Same Sex Marriage and the End of the World

Marriage is a life-long covenant between one man and one woman, to the exclusion of all others, recognised throughout the world since ancient times as a unique relationship, different from all others, because of its ability to procreate children and provide the natural social model for raising them to maturity. Same-sex "marriages" do not contribute to this process and are just fake imitiations of the real thing. Homosexual relationships have existed throughout history, but occurrences of same-sex "marriage", complete with legal documents, are scarce and difficult to verify from primary sources.

I have discussed these matters in my previous article Same Sex Marriage Does Not Exist (it's just a legalised fantasy), but since then I have found references to same-sex marriage in the Jewish classical literature, always resulting in the destruction of the nations involved, and even the destruction of the world at the time of Noah.

Jewish Historical Sources

Judaism is based on the Bible, the section that Christians call the "Old Testament". It's called the Tanakh, an acronym based on the division of the Bible into three sections:

  • Torah (the "Law": five books of Moses from Genesis to Deuteronomy);
  • Nevi'im (the "Prophets": Isaiah, Jeremiah, etc. and most of the historic books, Joshua, Judges, etc.)
  • Ketuvim (the "Writings": poetic books, Psalms, Proverbs, etc. and some historic books not included in the Nevi'im)

The Tanakh is read in Hebrew in most synagogues, although it may also be read in the language normally spoken by members of the congregation. In Israel, obviously, it's all in Hebrew. Various English translations are available. They don't use the KJAV, NIV or any of the translations used by Christians, they have their own English translations.

In addition to the Tanakh, they have a much larger collection of classical literature, including commentaries on the Tanakh, supplemented by events from their own history and culture. Much of it has been passed down orally from generation to generation and eventually written down.

The oral tradition is apparent in many of the classical works, for example in Genesis Rabbah, quoted in this article, we have "R. ‘Azariah and R. Judah b. R. Simon in R. Joshua's name said..." This might seem a bit clumsy to the unfamiliar reader, but it means two rabbis are quoting from another rabbi. The abbreviation "R." means "Rabbi" and "b." means "ben" which is Hebrew for "son". The reverse apostrophe before "Azariah" represents a Hebrew character that indicates a slight pause where the throat is closed. So the phrase means "Rabbi ‘Azariah and Rabbi Judah the son of Rabbi Simon in Rabbi Joshua's name said..."

The original languages of the classical literature are Hebrew and Aramaic, depending on the colloquial language at the time and place when it was written. Aramaic is similar to Hebrew, and it uses the Hebrew characters, but not many people speak it these days. Some of the original works have been translated into English, but not all of them. When an English version quotes from the Tanakh, it doesn't normally use any of the standard English translations like a Christian commentary would do. Instead they translate the complete text, Tanakh and commentary, from the original language into English. So there are quotations in English that don't match any standard text, they have just translated it as they went along. In that case, when quoting from the Bible in this article, I found there is no advantage in using a Jewish text. I've used a Christian Bible, the KJAV, because it's just as good.

There are many volumes of Jewish classical literature, written during their long history, just as there are many volumes of Christian literature, written by church fathers, priests and monks over the centuries. The most important Jewish works are:

  • Midrash Rabbah. "Midrash" is a commonly used Hebrew word which applies to anything that amounts to a homiletic interpretation of the Bible, together with some history and culture. "Rabbah" means "great", not quite the same as "Rav" which means "Rabbi", although you can see the connection. So "Midrash Rabbah" means "Great commentary on the Bible". A "midrash" might be just a few paragraphs, but the "Midrash Rabbah" consists of large volumes. There are commentaries on various books so we have Genesis Rabbah, Exodus Rabbah, etc.

  • Talmud, which means "instruction" or "learning". This is a written version of the oral law, not just a commentary on the Torah but an account of how it was applied to everyday life through court judgements, and it extends to many volumes. Originally it was passed on through word of mouth, but after the destruction of the Temple in 70AD, there was an urgent effort to write it down in case it might be lost. It is divided into two sections, the Mishnah and Gemara. The Mishnah is the original written version of the oral law and the Gemara is the subsequent rabbinic discussions, which occurred in Jerusalem in the 2nd century AD and in Babylon in the 5th century. So the Mishnah together with the appropriate Gemara are referred to as the Jerusalem and Babylonian Talmud.

  • Zohar which means "splendour" or "radiance". This is a book of Jewish mystical thought known as the Kabbalah, written in Aramaic although its origin is uncertain. It was published in Spain in the 13th century by a Jewish author called Moses de Leon.

  • Sifra and Sifre. Written in Aramaic, their names respectively mean "book" and "books". The Sifra is a commentary on Leviticus and the Sifre are commentaries on the two books of Numbers and Deuteronomy. They were mostly compiled during the third century, with subsequent additions and edits.

