By: Nelson Walters
Author: Are We Ready For Jesus? How to Prepare for His Return (May 2015)
Jesus told us his return would be like the Days of Lot. Looking around the USA at the LGBT agenda that is running amuck today, I have to ask, “are we in the Days of Lot already?” What can we and should we be doing as Christians?
WHO WAS LOT?
Lot was Abraham’s nephew; and the two of them and Abraham’s wife Sarah left their home in Ur of the Chaldeans at God’s command and immigrated first to Haran, and then to the land of Canaan. Although the faith for this ambitious move is attributed to Abraham, Lot obviously shared in that faith as well as he was part of the move. Additionally we learn in 2 Pet. 2:7 that God considered Lot “righteous.”
Lot was far from perfect, however. In Genesis 13 we learn that Lot’s herdsmen and Abraham’s herdsmen had difficulty getting along. Because of this, Abram (as Abraham was called at that time) and Lot separated, and Lot took the most fertile land in the Jordan valley. He took this land despite the fact that the evil cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were located there. He was willing to risk living near sin for the economic advantages of the area.
In Genesis 14, we learn that Lot was no longer living near Sodom but that he had moved into the city. That move from the locale of Sodom into the heart of the city cost Lot. During a regional war, Lot was taken captive “because he was living in Sodom.” Fortunately for Lot, Abram was able to attack his captors and free him. It was immediately after this event Abram was blessed by the mysterious Melchizedek, priest and king of Salem (Jerusalem.)
In Genesis 18, we learn that Lot had once again returned to Sodom. (you would think he would have learned his lesson.) God said the outcry of this city was so great, he was going to destroy it. Abraham (as he was now called) pleaded and negotiated with God not to destroy it. God agreed if 10 righteous men were found there, he would spare the city. Unfortunately not even 10 were found.
In Genesis 19, two angels visit Lot in Sodom. While they are at Lot’s home, the men of the city first ask Lot to hand the angels over to them so they can rape them. Then, after he refuses, they attempt to force the issue, but the angels blind the men temporarily. It was at that moment the angels warned Lot of the coming catastrophe.
These paragraphs are the “Days of Lot” to which our Lord referred. Let’s see what we can learn from the events surrounding Lot’s life, and after we do that, we’ll look at what we can learn from his escape which is a picture of the rapture.
As Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh(homosexuality), are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. (Jude 7, emphasis mine NKJV)
He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly lives thereafter; and if He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men (for by what he saw and heard that righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds), then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority. (2 Pet 2: 6-10, NASB emphasis mine)
Jude tells us Sodom’s sins were heterosexual immorality and homosexuality. It was both, not just the later. Although the increase in homosexual activity in our culture is certainly a sign of the Days of Lot, so is the rise of heterosexual immorality. Both are committed while hating the authority of God’s Word to govern them. Isn’t that what we are seeing today in our culture? It was credited to Lot as righteousness to be tormented by these unrighteous deeds. It is credited to us as righteousness to hate these deeds as well.
So are we living in the Days of Lot? Absolutely. We see it all around us: on TV, on the internet, in music and in all of our depraved culture.
LOT AND THE RAPTURE
Jesus tells us that the story of Lot is a picture of the coming rapture:
It was the same as happened in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building; but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed. On that day, the one who is on the housetop and whose goods are in the house must not go down to take them out; and likewise the one who is in the field must not turn back. Remember Lot’s wife. (Luke 17: 28-32 NASB)
Jesus says it will be “just the same” on the day of the rapture as the day Lot was saved. People will be going about their secular lives without the slightest inkling that their world is about to be judged. The Angels saved Lot and his family, but Lot’s wife looked back on Sodom (with fondness?) and she was turned into a pillar of salt! Those who miss this abominable culture will not be saved. Jesus continued:
Whoever seeks to keep his (secular) life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. I tell you, on that night there will be two in one bed; one will be taken and the other will be left. There will be two women grinding at the same place; one will be taken and the other will be left. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other will be left.” And answering they *said to Him, “Where, Lord?” And He said to them, “Where the body is, there also the vultures will be gathered.” (Luke 17: 33-37 NASB, clarification mine)
In this short passage Jesus teaches two important lessons. One is that it is the one who is taken who is saved. There are those in the Church who teach there is no rapture and that it is the ungodly who are taken. In the story of Lot, he and his family were the ones taken. Obviously Jesus is teaching those who are taken are the ones raptured and saved. They are the righteous.
Second, Jesus closes the passage with the short parable of the Vultures and the Body. In VULTURES AND A CORPSE we studied the parallel parable found in Matthew. If you haven’t studied this parable I highly recommend you read this short post that proves the rapture happens after the Great Tribulation. It is eye-opening.
In the Matthew version of the parable the Greek word translated “body” means a dead body. In this version in Luke it means a living body. These two parallel scriptures are showing the two groups saved in the rapture: the righteous dead (the dead body of Christ as seen in Matthew’s version) and the righteous living (the living body of Christ as found in Luke’s version).
Both versions re-enforce the concept that the taken ones are the ones saved. The disciples ask “where” those who are raptured are taken. Jesus says where the living body of Christ is, the vultures (actually the word is mistranslated in the NASB and really means “eagles” and in Revelation this word is used to mean “angels.”) will “gather (the living and the dead) together.” The angels will rapture us just as they saved Lot. Again if you have questions please see the previous post.
