Tuesday, November 15, 2016

by Robert Leon Mendelson copyright November 13, 2016

You may quote any part of this or share the article in its entirety provided that along with it, you attribute what you quote to this author. Also, it may not be sold. It must be shared freely, without financial cost, if it is to be shared at all. 

PROLOGUE About three months ago a transgender friend requested that I write an article reconciling Transgender and the Bible for her online ministry. At the time, I posted an announcement on Oasis which read, “If it was that easy, Abigail would have already said, “Go to the Book of George, chapter 5, verse 12, where we find, “And the LORD saith, “LGBT is cool.”, and that would have been that. It isn’t quite that easy, but if you’ll bear with me, I think you’ll be happy with the results.”

Healing the relationship between the LGBT community and the Bible isn’t something to be taken lightly. I’ve spent three months in prayer, meditation, reflection, and revelation to write this paper. If any good comes from it, all glory goes to God. Since all I’ve done is put what was already written into a different perspective, the Author of the original deserves the real credit for that and the revelations.

A mea culpa is in order. What better way to begin an article on a topic that has been such a source of pain and persecution for so many people for so many years. In order for healing, it’s going to need more than just pointing out the errors and providing an alternate interpretation. It’s also going to require forgiving.

Everyone makes mistakes, including pastors, theologians, and lay people.  Grievous errors, and oftentimes other people are hurt by our mistakes. Mistakes that hurt other people can and are carried on across generations, and it seems with the passage of time these mistakes are conferred a kind of legitimacy. However, there comes a time when we realize we’ve made a mistake. What we do then is a measure of who we are spiritually. We can do the right thing and repent, or we can stubbornly insist on prolonging the error and the damage that goes along with it. Forgiveness also plays a role in the healing process. Hopefully, this article will lead to much repenting and much forgiving. The LGBT community deserves no less.


Romans 1:24-27 is where Paul apparently states that homosexuality, both male and female, is a form of “sexual impurity” Pay particular attention to verses 26-27…

Romans 1:21-27;
 21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.
 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools
 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.
 24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.
 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
 26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.”

The issue is; what exactly did Paul really mean? What was he condemning? Was he saying mere attraction between members of the same sex, i.e., what one might call a homosexual mindset, was “sexual impurity”? Or did it require a particular physical activity that may have health or other consequences? Or was it meant allegorically and represented something else entirely different than a form of physical sexuality?

To begin, if Paul was literally attacking lesbianism (female homosexuality) we have a dilemma. Here was this gifted apostle, well versed in the Law, making an apparent judgment against lesbianism. The problem is, lesbianism isn’t mentioned in the Law. That would mean Paul was making a judgment for which the Law provided no precedent, and quite possibly was doing so out of his own personal bias. If this were true, the sacredness of everything Paul said would be undermined. This, in turn, undermines the sacredness of Peter, who affirmed Paul in 2 Peter 3:15. And this, in turn, undermines Jesus Christ himself, for he conferred apostleship on Peter. And it undermines the book this was all written in—the Bible. So, there’s quite a bit riding on whether what Paul said is correct or not. And that’s not to mention the significance for the LGBT community of having the onus of Biblical persecution lifted from it.

Note that in verse 26 Paul refers to “shameful lusts” in conjunction with homosexuality. The word “lust” is found many times in the Bible, oftentimes in relation to sex. In most instances where lust refers to sex, it concerns the heterosexual forms of rape, adultery, and prostitution. Yet, heterosexuality itself isn’t banned—for heaven’s sake, it’s the method chosen through which to have the race continue—what’s banned is abuse of sexuality. If Paul is a valid apostle, since lesbianism wasn’t banned by the Law, he must have been referring to the “shameful lust” associated with this particular form of lesbianism, idol worship—which we find immediately preceding this in verse 25.

If lesbianism wasn’t against the Law, then only the male form of homosexuality would be illegal. However, that seems a bit imbalanced, justice-wise. In Galatians 3:28 we read, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” And yet, in Leviticus 18:22 we find; “‘Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable.”

