When it comes to eunuchs many of us have been taught that it refers to a castrated male i.e. one who has had his testicles cut off. However I believe, scripturally speaking, that is only one of the definitions for a eunuch. The scriptures give three different types of eunuchs, as taught by Jesus.
“For there are eunuchs who were born thus from their motherâ€™s womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heavenâ€™s sake. He who is able to accept it, let him accept it.”
(Matthew 19:12 NKJV)
Jesus here describes three classes of eunuchs.
1. NATURAL BORN EUNUCHS
Jesus said there are some people who are born as eunuchs/gays from their mother’s womb. They have no choice in the matter. It is how they were created and made. In Bible times there were three classes of people recognized by law. There were males, females, and then a third group called eunuchs. These were men who lacked the desire for sex with women, being attracted to those of the same sex as themselves.
They could procreate but lacked the desire to do so. They could hold property, vote, and leave an inheritance to others, all of which were denied to people who had been castrated. One of the requirements to be considered male by the society and laws of the time was to be able to impregnate a woman so she could have children. If one couldn’t or wouldn’t, they were not considered male. By the laws of the time this was considered totally acceptable. This was also the understanding of a eunuch held by the church for almost 400 years of church history.
(Refer to my book on the Christian Gays website “I’m Gay and It’s OK”)
2. CASTRATED MALES
This group is the one Jesus refers to as having been made that way by man. These are the ones who would have had their testicles cut off. Quite often this was done for males who were heads of harems. By castrating them, they made sure the men couldn’t fool around with the women, and thus women were available only to the master/king for sex.
It was also done for purposes of humiliation, reminding a slave of his new life and who owned him and everything about him, even his private parts. It was also done by some devotee’s of the female goddesses as a sign of total devotion to them. It was also considered the sign of ultimate sacrifice to castrate one’s self and become like the goddess you worshiped.
3. THOSE WHO VOLUNTARILY CHOOSE TO BE EUNUCHS
The third group Jesus talks about is those who voluntarily choose to be eunuchs. These would be people who, for the sake of the kingdom, have chosen to abstain from sex with women. Please note they were not born that way, nor were they forced by others to become eunuchs. This is something they chose for themselves. Within this class would come those who take a voluntary vow of celibacy in order to become Roman Catholic priests. This is also the group that I believe Jesus and Paul would have belonged to. That means that they could have had sex if they had wanted to, but chose to abstain for what they felt was the higher calling of God on their lives.
One thing needs to be noted here. The Roman Catholic Church instructs that the Bible teaches celibacy for priests. They base that on the “writings” of Paul as well as the examples of Jesus and Peter. However that is wrong. Peter and all the apostles were married except for Paul. (See I Corinthians 9:5) Paul, in his writings, argues that for him celibacy is the preferred lifestyle and he also recommends it to others. However he also recognizes that each has his calling from God and if one marries, one has not sinned. Paul, far from arguing against marriage, actually is all for it, if that is what God has called you to do. Jesus says basically the same thing in his few references to sex and marriage. So while it is not a crime to be single or a eunuch, nor is it a crime to be married.
Regardless of which definition we accept, Jesus says Eunuchs will be a part of the kingdom of heaven.
We also need to see something else. The man who God used to establish the Christian church in Ethiopia was a eunuch. Given our first definition of eunuch, this means he may have well been a gay man. In Acts 8:26-39 we read about the conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch. We are not told his name, just the fact that he was a eunuch. We are told that an angel of the Lord told Philip to go and speak to the man. Strange, if God doesn’t like gay people. Philip then led him to salvation and baptized him. After that they went their own separate ways. So God saved a gay man, and used him to found His church in Ethiopia.
I believe God has a special word for all eunuchs/gays. It is taken from the book of Isaiah where God says:
Nor let the eunuch say, “Here I am, a dry tree.” . . . For thus says the LORD: “To the eunuchs who keep My Sabbaths, and choose what pleases Me, and hold fast My covenant, even to them I will give in My house and within My walls a place and a name better than that of sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off.” (Isaiah 56:3b-5)
I believe God tells all eunuchs/gays that if we do what pleases Him we have a place in God’s home. We also have a name that is better than that of natural born sons and daughters. It is also an everlasting name that will never be cut off.
Then let us hold our heads high. We are what God has created us to be, and whom Jesus has made a part of His kingdom. We are by God’s word and choice a part of His family. We also have a name that God has given us which will never perish. So we are not the rejected but the accepted. We are not the lost but we are found. We are not hated of God but are His beloved. We are not deceived but we have had our eyes opened to a loving God who accepts as we are. Believe and receive today.
God Bless You All, Family
Rev. John W. Brown