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The Last Days Duncan Heaster  
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According to Gen. 18:17-19, the reason God told Abraham what He would do with Sodom was because Abraham would teach others, and his descendants would teach others. This implies that Sodom's destruction was to be a special lesson for all generations. And 2 Pet. 2:6 says the same- Sodom was to be a perpetual "example unto those that after should live ungodly"; in this sense Sodom was "set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire" (Jude 7). The fire was "eternal" in the sense that the example of destruction was to be to all generations. This paves the way for Sodom's destruction to be understood as a particularly significant type of the last days.

Our Lord clearly understood the destruction of Sodom as being typical of the events of the second coming: " As it was in the days of Lot...the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven...even thus shall it be in the day when the son of man is revealed. 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...remember Lot's that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other left" (Lk.17:28-34). Not only is the city of Sodom representative of the world of the last days, but Lot's calling out of Sodom by the Angels is typical of our being 'taken' by Angels to meet the Lord.

It is a breathtaking thought that all the intricate typology of the judgments on Sodom has been worked out for our benefit- the generation who will be alive at the second coming. To a lesser extent, the believers of the first century could have seen that the story of Sodom also represented the judgments to come upon Jerusalem in AD70. An impressive group of Old Testament prophets had associated Jerusalem with Sodom: Is.1:10; Am.4:11; Dt.29:23; Jer.23:14; Lam.4:6; Ez.16:46. Jer. 4 and 5 are prophecies which have relevance to Israel's latter day judgments (Jer.4:28=Mt.24:30). Jer.5:1 seems to allude to God's requirement for their to be some faithful men in Sodom to prevent its destruction: " Run ye to and from through the streets of Jerusalem, and see...if ye can find a man...that seeketh the truh; and I will pardon it" . This associates Sodom, Jerusalem and the last days. As the faithful remnant were miraculously allowed to leave Sodom, immediately unleashing the Divine judgments by doing so, the faithful Christian remnant were allowed to leave Jerusalem just before the final Roman onslaught of AD70, doubtless spurred on by their Lord's command: " Let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it (Jerusalem) depart out" (Lk.21:21). The reference to fleeing to the mountains would have suggested a conscious allusion back to  the command to Lot to flee out of Sodom " to the mountain" (Gen.19:17). 

As a result of Abraham's intense prayer, believing that this coupled with the spiritual preparedness of others really could change God's stated purpose, the judgment of Sodom need not have come. So with Jerusalem in AD70, had there been a suitably large, repentant 'remnant' those horrific judgments could have been avoided. Despite the definite associations of Jerusalem with Sodom in the prophets, the Old Testament also uses Sodom as a symbol of total, permanent destruction of the type which has not and will not come on Jerusalem, the future capital of the Kingdom (Dt.29:23; 32:32; Is.13:19; Jer.49:18; 50:40; Am.4:11; Zeph.2:9). It is for this reason that Paul makes the point that for the sake of the tiny group of Jews who did still hold and practice the truth, Israel would not suffer the judgments of Sodom in totality (Rom.9:29 cp. Is.1:9). This would indicate that there will also be a latter day Jewish remnant which will stop the faithless Israel of today receiving the judgment of permanent destruction. But of course for the individuals of both natural and spiritual Israel who have consciously rejected God, " it shall be more tolerable in that day (of judgment) for Sodom" than for them (Lk.10:12). Jer.20:16 has a graphic description of the people of Sodom screaming out in anguish, both mental and physical, as the judgments of God fell upon them: " The cry in the morning (when the judgments began, Gen.19:23,24), and the shouting at noontide" . This is in reality a picture of the rejected in the last days. 

Zeph.1:17,18 has a series of allusions to Sodom, indicating that its destruction prefigures that of Israel in the last days: " They shall walk like blind men (as the Sodomoites did), because they have sinned against the Lord (" the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Lord" , Gen.13:13)...neither their silver nor their gold (cp. Sodom's wealth) shall be able to deliver them...the whole land shall be devoured by the fire" (Zeph.1:17,18).

