So, when you hear the word “abomination,” what comes to mind? Is there an image, a situation, or something else that immediately pops into your head? As I chose that single word as the title of this sermon it seemed like it demanded an exclamation point at the end…do you agree?
And as I thought about the word a bit, I was reminded of a scene in a movie from 2003 called “Underworld.” It’s a vampire flick where the bloodsuckers are at war with werewolves (which they call lycans). We join the film where the lead character, Selene, has discovered that the head vampire killed her family (and then turned her)…blaming the death of her loved ones on the werewolves:
Selene: It wasn’t the Lycans. It was you. How could you bear my trust knowing that you killed my family?
Viktor: Yes, I have taken from you but I have given so much more. Is it not a fair trade for life I have granted you? The gift of immortality?
Selene: And the life of your daughter? Your own flesh and blood?
Viktor: I loved my daughter. But the abomination growing in her womb was a betrayal of me and the coven. I did what was necessary to protect the species. As I am forced to do yet again.1
What Viktor was calling an abomination was the fruit of a relationship between his daughter and…gasp!…and a lycan she loved.
We may immediately condemn the fictional Viktor’s prejudice…but our history has been just as unenlightened…otherwise we wouldn’t have terms like “half-breed.” I only have old westerns to go by, but it does seem to me that there were plenty of 18 century Americans who thought the fruit of an “Indian” and a “white man” was an abomination.
[ These are quick sermon notes…not cleaned-up…and missing the "extras" that come out in the audio (which is available here). All quotes are from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted. ]
The good news is that with the passage of time…and the genuinely nice people who attend this church…it is unlikely any of you immediately thought of half-breed as an abomination (or, for that matter, think it is an abomination).
However, I do suspect at least a couple of you had these verses from Leviticus in mind:
22 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination (Leviticus 18:22).
13 If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them (Leviticus 20:13).
It’s not that everyone here would have immediately connected the word “abomination” with practicing homosexuality, but anyone who has honestly studied what the Bible teaches about it probably has a clear mental link between the two.
And back at the Pleasant View Church of Christ that word was brought up during one of my Bible studies. I can’t exactly remember what led up to the conversation, but people were associating Sodom and Gomorrah’s fate to practicing homosexuality. Although I agree they have good reason to, I directed my class to these verses in Ezekiel (although I’ve expanded the selection a bit for today):
44 “Behold, everyone who uses proverbs will use this proverb about you: ‘Like mother, like daughter.’ 45 You are the daughter of your mother, who loathed her husband and her children; and you are the sister of your sisters, who loathed their husbands and their children. Your mother was a Hittite and your father an Amorite. 46 And your elder sister is Samaria, who lived with her daughters to the north of you; and your younger sister, who lived to the south of you, is Sodom with her daughters. 47 Not only did you walk in their ways and do according to their abominations; within a very little time you were more corrupt than they in all your ways. 48 As I live, declares the Lord GOD, your sister Sodom and her daughters have not done as you and your daughters have done. 49 Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. 50 They were haughty and did an abomination before me. So I removed them, when I saw it (Ezekiel 16:44-50).
So, what does Ezekiel say “was the guilt of” Sodom?
Nope. Although they had plenty, they “did not aid the poor and needy.”
And…speaking of the word abomination…right after calling them out for not helping the poor, it says (in part):
They were haughty and did an abomination before me (Ezekiel 16:50a).
Now, in saying all this I’m not trying to propose that we Christians have it all wrong and God had no problem with homosexuality in Sodom and Gomorrah…I’m convinced He was very unhappy with that practice. What I was pointing out to my class, however, was that wasn’t the only sin they had a problem with…it was just another indicator of their degenerate state.
Some in my class agreed with (and appreciated) my point…but others…not so much. One guy basically said the word “abomination” showed Sodom’s issue was with homosexuality.
More Biblical Abomination
His comment was near the end of the class…and I don’t think I even considered how to respond. But as I’ve continued to read through all 66 this year, I have been amazed at the number of things Scripture calls an abomination. In many respects I wish I could have replied to the guy, “Well, let’s do a word search and see what the Bible defines as an abomination.”
