Not Even Minyan
Rome Then and Now
There are a number of acutely interesting features to the Epistle to the Romans, one of which is that Paul wrote it and not Peter.
So the question automatically rises, if Peter was the first “bishop” in Rome (as is erroneously claimed), why did Paul write the Epistle? And we know that in Greco-Roman society, Rome was an empire but also a city where bisexuality and homosexuality were prevalent. It was socially acceptable and normative behavior right up through the nobility and the aristocracy in the Senate; even most of the Roman emperors were bisexual. This is the environment in which Paul is writing. Paul wrote against the backdrop of Roman philosophers, particularly Seneca who wrote De Clementia, and also Cicero who wrote The Republic.
Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. (Romans 1:22-23)
The people of Rome were very concerned about the fact that Rome had gone from being a republic to an imperial dictatorship. Paul was writing about the moral debauchery of the society. The people who were concerned with the political and philosophical issues of the day were concerned about the political state, the social state, the economic state and the strategic state of Rome. Paul was trying to say, “Wait a minute—it is the spiritual and moral state that matters most.” Once the spiritual and moral state begins to disintegrate, it is easy to understand why there is the kind of mess that people with secular philosophies are trying to correct. Through their writings, Seneca and Cicero could not correct what happened to that society.Today it is the same. There is no political solution no matter who wins an election. Unless there is a moral repentance and a spiritual regeneration, it does not matter who wins the election; society is not going to get any better. Irrespective of what politician wins, it is not going to matter.I was just in California where most of its citizens voted for Proposition 8 to outlaw homosexual adoption and things like that. A Republican judge who was nominated by Ronald Reagan and appointed by George Bush struck down Proposition 8 even though most people voted for it. Yet there are Christians who naively think one political party is going to be better than the other, when in fact both are co-equally godless. Nations get the leaders they deserve. Unless there is moral repentance and a return to the things of God, it does not matter what political philosophy or ideology people follow. This is what Paul is addressing in terms of the situation in which people found themselves.Gentile God-fearers separated from the Pagans. They believed in the Jewish God, but of course they were converting to Christianity. There was also a Jewish community, a number of whose members had also become Christians and believers in Jesus. Paul begins to write about this situation saying, “Look at the idolatry of this society.” When a society is idolatrous it is naturally going to be morally debauched.
Sexual Immorality Always Follows Idolatry
Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity [akatharsias] so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. (Romans 1:24-25)
So first in verse 23 we see there is idolatry and the worshiping of the creation instead of the Creator, but then together with that we find that “God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity.” Akatharsias does not mean completely vulgar, it means “mixed”—there is a mixture of what is right and what is wrong, what is true and what is false, what is pure and what is impure. David prayed, “Create in me a clean heart, O God,” in Psalm 51:10. Akatharsias means it is not purified; it is a mixture that contains contamination. It does not mean it is all as completely wrong as it could be; it simply means it is not pure. There is enough contamination in it that no matter how much good is in it, it is still fundamentally something we would not want to drink or eat if it were a digestible substance.Society is the same today. People can point to virtues, or things like homosexuals are overachievers in the arts and humanities or certainly in theater or fashion. Such things are true, but it is a misuse of talent that is all ultimately associated with idolatry. Whenever we find idolatry we are going to find sexual immorality. Sexual immorality will always follow religious idolatry in some way. This has happened to every society during every time of history.What is important to note is that it says, “God gave them over” to it. It says this three times—God gives them over to it (Rom. 1:24, 26, 28). Paul continues and says it for a second time.
They Become Fools
For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. (Romans 1:26-27)
God gives them over to it. When a society becomes sexually perverse heterosexually, eventually it will become sexually perverse homosexually; it will become debased. Secular historians like Toynbee have pointed this out multiple times. He said this is a hallmark of any civilization that is in decline when these things become socially and culturally acceptable in the popular culture of any civilization. God gives them over to it.
“Professing to be wise, they become fools” (Rom. 1:22).It says they are “receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error” (Rom. 1:27). If we were to look at the biostatics of the homosexual lifestyle we would see certain things that are undeniable, such as a reduced longevity of 20-30 years on the average—a seriously reduced longevity.Pittsburgh is the home to many fine medical institutions, any one of which will tell us columnar epithelium is a single strata and it lines intestinal tissue. It tears very easily. Intestinal tissue is absorptive anyway. It is easy to contract infection through intestinal tissue because the epithelium is a single layer. Once it becomes lacerated, now it is hyper-absorptive. Homosexuals, just biostatically—just statistically, are six times more likely to suffer cardiovascular disease than heterosexuals; they are eight times more likely to be a cigarette smoker or substance abuser; they are four times more likely to cause a serious automobile collision; they are hundreds of times—hundreds of times—more likely to develop certain cancers, particularly things like Kaposi’s sarcoma; they are, in the developed world, thousands of times more prone to HIV infection. It is a sentence to reduced longevity. Any medical faculty in the world will tell us this, yet we are supposed to believe, even according to intelligent people, that it is “normative.” “Professing to be wise, they become fools.” We supposedly live in a scientific society.Interestingly, with these same people we have usually got illogical contradictions in their worldview. The same people who are out to ban deer hunting are pro-abortion. They are quite happy to kill a human baby, but just do not shoot Bambi’s mom. Non-therapeutic abortion is fine; just do not kill a deer because that is an atrocity. These same people usually claim to be Darwinists or to believe in evolution. I do not believe in evolution or Darwinism, but if I did, according to its tenets, homosexuals have a birth defect if they were born that way because it is non-reproductive. By virtue of the fact it is non-reproductive, Darwinism therefore says “survival of the fittest” dictates it must be a birth defect.