  Sodom being a type of latter day events, it is not surprising that Scripture provides a wealth of detail concerning Sodom. The Genesis record summarizes what we glean from later revelation by saying that " the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly" (Gen.13:13). " Before the Lord" recalls the earth being " corrupt before God" prior to the flood (Gen.6:11), another clear type of the last days. Indeed their sin being " before the Lord" may hint that Lot (or Abraham?) had preached God's requirements to them, and therefore they were consciously disobeying Him. Thus Rom.3:19 speaks of the world becoming " guilty before God" by reason of their having the opportunity to know God's word (cp. Rom.2:12,13). 

The specific sin of Sodom is well known- confirmed by the repeated emphasis on " the men of Sodom" in the record. The grossness of their perversion is shown by their clamouring for the Angels, who doubtless appeared as good looking young men, " that we may know them" (Gen.19:5). Lot's response " I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly" and his offer of his daughters to them (Gen.19:7,8) clearly shows their intention. In the light of this, Jude warns the believers that their punishment for this was what awaited those of the new Israel who threw off their responsibilities. " As Sodom and themselves over (implying this was a conscious apostasy?) to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth an example" to us (Jude 7). In passing, it should be noted that all Jude's examples of Divine punishment involve people who were responsible to God, by reason of knowing His ways. Is Sodom an exception? 

There can be no doubt that the sexual aspects of Sodom's sins have great similarity to the moral filth of our present world. But significantly it was not this aspect which our Lord chose to highlight when speaking of how " the days of Lot" typified those of His return. Instead He spoke of those things which were more likely to ensnare His people: " They (as well as our present world) did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded" (Lk.17:28). Their obsession with daily activities without an awareness of God was as bad as their other sins; a point we would do well to be aware of. However, their eating and drinking must have been to gross excess- Ez.16:49 defines " the iniquity of Sodom" as being " fulness of bread" among other things. Some lavish Christian lifestyles frequently feature " fulness of bread" - but because it is not perceived as a gross sin, this unhealthy similarity with Sodom slips by unchallenged. 

" They bought, they sold" suggests that Sodom was a major trading centre, rapidly increasing in wealth; " they planted, they builded" (Lk.17:28) implies a real boom town. Such success resulted in the people being proud and haughty (Ez.16:49,50); the wealth created at the expense of others brought about " abundance of idleness in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy" (Ez.16:49). It is these aspects of Sodom which are so precisely matched by our self-centred, money mad world. As our Lord realized, it is these aspects which are most likely to ensnare the child of God. Yet Sodom's people were not completely unaware of their religious conscience. Jeremiah likened the false prophets of Israel who effectively taught that sin was service to God to the people of Sodom, suggesting that they too said the same (Jer.23:14). This is another hint that the people of Sodom had some degree of responsibility, as have latter day Israel whom they typify (1). 

The calling of Lot out of Sodom is a type, on the Lord's authority, of our calling away to judgment. His position immediately prior to the Angels' coming must therefore connect with our situation now. We will see as this study continues that Lot was in no way as spiritually strong as he ought to have been, nor as enthusiastic for the Lord's coming as his complaining about the evils of the city recorded in 2 Pet.2:7,8 might lead us to think. The very fact that he chose to live in the area whilst Abraham steered well clear of it is testimony enough to his worldliness (Gen.13:10,11). The offering of his two daughters to the Sodomites also betrays a certain unspirituality (Gen.19:8). The fact that Sodom's fate was revealed to Abraham rather than Lot may also be significant.  

Despite this, Abraham evidently rated Lot's spirituality- his conviction that Lot and his family must comprise at least 10 righteous people must have been the basis of his prayer for Sodom's destruction to be nullified (Gen.18:32). And so in the sight of the ecclesia, the high spiritual status of latter day believers may not be questioned- and yet the Lord's coming may find us seriously unprepared, as it did for Lot. It seems Jeremiah and Ezekiel likewise, on the eve of the coming of the Lord's day in their times, had to be taught that  they had a far too exalted view of the state of the ecclesia. What latter day similarities with how the faithful remnant of today perceive things?  

