Surrounding the decision by the Supreme Court to legalize same-sex marriage country-wide, I have noticed an influx in anti-gay religious rhetoric that has extended from just the normal clobber passages we usually see quoted. (Please visit http://www.gaychristians.2freedom.com for in-depth explanations of these verses.) I have recently witnessed many pastors and Christians on social media quoting from Matthew 24:38,39 and Luke 17:27 as “proof” that gay-marriage was the cause of the flood, and that the end times being likened to “the days of Noah” means that gay marriages will be the major sign preceding the tribulation. Not only that, but I’ve recently heard a new translation that connects the first horseman of the Apocalypse in Revelation 6:2 to same-sex marriage. They are also using other religious text (not in the Bible) to support this idea, which I will get to shortly…
“Marrying and giving in marriage”
Below are the verses used to condemn gay marriage as the reason for Noah’s flood, hence it is being connected to the reason for the apocalypse. The verses read:
“For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” (Matthew 24:38,39)
“Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.”(Luke 17:26,27)
Before I go onto explain their logic, let it be known that Luke 17 goes onto say:
“Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot—they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all— so will it be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed.” (Luke 17:28-30)
The phrase in question is that they were “marrying and giving into marriage.” Some newer translations say “they were taking wives and taking husbands.” But for some reason, these pastors have concluded that this is speaking of males (not Biblically supported) and that “marrying” is referring to heterosexual marriage and “giving in marriage” is referring to homosexual marriage. They say that a man cannot be “given in marriage,” thus the passage speaks of males marrying other males. They use this quote to claim that those in Noah’s day right before the flood were engaging in same-sex marriages, thus God flooded the earth. And as Jesus makes a comparison between the days of Noah and His coming, this means gay marriage is a sign of the imminent end times.
Perhaps the additional comparison of Sodom in Luke 17:28-30 (listed above) could be why they initially thought of homosexuality, yet it states that the residents of Sodom were “eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building,” NOT “marrying and giving into marriage.” There are several problems with this logic. First are the listed verbs that describe what was happening at the time. Clearly both mentions of what was occurring in the days of Noah and the days of Lot are not reasons for the flood or their destruction. God did not flood the earth because people were consuming food and drink, nor for buying and selling nor for planting and building. So why then should one isolate that “they were marrying and giving in marriage” is the cause of the flood? (As an important side note if you aren’t already aware, when one looks at the context of the Sodom story in Genesis 19, we can see a situation where the residents of Sodom violently threaten to have sex with the angel visitors against their will. Trying to have sex against someone’s will is attempted rape. So this story represents an attempted gang-rape of angels. When we look at the cultural context of the time, some pagan towns would gang-rape male foreign visitors as a sign of power, punishment or payment, similar to modern day prison-rape among otherwise heterosexual males. This bears no resemblance to modern-day same-gender committed unions or even gay and lesbian people. Additionally, women were seen as being of less value, hence their refusal of Lots virgin daughters, as Sodom was also exceedingly filled with greed. Read Judges 19 for another account of such a practice and see the result of the wicked men that succeeded in their efforts.)
Secondly, the context of all these verses comparing the days of Noah and Lot to the days of the coming of Jesus clearly are reference to the fact that the unbelievers did not have any clue that destruction was going to overtake them. Matthew 24:39 said they were “unaware until the flood came and swept them away.” We all see this sudden destruction that unexpectedly overtook them without their knowledge because they did not believe any of the warnings. This reminds me of 1 Thessalonians 5:3 which reads “While people are saying, ‘peace and security,’ then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.” With this said, the events described prior to the flood and destruction of Sodom were not describing the reason for their destruction, but rather that people were going about their daily activities, planning for the future (which they did not have) and not preparing themselves for the coming end. This is how this mind state of the people is similar to the coming of the Son of Man. It is as it says that He will come like a thief in the night, but not to believers who can see the signs of His coming, as it states, “But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ…” (1 Thessalonians 5:4-9).