Perhaps the reason for this apparently unequal treatment had something to do with situational context. Perhaps the ban on male homosexuality had to do with health issues associated with unprotected anal sex (as described in Leviticus 18:22) in a time before modern medicine was available. Under primitive circumstances, such activities were a death sentence for many more people than the ones with whom it originated. Its consequences would be similar to that of modern-day carriers of the AIDS virus having unprotected sex with other people. Maybe that had something to do with the Law’s harshness on this issue.

If the underlying spirit of the Law is that of a loving God who wants us to be healthy and thrive, then selfishly and recklessly infecting the entire tribe for personal sexual gratification would naturally be seen as “detestable”. That would also help explain why apparently peculiar laws like banning eating shellfish (Leviticus 11:10) were made. When one takes into consideration widespread outbreaks of food poisoning in the days before refrigeration, such laws make a bit more sense. Situational context explains why the judgment is against a certain sexual practice by members of only one sex, yet is still consistent with what Paul wrote in Galatians 3:28 in regards to sexual equality. This also removes the onus of Biblical judgment upon members of the LGBT community who do not abuse their sexuality.

Back to idol worship, and the possibility that Paul was speaking allegorically in Romans 1. In the Old Testament, allegorical sexual impurity meant following religions of gods other than the True God (i.e., by following false gods one was being unfaithful to the True God). Usually these religions included idol worship and practiced human sacrifice along with ritual cannibalism. The New Testament counterpart of allegorical sexual impurity is a distorted gospel in which God takes on the satanic qualities one might expect a ruthless and hungry idol-god to possess.

Creator is depicted as having a character different than Jesus’, and the Bible says Jesus is supposed to exemplify the Father’s character. Instead, the distorted gospel’s god makes unreasonably strict, inflexible laws. He can’t cope with changing situations, and lacks the wisdom and compassion to add mitigating circumstances to His equation of justice, something even we flawed humans know how to do. And, if we slip up, the hardhearted deity either does the ritual killing and eternal torture by Himself or has angels do the job for Him. One might say that the distorted gospel turns God into Satan and Satan into God. Consequently, blindly, believers offer their children to a God who’s depicted with the characteristics of a Baal or a Molech, wearing an illusory veneer of “love”. By distorting the gospel this way, people are actually depicted as being more loving and fair-minded than God. There’s a passage from Peter that warns about this happening…

2 Peter 2:1-3; 1 But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them —bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2 Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. 3 In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.” 

“Destructive heresies”. There are many. Could one of these destructive heresies be falsely condemning the entire LGBT community when only those who abuse their sexuality are culpable? Verse 2 states that “Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute.” When the heresies cause Christians to improperly persecute other people, the natural result is those who are persecuted and other observers view Christianity in an unfavorable light. And then we come to verse 3, and “In their greed…” Greed for what? Money? Fame? When mega-churches and super star pastors teach the distorted gospel and make loads of money doing so (especially those emphasizing personal material gain for believers) we’re looking at prime examples of who Peter was talking about. Sometimes I wonder if the “shrine prostitutes” in the following Old Testament passage have modern counterparts preaching in mega-churches today…

1 Kings 14:24; There were even male shrine prostitutes in the land; the people engaged in all the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites.”

But, I digress. Let’s take a closer look at the possibility Paul was speaking about allegorical, not literal, sexual impurity in Romans 1. The reason for Paul to use allegory is described in greater detail later in this article, but I’ll capsulize it here. Because the early church was persecuted and spied upon, any time Paul criticized the religious establishment he had to assume what he wrote would be read by spies along with the intended audience. To protect himself and the early church from arrest, he had to write such criticism in a code the spies couldn’t understand.

One thing to keep in mind is that when Paul’s letters are read through an allegorical lens, they begin to match the tenor and target of Jesus’ comprehensive criticism of the religious establishment. In other words, with allegory Paul’s gospel aligns with Christ’s, whereas literalist interpretations make Paul appear to be somewhat at odds with Jesus. In order to support this thesis, evidence must be presented that shows the extent to which human sacrifice was a problem, and next, how that translates into allegory.