  • Mishneh Torah, Hebrew for "repetition of the law". This is a comprehensive account of the oral law, written in 14 volumes by Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, otherwise known as "Maimonides" or "Rambam". He was a Sephardic Jew, born in Córdoba (modern-day Spain) in 1135. He went to Egypt where he wrote his Mishneh Torah, and he died there in 1204.

In this article, I have quoted the following sources:

Now that we have had a brief look at the Jewish literature and identified our sources, let's have a look at how they supplement the Biblical text.

Midrash Rabbah on the Flood, Sodom, Egypt and Caanan

The conditions that led to the Flood are described in Genesis 6 (KJAV) as follows:

1. And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them,
2. That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.
3. And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.
4. There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.
5. And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
6. And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.
7. And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.

Genesis Rabbah 26:5 comments on this as follows:

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,6 Whomsoever 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. R. Simlai said: Wherever you find lust, an epidemic visits the world which slays both good and bad. R. ‘Azariah and R. Judah b. R. Simon in R. Joshua's name said: The Holy One, blessed be He, is long-suffering for everything save immorality. What is the proof? THE SONS OF MEN SAW, etc., which is followed by, And the Lord said: I will blot out man (Gen. VI, 7). ...

(1) Lit translation, see Hertz, Pentateuch and Haftorahs (Sonc. Ed.), p. 18.
(2) Since the leaders are in a position to stop it.
(3) Through their long life of ease they were now fully liable for all the punishment their sins merited.
(4) Singular tobath instead of toboth, plural, though it is read as plural. The idea is that one woman was taken by many men.
(5) An allusion to the ius primae noctis.
(6) They took women married to others.
(7) or perhaps: until they wrote marriage deeds for males and beasts- i.e. they fully legalised such practices.

Judaism is a very ancient religion with a long history, much of it passed on orally from generation to generation until it was eventually written down. This passage is a typical elaboration of an ancient event, about what they believe was happening before the Flood. It describes despotic rulers who would take a bride from her husband on their wedding night, and it tells us how pederasty (unequal senior/junior homosexuality) and bestiality were not only commonplace, they were legalised and celebrated. The reference to "marriage deeds" is relegated to a footnote, but that does not diminish its authority. It's about the translation of the Hebrew word gemumasi’ot which is derived from the Greek gamos from which we get monogamy, polygamy, etc. Gemumasi’ot could just as easily mean "nuptial songs" or "marriage deeds", it doesn't make any difference, they both involve social approval.

Now we look at the book of Leviticus, containing various laws that the Lord gave to Moses, after the exodus from Egypt. Chapter 18 gives a list of forbidden sexual practices, including incest, adultery, homosexuality and bestiality, but first there is an introduction as follows:

1. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
2. Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, I am the Lord your God.
3. After the doings of the land of Egypt, wherein ye dwelt, shall ye not do: and after the doings of the land of Canaan, whither I bring you, shall ye not do: neither shall ye walk in their ordinances.
4. Ye shall do my judgments, and keep mine ordinances, to walk therein: I am the Lord your God.
5. Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am the Lord.

Leviticus Rabbah 23:9 comments on this as follows:

R. Ishmael taught: AFTER THE DOINGS OF THE LAND OF EGYPT... AND AFTER THE DOINGS OF THE LAND OF CANAAN... SHALL YE NOT DO, etc. (XVIII, 3), otherwise, I AM THE LORD YOUR GOD (ib. 4).1 R. Hiyya taught: Why is I AM THE LORD written twice?2 It implies: I am He who inflicted punishment upon the Generation of the Flood, upon Sodom, and upon Egypt, and I am the same who will inflict punishment upon any one who will act in accordance with their practices. The Generation of the Flood were blotted out from the world because they were steeped in whoredom. R. Samlai observed: In every instance where you find the prevalence of whoredom, an androlepsia3 comes upon the world and slays both good and bad. R. Huna says in the name of R. Jose: The Generation of the Flood were only blotted out of the world on account of their having written hymenean songs for sodomy. R. ‘Azariah in the name of R. Judah son of R. Simeon and R. Joshua b. Levi in the name of Bar Kappara say: We find that the Holy One, blessed be He, is long-suffering towards every offence except whoredom, and there are numerous texts to bear this out; as it says, And came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth... that the sons of God saw the daughters of men... and they took them wives... And the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great... And the Lord said: I will blot out man (Gen. VI, 1 ff). ...

(1) Who will punish for it, as explained presently.
(2) Once here, v. 4, and once in v. 5.
(3) Punishment of men regardless of guilt or innocence (M. Jastrow's Dictionary of the Targumim, the Talmud Babli Yerushalmi and the Midrashic Literature).