I was once asked, “Do you want to save the whale?” I replied, “Of course.” But the whale is not supposed to survive if one is a Darwinist. There is always an illogical contradiction in their worldview and the way they argue, even “scientifically.”
“Professing to be wise, they become fools.”Once people begin worshiping the creation instead of the Creator, they become fools. Their worldview, their perspective, their philosophy of life becomes super-saturated with illogical contradictions, things that can make no sense. But why will intelligent, educated people believe this? God gives them over to it. It specifies homosexuality particularly. That is a moral low of any society and we will see why, but we will also see what comes into play eschatologically for the return of Jesus.
They Do Not Want To Hear It
There are people who want to ban the public reading of Romans 1 and certain portions of Deuteronomy as “hate literature.” There was a pastor in the western provinces of Canada who was fined $15,000 for hate speech for preaching from Romans. About five months ago there was a preacher in Manchester, England, arrested on the street by a homosexual policeman for reading Romans 1. There was a pastor arrested for street preaching who was reading from Romans 1 in Stockholm, Sweden. He was sent to prison and after about a month he got out on appeal. They are calling the Book of Romans “hate literature.”What else do they want to ban? The New England Journal of Medicine? The Lancet? The British Medical Journal? Do they want to ban biomedical textbooks which say that intestinal epithelium is a single strata—that it is not like vaginal tissue, that it is not designed for penetration? Do they want to ban that as well? Do they want to ban science books?
“Professing to be wise, they become fools.”
God gives them over to believe the ridiculous. He gives them over to believing the logically contradictory.Understand why the text relates homosexuality to idolatry.
It Is An Issue of God’s Image & Likeness
We are Imago Dei beings—we are made in God’s image and likeness. He gives certain aspects of His divine nature to males, certain ones to females, but between the two we have X and Y chromosomes—we reproduce His image and likeness. This is what He wants, for us to reflect—to reproduce—His image and likeness.
God told Adam and Eve, “You shall become achad,” drawing on the Hebrew concept of plural oneness—achdut. “You shall be one flesh” (Gen. 2:24). When they asked Jesus which was the greatest commandment, He said, “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is oneness” (Mk. 12:29; Dt. 6:4). The oneness that takes place in holy matrimony is to reflect and testify to the oneness of the Godhead.The Scriptures tell us certain things: God hates divorce (Mal. 2:16). Why? The permanence of a Christian marriage is to testify to the eternal oneness of God Himself. There are a number of reasons why God hates divorce, but the first is that it reminds Him of His most painful memory. What is God’s most painful memory? When the achdut—the oneness—was interrupted and Jesus took our sin. When Jesus died on the cross, God took our sin and put it on His Son in order to put His righteousness on us. The Father turned His back on the Son. The oneness of the tri-unity of the Godhead was interrupted when Jesus gave up the ghost and took upon Himself our sin. When God sees a divorce, the oneness is interrupted. The permanency of a Christian marriage is to testify to the eternal oneness of God; it reminds Him of His most painful memory.We do not like being reminded of our most painful memories because we are Imago Dei beings—we are made in God’s image and likeness. The reason we do not want to be reminded of our most painful memories is because God made us in His image and likeness and God does not like to be reminded of His most painful memory.
Why the Growth of Homosexuality in Western Societies?
In tribal Africa, homosexuality is unknown. If it were natural, it would be culturally uniform and anthropological, but it is not culturally uniform anthropologically. Because it is unknown in tribal cultures, that should prove it is not natural.There are organizations comprised of former homosexuals and lesbians who have been saved by Jesus. They are born again and delivered from that lifestyle.Now understand that when I was a teenager I was strung out on cocaine. My drug addiction would have put me in the same hell that homosexual perversion would. I do not think I was any better than they were. Apart from the grace of Jesus in my life I think I would have gone to the same Lake of Fire. I am not condemning homosexuals, I am condemning homosexuality. What I am trying to say today, some would cry against, “You don’t love! You don’t love!” How can someone expect me to practice Christian love if I condone a lifestyle that is going to kill people?Do I love people with cancer? Yes! Therefore I hate cigarette smoking. I do not hate cigarette smokers, but I hate cigarette smoking. How can I love people with cancer if I do not hate what is killing them? How can I love alcoholics if I do not hate alcoholism? How can I love drug addicts if I do not hate the illicit use of narcotics? How can I love homosexuals and lesbians if I do not hate what is killing them—a perverse lifestyle?
“Professing to be wise, they become fools.”
