Eventually this topic will find every Christian, Messianic, and Torah Observant person. You will have to try and answer this topic as best you can, but we need to ask. When trying to answer this, should we do so by how we feel, or by the Bible?
If your feelings rule you, then I suppose what the Bible says would not be valuable to you. But if you’re like me, (and I believe you are) then let’s see what the Bible can offer us to help us out.
CONFESSION. I’m going to be painfully honest here, when I was a new Christian I studied this topic, why? Because I was of the world for over 30 years. To me, in those days, there was nothing wrong with self pleasure. Then, when studying this topic, I did so to prove it was ok. Sure I was able to do that, I felt good knowing it wasn’t a sin. But, I wasn’t seeing it biblically. Just religiously. It wasn’t until I came to Torah that I saw the Holy Bible addressing this topic, and the reality of the “is masterbation a sin” question. Perhaps you now, like I was… will not be happy by this study. However we need to understand this topic because of the oversexed drive in society. With this, let’s start our study.
We need to define what, masterbation actually is. It’s the act of taking your private part used for sexual intimacy, then by yourself producing the orgasmic moment that is supposed to happen during a sexual encounter with one’s spouse. hmmm. That’s the best cleanest way I can describe what it is. Ok, I just had to say this right off. Essentially, to masterbate is to take the action of sex, but do so with no spouse.
We know that this action is technically an action of “sex”, or “sexual arousal”, and that this self pleasure is something that many find pleasurable. But is it a problem biblically?
Where is the first mention of sex in the Bible?
In Genesis 2 we read how Adam was created by Father/God. But we see, Father saw Adam needed a “helper” and we then see that “marriage” or the description of it mentioned. Let’s see that.
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”
Marriage is now established as a thing. This is a huge point that needs to be made when looking into self pleasure. Sex has a purpose, we need to see what that purpose is by seeing who had it. Let’s look…
“Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, “I have acquired a man from the LORD.””
“Adam had sex, (knew) HIS WIFE EVE!!!
Notice it doesn’t say anywhere prior that he walked around self pleasuring. The first action of recorded sex is between husband and wife. Why was sex given to us by Father?
“Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, “I have acquired a man from the LORD.””
Simple, to consummate the marriage and bring fourth children. Adam and Eve and the rest of humanity was handed the capability to bring fourth a human life. Until this moment ONLY Father/God could do that. Sex was never supposed to be a solo activity of pleasure. It was supposed to be a sign of a covenant between a man and his wife (marriage), the way to seal the two flesh becoming one flesh. This was the start to the family. Why, simple sex brings fourth a child. Basic anatomy that’s no longer taught today perhaps.
Ok, so sex is supposed to be between a Husband and Wife. It’s a sign of their covenant, and means to bring fourth a child, this is the biblical purpose for sex. Now that we have that established, we need to ask ourselves….. what, if anything…. would be the opposite of that model?
Fortunately there is a title to a certain sin subject that needs our attention. Sexual Immorality!!!
Immorality means anything not moral. Moral means walking rightly, or in our case Biblically or aligned with the Father. We can infer that something against God is a sin by this…
“Everyone who sins is breaking God’s law, for all sin is contrary to the law of God.”
1 John 3:4
So if we understand this is sin, that sexual immorality must be anything outside of the scope of sex between a Husband and Wife, we can then see the layout of sex practices in the Torah/Law/Instructions to determine what one can and cannot do sexually. There are all sorts of “forbidden sexual practices” listed in the Torah. Where the Father says NO to practices that violate the concept of Biblical Marriage. I’m not going to break them down here, but I will say that once we grasp this fact we can understand the basics of proper usage of sex, and sexual immorality to help us continue in this study.
“Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:18-20
We can find in Leviticus 18 and 20 a list of prohibitions of sexual activity. Some of these sexual sins listed in both chapters are having sex with, or doing the act of…
A close relative, father, mother, fathers wives, sister, half sister, daughter, granddaughter, step sister, fathers sister, mother’s sister, your uncles wife, daughter in law, brothers wife, mother and daughter, wife’s sister, during wife’s mensuration, neighbors wife, homosexuality, beastiality.
We can also see by scripture that this was for Israel and also for the foreigners within Israel. Let’s see that…
“You must obey all my decrees and regulations. You must not commit any of these detestable sins. This applies both to native-born Israelites and to the foreigners living among you.” Leviticus 18:26
Now I want to be clear hear, let’s see where sexual immorality is used as “people who will not inherit the Kingdom of God”. This is not my rules or thoughts, but the Fathers in His Word.
“Outside the city are the dogs—the sorcerers, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idol worshipers, and all who love to live a lie.”Revelation 22:15
“Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10
“When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.”Galatians 5:19-21
Did you notice “Outside the City”(meaning Gods Kingdom), and “will not inherit the Kingdom of God”, are used to explain these sins? Did you notice sexual immorality was on that list? Any sexual contact outside a husband and wife married is Sexual Immorality.
Now that we have established this, we can ask, is masterbation just a simple pleasure? The answer is a resounding NO. The issue is it is taking a act of sex, then making it profane by being outside of marriage to the opposite sex spouse you’re married to. Why? Besides sex being a sign of a covenant between a man and his wife, the obvious other answer is sex is also to bring children into the world. A man and another man cannot do this. A woman and another woman cannot do this. Nor can a man and an animal, nor a woman and an animal. You need a contribution from both man and woman to make this miracle of birth happen. (Or by sperm injected into a woman in a clinic) but physically two flesh of the same cannot without intervention bring a child into the world. It’s not natural or good according to Father/God.
