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Tag Archives: Sodom

Lot’s Wife

“But his wife, from behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.”  (Genesis 19:26)

I feel that before we move out of Chapter 19 of Genesis and leave behind the incident of God’s judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah, we should take a moment to consider the fate of Lot’s wife. Only four people from the entire city of Sodom were led to safety, and only three of those actually made it to safety. Lot’s wife made it out of the city, but she did not make it to the safety of Zoar where her husband and two daughters entered (Genesis 19:23).

We are only told two facts in Genesis 19 about Lot’s wife being turned into a pillar of salt: 1.) The angels sent by God instructed the family “do not look behind you” as they fled from Sodom (v.17) and, 2.) Lot’s wife looked behind her (v. 26). I suppose the very first thing that can be surmised from this is that the instructions of God are to be obeyed implicitly, regardless of how extraneous the details may seem to us. Lot’s wife may have very well wondered what harm could really come from peeking over her shoulder to “watch the fireworks.” But when we consider the Lord Jesus Christ’s own reference to this event, we see something else going on:

“Remember Lot’s wife. Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.” (Luke 17:32-33 KJV)

Jesus is speaking in this passage about His Second Coming. He states that His coming in judgment will be as in the day that Lot and his family fled from Sodom (Luke 17:28-30). People will be going about their lives as if there were no God in Heaven and as if the world will go on forever just as it is. But our Lord warns: “In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back.” (v. 31 KJV). God’s judgment, though delayed, will come swiftly in the day that God has allotted. His judgment will come so swiftly that there would be no time for hesitation if it were indeed possible to escape it (2 Peter 2:9).

Lot’s wife’s sin was not curiosity, it was unbelief. She wasn’t really interested in leaving Sodom, even as it was being engulfed in flames! As William MacDonald and Arthur Farstad write:

“Although Lot’s wife was taken almost by force out of Sodom, her heart remained in the city. This was indicated by the fact that she turned back. She was out of Sodom, but Sodom was not out of her. As a result, God destroyed her by turning her into a pillar of salt.” (1)

“Whosoever shall seek to save his life” is referring to those whose interests are vested in the things of this world. They have no interest in the things of God, for they have rejected Him. Sure, the faith of their loved ones might get them to come to church, or join a Bible study group, or even become a deacon. But they have no real interest in the things of God. Like Lot’s wife, they might be moving forward toward safety, but their hearts are still firmly rooted in the world. Lot’s wife followed her husband, but his faith in God could only bring her so far. The time comes for everyone when they themselves must make a decision whether they will believe God or not. Lot’s wife decided that she would not.

One final thing for us all to consider is this: The day will come when we shall be called to leave this world, will we be ready? Is our own heart in the place where our precious Savior is taking us to be with Him?  Or have we laid up so much treasure here on Earth that we will be as reluctant as Lot’s wife to leave it all behind (Matt. 6:21)? The day will come for all of us to leave this Earth, will we hesitate so that we may cast a final look at all that we had here, or will we rejoice and count it as no loss at all; our own eyes set firmly on nothing but what lay before us in Christ?

 

To Jesus Christ goes all glory. In service to Him,

Loren

loren@answersfromthebook.org

[This post was originally published January 27,  2010]

(1) MacDonald, William; Farstad, Arthur: Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1997, c1995, S. Lk 17:32

**Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) © The Lockman Foundation and are used by permission.

[If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ or you are not certain where you are headed when this life ends, I invite you to read the article “Am I Going To Heaven?“]

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Lot Was “Sent Out Of The Midst Of The Overthrow”

“Thus it came about, when God destroyed the cities of the valley, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when He overthrew the cities in which Lot lived. (Genesis 19:29)

Genesis 19:29 summarizes what God has just done in judging Sodom and Gomorrah and what He has done for Lot. God “sent Lot out from the midst of Sodom” before He judged it. What profound truths are carried in that statement! “God sent Lot…” It is God Who is in complete control of this entire process of judging the cities and rescuing Lot. Abraham participated in Lot’s rescue from the armies of Chedorlaomer back in Chapter 14, though God strengthened him and enabled him to do so, this time, Lot is saved entirely by the movement of God alone.