But since I didn’t…and you are a bit of a captive audience…I’m going to do a condensed version of that with you… 🙂
Are your Scripture page-flipping fingers ready for an abominable Bible study? 🙂
Basically, we’ll be looking at a bunch of cases where the same Hebrew word for abomination in those passages in Leviticus is used elsewhere in Scripture. We’ll be putting together an abominable list…
And those two original verses give us the first entry:
1. Practicing homosexuality is an abomination.
Don’I worry…I won’t make you look up every case I give…but let’s go ahead and turn together to one in Deuteronomy…Deuteronomy 22:5 to be more specific:
5 “A woman shall not wear a man’s garment, nor shall a man put on a woman’s cloak, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD your God.
So, what does this one sound like it is condemning? Although the natural reading of those words would seem to condemn transvestitism…some see it as directed at pagan worship:
5. woman shall not. 1 Co 11:4-15. 1 Ti 2:9. Ti 2:4, 5. 1 P 3:3-5. This prohibition was no doubt intended to exclude the idolatrous customs of the heathen, as well as to prevent the evil which would be produced by the introduction of such customs. Nothing was more common among idolaters, than for men, in the worship of several of their gods, to put on the garments worn by women; particularly in the worship of Venus, to which that of Ashtaroth among the Canaanites bore a striking resemblance, the women were accustomed to appear in armor before her, and the men in women’s apparel. But independently of this, the practice has produced the greatest confusion in society, and has been productive of the grossest crimes. Hence Clodius, who dressed himself as a woman, that he might mingle with the Roman ladies in the feast of the Bona dea, was universally justly execrated. Je +10:2. abomination. See on Dt 18:12.2
Although I wanted to make sure you were aware that views differ…personally, I’m inclined to agree with The English Standard Version Study Bible and The MacArthur Study Bible and say our second entry in our list of biblical abominations is:
2. Transvestitism is an abomination.
And considering it’s link with the aforementioned abomination of homosexuality, that makes sense, doesn’t it?
Now, since we are in Deuteronomy, let’s stay there for our next entry:
15 ” ‘Cursed be the man who makes a carved or cast metal image, an abomination to the LORD, a thing made by the hands of a craftsman, and sets it up in secret.’ And all the people shall answer and say, ‘Amen’ (Deuteronomy 27:15).
Next entry in our list of biblical abominations?
3. Idols are an abomination.
And speaking of Deuteronomy, it also will give us another item:
13 “You shall not have in your bag two kinds of weights, a large and a small. 14 You shall not have in your house two kinds of measures, a large and a small. 15 A full and fair weight you shall have, a full and fair measure you shall have, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you. 16 For all who do such things, all who act dishonestly, are an abomination to the LORD your God (Deuteronomy 25:13-16).
4. Dishonesty and cheating are an abomination.
Not only that but Proverbs says:
31 Do not envy a man of violence
and do not choose any of his ways,
32 for the devious person is an abomination to the LORD,
but the upright are in his confidence (Proverbs 3:31-32).
5. A devious person is an abomination.
Are we going to slow for you?
Well…since we are in Proverbs now…how about this:
16 There are six things that the LORD hates,
seven that are an abomination to him:
17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
and hands that shed innocent blood,
18 a heart that devises wicked plans,
feet that make haste to run to evil,
19 a false witness who breathes out lies,
and one who sows discord among brothers (Proverbs 6:16-19).
We got a whole bunch from those verses, didn’t we? Seven to be exact…
6. Haughty eyes are an abomination.
7. A lying tongue is an abomination.
8. Hands that shed innocent blood are an abomination.
9. A heart that devises wicked plans is an abomination.
10. Feet that make haste to run to evil are an abomination.
11. A false witness is an abomination.
12. One who sows discord is an abomination.
We’ve Hit a Dozen
Well, we’ve hit a dozen biblical abomination…we must be running out…eh?
Not so much.