The love of Christ in me compels me to hate homosexuality. Because I love homosexuals, I have to desire their salvation. My love for homosexuals and lesbians compels me to hate what is going to kill them.When we hear testimonies from these organizations of homosexuals and lesbians who have been saved, it is always the same. Unless they adopted that orientation in a penal institution—heterosexuals who become that way in a penal institution tend to revert back to heterosexuality once they get out—it is very hard to find a male homosexual who did not have an absent or missing father figure or was not seduced through pedophilia when they were a kid, or something like that. Likewise, one would be very hard pressed to find a lesbian who did not have an absent or missing mother figure or was not molested somehow as a kid. These people, at least initially, are victims. They are looking for love and identity in the wrong way.So because they have this gender identity crisis in early youth, by the time they reach adolescence these three substances begin to bubble over: progesterone, testosterone and estrogen. They begin to come into awareness of sexuality against the backdrop of a gender identity crisis. They wonder why they feel this way and whether it is right, and society tells them it is right. It is one thing for society to tell them it is alright, but now we have churches telling them it is alright.
From Society to the Church
In Great Britain the five biggest Protestant denominations—the Church of England, the Church of Scotland, the Methodist Church, the United Reformed Church and the Presbyterian Church—all five are ordaining homosexuals and lesbians! The Presbyterian Church of America (PCA) is the most recent in the USA to do so. Now it is not just society saying it is alright; it is the World Council of Churches (WCC). But it is no longer just the WCC saying it alright, now we have supposed Evangelical churches saying it is alright.Brian McLaren, the Emergent Church guru, says we should declare a moratorium on even debating the issue for five years, and if we do not have a consensus in five years, to have another moratorium for another five years, then let the church decide it. What is he saying? McLaren is saying that the church wrote the Bible so the church can rewrite it. He does not believe it is the Word of God but the word of the church.Another one on Satan’s payroll is Tony Campolo. He says we have to interpret the black letters in light of the red letters, that it is the words of Jesus that matter, and Jesus never condemned homosexuality, so therefore neither should we.First of all, I suppose the Book of Revelation is not in his New Testament. Jesus did condemn those who are effeminate in Revelation, but Campolo does not know what he is talking about anyway. But secondly, look at John 14.
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. (John 14:26)
The Epistles are inspired commentary. We read the rest of Scripture through the prism of the apostles’ writings. The Epistles explain the rest of Scripture through the most basic, practical level—they are inspired commentary. The Holy Spirit would come and directly inspire the apostles to explain to us what Jesus meant. Jesus taught them personally; then the Holy Spirit inspired them to write the New Testament to explain what He meant. If we want to know what the Gospel is, we read Romans; if we want to know what the Gospel is not we read Galatians; if we want to know what the Olivet Discourse means, we read Thessalonians; if we want to know how Jesus fulfills the Old Testament sacrificial system, we read Hebrews. The Epistles explain the rest of Scripture. Therefore we interpret the red letters in light of the black ones; we do not interpret the black letters in light of the red ones. Tony Campolo teaches the diametric opposite of what Christ said.Campolo’s son Bart says he does not agree with condemning homosexuality even if there are passages in Scripture which do so, and says he will either ignore them or spiritualize them away. These are people who claim to be “born again,” who claim to be Evangelical, who say they are saved.So why is there an increase in the number of homosexuals? Because of the divorce rate. Children have no male model or mother figure, no patriarch or matriarch. They grow screwed up in their head, reach adolescence in a sexually hyper-charged society, and lo and behold. What did Jesus say? It is better to tie a millstone around your neck than to hurt one of these little ones (Mt. 18:6; Mk. 9:42; Lk. 17:2).There are a number of reasons why God hates divorce. Yes, it reminds Him of His most painful memory—that is first and foremost—but it hurts children. I am not saying there are not circumstances where it has to happen such as when an unbeliever leaves or something like that, and I would never condemn a believer who was divorced and remarried before they got saved, but it is not a good thing. “Professing to be wise, they become fools.”
Cause & Effect
But then something else happens. The text talks about receiving in their own persons the due penalty of error—a cause and effect relationship physiologically.
And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper. (Romans 1:28)
Once more, there is a hypostatic relationship between idolatry and sexual immorality. Anywhere we have idolatry there is going to be sexual immorality.Look at Islam and the worship of Allah. They can have four wives as a harem. They are sexually wrong.Look at Roman Catholicism and the widespread pedophilia among the clergy. They are idolaters. They have a Eucharistic Christ and they bow down to graven images.Look at cults. Is there sexual immorality among Mormons? Of course there is. They have another Jesus. Anywhere we find idolatry we find sexual immorality.In Thailand we see them selling their own children into prostitution.Once the immorality becomes normative in a society it is going to result in a debauchery that will express itself through homosexuality. Why? Satan does not want the image and likeness of God being recapitulated on the earth. God said it is Adam and Eve, therefore Satan has to get an Adam and Steve. Adam and Steve cannot have a baby, therefore they want ours—they want the right to adopt or artificially inseminate. Satan does not want the image and likeness of God being recapitulated in the creation. It is not just an attack on the family, it is not just an attack on society, it is not just an attack on the health and longevity of homosexuals, it is not just an attack on children—it is all of these things but it is not exclusively about these things, it is an attack on the image and likeness of God Himself. But He gives them over to it.
A Foreshadow of Things to Come
Next Paul goes into a rendition very similar to what he expresses in Timothy as to what the Last Days are going to be like.
