Genesis Chapter 19 Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah

Jul 1st, 2009 | By | Category: Genesis, Verse by Verse --Studies led by Br. Frank Shallieu (Click on Book name)

Genesis Chapter 19 Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah

Gen. 19:1 And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground;

Two angels went to Lot “at even.” At the time, Lot was sitting in the gate as a judge. Like Abraham, Lot bowed toward the ground before them (Gen. 18:2). Both Abraham and Lot were humble, but Abraham was more notably so. Evidently, the angels were impressive in their attire and bearing—and probably very handsome.

Two angels appeared to Lot; three had appeared to Abraham. With Abraham, “the LORD” (that is, the Logos) spoke frequently. With Lot, the angels spoke. Hence Lot’s experience, lacking the personal connotation that Abraham’s experience had, was a less favorable indication.

Gen. 19:2 And he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant’s house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways. And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all night.

Abraham had a tent and lived like a bedouin, whereas Lot had a house; that is, Lot had more of this world’s goods from one standpoint. Abraham lived a simpler life.

Gen. 19:3 And he pressed upon them greatly; and they turned in unto him, and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat.

As Abraham had done, Lot prepared a feast for the angels—although Abraham’s atmosphere and spirit were more admirable.

Gen. 19:4 But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter:

Before the two angels lay down to rest, Lot’s house was surrounded by all the men of Sodom, the old and the young, from every station and occupation of life.

Gen. 19:5 And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them.

The men of Sodom wanted to “know” the two angels, that is, become sexually familiar with them as homosexuals.

Gen. 19:6 And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him,

Gen. 19:7 And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly.

Gen. 19:8 Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof.

Gen. 19:9 And they said, Stand back. And they said again, This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge: now will we deal worse with thee, than with them. And they pressed sore upon the man, even Lot, and came near to break the door.

Gen. 19:10 But the men put forth their hand, and pulled Lot into the house to them, and shut to the door.

Gen. 19:11 And they smote the men that were at the door of the house with blindness, both small and great: so that they wearied themselves to find the door.

When the men of Sodom surrounded the house, Lot realized immediately what their evil intentions were. He went out, closed the door behind him, and made an offer: The men of Sodom had better satisfy their desires on his two virgin daughters instead of on the two strangers. However, the men of Sodom were so angry with Lot for trying to stop them that they said they would now “deal worse” with him; that is, they would kill him.

This incident shows the condition of Sodom. Its sins were more than just pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness (Ezek. 16:49). Indeed homosexuality was the grievous sin. All the men of the city were involved except Lot (and perhaps his two prospective sons-in-law).

With Sodom being a symbol of Christendom, the implication is that conditions will get worse and worse as the end of the age draws closer. As for the antitype, it is significant that the sin was occurring in Sodom and that Lot was present there—as well as his wife and two daughters.

This grievous sin of Sodom was a desire for “strange flesh,” new flesh, new ideas, new methods (Jude 7). There seems to be an intimation that the city was even given to animal relations.

The two angels opened the door of Lot’s house from the inside, yanked Lot in, shut the door, and smote the men of Sodom with blindness. From inside, Lot and the two angels could hear the blinded men of Sodom groping for the door. The men of Sodom continued to hunt for the door until they were exhausted (“wearied”); that is, they were so intent on finding the door and breaking it down to perform their wickedness that they persisted until their prolonged frustration exhausted them. Finally they returned home. Then it was quiet.

Comment: It was a sacrifice on Lot’s part to offer his own virgin daughters in lieu of the two angels. His offer shows that homosexuality is so unnatural and abominable in God’s sight that it would exceed the sin incurred in the use of his daughters. It is remarkable that Lot himself was not contaminated with such an influence around him daily.

Reply: The Apostle Peter wrote that God turned “the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes…. And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation [conduct] of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)” (2 Pet. 2:6-8). Even the Great Company class must ultimately experience this vexation—a righteous indignation to a certain extent but a milder form than with Noah, Moses, etc.

