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Chapter 19

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ch. 19:1-29    ch. 19:30-38

Sodom And Gomorrah Destroyed (ch. 19:1 - 29)

 

In verse 1 we note that Lot was sitting at the gate to the city of Sodom .  This means that he was one of the leading men of the city, an elder, a councilman, or something like that.  This has always intrigued me.   Abraham pleaded with the Lord to spare Sodom if there were ten righteous people in the city.  I believe that Abraham viewed Lot as one of these righteous people.  I'm sure I don't know the whole story, but I just wonder why a righteous man lived in such an unrighteous place, and even was one of its leaders.  One answer might be that the whole area was unrighteous and Lot had no real choice where to live unless he wanted to move westward where Abraham lived, but he had already chosen this place when Abraham and him agreed to part company.     

 

Lot sees the two men coming towards him.  We know that these two men were angels, but I'm not sure Lot knew that at the time.  I'm not sure anyone really knows how Lot viewed these two men.  Some say that Lot knew they were angels right away because he bowed and fell face down and said, "my lords".  This isn't necessarily conclusive  evidence.  Bowing before a guest in that culture and in those days was normal procedure.  It is like us shaking the hands of a guest.  Calling the two men, "my lords" is the same thing.  The word "lord" doesn't necessarily mean a subservient relationship. It can just as easily mean "sir".  We use the word "sir" as a matter of respect, not as a matter of a servant to his master.  That being said, in the culture of the day, when people had visitors, they treated them almost as if the visitors were their masters.  So at this stage, I don't know if Lot understood these men to be angels or men.  My suspicion is that he viewed them as men.

 

In verse 2 Lot does call himself a servant before these men.  Once again, this is all cultural.  You cannot say  Lot viewed these men as angels based on this verse.  Visitors in that culture were respected almost as much as a master.   

 

Lot is a hospitable man.  He suggests that the two angels come to his house, wash their feet and spend the night to be rested up for their journey the next day.  The washing of feet was another custom of the day when inviting visitors into one's home.

 

If Lot understood these men to be angels, then I'm not sure that he'd suggest that they needed refreshment before they went on their way.  I don't think angels need such refreshment, and I don't think they need to walk wherever they are going.  Angels may not need refreshment, or they may not need to walk, but it does appear that they do eat and walk since they are in human like bodies.  If you study angels in the Bible, you will note that when they appear to humans, they appear as men, when in fact they are spirits.  So since they appear as men, they act like men.   

 

The two angel/men said no to Lot 's request.  They'd rather spend the night in the town square for some reason.  I'm sure these angels knew what the men of Sodom were like, and why they'd want to spend the night in the town square is beyond me.  Maybe they had planned on preaching to the men in the square.  The town square would be where the men would have gathered to perform all sorts of immorality in a massive way. 

 

In verse 3 we see Lot persuaded them to come to his house.  He made a meal for them and they ate.  The question arises that if these two men were really angels, why did they eat.  I don't think they had to eat, but apparently angels can eat.  We don't really know if angels really have the bodies we see them with.  Many believe angels are spirits, and when they appear to man, they appear in some kind of body so they can be seen by men, but as soon as they disappear, they dismantle that body.  Hebrews 1:14 calls angels "ministering spirits".  This might well back up what I've just said.

 

Concerning the angels eating, I believe that after Jesus rose from the dead, He had His glorified body.  I'm not sure His glorified body can be compared to the body these angels had, there's no text that suggest any similarity, but I just point out that Jesus did eat food with His glorified body, and so will we when we have our glorified bodies in the next life on the new earth.  The book of Revelation makes that clear with the mentioning of trees to eat from in the New Jerusalem.

 

Verse 4 speaks of the two angel/men getting ready to go to bed.  Do angels need to sleep?  It seems that when angels are in some kind of human body, maybe they do. 

 

The two men didn't actually get to go to sleep because all the men of the city, both young and old came knocking on Lot 's door.

 

Verse 5 speaks to the immoral nature of Sodom.  The men of the city wanted Lot to open the door so they could have sex with the two men visiting him.  You can see what bad shape this city was in.  Christians today often think of how western civilization is very immoral, but I'm not sure we're this bad yet.  I haven't yet seen all the men of a city pounding on one man's door to have sex with his visitors.  These men were worse than animals.