2 Kings 23:10; He desecrated Topheth, which was in the Valley of Ben Hinnom, so no one could use it to sacrifice their son or daughter in the fire to Molek.” 
Jeremiah 7:31; They have built the high places of Topheth in the Valley of Ben Hinnom to burn their sons and daughters in the fire —something I did not command, nor did it enter my mind.” 
Jeremiah 19:5; They have built the high places of Baal to burn their children in the fire as offerings to Baal —something I did not command or mention, nor did it enter my mind.” 
Ezekiel 20:31; When you offer your gifts —the sacrifice of your children in the fire —you continue to defile yourselves with all your idols to this day.” 

There’s plenty more, but the preceding four verses alone establish that human sacrifice was a feature of idol worship. Next, we’ll see whether the “shameful lusts” alluded to by Paul in Romans 1 were in connection with human sacrifice. Perhaps this is what Isaiah and Ezekiel were also talking about…

Isaiah 57:5 You burn with lust among the oaks and under every spreading tree; you sacrifice your children in the ravines and under the overhanging crags.”

Ezekiel 16:36 This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Because you poured out your lust and exposed your naked body in your promiscuity with your lovers, and because of all your detestable idols, and because you gave them your children’s blood,…”

Ritual human sacrifice, cannibalism, associated with lust and quite possibly an orgy. Disgusting, but then, parts of our collective history are like that. It’s pretty easy to see why something of that nature might be called “detestable” and worse. About the ritual cannibalism—some examples are needed…

Psalm 16:4; Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more. I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods or take up their names on my lips.” 

Zechariah 9:7; I will take the blood from their mouths, the forbidden food from between their teeth.”

Jeremiah 19:13; The houses in Jerusalem and those of the kings of Judah will be defiled like this place, Topheth —all the houses where they burned incense on the roofs to all the starry hosts and poured out drink offerings to other gods.’” 

Did I say “disgusting”?

2 Chronicles 28:3; [Ahaz king of Judah] burned sacrifices in the Valley of Ben Hinnom and sacrificed his children in the fire, engaging in the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites.”

2 Kings 16:3; [Ahaz king of Judah] followed the ways of the kings of Israel and even sacrificed his son in the fire, engaging in the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites. 4 He offered sacrifices and burned incense at the high places, on the hilltops and under every spreading tree.” 

2 Chronicles 28:3 and 2 Kings 16:3 touch upon a particular aspect of the practice of ritual human sacrifice; some people think sacrificial victims were limited only to members of the royal family. The idea being that only a sacrificial offering of the highest quality would be acceptable to the hungry deity. Micah 7:2 indicates the pool of victims for this practice went far beyond members of the royal household…

Micah 7:2; The faithful have been swept from the land; not one upright person remains. Everyone lies in wait to shed blood; they hunt each other with nets.” 

If you simply want to kill someone, what’s the need for nets? Just run them through with a sword or spear on the spot. The use of nets implies a use for the captive at a later time, and combining that with the purpose being to shed blood, we have a much larger problem. So much for evidence that idol worship accompanied by human sacrifice was prevalent and malevolent. Now, we’ll move on to how these awful deeds were translated into allegory.


If Paul was writing in allegorical code about “sexual impurity” in Romans 1, then he was using sexual terms to represent spirituality. In the Old Testament, God allegorically plays the role of husband, and Israel plays the wife. Infidelity is loving (worshipping) other gods, and is allegorically called “adultery” and “prostitution”, which turn out to include human sacrifice and ritual cannibalism. In the New Testament, the true church is the allegorical Bride of Christ. While the distorted gospel might appear to worship the same God, if the deity it depicts has personal characteristics which conflict with Christ’s, this would mean its followers have been fooled into inadvertently worshipping another god. How fervently they cling to their relationship with this false god would be the measure of their allegorical infatuation with their out-of-wedlock lover.

If Paul was criticizing the religious establishment, what he said in Romans 1 is exactly how he would have done so—using allegory to denounce a religion that was out of alignment with God. The super-apostle would follow the example Jesus set in John 6, in which Jesus proved that literal-to-a-fault fundamentalists couldn’t understand allegorical code. If the fundamentalists in the synagogue at Capernaum couldn’t understand allegory, neither would fundamentalist spies trying to persecute the early church. We’ll take a look at John 6 shortly. Let’s begin with allegorical “adultery”, idol worship…

Ezekiel 23:37; for they have committed adultery and blood is on their hands. They committed adultery with their idols; they even sacrificed their children, whom they bore to me, as food for them.”