Comment: The Lord had to be with Lot in order for him to be left alone in the midst of such evil all that time and yet to be able to sit as a just judge in the gate.

Reply: No doubt providential care was exercised on his behalf. The same is true of all the consecrated in greater or lesser degrees. The indication, too, is not merely that Lot was a judge in the gate but that he was raised to a prominent position. He had come to Sodom as a wealthy stranger perhaps 25 years earlier.

Gen. 19:12 And the men said unto Lot, Hast thou here any besides? son-in-law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out of this place:

Gen. 19:13 For we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the LORD; and the LORD hath sent us to destroy it.

Gen. 19:14 And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place; for the LORD will destroy this city. But he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons in law.

The daughters were not married yet, so the “sons in law” were prospective. God was merciful in allowing the benefaction to extend beyond Lot’s immediate family to his prospective sons-inlaw, but they declined the offer through disbelief. Thus there were not even ten righteous individuals in Sodom. Only four left the city, and of the four, Lot’s wife was turned into salt (verse 26). Therefore, only three individuals were considered “righteous” in the final analysis.

Conditions were now so quiet in Sodom that Lot could go out to the homes of the sons-in-law and try to reason with them—but to no avail. They thought the matter was a joke.

Gen. 19:15 And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city.

Gen. 19:16 And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the LORD being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city.

Gen. 19:17 And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed.

Verses 15-17 give an insight into Lot’s character. When told the destruction of Sodom was imminent, he lingered, but why? He lingered because leaving Sodom would cost him something—the loss of his goods, servants, etc. Nevertheless, God was merciful to him. The two angels (with four hands between them) grabbed Lot and his wife and the two daughters by their hands and pulled them forth and “set” them without the city. The wording shows that the Great Company will be forced out of Babylon when it falls. The leaving will not be voluntary.

Lot and his family had to be yanked outside of Sodom’s influence—just far enough outside—to come to their senses. From that moment on, their destiny was their own responsibility. The two angels took them just so far and then left them with the instruction “Escape for your life to the mountain lest you be consumed! Do not stay in the plain or look behind you.” In other words, “Escape to the mountain as fast as you can, and do not look back or you will be consumed.” Lot and his family were to flee in panic! They were extricated from the influence of Sodom and then given advice.

Gen. 19:18 And Lot said unto them, Oh, not so, my Lord:

Gen. 19:19 Behold now, thy servant hath found grace in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast shown unto me in saving my life; and I cannot escape to the mountain, lest some evil take me, and I die:

Gen. 19:20 Behold now, this city is near to flee unto, and it is a little one: Oh, let me escape thither, (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live.

Lot did not think he could make it to the mountain, so he asked the Lord for a favor. He requested that he be allowed to flee to a little city that was nearer. God granted the accommodation as a temporary solution.

Comment: Because Haran, Lot’s father, was much older, Abraham and Lot were approximately the same age, even though they were uncle and nephew, respectively. Therefore, both Abraham and Lot were about 100 years old, yet Abraham had been strengthened by the Lord in a way that Lot was not. Lot’s feebler physical condition, which is indicated here in the type, beautifully fits the antitype. Since the strengthening of the Holy Spirit is received according to faithfulness, the Little Flock are stronger as new creatures than the Great Company. Abraham lived in a condition that was more conducive to spirituality.

Lot’s rescue from Sodom and the instruction he was given to flee farther indicates that the Great Company will get a chance to wash their robes white (Rev. 7:14). Although they will come to their senses, a real shock will be required. Some of the consecrated will not be rightly exercised, as shown by Lot’s wife.

Gen. 19:21 And he said unto him, See, I have accepted thee concerning this thing also, that I will not overthrow this city, for the which thou hast spoken.

Gen. 19:22 Haste thee, escape thither; for I cannot do any thing till thou be come thither. Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar.

Lot was given permission to flee to Zoar, which was a smaller mountain nearer Sodom. The original “mountain” was the mountain range proper on the eastern shore of the Dead Sea; it was the range that contained mounts Nebo and Pisgah and, as such, represents heaven. Zoar, a miniature mountain in a wadi apart from the mountain range proper, represents the lesser destiny of the Great Company. A fort was later erected there. Incidentally, Mount Nebo was the highest peak of the Pisgah mountain range.

