It reads thusly, “1 And it came to pass at that time, that Judah went down from his brethren, and turned in to a certain Adullamite, whose name was Hirah.
“2 And Judah saw there a daughter of a certain Canaanite, whose name was Shuah; and he took her, and went in unto her.”
“3 And she conceived, and bare a son; and he called his name Er.
“4 And she conceived again, and bare a son; and she called his name Onan.
“5 And she yet again conceived, and bare a son; and called his name Shelah: and he was at Chezib, when she bare him.
“6 And Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, whose name was Tamar.
“7 And Er, Judah's firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD slew him.
“8 And Judah said unto Onan, Go in unto thy brother's wife, and marry her, and raise up seed to thy brother.
“9 And Onan knew that the seed should not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother's wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother.
“10 And the thing which he did displeased the LORD: wherefore he slew him also. “
Now the first thing we see about Onan here is that He was given an assignment that he was not willing to fulfill. First, what was the assignment? His assignment was to preserve the line of Judah, (which pointed towards the direction of Christ) by going in unto Tamar, the wife of his deceased older brother Er. The problem with Er was that he was wicked. God would not allow a wicked seed to mess up His line. God wants a pure seed to produce a pure harvest. Wickedness and purity cannot mix.
Now back to Onan’s assignment. He did not want to “raise up seed to [his] brother” (v. 8). He did not want to take responsibility for something he did not think was even his in the first place. But how many of us know that when God gives you an assignment through his leader(s), then it is now YOUR assignment, no one else’s. Er could not even begin HIS assignment because he was being wicked in the first place. His heart was not right. And we see here that neither was Onan’s heart. But God gave him a chance. So Onan went in unto Tamar according to verse 9, but he did something he was not supposed to do. He spilled his seed on the ground.
His assignment was to impregnate Tamar to raise up seed to his brother, not become selfish and “please” himself. So because of his disobedience, because he failed his assignment, because he did not have the heart to take on this responsibility, God slew him. Onan had stimulation without impartation, as I learned at the March 9th Bible Study. If you’re not going to deliver the seed as God asked you to, then don’t mess with it.
So from this narrative, scholars have brought acts similar to Onan under the umbrella of “onanism,” which has led to discussions about masturbation, defined in one way as manual stimulation of the genital organs (of yourself or another) for sexual pleasure. So Onan used—or rather manipulated—Tamar to get sexual satisfaction without fulfilling the satisfaction of God. That’s where he went wrong.
Now in today’s terms, how many preachers and teachers are engaging in “stimulation without impartation?” How many people are preaching what others want to hear, just so they can get a crowd? Yet they don’t want to deliver the seed that could actually result in true deliverance for someone, which could lead to them ACTUALLY hearing a true WORD from God? These preachers doing this are engaging in spiritual masturbation: they’re pleasing themselves without impregnating the Church with a love for God’s truth. They are “pulling out,” if I may, too soon. They’re more interesting in filling seats than making sure people’s hearts are filled with a right passion for the things of God and His kingdom. No wonder so many people are walking around messed up. They’ve been spiritually manipulated! And with that, God is not pleased.
Onan could have been in that great line of Judah, giving birth to the one who would be another one to procreate and give seed to those who would later see the birth of Christ. So we have another problem here. Onan was against procreation in his particular context. God is FOR creation, Jesus is for creation… creation of more and more witnesses unto Himself who would be ambassadors for the Kingdom. And we know that anything against Christ (and the creation he promotes) is anti-christ (anti-creation and destruction). So now we have the spirit of anti-christ, working already there. That evil spirit is opposed to Christ’s work in the earth. And Onan was a vessel the enemy clearly used (with his heart not in the right place), to rebel against God’s work. Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft.
1 Samuel 15:23 states, “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. …”
So Onan was rebellious and stubborn and self-willed. Focusing on his own wants instead of what God told him to do was idolatry in itself, really. Then we have another problem here.
The other part of 1 Samuel 15:23 says, “…Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD…”
Onan did not receive the Word, in other words, the spiritual seed of the Lord. So no wonder he was not obedient! How can you give seed if you have not even RECEIVED seed from God? And whatever you do have is mess you got from the world anyway so that’s no good… We see Onan spill his seed on the ground. That seed could do nothing to the ground. His seed could not create new life in that dirt there. But here, in my personal opinion, the ground represents the world. When people receive from the world, they give back to the world accordingly. When people truly receive from the Lord, however, they have to give God obedience to glorify Him and give Him back that worship. You can’t worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:23, 24) if you’re not in a state of obedience in your heart (the heart representing the seat of the mind, will, emotions, and intellect of man). Onan was flesh led, not Spirit led.
Many church “leaders” today are like Onan: selfish, not responsible, rebellious, have a heart of anti-christ (even though they’d swear up and down they are here to promote Christ’s work, stubborn, and manipulators. The body of Christ has to do better. Leaders not willing to give real seed (from God) and impregnate the body of Christ to produce real good fruit, is killing us, literally, spiritually, and emotionally.