Homosexual advocates have examined this slavery verse and are using it in a well-formulated question of morality:
“Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. 45 You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property. 46 You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life”—God speaking to Moses in Leviticus 25: 44-46
Before we reveal their question, I want to introduce another concern about this verse that we will examine further. Here is an excerpt from the essay, Sermons That Got Me Kicked Out Of Church:
“In our history, we have found the institution of slavery to be one of great horror. So, when it comes to the biblical slavery laws, we would rather ignore them and wish they had never been spoken. Jesus remembered and obeyed the Laws of God and could only do what the Father allowed. If God had NOT said in Leviticus, ‘From the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves’, you would be lost forever! You see, this slavery verse in Leviticus is the only law in scripture where God recognizes and authorizes a Jew to purchase or redeem a Gentile stranger for his possession. Do you understand? In the story of Ruth and Boaz, the Jewish Kinsmen-Redeemer laws did not apply to complete strangers, they worked only for kinfolk. The rules were strict. Read your Bible. Ruth was married into Judaism prior to being purchased by Boaz. She was not a total stranger. This slavery verse in Leviticus is the only law that allowed Jesus to purchase those of us who are completely outside of Judaism. You may be thinking, ‘This is not the same kind of purchase’. Well, God recognized the Cross as both a spiritual and a legal purchase by Jesus because God recognizes His laws. It was spiritual in the purchase of your soul, and it was legal in the purchase of your physical body. Do you recognize the Cross as a genuine and complete purchase? When Jesus purchased us on the cross, He didn’t just buy your soul and spirit; He now owns your physical body too. The blood of Christ is more valuable than coins and purchased a complete redemption, not a partial ‘soul-spirit only’ one. We were purchased by Christ under the only means by which God would recognize the purchase of a Gentile stranger. Without this slavery verse in Leviticus, the words in 1 Corinthians which say, ‘You are not your own; for you have been bought with a price. Therefore glorify God with your BODY’ would be meaningless for all Gentile believers!
Also, it is imperative to this argument that we think upon the New Testament prophecy which calls us to beware of those who refuse to affirm the identity of Christ being “the Master who bought them”. Here is another excerpt from Sermons That Got Me Kicked Out Of Church:
You know what’s crazy? We preach a message of redemption, but we never bother to tell anyone the scriptural basis for it in Leviticus. We ignore that part. That’s almost like building a house without laying the foundation properly. The Apostle Peter was absolutely right in prophesying that false teachers would arise who, according to the Greek text, ‘refuse to affirm’ the identity and the reality that Jesus was a ‘Master who bought them’. Your physical body was purchased by a Master. We hate that identity as being real in any sense and we shun these verses. God knew exactly what it meant to be called a Master in the cruel times of Roman slavery and He didn’t duck from that identity. Today we treat these words and titles like metaphors, when the purchase price of blood was very real. You can’t have it both ways. Are you a preacher who affirms the identity and reality that Jesus was a ‘Master who bought them’? Are you what Peter calls a false prophet? Or did you just not know? Most importantly, are you going to start telling the truth?”
As noted earlier, Homosexual advocates have taken the laws of biblical slavery and have used them to effectively wage a battle against the Bible. In many articles and publications they are asking this question:
“How can you use a Bible that declares homosexuality to be immoral when that same Bible gives laws that sustain and regulate the immoral practice of human slavery throughout the Old and New Testaments?”
Biblical apologists/defenders have answered this question by saying things like:
“Slavery came after the fall of man, it was part of the culture, and God had to work around it. It is an evil invention of man. God was actually against it, but couldn’t just remove it from the Hebrew culture without bringing a total economic collapse. So He made laws to govern it. God thought that both homosexuality and slavery were immoral as evidenced by 1Timothy 1:9-10 saying “We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine ”
Strangely enough, the Biblical apologists are doing the same thing as the homosexual advocates. Since the apologists state that slavery is an evil invention, they are also saying that God gave laws to sustain and uphold immorality! That’s interesting. Do these answers hold up? In Leviticus, the Bible says, “You can have slaves” and in 1 Timothy it condemns slavery. Two different types? Let’s take a closer look.