 

In verses 6 and 7 we see Lot coming outside and closing the door behind him.  He did not want the men of the city to enter his house.  He told the men not to do this wicked thing.  By this, we do know that Lot viewed this to be wicked.  You might wonder why Lot lived in Sodom, but at least we know that he himself did not participate in the immorality.  Maybe he viewed himself as a missionary, but I donít know that for sure.

 

 

Verse 8 seems very strange.  I think at this point that by now Lot might be feeling a little afraid of the men of the city.  They were getting more intent in persisting that they wanted the two visitors.  Why Lot didn't just go back in the house and lock the door we don't know.  The men of the city probably would have just knocked down the door anyway.  So to appease the men of the city Lot suggested they take his two young daughters who were virgins, yet we learn later that they were in fact married virgins, that is, in the betrothal stage of a marriage in those days.  You might say they were legally married, but were waiting for their husband to take them from their father to live with them.  We can't say for sure why Lot would offer his daughters up to these men.  It just doesnít seem right, but their was a matter of honour concerning visitors who were under his roof.  I just don't know why this matter of honour didn't extend to his daughters as well.  This does show us how important people viewed visitors in those days.  It is nothing like the way we view visitors today.  We often tend to view visitors as a disruption. 

 

Lot says in verse 8 that these men have "come under the protection of my roof".  Again, we see the cultural aspect of visitors here.  Lot 's house is a place of protection for them, and I think should be for his daughters as well.

 

I think we can safely say that at this point Lot was quite fearful, and would progressively become more fearful in the moments ahead.  This might account a bit for Lot 's actions concerning suggesting that the men could have his daughters.  

 

We see the crowd of men getting more angry in verse 9.  They were about to break down the door.   The crowd called Lot an "alien who wanted to play the judge".  Lot was an alien to Sodom.  He had moved there from a distance.  He was not born and raised in Sodom.  They were now resenting Lot for this. 

 

When the men speak of Lot "playing the judge", I believe they mean that Lot was judging what they should do.  They could not have the two visitors, but they could have his two daughters.  Lot thought that this was his decision to make.  The men of the city thought that it was their decision to make.  The matter might have been made worse because we believe that Lot was one of the ruling elders of the city because he sat at the gateway to the city.  The crowd of men might well have wondered why an alien was in such a place of authority and had the right to make any kind of judgment.

 

In verse 10 we see the two visitors rescuing Lot .  They open the door and pulled Lot back inside.  

 

We see the crowd of men telling Lot that if he doesn't let the two men outside, then they will do worse to him than what they had planned on doing to the two men.  We see a couple of things here.  One thing we see is that the men of the city knew what they were doing was wicked, but that didn't matter to them.  The other thing we note here is the matter of violence involved.  Sodom's sin was more than immorality, more than homosexuality.  It was violence. The mixture of violence and sexual sin is much worse than immorality, with much worse effects.  Such mixture leads rape, wife abuse, child abuse, and even to mass murder.  So this is really the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah, that is, the mixture of sexual immorality and  violence.      

 

If Lot didn't know these men were angels, he did now.  Once Lot was inside, the two angels struck those men at the door with blindness. You might wonder just what Lot thought at this point in time.  These weren't just two ordinary men.

 

In verses 12 and 13 the angels ask Lot if he as any other family members in the city, because in their words, "we are getting ready to destroy this place".   To me, I think the two angels were down right disgusted and furious at this point.  They were ready "to destroy this place".  Again, what a shock all this must have been to Lot. 

 

Verse 13 says that "the outcry to the Lord against its people is so great that he has sent us to destroy it".  The question that comes to my mind here is, "who is doing the outcry to the Lord concerning Sodom?   It sounds to me like a major outcry. It obviously didn't come from the men of Sodom, and even from Lot, or so I think.  I'm not wondering if the outcry didn't come from the angelic world.  That would be my thinking at present. Angels do have a part to play in the affairs of mankind  and I believe they'd be just as upset over events on the earth as God Himself is.

 

In verse 14 we note that Lot "went out to his sons-in-law who were pledged to marry his daughters".   In our culture we don't consider men sons-in-laws until after they marry our daughters, not before.  In those days, and with Israel in Old Testament times, marriage was a two step procedure.  Their period similar to our engagement period was in fact marriage.  That's why Lot called the men his sons-in-law.  Yet the consummation of the marriage did not take place until a later date.  The woman still lived at home until her husband came to get her.  So when Lot offered his daughters to the men of the city, he did not just offer his daughters, but his sons-in-law's virgin wives as well.  That sounds worse than simply offering the men of the city his virgin daughters.

