Abomination -- Or God's Attitude About Sin
You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.
I think one of the things we lose sight of is how terrible sin really is. We generally have a very poor concept of what holiness means, so we have a poor understanding of sin. Clearly, these verses we have just been reviewing show us that mankind is sinful and God's wrath is being displayed against him. But, what does this really mean to us as Christians? We know when we sin and seek forgiveness, it is always granted. Probably we are all guilty of having told a little white lie or performed some other "minor" sin because it was the expedient or "kind" thing to do at the time. We knew it was sinful, but we knew we could seek forgiveness, so . . .
But what does God think about all of this?
Not to beat a dead horse, but recently I was asked by a couple of the people I work with about God's views on homosexuality. I responded with a paraphrase of Leviticus 18:22. The response I received was surprising. The return comment was "What is an abomination?"
This set me to thinking, both about the terminology of Scripture and how the terminology applies to us. For, after I explained a general meaning of abomination something hated or disliked or displeasing I was asked "What else does God think is an abomination?"
Well, I did not recall its abundance appearance in Scripture, so I ran off to my handy-dandy computer search program. I was surprised to discover the term "abomination" is used 78 times in 71 verses in the NKJV.
Now, some of these references are to the Hebrews or their practices as viewed by the Egyptians. It would be like you saying the things your neighbor did were an abomination sort of a strong personal dislike for your neighbor's actions (i.e., Gen 43:32).
Some are related to the dietary laws laid out by God for the health and preservation of the nation. Dead animals, some of the birds, and some of the insects, along with certain first without scales are viewed as abominations (i.e., Lev 11:110-13; 11:23; 11:41).
The balance of the uses of abomination relates to God's view of the sins of mankind. We have noted His attitude toward homosexuality. For those who might quibble over the possible vagueness of Lev 18:22, consider Leviticus 20:13:
If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them.
No vagueness here. The point of calling things an abomination becomes clearer in some of its uses in Deuteronomy. There God is setting forth rules to help the nation survive rules related to health and disease, among other things. The idea is to keep the nation pure and wholesome. In Deuteronomy 17:1, the term is applied to sacrifices.
You shall not sacrifice to the Lord your God a bull or sheep which has any blemish or defect, for that is an abomination to the Lord your God.
The idea is that an abomination is defective and since God is perfect and holy, He demands things that are perfect and holy. So, defects in the rituals of worship become abominations. But the item that God wants to be most holy is not the ritual or the animal. It is man.
3 "if the latter husband detests her and writes her a certificate of divorce, puts it in her hand, and sends her out of his house, or if the latter husband dies who took her as his wife,4 "then her former husband who divorced her must not take her back to be his wife after she has been defiled; for that is an abomination before the Lord, and you shall not bring sin on the land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance.
The woman has become an abomination because she is now blemished in the eyes of God. So, what are abominations? Consider the following list:
- Cross dressing (Deut 22:5)
- Those who behave unrighteously (Deut 25:16)
- Carved or molded images (Deut 27:15)
- Foreign gods (1 Kings 11:5, 7)
- A perverse person (Prov 3:32)
- Wickedness (Prov 8:7)
- Dishonest scales (Prov 11:1)
- A perverse heart (Prov 11:20)
- Lying lips (Prov 12:22)
- The sacrifice of the wicked (Prov 15:8)
- The way of the wicked (Prov 15:9)
- The thoughts of the wicked (Prov 15:26)
- A proud heart (Prov 16:5)
- The scoffer (Prov 24:9)
- An unjust man (Prov 29:27)
- Sexual impropriety (Ezek 22:11)
- Things highly esteemed among men (Luke 16:15)
This is not a complete list, but it covers a lot of territory! Consider the impact of the following:
16 These six things the Lord hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: 17 A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, 18 A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, 19 A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren.
How many actions of mankind fall within this short list? These are all things despised by God. We know that God abhors sin. This is the idea behind calling things an abomination. These things are loathsome and detestable. They are the target of God's wrath. In the final analysis, anything that is improper or shameless is an abomination to God. Anything that offends in a spiritual, religious, or moral sense, anything that creates hatred or a high level of disgust is an abomination.
Two final examples might be noted. The practice of magic, witchcraft, and spiritism, the occult -- is called an abomination in Deut 18:9-12. These are the things that are unholy, unclean. They are foul smelling and highly objectionable to a perfect, holy, righteous God. That this is the true picture of an abomination comes from Daniel's accounts and the use Christ makes of the prophet's writings.
And forces shall be mustered by him, and they shall defile the sanctuary fortress; then they shall take away the daily sacrifices, and place there the abomination of desolation.
History demonstrates this prophecy points to Antiochus IV Epiphanes and the desecration of the Temple in 167 B.C. Antiochus sacrificed swine on the altar and performed a variety of other unclean acts in the Temple. Jesus uses this language as a sign the end times.
So when you see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not" (let the reader understand), "then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.
So, what is an abomination? It is sin, in any form. So, is homosexuality an abomination?
Yes, it is but, then, so are a lot of other things, because they are all unclean and hated by God!