From CIpedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

In denominational churches, fornication is often confused for idolatry, or it is defined as "sex before marriage". But in the Biblical view, the act of sexual intercourse between a man and a woman is the act of marriage [1] so there is really no such concept as "sex before marriage", and engaging in sexual relations, one is either 1) married, 2) getting married or 3) committing a forbidden act such as fornication, sodomy, or adultery.

Aside from other gratuitous sexual activities, such as prostitution or sodomy, the word fornication is used in Scripture to describe what may be called miscegenation, or race-mixing. This is evident in the epistle of Jude, in verse 7 where the King James Version has "7  Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire."

While the Genesis account [2] attributes the act of Sodomy as a reason why Sodom, Gomorrah and the cities of the plain were destroyed, in that passage Jude further describes the people as having given "themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh", and the word for strange, ἑτέρος [3] refers to something other than or different from, or even other than usual [4]. This use of the word is upheld by Paul of Tarsus in chapter 10 of 1 Corinthians, where he wrote in verse 8: "Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand." The only occasion in Scripture to which he could have been referring is found beginning in Numbers chapter 25 where it says "1 And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab."

Connections with Adultery in the Old Testament

It is clear, even from the ten commandments as they were given in Exodus chapter 20, that adultery to the Hebrews meant race-mixing [as well as the bloodline confusion which comes from sleeping with others wives and husbands]. Here the word for adultery comes from a Greek word, moicheuo. While it is indeed related to the verb mignumi, which means to mix, the Greeks did not use the word in the racial sense. Rather, they used it to describe any possible confusion of the bloodline which would possibly result in children belonging to men other than their fathers. Yet this was the word which Hebrews writing Greek chose to use for the commandment, “thou shalt not commit adultery”, from the days of the Septuagint. It reflected the literal meaning, but not the colloquial meaning. For that reason the apostles, in Acts chapter 15, decided that it was necessary to add an injunction prohibiting fornication, since the Greeks understood race-mixing to be a form of fornication, or illicit sexual relations

Again, Gehenna is not what the romish church later described as hell, but rather, he who sins in this life is punished in the body. It is the body, not the spirit, which Christ says will be thrown into the fire of Gehenna. While Yahweh can indeed destroy the spirit of men also, His promise to us is that our spirits shall be preserved. Therefore Paul says of unrepentant sinners, for example in 1 Corinthians 5:5: “To deliver such an one unto Satan [the adversary in this world] for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”  

Paul also discusses that eternal struggle between the desires of the flesh, and the necessity for obedience to God, at length in Romans chapter 7 and elsewhere. Men must know that even if we fail, that the law is good and that we must strive to live up to it. However with the law, all men are condemned, so we must have mercy upon our brethren who fall short even beyond where we have fallen.


  1. Gen. 24:67, 1 Cor. 7:9
  2. Gen. 18
  3. Strong's # 2087
  4. An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon Founded Upon the Seventh Edition of Liddell and Scott's Greek-English Lexicon, H. G. Liddell and R. Scott, Oxford University Press, 1889, 1999, p. 321. See ἕτερος at the online Greek Word Study Tool at the Perseus Digital Library