Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Chapter 5: Covenant Promises



In this video, Brian Anthony Bowen reveals Scriptures the Church never talks about which prove that Jesus taught that LGBT people are born this way...and that prove the Apostle Paul ordained Gay Marriage...IN THE BIBLE!

This changes EVERYTHING!
More info:
http://BrianBowenMinistries.com

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As we recall once again God's prophecy to eunuchs in Isaiah 55:11-56:8, we'll remember that the Lord gave eunuchs certain promises, but reserved them for those who would “take firm hold of His Covenant” among other things.  We learned in Chapter 1 of The Bed Keeper that Jesus’ shed Blood ratified the New Covenant, and we honor Him and keep Him in remembrance through Holy Communion, which we learned is the “memorial” that God promises to give us “in His House and within His walls.”

Let us begin by once again reviewing the prophecy in Isaiah: 

Isaiah 55 

11 So shall My word be that goes forth out of My mouth: it shall not return to Me void [without producing any effect, useless], but it shall accomplish that which I please and purpose, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

12 For you shall go out [from the spiritual exile caused by sin and evil into the homeland] with joy and be led forth [by your Leader, the Lord Himself, and His word] with peace; the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree; and it shall be to the Lord for a name of renown, for an everlasting sign [of jubilant exaltation] and memorial [to His praise], which shall not be cut off. 

Isaiah 56 

1 Thus says the Lord: Keep justice, do and use righteousness (conformity to the will of God which brings salvation), for My salvation is soon to come and My righteousness (My rightness and justice) to be revealed.

2 Blessed, happy, and fortunate is the man who does this, and the son of man who lays hold of it and binds himself fast to it, who keeps sacred the Sabbath so as not to profane it, and keeps his hand from doing any evil.

3 Let not the foreigner who has joined himself to the Lord say, The Lord will surely separate me from His people.  And let not the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree.

4 For thus says the Lord: To the eunuchs who keep My Sabbaths and choose the things which please Me and hold firmly My covenant

5 To them I will give in My house and within My walls a memorial and a name better [and more enduring] than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that will not be cut off.

6 Also the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord to minister to Him and to love the name of the Lord and to be His servants, everyone who keeps the Sabbath so as not to profane it and who holds fast My covenant [by conscientious obedience]

7 All these I will bring to My holy mountain and make them joyful in My house of prayer.  Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on My altar; for My house will be called a house of prayer for all peoples.

8 Thus says the Lord God, Who gathers the outcasts of Israel: I will gather yet others to [Israel] besides those already gathered.

Many of us understand the Scriptures are divided by the Old Testament and the New Testament, but we might not all understand that these are the written records that contain the terms of the Old Covenant and the New Covenant--or contracts--between God and man.  But the first thing we have to understand is where the Old Covenant ends and the New Covenant begins in the ministry of Jesus Christ.  Several Scriptures confirm that Jesus indeed ratified the New Covenant (or brought it into effect) with His Own shed blood.  Let’s take a look at a few:

For this is My blood of the new covenant, which [ratifies the agreement and] is being poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.  Matthew 26:28

And He said to them, This is My blood [which ratifies] the new covenant, [the blood] which is being poured out for (on account of) many.  Mark 14:24

And in like manner, He took the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament or covenant [ratified] in My blood, which is shed (poured out) for you.  Luke 22:20

Similarly when supper was ended, He took the cup also, saying, This cup is the new covenant [ratified and established] in My blood. Do this, as often as you drink [it], to call Me [affectionately] to remembrance.  1 Corinthians 11:25

For I tell you that Christ (the Messiah) became a servant and a minister to the circumcised (the Jews) in order to show God's truthfulness and honesty by confirming (verifying) the promises [given] to our fathers, and [also in order] that the Gentiles (nations) might glorify God for His mercy [not covenanted] to them.  As it is written, Therefore I will praise You among the Gentiles and sing praises to Your name.  Romans 15:8-9

As with agreeing to any contract, the first thing every person has to do in order to decide whether or not they are willing to abide by a contract is to first understand the terms of it.  Many online sign-up forms include a link that reads, “I have read and understand and agree with the terms and conditions set out in this agreement” and unfortunately, too many Christians click it without reading it when it comes to the terms of the New Covenant between man and God. In Psalm 103:2 we read:

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits. (King James Version)

While God loves everyone, His promises are reserved for those who enter into Covenant relationship with Him.  Fortunately, God has recorded His benefits in Scriptures, and has not left our decision to “take firm hold of His Covenant” to guesswork on our part.  Instead, He spells out the terms in exacting detail through several passages of Scripture.  These are important for each believer to know, but alas, most do not take the time to study them out for themselves, and it was God’s intent that the Church should share this message with Christian congregations all over the world.

Some have made attempts to share bits and pieces of it, but too many churches have watered sermons down to focus only on money, health and blessings, without explaining to congregants the part of the Covenant they are to abide by in order to position themselves to receive these benefits from God.  While this will be an admittedly lengthy chapter of The Bed Keeper and can take more than 45 minutes to read, if we were to add up all the time spent on sermons that have nothing to do with God’s Covenant and everything to do with social issues, sexual sin and how to “pray away the gay,” we could have all learned this by now.  So let’s take the time to acquaint ourselves with the terms of God’s Covenant now.

I have read these passages many times, and each time I do, I realize another part of them that I had not fully comprehended before.  There’s a lot of information here that conveys points located in many other portions of Scripture.  I will do my best to make notes of when this occurs so those who are interested can study the events discussed herein in more detail.  For the most part, especially if this is the first time you’ve read these passages of Scriptures, I find it best to simply read straight through and not be too worried about understanding each point at first.  For most people, the best way to learn the terms of God’s New Covenant is to simply attempt to comprehend as much as you can each time you read it, take some time to step away and meditate on it, and then read it through again in a day or two, until the information begins to sink in.

Additionally, as we read through these passages, we’ll see the phrase “the Law” appears rather frequently.  It is a reference to the Law of Moses.  It came to man through Moses 430 years after the actual “Old Covenant.”  It’s important to understand there is a difference between “the Law,” and what these passages will often refer to as “the promise to Abraham” or “the old Covenant.”  Finally, there will be numerous mentions of the Holy Spirit, Whom we will become better introduced to in later chapters of The Bed Keeper.  Keeping these study tips in mind let us begin understanding what “taking firm hold of God’s Covenant" means, beginning with the Apostle Paul’s teachings on the matter from Galatians 3-4:

Galatians 3

1 …Jesus Christ (the Messiah) was openly and graphically set forth and portrayed as crucified.

2 Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the [Holy] Spirit as the result of obeying the Law and doing its works, or was it by hearing [the message of the Gospel] and believing [it]?  [Was it from observing a law of rituals or from a message of faith?]

3 Are you so foolish and so senseless and so silly?  Having begun [your new life spiritually] with the [Holy] Spirit, are you now reaching perfection [by dependence] on the flesh?

4 Have you suffered so many things and experienced so much all for nothing (to no purpose)--if it really is to no purpose and in vain?  Galatians 3:1-4

NOTE:  This to me is a very important point for every gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender person who has ever endured hateful rhetoric, social isolation, or physical injury simply for being born to consider.  We each have a decision to make between allowing the hurtful words we have heard from those professing to be Christians to keep us cut off from the promises of God to us that are so clearly outlined in His Word, or will we make all that we have endured by society and the Church worthwhile by following Him, even if we aren’t in a position to fellowship with other Christians just yet?

5 Then does He Who supplies you with His marvelous [Holy] Spirit and works powerfully and miraculously among you do so on [the grounds of your doing] what the Law demands, or because of your believing in and adhering to and trusting in and relying on the message that you heard?  Galatians 3:5

NOTE:  We’ll recall we already learned the answer to this question in Chapter 3 of The Bed Keeper when we learned of the account of the Ethiopian Eunuch’s conversion and baptism.  Again, the only requirement for being baptized was that he believed that Jesus was the Son of God, based on his faith in the message he had heard from Philip.

