Online Bible College
Carelinks Home
FREE Literature
'The Last Days' Home
Bible Books Home
Buy this Book!
The Last Days Duncan Heaster  
email the author


3-1 Lot In Sodom

The importance of leaving the world immediately the Angel comes is shown by the consistent impression in the record that the Angels urgently " hastened Lot" (Gen.19:15-17,22), implying that if he did not hurry then he would perish. It was not foreordained that he would not perish- " Arise...lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city...escape for thy life; look not behind (the Hebrew root means 'to delay')  thee, neither stay thou...lest thou be consumed" (Gen.19:15,17). It is quite possible that the speed of our response to the call will be the proof of our acceptablity. The speed of response was the basic difference between the wise and foolish virgins. It was only after he had left Sodom that the Angel said that he could not " do any thing till thou be come thither" , i.e. to Zoar (Gen.19:22). Yet Lot " lingered" , the Hebrew meaning 'to question or argue', as we see him doing later in the record in his discussion with the Angel concerning the danger of going to the mountain as he had been told, and asking leave to go to Zoar. " Lingered" literally means 'Why?' or 'What!', indicating severe incomprehension on Lot's part. We would be foolish to think that we too will not be prone to a serious sense of incomprehension when the Angel appears. Only repeated meditation upon that moment and a true love of the Lord's coming will stop us being so flustered by the Angel's call that we fail to respond to it with the necessary speed.

Therefore the Angel " laid hold upon" Lot's hand (Gen.19:16), a Hebrew word elsewhere translated 'to take courage', and definitely meaning to strengthen or encourage. In our study of the judgment seat later the point is made that Angels frequently said to faithful men " Fear not" when they have appeared to them. It is therefore tempting to think that our Angel will speak similar words of strength and encouragement to us on their appearing. The typology of Lot would support this. But we have to remember that in Lot's case the Lord was " merciful unto him" - such grace as was shown to him cannot be presumed upon. " Merciful" certainly carries the idea of pity in Hebrew- if we have had a loving relationship with our guardian Angel now, surely we may look forward to their 'pity' then. Despite all this, Lot's wife still looked back; and 'remember her'. The pull of family and materialism was such for that woman, that all this supreme  demonstration of mercy and love was not enough to convince her that nothing else mattered apart from obedience to God.

Thus having given Lot this strength, the Angel warned, or perhaps pleaded " Look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain" (Gen.19:17). " Look" means to view intensely with love or pleasure; that these words were said to Lot must indicate that he was tempted to look on Sodom in that way. There seems to be a pointed contrast with Abraham, who looked at Sodom burning without being punished, presumably because he had no attraction towards it (Gen.19:28). Thus for all his vexing of soul for the sins of the city, Lot was still tempted to love it. Our repulsion at the ways of the world is not necessarily a sign of our spiritual safety- there is an uncanny love within human nature for the environment we know. Thus there can be homesickness for drab streets and scenes which we despised whilst living among them. Such love, taken to its logical end, is a love of the world which militates against our desire to see the end of this age and to enter the Kingdom.

It is amazing that with the clear command echoing in his ears, " neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed" (Gen.19:17), Lot could ask leave to live in Zoar, a small city of the plain, and not go to the mountain. He clearly failed to appreciate the reality and seriousness of the Angel's coming- and this will certainly be a temptation to us in that moment when the typology of Lot is fulfilled in us. The only way to guard against this is by consciously living our lives now in awareness of the fact that now we have been called to leave the world and its ways, and therefore our whole life now should have the spirit which we will have when we leave this world when the Angel comes. This is confirmed by an oblique allusion which our Lord makes to this Angelic command " Look not behind thee" , in Lk.9:62: " No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the Kingdom of God" . The context shows that starting to plough represents the start of our new life in response to the Gospel call- but the allusion to the Angel's words to Lot show that we should live our whole lives in response to that call as if we are on the way to the judgment, having been called away by the Angel.

Lot's response to the Angel's call illustrates the contradictions which abound within human nature. He claims to appreciate that the Angel has saved his life, but then goes on to say that what the Angel is telling him to do will result in the loss of his life: " Thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast shewed unto me in saving my life; and (but) I cannot escape to the mountain , lest some evil take me and I die" (Gen.19:19). Similarly our calling away may well present us with the prospect of apparent pain or loss. He feared that " some evil" would " take me" , using a Hebrew word that is not the one usually translated as " take" . This one means strictly 'to pursue after and capture', indicating that Lot was all too aware of the Sodomites' desire to kill him, and feared that if he lived alone in the mountains they would easily pursue and kill him. Instead, Lot suggested, there would be more safety in living in the small city of Zoar nearby, which presumably the Sodomites would be loath to invade just to take Lot.

All this shows an incomprehension of what the Angel had said. Firstly, Sodom was to be destroyed at any moment, including the men whom Lot feared. Either he did not properly believe this, or he thought that God's judgment would not involve total destruction. Secondly, he had been explicitly told " neither stay thou in all the plain (including Zoar)...lest thou be consumed" (Gen.19:17). Insufficient attention to the words of the Angels therefore resulted in his foolish reasoning which almost cost him his life. It is easy to imagine that the moment of the Angel's coming will fill the weak latter day believer, perhaps distracted as he will be by the persecutions of the holocaust to come, with such a sense of confusion and incomprehension that he too will fail to take careful note of what is said to him. A love of God's word now, rejoicing in its detail, is surely the preventive for this.