I believe God is the ultimate Arbiter of morality. Yet, we find that God gave laws permitting and arguably sustaining slavery. Now, God clearly hated the greed-filled, kidnapping version of slavery shown in the Greek text of 1 Tim. 1:10. The word for “slave-traders” is andrapodistés which means “one who enslaves by kidnapping”. God never tolerates kidnapping. God also never demanded that we had to buy slaves, or that slavery must always continue. God never gave slavery a ringing endorsement by saying something like, “God loveth a cheerful buyer”. The terms, “you must” and “you may” are different. God never demanded that we buy and beat slaves. God never demanded that Satan had to kill Job’s family and destroy his property either. Just because God gives a command or law saying, “you may” doesn’t mean that God is all excited about the consequences of granting permission. I’m beginning to understand that God’s commands are not always reflective of God’s morals.
Now it’s true that God’s form of slavery was used as an individual welfare safety net for Hebrews who needed to work off their debts. It was also used as a means of sustaining and even assimilating foreign prisoners of war rather than killing everyone. But would its removal bring a total economic collapse? I wonder. When God gave out the laws for regulating slavery, the Israelites were being fed with manna for free everyday!
Do we really believe that our God had to “work around slavery” because it was part of the culture they came from? Let’s think about this: Sacred prostitution and slavery were both ingrained parts of Egyptian culture. When Israel left Egypt, did God have to set up laws for maintaining sacred whorehouses in Israel? If God could separate Israel from one part of the Egyptian culture, He could have dropped the ability to purchase Jews and Gentile strangers, if He found that to be immoral.
Slavery was an invention of man? It came after the fall? Slavery is completely dependent on the Master-Slave relationship. Do we really believe that the Master-Slave relationship was an invention of man? Scripture calls God the “Master” in heaven. Man certainly abused and perverted that relationship, but do these biblical apologists really believe that man originated slavery? If so, I guess that God was so impressed by this invention of man that He decided to break up the Angel’s Unions, the Angel Voting League, stopped giving the Angels time-off to do what they please, and decided to restructure His relationship with them. Once the Angels gave up and put down their picket signs, God became the ruling Master of Heaven. I guess the biblical apologists thought God was a copycat and became a Master when these verses were written:
“Masters, grant to your slaves justice and fairness, knowing that you too have a Master in heaven.”–Colossians 4:1.
“And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him”.–Ephesians 6:9
Isn’t it interesting that the author doesn’t hesitate to compare the Master-Slave relationship with the way God rules in Heaven? Do you see what is happening? It is obvious that the biblical author does not find the master-slave relationship to be either immoral or offensive. If he did, he would never make that comparison.
So why is the author correct in comparing slave-masters to God? It is because God is the originator of the Master-Slave relationship. Angels are not independent or free to do their own thing. The Bible clearly says that the Angels are created to do His bidding. His rule is so absolute that the Angels aren’t given second chances. There is no salvation plan for an angel that disobeys. Why? They were never given a free choice. Those who disobeyed once were cast out and destined for the Lake of Fire. Angels are not free. God is not an elected Governor. He is their Master.
When we get to Heaven, the Bible says that every knee is going to bow and call Jesus Christ the Greek word “Kurios”. What does “Kurios mean? It means the exact same thing that you just read in those verses above whenever you saw the word “master”. Kurios = “One who has absolute ownership rights over another as Lord and Master”. Jesus isn’t copying some pattern set by men. 2 Peter 2:1 goes even further by calling Jesus, “the Master who bought them”. Do you want to know what the Greek word for “Master” is in this case? It is the word “despotes” which is where we got the English word “despot” or dictator. He is a benevolent dictator. The Master-Slave relationship was not an invention of man; God was a Master in Heaven before man was created. The original Master-Slave relationship was holy; not immoral.
Anyway, we can see that the answers given by most biblical apologists may be well-intentioned, but they don’t hold up as counter-arguments. The Pro-Gay side can’t get a straight answer (pun intended).
If we are willing to receive it, there is an answer to the Slavery-Homosexuality argument. But, it requires us to stop being evasive and be like Job in the Bible who faced God’s laws of permission with truth.
Just like the slaves of history, Job was also a victim of God’s commands of permission. Satan was powerless to do anything to Job without a command from God. God had to act first before calamity could come upon Job.
Here is the first command of permission given to Satan.
Then the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him.”—Job 1:12.
The second command gave Satan further permission,
Put forth Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh; he will curse You to Your face.” So the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your power, only spare his life.”—Job 2:5-6 (This is similar to God’s law of permission in Exodus allowing Masters to beat their slaves as long as they don’t kill them.)