6 Thus Abraham believed in and adhered to and trusted in and relied on God, and it was reckoned and placed to his account and credited as righteousness (as conformity to the divine will in purpose, thought, and action).

7 Know and understand that it is [really] the people [who live] by faith who are [the true] sons of Abraham.  Galatians 3:6-7

NOTE:  I think it’s important to comprehend the impact this Scripture has upon adherents to the world’s Abrahamic religions.  As we realize that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people are in every race, every nation, every family and every religion, this passage tells us clearly that those who live by faith are the true sons of Abraham.

It’s not a matter of simply labeling ourselves “Christian,” as much as it is a matter of living by faith in Jesus as the Son of God.  After all, Jesus Himself was not a Christian, but He was indeed a descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify (declare righteous, put in right standing with Himself) the Gentiles in consequence of faith, proclaimed the Gospel [foretelling the glad tidings of a Savior long beforehand] to Abraham in the promise, saying, In you shall all the nations [of the earth] be blessed.  Galatians 3:8

NOTE:  Here is an example of where we see a reference to the “promise to Abraham” which we need to remember is *not* the same thing as “the Law of Moses.”

9 So then, those who are people of faith are blessed and made happy and favored by God [as partners in fellowship] with the believing and trusting Abraham. 

10 And all who depend on the Law [who are seeking to be justified by obedience to the Law of rituals] are under a curse and doomed to disappointment and destruction, for it is written in the Scriptures, Cursed (accursed, devoted to destruction, doomed to eternal punishment) be everyone who does not continue to abide (live and remain) by all the precepts and commands written in the Book of the Law and to practice them. Galatians 3:9-10

NOTE:  This is written in Deuteronomy 27:26 which says, Cursed is he who does not support and give assent to the words of this law to do them [as the rule of his life]. All the people shall say, Amen.”

11 Now it is evident that no person is justified (declared righteous and brought into right standing with God) through the Law, for the Scripture says, The man in right standing with God [the just, the righteous] shall live by and out of faith and he who through and by faith is declared righteous and in right standing with God shall live.  Galatians 3:11

NOTE:  This is written in Habakkuk 2:4 which says, “Look at the proud; his soul is not straight or right within him, but the [rigidly] just and the [uncompromisingly] righteous man shall live by his faith and in his faithfulness.

12 But the Law does not rest on faith [does not require faith, has nothing to do with faith], for it itself says, He who does them [the things prescribed by the Law] shall live by them [not by faith].  Galatians 3:12

NOTE:  This is written in Nehemiah 9:28-29 which says, “But after they had rest, they did evil again before You; therefore You left them in the hand of their enemies, so that they had dominion over them. Yet when they turned and cried to You, You heard them from heaven, and many times You delivered them according to Your mercies, and reproved and warned them, that You might bring them again to Your law. Yet they acted presumptuously and did not heed Your commandments, but sinned against Your ordinances, which by keeping, a man shall live. And they turned a stubborn shoulder, stiffened their neck, and would not listen."

13 Christ purchased our freedom [redeeming us] from the curse (doom) of the Law [and its condemnation] by [Himself] becoming a curse for us, for it is written [in the Scriptures], Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree (is crucified);  Galatians 3:13

NOTE:  This is written in Deuteronomy 21:22-23 which says And if a man has committed a sin worthy of death and he is put to death and [afterward] you hang him on a tree, His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but you shall surely bury him on the same day, for a hanged man is accursed by God. Thus you shall not defile your land which the Lord your God gives you for an inheritance.

14 To the end that through [their receiving] Christ Jesus, the blessing [promised] to Abraham might come upon the Gentiles, so that we through faith might [all] receive [the realization of] the promise of the [Holy] Spirit.

15 To speak in terms of human relations, brethren, [if] even a man makes a last will and testament (a merely human covenant), no one sets it aside or makes it void or adds to it when once it has been drawn up and signed (ratified, confirmed).

16 Now the promises (covenants, agreements) were decreed and made to Abraham and his Seed (his Offspring, his Heir). He [God] does not say, And to seeds (descendants, heirs), as if referring to many persons, but, And to your Seed (your Descendant, your Heir), obviously referring to one individual, Who is [none other than] Christ (the Messiah).

17 This is my argument: The Law, which began 430 years after the covenant [concerning the coming Messiah], does not and cannot annul the covenant previously established (ratified) by God, so as to abolish the promise and make it void.

18 For if the inheritance [of the promise depends on observing] the Law [as these false teachers would like you to believe], it no longer [depends] on the promise; however, God gave it to Abraham [as a free gift solely] by virtue of His promise.  Galatians 3:14-18

NOTE:  Paul here makes the distinction between the “promised blessing of Abraham” and “the Law.”  In the Galatian Church at the time, many Jewish proselytes to Christianity attempted to convince these new Christians that the promised Holy Spirit would come to man through obeying the Law.  In the passages we have just read, we see that Paul has been making his case for why this is not so, and how the Holy Spirit can only come to us through faith in Christ Jesus as the Son of God, and then goes on to say:

19 What then was the purpose of the Law? It was added [later on, after the promise, to disclose and expose to men their guilt] because of transgressions and [to make men more conscious of the sinfulness] of sin; and it was intended to be in effect until the Seed (the Descendant, the Heir) should come, to and concerning Whom the promise had been made. And it [the Law] was arranged and ordained and appointed through the instrumentality of angels [and was given] by the hand (in the person) of a go-between [Moses, an intermediary person between God and man].  Galatians 3:19

NOTE:  This really sums up what Paul has been saying up to this point if we were to reduce it down to one Scripture.  Paul is saying the Law of Moses was handed to him by angels and God in order to show men their “guilt” (of breaking the Ten Commandments--not of “being gay”) and explains that the Law had come “after the promise to Abraham," once again helping us keep in mind the promise of Abraham and the Law of Moses are two different things as he continues to explain:

20 Now a go-between (intermediary) has to do with and implies more than one party [there can be no mediator with just one person].  Yet God is [only] one Person [and He was the sole party in giving that promise to Abraham.  But the Law was a contract between two, God and Israel; its validity was dependent on both]. 

21 Is the Law then contrary and opposed to the promises of God? Of course not! For if a Law had been given which could confer [spiritual] life, then righteousness and right standing with God would certainly have come by Law.  Galatians 3:20-21

NOTE:  Again, Paul makes the distinction between the "promises of God" (in this case, the promise of God to Abraham of the Holy Spirit), and the "Law of Moses" which he says is a “contract" between them, or a Covenant.

22 But the Scriptures [picture all mankind as sinners] shut up and imprisoned by sin, so that [the inheritance, blessing] which was promised through faith in Jesus Christ (the Messiah) might be given (released, delivered, and committed) to [all] those who believe [who adhere to and trust in and rely on Him].

23 Now before the faith came, we were perpetually guarded under the Law, kept in custody in preparation for the faith that was destined to be revealed (unveiled, disclosed),

24 So that the Law served [to us Jews] as our trainer [our guardian, our guide to Christ, to lead us] until Christ [came], that we might be justified (declared righteous, put in right standing with God) by and through faith.

25 But now that the faith has come, we are no longer under a trainer (the guardian of our childhood).

26 For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God through faith.  Galatians 3:22-26

NOTE:  This is another shocker for faithful adherents of all the Abrahamic religions who continue to have an hostile attitude towards each other, as each vies for “God’s favorite religion.” However, we saw Paul clearly teach in verse 7 from earlier in his letter that 

“it is [really] the people [who live] by faith who are [the true] sons of Abraham.”