“God sent Lot… ” Life and death is ultimately in the hand of God Almighty, whether we live or die, and it is by His mercy that Lot is spared. God literally cast him out of Sodom and put him in a place of safety. Verses 22-24 make it clear that Lot was completely out of Sodom before judgment began. “God sent Lot out of the midst…” Lot was not living on the outskirts of Sodom, but right in the midst of it, among all of the others. God did not just push him a little to the side so that he could be safe during the judgment, nor did God decide to leave him there during the judgment in order to “test” him. It is worth noticing that God also did not begin to pour out some judgment on the city and then decide that Lot had had enough, taking him to safety after it had begun. Finally, “God sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow.” This was not an ordinary natural disaster that occurred, this was the direct judgment of God upon a sinful people.

I have taken the time to briefly break down the elements of what is said here in Verse 29 because I personally believe that Lot’s rescue from Sodom before its judgment is a picture of the believer’s rescue from this Earth before the Great Tribulation. I do not see this passage as being a conclusive “argument”, so to speak, proving a pre-Tribulation Rapture of the True Church. But I do see the implications as being quite intriguing, to say the least. Obviously, there are some definite distinctions between the judgment on Sodom and God’s final judgments on an unrepentant world, as described in the Book of Revelation. However, they are both judgments directly from the hand of God. They are both instances of God’s wrath being poured out on mankind which has rejected Him. Those who have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ are not appointed to receive His wrath (e.g., Romans 5:9, 1 Thessalonians 1:10). So what will happen to those trusting in Christ when the time of His wrath is upon the world?

“Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.”  (Revelation 3:10)

He will keep us from the very hour (season, time-frame) of the Great Tribulation. The only conceivable way that the Lord Jesus Christ could do this is to remove those who belong to Him before He pours out His judgment. We simply cannot be kept from something if we are still around in the midst of it, can we? The Lord Jesus did say that we would face trials and tribulations in this world (John 16:33), but those are trials and tribulations that come as a result of living in a fallen world. Those trials He shall not keep us from, nor has He ever promised to. But the purpose of His wrath being poured out is to judge those who have rejected Him and, as in the case of the Great Tribulation, to extend mercy to those who will receive Him during that time. There is no purpose in pouring out His wrath on those who have not rejected Him, and we have His promise that He shall not do so. As Lot was, I firmly believe that God will send us out from the midst of this world before He pours out His judgment upon it.

To Jesus Christ goes all glory. In service to Him,

Loren

loren@answersfromthebook.org

[This post was originally published January 25, 2010]

**Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) © The Lockman Foundation and are used by permission.

[If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ or you are not certain where you are headed when this life ends, I invite you to read the article “Am I Going To Heaven?“]

Taking Lot By The Hand

“But he hesitated. So the men seized his hand and the hand of his wife and the hands of his two daughters, for the compassion of the Lord was upon him; and they brought him out, and put him outside the city. (Genesis 19:16)

There really is not much that we can find comforting or encouraging in Genesis 19, but Verse 16 is quite reassuring. Lot is commanded by the two angels to depart from the city of Sodom and warned that if he does not, he too shall be consumed. I like to think that, had I been in Lot’s shoes, those two angels would have had a hard time keeping up with me as I sprinted full-speed for the hills. But, looking back on my own track record, it is just as likely that I would have responded the same way Lot did.

The angels could not have made the urgency of the situation any clearer to Lot and his family. Yet what did Lot do? He hesitated. Lot’s co-operation with those trying to save him was not very impressive. How often do we do the same thing when we receive instructions from the Lord? We delay, we procrastinate, we make excuses. He tells us, “Go now” and we answer, “Just a minute.” There were things in Sodom that Lot really had no desire to leave behind. We know that he believed God, but he definitely had one eye on Heaven and one on Earth.

What I find so comforting about this particular verse is the response that the two angels, acting on God’s behalf, give to Lot’s hesitation. Did they tell him that he was out of luck because he did not act quickly enough? Did they stand there and reason with him, argue with him, or continue to try to persuade him? No, there just was not time enough for that. Did they walk away, shaking their heads, telling him that they were sorry but he had forfeited his salvation from Sodom because of his hesitation? No. They laid hold on his hand and brought him forth!

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” (John 10:27-29)

The Lord Jesus is our Shepherd, leading us by His voice. We are His sheep and are guided by His Word. But what happens when we fall behind, when we ourselves linger and become too far away to hear the sound of His voice? He leaves the other sheep to search us out until He has found us (Luke 15:4). He comes back to us, calling out to us all the while. And when He does find us, He carries us upon His own shoulders and brings us to safety (Luke 15:5-6). We see in John 10:27-29 that we hear His voice, He knows us, and we follow Him. But we also see that He is holding us in His own hand.

