Leviticus 18 describes forms of sexual immorality which the Lord has forbidden. Those who obey the Lord’s commandments will have life through them.
Sexual relations with close relatives are forbidden. God’s people are not to have sexual relations with:
- Parents or step-parents
- Siblings or Half-siblings
- Nieces or nephews, aunts or uncles
- Both a woman and her close relatives
Prior to this point, such sexual relations were not a completely unusual practice. Obviously, when man was created, sexual relations with close relatives were necessary in order to populate the earth. This was also necessary shortly after the flood in Noah’s time for the same reason. Years later, this was no longer necessary. Today, we know that some unhealthy physical conditions are hereditary and are commonly seen in people who have had children with close relations. At this point, it’s hard to say what the spiritual implications or meanings are. We must simply obey the Lord’s command not to have sexual relations with close relatives.
In 1 Corinthians 5, Paul rebuked the Corinthian church for allowing a man to engage in sexual immorality with his mother-in-law. Even though Jesus did not address this in His ministry, Paul still used the original Scriptures to define sin. Paul commanded them to cast this man out of the congregation so that his sinful nature could be destroyed and so that his spirit could be saved in the Day of the Lord. Paul makes it clear we are not to associate with supposed brothers and sisters who engage in sinful lifestyles. We are to judge those within our congregations, and to allow God to judge those outside the congregation. If one who is cast out of the congregation repents, he is to be welcomed back in, forgiven, loved, and comforted.
Sexual relations with a woman during her time of menstruation (time of separation = niddah) is forbidden. The issue of blood is a picture of death and the lack of potential life.
Leviticus 18 also says that offering a child to Molech by passing it through the fire is forbidden. This is comparable to abortion. We are to nurture life, not take it. This is idolatry, apostasy, and adultery.
Homosexuality and beastiality are forbidden in Leviticus 18 too. The Bible says these are abominations. Romans 1:26-32 says that those who were engaging in homosexuality did not like to acknowledge God so He gave them over to a debased or worthless mind so they could do all kinds of lawlessness including approving of others who did likewise. This describes many of the people of the world today.
Today homosexuals proclaim they live an acceptable alternative lifestyle and are forcing this lie on the world. Most of them are outside the church, but they are also present in the churches. Without repenting and renouncing their sin, some who openly practice homosexuality even dare to stand in the pulpit and preach. They should be cast out of the churches because Jesus will tell them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” (Matt. 7:23) We must never approve of the practice of homosexuality or engage in it. Believers must not condone homosexuality (accept them as they say they are).
Many claim they were born into homosexuality. Actually, we are all born with the propensity to sin. We must reject sin and embrace righteousness. God provided a remedy for sin. Yeshua became the Lamb of God in order to take away the sins of the world. We must respond by trusting in Messiah, putting to death all of the desires of the flesh no matter what they are, and rejecting lawlessness. We must actively and strongly resist the temptations that come from the kingdom of darkness. We must yield to and live by the power of the Holy Spirit. We must live a life of lawfulness, a life of godliness by obeying God’s commandments.
We don’t hear much about beastiality, but it is present in the world today. For now, we only hear of rare cases of beastiality in the news, but I suspect that will get worse too. Unfortunately, some people have even stumbled upon it by accident on the internet. Many years ago, a friend told me of a supposed Christian brother who thought having sexual relations with animals was a good thing because there was no fear of unwanted pregnancy. It is frightening to see and hear how depraved the human mind can be especially among those in the churches! The Bible defines this as an abomination!
I am sadly aware that proclaiming the commands of God can cause believers to be accused of hate crimes. Believers are constantly accused of being intolerant even by those who claim to be Christians. This is utterly ridiculous and unfounded. People who engage in abominations need to know that those who stand for righteousness are much more tolerant and have more self-control than they are given credit for.