We saw earlier in verse 16 that “the promises (covenants, agreements) were decreed and made to Abraham and his Seed (his Offspring, his Heir). He [God] does not say, And to seeds (descendants, heirs), as if referring to many persons, but, And to your Seed (your Descendant, your Heir), obviously referring to one individual, Who is [none other than] Christ (the Messiah).”

We learned in verse 8 that Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify (declare righteous, put in right standing with Himself) the Gentiles in consequence of faith, proclaimed the Gospel [foretelling the glad tidings of a Savior long beforehand] to Abraham in the promise, saying, In you shall all the nations [of the earth] be blessed.”

And now we see here in verse 26 how “we are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.”

So again, I believe it’s important for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people to not get involved in divisive religious bigotry and insist that all gay people must become Christians, or Jews, or Muslims in order to partake of the promises of Abraham that God gives to us through our faith in Christ Jesus.  However all who have faith in God and become His sons (and daughters) do so only through the ministry of Jesus Christ, as the Descendant of Abraham (Whom God prophesied would come) and in Him, all nations would be blessed.

Further, it’s important that if we are to “take firm hold of God’s Covenant,” that Jesus serves as a “go-between” and “intermediary between God and the Gentiles," just as Moses was the “go between” and “intermediary between God and the Jews."  What matters at the end of the day for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Christians is to realize that “taking firm hold of God’s Covenant” is to become ingrafted into God’s chosen people, the Jews, from whom come both salvation, and Jesus Christ.  In doing so, we become heirs to the promise of Abraham, not by obeying the Law of Moses, but through our faith in the message we heard.

In short I advise all gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Brothers and Sisters of non-Christian Abrahamic religions to consider that we are all children of God--through faith--as sons of Abraham, and as Brothers and Sisters of Jesus Christ.  In Romans 8:14 we’ll learn that through this promise to Abraham (the Holy Spirit), ALL who are led by the Spirit of God are sons (and daughters) of God, regardless of our sexuality, or our religion.

To my fellow Christians who would remind me that Jesus said “nobody comes to the Father but through Me” I would say that’s true, however, none of us are in a position to determine what path one follows to get to Jesus Christ.  The point I make with these observations is that going through Jesus Christ makes us heirs of the promise to Abraham.  Jews and Muslims both have their own relationship with Abraham already, and it is up to each of them--as it is up to each Gentile--to decide whether or not they desire to “take hold of God’s New Covenant” through Jesus Christ.  If so, it is up to God--and God alone--to decide who and when He will draw near to Him those whom He desires.  Our job as Christians is to convey the message they hear.  It is up to the Holy Spirit to convince, and up to the Father to draw them to Him.

This is a very personal decision and should be made with the upmost thought and consideration, and ultimately, it is a decision between each person and God alone.

Too many Christians begin trying to convince gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people that they must decide right away or be written off as “lost,” “demonically possessed,” or a “reprobate.”  It is spiritually damaging, and it is never taught in Scripture.  It does nothing but massage the flesh of the one so treating the very people that Jesus died to save, and as the Apostle Paul says, “when you sin against your brethren in this way, wounding and damaging their weak conscience, you sin against Christ.”  1 Corinthians 8:12

As a Christian, and as a minister of the Gospel, I don’t expect anyone to make any snap decisions on the matter, and would never encourage or pressure a commitment out of anyone, though I would be remiss to neglect to add, “I highly recommend it, for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven!”

Having said all that, I encourage anyone who is not currently a believer in Jesus Christ as the Son of God to consider the next passages in order to make an informed decision as to whether or not they are led by God’s Spirit to believe He was indeed the Son of God.

27 For as many [of you] as were baptized into Christ [into a spiritual union and communion with Christ, the Anointed One, the Messiah] have put on (clothed yourselves with) Christ.

28 There is [now no distinction] neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

29 And if you belong to Christ [are in Him Who is Abraham's Seed], then you are Abraham's offspring and [spiritual] heirs according to promise.  Galatians 3:27-29 

Galatians 4 

1 Now what I mean is that as long as the inheritor (heir) is a child and under age, he does not differ from a slave, although he is the master of all the estate;

2 But he is under guardians and administrators or trustees until the date fixed by his father.

3 So we [Jewish Christians] also, when we were minors, were kept like slaves under [the rules of the Hebrew ritual and subject to] the elementary teachings of a system of external observations and regulations.

4 But when the proper time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born subject to [the regulations of] the Law,

5 To purchase the freedom of (to ransom, to redeem, to atone for) those who were subject to the Law, that we might be adopted and have sonship conferred upon us [and be recognized as God's sons].

6 And because you [really] are [His] sons, God has sent the [Holy] Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, Abba (Father)!  Father!

7 Therefore, you are no longer a slave (bond servant) but a son; and if a son, then [it follows that you are] an heir by the aid of God, through Christ.

8 But at that previous time, when you had not come to be acquainted with and understand and know the true God, you [Gentiles] were in bondage to gods who by their very nature could not be gods at all [gods that really did not exist].

9 Now, however, that you have come to be acquainted with and understand and know [the true] God, or rather to be understood and known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and beggarly and worthless elementary things [of all religions before Christ came], whose slaves you once more want to become?  Galatians 4:1-9

NOTE:  It’s important to note that Paul is speaking to a specific group of Jews who had already converted to Christianity.  He is not saying that all Jews must become Christians in order to be Abraham’s descendants, but explains that even to do that requires faith, and so questions why anyone who had made the decision to “take firm hold of God’s New Covenant” would want to be once again bound under the Old Covenant.  Again, doing so would mean to keep hold to the very ban against LGBT people in the congregation Moses had put in place in Deuteronomy 23:1.  

For gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Jews who may choose to take hold of the New Covenant, it will indeed provide access to the promises of gay marriage, Holy Communion, being made joyful in the Congregation of the Lord, baptism, and to give offerings and sacrifices on God's altar that He considers blessed and acceptable....as well as the promises of Abraham that are contained under the terms of the New Covenant.  But it is done so through faith in the message we hear of the gift and promise of the Holy Spirit, and not by rules or regulations set out by the Law of Moses, which, as Paul has already explained, has nothing to do with faith.

Again, it’s everyone’s choice, but I just wanted to point out that this is a passage of Scripture that could easily lead one to believe Paul is rebuking all Jews who had not yet made the decision to take hold of the New Covenant.  He’s not!  Instead he is addressing this portion of his letter only to those in the Church at Galatia who had already done so, and were now being taught that they must still follow the Law in order to secure the promise of Abraham and the long promised Holy Spirit.  In actuality, they are two completely different things; the Law requiring no faith, and being a son of Abraham and heir to his promises (which does require faith). 

Although Paul clearly states that by faith we are all sons of Abraham, the promises God extends to eunuchs are only for those who "take firm hold of God's New Covenant," Jesus Christ. 

Proceeding further into Paul’s letter, we’ll see that he now begins to describe the differences between the Old and New Covenants, again for Jews who had already converted to Christianity:

10 You observe [particular] days and months and seasons and years!

11 I am alarmed [about you], lest I have labored among and over you to no purpose and in vain.

12 Brethren, I beg of you, become as I am [free from the bondage of Jewish ritualism and ordinances], for I also have become as you are [a Gentile]. You did me no wrong [in the days when I first came to you; do not do it now].

13 On the contrary, you know that it was on account of a bodily ailment that [I remained and] preached the Gospel to you the first time.

14 And [yet] although my physical condition was [such] a trial to you, you did not regard it with contempt, or scorn and loathe and reject me; but you received me as an angel of God, [even] as Christ Jesus [Himself]!