 

In verse 14 Lot warned this sons-in-law that the Lord was going to destroy Sodom but the sons-in-law laughed it off and thought that Lot was joking.  This was no joking matter.  This is understandable.  Sodom, and those who lived in Sodom had no understanding of God, and know understanding of His judgment.  This is much like the days of Noah when Noah warned people of the flood and God's judgment.  Few people knew of such things, so it's easy to understand that Noah, and now Lot were a bit crazy in the eyes of the general public.  Many people think Christians today are just as crazy too when we speak of impending judgment by God.    

 

You might wonder if God judged the people back then when they were living in ignorance.  Did they really know and understand what they were doing was wrong.  If they were like the men of Noah's day, did they not just grow up in this immoral culture and therefore knew nothing else.  Well, some might suggest that their consciences could have told them they were in the wrong, yet Paul says that some people's consciences are distorted and can't tell right from wrong.  Whatever the case, God judged these people even if they did not know better, and He will do the same at the end of this age.       

 

Why the angels waited until the morning to destroy the city we don't know, but in verse 15 they told Lot to hurry, get his wife and daughters and leave the city immediately.  Sometimes when God says to do something, you do it, no questions asked. 

 

We see in verse 16 that Lot hesitated.  He must have been thinking of what to do.  So the two angels took his hand, his wife's hand, and the hands of their daughters, and they led them out of the city.  My guess is that this was not a leisurely stroll  I think it was more like a mad dash to the gates of the city. 

 

In verse 17 one of the angels told them "to flee for their lives".  This is like a fireman telling a person to run as fast and as far as you can from the burning house.  The angels were rescuing Lot and his family from judgment.  This is how we should view our lives on this earth.  We should understand that God has and will rescue us from the way of the world.  The problem is that we don't want to be rescued from the world.  We love it too much.  But the world will be judged and it will be severe. God will also rescue us from judgment, that is why some believe in a pre-trib rapture.  They don't believe God will judge the righteous with the wicked. 

 

In verse 18 Lot expresses his fears to one of the angels.  He pleads with the angel not to destroy Sodom because he would not be able to flee to the mountains fast enough.  The judgment would overtake him in the process and he and his family would be destroyed.   We see that battle of flesh and spirit here.  Lot is actually speaking to an angel of God, yet his fears rise to the surface.  You'd wonder how and why Lot couldn't just trust and accept the angel's words for him.  Our flesh is strong, stronger than we might want to admit. 

 

In verse 20 Lot tries to negotiate with the angel to flee to another town near by.  He says, "let me flee to it. It is very small, isn't it?"  The nature of this comment being a question to me suggest Lot 's fear is really bubbling over.  Like, "isn't this town good enough?  Please, let it be good enough."

 

In verse 21 we see that Lot convinced the angel.  The angel said that he would spare that little town from destruction as if to say that he might well have been planning on destroying it too.  This tells me that more than just Sodom was destroyed here. 

 

Once deciding not to destroy Zoar, the town in question here, the angel tells Lot to hurry because he could not destroy Sodom until he left.  Many Christians today take this verse to support a pre-trib rapture.  They say that Lot and his family had to leave before God's wrath was poured out on Sodom, because God does not pour out his wrath on his people.  That might well be true, but I don't think that is the main point to this verse.  The angel could not destroy Sodom with Lot still there because the Lord promised Abraham that He wouldn't destroy Sodom if there were righteous people living in the city.  So Lot had to leave before the destruction occurred.  It's that simple.  That being said, the principle that is behind the pre-trib rapture position might well be right, but it's not the main point to this verse, or so I think.

 

In verses 23 and 24 we see that after the sun rose in the sky the Lord poured out burning sulfur from heaven to destroy both Sodom and Gomorrah.  I can't imagine the pain and suffering the people would have went through.  Sulfur alone is burning to the eyes, let alone enough to burn two or more cities. 

 

Verse 26 clarifies that God destroyed more than just Sodom, and more than just Gomorrah.  He destroyed all the land of the plain as well, and that included the vegetation.  So it was a large area of land that was destroyed, and that is why the angel wanted Lot to leave, not only Sodom but the whole land of the plains.  The angel wanted Lot to go up into the mountains because the land of the plains would be destroyed as well. 