Lot was saved from the destruction that came upon Sodom (God’s  judgment) because he believed God. Lot was not told by the angels: “OK, here’s what’s gonna happen. Good luck and we’ll see you on the other side!” They led him every step of the way, and when he started to fall behind, they took him out by the hand. When we put our faith in Jesus Christ, we may lose our way from time to time. We may linger and hesitate to keep in step with where He is taking us, but our Salvation is not contingent on our own efforts any more than Lot’s was. Once we have put our faith in Him, once we have become a part of His flock, He will bring us to safety, even if He must take us by the hand and carry us.

To Jesus Christ goes all glory. In service to Him,

Loren

loren@answersfromthebook.org

[This post was originally published January 22, 2010]

**Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) © The Lockman Foundation and are used by permission.

[If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ or you are not certain where you are headed when this life ends, I invite you to read the article “Am I Going To Heaven?“]

Does The Bible Say That Homosexuality Is Sin?

“And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him, And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly.” (Genesis 19:6-7)

To be completely honest, I must admit that this is really a post that I wish was not necessary to write. There are so many spiritual truths that can be explored in Genesis 19 that it is quite unfortunate that time should need to be spent on something that I believe is a peripheral issue. I do not believe that the purpose of what we are told in Genesis 19:4-11 is to establish that the practice of homosexuality is sinful, nor do I think that this was the only, or even primary, sin that the people of Sodom were guilty of. Paul writes to the Romans that homosexuality itself is but a step in the descending depravity of mankind apart from God, but lists it along with a myriad of other wicked behaviors in the indictment of humanity (Romans 1:27-32). I think this whole sordid incident is recorded in Genesis 19:4-11 to demonstrate the depth of immorality that the citizens of Sodom had fallen into.

I say that it is unfortunate that time should be spent discussing the matter of homosexuality in a Bible study because I find it incredibly puzzling that it would be necessary to demonstrate that sin is sin. No argument should be necessary, this ought to be a foregone conclusion. However, we have but to look at current events to realize that there is an attack being made today against God’s Word on the subject as people are twisting and misinterpreting the Bible to allege that no prohibition is ever really made: specifically or implicitly. I read in my local newspaper only a week or two ago about a “seminar” being hosted by a local church (of a major denomination, I might add) wherein the topic of being a homosexual Christian was to be discussed. Apparently, even a documentary celebrating prominent homosexual practitioners in church leadership was scheduled to be presented.

There have always been those who will do whatever they want, regardless of what God has to say about it. In fact, all of us were exactly that way before we came to faith in Christ. Until recently, there was no denial that the Word of God clearly condemned the practice of homosexuality. But now the effort is being made to cast a shadow of doubt and re-interpret the Scriptures in order to manufacture a Biblical support for this lifestyle. Therefore, since the purpose of this website is to look to God’s Word for answers, let us see what the Bible really does have to say on the subject:

Was The Sin Of The Sodomites Homosexuality Or The Desire To Commit Rape?

A major objection raised against this passage is the assertion that the only sin here is that the men of Sodom sought to force themselves on the two angelic visitors of Lot. Rape, they say, is the abomination, not consensual homosexuality. Yet in Genesis 19:4-5, there is no threat of force nor violence toward Lot and his visitors. Where are the men?…bring them out that we may know them, the townspeople say. Lot responds, “I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly” (v.7). Of course, the threats of violence do follow afterward, but at first it is merely their perverse lust that causes Lot to label their desires as wicked. At the risk of sounding crude, may I say that it seems that, if consensual homosexual practice was an acceptable and valid “orientation” (as those raising this objection suggest), why didn’t Lot ask the two angelic visitors if they wanted to go out to the men? If God indeed makes some people homosexual, how would Lot know that these two visitors were not made that way?

Is The Prohibition Against Homosexuality in Leviticus 18:22, And 20:13 Still Valid?

“Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” (Leviticus 18:22)

“If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.” (Leviticus 20:13)

A major objection to verses such as these is that they are found in the Old Testament. The argument is made that we are no longer living under the laws of the Old Testament. While it is true that in Christ we live under Grace and not Law (e.g., Romans 6:14), it is also true that sin was not redefined with the coming of the New Testament. The Lord Jesus said that He did not come to do away with the Law, but to fulfill it (Matthew 5:17-18). If anything, the Lord Jesus’ definition of sin is even more restrictive than the Law of Moses because it focuses not only on actions, but thoughts and attitudes (e.g., Matthew 5:27-28).