Those who engage in sexual immorality need to know that God is not a tolerant god although it may seem like it for now. That’s not a sign of love or weakness. He is simply allowing these abominations to reach their peak while giving sinners a chance to repent before He executes judgment on them. If they repent, He will respond to them by showing them love and favor, forgiving their sin, and cleansing them from unrighteousness. If they don’t repent, they will face eternal punishment in the lake of fire. For those who may accuse me of hate, let me say that warning someone of this truth is not hate, that’s love because I don’t want anyone to be separated from God forever.
Adultery (naaph) is also forbidden. This is a picture of apostasy and idolatry. We must be faithful to our spouses and faithful to the Lord God. Although fornication (zanah) is not mentioned in this passage, it is forbidden elsewhere in Scripture. Typically, we use this word to describe sexual relations prior to or outside of marriage, but it can also be used for adultery, harlotry, and idolatry. All of these are forbidden by YHVH. The Greek word for fornication is porneia. We get the word pornography from this word. All of these forms of sexual immorality are forbidden.
Sexual immorality will cause God’s people and the land to become unclean. The laws pertaining to sexual immorality apply to both Israelites and foreigners. Leviticus 18:29 indicates that the violation of these commandments is extremely serious: “For whoever commits any of these abominations, the persons who commit them shall be cut off from among their people.” The inhabitants of the Land prior to Israel’s arrival had contaminated the Land by their immorality and for that reason they were expelled from the Land. It wouldn’t be long until the same happened to God’s people.
First Corinthians 10:11 tells us that the things that happened to the children of Israel were examples or prefigurative historical events for those of us who are living in the last days. There is one particular event found in Numbers 25 from which we need to learn a valuable lesson. Several chapters earlier, Balak the king of Moab had asked Balaam to come and curse God’s people. Balaam came, but God did not allow him to curse God’s people. God only allowed him to bless them. Before Balaam was done, he prophesied what would happen to Israel’s enemies in the last days. Numbers 31:15 indicates that despite all of this, Balaam gave Balak advice on how to defeat Israel by causing them to break faith with God. That advice was carried out in Numbers 25. The women of Moab convinced the men of Israel to commit idolatry and sexual immorality with Baal of Peor. God sent a plague on His people for their sins that stopped only when Phinehas, the son of Eleazar killed one of the men of Israel and the woman of Moab he had taken into his tent. Twenty four thousand died that day. Only those who survived the plague at Shittim were able to enter the Promised Land.
Satan can’t change the final outcome of God’s plan for Israel. The doctrine of Balaam is assimilation with the world. It is alive and active in the world today. Satan can still convince God’s people not to trust in God for all things. If we are not careful, he can convince us to break faith with God too. Those who did not trust God, those who rebelled against Moses’ leadership (who prefigured Messiah), and those who committed idolatry and/or sexual immorality did not make it to the Promised Land. We must trust God, submit to Yeshua’s leadership in our lives, worship only God, and avoid sexual immorality in order to enter the eternal rest that is being prepared for us. Yes, we will occasionally sin and commit trespasses but we must be quick to confess them and not make those a habit in our lives. We must set our minds on the goal before us and remain faithful to the very end.
Knowing all forms of sexual immorality are forbidden and being able to overcome the temptation to be involved in them are two different things. They can be very addicting.
What can you do to break such addiction?
Repent of your sins by learning and obeying the written Torah. As you do this, write your sins on a piece of paper and nail them to a wooden cross as a symbol of what Messiah has already done for you (Col. 2:13-15).
You must understand that repentance is not a prayer to say you’re sorry and a promise not to sin anymore. This is too passive. Repentance is actively rejecting sin and obeying God’s commandments.
You may choose to try a 21 day fast similar to Daniel’s. Avoid meat, breads, cakes, candy, and soft drinks. Eat healthy grains, fruits, and vegetables while drinking plenty of water. Pray for the Lord to draw near to you and set you free from your bondage.