Formerly called Bela, Zoar was a ghost city without inhabitants in Lot’s day (Gen. 14:8). After fighting and wars, Bela was evacuated. Because of Lot’s experience, the city was subsequently historically renamed Zoar.

The angel said that Sodom could not be destroyed until Lot was removed from the city. Hence the fall of Babylon will be a proof that the Church has gone beyond the veil but not that the Great Company is off the scene. The Lot class will get a temporary deliverance from Babylon but will remain in the flesh for development, purging, and testing.

The pronoun usage in verses 17 and 21 contrasts “he” and “they.” The Logos could have joined the two angels who originally went to Lot. In that case, the Logos (“he”) would be the spokesman. However, in regard to the antitype, three angels went to Abraham and only two went to Lot. The authoritativeness of the speaking suggests the Logos, but the speaker could also have been one of the subordinates, that is, one of the two angels.

Gen. 19:23 The sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar.

Gen. 19:24 Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven;

Gen. 19:25 And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.

The overthrow and/or destruction was comprehensive, encompassing Sodom, Gomorrah, all the plain, all the inhabitants of the cities, and “that which grew upon the ground.” Now we can see why Lot had to flee beyond Sodom, out of the plain to higher ground.

The “plain” was the well-watered fertile plain that had looked so attractive to Lot in the first place (Gen. 13:10). Later, after the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, the plain became inundated. In other words, the land was changed so radically that the water of the Jordan River, which formerly went down to Eilat and entered the Gulf of Eilat, no longer exited out of the plain. The exit was blocked and the Dead Sea formed. In time, the Lisan Peninsula, the boot protruding into the Dead Sea, was covered over with water. Now, from an airplane, when the light is right, the promontory can be seen under the water. Sodom and Gomorrah were at the tip of the boot. It took time for the Dead Sea to fill with enough water to cover the peninsula.

The sun was risen when Lot entered Zoar. Thus his flight took place while it was still dark, even though it was “morning” (verse 15). When the sun came over the horizon, Lot had reached Zoar. Incidentally, the word “then” in verse 24 does not mean the actions were sequential, for the destruction occurred while Lot was fleeing to Zoar. In antitype, the orb of the sun will be visible when the Kingdom is established but not when Babylon is being destroyed.

Gen. 19:26 But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.

Lot’s wife pictures a Second Death class who will “look back.” Although Lot resisted, he also had the temptation to look back because he lingered and dillydallied in Sodom. In fact, it was so hard for him to leave that if God had not been merciful and yanked him out, he and his household would have perished in the destruction.

From the type, we can see that the demise of the Second Death class will take place shortly after the fall of Babylon. The death of the “Lot’s wife” class will happen in such a manner that the other consecrated (those who have not made their calling and election sure) will see it and be energized in a positive way to wash their robes in the blood of the Lamb, to fill their lamps with oil, and to plead with the Lord for the salvation of the high calling—only to realize that the door is already closed (Rev. 7:14; Matt. 25:1-12).

Q: Will the Great Company witness the death of all the Second Death class on the scene at that time, or will they see the death of just a portion of that class—such as the Judas class?

A: This is a general picture. In the destruction of Babylon, some will be extricated who subsequently look back. Also, in the rescue of the Great Company, others will be forcibly removed at the same time because of their close relationship. The Judas class will be in the movement of the brethren; that is, they will be so much a part of the “truth brethren” who do not make the Little Flock but are to escape the destruction of Babylon that they will be extricated from Babylon at the same time. The two classes are interrelated, but after the fall of Babylon, a separation will occur between the extricated Great Company and the extricated Second Death class. Just as with Jesus, Judas sat at the same table with the other apostles. To repeat: the Judas class will be such an intimate part of the truth movement that both classes will be extricated from Babylon.