Jeremiah 3:9; Because Israel’s impurity mattered so little to her, she defiled the land and committed adultery with stone and wood.” Committing adultery with “stone” and “wood”? After reading

Ezekiel 23:37, we can see that the adultery is spiritual—loving idols of stone and wood. Jeremiah 7:9; “‘Will you steal and murder, commit adultery and perjury, burn incense to Baal and follow other gods you have not known,…”

Ezekiel 23:45; But righteous judges will sentence them to the punishment of women who commit adultery and shed blood, because they are adulterous and blood is on their hands.” 

Jeremiah 3:6; During the reign of King Josiah, the Lord said to me, “Have you seen what faithless Israel has done? She has gone up on every high hill and under every spreading tree and has committed adultery there.” 

Next, spiritual “prostitution”--Human Sacrifice with ritual cannibalism…

Hosea 4:12; My people consult a wooden idol, and a diviner’s rod speaks to them. A spirit of prostitution leads them astray; they are unfaithful to their God.”

Hosea 5:4; “Their deeds do not permit them to return to their God. A spirit of prostitution is in their heart; they do not acknowledge the Lord.” 

Here we see allegorical “prostitution” defined as unfaithfulness to God. Faithlessness to God may occur quite innocently—when we’re misled by heresies taught by misinformed clergy to worship a “god” with satanic tendencies, instead of the true God. We may even fool ourselves because our egocentric and literalist perspective causes us to interpret scripture in a manner that isn’t consistent with the character of Christ. Here’s an example of a more hideous form of allegorical, spiritual “prostitution”…

Ezekiel 16:16, 20; 16 You took some of your garments to make gaudy high places, where you carried on your prostitution.” 20 “‘And you took your sons and daughters whom you bore to me and sacrificed them as food to the idols. Was your prostitution not enough?” 

Alright. You’ve seen plenty of examples of that idol worship included human sacrifice. Whether the “sexual impurity” of Romans 1 was literal or allegorical, in both cases it had to do with idol worship and human sacrifice. Whether literal or allegorical, it was the despicable practice of human sacrifice that made the “lust” “shameful” and “unnatural”, not homosexuality, per se.

Jesus, John 6, and Paul’s Allegorical Code 

In John 6, Jesus provided perhaps the finest example in the Bible of how allegorical language baffles narrow-minded “literalist” readers. It served as a shining example for Paul for how to write in allegorical code. This was done, as you read in the previous part, to avoid condemnation by spies at a time the early church was being persecuted. The most important part of Jesus’ demonstration is found in verses 35-61, but verses 22-34 are included here because they help create the context for what is said later. Note also that in verse 27 Jesus made a distinction between literal and allegorical/spiritual food, so he set the precedent that he was speaking allegorically in regards to “food”.

John 6:22-61; 22 The next day the crowd that had stayed on the opposite shore of the lake realized that only one boat had been there, and that Jesus had not entered it with his disciples, but that they had gone away alone.
23 Then some boats from Tiberias landed near the place where the people had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks. 24 Once the crowd realized that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and went to Capernaum in search of Jesus.
 25 When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?” 26 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill.
27 Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”
 28 Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” 29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”
30 So they asked him, “What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? 31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”
 32 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven.
33 For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34 “Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.”
35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
36 But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. 37 All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.
38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.” 

John 6:22-61, cont.; 41 At this the Jews there began to grumble about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42 They said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I came down from heaven’?” 43 “Stop grumbling among yourselves,” Jesus answered.
 44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me.
46 No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. 47 Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life.
48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. 50 But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” 52 Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 

[How, indeed! How can a rabbi from a religion that forbids human sacrifice turn around and tell believers they must now ritually sacrifice and eat him to obtain salvation? If the only option for interpretation was literal, a person from that religion would have no choice but to reject the person presenting it. However, there was another choice—his words may be allegorical instead of literal. If a literal translation produces an outcome that is clearly out of bounds, then the sensible thing is to opt for the allegorical interpretation if it fits the situation and aligns with the spirit of the Bible.]