15 What has become of that blessed enjoyment and satisfaction and self-congratulation that once was yours [in what I taught you and in your regard for me]?  For I bear you witness that you would have torn out your own eyes and have given them to me [to replace mine], if that were possible.

16 Have I then become your enemy by telling the truth to you and dealing sincerely with you?

17 These men [the Judaizing teachers] are zealously trying to dazzle you [paying court to you, making much of you], but their purpose is not honorable or worthy or for any good. What they want to do is to isolate you [from us who oppose them], so that they may win you over to their side and get you to court their favor.  Galatians 4:10-17

NOTE:  If that doesn’t sound like so many Christians who believe that being an ex-gay, or opposing civil rights and equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people as the new hallmark of being a true Christian, I don’t know what is.  Sadly this is a vivid and accurate description of so many Christian who are more interested in “being” right, than in “doing” right as the Word of God commands them, (and mostly in order to mask the fact that they themselves are indeed gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, and hope that by isolating themselves in anti-gay rhetoric they can divert any suspicion of their true sexual identity, and thereby avoid being shunned by people in their congregations).

So many preachers will tell new converts not to hang out with their old friends who want to pull them back into their old ways.  In fact what they really want to do is exactly what Paul says of those who did so in regards to converted Jews in Galatia: What they want to do is to isolate you [from us who oppose them], so that they may win you over to their side and get you to court their favor.

I would add it is also to get them to contribute to the political rhetoric and coffers in order to not only win you over to their side in Church, but in the public square as well, so they may increase their funding and thereby increase their perceived political influence.  Sadly too many anti-gay political organizations use the Church to gain access to large numbers of people, thereby making a numbers game out of it where they can then prey on the weakest in the herd: those who struggle to reconcile their faith and sexuality, or who use their faith and traditional Christian teachings to convince others they can be “delivered” from homosexuality, for a not-so-small fee, of course.

18 It is always a fine thing [of course] to be zealously sought after [as you are, provided that it is] for a good purpose and done by reason of purity of heart and life, and not just when I am present with you!

19 My little children, for whom I am again suffering birth pangs until Christ is completely and permanently formed (molded) within you,

20 Would that I were with you now and could coax you vocally, for I am fearful and perplexed about you!

21 Tell me, you who are bent on being under the Law, will you listen to what the Law [really] says?

22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the bondmaid and one by the free woman.

23 But whereas the child of the slave woman was born according to the flesh and had an ordinary birth, the son of the free woman was born in fulfillment of the promise.

24 Now all this is an allegory; these [two women] represent two covenants.  One covenant originated from Mount Sinai [where the Law was given] and bears [children destined] for slavery; this is Hagar.

25 Now Hagar is (stands for) Mount Sinai in Arabia and she corresponds to and belongs in the same category with the present Jerusalem, for she is in bondage together with her children.

26 But the Jerusalem above (the Messianic kingdom of Christ) is free, and she is our mother. 

27 For it is written in the Scriptures, Rejoice, O barren woman, who has not given birth to children; break forth into a joyful shout, you who are not feeling birth pangs, for the desolate woman has many more children than she who has a husband.  Galatians 4:18-27

NOTE:  We’ll recall this is the beginning of Isaiah 54, whom Paul refers to as “widows” in 1 Corinthians 7:8-9 when he ordains gay marriage for “unmarried people” and “widows.”  Here we see him using the same passage to illustrate yet another point as an allegorical teaching of the differences between the bondage of rituals under the Law, to the freedom found in the New Covenant by means of our faith.

28 But we, brethren, are children [not by physical descent, as was Ishmael, but] like Isaac, born in virtue of promise.

29 Yet [just] as at that time the child [of ordinary birth] born according to the flesh despised and persecuted him [who was born remarkably] according to [the promise and the working of] the [Holy] Spirit, so it is now also.

30 But what does the Scripture say?  Cast out and send away the slave woman and her son, for never shall the son of the slave woman be heir and share the inheritance with the son of the free woman.  Galatians 4:28-30

NOTE:  This is written in Genesis 21:10 which says,Therefore she said to Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son, for the son of this bondwoman shall not be an heir with my son Isaac.”

31 So, brethren, we [who are born again] are not children of a slave woman [the natural], but of the free [the supernatural]. Galatians 4:31

For more particulars on the New Covenant, let’s turn to Hebrews 6-10:

Hebrews 6 

1 Therefore let us go on and get past the elementary stage in the teachings and doctrine of Christ (the Messiah), advancing steadily toward the completeness and perfection that belong to spiritual maturity.  Let us not again be laying the foundation of repentance and abandonment of dead works (dead formalism) and of the faith [by which you turned] to God,

2 With teachings about purifying, the laying on of hands, the resurrection from the dead, and eternal judgment and punishment. [These are all matters of which you should have been fully aware long, long ago.]

3 If indeed God permits, we will [now] proceed [to advanced teaching].

4 For it is impossible [to restore and bring again to repentance] those who have been once for all enlightened, who have consciously tasted the heavenly gift and have become sharers of the Holy Spirit,

5 And have felt how good the Word of God is and the mighty powers of the age and world to come,

6 If they then deviate from the faith and turn away from their allegiance--[it is impossible] to bring them back to repentance, for (because, while, as long as) they nail upon the cross the Son of God afresh [as far as they are concerned] and are holding [Him] up to contempt and shame and public disgrace.  Hebrews 6:1-6

NOTE:  Some Christians tremble in fear before God at this verse, because it can easily be understood as an indictment against any person who has become a Christian and subsequently sins.  But just as we learned was the case in Paul’s letter to Jews who had converted to Christianity and then were contemplating turning back to the Law (which Christ had come to annul and “nail to the cross”), this passage is saying that for Jews who become Christians and then return to Judaism (or deviate from the Christian faith and turn away from their allegiance), it is impossible to bring them back to repentance.  But this is speaking more of "turning our faith off" or "rejecting God after taking firm hold of His Covenant"...not "sinning and seeking continual cleansing from the Blood of the Lamb."

7 For the soil which has drunk the rain that repeatedly falls upon it and produces vegetation useful to those for whose benefit it is cultivated partakes of a blessing from God.

8 But if [that same soil] persistently bears thorns and thistles, it is considered worthless and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned.

9 Even though we speak this way, yet in your case, beloved, we are now firmly convinced of better things that are near to salvation and accompany it.

10 For God is not unrighteous to forget or overlook your labor and the love which you have shown for His name's sake in ministering to the needs of the saints (His own consecrated people), as you still do.

11 But we do [strongly and earnestly] desire for each of you to show the same diligence and sincerity [all the way through] in realizing and enjoying the full assurance and development of [your] hope until the end,

12 In order that you may not grow disinterested and become [spiritual] sluggards, but imitators, behaving as do those who through faith (by their leaning of the entire personality on God in Christ in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness) and by practice of patient endurance and waiting are [now] inheriting the promises.

13 For when God made [His] promise to Abraham, He swore by Himself, since He had no one greater by whom to swear,

14 Saying, Blessing I certainly will bless you and multiplying I will multiply you.

15 And so it was that he [Abraham], having waited long and endured patiently, realized and obtained [in the birth of Isaac as a pledge of what was to come] what God had promised him.

16 Men indeed swear by a greater [than themselves], and with them in all disputes the oath taken for confirmation is final [ending strife].

17 Accordingly God also, in His desire to show more convincingly and beyond doubt to those who were to inherit the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose and plan, intervened (mediated) with an oath.

18 This was so that, by two unchangeable things [His promise and His oath] in which it is impossible for God ever to prove false or deceive us, we who have fled [to Him] for refuge might have mighty indwelling strength and strong encouragement to grasp and hold fast the hope appointed for us and set before [us].