So with this, just as Noah heeded the warnings of God’s flood and was brought to safety into the arc, so shall it be for the believers in Christ that will escape the wrath against those who scoff in unbelief and choose the antichrist over following Him. He gave us the instruction for the one way to salvation through the blood covenant of the sacrifice of His Son for all sin, just as He gave instruction to Noah to build the arc which brought him into safety. Without this faith, obedience would have been impossible. The Christians’ “arc” is being built by Him who has saved us, as it is written: “In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” (John 14:2-4)
Third, if “marrying and giving in marriage” truly is a reference to a distinction between straight and gay marriage, then one must also take this phrase from other passages to mean the same thing. Here are some other instances:
“For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.” (Matthew 22:30)
“For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.” (Mark 12:25)
“And Jesus said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage, for they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.” (Luke 20:34-36).
In context, Jesus is explaining that marriage is only for our time here on earth, and at the resurrection, we will no longer be “marrying and giving in marriage.” He compares believers to be like the angels of heaven and is clearly speaking about believers, not unbelievers, as Luke 20 goes onto say that we are “sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.” So if the phrase “marry and giving into marriage” is a distinction between straight and gay marriage, than these additional verses would prove that there are believers who had participated on earth in not only heterosexual marriage, but same-sex marriage. Jesus mentions both, which would demonstrate that He accepts them both.
But I don’t really think this is what He was talking about…
Instead I conclude that this is simply a phrase talking about marriages in general. If the distinction is important, than it would seem highly more likely to be talking about marriages and re-marriages, especially considering the context of the Pharisees question in Luke 20 where they were trying to figure out which deceased husband out of seven would have the wife in the afterlife. Luke 20 is particularly interesting, as it says that people in His age also “marry and are given in marriage.” So if it were a sign of the end, it has been going on for a long time. So either way, it seems highly unlikely to be targeting same-sex marriage as the reason for the end.
If we really want to connect a gender to this, the passages that talk about the days of Noah do not have any gender specificity, as it is actually more properly translated literally “as indeed existed those before the flood.” That which is translated “they were” is just “existed” (Greek word esan, ἦσαν) and “those” is the Greek word ekienais (ἐκείναις) which is a demonstrative pronoun not connected to gender whatsoever.
The first horseman of Revelation
Now I will mention another Bible verse that is more of a new fringe translation, but I see it growing in popularity on social media. Most are familiar with the famous 4 horseman of the apocalypse in the book of Revelation. A recent new translation has popped up that has connected it to gay marriage being the big sign, once again, to enter the tribulation. The first horseman’s item in hand is the target in question. The verse reads:
“And I looked, and behold, a white horse! And its rider had a bow, and a crown was given to him, and he came out conquering, and to conquer.” (Revelation 6:2)
A pastor who I adore but will leave unnamed has now translated this horseman not to be holding an ordinary bow of weaponry, but a rainbow, which he connects as being a rainbow gay pride flag! And he is going out to conquer marriage! He also went on to conclude that the gay pride flag has 6 colors, but the real rainbow in nature has 7, and 6 is the “number of man” and 7 is the “number of God.” He admits that in nature one cannot see the 7th color (indigo), so this was “confirmation” to him that “gays can’t see (God.)” This I find very sad, although I know this pastor is loving and doesn’t know the damage this translation might cause others… (Now I’m also wondering if the wording “he came out” had anything to do with his subconscious gay connection as well.)
Although most would reject this teaching or at least question it (hopefully), I will show that the bow is not a rainbow, just to cover all the bases. The Greek word for bow here is toxon (τόξον) which is an arc of a crossbow or an archers bow. The Greek word for rainbow is iris (ἶρις.) As one can see, this does not even closely resemble τόξον (toxon) in Revelation, as they don’t even share any common letters. I know that this pastor means well, but I feel that looking for signs connecting gays to the apocalypse is just causing more divisions between LGBT people and the church. Even worse, it is adding to the bad fruit of encouraging them to reject Christianity due to the blatant rejection from those who identify as Christians. On a side note, I do feel that there are some incredible end times signs happening in our age like nothing before, but those who focus all attention on gays being the target antichrist enemy might miss legitimate signs that are much more Biblically impacting, while in the process they discourage LGBT people from being saved!
