Many Christians are upset over the legalization of same-sex marriage in America. Even worse is the fear that gay marriage will bring God’s wrath on America. Before we lose heart over opinions like this, let’s see what the Bible actually says are the reasons for America’s judgment and also why Sodom was judged. Find out the actual reasons for God judging America given in the Book of Revelation.
Christian Reaction to US Legalization of Gay Marriage
The June 26, 2015 US Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges to legalize same-sex marriage in America has sent shock waves through the Christian world. I have heard from many Christians on Facebook and by email that they are are outraged, shocked, angry, and sad. As one fundamental Christian in an email to me after the decision summed it up:
...for what it is worth - my wife and I cried and cried about the 'gay marriage' ruling.
I am sure he was not the only Christian weeping at the news.
After all, a large contingent of Christians can only frame this decision as "an affront to God and the Bible." They believe this decision overturns the biblical definition of marriage as between only a man and a woman. Or as I've heard lately, "Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve."
For them, the US Supreme Court decision will surely anger God and bring his judgment on America.
You should see all requests I have received to write an article on legalized gay marriage and how it means "judgment on America soon." For example:
Hi Tim: Now that the so called 'Supreme Court of the United States' has ruled against YHWH twice this week (one declaring people born in Jerusalem can not put 'Israel' as the country of birth on their passports and that 'Gay marriage is a 'constitutional right'. What do you think YHWH will do now???
Obviously, my correspondent's conviction is that God will judge America soon now for gay marriage.
Comparing America to Sodom and Gomorrah
Thankfully, we do not have to rely on human guesses and religious opinion on the question of how God would judge America. The Bible is filled with enough examples of God's judgments for us to understand what to expect in America's case. If that were not enough, Bible prophecy specifically speaks of the fate of America in her last days before the Antichrist comes to power. It describes a complete fiery destruction for America just like Sodom and Gomorrah were given.
I have covered where to find America in Bible prophecy in previous articles, yet I have never before delved into the specifics of the the actual reasons for why God is going to judge America. So what are the reasons?
Many Christians think they already know the reason. They would agree with me that the Bible gives us examples of God's judgment that fit America, too. The specific case they bring up is of course the city I mentioned above that was destroyed by fire: Sodom.
Christians commonly believe that Sodom and Gomorrah were judged because of homosexuality or "sodomy." For this reason, one of the labels used by fundamentalist Christians for gays is "Sodomites." If that's the case, and it's true that America is condoning sodomy through the legalization of gay marriage, then as Billy Graham supposedly said, "If God doesn’t punish America, He’ll have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah." (Actually his wife Ruth Graham said this after reading a section of his book manuscript about the moral decline of America.)
Here's a typical comment I received on my Facebook wall reflecting that sentiment:
...a human court having the audacity and arrogance by defying and attempting to rewrite the eternal laws of Gods nature, spitting in the face of a holy institution defined by God and redefining it, making a mockery of Gods previous judgment against Sodom and Gomorrah, and saying yeah right whatever, marching in the streets with pride and rebellion doing repulsive immoral things waving your fist in the face of almighty God and rejecting what he says is OK and natural and ordained by him
People connect Sodom with homosexuality because of the attempted rape of the (male) angels by a mob of male inhabitants of Sodom (Genesis 18-19) and a subjective reading of Jude 1:7. But what does the Bible say are the reasons for Sodom's destruction?
Was Sodom's destruction about homosexuality? Consider the following:
- The destruction of Sodom was already determined by God before the mob tried to rape the angels. (The angels were sent to Lot to warn him of the destruction.)
- The reasons given for the destruction of Sodom in multiple passages are never defined as "homosexuality" or "sodomy" but given as lying and adultery (Jer 23:14), fornication/whoredom (Jude 1:7 KJV), and an overall lawless immoral lifestyle (2 Peter 2:7).
- In a lengthy comparison of Israel to Sodom in Ezekiel 16, no mention is made of sexual sin. It says "Now this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, plenty of food, and comfortable security, but didn’t support the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before Me, so I removed them when I saw this" (Ez 16:49-50).
- Jude 1:7 uses an unclear word not found elsewhere in the NT (ekporneuo) translated variously as "whoredom" "fornication" or "sexual immorality" but never "homosexuality."