John 6:22-61, cont.; 53 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.
 55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. 57 Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” 

[Did you get that? “Eat my flesh and drink my blood” about five times in about as many seconds? Do you think maybe he was provoking a response from people he knew thought only in literal terms and thought he was urging them to commit an abominable act?]

John 6:22-61, cont.; 59 He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum. 60 On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” 61 Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you?” 

[“while teaching in the synagogue”? Commit human sacrifice and ritual cannibalism? “Does this offend you?” Right!!! Really freak out these literalist believers who can’t believe what they’re hearing because they can’t understand allegory! It’s like if a pastor suggested the congregation have a nudist orgy in church next Sunday instead of a sermon. It went over just about as well in Jesus’ day, and anyone reading this account can see that Jesus knew exactly what he was doing. He was showing how people who insist on literal interpretations and applications of God’s word, even to the point where it is outside the bounds of God’s personal character, will end up making big mistakes.

He was also guaranteeing that he’d lose enough support among the people that the most difficult part of his mission—his personal sacrifice on the Cross—could take place. Why else didn’t he simply say, “People—I’m speaking allegorically! My gospel, what I stand for and am, is spiritual food. I’m not asking you to literally eat me. Why on Earth would I ask you to break the Law in such a heinous manner? Verse 61 makes clear he knew the disciples didn’t understand him.]


Now that we’ve seen Jesus’ example of using allegory to baffle literalists, let’s see what Paul did with that…

2 Peter 3:15-16; 15 Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. 16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.” 

1 Corinthians 2:13-14, Paul; 13 This is what we [the Apostles] speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom [conventional definitions] but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in [figurative] spiritual words." 14 The [literalist] man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned." 

Colossians 1:9, Paul; For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding." 

“spiritual wisdom and understanding” - Using God’s personal character (unconditional love exemplified in Christ) as the primary context in interpretation, and using this to determine whether something is meant allegorically or literally. Since Paul was a prized apostle, the only appropriate manner in which to read his message is in a way that is in full alignment with what Jesus’ gospel says—and what it doesn’t say, too.

The "spiritual" words the "man without the Spirit does not accept" are figurative words. The "man without the Spirit" who rejects use of figurative language denies Jesus and the Bible when he insists on using a one-sided harsh "literal" interpretation. Paul was only using the method his teacher used. As Jesus said…

John 16:25, Jesus; "…I have been speaking figuratively…" 

Mark 4:33-34; 33 With many similar parables Jesus spoke the word to them, as much as they could understand. 34 He did not say anything to them without using a parable. …"

John 6:63, Jesus; …The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life [not death—literal]."

So, we can see that Paul made extensive use of allegory, just as Jesus did. Now, let’s relate that to the issue of homosexuality, in particular as is found in Romans 1…

Romans 1:26-27; 26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.”

Interestingly enough, lesbianism is not mentioned in the ancient Law of Moses. Or Joshua, for that matter. The only passage in the entire Bible that appears to condemn the female form of homosexuality is this passage in Romans written by Paul. Now, we know Paul was an intelligent man well-schooled in the Law. Consequently, he had to know that lesbianism was not against the Law. Why would he deliberately make such a glaring error? Perhaps so his followers would recognize he was speaking in allegorical code.

We know Paul wrote in allegorical code. What better way to convince literalist-to-a-fault spies that he and his congregations were good literalist-to-a-fault fundamentalists, too, than turn the conversation to sex and get judgmental? But, if we look at the verses immediately before and after these two verses, we see Paul was speaking about what Jesus continually spoke against; a strict literalist interpretation which contradicted the primary context—the “spirit of the Law”, i.e., God’s character.

Here’s what I mean by taking something out of context of the spirit of the Law, or God’s character: Let’s say that it’s winter. Outside, it’s freezing with a bitter, biting wind. You’re sitting in the kitchen with God, having a chat. You’re wearing a tee shirt and jeans. You get up and tell God you’re going outside for a walk. God says, “Put on your winter coat and your mittens! If you don’t you’ll catch cold and get sick. I hate seeing you get sick!” You put on your coat, just like God suggested, and walk into town. You meet a friend named “Tom”, who takes things way too literally. You tell Tom of your talk with God, and say, “God told me to wear a winter coat when I go outside and says I’ll suffer if I don’t. He says He hates seeing me get sick.”