The passage from Leviticus makes it clear that the forbidden practices were all going on in Egypt before it was destroyed by the plagues, and they were still going on in Caanan at the time, until it was destroyed by the Israelites. The Leviticus Rabbah also mentions the Flood and Sodom, so there are four events altogether, the Flood, Sodom, Egypt and Caanan where socially-approved immorality was followed by destruction and devastation. In particular, it repeats the claim from Genesis Rabbah, that the Generation of the Flood was blotted out when they wrote hymenean (wedding) songs for sodomy.

Sifra and Maimonides, on Egypt and Caanan

Returning to the passage from Leviticus that we have already seen, which says: After the doings of the land of Egypt, ... and ... the land of Canaan, ... shall ye not do ..., Midrash: Sifra Aharei Mot 8:9 comments on this as follows:

And what did they do? One man marries another man, a woman marries a woman, and a man marries a woman and her daughter, and a woman marries two [men].

Maimonides quotes this passage from the Sifra, referring to the authors as the "Sages", and he specifically associates Lev. 18:3 with Egypt, probably because he lived there. In his Mishneh Torah, Issurei Bi'ah (Forbidden Sexual Relations) 21:8 he says:

Lesbian relations are forbidden. This is "the conduct of Egypt" which we were warned against, as [Leviticus 18:3] states: "Do not follow the conduct of Egypt." Our Sages said: What would they do? A man would marry a man, a woman would marry a woman, and a woman would marry two men."

So the Sifra, supported by Maimonides, affirms what we have already seen from the Midrash Rabbah, but it's more specific, it says that they had gay marriage, lesbian marriage, polygamous marriage including incest, and polyandrous marriage.

Talmud on Numerology, Israel and the Gentiles

The Jews are good at numerology. They believe that numbers have a significance and they use them to interpret the Bible. We will look at a passage from the Talmud which comments on Hosea 3:1-2 where Israel is described as an adulteress, bought for 15 pieces of silver and a homer and a half of barley. Then it comments on Zechariah 11:13 where 30 pieces of silver are cast to the potter in the house of the Lord. This passage is obviously familiar to Christians because it represents the betrayal of Jesus by Judas Iscariot, but the Jews believe that it represents the 30 righteous men by whose virtue the world continues to exist, or the 30 laws of the Gentiles.

Here is the relevant text from the Talmud, Mas. Chullin 92a-b

R. Simeon b. Lakish said: This people [Israel] is like unto a vine: its branches are the aristocracy, its clusters the scholars, its leaves the common people, its twigs those in Israel that are void of learning. This is what was meant when word was sent from there [Palestine]. ‘Let the clusters pray for the leaves, for were it not for the leaves the clusters could not exist’.1
So I bought her [wa-ekreha] to me for fifteen pieces of silver [and a homer of barley, and a half-homer of barley].2 Said R. Johanan in the name of R. Simeon b. Jehozadak: The word ‘Kirah’3 must mean ‘buying’,4 for so it is written: In my grave which I bought [karithi] for me.5 ‘For fifteen’: that is the fifteenth day of Nisan when Israel was redeemed out of Egypt. ‘Pieces of silver’: these are the righteous, for so it is written: He has taken the bag of silver with him.6 ‘And a homer of barley and a half-homer of barley:’7 these are the forty-five righteous men on account of whom the world continues to exist. But I know not whether thirty of them are here [in Babylon] and fifteen in the land of Israel, or thirty in the land of Israel and fifteen here [in Babylon]; but when the verse says. And I took the thirty pieces of silver and cast them into the treasury, in the house of the Lord,8 I know that thirty [righteous men] are in the land of Israel and fifteen here. Said Abaye: Most of them are to be found in the synagogue under the side chamber.9 And I said to them: If ye think good, give me my hire; and if not, forbear. So they weighed out for my hire thirty pieces of silver.10 Said Rab Judah: These are the thirty righteous men among the nations of the world11 by whose virtue the nations of the world continue to exist. Ulla said: These are the thirty commandments12 which the sons of Noah took upon themselves but they observe three of them, namely, (i) they do not draw up a kethubah document for males,13 (ii) they do not weigh flesh of the dead in the market,14 and (iii) they respect the Torah.

(1) Every class is essential to the well-being of the community.
(2) Hos. III. 2. The entire verse is here homiletically expounded, phrase by phrase. wa-ekreha from the root karah, to buy.
(3) kirah the noun formed from the above root.
(4) Lit., ‘selling, sale’; here it means a transaction by buying and selling.
(5) Gen. L, 5: karithi also from the root karah.
(6) Prov. VII, 20. See Sanhedrin 96b where this verse is interpreted as referring to the righteous in Israel.
(7) A homer (in Talmud Kor) consisted of thirty se'ah; so that the verse speaks of thirty units (se'ah) plus fifteen units.
(8) Zech. XI, 13. Thus the thirty righteous are always to be found in the house of the Lord, namely Palestine.
(9) I.e., most of the righteous men in Palestine. The reference is unknown.
(10) Ibid. 12.
(11) [Munich Codex of the Talmud omits ‘among the nations of the world’.]
(12) [These are comprised in the seven Noahide precepts. For reference see Ronsberg Glosses.]
(13) Although they are suspected of indecent practices and sodomy they do not go to that length of writing a ‘marriage’ deed for the purpose. kethubah here means a marriage deed; for specific meanings see Introduction to Kethuboth, Sonc. ed., p. XI, n. 1.
(14) Although they eat human flesh they do not sell it openly in the market. Rashi also suggests: They do not sell the flesh of an animal that had not been slain but had died a natural death.