Lot sitting " in the gate of Sodom" (Gen.19:1) has been seen as an indication that he held some prominent public office in the city's administration. Yet despite this, he evidently maintained his separation- although this seems to have created suppressed bitterness amongst his colleagues, which they gave vent to in their sudden persecution of him just before the Angel came: " This one fellow came in to sojourn, and now he will needs be a judge" (Gen.19:9). Note how initially Lot lived in the smaller " cities of the plain" , and then " pitched his tent toward Sodom" , resulting in him eventually settling within the city (Gen.13:12). One wonders if he kept his tent in the loft. Ps. 1:1 seems to allude to Lot's progressive apostacy, speaking of the righteous man not walking, standing or sitting with the wicked- in other words, the righteous man will learn from Lot's mistakes. The way Lot progressively moved Eastwards has to be connected with a strange theme in Genesis of all the apostates moving ever further East (Gen. 4:6; 11:2 RV; 13:11; 16:12 RVmg; 28:9). This is not the only indication in Scripture that many latter day saints, whom Lot represents, will not be spiritually fit when their Lord returns. This gradual slump into worldliness to the spiritual detriment of his family (the wife, sons and possibly other daughters refused to truly leave Sodom) is not difficult to see matched in the present ecclesia. The material prosperity of Lot just before his short, sharp persecution period at the Lord's 'coming', matches Israel's prosperity in Egypt just before their holocaust started (Gen.47:11). The wealth of the latter day ecclesia may well be proof in itself, in the light of these types, that we are heading for a like tribulation period. 

Yet 2 Pet.2:7,8 reveals how Lot " vexed (Gk. 'tortured') his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds" . Seeing that he failed to influence his family to properly appreciate the sins of that city, and that he was so attached to it that he was unwilling to leave, this must be interpreted as little more than the sort of middle class, respectable 'tut-tutting' that present day Christianity abounds with. After all, he had chosen to live there, he did not have to stay, and the record of his choice of Sodom in Gen.13 spotlights his unspiritual, worldly thinking in this regard when compared to Abraham, the stranger and sojourner. Whether this assessment of Lot's character is felt to be correct or not, it must surely be accepted that there was a serious dualism in his position which has strong similarities with ours today- vexing his soul about the sins of the surrounding world, and yet increasingly involved in it and greatly benefiting from it materially, at spiritual cost to himself and his family. Lot was effectively willing to betray his daughters to the men of Sodom, pointing forward to the Lord's prophecy of how in the holocaust to come, many will betray each other (Mt. 10:36), family life within the ecclesia will break up; a spirit of dissension will fall upon natural and spiritual families. The reason for this will be rooted in a lack of true spiritual concern for the family in the easier years of this present life. Not for nothing does Paul warn against marriage in the last days (1 Cor. 7:28).

Having been told to bring his " sons in law...sons...daughters" out of the city (Gen.19:12), it is recorded that Lot only went to speak with his sons in law, and that the daughters who came with him were young unmarried girls who were still living at home, rather than  speaking to his married daughters (Gen.19:14). There is no mention of his speaking to them or his sons- perhaps because he knew that spiritually they were too far gone to be interested? It is possible that his speaking only to his " sons in law" rather than directly to his daughters also indicates a lack of urgency or comprehension of the seriousness of the situation. The Angels' words are full of exhortation: " Hast thou here any besides?...whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out of this place" (Gen.19:12). Lot seems to have gone to Sodom for material ends- our Lord holds up his wife as an example of those who love the materialism of this world more than the reality of his Kingdom (Lk.17:31,32). But the Angels speak of spiritually prepared people as being the only real possessions Lot had: " Whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out" . This surely underlines the importance of " exhorting one another daily, and so much the more as ye see the day approaching" , showing how in a healthy ecclesia we all belong to each other. Those who choose to separate themselves from this bond and their responsibilities to their brethren, either by geographical or other forms of isolation, surely cannot take these principles seriously. 