If you are having an illicit affair or homosexual relationship, end it. Move and/or get a different job if necessary. Never flirt or tell someone you have sexual feelings for them even if you do. It will only invite trouble. Ask Father to remove that desire from you but know that same sex attraction may never go away; if it remains a thorn in your flesh, determine to be celibate. Deal with the generational curses in your life; cleanse yourself. Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Yeshua.
Destroy or delete your pornography, cancel your cable or satellite TV subscriptions, and put parental controls on your computer. Don’t look at or watch what you don’t want your children to. If necessary, use your TV and computer only when others are with you. Get someone to keep you accountable. Guard yourself.
If you are dating someone, never ever be alone with them. Be together only in public places or with other friends or family members. Do not ever allow yourself to be in a place or situation where you can be tempted.
If you come face to face with temptation and you can’t flee, don’t respond passively. No temptation ever leaves that way. Forcefully, resist with your mind and your voice. Resistance must be active, not passive. You may be shocked and relieved at how quickly a temptation leaves if you do this. If you master this technique, you will be on your way to righteous living.
If your life has not been touched by sexual immorality, you are extremely fortunate and blessed. You may not struggle, but your spouse or children may. It is extremely painful to find out your spouse or kids have embraced fornication, homosexuality, transgender lifestyles, beastiality, or pansexuality. If your spouse has, let your spouse leave. If your kids have, get help, but realize they are ultimately in charge of their desires.
It hurts when therapists and the rest of the world calls you the enemy for not condoning sexual perversion. Don’t lose control. Reaffirm your love for your family members, but never condone their sinful lifestyle. You have the right to agree with the Scriptural definition of sin and not allow it in your house. As difficult as it is, accept that God allows individuals to go their own way; they will have to eventually face the consequences of their sinful choices. It hurts Him as much as it hurts you.
Don’t be afraid to get help. When you do, don’t make the sexual problem be the sole focus of your problem. Therapists, whether Christian or not, can lose their licenses if they don’t “support” these perversions. You have to accept and work around that problem. People need coping skills to avoid suicidal and homicidal ideation that results from their lifestyle not being accepted, yet that same nonacceptance needs to remain a thorn in their side that leads them to repentance. As you work with therapists and social workers, make the issue a general obedience problem. You as parents set the rules for what’s allowed in your home; don’t allow the therapists, social workers, or courts to do that. You have the right to say what’s allowed or what will not be done in your home:
- no cigarettes
- no alcohol
- no illegal drugs
- no Scripturally forbidden types of sex
- no sex of any variety for unmarried people
- no pornography
- no cross-dressing, cosmetics, or cross-assessories
- no inappropriate clothing, whether it is too revealing or has unacceptable messages on it
- no lying
- no stealing
- obey curfews
- be respectful in all circumstances in word and behavior
- do chores
The choices your kids make outside your home is ultimately their problem and it is practically impossible to control. You should try to do your best to control what goes on in your own home. You must be very calm and politely remind various professionals of that. It’s your house, your rules. If your kids don’t like it, they can be placed somewhere else if it comes to that. If it doesn’t, you are blessed. If not, think about the prodigal son. Pray your kids come back one day. Yes, I really do know how much it hurts to say that. It’s what God does, so follow His example despite how painful it is.
Anyway…let me summarize this post. No matter what, please avoid, flee, and resist all forms of sexual immorality, and be wholly devoted to YHVH. In the end, you can only be responsible for yourself.
Great post and great advice!!! 🙂 Especially when you said “resist with your mind” because sin always starts in the mind first. It’s when we entertain those thoughts and weigh out our options (if we even do that much) is when we get into trouble. And when you turn your mind somewhere else, I’ve found it best to have a bible verse ready. Pick a verse out now before you’re tempted, memorize it, and then recall it the second you are tempted. Say it out loud if you have to. Put sticky notes around your house or dashboard if need be. Turn your thoughts to the Lord Yahweh and pray immediately and don’t forget your verse.
Thanks, you’ve given some great tips too!
very useful and remove once powerlessness, thanks
Great post! You summed up EVERYTHING I’ve been thinking.