13. Worshiping another god is an abomination (see Deuteronomy 17:2-7).
14. A blemished or defective sacrifice is an abomination (Deuteronomy 17:1).
15. Certain foods were and abomination (See Deuteronomy 14:3-21).
16. Donations to the church from tainted sources is an abomination (See Deuteronomy 23:18).
17. Burning your children is an abomination (See 2 Chronicles 28:1-3).
18. “Those of crooked heart are an abomination” (Proverbs 11:20, in part).
19. “Lying lips are an abomination” (Proverbs 12:22, in part…and yes I realize this is basically a repeat of #7, “A lying tongue is an abomination”…but the preacher gets editorial control :-)).
20. “The way of the wicked is an abomination” (Proverbs 15:9, in part)…not only that but…
21. The very thoughts of the wicked are an abomination (Proverbs 15:26).
22. “Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination” (Proverbs 16:5, in part).
23. Perverted justice is an abomination (See proverbs 17:15).
24. Even a prayer can be an abomination, for instance Proverbs 28:9 says, “If one turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination.”
Now We Are at Two Dozen
Now that we are at two dozen biblical abominations, do you think the well has run dry? If so, let’s look at one more reference before I wrap up:
10 “If he fathers a son who is violent, a shedder of blood, who does any of these things 11 (though he himself did none of these things), who even eats upon the mountains, defiles his neighbor’s wife, 12 oppresses the poor and needy, commits robbery, does not restore the pledge, lifts up his eyes to the idols, commits abomination, 13 lends at interest, and takes profit; shall he then live? He shall not live. He has done all these abominations; he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon himself (Ezekiel 18:10-13).
Although it isn’t entirely clear…since the last sentence begins with “he has done all these abominations”…we now have these additions:
25. Murder is an abomination.
26. Adultery is an abomination.
27. Oppressing the poor and needy is an abomination.
28. Robbery is an abomination.
29. Breaking an oath is an abomination.
30. Lending at interest and taking a profit is an abomination.
All Abominated Out?
Now that we’ve reached 30…are you all abominated out?
We could go on…but I don’t think there is much benefit in continuing to do so…
How many here have committed an abomination?
I have…and I suspect “lying lips” and “lying heart” have lassoed everyone sitting here.
During that same class at the Pleasant View Church of Christ I asked the class how many thought there could be a “Christian practicing homosexual.”
Nobody raised their hands. How about here? How many think there can be a Christian practicing homosexual?
I then asked how many thought there could be a “Christian practicing gossip.”
That’s a bit harder, eh?
So, why did I just list 30 different biblical abominations?
Do you think it was to minimize just how horrendous a sin practicing homosexuality is?
That by showing how many other things God considers an abomination…including things you and I have been (and are) guilty of…then Christians need to back off condemning homosexuality and accept the cause célèbre of modern society?
No…that is not why I listed all of them. Quite the opposite.
I listed them to show how bad all sin is.
Let me repeat that.
The reason I listed 30 biblical abominations is to make it clear how bad all sin is.
It is easy to focus on certain obvious sins…especially when we aren’t personally guilty of them.
But sin itself is an abomination.
Yes, practicing homosexuality is a sin, and every Christian who is true to their faith and to Scripture will not sugar coat that fact. But, your sins are no less of an issue that a homosexuals, and remember…
Arrogance is also an abomination…don’t look down on homosexuals…
And no matter how “minor” your sin is…the fact remains that the wages of sin is death.
But, praise God, Romans 6:23 lets us know that we are not stuck in this fate:
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
So…as you rightfully condemn sin in any form, don’t be haughty…because your sins are an abomination too. But more importantly…if you haven’t already…
Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins (Acts 2:38, in part).
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Death or eternity…it’s your choice.
1Underworld (2003) – Memorable quotes. (n.d.).IMDb. Retrieved November 16, 2012, from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0320691/quotes
2Smith, J. H. (1992). The new treasury of scripture knowledge: The most complete listing of cross references available anywhere- every verse, every theme, every important word (Dt 22:5). Nashville TN: Thomas Nelson.