Monday, April 07, 2008

REMEMBER LOT'S WIFE


The title of this article is "Remember Lot's wife."

The Lord Jesus Christ spoke these famous words when He told His disciples about His second coming.

But before Christ comes as the Judge of this world, three events will occur first:

1) The Final Tribulation Period.

2) The rapture on the final day, and

3) The destruction of this world, and that includes at least part of this universe.


The Lord Jesus warned us: "Remember Lot's wife" in the context of describing:

The Final Tribulation Period (Luke 17:26-32)

The Lord Jesus described the character of the Final Tribulation Period in Luke 17:26-33.

There Jesus gave several parallels of the Final Tribulation Period, the rapture and the end of the world.

Let's begin in verse 26,

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.

Luke 17:27
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.

What is the character of the Final Tribulation Period?

It will be business as usual.

Then the end will come, like Noah and his family were raptured to safety in the Ark, and then suddenly came the flood as a thief in the night.

Jesus says here that the flood of Noah's days serves as a picture of the events leading up to the end of this world. Now verse 28.

Luke 17:28
Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded;

Luke 17:29
But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.

Luke 17:30
Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.

Again, what is the character of the Final Tribulation Period?

It will be business as usual.

Like Lot, the righteous will be raptured to safety and suddenly Judgment Day will come as a thief in the night for all those remaining on this earth.

Jesus says here that the judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah serves as a picture of the events leading up to the end of this world.

The character of the Final Tribulation Period is that to the world it will seem like it is business as usual.

But to the believers it will be a period of great tribulation, because the true Gospel will be hard to find.

Then Jesus gave us a warning in verses 31 and 32,

Luke 17:31
In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his goods in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back to the things behind.

Luke 17:32
Remember Lot's wife.

Whenever we see in the New Testament a reference to an Old Testament passage, we would do well to turn to that Old Testament passage and see why God sent us to that passage in the first place.

Therefore, let us turn now to Genesis chapter 19, where we read about Lot's wife.

In Genesis 19 we see that:

God Is Taking Action (Genesis 19:1-26) against the wickedness of Sodom.

The backdrop is that God spoke with Abraham about His intent to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.

But Abraham's nephew Lot and his family were living in Sodom.

So Abraham pleaded with God to spare the city if there would be 50 righteous people found in the city.

And God agreed that He would not destroy the city for 50 righteous people.

Then Abraham pleaded with God again and again and again, and brought the number down to 10.

And God said that He would not destroy the city if 10 righteous people would be there.

That is where that conversation stopped.

But Abraham did not know that God would spare the city if even one righteous person would be there.

That is the reason why there will be a rapture of the believers out of the world before God destroys this world.

Now God is taking action against the wickedness of Sodom.

We read in Genesis 19:

Genesis 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;

Genesis 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.

Genesis 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.

Genesis 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:

Genesis 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.

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

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

Genesis 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.

Genesis 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.

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

Genesis 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.

Genesis 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:

Genesis 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.

Genesis 19:14
And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married (those taking) 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.

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

Genesis 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.

Genesis 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.

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

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

Genesis 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.

Genesis 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.

Genesis 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.

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

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

Genesis 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.

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

There are two aspects in this story that need to be highlighted.

The first of the highlights is:

The Blindness of Blind People (Genesis 19:11, Romans 1:26-27)

The men of Sodom were already spiritually blind.

That is why they wanted to molest the two strangers in Lot's house.

But then God created a scene to show us the incredible depravity of unregenerate man.

We read in Genesis 19:11:

Genesis 19:11
And they (the angels) 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.

Did you see that?

Even after these men were struck with physical blindness as penalty for their gross sin, they still did not want to give up their sin, and continued to struggle to find the door of Lot's house.

Today we would compare them with a homosexual who gets aids, and then continues his vile acts, spreading the seeds of death all around him.

This is what we can expect if God gives people up to their vile affections.

Listen to what God says in Romans 1:26-27:

Romans 1:26
For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:

Romans 1:27
And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.

This is what mankind is by nature: Vile, and wretched and absolutely an enemy of God.

This is how we all are by nature.

How can anyone of such creatures ever turn to God, pleading for mercy?

It will never happen!

It takes an act of God to have these creatures even think about God.

But God can perform this miracle. God can change the heart of even the most hardened sinner, and have him plead for mercy after hearing the Gospel.

Therefore, such faith in God can only come as a gift from God, and the Bible says that God bestows this gift of grace on whom He will.