…being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them. (Romans 1:29-32)
We are told in 2 Timothy what the same litany of characteristics in the Last Days is going to be like (2 Ti. 3:1-5). Then we are told it is not just them, but those who “give hearty approval” to it—the people who are prepared to sanction it, to condone it.We have politicians who want to allow same-sex marriage and things like this even if they are not like that themselves. The fact that they condone it makes them equally guilty of it. And, as it is reiterated three times, God gives them over to it (Rom. 1:24, 26, 28).The reason we see homosexuals and lesbians—so-called gay activists—becoming more militant, more assertive, more confident, more boastful, more self-righteous, more outspoken, more articulate in their agenda—well, they have no idea why—is because God has given them over to it. They are under the judgment of God already. This relates to what the Scriptures call “a spirit of error” which relates to John 12: they would not believe (Jn. 12:37), should not believe (Jn. 12:38), and ultimately could not believe (Jn. 12:39). In other words, now they cannot believe. God gives them over to it in judgment so that now they cannot repent; now they cannot believe.Who are the most radical elements when it comes to abortion? Lesbians. Why? Because every time they see a pregnant young mother, or every time they see a young mother pushing a baby in a carriage, that is an indictment of them. It reminds them of their own failures as women. In no way am I knocking those who are single for the Lord or those who have fertility and misconception problems; they have my sympathy by all means. But a baby is an emblem to lesbians of their perversion. That is why they want to kill the kids in the name of “rights.” What right does the baby have?It gets to the point with the abortus provocatus. We have babies surviving as young as seventeen fetal weeks’ gestation. We are arbitrarily aborting babies at an age they can survive in incubators. There is no medical definition, no medical criteria whatsoever anymore. Incubational technology has gotten so much better, prenatal medicine has gotten so much better, amniocentesis has gotten so much better—everything is better. These babies are living younger and younger and younger.
“Professing to be wise, they become fools.”Ask for a medical definition as to what point it is infanticide and what point is it simply aborting a cluster of cells, and they cannot answer that question. It does not matter if they went to Harvard medical school or St. John’s at Oxford, they cannot answer the question.
“Professing to be wise, they become fools.”But it is not only them; it is those who give approval. God gives them over to it. Let us understand what this means. This means that almost inevitably they are going to hell. It does not matter if they do not agree with hell, if they say they cannot believe in a God who would send someone to hell, it does not matter what they believe—they will believe it when they get there! They have already been given over in judgment to it. They do not realize what they have done. The reason they are becoming more assertive, more arrogant, more convinced, is because they have been given over to it by God.
An Eschatological Framework
The Scriptures speak about the rescue of righteous Lot. Whenever we see a rescue narrative in Scripture—the rescue of Noah and his family, the rescue of Rahab and her family, the rescue of Lot and his family, the rescue of the believers in AD 70, etc.—each rescue narrative in Scripture prefigures (foreshadows) the Rapture of the Church. God’s people get surrounded, there is no way out and the Lord intervenes and rescues them. The first rescue narrative we have a record of, and what Peter mentions in an eschatological framework, is what happened in Sodom and Gomorrah. With these things in view, let us understand, “Not even a minyan.”A minyan is the minimum amount of circumcised Jewish males needed to take the Torah scroll out of the cabinet. There cannot be a Jewish liturgical service without a minyan. Ten is the least number which God accepted in ancient Israel. That is the concept of a minyan. The rabbis get it straight from Genesis 18-19. Let us understand what is going to happen in the Last Days: there will not even be a minyan.
And the LORD said, “The outcry of Sodom and Gomorrah is indeed great, and their sin is exceedingly grave. (Genesis 18:20)
(Notice that kind of sin is not just “grave,” it is “exceedingly grave.” It is messing with the divine image and likeness, doing something that will hurt children.)
“I will go down now, and see if they have done entirely according to its outcry, which has come to Me; and if not, I will know.” Then the men turned away from there and went toward Sodom, while Abraham was still standing before the LORD. (Genesis 18:21-22)
When the three men appeared outside Abraham’s tent and he bowed down to them, that was not the Trinity; it was Jesus with two angels. Whenever God appears in a human form in the Old Testament it is a Christophany—it is always Jesus. It is never the Holy Spirit, it is never the Father. “The angel of the Lord”—the Metatrone, is Jesus, and here it is Jesus.Abraham is called in Hebrew Yadiydayah—“Jedidiah,” “the friend of Yahweh.” He had a face-to-face relationship with Jesus (James 2:23).
That is why we are told in Hebrews that he had the Gospel explained to him. How was this possible? He knew Jesus face-to-face. “No man can see God and live” (Ex. 33:20), therefore Jesus must have appeared in a human form. Even pre-incarnationally, these are enfleshments of Jesus. This is one of them when Abraham saw Jesus face-to-face, as did Moses.
The Disintegration of the Moral Preservative
Abraham came near and said, “Will You indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? “Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city; will You indeed sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous who are in it? Far be it from You to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous and the wicked are treated alike. Far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth deal justly?” So the LORD said, “If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare the whole place on their account.”And Abraham replied, “Now behold, I have ventured to speak to the Lord, although I am but dust and ashes. “Suppose the fifty righteous are lacking five, will You destroy the whole city because of five?” And He said, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.” (Genesis 18:23-28)
We are called to be salt and light (Mt. 5:13-14), the moral preservatives of society. Once the salt loses its taste it is good for nothing but to be trampled underfoot. When the true Church—when the true believers—are no longer the moral fiber of society, the society will disintegrate—God will judge it; He will destroy it.We currently have mainstream Protestant denominations ordaining homosexuals. The PCA did two terrible things this year: (1) they condemned Israel; and (2) they decided to allow homosexuality. The Protestant denominations who go against Israel are the first ones who go into moral reprobation. There are fewer and fewer true believers to stop the judgment of God.