The men of the city had their pent-up feelings of despite and jealousy towards Lot released by the coming of those Angels. This gave rise to their persecution of him before he was finally called away; during that period the Angels asked him to make a desperate 11th hour appeal to any who had the slightest inkling of spirituality. Whilst it is not possible to press this typology exactly, the fact that Lot was under persecution before being taken away by the Angels may be significant in a latter day context. Note too that just prior to his removal he was involved in active preaching. Section 3 gives good reason to believe that we will be enduring a period of persecution just before the Lord's coming, and that there will be active witnessing during that period. Lot's persecutors being smitten with blindness creates the eerie picture of him walking through the streets of the city visiting those whom he hoped would heed the call, with his incensed enemies unable to lay hold on him. This doubtless required faith on his part; and all this fits in nicely with the implications to be considered later that there will be especial help made available during this witnessing period. However, Rev.11:8 speaks of the dead bodies of these latter day witnesses lying dead in the streets of spiritual Sodom- indicating that some will die during this great appeal (cp. Lk. 21:6)? 

But Lot " seemed as one that mocked unto his sons in law" (Gen.19:14), the Hebrew idiom implying 'to pull the leg'- i.e. his message was treated as a joke. Our last appeal to the world will probably meet a similar response; but it must be remembered that if Lot's leaving of Sodom represents the calling away to judgment, then those whom he asked to leave with him may primarily represent other believers. Section 4 outlines a likely scenario of the judgment in which the willingness to respond to the call to leave the world is an indicator of our acceptability- those who refuse or delay to obey the call are punished (after judgment) in the sufferings of the world, whilst those who voluntarily obey the call to judgment immediately are those who will be accepted. The parable of the wise and foolish virgins illustrates this too. Thus Lot's appeal to those who presumably knew the true God to leave the city may parallel our frantic pleading with weak believers to immediately respond to the call to leave the world. Sadly there will be the same light hearted refusal on the part of some. 

The smiting with blindness in a latter day context suggests Zech.14:12, where this is the plague with which God punishes those who have come against Jerusalem. In this case Lot would represent a feeble-faithed Jewish remnant in the last days, unsuccessfully pleading with others to obey the Lord's call. " Lot went out" into streets filled with blind, angry men of Sodom, in order to spread the message as the Angels requested (Gen. 19:14). This picture of preaching amidst bitter hostility but with Divine protection recurrs in Rev. 11 concerning the two witnesses.  

Lot's witness completed, he was told to leave Sodom " lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city" (Gen. 19:15), with " thy two daughters which are here" . " Are here" in the Hebrew means literally 'to come out'- as if to stress that although living with Lot, they still had made the conscious decision to leave. The fact that they did not look back like their mother would indicate a certain degree of spiritual strength- and perhaps they were still virgins because they declined to marry " the men of Sodom (who) were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly" (Gen.13:13). This command to leave Sodom " Lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city" is clearly one of the source passages for Rev.18:4 concerning Babylon: " I heard another (Angelic) voice from Heaven, saying, Come out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues" . Note that it was also an Angel who said this to Lot. Babylon is directly equated with Sodom in Is. 13:19 and Jer. 50:40. Babylon geographically and culturally represents the Arab peoples of our last days- and therefore it is not surprising that related Arab nations like Edom, Moab and Ammon are also parallelled with Sodom (Jer. 49:18; Zeph. 2:9). This continues a long-standing Biblical theme that the curses on apostate Israel are the same as those on the Arabs- thus Sodom is representative of both Jews and Arabs. 

Of Gog's destruction it is written: " I will rain upon him...great hailstones, fire and brimstone" (Ez.38:22), associating Gog with Sodom. At the same time, Gog and his supporters will be fighting each other (Ez.38:21), clearly connecting with Zechariah's prophecy that the Arab invaders of the last days will do the same (and cp. Jud.7:22). God's pleading against Gog with these things is the language of Joel 3:2, again about the destruction of Israel's latter day Arab enemies. The Hebrew word for 'locust' in Joel is almost identical to 'Gog'. All this results in an association between the Arabs, the Sodomites, Gog and the northern invader. This prepares the way for the view that " the beast" is a symbolic epitome of all Israel's enemies. 