This brings us to the second of the highlights:

God did bestow this gift of grace on Lot.

It was entirely by the grace of God that He granted Lot and his two daughters to be rescued out of Sodom.

Lot did not deserve this at all.

Lot should have left Sodom a long time before, because Lot saw the wickedness of the Sodomites.

But God desired to be gracious to Lot and his two daughters.

God said:

Escape to the Mountain (Genesis 19:17, Ephesians 1:3-5)

God forcefully took Lot and his wife and his two daughters and brought them out of the city.

It reminds us of the fact that God's grace is irresistable.

We read in Genesis 19:17:

Genesis 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.

How can God say that He is not a respecter of persons if He allows Lot and his two daughters to escape, but rains fire and brimstone on all the other citizens of Sodom?

How can God say that salvation is not a reward for works if He appears to reward Lot for the hospitality shown to the two visitors, and He rewards the people of Sodom for their intent to harm the two visitors?

This is only what appears to be the reason, but the real reason is that God has picked out Lot from before the foundation of the world.

Listen to what God says in Ephesians 1:3-5:

Ephesians 1:3
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

Ephesians 1:4
According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

Ephesians 1:5
Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

God says here in Ephesians 1 that before the foundation of the world God chose those whom He intended to save, not according to anything they have done, but according to the good pleasure of His will.

God saved those whom He had chosen through Jesus Christ.

Which means that God had to sent Jesus Christ into the world to take upon Himself the sins of all those whom God intended to save, and on the cross Christ had to pay the penalty that was due to all the sins of all God's chosen ones.

Christ could not leave out one sin, because the Righteousness of God would require the penalty of eternal Hell for that one sin.

But Christ successfully paid for all the sins of all those whom God intended to save.

And when Christ rose from the grave, He proved thereby that the penalty was fully paid.

Christ also paid for all the sins of Lot.

That is why God could be gracious to Lot and his two daughters.

But now, let's turn our focus on:

Lot's Wife (Genesis 19:26)

Lot's wife did not enter into the picture until the angels grabbed her hand in verse 16.

She did not even enter the picture when dinner was prepared in verse 3.

She seemed to agree and went along with all the decisions that were made.

She went along when the angels grabbed her hand and brought her outside the city.

She went along with the decision to go to Zoar, instead of going all the way to the mountain.

But then we read in Genesis 19:26 this BIG warning:

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

There are a number of questions we can ask at this point.

Let me number them for you:

1. Why did she turn into a pillar of salt?

Well, this verse says that she disobeyed God's commandment, and that is why she came under the judgment of God.

Is that really the reason?

And why salt. I have heard many preachers comment on Jesus words when He said: "Ye are the salt of the earth". They say that salt is good and pleasant, and that salt is a preservative, and that salt enhances the flavor of whatever is being preserved. Well, you can scrap that idea. From Genesis 19:26 we can conclude that salt represents the judgment of God.

2. Why did God zap her for such a minor infraction?

All she did was one last look at the place where she lived for 23 years.

Why was this so bad?

Was God unfair?

Was God too strict?

3. Why did she disobey God's commandment in the first place?

Was she curious about the noise of fire and brimstone raining on Sodom?

No!

There was no noise. She was walking behind Lot, on the way to Zoar, and the fire from God did not come until they would safely arrive in Zoar. Her daughters probably saw their mother being transformed in an instant, and this was a reminder to her daughters that God means what He says.

4. Did Lot's wife assume that she was already safe and in the favor of God her Father, and now she could risk being just a little disobedient?

Surely, God would not mind just a little deviation from what He said. Our God is merciful. God will forgive.

Is this not how people live these days?

Just a little white lie, just a little exaggeration to drive home the point, just a little gossip, just one pen that I take home from my employer, just one floppy disk that I take home from my employer. It does not hurt anyone. God would not mind. It is for a good purpose.

Have we not all committed such apparently little sins?

Never assume that you have this liberty and that you are safe and secure.

5. Just a little deviation from what God has said in His Word would not hurt, does it?

Do we always have to be 100% correct when we explain His Word?

And so, you may hear from well meaning Bible teachers that Lot's wife came under the judgment of God because she refused to leave Sodom.

That is a big fat lie!

Genesis 19:16 says that Lot lingered. Lot was reluctant to leave Sodom, and not a word was said that his wife was reluctant to leave Sodom. His wife went along with everything that was said and done. Her first action in this story came in verse 26.