He spoke to Him yet again and said, “Suppose forty are found there?” And He said, “I will not do it on account of the forty.” Then he said, “Oh may the Lord not be angry, and I shall speak; suppose thirty are found there?” And He said, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.” (Genesis 18:29-30)
Abraham was the first Jew. We can tell this by the way he is renegotiating. He is trying to get them down. Notice he is making intercession; he is trying to stop the judgment of God. We can intercede for America and for the Western world, but eventually there are not going to be enough true believers left to prevent the judgment of God any longer.
And he said, “Now behold, I have ventured to speak to the LORD; suppose twenty are found there?” And He said, “I will not destroy it on account of the twenty.” Then he said, “Oh may the LORD not be angry, and I shall speak only this once; suppose ten are found there?”
(This is where they get the doctrine of the minyan in Judaism.)
And He said, “I will not destroy it on account of the ten.” As soon as He had finished speaking to Abraham the LORD departed, and Abraham returned to his place. (Genesis 18:31–33)
(Remember, there are no chapter divisions in the original Hebrew or Greek. The story continues in a single, unified narrative.)
Now the two angels came to Sodom in the evening as Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. (Genesis 19:1)
He knew they were the angelic beings who had been with Jesus.
The Two Witnesses
There are a number of things we have to take note of. By the time we get to Revelation 11 and the two witnesses, people are always asking if it is Moses and Elijah or Moses and Enoch. In the Middle East there are believers who believe one of these two witnesses is the Apostle John. Many people foreshadow those two witnesses: the two spies who rescued Rahab, the two olive branches of the olive trees of Zechariah 4, and these two angels.We always see Jesus in the company of two angels. In the garden after the resurrection, there they are (Lk. 24:4). At the Ascension, there they are (Acts 1:9-10). On the Ark of the Covenant were two cherubs (Ex. 25:18). We always have these two. But what is going to happen? We have to understand a number of cultural nuances about the ancient Near East, and we have to understand the eschatological nuances of the rescue narratives.
The Cultural Nuances
I will begin with the cultural nuances of the ancient Near East. One is “sitting at the gates.” This was an indication Lot was among the town elders or leaders. He was a member of the city council. As seen in Deuteronomy 5 with the Levirate marriage, it had to go through the elders at the gate. Those who stood at the gate were the leaders of the town and community. So Lot was in a position of some civil authority within the community.Secondly, biblical anthropologists to this day will study Bedouin culture because it has changed so little even since patriarchal times. There are anthropologists who will study Bedouin music in order to understand what the original Psalms sounded like as they were played with harps and cymbals and things like this. In such cultures they are responsible for up to three days for the welfare of a sojourner who comes into their house or tent. It was unthinkable to let anything happen to them because one’s own survival might depend on their reciprocal hospitality. It had to be a sacrosanct code that no one could violate.Thirdly, as with the betrothal of Mary and Joseph, the engagement phase was legally binding. One was always contractually obligated even before the marriage nuptial. Once a daughter was engaged, her betrothed was legally considered a son-in-law even though the actual marriage had not yet taken place.Those are the cultural nuances, but now let us look at the eschatological nuances.
It becomes evening. The Scriptures repeatedly speak of the night as a metaphor of what will happen at the end of the age. It becomes dark.He is coming like a thief in the night (1 Th. 5:2).Is he coming in the second watch or the third (Lk. 12:38)? In Matthew 25 the bridegroom comes for the bride in the night (Mt. 25:1-13).Work while you have the light for night will come when no man can work (Jn. 9:4).It gets dark.When we see homosexuality becoming not only rampant but prolific, normative, aggressive, it is getting very dark. The sun is setting on that civilization and God gives them over to it. We are going to see a tremendous increase in homosexual activity in the Last Days.There are some who speculatively link this to where it says the Antichrist will have no regard for women (Dan. 11:37). Some speculate he may be a homosexual on this basis, perhaps with good reason. I do not say they are wrong.
And he said, “Now behold, my lords, please turn aside into your servant’s house, and spend the night, and wash your feet; then you may rise early and go on your way.” They said however, “No, but we shall spend the night in the square.” Yet he urged them strongly, so they turned aside to him and entered his house; and he prepared a feast for them, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate. (Genesis 19:2-3)
“Unleavened bread”—matzah. This is an eschatological nuance. In what other rescue narratives do we see unleavened bread? The Exodus. What does Paul say in Corinthians? To proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes (1 Co. 11:26). The good and faithful servant gives the proper food at the proper time (Mt. 24:45-46).