Lot's flustered reasoning continued: " Behold now, this city is near to flee unto" . The Hebrew for " flee" is also translated 'to hide in', carrying the idea of being chased into. Again, his fear of the Sodomites is shown to loom large in his thinking. The Angel had bidden him flee from the Divine wrath that was soon to consume all the cities of the plain. But instead Lot was preoccupied with the fear of human vengeance against him. Such an attitude appears crazy to our cool, armchair analysis of what happened. Yet Lot is certainly a type of the believers who are alive at the Lord's return. There can be no doubting, therefore, that whatever our theoretical willingness now to leave all and follow the Angel, there will then be at least the temptation to get consumed with the kind of double-think that seized Lot's reasoning. He even tried to accommodate his human desires to the desires of the Angel: " Is it not a little one?" , as if to imply that there was little wrong with the place spiritually. The Hebrew translated " little one" is also rendered " a short time" - as if to say 'You are asking me to be quick about leaving Sodom- so I'll go to  Zoar, as it won't take long to get there'.

" The sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar" (Gen.19:23) invites comparison with the description of the second coming as the rising of the sun in Mal.4:2. " But his wife looked back from behind him" (Gen.19:26) suggests the picture of the wife following behind Lot, filled with remorse at the loss of all she had held dear. Our Lord comments concerning not desiring our " stuff which is in the house" in the day of his coming: " Remember Lot's wife. Whosoever (like her) shall seek (Greek: 'plot') to save his life shall lose it" . We can infer from this that she plotted and schemed how to save her possessions- i.e. her 'life', seeing that for her, her life did consist of the abundance of the things which she possessed (Lk.12:15). These feelings grew so strong that she paused to take a loving, wistful look at the city. Remember that the fire only fell after Lot was in Zoar; therefore the city was looking as it normally did. Their exodus was at night- " the sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar" (Gen.19:23), so she would have seen the flickering lights of the city in the distance. Compare this with how the virgins of Mt.25 go out to meet their Lord at night.

She was walking " behind him" , so Lot would not have actually seen her turn into a pillar of salt.As he ceased to hear her footsteps behind him he must have guessed what had happened- but now the Angel's words seemed more vital to him: " Look not behind thee" . Likewise it will be a sore temptation for us to be side-tracked from our obedience to the Angel's call by consideration for our natural family. Dt.29:23 and Zeph.2:9 show that Sodom was turned into an area of salt, which explains why Gen.19:25 says that the fire destroyed " that which grew upon the ground" , by making the area salty. This salt was presumably formed through the fire intensely burning the rocks and earth until the elements dissolved into a 'salt'. It is reasonable to think that as Sodom was turned into salt by fire, so Lot's wife suffered the same punishment through a bolt of fire striking her and turning her too into salt. This is a prime example of how the unworthy will suffer the same punishment as the surrounding world which they failed to truly leave. There is good reason to think that their punishment may also involve an element of literal fire, as that of Lot's wife did.

" Remember Lot's wife" suggests that we should meditate upon her position as it has especial warning for the last days. Her leaving of Sodom appears to have been due to the personal influence of Lot her husband, yet ultimately she failed to have that personal desire to obey God. It would not be pushing the type too far to suggest that the wives of latter day believers may feel that they can enter the Kingdom in the spiritual shadow of their husbands. One cannot help wondering whether she left Ur not through personal response to the promises but because the others were leaving. Doubtless her uncle Abraham would have led her and the whole family in regular prayer and meditation during the journey towards Canaan. But somehow the reality of the God of Israel was never allowed to touch her inner being, and the years of the soft life in Sodom would have sealed her spiritual state. It is hard to avoid making the point that many of us may be in a similar position.

Gen. 19:14 RVmg. brings out the likely immediate background to her decision. Lot’s sons in law “were to marry” his daughters. The Lord too perceived that they were marrying and giving in marriage the very day the flood came, and He pointed out the similarities with the Sodom situation (Lk. 17:27-29). Could it not be that the very day of the double wedding, they had to leave? With all the build up to the wedding, Lot and his wife would so wanted to have stayed just another day to see the wedding of their two daughters. It is to the girls credit that they both left. But Lot’s wife had invested so much in it emotionally that she just had to look back.

Thus the typology of Sodom is a warning which hits present day believers where it hurts. Surely Abraham is our real example; who in the years of his pilgrimage chose the barren uplands, despising worldly advantage, and who could look at Sodom's burning with no feeling of desire or sense of loss. Abraham dwelt on the mountains, from where he could look down upon Sodom; if Lot had been in these mountains, he would not have suffered when Sodom was invaded the first time (Gen.14:10); it took the final coming of the Lord to make him flee to the mountains (Gen.19:10), i.e. to the area which Abraham had chosen at the first. If we can only see the world for what it is, then the equivalent of Lot's experiences will be unnecessary for us.

It is recorded for our learning " that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when He overthrew the cities in the which Lot dwelt" (Gen.19:29). Thus in the type of the last days, the prayers and loving spiritual concern of the faithful remnant really can have an effect on the salvation of our weaker brethren. Note that Abraham's prayer that Sodom would be saved if ten righteous were found there, was not answered; but God knew the real spirit of his prayer, that Lot should be saved, and that God's justice should be upheld in not destroying the righteous with the wicked. It was this which God recognized and answered, even though Abraham had not specifically verbalized those thoughts in prayer. Our true spiritual love for our brethren, expressed in such intense prayer, will likewise be heard in these last days.