6. Was she destined to be rescued with Lot and her two daughters, and did she turn her destiny around by looking back?

Is it possible that she changed the plans of God?

Think about it:

Can the creature change what God the creator has determined in the first place?

No!

7. Was Lot's wife saved, and on the way to safety she ruined her relationship with God and then she became unsaved?

No, that is absolutely not possible. When God saves us, He saves our soul, and He gives us eternal life, which means life without end. We are not able to undo what God has done in our soul. Lot's wife was very close to being saved, but her actions showed that she was never saved to begin with. God knew her heart, and God knew that she could not resist the temptation to look back. God never planned to save her, and God never planned to rescue her from the wrath of God that was coming on Sodom. God planned the future and God knows the future. If God would not know the future then He would not be God.

8. It is significant that Lot's wife did not carry a name. This means that God is using Lot's wife as representing a religious group of people. God used Lot's wife as a picture of people who think that they are saved, but they are not. Lot's wife heard the same Gospel that Lot heard. She lived in the same household as Lot did. She heard Lot speak about Jehovah every day. Just like there are people who attend a faithful church every week, and they live in a Godly home every day, and they hear God glorifying music every day, and they pray before their meals every day, but they are not saved, and they do not know that they are not saved.

What is going on?

Not only have they been deaf and blind to the principles of the Gospel, but also they are unwilling to submit themselves to the authority of the Word of God. God's Holy Spirit has not made their hearts willing. But their judgment will be greater than for those who never heard the Gospel.

All this flows from the simple statement of Genesis 19:26:

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

Can we find in the Bible what went really on in her heart?

What Did She Long for? (Luke 17:31-32)

Genesis 19:26 does not really tell us what went on in her heart.

But if we turn again to Luke 17, we can receive some insight in this matter.

The Lord Jesus tells us to look at Lot's wife and learn a lesson from that event.

Jesus makes it a BIG deal when He stresses: "Remember Lot's wife".

Of course it is a BIG deal, because it is a matter of life and death.

Let us look carefully at the words of Luke 17:31-32:

Luke 17:31-32
In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his goods in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back to the things behind. Remember Lot's wife.

At the end of verse 31 you should add the four words: "to the things behind"

These four words are present in the Greek text.

Both the Textus Receptus of 1611 has it, as well as the more modern Greek texts, such as the Revised Version of 1881.

The KJV translators have omitted these four words as if they were redundant, but in our day these four words are crucial to the understanding of this verse, as we shall see in a moment.

Verse 31 begins with "In that day".

What day is this?

It is comparable to the day that Lot, his wife and his two daughters were led out of Sodom on the way to safety, which was actually a picture of the day of the rapture of the believers out of this world on the Last Day.

Verse 30 says it is "the day when the Son of man is revealed".

Is Jesus saying: "On that day, when you are led to safety, do not look back like Lot's wife did"?

Certainly, the Lord Jesus is not saying that.

We know, because the Bible says that on that day we shall be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

The next moment we will be with Christ forever.

There is no long road to the mountain that we have to travel.

What then does Jesus have in view when He warns us in verse 31?

Luke 17:31
In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his goods in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back to the things behind.

What is the focus of verse 31?

The focus is the desire for material things.

Jesus is not warning us for the desire of material things on that last day, but on everyday of our life.

We must be saved in this life.

When the Last Day comes, it will be too late for salvation.

Christ must be number one in our life. If Christ is not number one in our life, then covetousness, or the desire for material things will take the place of Christ, and that is why God says that covetousness is identical to idolatry.

What did Lot's wife long for?

She could not let go of what was in her house.

She longed for the material things she left behind in Sodom, because the love of God was not in her heart.

We do not learn that from Genesis 19, but we do learn that from Luke 17:31.

The focus of verse 31 is a warning not to be attached to the material things in our house, or the material things of this world.

Don't become attached to it in this life, and don't feel sorry if it will be destroyed.

It will all go up in smoke.

The destruction of the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York is a Sunday school picnic compared to the destruction that is coming.

But the destruction of the World Trade Center remind us that:

We Are at War (1 Peter 5:8, Luke 17:33, Luke 9:24)

We are at war with the kingdom of Satan and with falsifications of the Word of God in high places.

It is important tht we get a few things straight in our minds.

Allow me to number some of these things for you.

I taught on:

1. 1 Peter 4:17, which speaks about "Judgment begins with the house of God", and I showed it is a bad practice to take verses out of context.