19 [Now] we have this [hope] as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul [it cannot slip and it cannot break down under whoever steps out upon it--a hope] that reaches farther and enters into [the very certainty of the Presence] within the veil,

20 Where Jesus has entered in for us [in advance], a Forerunner having become a High Priest forever after the order (with the rank) of Melchizedek.  Hebrews 6:7-20

Hebrews 7 

1 For this Melchizedek, king of Salem [and] priest of the Most High God, met Abraham as he returned from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him,

2 And Abraham gave to him a tenth portion of all [the spoil]. He is primarily, as his name when translated indicates, king of righteousness, and then he is also king of Salem, which means king of peace.

3 Without [record of] father or mother or ancestral line, neither with beginning of days nor ending of life, but, resembling the Son of God, he continues to be a priest without interruption and without successor.

4 Now observe and consider how great [a personage] this was to whom even Abraham the patriarch gave a tenth [the topmost or the pick of the heap] of the spoils.

5 And it is true that those descendants of Levi who are charged with the priestly office are commanded in the Law to take tithes from the people--which means, from their brethren--though these have descended from Abraham.

6 But this person who has not their Levitical ancestry received tithes from Abraham [himself] and blessed him who possessed the promises [of God].

7 Yet it is beyond all contradiction that it is the lesser person who is blessed by the greater one.

8 Furthermore, here [in the Levitical priesthood] tithes are received by men who are subject to death; while there [in the case of Melchizedek], they are received by one of whom it is testified that he lives [perpetually].

9 A person might even say that Levi [the father of the priestly tribe] himself, who received tithes (the tenth), paid tithes through Abraham,

10 For he was still in the loins of his forefather [Abraham] when Melchizedek met him [Abraham].

11 Now if perfection (a perfect fellowship between God and the worshiper) had been attainable by the Levitical priesthood--for under it the people were given the Law--why was it further necessary that there should arise another and different kind of Priest, one after the order of Melchizedek, rather than one appointed after the order and rank of Aaron?

12 For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is of necessity an alteration of the law [concerning the priesthood] as well.

13 For the One of Whom these things are said belonged [not to the priestly line but] to another tribe, no member of which has officiated at the altar.

14 For it is obvious that our Lord sprang from the tribe of Judah, and Moses mentioned nothing about priests in connection with that tribe.

15 And this becomes more plainly evident when another Priest arises Who bears the likeness of Melchizedek,

16 Who has been constituted a Priest, not on the basis of a bodily legal requirement [an externally imposed command concerning His physical ancestry], but on the basis of the power of an endless and indestructible Life.

17 For it is witnessed of Him, You are a Priest forever after the order (with the rank) of Melchizedek.

18 So a previous physical regulation and command is cancelled because of its weakness and ineffectiveness and uselessness—

19 For the Law never made anything perfect--but instead a better hope is introduced through which we [now] come close to God.

20 And it was not without the taking of an oath [that Christ was made Priest],

21 For those who formerly became priests received their office without its being confirmed by the taking of an oath by God, but this One was designated and addressed and saluted with an oath, The Lord has sworn and will not regret it or change His mind, You are a Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

22 In keeping with [the oath's greater strength and force], Jesus has become the Guarantee of a better (stronger) agreement [a more excellent and more advantageous covenant].

23 [Again, the former successive line of priests] was made up of many, because they were each prevented by death from continuing [perpetually in office];

24 But He holds His priesthood unchangeably, because He lives on forever.

25 Therefore He is able also to save to the uttermost (completely, perfectly, finally, and for all time and eternity) those who come to God through Him, since He is always living to make petition to God and intercede with Him and intervene for them.

26 [Here is] the High Priest [perfectly adapted] to our needs, as was fitting--holy, blameless, unstained by sin, separated from sinners, and exalted higher than the heavens.

27 He has no day by day necessity, as [do each of these other] high priests, to offer sacrifice first of all for his own [personal] sins and then for those of the people, because He [met all the requirements] once for all when He brought Himself [as a sacrifice] which He offered up.

28 For the Law sets up men in their weakness [frail, sinful, dying human beings] as high priests, but the word of [God's] oath, which [was spoken later] after the institution of the Law, [chooses and appoints as priest One Whose appointment is complete and permanent], a Son Who has been made perfect forever.  Hebrews 7:1-28

Hebrews 8 

1 Now the main point of what we have to say is this: We have such a High Priest, One Who is seated at the right hand of the majestic [God] in heaven,

2 As officiating Priest, a Minister in the holy places and in the true tabernacle which is erected not by man but by the Lord.

3 For every high priest is appointed to offer up gifts and sacrifices; so it is essential for this [High Priest] to have some offering to make also.

4 If then He were still living on earth, He would not be a priest at all, for there are [already priests] who offer the gifts in accordance with the Law.

5 [But these offer] service [merely] as a pattern and as a foreshadowing of [what has its true existence and reality in] the heavenly sanctuary.  For when Moses was about to erect the tabernacle, he was warned by God, saying, See to it that you make it all [exactly] according to the copy (the model) which was shown to you on the mountain.

6 But as it now is, He [Christ] has acquired a [priestly] ministry which is as much superior and more excellent [than the old] as the covenant (the agreement) of which He is the Mediator (the Arbiter, Agent) is superior and more excellent, [because] it is enacted and rests upon more important (sublimer, higher, and nobler) promises.

7 For if that first covenant had been without defect, there would have been no room for another one or an attempt to institute another one.

8 However, He finds fault with them [showing its inadequacy] when He says, Behold, the days will come, says the Lord, when I will make and ratify a new covenant or agreement with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.

9 It will not be like the covenant that I made with their forefathers on the day when I grasped them by the hand to help and relieve them and to lead them out from the land of Egypt, for they did not abide in My agreement with them, and so I withdrew My favor and disregarded them, says the Lord.

10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will imprint My laws upon their minds, even upon their innermost thoughts and understanding, and engrave them upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.

11 And it will nevermore be necessary for each one to teach his neighbor and his fellow citizen or each one his brother, saying, Know (perceive, have knowledge of, and get acquainted by experience with) the Lord, for all will know Me, from the smallest to the greatest of them.

12 For I will be merciful and gracious toward their sins and I will remember their deeds of unrighteousness no more.

13 When God speaks of a new [covenant or agreement], He makes the first one obsolete (out of use). And what is obsolete (out of use and annulled because of age) is ripe for disappearance and to be dispensed with altogether.  Hebrews 8:1-13

Hebrews 9 

1 Now even the first covenant had its own rules and regulations for divine worship, and it had a sanctuary [but one] of this world.

2 For a tabernacle (tent) was erected, in the outer division or compartment of which were the lampstand and the table with [its loaves of] the showbread set forth. [This portion] is called the Holy Place.

3 But [inside] beyond the second curtain or veil, [there stood another] tabernacle [division] known as the Holy of Holies.

4 It had the golden altar of incense and the ark (chest) of the covenant, covered over with wrought gold.  This [ark] contained a golden jar which held the manna and the rod of Aaron that sprouted and the [two stone] slabs of the covenant [bearing the Ten Commandments].

5 Above [the ark] and overshadowing the mercy seat were the representations of the cherubim [winged creatures which were the symbols] of glory.  We cannot now go into detail about these things.

NOTE:  However we can go into detail on these things now (to an extent), which Chapter 20 of The Bed Keeper endeavors to do.

6 These arrangements having thus been made, the priests enter [habitually] into the outer division of the tabernacle in performance of their ritual acts of worship.

7 But into the second [division of the tabernacle] none but the high priest goes, and he only once a year, and never without taking a sacrifice of blood with him, which he offers for himself and for the errors and sins of ignorance and thoughtlessness which the people have committed.