Before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, surrounded the house, both young and old, all the people from every quarter; and they called to Lot and said to him, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may have relations with them.” (Genesis 19:4-5)
We need to understand we are dealing with people with an agenda. Political correctness has redefined the meaning of “tolerance.” “Tolerance” no longer means that you tolerate someone’s right to be a homosexual between consenting adults—that is what it meant twenty-five years ago. Twenty-five years ago “tolerance” meant, “I may not agree with homosexuality between mutually consenting adults, but as long as you don’t try to force it on anyone else, you may go do that.” Now “tolerance” means they must be able to teach it in schools to our children, and anyone who opposes it is guilty of a hate crime. It is not “tolerance”—we must subscribe to their agenda, which becomes more vociferous, more assertive, more radical.It is just the same as Islam. They talk about tolerance to get their foot in the door. They cannot show anyone an Islamic society in the entire world that is tolerant—not even one. But they come talking about tolerance and get liars and politicians who will tell the same lies, knowing they are lying. It is not about tolerance. The ones who talk the most about tolerance are the most intolerant.
But Lot went out to them at the doorway, and shut the door behind him… (Genesis 19:6)
This is an eschatological nuance. In the rescue of Noah God shut the door (Gen. 7:16). In Revelation, what Jesus shuts no one can open (Rev. 3:7). When we see these same phrases, words, or terms occurring in successive rescue narratives in Scripture, there is a reason they are there. They all typify—foreshadow—what is going to happen at the end.But notice it is Lot who tries to shut the door. It does not work.
Increasingly Callous in a Secular World
…and said, “Please, my brothers, do not act wickedly. (Genesis 19:7)
“My brothers”? What does this teach about the state in which believers will find themselves in the Last Days? We will become so acclimated to the wickedness that surrounds us in popular culture, we become callous to it. This does not mean we like it, sanction it, agree with it, or practice it, but it does mean we accept it as a reality, and we go on so we can function in that society.As Lot found out, the fact that he had a position of political authority merited him nothing when the heat was on; he simply did not get anywhere. A time is going to come when it is just not going to work. It does not matter how much money, position, education, or personal status that someone has; what matters is that a time is going to come when, irrespective of somebody’s status, they are going to find themselves at odds with the popular culture. Christians who have positions in the professional or business communities, positions of affluence, political positions—it will not matter anymore.We try to get by, thinking we will be able to manage in the secular world, but we will not be able to. Over a number of issues—homosexuality being one of them—it is becoming increasingly difficult for Christians in education, the legal profession, the medical profession, certainly the arts and media, government, and the military. It is becoming more and more difficult for Christians in these fields because of this and other issues.Whatever status and position Lot had, it no longer did him any good. The same thing is going to happen in the end. Ultimately it is going to be us and them, and they are going to let us know it. We become so callous, so accepting of the realities of moral debauchery, giving up thinking we cannot do anything about it anyway, that it is going to take a persecution to jolt us into gear in preparation to be rescued. Persecution becomes a necessary evil because of the state of the Church which has become complacent. Such persecution becomes necessary to prepare us for rescue.I was in Vietnam with the Hmong people who were persecuted by the Communists. They are poor—really poor and impoverished, they are persecuted, and in most cases they do not have any Bibles. They are poor, persecuted, without Bibles, but their churches are growing rapidly.
What is their hope? We have one hope: Jesus’ coming. This is the only thing they have left to hope in!I received a letter today from the “Son of Sam.” He pastors a church loosely affiliated with Moriel at a maximum security prison in New York with criminally insane killers who have gotten saved. He knows he is never getting out of there. Either the Lord is going to come or the Lord is going to come for him. He has no other hope except Jesus’ coming. I once told him, “Brother David, I am sorry about this. This is hellish by anybody’s imagination. But spiritually and doctrinally you are safer in here than you are out there.” He replied, “You’re not the first one who’s told me that.”It gets to the point we become so callous, so caught up in our own situation and circumstance, that we think we can accommodate life in an increasingly morally abject world, and persecution becomes necessary to jolt us into gear to want to get rescued, to want to get out of here. “Will the Son of Man find faith on earth” (Lk. 18:8)?
Not Really One of Them
“Now behold, I have two daughters who have not had relations with man; please let me bring them out to you, and do to them whatever you like; only do nothing to these men, inasmuch as they have come under the shelter of my roof.”
(Lot, of course, knew that they did not desire girls.)
But they said, “Stand aside.” Furthermore, they said, “This one came in as an alien, and already he is acting like a judge; now we will treat you worse than them.” So they pressed hard against Lot and came near to break the door. (Genesis 19:8-9)
“You came in as an alien!” “You’re not one of us!”
We may have a position in the community, in a profession, in a corporation, on the school board, we may be a member of the Bar, whatever—they are going to remind us that we are not one of them. But look what else: “We will treat you worse than them.”
These people hate those who oppose their agenda.Notice how they are not trying to get us to “tolerate” the homosexual agenda; they are trying to force it on other people. When we oppose their agenda to force it on other people, they will treat us worse than them. They will hate people who oppose the compulsory forcing of their agenda on society. They have forced it into the school system; they have forced it into the courts; they have forced it into the military. Now they have forced it into the churches, and if you oppose it they will treat you worse than them. But it is going to get even worse.I was just at the Jericho Ranch in California with an ex-nun, one of several personal friends who are former Roman Catholic priests and ex-nuns. They have all told me their personal testimony and talk about what it was like, but they all make it very clear that homosexuality and lesbianism is quite common among the Roman Catholic clergy. Yet officially the Roman Catholic church says it is wrong.