 

This is interesting.  All the land of the plain was destroyed, except for Zoar, the little city that Lot pleaded to go to.  Many prophetic Futurists believe this to be significant, because they believe this is prophetic of Israel fleeing into a specific mentioned safe place at the final battle of Armageddon.   

 

Some pre-trib rapture people suggests this is yet another hint of a pre-trib rapture.  Others, who don't believe in a pre-trib rapture suggest that God did not take Lot out of this world but simply put him in a safe place and protected him.  They say that is what God will do during the seven years of tribulation.  That is, we still stay on earth, but we will be protected from God's wrath.                

 

Verse 26 seems pretty drastic on the surface.  Lot 's wife looked back and as a result she turned into a pillar of salt.  Why would God do such a drastic thing just because she turned around to look.  Well, my guess is that there is more to the story than her just looking back as she was running to Zoar.  She had to have stopped, and in her heart looked back in the sense that she did not want to leave Sodom.  She might well have been in the process of leaving Sodom , but I think Sodom never left her.  I think, in her heart, she loved Sodom and was very sad to see it on fire.  For this reason, she was judged by God. 

 

So here we have one numbered as one of the righteous that in fact appears not to have been righteous.  What a story.  I think it says a lot of Israel and the church today.  Not all Israel are Israel, as Paul puts it.  I'd also suggest that not all in the church are the church.  Lot 's wife is one of these, although she was numbered with the righteous, she apparently wasn't. 

 

In verses 27 and 28 we see Abraham woke up the next day and went to the place where he had pleaded with the Lord.  He looked towards the land of the plains and saw the smoke rise from the earth.   At the end of this age, the saints of God will look from a far and see the smoke rise from the judgment of God on the earth as well. 

 

In verse 29 we see that God remembered Abraham once the destruction was over.  This might be a hint of Israel's restoration at the end of this age.  Once the enemies of God and Israel are destroyed, God will remember Israel and restore her to what she should have been all along.

 

  The verse also reminds us that God rescued Lot , and rescue is a good word, for that is what He did, and that is what He does for us.  God will rescue all of those who are truly His from His future judgment one way or another.

 

This whole event might well be prophetic, as some, if not many Old Testament events are.  To me, this is a clear picture of the final judgment that God will bring to the earth at the end of this age.

 

Lot And His Daughters (ch. 19:30 - 38)          

 

Verse 30 tells us that once everything settled down that Lot and his two daughters left Zoar, and went to live in the mountains, actually a cave in the mountains.  That's where the angels wanted Lot to go in the first place, and that is where he ended up.  He, like Abraham could look down over the land of the plains and see the destruction, a memory that would last his whole life.  I think after the destruction at the end of this age, we'll do the same.  The memory may never leave us.  We'll understand how great God is throughout eternity.

 

Verse 31 and 32 may appear to be strange, and strange it is.  Lot 's two daughters were up in the hills, away from the rest of the male population.  They had no husbands to carry on the family line, and that was more important for people back then than it is for us today.  So the made a plan.  They'd get their father drunk and they'd have sex with him so they could get pregnant.  Once again, we see how culture has such a strong place in their society, that these girls would actually have sex with their father in order to have children, and especially a boy.  

 

So in verse 33 Lot's daughters gave him some wine, sufficient wine to get him so drunk that she could have sex with him and he would not even remember what took place.  You might wonder why a righteous  man would even get drunk in the first place.  I'd suggest that the standards of righteousness might be higher in New Testament times than they were in Old Testament times.                          

 

As seen in verses 34 and 35, the next night the two girls got their father drunk again and this time the younger of the two had sex with her father so both of them could carry on the family line through their dad.  I guess they were hoping to have boy babies.  I'm not sure what they would have done if their babies were girls.  They didn't have to worry about that.  In verses 37 and 38 we see that both girls, or I should probably say ladies at this point, had sons.  The older called her son Moab while the younger called her son Ben-Ammie. 

 

Ben-Ammie means "son of my people", appropriately named.  His descendents became the Ammorites.   Moab means "from father".  The in turn became the Moabites. You might wonder because of these names, if Lot ever found out what he had done while he was drunk, or if his daughters ever told him at some point in time.   

 

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