A huge question that YOU need to ask yourself is this: Is God APPROVING Satan’s request to move forward? Or is God PERMITTING Satan to move forward? Did God permit Satan to kill Job’s children? Or did God approve Satan’s request to kill Job’s children? Is granting permission the same as granting approval? There is a fine line between approval and permission, yet it makes a HUGE difference in our perception of the morality of God’s actions and laws. This is why I no longer believe that all of God’s commands are always a reflection of God’s morals. Just because God gives a command permitting Satan to wreak havoc upon Job doesn’t mean that God approves of Satan’s activities. Just because God gives a law saying, “When a man sells his daughter as a slave…” doesn’t mean that he’s excited about it.
I’m pretty sure that God knew that His commands would result in the death of Job’s children, the destruction of his property, and that severe affliction would come upon his body. Some will counter by saying, “But God used this to give Job a double blessing”. Did God resurrect his original kids from the dead? No, Job’s suffering was real and permanent. God’s laws of permission enabled great and horrible misery to occur.
What was Job’s response? Did Job react and call God’s commands of permission evil? Did Job blame the devil? Did Job curse God and call Him evil? Did Job make excuses for God? No.
Although Satan was responsible for his own actions and will be held accountable, Job recognized that God was the ultimate authority behind this calamity. Job credited the entire calamity to God without blaming Him by saying, The LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. The book of Job doesn’t attempt to be evasive and try to make God look good. It reveals that supreme authority belongs to God, even when treachery is knowingly allowed to happen. So, does this make God immoral? Let’s consider the story of the Prodigal Son.
The father in the story of The Prodigal Son also granted authority and means for his unruly son to spend his inheritance on “riotous living”. Do you think the father was ignorant? Just as God knew the character of Satan when He gave him permission in the book of Job, and just as God knew the character of men when he gave slavery laws in Leviticus, I believe that the father knew the character of the Prodigal Son. He knew it would turn out to be bad. But do we blame the father for knowing what the son would do with that money and power?
The scripture says the son spent the money on “riotous living”. What did that mean in the time of Jesus? Was riotous living exclusive to only getting drunk and getting laid? No. Riotous living included the probability of going to sporting events where humans suffered. You had crucifixions, floggings, man vs. beast contests, and fights to the death. These were the sporting events of the day, and they were not all free. Lots of gambling surrounded these events. When Jesus tells the story, the father knew that the son would use his permission to indulge in “riotous living”. Knowing this, the father is both forgiving and waiting. Was the Father immoral for granting the son this level of unbridled permission? The analogy may be flawed, but it gives you something to consider.
Great suffering happened as a result of God’s laws of permission. Do we blame God for giving us laws of permission? Does He demand that we buy and beat slaves, or are we ultimately responsible for our actions? And how will the injustices be made right in eternity? In Heaven, the believing slaves will probably be some of the greatest rulers among us. The first shall be last, and the last shall be first.
Mankind has been shown over and over again that he cannot govern himself responsibly. Mankind abused, perverted, and showed himself completely incapable and untrustworthy of handling the kind of authority that comes with being a master. Once again, God’s commands have shown us just how sinful and corrupt we really are. By our own abuses, we have so corrupted the image of God’s absolute authority that our eyes are incapable of seeing the Master-Slave relationship as anything but immoral. That test is over, and we failed. We should all be thankful that it is over.
We still make attempts at governing ourselves, and we strive for world peace through the hope of united common goals, but even that would ultimately fail. We are forever flawed. That is why we can’t simply just wash ourselves. We need to be bought and given a new identity with someone greater than us. That someone is Jesus Christ. God did not just give us these laws to show our sinfulness and leave us in misery. Within these same laws that we despise, there is also a provision for us.
What was the eternal purpose behind the biblical laws of slavery? Redemption.
Let’s recall what we read in the excerpt from “Sermons That Got Me Kicked Out Of Church”. The purchase on the cross was both a spiritual and legal purchase in the eyes of God. Jesus bought your soul/spirit and your physical body. Without the law in Leviticus, Christ could not have purchased our physical body. It’s similar to the situation where Christ became a curse for us. What allowed Christ to become a curse for us? Scripture says it was the law which said, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”. The Law enabled Christ to become a curse for us on Calvary, and the Law enabled Christ to purchase Gentile strangers for His own possession.
