefully Romans 1:26-27

Read carefully 1 Corinthians 6:9-10

The Greek word, arsenokoitai, did not mean gay or lesbian.

Leviticus 18:22!!!!!!!

The truth about Lev 18:22 & 20:13.

Do not commit prostitution with goat idols.

Please get the context of Leviticus right.

Rick's comment: Hi Greg - I hope you are honest enough to study and get the facts BEFORE you give us your final answer. God's truth IN CONTEXT is found in the text links. Many thanks for stopping by.

Jul 03, 2015
by: Aaron Saltzer

According to The Medical Dictionary, a eunuch is a male whose testes have been removed or have never developed.

Rick's comment: Hi Aaron - According to Jesus in Matthew 19:12, there are three kinds of eunuch. 1. Those born that way from their mother's womb, 2. Those made so by men via castration or crushing, and 3. Metaphysical eunuchs, men who abstain from marriage by personal choice so they can serve without distraction in God's kingdom.

Historical evidence beside what Jesus said, indicates that gay, lesbians and transgen-dered people were included in the group known as eunuchs. That doesn't mean all eunuchs were gay but some were.

Jun 09, 2016
Eunuchs born from their mother's womb
by: Caleb

If Jesus was speaking only of the physical condition of the eunuch (no testicles; from birth, by the hands of someone else, by the hands of one's self), and eunuchs were common in that time, why finish off the statement with "He who is able to accept this, let him accept it."? What would they have to accept? A physical condition or a concept?

Rick's comment: Hi Cabeb - A born eunuch was not someone who lacked testicles. A born eunuch was anatomically correct and capable of siring children but was not interested in women that way.

You asked about Jesus' words in vs. 11-12, "All men cannot receive this saying... He that is able to receive it, let him receive it."

Jesus was answering the objection of His disciples in v. 10 - "His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry." - Matthew 19:10

In plainer words, Jesus is excluding eunuchs from His statements about Adam and Eve marriage. The ones who can receive His teaching about Adam and Eve style marriage are not eunuchs.

Eunuchs are a different class of people, are recognized as such by Jesus and are treated differently by God, a fact which Jesus recognizes with His statement.

What they are accepting or receiving is Jesus' teaching, that eunuchs are different and not part of the Adam-Eve marriage paradigm.

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