But aside from this, there has come another claim, which states that several other “religious text” (not the Bible) relate gay marriage to being the reason for Noah’s flood. Some have claimed that the pseudepigraphal book of 2 Enoch (NOT first Enoch) has spoken out against homosexuality connected to the reason for the flood. Let me first say that I believe that the first (and probably only authentic) book of Enoch should be prayerfully considered for the following reasons: a quote from the book of Enoch is in the Bible (in Jude 1:14,15) as a prophetically inspired text, it coincides with the themes and imagery of Scripture throughout, it strongly prophesies Jesus as Savior as well as His coming millennial rein on earth after the great tribulation, and the Aramaic text was found with other Biblical Scripture within the Dead Sea scrolls (not to mention that Enoch himself prophesied that his book would be for the last generation on earth.) Although the book of Enoch is still in the Bible in Northeastern Africa and continues to be accepted in Christian Churches there, it would seem that it may have been canonically rejected by the mainstream church due to a controversial topic matter. Namely, it speaks of a set of Angels (called “the Watchers”) that were given responsibility to watch over humans, but they made an oath together to rebel against God and went after the flesh of humans and married them, consequently producing a race of fallen angel/human hybrid offspring called the Nephilim Giants (not to be confused with modern gigantism!) Now this may seem like something out of science fiction novel, but a reading of Genesis 6 in the Bible seems to describe such unions, as it says the bene-Elohim (always contextually translated as “angels”) went into the daughters of humankind and married them and had children by them which were also called the Nephilim Giants! So if this book is authentic, then the men of Sodom going after the strange (or “different”) flesh of angels makes a whole lot more sense, as it would seem known that great supernatural power was given to any who sexually joined with angelic beings.
As a long but needed side note (as this will all connect to the extra-Biblical verses mentioned), when the verses above say that we will be “like the angels in Heaven” which are unmarried and seemingly genderless, this is not referring to the fallen angels and their possible past ability to create hybrid offspring when they took the form of human men. (Those particular set of fallen angels guilty of such a crime were said to be imprisoned with heavy chains in darkness until the time of the end [reference Jude 1:6, 2 Peter 2:4, Enoch 54:3, 10:12].) What better way for evil to try to divert the birth of the Messiah than to pollute the human genome into extinction? Noah was considered from a “pure generation,” thus he could have been one of the only true human lines left and so this would further explain why God had to wipe out most of His creation and start over if most had been corrupted by a demonic seed and would be thinking of evil continuously. If anyone questions wether a race of giants existed on the earth, one can go to Scripture and find 34 verses about them all connecting back to the Nephilim. http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Giants/type/kjv It would also explain why God commanded His people to wipe out entire nations (including children), as each were connected to being inhabited by these giants, so perhaps they were not all fully human, as they were described to devour their lands’ inhabitants and Genesis 6 says they were around before and after the days of the flood (possibly through Ham’s wife.) So regardless of accepting the book of Enoch as legitimate or not, the Bible supports this idea of fallen angel/human hybrid giants, as well as support found in many other documents by the ancients and early church fathers. Other views of trying to define them as the “sons of Seth” and “daughters of Cain” are explained and refuted here.
But that discussion is for another time…
2nd Enoch, late 1st century, first printing end of 19th century
So back to 2 Enoch, which is accepted as being of a different author than the first book of Enoch written many hundreds of years later. Within it is a chapter which states:
“They have rejected my commandments and my yoke, worthless seed has come up, not fearing God, and they would not bow down to me, but have begun to bow down to vain gods, and denied my unity, and have laden the whole earth with untruths, offences, abominable lecheries, namely one with another, and all manner of other unclean wickedness, which are disgusting to relate. therefore I will bring down a deluge (great flood) upon the earth and will destroy all men, and the whole earth will crumble together into great darkness.” (2 Enoch 34)
Some have modernly added to the text by saying that “abominable lecheries” is properly translated as “sodomite offenders,” but Enoch was only on earth before Sodom and the Bible said he was taken up by God before the flood (as he did not die), so these words (Sodom and sodomite) would not have been around during the time of his legitimate writings. There are also added verses in other modern versions, which say “friends with friends in the anus in the manner of Sodom.” Again, Enoch was not on earth in the time of Sodom, nor did he give any prophetic account of the Sodom story, so this is just taking the words and deriving whatever pops up into the modern imagination.