But what about the laws that allowed Ruth the Moabite to be redeemed by Boaz? Aren’t we Gentile strangers redeemed by those laws? Ruth had been married and was the widow of a Jewish man named Mahlon. As Gentile strangers, we weren’t seen by God as being “married to Jews”. The Bible is clear on this: Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called “Uncircumcision” by the so-called “Circumcision,” which is performed in the flesh by human hands— 12remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.–Ephesians 2:11-12 God wasn’t playing. In order to be under Kinsmen-Redeemer (Boaz) rules, scripture says you had to be related! We Gentiles are total strangers to the covenant of promise. Scripture says that we are not part of the Jewish nation. The Kinsmen-Redeemer laws don’t apply to us. We needed God to make another way for us.
Anyway, the laws of slavery allowed a Jewish man to be able to purchase BOTH Jews and Gentile strangers (Exodus 21, Lev.25). Christ bought your physical body as well as your soul. You will see that the scriptures are clear on this point.
If God had said, ‘Thou shalt not purchase another human. The master-slave relationship is forbidden’, then all purchases and redemptions of both Jews and Gentiles would have been illegal. Do you understand what that means? The God-Man Jesus Christ would not have been able to purchase you. Even if the idea of Christ purchasing you was merely metaphorical, the very premise of your redemption in Christ would have been made immoral by that abolishment.
But your purchase was not metaphorical. Being “bought” isn’t like being “crucified with Christ” or “dying daily”. You were bought with real blood. It was a human transaction. You were purchased by a Jewish man with human blood. His blood was not metaphorical, and its value is above currency. “You were bought, not with corruptible things, with silver and gold, from your vain manner of life handed down from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as a lamb without blemish or without spot, even the blood of Christ.” (1 Pet. 1:18).
One of the biggest hurdles for Christians today is to believe that Christ bought our physical bodies.
The Apostle Paul has a personal question for you: “Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body which belongs to God.” (1 Cor. 6:19-20). Paul is asking you, “Don’t you get it? Are you going to remain blind? Don’t you realize? Do you honestly not know that your physical body was bought and you are actually owned?
The Apostle Paul has another personal question for you: “Don’t you realize that your bodies are actually parts of Christ? He asks that in verse 15 of the same chapter.
Paul isn’t done yet. So, in 1 Corinthians 3:16 he says, “Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” Why is he repeating himself? Because he knows you have hurdles of unbelief about your physical body being purchased. You think Christ only bought your spirit and soul.
The great Chinese prisoner for Christ, Watchman Nee, said this: It is quite customary among today’s saints to assume the attitude that God apparently has made no provision for the body. They limit the redemption of Christ to the spirit and the soul and cross out the body completely. They disregard the facts that the Lord Jesus healed physical ills in His day and that the Apostles continued to experience this power of healing in their day. No other explanation for their attitude can be put forward than that of unbelief. The Word of God, however, declares “the Lord is also for the body”.
The Apostle John declares that those of us who are bought will be distinguished in glory by the physical traits of our tribe, language, and nationality. “With your blood You purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.“—Revelation 5:9
When Jesus rose from the dead, He kept his “flesh and bones” body. He didn’t discard it. His glorified body still had nailprints. Jesus kept His physical body, and the Spirit will also quicken/raise these mortal bodies because they are bought and paid.
The completion of God’s eternal purpose in the slavery laws looks like this: “Christ gave himself for us that he might redeem/purchase us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a people for his own possession, zealous of good works.” (Titus 2:14)
We are owned. Before you were born again, you were first bought with a price. Before you were adopted as a son or daughter, you were first bought at Calvary as a slave. In his writings, Paul identified more often as a slave of God than as a son. The Greek word “Doulos” is often translated as servant, but it really means slave. Paul knew what came first. He understood his foundational identity in Christ. Romans 6:22 states the glorious truth that we are slaves of God, “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become SLAVES OF GOD, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.
So, do you now believe that you have really been bought in the fullest sense, both body and soul? It depends on what you really believe is the value and comprehension of the blood of Jesus Christ. Did Jesus blood purchase a partial redemption, or was it a complete redemption? What do you think?
There is a warning for those teachers/preachers who deny (Greek: refuse to affirm) the identity and actuality that Christ is a Master who purchased us as slaves. According to the prophecy of the Apostle Peter, there will be a rise of false prophets who will bring in destructive heresies. What is it their heresy? The wording is quite specific. There will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves–2 Peter 2:1. This is a specific identity being addressed here. The word for Master in this case is rare. If you recall, the Greek word is “Despotes” from which we get despot. The word for bought is “agorazo” which specifically means “purchased in the marketplace”.