Fast forward six months, and it’s mid-summer and boiling hot. Tom and you are sitting in your kitchen today. You’re wearing the same tee shirt, and you’re getting up to go outside into 100 degree heat. Tom says, “You must wear a winter coat or God says you’re detestable and must be punished!” God’s intention was based on love adapted to a specific situation—that you wear clothing appropriate for the weather. Tom just couldn’t understand the spirit. By thinking only in literal terms, Tom was making God out to be a sadist who wants to see you swelter and suffer for no good reason. When overly-literalist believers distort a sacred Message this way, they turn it into something more befitting an evil god who requires human sacrifice to appease Him—or Her. And that’s what allegorical sexual impurity is, as you read in the previous part of this series. (My apology to all people named “Tom” for using your name in this example.)

Now, let’s take a look at how Romans 1:26-27 fits within the surrounding verses, starting with verse 18 and ending with 32.

Romans 1:18-32, 18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.
20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.” 

Romans 1:18-32, cont.,
 24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
 26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.” 

 [Paul begins in verse 18 by speaking against godlessness, and people suppressing the truth by their wickedness. Sexual relationships don’t suppress the truth. They may or may not be appreciated, but they don’t suppress the truth. Twisting a gospel around to make it into a tool for persecution and power—now, that’s suppressing the truth!

Paul goes on in verses 21-23 to speak about people who think they’re spiritually wise turning the idol worship. I suppose if one has an active imagination one may find a connection between idol worship and literal “sexual impurity”. But, when one knows human sacrifice was associated with idol worship, and that “sexual impurity” is allegorically equated with human sacrifice to an unkind deity, perhaps reading verses 24-27 as allegory makes more sense than as being literal. Especially since Paul was well aware that the Law of Moses was quiet in regards to lesbianism.]

 Romans 1:18-32, cont.; 28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.”

 Verses 28-32 describe people who are, among other flaws, greedy, murderous, merciless, and unloving. Homosexuality is a form of expressing love. Or lust. But if it was only lust, there would never be any instances of enduring homosexual relations. Nor are homosexuals more likely to be murderous or greedy than heterosexual people. On the other hand, unscrupulous preachers seeking to make a fortune while judging other people fit the description of verses 28-32 perfectly.

It’s hard to understand why people insist on reading Paul in a manner in which his gospel contradicts that of Jesus. Using common sense and fairness (presume innocence unless proven guilty, or accurate unless proven false), they’d immediately realize a strictly literal 16 interpretation of Paul doesn’t fit. It just doesn’t. Never has, never will. And, they wouldn’t have to look far for a better alternative, as Jesus and Paul said plainly that a lot of what they said was allegory. Why on Earth on Earth would Paul speak only in literal terms when his master regularly used allegory? Why would Paul’s gospel be so much different than that of Jesus? And, why would Peter specifically write that many people would have difficulty understanding what Paul was really saying? I guess when an idea gets established over the centuries, hoodwinked believers and descendants of people harmed by the misuse of Paul’s gospel developed mental blinders which prevent them from seeing what’s standing right in front of them in broad daylight.


What follows should absolutely NOT be taken as a universal and eternal judgment against Jews, Judaism, pagans, or any other religion. This is simply evidence that at that time and place, some members of the Jewish establishment and other religions viewed Christianity as a heresy or competitor and actively sought to destroy it. What people today choose to believe and how they act upon it is up to them. Whether any of this is allegory, or whether it is all meant literally, it provides an unshakeable foundation for the case that Paul was speaking in allegorical code, or as Peter put it:

2 Peter 3:15-16; 15 Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. 16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.” 

So, Peter said that Paul wrote all his letters using the same technique. He then went on to say that unspiritual people would find it impossible to understand things written using this technique, and that subsequently they would distort the meaning of scriptures written this way. Clearly, what Paul wrote needs to be read at more than face value.