WHERE DID LOT GO WHEN HE WAS SAVED?
In Genesis 19: 21-22, we learn Lot did not go to the mountains immediately, but rather requested he go to a small town named (appropriately) Zoar (small). So we know from this that we do not go immediately to the mountain of God (the millennial Kingdom) after the rapture, but rather for a “small” period of time, we go elsewhere. This is the same as the picture of Noah entering the Ark for 1 year and ten days. In a future post we’ll address this issue of where the Church goes after the rapture.
OUR CULTURE WAR WITH OURSELVES
Now we are ready to apply what we’ve learned. Be forewarned that what I’m about to say will make this one of the most offensive posts I’ve ever written: if you are self-righteous. This post may not be for you, so be prepared.
Now that we’ve examined the story of Lot and how it applies to our times, I’m going to get up on a soapbox. You see Lot is not blameless in this story, and Lot represents the Church.
In today’s culture, the Christian Church is absolutely being hypocritical in our approach to same-sex marriage, and I mean that sincerely. I very much believe in the sanctity of marriage: one man/one woman, but in reality the Church does not. “What are you saying?” (I can hear you think those thoughts.) The Church long ago abandoned the sanctity of marriage. The Church’s stand on divorce, pornography and pre-martial sex prove this. In many ways we as a Church are “living” in Sodom. We have moved from the locale of Sodom right into the city. The Church is enjoying the immoral culture and isn’t willing to separate itself from it. Some pastors are afraid to confront these issues head-on because they fear the financial consequences of loosing churchgoers if they do. Others are afraid to confront it because they are living it. As a Church, we are Lot. Let’s look at these issues:
“No fault” divorce first became law in California in 1969 and by 2010 all fifty states allow the easy dissolution of marriage. This one law has resulted in a six times increase in divorce. Our Lord says in Malachi 2; 16: “I hate divorce.” Although Harvard-trained Shaunti Feldhahn has shown that divorce rates within the Church are not as high as previously thought, they are still 31%. So, are one third of “Christian” marriages ending in divorce acceptable and an affirmation of the sanctity of marriage?
Viewing pornography is marital infidelity, pure and simple. Jesus tells us lust in the heart is adultery. 70% of Christian men admit to struggling with pornography. The number of pastors struggling with this sin may be 50%. This affirms one man/one woman? 61% of Christians say it’s “okay” to have sex before marriage and 56% say living together without marriage is okay. Is this God’s view of purity?
So what is the difference between these sexual/marital sins and homosexuality? One set of sins are “our sins” and the other are “their sins.” It is so easy to criticize the speck in another’s eye while we have a plank in our own eye. I am sorry, but the Church has lost its right to discuss the sanctity of marriage if it doesn’t act like marriage is sacred. Where is our outrage over divorce in the church? Where is our outrage over pornography or pre-marital sex? When the Church treats marriage as if it’s sacred, then we will have earned the right to discuss the sanctity of marriage.
Now I need to tell you that prior to my salvation 22 years ago, I was not blameless. I am not holier-than-thou on the issue of heterosexual sin. But praise to our Lord, I am now a new creation.
Then it happened that as Jesus was reclining at the table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were dining with Jesus and His disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, “Why is your Teacher eating with the tax collectors and sinners?” But when Jesus heard this, He said, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire compassion, and not sacrifice,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matt. 9: 10-13 NASB)
What would Jesus do? He would eat with the homosexual sinners and he would reach out to them and save their souls. He wasn’t trying to regulate the culture, he was trying to transform individuals. Just as in the post OUTREACH NOT OUTRAGE which discussed our approach to Islam, our approach to the homosexual should be to reach out to them and show them the love of Christ.
Is regulation effective in curbing sin?
And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power… A natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. (1 Cor. 2:1-4,14 NASB)
Paul came to the unsaved preaching one thing: Christ crucified. He didn’t come trying to regulate their morality. Only after they had the Holy Spirit could they discern what is right from what is wrong. Why are we trying to impose God’s morality on a society that considers it foolishness? The culture will be changed when we are about our Master’s business which is the gospel, and not by trying to do the Holy Spirit’s business which is convicting of sin.
If our culture is falling apart morally, where does the blame lay? Perhaps it lies on a lack of evangelism.
THE STICKY QUESTION
So now we reach the part of the post where we discuss what we as Christians should do in response to the same-sex marriage initiatives.
First, we should recognize it for what it is: a sign that the return of our Lord is near. We need to assume a posture of the two-minute warning of a football team. We need to be all about “Jesus,” not all about our former silly pre-occupations with money, media, or our secular lives.
Our problems are spiritual and are only solved spiritually. So, secondly, we need to move out of Sodom (spiritually not literally). Pastors need to preach the sanctity of marriage starting with the sins of the Church, and we all need to repent.
Third, as citizens of the USA, we have rights and responsibilities. We need to speak out as citizens (not Christians, our Christian citizenship is in heaven) about our views of same-sex marriage. Secular governments exist to protect their citizens and moral decay must be opposed. If we are unsuccessful, however, we need to not be daunted. True cultural change will only happen spiritually. Acting like the Church of Jesus is the only way to accomplish this change IMO.