- The issue Lot addressed with the belligerent Sodomite rabble at his door was not homosexual sex (or sex in general) but rather his responsibility as a host to his guests. You can tell this by what he said and did not say to the mob. He only said
don’t do anything to these men, because they have come under the protection of my roof.(Gen 19:8). He raised no issue about the homosexual aspect (as Christians expect and nevertheless assume was the issue) but focused exclusively on the issue of treatment of house guests under his protection. That he offered his virgin daughters for sex (who back then fathers had legal authority over) to protect his house guests shows the great importance he placed on hospitality. This was oddly above even keeping his daughters' virginity intact, which itself was very prized and almost a must for their later marriage. If Lot thought the crowd of "all the males of town" (Gen 19:4) were mostly homosexual, it's hard to imagine him offering females to gays instead. But if he perceived they were mostly hetero rapists after someone new, he could perhaps persuade them to not do anything to the angels by substituting his virgin daughters. Lot obviously knew the mob's character and intentions better than we do and his counteroffer had to make sense in his situation and culture which it does not if the crowd were all homosexuals.
The Christian notion that "Sodom was destroyed for homosexuality/sodomy" may be popular and seem right to us, but as shown above, it's simply not supported in the Genesis story or by the consensus of the many other biblical passages commenting on the reason for Sodom's judgment. While the sodomy committed by the Sodomites is shocking and seems to merit the wrath of God to our civilized Western sensibilities, we have to remember God is judging by different considerations than we do. The Torah speaks constantly about how abuse of the foreigner, the fatherless, the poor and the widow will bring God's wrath. Sodom seemed to specialize in that as Ezekiel 16 describes.
Is Same Sex Marriage "Condoning Homosexual Sin?"
Even if we ignore the biblical evidence and say that Sodom was destroyed for homosexual sex acts, it is fair to ask what that has to do with the US Supreme court decision recognizing homosexual marriage?
Christians see the new law as "approving sin" by the following logic:
- Legalizing something is the same as condoning it.
- Gay marriage benefits homosexuals.
- Therefore the US government recognizing gay marriage is America condoning the sinful homosexual lifestyle.
But is that logic justifiable? I have a hard time defending those leaps.
When I read the Obergefell v. Hodges decision, I don't see anything about condoning homosexuality, homosexual sex, or sinful behavior. Nor do I see a redefinition of Christian marriage or an attack on what the Bible says. I see the government granting a civil right (marriage) for another (minority) group or another "religion" if you will. There are legal benefits and rights to marriage and homosexuals want all of the same civil rights that heterosexuals enjoy.
I think if we Christians could just get past the unfortunate use of the word "marriage" for homosexual unions we would have a much easier time seeing this decision for what it is and not be offended or scared by it.
As Wikipedia states about the Obergefell decision:
The court ruled that the denial of marriage licenses and recognition to same-sex couples violates the Due Process and the Equal Protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.
Is it wrong in God's sight for a government to grant equal protection of civil rights?
Does God really expect secular governments to legislate morality?
As one person on Facebook summed it up on my wall:
"rewriting the laws of God's nature?" I was only aware of the Supreme Court having jurisdiction over the laws of the United States of America....we don't need to fret about this ruling or think that it is bringing judgment upon the country. Yesterday's ruling is nothing more or less than an extension that OTHER "religions" have a right to create civil unions within the United States. YHWH's law and definition of marriage stands forever
We as Christians may not like the government labeling homosexual unions as "marriage." (I would prefer they would use a different term for it, although I confess I'm at a loss for a suitable replacement...) But I don't think we have to fear that the granting of a civil right (legal status for gay unions) means the condoning of sin or an attack on the Christianity or on the Bible.
The government is tasked with protecting rights of its citizens and granting equal rights to all--including minority groups like homosexuals. What the government did in this decision is exactly what we in democracy hope the government would do for us in whatever minority group we find ourselves. They are not "legislating morality;" they are granting equal rights.
Am I saying that homosexuals won't be judged? Of course not: all sinners we'll be judged. Married heterosexuals sin (sexual sins, too) and will be judged just as surely as married homosexuals will. I just don't see why they can't have the equal civil rights without reading into it some kind of approval of sin?