It is to be expected, therefore, that the fall of Babylon chronicled in Rev.18 is shot through with allusions back to the Sodom record. The following are the more evident points of contact: 

Babylon (in Rev.)


" I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore" (Babylon); 17:2        

Cp. God showing Abraham the

judgment of Sodom.

The beast supporting Babylon " was and is not and shall ascend" ; 17:8              

Sodom and surrounding cities were

strong, then overrun by Abraham,    then revived.

" Her sins have reached unto Heaven,    God hath remembered her iniquities" ;   18:5

" The cry of great because their sin is very grievous  ...the cry of it is come unto me" (Gen.18:20,21)

" She hath glorified herself, and lived  

deliciously" ; 18:7    

" Pride...fulness of bread" (Ez. 16:49)

" Utterly burned with fire" ; 18:8  

'Sodom' = 'burning'.

" Her plagues...death...and famine" ;  18:8

" He overthrew all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground" (cp. " famine" ; Gen. 19:25).

" The great city...great Babylon" ; 16:19

The city of Sodom.


" There fell upon men a great hail out   of heaven" (16:21)                   

" The Lord rained upon Sodom...  brimstone and fire from the Lord          out of heaven" (Gen.19:24).

" They shall see the smoke of her burning, standing afar off for the fear of her torment (18:9,10)   

Abraham standing far away and seeing the smoke of Sodom's                burning indicates that the surrounding kings did likewise (Gen.19:28).

Merchants suffered through  Babylon's fall (18:11-19)         

Sodom was a trading centre (Lk. 17:28)

" ...a great millstone cast into the sea  ...thus with violence found no more at all" (18:21)

Sodom now appears to be submerged in the Dead Sea, to be found no more.

" Her smoke rose up" (19:3)

" Sodom...the land of the plain...the smoke of the country went up"                                     (19:28)


We have reasoned that Lot's call out of Sodom represents how the Angels will call us out of this present evil world. Indeed, our Lord said that Sodom represents the world just prior to the second coming (Lk.17:28). The evident connections with latter day Babylon would suggest that 'Babylon' too represents the world of the last days; " Come out of her my people" (Rev.18:4) therefore refers to the Angel's plea  to us at the second coming, in addition to any previous historical reference it may have to the Catholic apostasy. The call for the first century Jews to leave Rome or for true believers to come out of Catholicism were pointers towards the ultimate fulfilment of these words, which will be in our leaving this life at the behest of the Angel who comes to call us away. Our obedience then will be the summation of all the previous decisions God's people have made to 'come out' from the 'world' in its various forms. 

If 'Babylon' refers specifically to the Arab powers, it is possible to see Sodom representing the world under Arab control in the last days, offering great material wealth. Yet the obvious Biblical basis for the language of " come out of her my people" is in the many references to Israel being called on to leave the soft life of Babylon and return to the land during the restoration (e.g. Zech.2:6,7). In this there is a remarkable similarity with Sodom. The Jews in Babylon maintained their separateness, and yet became heavily involved in the government of Babylon (as witness Daniel and his friends, along with profane history). This is parallel to Lot's position in Sodom. Yet the prosperity of Babylon made the Jews disinclined to leave it in order to go to Jerusalem, as Lot had a similar disinclination. And the easy life of the present world will also seem a greater attraction to the unworthy of the new Israel, when the Angel calls them to go to Jerusalem to meet their Lord. 


(1) The responsibility of Sodom and latter day Israel would suggest that the level of knowledge that brings responsibility to Divine judgment is much lower than we may think. It isn't just those who do a correspondence course who are responsible. If the men of Sodom and latter day Israel will be held responsible, how very responsible are we, with all the wealth of doctrinal truth which has been revealed to us. And can there, in the light of even Sodom's responsibility, be any doubt that anyone brought up as a Christian can walk away from the call of Christ with no responsibility to future judgment?