More importantly, although I have not been able to find an Aramaic or Hebrew version of 2 Enoch available, I do know that in the Bible, when a word is translated as “sodomite” it is always the word “qadesh (קָדֵשׁ)” which always means “temple prostitute,” as pagan temple prostitutes used to work as intercessors to the idol gods and accepted the followers seed into them as sacrifice. Being that the semen was a “sacrifice,” it was never performed in a procreative manner, so this could include male-male or female-male anal sex rituals. So this is not talking about all gay people, but a specific idolatrous sex act. So even if “the abominable lecheries, namely one with another” could be translated in the graphic way they have in the expanded texts, then we still must see that the context of who is being attacked are the ones that stopped following God and instead, “have begun to bow down to vain gods.” Consequently, as a qadesh (“sodomite”), they would have given up a “worthless seed” as sacrifice to their idols. Again, the book of 2 Enoch is widely rejected as not being authentic or connected to Enoch, unlike many who accept the book of Enoch, so we should be cautious to use it as any sort of “proof” or reference of God’s intentions for the flood.
Babylonian Talmud, 500A.D., first printing 1520A.D.
Now I must apprehensively report that there are 2 Jewish texts that have been generously re-phrased by Christians as directly relating to gay marriages to the flood. These texts are the “Babylonian Talmud” and the “Genesis Rabbah.” When I see it referenced, they just say that “both texts have connected gay marriage as the reason for the flood,” but there is more to the story when we look to these original texts.
The Babylonian Talmud is part of the Talmud that the Jewish religion follows as authoritative in their own religion (the other half is the Jerusalem Tamud). It has been described as “the body of Jewish civil and ceremonial law and legend” and was written by Jewish Rabbi’s some 500 years after the birth of Christ. In the text that people say “proves that the flood happened because of gay marriage,” we find this quote:
“And I said to them, ‘If it is good in your eyes, give me my wage, and if not, withhold it.’ And they weighed out for me my wage, thirty pieces of silver.” (Zechariah 11:12) Rabbi Yehudah says: These (the pieces of silver) are (i.e., symbolize) the thirty righteous people of the nations of the world, such that the nations of the world are sustained by them. Ulla said: These are the thirty commandments which the sons of Noah took upon themselves but they observe three of them, namely, (i) they do not draw up a kethubah [marriage contract] document for males, (ii) they do not weigh flesh of the [human] dead in the market, and (iii) they respect the Torah.” -Babylonian Talmud, Chullin 92a-b
If one reads carefully, it mentions that there were 30 commandments given to Noah (not Biblical) and that the “sons of Noah” were given these 30 commandments, but only followed 3 of them. Number one that they followed was not to draw up a marriage contract document for males. So if anything, the text says they did not perform or engage in same-sex marriage. So this text seems to be often misquoted without any reference.
Genesis Rabbah, 400-500A.D., first printing 1939
Now we look to the “Genesis Rabbah” which is an extensive Jewish commentary (not part of the Talmud.) This portion of commentary is relating to the verses that I previously mentioned that are connected to the Nephilim, although it will become clear that the Jewish commentators don’t accept the view that “the sons of God” are angels. I will first show the Bible verse, then their commentary conclusions relating to gay marriage.
“the sons of God (bene-Elohim/angels) saw that the daughters of man (mankind) were attractive. And they took as their wives whomever they chose. 3 Then the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years. 4 The Nephilim Giants were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God (bene-Elohim/angels) came in to the daughters of man (mankind) and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown. 5 The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Genesis 6:1-6.)