8 By this the Holy Spirit points out that the way into the [true Holy of] Holies is not yet thrown open as long as the former [the outer portion of the] tabernacle remains a recognized institution and is still standing,

9 Seeing that that first [outer portion of the] tabernacle was a parable (a visible symbol or type or picture of the present age).  In it gifts and sacrifices are offered, and yet are incapable of perfecting the conscience or of cleansing and renewing the inner man of the worshiper.

10 For [the ceremonies] deal only with clean and unclean meats and drinks and different washings, [mere] external rules and regulations for the body imposed to tide the worshipers over until the time of setting things straight [of reformation, of the complete new order when Christ, the Messiah, shall establish the reality of what these things foreshadow--a better covenant].

11 But [that appointed time came] when Christ (the Messiah) appeared as a High Priest of the better things that have come and are to come.  [Then] through the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with [human] hands, that is, not a part of this material creation,

12 He went once for all into the [Holy of] Holies [of heaven], not by virtue of the blood of goats and calves [by which to make reconciliation between God and man], but His own blood, having found and secured a complete redemption (an everlasting release for us).

13 For if [the mere] sprinkling of unholy and defiled persons with blood of goats and bulls and with the ashes of a burnt heifer is sufficient for the purification of the body,

14 How much more surely shall the blood of Christ, Who by virtue of [His] eternal Spirit [His own preexistent divine personality] has offered Himself as an unblemished sacrifice to God, purify our consciences from dead works and lifeless observances to serve the [ever] living God?

15 [Christ, the Messiah] is therefore the Negotiator and Mediator of an [entirely] new agreement (testament, covenant), so that those who are called and offered it may receive the fulfillment of the promised everlasting inheritance--since a death has taken place which rescues and delivers and redeems them from the transgressions committed under the [old] first agreement.

16 For where there is a [last] will and testament involved, the death of the one who made it must be established,

7 For a will and testament is valid and takes effect only at death, since it has no force or legal power as long as the one who made it is alive.

18 So even the [old] first covenant (God's will) was not inaugurated and ratified and put in force without the shedding of blood.

19 For when every command of the Law had been read out by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of slain calves and goats, together with water and scarlet wool and with a bunch of hyssop, and sprinkled both the Book (the roll of the Law and covenant) itself and all the people,

20 Saying these words: This is the blood that seals and ratifies the agreement (the testament, the covenant) which God commanded [me to deliver to] you.

21 And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tabernacle and all the [sacred] vessels and appliances used in [divine] worship.

22 [In fact] under the Law almost everything is purified by means of blood, and without the shedding of blood there is neither release from sin and its guilt nor the remission of the due and merited punishment for sins.

23 By such means, therefore, it was necessary for the [earthly] copies of the heavenly things to be purified, but the actual heavenly things themselves [required far] better and nobler sacrifices than these.

24 For Christ (the Messiah) has not entered into a sanctuary made with [human] hands, only a copy and pattern and type of the true one, but [He has entered] into heaven itself, now to appear in the [very] presence of God on our behalf.

25 Nor did He [enter into the heavenly sanctuary to] offer Himself regularly again and again, as the high priest enters the [Holy of] Holies every year with blood not his own.

26 For then would He often have had to suffer [over and over again] since the foundation of the world. But as it now is, He has once for all at the consummation and close of the ages appeared to put away and abolish sin by His sacrifice [of Himself].

27 And just as it is appointed for [all] men once to die, and after that the [certain] judgment,

28 Even so it is that Christ, having been offered to take upon Himself and bear as a burden the sins of many once and once for all, will appear a second time, not to carry any burden of sin nor to deal with sin, but to bring to full salvation those who are [eagerly, constantly, and patiently] waiting for and expecting Him.  Hebrews 9:1-28

Hebrews 10 

1 For since the Law has merely a rude outline (foreshadowing) of the good things to come--instead of fully expressing those things--it can never by offering the same sacrifices continually year after year make perfect those who approach [its altars].

2 For if it were otherwise, would [these sacrifices] not have stopped being offered?  Since the worshipers had once for all been cleansed, they would no longer have any guilt or consciousness of sin.

3 But [as it is] these sacrifices annually bring a fresh remembrance of sins [to be atoned for],

4 Because the blood of bulls and goats is powerless to take sins away.

5 Hence, when He [Christ] entered into the world, He said, Sacrifices and offerings You have not desired, but instead You have made ready a body for Me [to offer];

6 In burnt offerings and sin offerings You have taken no delight.

7 Then I said, Behold, here I am, coming to do Your will, O God--[to fulfill] what is written of Me in the volume of the Book.  Hebrews 10:1-6

NOTE:  We learned in Chapter 3 of The Bed Keeper what had been written of Jesus, which again is what Philip had shared with the Ethiopian Eunuch, and included the prophecy from God toward eunuchs being included in the congregation of the Lord, provided we were willing to “take firm hold of his covenant.”  One of the beautiful things about the Scriptures is how they tie to each other and verify and interpret each other, and especially in regards to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, tie back to the eunuch prophecy over and over again.

8 When He said just before, You have neither desired, nor have You taken delight in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings--all of which are offered according to the Law-

9 He then went on to say, Behold, [here] I am, coming to do Your will. Thus He does away with and annuls the first (former) order [as a means of expiating sin] so that He might inaugurate and establish the second (latter) order.

10 And in accordance with this will [of God], we have been made holy (consecrated and sanctified) through the offering made once for all of the body of Jesus Christ (the Anointed One).

11 Furthermore, every [human] priest stands [at his altar of service] ministering daily, offering the same sacrifices over and over again, which never are able to strip [from every side of us] the sins [that envelop us] and take them away—

12 Whereas this One [Christ], after He had offered a single sacrifice for our sins [that shall avail] for all time, sat down at the right hand of God,

13 Then to wait until His enemies should be made a stool beneath His feet.

14 For by a single offering He has forever completely cleansed and perfected those who are consecrated and made holy.

15 And also the Holy Spirit adds His testimony to us [in confirmation of this]. For having said,

16 This is the agreement (testament, covenant) that I will set up and conclude with them after those days, says the Lord: I will imprint My laws upon their hearts, and I will inscribe them on their minds (on their inmost thoughts and understanding),

17 He then goes on to say, And their sins and their lawbreaking I will remember no more.

18 Now where there is absolute remission (forgiveness and cancellation of the penalty) of these [sins and lawbreaking], there is no longer any offering made to atone for sin.

19 Therefore, brethren, since we have full freedom and confidence to enter into the [Holy of] Holies [by the power and virtue] in the blood of Jesus,

20 By this fresh (new) and living way which He initiated and dedicated and opened for us through the separating curtain (veil of the Holy of Holies), that is, through His flesh,

21 And since we have [such] a great and wonderful and noble Priest [Who rules] over the house of God,

22 Let us all come forward and draw near with true (honest and sincere) hearts in unqualified assurance and absolute conviction engendered by faith (by that leaning of the entire human personality on God in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness), having our hearts sprinkled and purified from a guilty (evil) conscience and our bodies cleansed with pure water.

23 So let us seize and hold fast and retain without wavering the hope we cherish and confess and our acknowledgement of it, for He Who promised is reliable (sure) and faithful to His word.

24 And let us consider and give attentive, continuous care to watching over one another, studying how we may stir up (stimulate and incite) to love and helpful deeds and noble activities,

25 Not forsaking or neglecting to assemble together [as believers], as is the habit of some people, but admonishing (warning, urging, and encouraging) one another, and all the more faithfully as you see the day approaching.

26 For if we go on deliberately and willingly sinning after once acquiring the knowledge of the Truth, there is no longer any sacrifice left to atone for [our] sins [no further offering to which to look forward].

27 [There is nothing left for us then] but a kind of awful and fearful prospect and expectation of divine judgment and the fury of burning wrath and indignation which will consume those who put themselves in opposition [to God].