What they do practically is something else, but at least officially they say it is unnatural and wrong—it takes a Protestant to go that wrong. Protestantism has become more morally bankrupt than Roman Catholicism. It has become more spiritually abject than what it set out to reform. Protestantism is more theologically, spiritually and morally worthless than Roman Catholicism. Even the Church of Rome would not officially sanction this, even though practically they do. The World Council of Churches will; the Presbyterians will; Tony Campolo will; Brian McLaren will. God says it is wrong.
The Power of Addiction
But the men reached out their hands and brought Lot into the house with them, and shut the door.
(Now the angelic beings shut the door. It is not Lot shutting the door.)
They struck the men who were at the doorway of the house with blindness, both small and great, so that they wearied themselves trying to find the doorway. (Genesis 19:10-11)
This is unbelievable. Anyone who has seen a heroin addict going cold turkey through heroin withdrawal, or seen an alcoholic with delirium tremors, has witnessed that an organic addiction can so consume, possess and animate someone that they will behave this way. Can you imagine losing your eyesight—being struck blind, and yet being so driven by an unnatural lust—an unnatural passion that you are still trying to satiate the unnatural lust? I have seen how chemical addiction propels people to do this— alcoholics who, all they care about is getting a drink even if they had lost their eyesight. All a junkie wants is another dose of smack; that is all he cares about. I have seen how organic addiction can propel people to that extreme. But imagine when it becomes possible to be driven to that extreme by an unnatural sexual passion, not even a natural one!A heterosexual would not do that. I would not care if it is Marilyn Monroe. I would not care if it is Brad Pitt. It does not matter who it is. If a heterosexual lost their eyesight they would be saying, “Get me an ophthalmologist! Get me to a hospital! Get me to an emergency room!”
The only things I have seen which would drive somebody who would lose their sight to still try to gratify their compulsion is somebody with a chemical addiction. There is something that so consumes people given over to this orientation that they behave the way a junkie or alcoholic would. These people are controlled by something. “[T]hey wearied themselves trying to find the doorway.”
Those “In” and “Out”
Then the two men said to Lot, “Whom else have you here? A son-in-law, and your sons, and your daughters, and whomever you have in the city, bring them out of the place… (Genesis 19:12)
As in the Exodus, God is in the business of saving not just people but families; as in Jericho with Rahab and her family; as in the case of Noah and his family. God does not want to rescue just us; He wants to rescue our family. But we see in the story of Lot what Jesus said, that parents will turn against children, children against parents (Mt. 10:21)—not everyone in our family is going to want to be saved. He could not even get a minyan.
…for we are about to destroy this place, because their outcry has become so great before the LORD that the LORD has sent us to destroy it.” Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were to marry his daughters, and said, “Up, get out of this place, for the LORD will destroy the city.” But he appeared to his sons-in-law to be jesting. (Genesis 19:13-14)
The homosexuals could not get in, but Lot had to go out. Why? There are people who in theory should be raptured who will not be; they should be in, but they are out. They have one foot in the Church, one foot in the world.
…not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:25)
They are out there and comfortable in the world. He tells them that judgment is coming and they can be rescued, but they think it is a joke! “[H]e appeared…to be jesting.” Well, what do we have now? Let us just go through the list.In the United States Rick Joyner says the Rapture is a lie of the devil. It is a joke. Some of these people make fun of it and compare it to Star Trek: “Beam me up, Scotty.”In Great Britain, Gerald Coates, the false prophet who has a lying spirit, says the Rapture is a fantasy and a myth.Mike Bickel teaches the rapture of Elijah was God’s judgment on Elijah.Rick Warren teaches to avoid end-times prophecy—that it is a diversion. Jesus said be alert and to watch out, but forget what Jesus says; Rick Warren says to keep away from it.It appears to be a joke to them. If someone does not believe there is going to be a rescue, how are they going to get rescued? The foolish virgins are going no place (Mt. 25:1-13). The idea that everyone who says they are a Christian or born again are going to get raptured? The foolish virgins are going no place. A time will come when they will know they are wrong, but it will be too late. The rescue will have happened.Notice that Lot’s sons-in-law are out! They are out there when they should be in here. Paul could be in the world but not of it. But they are more comfortable out in the world than they are in here.
He who separates himself seeks his own desire,He quarrels against all sound wisdom. (Proverbs 18:1)
The same thing is happening in the Church; they do not believe in a rescue so they are making it into a joke.
When morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Up, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away in the punishment of the city.” But he hesitated. So the men seized his hand and the hand of his wife and the hands of his two daughters, for the compassion of the LORD was upon him; and they brought him out, and put him outside the city. (Genesis 19:15-16)
Even Lot hesitated. It says in Peter, the righteous are scarcely saved (1 Pe. 4:18). It is only the grace of Jesus that is going to get us out of here. We are only going to get out of here by the skin of our teeth, and that by God’s grace! The sad fact of the matter is that the old creation wants to stay here. The old creation wants to imagine that somehow this place is going to get better when the most that can happen is interim periods of respite. Only the new creation really wants to get out of here. Lot hesitated. Only God’s grace got him out.Geologists who have been to this area at the southern tip of the Dead Sea say that some kind of seismic event did happen of a volcanic nature or something like that, but they are not sure where Sodom or Gomorrah would have been. Some say it was on the Jordanian side, others that it is under the Dead Sea, which is evaporating quickly at the moment. Others say they do not know, or that the two cities may have been in other places. We do not know; nobody knows for sure. But archeologists do know where Lot escaped to. We know where Zoar is.I have been to Zoar many times. It is no more than two miles from an Israeli health resort on the Dead Sea, today called Ein Bokek. There is a Hilton and Holiday Inn there and they all have clinics people go to for medical treatment for psoriasis and things like that from the minerals in the Dead Sea and the sun. Lot escaped there, so Sodom and Gomorrah had to be somewhere close to Ein Bokek. There are also many pillars of salt in the area.