Masterbation thus takes the “seed” and basically voids that “seed” of the chance to bring about a life. This now brings us to the argument about a man named “Onan” who spilled his seed. This is one that people use to argue for masterbation. The argument is that Onan spilling his seed was NOT the problem, but it was that he refused to carry out the familial responsibilities of that day. Yes, they are right but only half way. Again go re read everything up to now. Lets see the text.
“But Onan was not willing to have a child who would not be his own heir. So whenever he had intercourse with his brother’s wife, he spilled the semen on the ground. This prevented her from having a child who would belong to his brother. But the Lord considered it evil for Onan to deny a child to his dead brother. So the Lord took Onan’s life, too.”
So yes, there is the issue of familial responsibility. But again, the issue is anything outside a married man and woman having sex is classified as Sexual Immorality. The context for the verses about Onan is the fact that Onan and Tamar were married, sure this is true. But, the offspring would not be Onans, but would belong to his dead brother Er according to the times and ways of that day. So how does this violate the issues I’ve put fourth? The answer can only be found in the purpose of that which I’ve set fourth.
Sex is between a MARRIED man and woman for the purpose of sealing that marriage, also for bringing children into the world. Onan was married to Tamar, but he did not plant the seed which voided a child from possibly being born. Also, let’s add the whole part about a covenant sign. The issue of “pulling out” takes that covenant agreement and downplays the important role of Gods design. Man and woman marry, consummate the marriage, bring fourth a child. This action of having pleasure, yet voiding the outcome of that pleasure has handed us things like abortion. People desiring sex with no commitment to marry or bring fourth a child has handed us far worse than that as well.
To say that Onans death just resulted because of failed familial responsibility, is to not grasp the Biblical Model Father has set up for us to follow entirely. I’m not saying this to be mean. With sexual immorality being defined as a sin, and with being warned against it.
“Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself,”
1 Corinthians 6:18-19
We need to ask, is “getting a very short pleasure worth risking salvation or entrance into the Kingdom Of God”? If you’re ready for the Lake of Fire and want to be destroyed and not gain entry into the Kingdom. Then I guess masterbation might be worth it. But, if you want eternal life then masterbation isn’t worth the risk. After all the Sexual Immoral will not inherit the Kingdom of God. According to the verses above.
You might be tempted to say “Michael, Jesus died for me”. Yes, but He didn’t die for you to remain in your sins. Sin is a choice, you can chose to keep sinning, or to walk out what His death and resurrection did for you. It depends how much you love Him. I know this is true because of the following…
“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” Romans 6:1-2
“For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”
We are called to tame and train our flesh. Not give into our flesh. We can see that our flesh loves sex outside of the biblical model. It produces fornication, adultery, etc.
“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”
However SELF CONTROL is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. If self control was employed over masterbation then you wouldn’t feel the need to be controlled by your flesh. Giving into masterbation is giving into the flesh and denying the Holy Spirit. Works of the Flesh are against God.
We can clearly see that masterbation is the act of sex with no spouse. This is wrong. It’s also seeking to have pleasure without the blessing of the action (bringing a child into the world) and yet also a violation of a Husband and Wife Covenant (Marriage). Often Masterbation, brings with it pictures and videos of other men and women to lust after. If married, it breaks the covenant. If single it can stand in the way of a covenant. This leads to pornography, which leads to more and more depravity and soon a tiny sin becomes a dominating sin and after that… the lake of fire will consume you if… repentance doesn’t happen. Also sexual immorality takes Gods ways and perverts them to a point where depravity becomes the norm. This can lead to adultery, abortion, and many other non biblical practices in order to allow the flesh to control you. We, again are called to control our flesh, not let carnal desires to dominate our souls.
Ok, in closing. I’m not here to judge anybody, just pointing out what I believe based on the years of study.
Lastly, many claim the Bible doesn’t talk about masterbation. Let’s get clear here. The word “masterbation” was not in use during the first century. However the term sexual immorality…. wait, the Greek calls is “porneia” in the New Testament. That word means… “the illicit use of sexual intercourse”. So the issue becomes, does a lack of word usage in modern English from the first century time make masterbation ok to perform? I would argue it does not. Sexual immorality on the whole can be put up next to the Torah/Law to see what exclusions were handed to Israel, when and why. From here we can logically deduce that masterbation is to be avoided. After all it is likely you (reader) are a Grafted In former Gentile like myself. Meaning that in the New Testament at the Jerusalem Council when the elders met to discuss Gentiles converting to the faith… idolatry and sexual immorality were on that list. Let’s see that.
“But concerning the Gentiles who believe, we have written and decided that they should observe no such thing, except that they should keep themselves from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality.””
Why abstain from sexual immorality? Because it kills the covenant of marriage, perverts the purposes of sex, and makes the mind depraved.
Lastly, and argument from silence is never a good argument. The Bible doesn’t say “don’t do drugs”, or “beating your husband or wife is bad”, or even “murdering someone with a hatchet” is wrong. However the Holy Bible totally lays the premise that theses things are sins. Just because the wording is not specifically used, doesn’t mean the title under which they fall isn’t.
Lastly I’ve hear it said this way about sex of any kind.
Sex is like a log on fire. In a fireplace it warms the house. Put that same log burning on the bed and it will burn down the house.
Hope this helps… Shalom and God Bless.