While human history has its low points of sexual immorality, at least some would agree that in our republic at the present time we have reached the bottom of the abyss — we have gone about as low as it is possible to go — we can’t dig the pit any deeper — there is no way we can further express as a culture our total rejection of our Creator’s guidelines for sane, sensible, and healthy sexual experiences — and never forget, those experiences are limited to the sacred covenant of marriage between one male and one female! You object to this? Then you’ll have to take the issue up with the Creator Himself — He’s the One Who made the rules at the very beginning! A few (maybe a very few) would agree that He Who does the creating has the sole authority to establish what the rules are going to be — not the created objects! And so we have opted for choices that have significantly contributed to the destruction of past civilizations and we will most assuredly learn too late that we are not an exception to that pattern!
It didn’t say cousins anywhere in the Bible. There are first cousin marriages before and after the law. They may not be wise, but they are morally acceptable to God if both are believers.
You are right. I will edit this.
No, the bible doesn’t actually use the word “cousin” but it also doesn’t use “omnipresent,” “trinity,” “Halloween,” “Christmas,” “omniscient,” etc. So you can’t go by what’s NOT said because that leaves the door wide open for all kinds of sin. So this is where we have to use our heads and “reason” these things out….
Think of two groups – blood related, and NOT blood related (which is through marriage)
The following marriages are prohibited:
Stepchildren (Lev 18:8,17) – NOT blood related – only through marriage
Stepsisters (Lev 18:11) – NOT blood related
Daughter-in-law – (Lev 18:15) – NOT blood related
Sister-in-law (Lev 18:16) – NOT blood related
Step-granddaughter (Lev 18:17) – NOT blood related
Most verses prohibiting marriage are people related by marriage – NOT by blood.
So if the bible is against marrying an “in-law,” then how much more would it be against a BLOOD relative especially when the bible says:
“None of you shall approach ANY BLOOD RELATIVE to his to uncover nakedness: I am the Lord.” (Lev 18:6)
The literal Hebrew translation reads:
“Any man to ALL BLOOD RELATIVE not come near to uncover nakedness, I am the Lord.”
How many is “ALL?” Now the bible does give SOME examples of blood relatives that are prohibited (aunt – Lev 18:12-14 — sister Lev 18:9; Deut 27:22 —–granddaughter Lev 18:10) but it’s not going to mention every single relationship by name because it already says “ALL BLOOD RELATIVES.” God said “all blood relatives” because He means what He says.
This is how the enemy deceives. He’s counting on you NOT using your heads to reason in order to cause you to sin. I’m aware that Abram married his half sister but this was before these other laws were given. God allowed this for whatever reason but this is not what we’re talking about for us. I’m also aware of kings taking multiple wives which is not what God intended back then or today but again, that’s another subject.
Very well studied, in the particular issue and also in the reminder to use our God-given reason. Thank you for this.
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Thank you very much for this article, it was very help full. Be with the blood of Jesus Christ. Amen
I appreciate and thank you for this article. Sexual immorality is everywhere you look. It is pretty impossible not to sin. This is why the almighty sent his only begotten son Jesus Christ to take our sins because he knew his adversary would use his minions to corrupt the minds of people who don’t walk with Christ and the Holy Spirit. As soon as you step out your door their is a naked person walking by. (Spandex) dressed without modesty. Music and helevision(television) is abominable. We must keep in prayer for everything because the minions are everywhere looking for those to destroy because they know they have a short time till judgment day to continue their mayhem. Some children of God are being spiritually molested, having sex dreams as they sleep because of demons. They try many tactics to try and defile and cause sin upon the children of God. The demons know that the body is weak and wants to sin, but the spirit is strong in the lord. It is a total spiritual battle everyday Ephesians 6:12 King James Version (KJV)
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
We are to endure, keep faith in the creator of the entire universe Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, Follow his commandments and Keep in him in constant prayer till he comes on that faithful time.