2. Acts 8:30-31, titled, "How Readest Thou?" in which I addressed how essential it is that we have teachers, and that parents are teaching their own children the Word of God.

3. Leviticus 26:30, titled, "High Places", in which I addressed how our holy rituals can sometimes take away from the glory of God.

4. John 21:15-17 titled, "Feed My Sheep". in which I showed that Pastors and Elders are commanded to feed the flock of Christ until Christ returns on the clouds of glory.

5. 1 Corinthians 3:9-16 titled, "Take Heed How We Build", in which I showed that the foundation and the building materials represent teachings that can stand the test of fire, and I showed that those who claim that the building materials represent saved and unsaved people are in error.

6. I preached a sermon teaching from Genesis 49:10, titled "Shiloh", in which I showed that the destruction of Jerusalem must be tied to God's prophecy of that in Genesis 49:10. We must always distinguish between the external church and the eternal church.

7. I preached a sermon from Luke 19:41-44, titled "Not One Stone Upon Another" in which I derived the true meaning of the destruction of the temple as derived from Scripture. We do not escape God's wrath by obeying His command to depart out; that is a works gospel.

8. Today I have shown that Lot's wife did not come under God's judgment because she refused to depart out of Sodom. She was unsaved to begin with.

And if you have kept up with what was said on the radio, then you are aware of what I am speaking about, and then you also know which errors I have been addressing.

All this should make us keenly aware that we are at war with falsifications of the Word of God in high places.

We must make sure that we have truth, and that we have a church where the true Gospel is preached.

That is very urgent, because Judgment Day is near.

And when we have found the truth and we have found a church where the true Gospel is preached, what are we going to do with all that information?

How will we put it to use?

Will we remember those that are perishing?

In the days of Noah the flood came, and God destroyed them all.

In the days of Lot it rained fire and brimstone, and God destroyed them all, and it came as a surprise when everything in their daily lives was going on as usual.

Today most of the church worldwide is asleep, spiritually.

They do not know how to discern right from wrong.

They do not know that they are drifting further and further away from the Word of God because most of the churches are violating the principles of Revelation 22:18-19.

But WE cannot go to sleep, spiritually. God has given us the right information to put it to use.

There are people dying right now and we have the medicine to help them.

God is reminding us:

1 Peter 5:8
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

We have learned so much out of the Bible.

We cannot sit down and rest. There is much more to learn.

We must continue to be sober and vigilant, because now we must watch out for pride.

1 Corinthians 10:12
Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.

But how can we use the information we have gained from the Bible?

How can we put it to use?

Actually we find our application within the context.

In Luke 17:31 God speaks about someone on the housetop and someone in the field.

What is the man's business on the housetop?

He is preaching the Gospel.

The Lord Jesus commanded us: "What ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops".

And what is the man's business in the field?

He is sowing the Word of God in the world.

The Lord Jesus explained two of His parables saying: "The field is the world", and "the sower went forth to sow", and what he sowed was "the Word of the Kingdom".

Now, if we drop down to Luke 17:33, we read there:

Luke 17:33
Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.

Let me try to state this a little clearer.

In Luke chapter 9:24 God added the words "for My sake". Therefore, we should read Luke 17:33 as follows:

Luke 17:33
Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life for My sake shall preserve it.

Look at this verse carefully. It is not as difficult as it appears to be.

Let's explain this verse in the reverse order, in the context where we find it.

"Whosoever shall lose his life for My sake", is the person who gives his life in service to Christ for the furtherance of His Kingdom.

This is the person who gives his life to preach from the housetop and to sow the Word of God in the field.

This is the person who puts to use those things he has learned from verse 31, and applies it in verse 33.

On the other hand, the person who seeks to keep all material things to himself, and even holds the Gospel to himself, and he does not want to give of his time to bring the Gospel, shall lose whatever benefits he tried to gain, because all his possessions will be burned up.

He has not heeded the warning: "Remember Lot's wife", and so he will spend an eternity in Hell, because he was actually serving another god than Christ.

Therefore we must put to use those things that we have learned from verse 31. We must remember the context. Verse 33 is the application of verse 31. And right in between God said:

Remember not to turn back to the material things you left behind.

Remember that covetousness is idolatry.

"Remember Lot's wife".

And if we remember, then also believe that it is all a gift of grace that we obey His Words.

Pray to God that He will give us the grace to understand this warning: "Remember Lot's wife", and pray to God that we may remain faithful.

By Alfred J. Chompff