Now here is Genesis Rabbah chapter 26:1-6:
“THAT THE SONS OF GOD (BENE ELOHIM) SAW THE DAUGHTERS OF MEN, etc. (VI, 2). R. Simeon b.Yohai called them the sons of nobles; [furthermore], R. Simeon b. Yohai cursed all who called them the sons of God.1 R. Simeon b. Yohai said: If demoralisation does not proceed from the leaders, it is not real demoralisation.2 The Rabbis said: It was in order that they might receive their own punishment and that of the generations that followed them.3 THAT THEY WERE FAIR (TOBOTH). R, Judan said: Actually tobath 4 is written: when a bride was made beautiful for her husband, the chief [of these nobles] entered and enjoyed her first.5 Hence it is written, For they were fair, which refers to virgins; And they took them wives, refers to married women, 6Whomsoever they chose: that means males and beasts. R. Huna said in R, Joseph’s name: The generation of the Flood were not blotted out from the world until they composed nuptial songs7 in honour of pederasty and bestiality…”
In focusing in on verse 2, it states “The sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives whomever they chose.” The Jewish commentators have concluded that first, the sons of God were human nobleman (and CURSED anyone who called them what Scripture plainly says) and second that “they took as their wives whomever they chose” to extend meaning to literally whomever! Meaning that they took as wives males and animals. This might be a possible translation had the first part of the verse not shown that the object of attraction was clearly towards the “daughters (females) of man.” Although these Jewish studies can certainly be very fascinating, this seems to be reading much too closely into the text just as is “they were married and giving in marriage.”
The second portion of text seems more specific, but I must humbly say that I have no clue how the commentators derived this meaning (especially the mention of nuptial songs?). Again it states, “The generation of the Flood were not blotted out from the world until they composed nuptial songs in honour of pederasty and bestiality.” Now it seems to just condemn wedding celebration of pederasty and bestiality, namely adults with children and/or animals. Whereas the previous verse had just mentioned that they had married adult males and beasts.
If we really want to look closely, then it seems these commentators mentioned 3 things:
1) marriage to males
2) marriage to animals
3) marriage to children
But only TWO (marriage to animals and marriage to children) are actually overtly blamed for the flood. Marriage to males was mentioned as happening, but not the reason.
Almost The End
Many things are coming to pass in our age which seem to point to us entering into the end times as described in the Bible. I am not blind to any of this and keep my eyes open on these matters daily. Its true that the “birth pangs” seem to be getting closer and closer together at an accelerated rate and there are signs all over that point towards being on the very edge of the tribulation period. (As a side note for anyone watching for signs, this September 2015 seems to have a significant amount of prophetic convergence!) I just don’t feel that the gay marriage thing is part of the signs mentioned by Jesus in the Gospels or John in Revelation. Rather, it seems to have become more of a distraction from the legitimate signs and a further excuse to target gays and lesbians as the inherently Anti-God enemy of their own making.
For the very first time in history, a new Pew study released in 2015 reported that Christianity has declined in the United States by 7.8% and atheism has increased by 6.7%! Again, this decline of Christianity has never happened before! This critical condition is in part due to the hateful inclusion broadcasted by well-meaning Christians who know not what they do, but something needs to be done. For gays and lesbians to desire marriage is for them to desire the loving bond that God created as good; the blueprint for marriage as a monogamous committed lifelong covenant. To deny them of this is to indirectly encourage lack of commitment and/or promiscuity.
Despite your views on homosexuality in the Bible, rather than focus on the command given to Adam and to Noah to “be fruitful and multiply,” instead let us be Spiritually fruitful and multiply believers! Knowing that the time is short, let us work together for Him more than ever to bring the lost to redemption by showing them the only saving grace of our Savior! This can only be accomplished through emulating the love of Christ and not exuding an exclusion against any one group of potential followers. It is by my conviction that I feel He is calling us to do this work in order to help gather ALL of His sheep before the Appointed Time.
When we as Christians condemn homosexuals as unsavable unless they stop being gay (which is an impossible task), we are essentially casting out this entire group from the “whosoever” in John 3:16. As He said, “my grace is sufficient, as My power is made perfect in your weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9.) The most important law is the law of love, as Romans 13:10 states, “love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is all God’s law demands.” Romans 14 also reveals that believers may have differing personal convictions, yet God accepts them both when they do it in thanks to Him. We are to just be thoughtful not to put a hinderance or stumbling block against the fellow believer when we have differing personal convictions. All of us in the body of Christ have different “parts” to play depending on the Will of God for our own life, so we should not criticize one who has a different role in His purpose. Most importantly, we must never fail to recognize the strength of the grace of God and the strength of the blood of our one and only Messiah who died to put a final death to the power of sin! When we lovingly present anyone with the Gospel message, let it be written in the forefront of our minds, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8,9) Let us strive to make this song a reality:
“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)