Why would Paul write in a manner many would find hard to understand? The new church was under persecution and beset by spies. Paul knew his epistles (letters) would be read by spies. Consequently, if he wanted his congregation to survive he had to write in a code the spies didn’t understand. To do this, Paul used the same technique Jesus did in John 6 as he addressed Jewish fundamentalists at the synagogue in Capernaum. Paul knew from Jesus’ example fundamentalists could only think in literal terms, even if it made no sense and contradicted the underlying spirit of the gospel or the Law. John 6 was where Jesus repeatedly told Jews (to whom human sacrifice was utterly taboo) that they had to eat his flesh and drink his blood for salvation. Had they understood allegory, they would have understood the “flesh” and “blood” were allegorically meant as his gospel being spiritual food, not literal human sacrifice accompanied by ritual cannibalism.

Paul used the same technique Jesus did—allegory and figurative language. After all, Paul was supposed to be a respected apostle, so it makes sense he’d use the same techniques as the master. And especially since literal readings of his messages make it appear that he is anti-Christ, so much so that many people consider him to be a fake. So, Paul knew that fundamentalist Jewish spies would be fooled, and anyone from another religion would also likely think he was talking in literal terms. Paul’s use of the phrase “sexual impurity” is a case in point, and was discussed in parts 3 & 4, because it has such tremendous influence in how people view the compatibility of the Bible and the LBGT community. Now, here’s a list of more than a dozen examples of persecution and spying against the early Christian community:

Acts 9:23-23, 29; 22 Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Messiah. 23 After many days had gone by, there was a conspiracy among the Jews to kill him, 29 He talked and debated with the Hellenistic Jews, but they tried to kill him.”

Acts 11:19; Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out when Stephen was killed traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, spreading the word only among Jews.”

Acts 13:45; When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy. They began to contradict what Paul was saying and heaped abuse on him.” 

Acts 14:1-2; 1 At Iconium Paul and Barnabas went as usual into the Jewish synagogue. There they spoke so effectively that a great number of Jews and Greeks believed. 2 But the Jews who refused to believe stirred up the other Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers.” 

Acts 14:5; There was a plot afoot among both Gentiles and Jews, together with their leaders, to mistreat them and stone them.” 

Acts 14:19; Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead.”
Acts 16:20; They brought them before the magistrates and said, “These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar…” 

Acts 17:4-5; 4 Some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and quite a few prominent women. 5 But other Jews were jealous; so they rounded up some bad characters from the marketplace, formed a mob and started a riot in the city. They rushed to Jason’s house in search of Paul and Silas in order to bring them out to the crowd.” 

Acts 17:13; But when the Jews in Thessalonica learned that Paul was preaching the word of God at Berea, some of them went there too, agitating the crowds and stirring them up.” 

Acts 18:12; While Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews of Corinth made a united attack on Paul and brought him to the place of judgment.” 

Acts 20:3; where he stayed three months. Because some Jews had plotted against him just as he was about to sail for Syria, he decided to go back through Macedonia.” Acts 21:27; When the seven days were nearly over, some Jews from the province of Asia saw Paul at the temple. They stirred up the whole crowd and seized him,” 

Acts 23:12; The next morning some Jews formed a conspiracy and bound themselves with an oath not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul.” 

2 Corinthians 11:26; I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers.” 

Galatians 2:4; This matter arose because some false believers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves.” 

1 Thessalonians 2:14; For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own people the same things those churches suffered from the Jews…” But, persecution by the Jewish religious establishment preceded this; 

Luke 20:20; Keeping a close watch on him, they sent spies, who pretended to be sincere. They hoped to catch Jesus in something he said, so that they might hand him over to the power and authority of the governor.” 


Alright, you’ve seen plenty of examples from scripture that human sacrifice was a problem in ancient Israel, that sexual terms were allegorically used to represent unkind and unforgiving religions, and that the early church had very good reason to use allegorical code when criticizing the religious establishment. It’s your choice whether you want to believe Paul was a renegade apostle who contradicted Christ and hated the LGBT community, or whether you want to believe Christ and Peter rightly viewed Paul as a legitimate apostle and consequently, that his gospel was perfectly aligned with that of Jesus—in which case, there is no Biblical injunction against the LGBT community, only the abuse of sexuality. If you want to see things change for the better, share the good news! All glory goes to God! PS; The New International Version of the Bible was used here. But, the King James version says the same thing, it only sounds a little more archaic.

(Robert Leon Mendelson)

For more writing by this author, visit www.godspeaceplan.org"

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