The Bible presents the account of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 18:16-19:29. According to Bishop Wilke, it is “easy” to see that the sin of Sodom was not homosexual activity, but the inhospitality of the people of Sodom because they wanted to rape and humiliate the angels visiting Lot citing Ezekiel 16:49 and Luke 10:12. (See Wilke presentation).
In reference to Ezekiel 16:49, it is best to look at the immediate context, which is Ezekiel 16:48–52 (ESV)
48 As I live, declares the Lord God, your sister Sodom and her daughters have not done as you and your daughters have done. 49 Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. 50 They were haughty and did an abomination before me. So I removed them, when I saw it. 51 Samaria has not committed half your sins. You have committed more abominations than they, and have made your sisters appear righteous by all the abominations that you have committed. 52 Bear your disgrace, you also, for you have intervened on behalf of your sisters. Because of your sins in which you acted more abominably than they, they are more in the right than you. So be ashamed, you also, and bear your disgrace, for you have made your sisters appear righteous.
Note that verse 50 says [emphasis added], “They were haughty and did an abomination before me. So I removed them, when I saw it.” The Hebrew word the ESV translates as “an abomination” has the sense of something that is an abomination that causes horror and disgust in others. See Exegetical Guide, Logos 8. This word is also used in Leviticus 20:13 (ESV) to characterize male-male homosexual sex:
13 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.
Clearly, the passage from Ezekiel does not exclude homosexual practice from the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah for which God removed them from the face of the earth. In fact, the passage includes Sodom’s abomination. One commentator writes [emphasis added]:
16:48–50 The people of Sodom were not as bad as the people of Jerusalem (cf. 22:15; 2 Kings 15:37; 16:6; 24:2; 2 Chron. 28:18–19; Isa. 3:9; Jer. 23:14). The Sodomites were arrogant, affluent, selfish, and great sinners. Material abundance and physical security fostered sexual perversion (Gen. 13:13; 18:20; 19:4–5). The Lord removed them when He saw their sins (cf. Lam. 4:6; Matt. 11:23–24).
Constable, T. (2003). Tom Constable’s Expository Notes on the Bible (Eze 16:48). Galaxie Software.
The immediate context of Luke 10:12 resides in Luke 10:8–12 (ESV), which reads:
8 Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you. 9 Heal the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ 10 But whenever you enter a town and they do not receive you, go into its streets and say, 11 ‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near.’ 12 I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.
The reference to Sodom has to do with the punishment of those people who did not receive the disciples who were preaching the gospel. In other words, these people rejected Jesus and because if that, their punishment would be such that “it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom.” This verse has nothing to do with the specific sins of Sodom in that it does not somehow exclude homosexual practice as a sin worthy of destruction.
Now, a careful reading of the account of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 18:22 through Genesis 19:29, as well as the background, brings out the following worthwhile points.
First, Abram and Lot came to a place that would not support both of their flocks (Genesis 13:6) so they had to separate (Genesis 13:8-9). Abram gave Lot the first choice of where to go, and Lot choose land that included Sodom (Genesis 13:12-13).
Second, Genesis 13:13 (ESV) describes the men of Sodom:
13 Now the men of Sodom were wicked, great sinners against the Lord.
Third, after God and two angels had visited Abram and Sarai, the two angels set out an dlooked down toward Sodom (Genesis 18:16).
Fourth, the wicked men of Sodom are again referenced in Genesis 18:20 (ESV):
20 Then the Lord said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave,
Fifth, after telling Abram His plan, God allowed Abram to negotiate Him to the point where He would spare Sodom if there were ten righteous people (Genesis 18:32).
Sixth, the attempt of the men of Sodom to rape the angels is recorded in Genesis 19:4–5 (ESV):
4 But before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house. 5 And they called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know them.”
Seventh, these men even threatened to assault Lot per Genesis 19:9.
Eighth, these men’s homosexual desire was so great they would not even accept Lot’s offer of his virgin daughters for them to ravage. Eventually, only their blindness stopped defeated their attempt to rape the angels. Note that even after being struck blind, as recorded in Genesis 19:11 (ESV) these men:
11 And they struck with blindness the men who were at the entrance of the house, both small and great, so that they wore themselves out groping for the door.
Ninth, the angels’ conclusion and mission are set out in Genesis 19:13 (ESV)
13 For we are about to destroy this place, because the outcry against its people has become great before the Lord, and the Lord has sent us to destroy it.”
The sin of the men of Sodom was primarily homosexual sex. While inhospitality is inherent with an attempt to commit homosexual rape, the primary wickedness was homosexual sex. The widespread nature of the situation makes it certain that the sin included consensual homosexual sex.
Finally, one ought to note two New Testament references to Sodom. The first is 2 Peter 2:4–11 (ESV), which reads:
4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; 5 if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; 6 if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; 7 and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked 8 (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard); 9 then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, 10 and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority. Bold and willful, they do not tremble as they blaspheme the glorious ones, 11 whereas angels, though greater in might and power, do not pronounce a blasphemous judgment against them before the Lord.
Verses 6 and 7 describes the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah as “ungodly” by whom Lot was distressed by “the sensual conduct of the wicked” and tormented over the “lawless deeds that he saw and heard.” While the reference may be broader, verse 10 certainly describes the people of Sodom and Gomorrah as those who “indulge in the lust of defiling passion.”
It is impossible to argue that this passage from 2 Peter does not condemn the homosexual sexual activities of the men of Sodom (and Gomorrah). One commentator writes:
2:6. The third and final illustration focuses on Sodom and Gomorrah. Whenever these cities appear in the Scripture, they represent sin and rebellion at its highest level. Their particular sin was sexual sin, specifically homosexual practices. Coupled with this was their complete disregard for God and his law. As a result, God brought destructive judgment against the cities
Walls, D., & Anders, M. (1999). I & II Peter, I, II & III John, Jude (Vol. 11, p. 126). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
The second is Jude 5–7 (ESV), which reads:
5 Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. 6 And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day— 7 just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.
Jude 7 easily shows that homosexual sex was the primary sin of Sodom and Gomorrah. The phrase “indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire” make that conclusion clear. Further, like what 1 Corinthians 6:9 teaches, the punishment of damnation is the consequence as taught by the phrase “undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.”
To restrict the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah to inhospitality ignores the facts of the Genesis account, the full context of the passage in Ezekiel, the purpose of the reference in Luke, and the characterization of the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah set forth in 2 Peter and Jude. By wiping Sodom and Gomorrah off the face of the earth, God showed His intense anger at those who practiced homosexual sex.
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