28 Any person who has violated and [thus] rejected and set at naught the Law of Moses is put to death without pity or mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses.

29 How much worse (sterner and heavier) punishment do you suppose he will be judged to deserve who has spurned and [thus] trampled underfoot the Son of God, and who has considered the covenant blood by which he was consecrated common and unhallowed, thus profaning it and insulting and outraging the [Holy] Spirit [Who imparts] grace (the unmerited favor and blessing of God)?

30 For we know Him Who said, Vengeance is Mine [retribution and the meting out of full justice rest with Me]; I will repay [I will exact the compensation], says the Lord. And again, The Lord will judge and determine and solve and settle the cause and the cases of His people.

31 It is a fearful (formidable and terrible) thing to incur the divine penalties and be cast into the hands of the living God!

32 But be ever mindful of the days gone by in which, after you were first spiritually enlightened, you endured a great and painful struggle,

33 Sometimes being yourselves a gazingstock, publicly exposed to insults and abuse and distress, and sometimes claiming fellowship and making common cause with others who were so treated.

34 For you did sympathize and suffer along with those who were imprisoned, and you bore cheerfully the plundering of your belongings and the confiscation of your property, in the knowledge and consciousness that you yourselves had a better and lasting possession.

35 Do not, therefore, fling away your fearless confidence, for it carries a great and glorious compensation of reward.

36 For you have need of steadfast patience and endurance, so that you may perform and fully accomplish the will of God, and thus receive and carry away [and enjoy to the full] what is promised.

37 For still a little while (a very little while), and the Coming One will come and He will not delay.

38 But the just shall live by faith [My righteous servant shall live by his conviction respecting man's relationship to God and divine things, and holy fervor born of faith and conjoined with it]; and if he draws back and shrinks in fear, My soul has no delight or pleasure in him.

39 But our way is not that of those who draw back to eternal misery (perdition) and are utterly destroyed, but we are of those who believe [who cleave to and trust in and rely on God through Jesus Christ, the Messiah] and by faith preserve the soul.  Hebrews 10:8-39

NOTE:  As I mentioned at the beginning of this chapter, while it’s important to understand the terms of the New Covenant, it can take more than one reading of it in order to get our minds around it.  Not to worry!  Theologians who have been studying God’s Word for decades still make new discoveries when they study these passages!  What’s important is that God has indeed included the terms, and put them in writing.  This gives us the opportunity to continue to compare the New Covenant with the Old Covenant, and to continue to grow our appreciation for all that the ministry of Jesus Christ gives us access to, including full participation in the congregation of the Lord for those of us who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender, or as God refers to those of us who “take firm hold of His Covenant:”  Sons and Daughters.

Deliberate Sin 

Let’s take a moment now to take a brave look at 2 verses of Scripture above in order to help us understand them as applied to the lives of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people who choose to ‘take firm hold of His Covenant:”

26 For if we go on deliberately and willingly sinning after once acquiring the knowledge of the Truth, there is no longer any sacrifice left to atone for [our] sins [no further offering to which to look forward].

27 [There is nothing left for us then] but a kind of awful and fearful prospect and expectation of divine judgment and the fury of burning wrath and indignation which will consume those who put themselves in opposition [to God].  Hebrews 10:26-27

So what does that mean to LGBT believers?  First, I would say it means exactly what it means, but there are some conditions that must be met first.

1. We must have received the Word of God, and had it accurately taught to us.

2. We must have been given the opportunity to confess our sins and accept Jesus as Lord

3. We must recognize there is a difference between "deliberate sin" and "sins due to human weaknesses and temptations.”

I think when it comes to the sin issue, many Christians just dismiss all same gender expressions out of hand, saying that if a person even identifies as being gay that they are already in sin.  But I don't, and there’s nothing in Scripture indicating that God does either.

When ministering to Christian believers, I remind people that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.  I remind them that even "deliberate sin" can be forgiven if repented of, and that Jesus continually cleanses us as He intercedes as our High Priest at the Right hand of God, as we learned in Hebrews 9:28:

“Even so it is that Christ, having been offered to take upon Himself and bear as a burden the sins of many once and once for all, will appear a second time, not to carry any burden of sin nor to deal with sin, but to bring to full salvation those who are [eagerly, constantly, and patiently] waiting for and expecting Him.”

But of course as we learned in Chapter 4 of The Bed Keeper, Christ cannot appear a second time until all prophecies have been fulfilled, including those pertaining to inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in God’s House of prayer for ALL people.  When it comes to deliberate sin, what really matters to God is what is in our hearts.

Secondly, I also review Scriptures that tend to illustrate that marriage is an option that God gives all believers, whether gay or straight. In other words, I truly believe that living a "sin free" lifestyle is impossible for both gays and straights.  In 1 John 1:10 we read,

If we say (claim) we have not sinned, we contradict His Word and make Him out to be false and a liar, and His Word is not in us [the divine message of the Gospel is not in our hearts].

But there are measures we can take to strive to live holy lives, such as faithful marriage to one partner or celibacy.

This can seem restrictive to many people, and while there is a period of adjustment for every new believer as we try to do everything we can to be pleasing to God, His promise to eunuchs are predicated on our willingness to “take firm hold of His Covenant, keep the Sabbath sacred, and choose the things that please God”….not to be perfect.

There will be some difficulties in our journey of faith and many people fail from time to time, including heterosexual people.  But that doesn't mean we should not try.  The Holy Spirit of God will move upon our hearts to convict us of sin without anyone pointing our sin out to us. As one pastor said, 

"Once you become a Christian, you can sin all you want to, but you will never enjoy it again."

I found this statement to be very true.  However, there also such a thing as being so restrictive that it too can lead into sin, especially if we don’t know what the Scriptures say, and simply rely on old wives' tales or erroneous traditional teachings on homosexuality, such as being “possessed by a spirit of homosexuality” (whose origins do not proceed from any Scripture, but only the erroneous assumptions of men…some of whom are even preachers).

As far Hebrews 9:28 though, I also want to bring some balance to it and show that even the holy men of old had struggles with sin of some sort or the other.  As Paul shared with us:

14 We know that the Law is spiritual; but I am a creature of the flesh [carnal, unspiritual], having been sold into slavery under [the control of] sin.

15 For I do not understand my own actions [I am baffled, bewildered]. I do not practice or accomplish what I wish, but I do the very thing that I loathe [which my moral instinct condemns].

16 Now if I do [habitually] what is contrary to my desire, [that means that] I acknowledge and agree that the Law is good (morally excellent) and that I take sides with it.

17 However, it is no longer I who do the deed, but the sin [principle] which is at home in me and has possession of me.

18 For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot perform it. [I have the intention and urge to do what is right, but no power to carry it out.]

19 For I fail to practice the good deeds I desire to do, but the evil deeds that I do not desire to do are what I am [ever] doing.

20 Now if I do what I do not desire to do, it is no longer I doing it [it is not myself that acts], but the sin [principle] which dwells within me [fixed and operating in my soul].

21 So I find it to be a law (rule of action of my being) that when I want to do what is right and good, evil is ever present with me and I am subject to its insistent demands.

22 For I endorse and delight in the Law of God in my inmost self [with my new nature].

23 But I discern in my bodily members [in the sensitive appetites and wills of the flesh] a different law (rule of action) at war against the law of my mind (my reason) and making me a prisoner to the law of sin that dwells in my bodily organs [in the sensitive appetites and wills of the flesh].

24 O unhappy and pitiable and wretched man that I am!  Who will release and deliver me from [the shackles of] this body of death?

25 O thank God! [He will!] through Jesus Christ (the Anointed One) our Lord!  So then indeed I, of myself with the mind and heart, serve the Law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.  Romans 7:14-25

And as John said,

4 And we are now writing these things to you so that our joy [in seeing you included] may be full [and your joy may be complete].