I believe that we are in that prophetic time because today we have preachers who refuse to affirm that Jesus is a Master-Owner, and that He bought us as slaves. They hate that identity. They hate that He permitted slavery. They despise that portion of His laws. They hate that He is a Master in Heaven that scripture compares to slave-masters on earth. They hate that comparison. They hate and ignore the scriptural basis for Christ’s purchase of Gentile strangers. They hate that they are purchased from that basis and deny it. They hate, deny, and won’t speak of that scripture, they hide from certain truths. They preach a half-truth redemption with a God that they can control and form into their own image who is sweet, pretty, and doesn’t let Job’s kids die. They ALWAYS have to be identified as Kings Kids and darling children of a precious father, but while this is true, they cringe at being referred to as Slaves of Christ. Their definition of Lord is something different from a Master who bought them. In the end, they shun and deny the identity of the Master who bought them.
After all of this, I must step back and say that I hate the idea of human slavery, and that it has not been easy to write these things. It has kept me up late at night, and I have been perplexed at times with theses scriptures. It is clear to me that God hated what slavery had become (1Timothy 1:9-10). I also think that the Apostles struggled fiercely with the things they wrote. Their lives were on the line. Change was hard, even for the Apostles. Even after the Apostle Peter had his vision about the Gentiles, he had an exceptionally hard time separating from his old beliefs about circumcision. Concerning slavery, Peter wrote, “Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh”. I believe that Peter was speaking to slaves in their present status at that moment. I do not believe that he would condone American Slavery which was based on kidnapping, or the illegal Sudanese Slavery of today.
I do believe that the Apostle Paul began the call for the eradication of slavery among Christians. Prior to our purchase at the Cross, God also made laws allowing His people to ENTER slavery as well. After our purchase at the Cross, Paul does a bold about-face and says that Old Testament laws of entering slavery are stopping now! It’s a short statement, but it brings the Old Testament laws permitting the selling of yourself, of your daughters, and of the people of God into slavery to a screeching halt. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 7:23, “You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men”. Paul understands that Christ’s purchase was very real and that you cannot serve two Masters. I believe Paul is saying that since Christ purchased us, we don’t need this institution anymore. It is finished. Paul also said, “Were you a slave when you were called? Don’t let it trouble you–although if you can gain your freedom, do so.” I believe the Apostles would have encouraged the Underground Railroad.
You’ve got to make a choice: 1) God is who He says He is. Or, 2) Moses just wrote all this and enforced his own ideas and cultural biases upon the masses. It would be easy for me to choose number 2 except that I have had experiences in the name of Jesus Christ that I cannot deny. I’ve encountered Jesus, and I’ve seen blind eyes opened and deaf ears opened. The Holy Spirit is real.
So, when Gay advocates ask, “How can you use a Bible that declares homosexuality to be immoral when that same Bible gives laws that sustain and regulate the immoral practice of human slavery throughout the Old and New Testaments”, how do we answer?
We yield to the Holy Spirit and listen for his direction because our own words will likely fail. Maybe we should answer by revealing the truth rather than by entering into defensive heresy. Maybe we could answer by saying, God is the original Master and the Angels are his slaves. God said don’t steal, don’t lie, don’t covet, but He did open a door and permit us to act in His image as Masters. Some of God’s permission allowed for cruelty, but that didn’t mean we had to do it. We made our own choices. So what did we do with that permission as Masters? We went beyond and we stole, we lied, and we coveted for more. His permission allowed us to see our perversion. God is not immoral. But man is so immoral that he utterly abused God’s authority to the point that we can’t see it clearly anymore. What began as pure became immoral. In man’s hands, all forms of governing are immoral. Man perverts the law of God to where it yields immorality. We are incapable of governing ourselves with complete integrity whether it’s a Republic, a Democracy, a Kingdom, a Communist State, a Master-Slave dominion, a Moses-led government, or a Church board meeting. We can’t even govern our own families and marriages with complete and pure integrity. We need help. We can continue to point at each other, blame God, deny God, or we can both go to God and submit to His help and have a meaningful discussion.
The only way to come to an end of the homosexuality-slavery argument is by beginning to tell the truth. Perhaps no one will listen, and maybe many will walk away from the truth. I once heard it said, “Jesus spent far less time defending the truth, and would instead turn a confrontation into an opportunity to further reveal the truth. He found that revealing truth was a better guard than trying to defend truth. When He would unpack the truth, it would often cause many to be even more offended and leave. For others, it was the bread of life. Offensive to many, nourishing to some, such is the nature of truth. Fear not, and let the truth do what it will.”