America Is In Bible Prophecy
So if America cannot reasonably be judged by God over granting civil rights to a minority group and Sodom was not judged for homosexuality sex or gay marriage, then what is the actual reason America will be judged by God with fiery destruction?
We don't have to speculate or base our conclusion off of mere precedent from the OT such as Sodom's destruction. We have the exact cause given in Bible prophecy and, not surprisingly, it never says anything about homosexuality or even (literal) sex.
First, where is America in Bible prophecy? Most Christians think it's simply not there. However, America is there in at least three different prophetic books.
I have written a few articles already on America in Bible prophecy. In them I show how Jeremiah 50-51 and Revelation 17-18 describe the USA under the names "Daughter Babylon" and "Mystery Babylon the Great," respectively. Daniel also talks about America, picturing the country as eagle's wings plucked (to death) from the lion of Great Britain (Dan 7:4), America's closest ally. (Great Britain is the "Mother Babylon" of Jeremiah 50:12 which "Daughter Babylon" came from.) America's outcome in all prophecies agree in their unmistakable tragic conclusion. America will go to a fiery destruction by the hands of an enemy nation attacking from the north (Jer 50:3).
The Actual Reasons Given for America's Destruction?
Revelation 18 is the key chapter to finally answer this question. It has several verses on the specific reasons for Mystery Babylon/America's destruction. Let's look at them:
Revelation 18:2-3 — 2 Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling place of demons and a prison of every unclean spirit, and a prison of every unclean and hateful bird. 3 For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the passion of her immorality, and the kings of the earth have committed acts of immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich by the wealth of her sensuality. 7 To the degree that she glorified herself and lived sensuously, to the same degree give her torment and mourning; for she says in her heart, 'I SIT as A QUEEN AND I AM NOT A WIDOW, and will never see mourning.'
See anything there about gay marriage or homosexual sex? The issue instead is self-glorification, pride, materialism, excessive luxury, sensuality and powerfully leading the world into sin. These are not the sins relegated to only a minority group; they are tendencies we're all prone to in the modern, rich Western world!
This is not to say others nations are not wicked, too, or guilty of similar sins. But America does this better than anyone despite being the nation with the most Bible teachers, Bible knowledge and biblical culture. We are held accountable to a higher standard because of our Bible heritage.
By the way, some translations for Rev 18:3 say that America commits "sexual immorality." Could that be referring to the homosexual sex of gays? The problem with trying to fit it in that verse is that the immorality described is between America and the other nations. If there is gay sex implied there, then it's "international gay sex" between America and other countries =).
Obviously it's figurative language. When the OT refers to sexual immorality between nations, it's usually referring to them following each other in worshiping idols (instead of staying faithful in "marriage" to the one true God). America has taught the world to follow idols of entertainment, luxury, materialism, wealth, etc.
The Lesson For Us In America's Judgment
The problem with some of the indignant Christian reaction to the homosexual marriage ruling is that it comes across as if gays are the worst sinners or the only sinners. It's as if hetero-sexually married Christian people are without sin and not contributing to the coming judgment on America.
But as we saw in the verses above, the reason for America's coming judgment does not lie primarily with the sins of a sexual minority group. It describes a moral depravity much more widespread in the population than that. They are habits that all of us, including modern Western Christians, are susceptible to.
Given this situation, rather than being angered or distracted by what gays are doing, I think it is better we follow Jesus example who never showed any interest in commenting on the open homosexuality of the Romans occupying Israel. Instead Jesus taught a focus of examining ourselves.
We should follow his example and words by seeing if we are guilty of the sins that Revelation lists as the actual cause of America's downfall. If we are honest, we will find some truth to it in our own walk. The wise response at that point is to pray for help from God in repenting to change those things about ourselves...as one Facebook friend said:
AMEN TIM I HAVE BEEN EXAMINING MYSELF TO MAKE SURE I AM NOT LIVING ACCORDING TO THOSE THINGS YOU MENTIONED. And making sure I repent (change my mind) and not just say I am sorry.
Whether we focus on it or not, God will make sure homosexuals will receive judgment for any sins they do not repent of. And America will also be judged. But if we focus and worry too much about these things we have no power over, we increase the risk of missing our own sin--something we do have power over and God therefore holds us accountable to change.