The fact that Lot was strengthened and the foolish virgins got the oil shows that the Great Company class will become energized, do witnessing work, etc.—but, first, they must be severed from the life they are leading. One foot is on earth, and one foot is in heaven. They have trouble separating themselves from the world and its influence—until forced apart. Then there will be a radical change, and they will become as zealous as the Little Flock—but too late.

Q: Is the turning of Lot’s wife into a pillar of salt tied in with the suicide of Judas? If so, that will be a startling removal of a betraying element.

A: Yes.

We will digress a moment to consider the use of salt in Scripture. Jesus said that the Lord’s people are the salt of the earth, but if the salt loses its savor (or flavor), it is not good for anything except to be trodden underfoot (Matt. 5:13). Salt without savor is thrown on the floor to absorb blood in a butcher shop or on a sidewalk in winter; it is no good except to be used in this demeaning fashion. Therefore, salt is a symbol of perishing.

Lot’s wife symbolizes those who go into Second Death, but the type is not limited to the Judas class. The picture includes those who formerly were truly consecrated but who subsequently look back. In addition, there is a Judas class, and exactly when those of this class die is shown by other types.

In the past, salt was used by a conquering people to make soil infertile for years. Hence salt can have either a preserving, life-giving effect or a killing effect depending on usage. In moderation, salt is good, refreshing, exhilarating, tasty, and purifying, but en masse, it is destructive. On the one hand, molten lava, which was sulfurous salt, encased Lot’s wife. On the other hand, the Apostle Paul said, “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man” (Col. 4:6).

The Second Death class will be destroyed at the conclusion of the destruction of Christendom (Sodom and Gomorrah). They will die not in the destruction but in relation to it—very shortly thereafter. Although they will get a fair opportunity to reconsider their stand, they will not wash their robes. The tribulation will become a hindrance instead of an energizing factor because they will look at what they have left behind.

Gen. 19:27 And Abraham gat up early in the morning to the place where he stood before the LORD:

Gen. 19:28 And he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain, and beheld, and, lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace.

When Abraham accompanied the three angels earlier, he had gone to a place where he could look down on the plain and on Sodom and Gomorrah. Now he retraced the route “early in the morning” from Hebron to this overview. From there, he could see the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. The country appeared like the “smoke of a furnace.” Volcanic rock on the surface of a field in Jordan is evidence today of the earthquake and volcanic eruption. The molten lava burned all grass, grain, etc., as the fire rained down from heaven.

Abraham, picturing the Little Flock, viewed the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah from afar. Antitypically, the Little Flock will be complete beyond the veil at this time, and they will view the destruction of Christendom from heaven. The Great Company will be snatched out of the destruction as it is occurring.

Gen. 19:29 And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in the which Lot dwelt.

Lot was rescued from Sodom based on Abraham’s pleading with God to save the city if even ten righteous remained (Gen. 18:23-32). In the final analysis, only three were “righteous,” and Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed.

Verse 29 shows that God does make a distinction in His love—just as Jesus loved three of his apostles more than the other nine. There are gradations of love. Abraham is shown to be more important than Lot. Out of consideration of the promise made to Abraham, Lot was spared. A statement in Song of Solomon expresses the sentiments of the Little Flock shortly after being glorified: “We have a little sister with no breasts. What shall we do for her?” (Song 8:8 paraphrase). Following the marriage, Jesus and the Little Flock will go to the aid of the little sister, the Great Company.

The north end of the Dead Sea is 1,300 feet deep, whereas the south end is only 13 feet deep. The difference proves where the water once flowed out. At the time of Sodom’s destruction, the Jordan was dammed up just enough to create the Dead Sea and stop the outlet. The intense evaporation rate caused by the Dead Sea being far below sea level prevents incoming water from overflowing the dammed-up portion and creating a new outlet. God had calculated this balance beforehand. Even though much of the Dead Sea will be “healed,” the southern end will be salty everlastingly (Ezek. 47:8-11). Never again will there be an outlet at the southern end.

Gen. 19:30 And Lot went up out of Zoar, and dwelt in the mountain, and his two daughters with him; for he feared to dwell in Zoar: and he dwelt in a cave, he and his two daughters.

