Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Destruction of Sodom

Sodom was a wicked place. Yet God did not allow the wickedness of Sodom to continue forever. Sodom was destroyed by fire from heaven.

God is holy. Holiness is a fundamental part of His nature and He cannot suffer evil to go unpunished. Hence, the Lord demonstrated in history His abhorrence of sin by destroying Sodom and Gomorrah.

I knew an unbelieving girl who insisted to me that Sodom must have been destroyed by a volcano, an occurence which the Biblical writers must have interpreted as God's judgment. She gave absolutely no evidence whatsoever for Sodom's being destroyed by a volcano. Her interpretation of this event was entirely due to her naturalistic assumptions. She did not believe in God or at least doubted His existence, so she could never accept the idea of God destroying cities. Such scepticism is entirely irrational.

Men will always doubt the reality of God's judgment.

Romans 1
18: For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
19: Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
20: For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

Men and women will ever deny or ignore God, yet God's wrath is revealed against them. They shall be without excuse when that wrath is poured out.

Just as God's wrath was poured out on Sodom, God's wrath will be poured out on the sinful world in which we live in the future.

2 Peter 3
3: Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
4: And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
5: For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:
6: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:
7: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
8: But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
9: The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
10: But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

People scoff at the idea of God's judgment, just as people scoffed before the flood. People assume that things have always been the way they are, yet they have not, for God intervened dramatically in the flood and changed the very face of the earth. The world before the flood perished utterly.

Likewise, the world is scheduled for another cleansing. The earth is reserved for a fiery transformation. All of the sinful system and order of Satan that governs this world shall be dissolved. It is not the physical creation that burns; no the earth was created to be inhabited. Rather, the sinful things upon it shall be burned up.

This wrath is poured out during the trumpet and vial judgments that we read about in the book of Revelation, judgments that are concluded with the battle of Armaggedon and the final destruction of sinful human government. This period of judgment is the Day of the Lord, which begins after the openning of the sixth seal:

Revelation 6
12: And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;
13: And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.
14: And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.
15: And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;
16: And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:
17: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

As an advocate of the Pre-Wrath rapture, I believe that those who are in Christ are translated and glorified at this point. God's wrath is stored up to be outpoured on the sinful world system, not the believer (though the works of believers shall be judged by our Lord at His coming).

We read in Luke 17:

26: And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.
27: They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.
28: Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded;
29: But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.
30: Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.

As soon as Lot went out of Sodom, immediate destruction was poured out upon the city. Likewise, the rapture of the church shall be followed by the outpouring of God's wrath upon the nations that have rejected Him.

Knowing that judgment will be poured out on the world, we need to live in expectancy of the coming of Christ. In this time before the Day of the Lord, we need to make known the Gospel message to a sinful world. God commands all to repent and we need to call people to that position.

Knowing that the world is reserved for judgment means that we must not love it. It so easy to love the things of this world and to be occupied with them. Lot dwellt in Sodom, desiring to enjoy its riches. Yet in the end, he was left with nothing. All that wealth was burned up. Let us think on things above, not the things of this world.

Luke 17
32: Remember Lot's wife.

One of the shorter verses in Scripture and a stark warning.

Lot's wife looked back at burning Sodom. She had forgotten the warning she had been given. Her heart was still in Sodom.

There is danger in having our heart in the world. If we fail to watch for Christ's coming and become attached to this world, we shall fail to show the faithfulness that our Lord calls us to. Just as Lot's wife was turned to a pillar of salt, there is judgment for the believer who fails to overcome. Not loss of salvation, for the believer posesses everlasting life. To fail to overcome means to forfeit the great inheritance and privileges that our Lord would bestow upon those who follow Him.

Sodom burned and this world shall burn, yet we look to a new heavens and a new earth and the establisment of God's kingdom within them.

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