Note: The word "Palestine" has its traditional meaning, from before the establishment of the modern state of Israel in 1949. At that time, the whole region was called "Palestine" and all the inhabitants, including the Jews, were called "Palestinians".

The matters of interest from this passage are the belief that a certain number of righteous people are needed to enable the world to exist, and the prohibition of same-sex marriage is included as one of only three laws that continue to be observed by the "sons of Noah" (the Gentiles), the others being the prohibition of cannibalism, and respect for the Torah.

When God prepares for judgement, He takes into account the number of righteous who are going to be destroyed, together with the wicked, as we see from Genesis 18:23-33 where Abraham prays for Sodom and asks the Lord to spare the city if ten righteous people can be found. The Lord agreed with his request, but ten people could not be found and the city was destroyed.

Will God destroy the nations that have passed laws allowing same-sex marriages? Possibly, but not necessarily. It depends on the number of people who are praying about it, and raising their voices in opposition.

Looking at the three laws of the Gentiles, they can all be related to the conditions that existed before the Flood

  • The reference to "sons of God and daughters of men" (Gen. 6:2-4) indicates the type of sexual immorality where a bride is stolen from her husband. The classical literature describes other types of sexual immorality, including same-sex marriage.

  • "The earth was filled with violence" (Gen. 6:11). There could have been many forms of violence, including cannibalism, although it is not specifically mentioned. However, considering that the pre-deluvian diet was vegetarian (Gen. 1:29), and consumption of meat was allowed only after the flood, together with a warning that they should not kill each other, there is a hint that cannibalism might have occurred. (Gen 9:3-6).

  • "... the wickedness of man was great ... every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." (Gen 6:5). This means there was no respect for the Torah (which existed long before Moses wrote it down). Questioning the authority of the Torah was what caused the fall in the first place, when the serpent said to the woman "Has God said..." (Gen. 3:1)

The Gentiles had 30 laws but only observed three of them. Why did they consider these three to be so important? Because violation contributes to the destruction of the world.


Marriage was the first of God's commandments. He made man and woman, male and female, and commanded them to be fruitful and multiply. (Gen 1:27-28). This commandment was given even before they were told what they could eat. (Gen 1:29). The third commandment was to look after the garden of Eden (Gen. 2:15) and the fourth was not to eat the forbidden fruit. (Gen. 2:16-17). The law of marriage came before everything, so if it gets messed up, the creation has no purpose any more and might as well be destroyed.

My purpose in writing this article has not been to show that Christianity is opposed to homosexual practices. Much has already been written on this issue, quoting numerous Bible passages that condemn homosexual practices absolutely. See for example an article by Greg Downes. My purpose has been to supplement the argument with the Jewish classical literature, showing that there are dire consequences for allowing homosexual practice to become legalised and included in the institution of marriage.

In the light of this, we would expect both Jews and Christians to be universally opposed to same-sex marriage, but there are divisions in both camps. Orthodox Jews are opposed to same-sex marriage while Conservative and Reformed Jews are generally in favour. The canons of both the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches are opposed to same-sex marriage, and most evangelicals are opposed to it, but some are in favour.

The argument among Christians, in favour of same-sex marriage, is generally along the lines that Jesus was inclusive and compassionate, and never said anything directly against homosexuality. But the argument is flawed on two counts:

  • In addition to what is written in the Gospels, Jesus said many other things that were not written down. (John 21:25). So Christianity has its own oral tradition, just like Judaism, and the remainder of the New Testament is based on the whole teaching of Jesus, not just the bits that were written in the Gospels.

  • Jesus was inclusive and compassionate, but always seeking to transform people's lives. For example, when presented with the woman caught in adultery, he got her off the hook and saved her from getting stoned to death, but only because the people who wanted to stone her were just as bad as she was. Then he told her to "Go and sin no more". (John 8:3-11).

The Biblical and Apostolic teaching on this subject is clear enough, from every possible source. It has prevailed for thousands of years and should not be abandoned for the sake of keeping in touch with modern trends. Otherwise, we might be asking ourselves "Do we have ten righteous people in Sodom?"

Copyright 2013

Mike Gascoigne
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