Q: Why did Lot “fear” to dwell in Zoar?

A: When God gave the command to flee, Lot said he could not make it to the mountain and asked permission to go to Zoar. Once he got to Zoar, he thought he would not be safe there if another earthquake occurred. Lot “feared to dwell in Zoar” and went on up to the original mountain. A comparison with Genesis 19:21,25 shows that a miracle had preserved the little mountain of Zoar. Zoar was in the midst of the destruction but was not destroyed. Meanwhile, lava spewed out a great distance—even down near Petra, which was 50 to 75 miles away.

In antitype, the Great Company will be spared in the destruction of Babylon. When Babylon falls, “all” nations will be affected because that system is in all nations. The Great Company will be delivered in Babylon’s fall, but they will not be delivered to heaven. They will get a temporary escape when they flee from the midst of Babylon. Just like Lutherans, Catholics, and those in other denominations, we as Bible Students are professed Christian people. However, for Bible Students to be identified as a cultist group is helpful preparation because we are not seen as part of orthodoxy and will not be affected when Babylon falls. Thus distinctions will be made in the Time of Trouble. Being identified as a “cult” will help the feet members to lose their life earlier—and thus get their reward. In other words, for such to be singled out as ringleaders will be a benefit because they will then be changed to resurrection glory.

The Great Company will be delivered out of Babylon and then changed at a later date to less honor. They will be changed from the little Zoar to the mountain, from the temporary escape to the heavenly escape.

Before the destruction of Sodom, Lot dwelled in a house with temporal means. He lived comfortably, even though he was vexed with unrighteous conditions around him. After the destruction of Sodom, he was reduced to living in a cave. In being taken out of one environment into another, Lot was being educated and disciplined to see that he was lowly and of the dust.

Gen. 19:31 And the firstborn said unto the younger, Our father is old, and there is not a man in the earth to come in unto us after the manner of all the earth:

Gen. 19:32 Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father.

Lot’s two daughters thought they were the only survivors of the earthquake destruction. As far as they could visually see, the quake was a worldwide catastrophe. Since Lot was old, they thought they should act fast to repopulate the earth; that is, they deemed their actions essential for survival. The progeny from this “seed” were the Moabites and the Ammonites.

Gen. 19:33 And they made their father drink wine that night: and the firstborn went in, and lay with her father; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose.

Lot was not responsible in that “he perceived not when she [the oldest daughter] lay down, nor when she arose.”

Comment: Lot was responsible in that he allowed himself to become intoxicated—and twice.

Reply: Wine is deceptive and not like hard liquor where one knows he can become intoxicated.

Wine can sneak up until one is intoxicated without realizing what is happening. And wine was drunk almost universally back there. Remember, Lot is called “righteous” (2 Pet. 2:7,8). He may have been depressed over losing his wife, and when the wine seemed to console him, he continued to drink at the urging of his daughters. Also, if Lot ate less that day, the wine would have affected him more.

Gen. 19:34 And it came to pass on the morrow, that the firstborn said unto the younger, Behold, I lay with my father: let us make him drink wine this night also; and go thou in, and lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father.

The very next day the older daughter suggested that they again make their father drunk, and this time the youngest should lie with her father to “preserve seed.”

Gen. 19:35 And they made their father drink wine that night also: and the younger arose, and lay with him; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose.

Again Lot did not realize when a daughter lay down or arose.

Gen. 19:36 Thus were both the daughters of Lot with child by their father.

Both daughters became pregnant through Lot.

Gen. 19:37 And the firstborn bare a son, and called his name Moab: the same is the father of the Moabites unto this day.

Gen. 19:38 And the younger, she also bare a son, and called his name Ben-ammi: the same is the father of the children of Ammon unto this day.

The son of the oldest daughter was named Moab, and in time, he became the father of the Moabites. The son of the youngest daughter was called Ben-ammi, and he became the father of the Ammonites. In Psalms 60:8 and 108:9, Moab is called God’s “washpot.”

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