5 And this is the message [the message of promise] which we have heard from Him and now are reporting to you: God is Light, and there is no darkness in Him at all [no, not in any way].

6 [So] if we say we are partakers together and enjoy fellowship with Him when we live and move and are walking about in darkness, we are [both] speaking falsely and do not live and practice the Truth [which the Gospel presents.]

7 But if we [really] are living and walking in the Light, as He [Himself] is in the Light, we have [true, unbroken] fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses (removes) us from all sin and guilt [keeps us cleansed from sin in all its forms and manifestations].

8 If we say we have no sin [refusing to admit that we are sinners], we delude and lead ourselves astray, and the Truth [which the Gospel presents] is not in us [does not dwell in our hearts].

9 If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action].

10 If we say (claim) we have not sinned, we contradict His Word and make Him out to be false and a liar, and His Word is not in us [the divine message of the Gospel is not in our hearts].  1 John 1:4-10

Finally, we have to remember that we will have times of testing, trials, and temptation, but we will also have times of triumph in Christ Jesus.  I have found that most gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people turn away from God because of unloving messages regarding our assumed "sin,” and in the face of so much persecution from such assumptions from those professing themselves to be Christians, we often develop one of 5 attitudes:

1. We decide that we will never live up to the requirements that Christians say are necessary in order to be saved so we go to the extreme and engage in promiscuity and chance sexual encounters, thinking, "well, I'm going to hell anyway, so I may as well enjoy it."We leave the church, run away from God and His people, and never hear the salvation message in its entirety and in context with the rest of the Scriptures.  This was my attitude for many years.

2. We decide that the only reasonable thing to do is to just believe all of the Scriptures except those which cover same gender expressions.  This can alter and weaken our faith in God because it weakens the authenticity and authority of the Word of God to something we can live with, rather than trying to study what the Scriptures actually say concerning same gender expressions (and to whom they were actually written to).  We often times assume that everything we have heard from Christians about homosexuality is true on its surface, without really giving it a second thought.  Once we do study the Scriptures though, we find that there is a way (albeit very narrow) in which to be both Christian and gay, and remain faithful to God's Word.

3. We develop self-loathing attitudes, lie about who we are, get married to a person of the opposite sex, and then engage in the very sins that Leviticus admonishes us against, by engaging in adultery on the side in order to express our sexuality in its natural (and I believe God-given) form. (Not all LGBT people engage on the side like this, but many do at some point throughout their marriage).

4. We commit to celibacy, and throw ourselves into "church work" in order to "feel holy" and to "feel useful" to God, and because we know not the Scriptures, think this is the only viable path to for us spiritually. While this is a viable path, it can often lead to overwhelming sexual temptations that violate God's people, such as priests, pastors and preachers who then prey upon young people in their congregation as their sexual temptations give way to sin, when all the while they could have simply understood the Scriptures better, and either chosen celibacy, or chosen to marry a person of the same gender and as Paul said, “avoid being tortured continually with ungratified desire."

5. We develop self-loathing attitudes that cause us to enter "”aversion therapies,” “reparative therapy,” or other ex-gay organizations under the false hope that our sexual orientation can be changed with enough faith, enough prayer, and enough Christians quoting Scriptures and rebuking the “spirit of homosexuality” for us.  While there are a few people who have gone on to report success in changing their sexual orientation, it has been my experience that orientation cannot be changed, even if behavior can be temporarily masked.

Unfortunately, many have found these therapies to cause more harm than good, and can cause many people to give up on the process, and develop attitude #1 or attitude #3 (neither of which is honest) nor follows God's Word.  These therapies are known for causing people to run faster away from God than anything, because of the undue pressure applied by Scripturally illiterate and money-seeking Christians who think they are doing God a favor by trying to force one of His Children into a life they were not born to be in.  It can cause people to become so discouraged so as to leave the church and never again return to God. I have found more than creating "ex-gay" people, these therapies ultimately only create "ex-Christians" instead.

These are just some of the attitudes that develop because of traditional Christian teaching, but they are the most often recurring that I have found in ministering to God's people over the last 7 years.  One thing I think is very important is to realize how the church herself actually causes people to stumble with her instruction of the Law.

Thank God He gave us a New Covenant!  Thank God He continuously cleanses us from all unrighteousness!  Thank God there is a better way to view traditional Christian teaching on homosexuality which actually improves not only the lives of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, but also the lives of all members of the Body of Christ, as we all help God's House become a House of Prayer for ALL People, and move us all one step closer to the most significant advent of Christianity since the birth of Jesus: His return!

This was not easy for me to share, and I know there will be some people who disagree with me on both sides of the issue. But I share what I have found to be true in my own life and ministry in hopes that it will help to continue a dialogue that helps us all realize that:

God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life.

For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him.  John 3:16-17  

Make no mistake; I DO believe the Scriptures count homosexual expressions as sin, but I also see them ALWAYS set within the context of idolatry, adultery and/or rape. In Leviticus, they are couched within prohibitions against sacrificing children to the fire god, Molech, as well as adultery by married heterosexual men as we see man shall not lie with man as with a woman, indicating that those being spoken to were obviously engaged in sexual relations with BOTH genders.  In Romans, we see it couched within prohibitions against worshiping false gods represented by images of birds, reptiles and four footed beasts.  In 1 Corinthians, we see them couched in the setting of a preacher who was pimping his position as a leader who was not only prostituting the Body of Christ, but also metaphorically sodomizing Jesus Christ Himself, and/or keeping boys on the side for his personal entertainments.

In Romans, we see the people being addressed had "exchanged the natural function of the opposite sex," indicating again that those being spoken to were obviously engaged in sexual relations with BOTH genders.  At no time though, do we see anything in Scripture that prohibit loving expressions between members of the same gender in a faithful, life-long, committed marriage relationship between two consenting adults who are not related to each other.  We’ll recall Paul predicated his ordination of gay marriage on the premise that “it is better to marry than to be aflame [with passion and tortured continually with ungratified desire].”

So while I indeed agree that Scripture prohibits SOME same gender sexual expressions (just as it prohibits SOME opposite gender sexual expressions), I do not see any clear prohibition against ALL same gender expressions. I explore this aspect more thoroughly in Chapter 19 of The Bed Keeper.

But far more than our sexuality, it is clear that God is much more concerned about our spirituality.  In the next chapter, we’ll continue to explore his prophecy to eunuchs in regards to “keeping the Sabbaths,” as we continue to explore the specifics which He outlines when He says,

To the eunuchs who keep My Sabbaths and choose the things which please Me and hold firmly My covenant—

To them I will give in My house and within My walls a memorial and a name better [and more enduring] than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that will not be cut off.  Isaiah 56:4-5

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Dear Valued Readers,
This blog continues to be a work in progress. As recent revelations and events throughout Christendom have created an increasingly fluid situation, updates will no longer be published at the end of each post, but rather only at the beginning of the corresponding posts so impacted.  As of August 1, 2013, the only updates to appear at the end of each post will be churches that are personally endorsed by The Bed Keeper as a "SAFE SPACE."

Readers may email thebedkeeper@gmail.com to discuss or comment on any posting.  Please note that while all feedback is highly valued and appreciated, it may not be possible to reply to each email.
 
UPDATE 01.15.12:
Lakewood Church officially endorsed as a SAFE SPACE for LGBT people to worship! Details here.

UPDATE 11.22.11:

Eagle Mountain International Church officially endorsed as a SAFE SPACE for LGBT people to worship! Details here.

THANK YOU for your generous support of this work!
 
Let him who receives instruction in the Word of God share all good things with his teacher, contributing to his support.
Galatians 6:6