When they had brought them outside, one said, “Escape for your life! Do not look behind you, and do not stay anywhere in the valley; escape to the mountains, or you will be swept away.” (Genesis 19:17)
What did Jesus say for AD 70? “[F]lee to the mountains” (Mt. 24:16). Where did Noah go? Mt. Ararat (Gen. 8:47).
The Believers Must Come Out
But Lot said to them, “Oh no, my lords! “Now behold, your servant has found favor in your sight, and you have magnified your lovingkindness, which you have shown me by saving my life; but I cannot escape to the mountains, for the disaster will overtake me and I will die; now behold, this town is near enough to flee to, and it is small. Please, let me escape there (is it not small?) that my life may be saved.” He said to him, “Behold, I grant you this request also, not to overthrow the town of which you have spoken. Hurry, escape there, for I cannot do anything until you arrive there.” Therefore the name of the town was called Zoar.The sun had risen over the earth when Lot came to Zoar. Then the LORD rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven, and He overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. (Genesis 19:18-25)
It says, “Do not look back! Do not take anything! I cannot do anything until you arrive!” The Lord cannot do anything until He gets us out of here. He has given a promise. We are not appointed to wrath, Paul says (1 Th. 5:9). Will we experience the Tribulation? Notice that they are in tribulation.
Virtually everything we see prefiguring the Rapture in Scripture and in every rescue narrative shows God’s people in the Tribulation, being preserved in it and rescued out of it before the wrath comes. The Exodus is the same; Noah’s the same; Sodom and Gomorrah is the same: God’s people are in the Tribulation; they are preserved in it, and rescued out of it before the wrath comes. We are not appointed to wrath. “I can’t do anything until you get out of there.”The sun rises as in the resurrection—arise and shine for your light is come (Is. 60:12), and then the judgment comes. But then it says, “Do not look back; flee!”
But his wife, from behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt. (Genesis 19:26)
Again, there are many pillars of salt at the southern end of the Dead Sea. I do not know which one she is, but I assume she is one of them. In any event, she looked back. What did Jesus say? Let he who is in the field not go back to get his cloak, let he who is in the house not go back to get his furnishings (Mt. 24:17-18). Materialism becomes a big problem in the Last Days, when the things we own, own us.
The End Result
Now Abraham arose early in the morning and went to the place where he had stood before the LORD; and he looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the valley, and he saw, and behold, the smoke of the land ascended like the smoke of a furnace. Thus it came about, when God destroyed the cities of the valley, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when He overthrew the cities in which Lot lived. (Genesis 19:27-29)
When we see this increasing radicalism of rampant homosexuality and lesbianism becoming more militant, more demanding, more assertive, more uncompromising, and we see Christians trying to accommodate it, be comfortable with it, co-exist with it, we are getting close to the end. God had given these people over to believe it is normal; they have been given over to destruction. There is not even a minyan; there are not even enough faithful Christians left to stop this from happening.Right now the British government—a conservative government—is pressuring countries in Africa to legalize homosexuality. The British government is pressuring countries with high Christian populations in Africa to allow it in the name of human rights. This is how evil the British government has become. The fact is that most people in the American military did not want the end of Don’t Ask; Don’t Tell, but Obama forced it on them.It is getting worse, but they do not know the reason it is getting worse: “Therefore the Lord gave them over.” He did not just give the homosexuals over or the lesbians over, but those who condone it are given over to it. That includes much of the so-called Church. I do not mean the World Council of Churches—Satan always had them in his pocket anyway. I mean the so-called Evangelical church, certainly the Emergent Church, certainly the Purpose Driven church, and it is getting worse. How much worse can it get before God intervenes? Not much. We have once again reached the point where there is not even a minyan.Now, that is not a happy note to end on, but what is a happy note to end on is this: Jesus said when we see these things happening we should lift our heads and rejoice because our redemption draws near (Lk. 21:28). We are not appointed to wrath; it is not us whom God is angry with. But we need to learn the lessons of Lot.We are becoming callous to the moral debauchery of society at large and our frustration to do anything about it. The Church is no longer salt and light; there is no stopping it. There may be no stopping it, but what these people do not know is that neither is there stopping the return of Jesus! That is, indeed, our blessed hope. There will be a rescue.This homosexual thing—this fiasco, this social cancer that has even infected the Church, once it gets into the Church, not that it just becomes socially normative, but once it gets into the Evangelical Church, that shows it cannot be much longer before Jesus comes. It cannot be much longer. He is going to pour out His judgment, but before He does that He says, “I can do nothing until I get you guys out of here.” This is our blessed hope.God bless.