Admittedly, dietary laws and regulations were changed (Acts 10:13-15), and some laws and penalties were specific to the nation of Israel. We are not living in a Theocracy today such as ancient Israel was, so God does not expect us to put offenders to death for their sins. With this in mind, the only changes that we can be safe in asserting are those specifically given. It is fallacious to assume that Jesus wiped the slate of the Old Testament clean and repealed every definition of sin when He came to Earth. For the most part, if it was sin in the Old Testament, then it is still sin in the New. Additionally, homosexuality is still specifically called sin in the New Testament, anyway, as we will see in a moment.

But Jesus “Hung Out” With Sinners, He Was All About Love, Wouldn’t He Be All Right With Homosexuality?

That Jesus associated with sinners is absolutely irrefutable. If He hadn’t, then we would all be in trouble because we are all sinners! But what was His attitude toward sin? Mark 2:17 tells us that Jesus stated that He came to call sinners (and I say again, we are all sinners) to repentance. That means that He called all of us to turn from our sins and turn to Him. He did associate with prostitutes, tax collectors, and adulterers, but He didn’t leave them that way! And He never approved of what they did. In fact, His admonition was to “go and sin no more” (e.g., John 5:14, 8:11). The Apostle Matthew was a crooked tax collector before Jesus called him to follow Him. What did he do when Jesus called him? “He left all, rose up, and followed Him” (Luke 5:28, emphasis added). You cannot say that Jesus approved of crooked, governmental endorsed extortion because He called Matthew to follow Him. Matthew left that behind, he repented of it when he came to Christ.

“For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:… I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.” (John 5:22,30)

The Lord Jesus Christ came to Earth and offered Himself as the Savior of mankind. Whoever puts their faith in Him will be saved. He came not to pass judgment in His earthly life, but He will be the Judge of those who reject Him when He returns.

Is Romans 1:27 Really Talking About Homosexuality?

Many of the objections concerning New Testament references to homosexuality center on the idea that the language is not more specific or explicit. Some have even asked why the word “homosexual” or something like it does not appear in the text. Indeed, euphemistic language is sometimes employed because it is naturally assumed that the reader will understand what is being referred to. Some of the more modern translations do in fact forego this and specifically use more contemporary terminology:

“Men behaved in the same way. They stopped wanting to have sex with women and had strong desires for sex with other men. They did shameful things with each other, and what has happened to them is punishment for their foolish deeds.” (Romans 1:27 CEV)

I do not wish to go into etymology at great lengths, but examining the original Greek text confirms that homosexual acts are being referred to. “Leaving the natural use” refers to that which goes against nature (phusikos), that which is “physically” perverse and abnormal. It is difficult for me to understand how someone can miss the meaning of even the King James Version language: “burned in their lust one toward another; men with men”, but somehow there are those who apparently misunderstand this.

So Where Besides Romans Does The New Testament Refer To Homosexuality?

Two other passages refer to homosexuality: 1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:10. Again, the objections are raised about what specifically is being referred to in these. “Effeminate” (found in the KJV and NASB) is translated from a word that literally means anyone who is sexually perverted and was commonly used to refer to young men who were homosexual prostitutes. The term translated as “abusers of themselves with mankind” (1 Cor. 6:9) and “them that defile themselves with mankind” (1 Tim. 1:10) literally means A man who has sexual intercourse with a man (arsenokoites). This was the commonly used Greek term to mean a homosexual. You really cannot get any more explicit than this.

Conclusion

A lot of groups that state they are Christian have placed an inordinate amount of attention on the sin of homosexuality. It has been singled out in recent years by those who seem more interested in the condemnation of those who practice homosexuality than in seeing them come to Christ in repentance. We should note that, while it is mentioned in Scripture, it is usually done so along with a list of other sins. It is usually included right alongside other sins of sexual perversion and unrighteousness, including adultery. Some people like to carry signs about God’s condemnation of the homosexual, but they don’t say a lot about God’s condemnation of the “swinger”, the “playboy”, the “wife-swapper”, and the adulterer. There is without question a secular, social stigma that goes along with homosexuality that compels people to want to view it as a much more grievous sin than those that are listed with it in Scripture. But if we may be frank, sin is sin. If we commit any sin, we have disobeyed God and are guilty of violating God’s law (James 2:10-11). Like any other sin, homosexuality can be forgiven when a person comes to Christ and repents.

We all have fleshly desires that we struggle with. We should never conclude that simply because we desire something, then that is the way God intended us to be. There are Christians who formerly struggled with homosexual urges, yet today they have come to genuine faith in Christ and they are not giving in to those desires. My intention for writing this is not to single out homosexuality as some type of unusually abhorrent sin nor is my purpose to persecute homosexuals. I acknowledge that there are a lot of practicing homosexuals who couldn’t care less what God has to say about the matter and, frankly, that is between them and God. But my purpose here is to stand up for what the Word of God does have to say about the subject and warn those who are erroneously imagining that the Bible endorses their sinful practices. Along with all other sinful behaviors, the Bible condemns homosexuality. Regardless of whatever sin we struggle with, let us turn to Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and put our faith in Him for forgiveness. Let us look honestly at what the Lord God has said through His Word and change our ways to fit what it tells us, not change what it says to fit our ways.

To Jesus Christ goes all glory. In service to Him,

Loren

loren@answersfromthebook.org

[This post was originally published January 21, 2010]

All Scripture quotations in this post are taken from the King James Version (KJV) of the Holy Bible

***Contemporary English Version (CEV)Copyright © 1995 by American Bible Society

[If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ or you are not certain where you are headed when this life ends, I invite you to read the article “Am I Going To Heaven?“]

Compromising Our Witness

“But they said, “Stand aside.” Furthermore, they said, “This one came in as an alien, and already he is acting like a judge; now we will treat you worse than them.” So they pressed hard against Lot and came near to break the door.” (Genesis 19:9)

Once, when I was studying to enter into the ministry, the instructor was teaching us about the importance of the integrity of our lifestyle and how the way that we live before those around us is a powerful testimony for the Lord. He told the story of how, as a young man, he worked at a major clothing store while he himself studied for the ministry. He worked with a couple of other young men with whom he became friends. He said that he had never really mentioned anything to them about studying for the ministry or even about his relationship with Christ.

One day, as they sat around on their lunch break, they began discussing a very controversial topic. The other two men weighed in at great lengths about their own opinions concerning it and, when they were finished, they looked at my instructor and asked, “Well, what do you think about it?” He said, “Well, of course as a Christian, I believe what the Bible teaches about it and so I believe that…” He then went on for several minutes discussing why he believed this and referenced Bible verses to back up what he said. What was the response of his two friends? They were dumb-founded and finally said, “You’re a Christian?” He said that those words dug deeper than just about any ever said to him.

The reason that these words of shock and amazement hurt so badly was the fact that he had worked with and socialized apart from work with these two guys for almost two years. Their startled question was a piercing conviction that, not only had he failed to mention anything whatsoever about his precious Lord and Savior to them, his behavior and previous conversations with them had done absolutely nothing to distinguish him from themselves. He looked and sounded just like they did!

Some Bible translations and commentaries interpret the language of Genesis 19:9 as indicating that the men of Sodom were accusing Lot of continuously acting as their judge. In other words, Here we go again, old Lot is preaching at us about his God and his morals like he always does! But looking at the overall response that he receives, I think that this was a first-time rebuke that he gives the members of his adopted community. He had lived among them long enough to work his way up to a position of leadership in the city, and as Peter tells us in 2 Peter 2:7-8, Lot was tormented in his own soul daily by their wicked deeds. But it seems here that this is the first time he has spoken out about it and verbalized his protest. Finally, after all this time he speaks up for what is right. And what do the men of Sodom say? “Who made you our judge?!?”

The people of Sodom saw Lot as no different from any of them. His testimony for the Lord had never come to light and any chance for him to have a witness there had been blown long ago. When he comes to his sons-in-law and warns them to flee the coming judgment of God, they think that he is joking (Genesis 19:14)! Lot learned the same thing that my instructor learned: you cannot live like the rest of the world and then suddenly decide that you are going to make a stand for God. You will not be taken seriously, to say the least. We will deal worse with you than with them!, the men of Sodom tell Lot. This is the world’s contempt for the hypocrite.

To Jesus Christ goes all glory. In service to Him,

Loren

loren@answersfromthebook.org

[This post was originally published January 20, 2010]

**Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) © The Lockman Foundation and are used by permission.

[If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ or you are not certain where you are headed when this life ends, I invite you to read the article “Am I Going To Heaven?“]

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