Christian Churches of God

No. 91

 

 

 

Abraham and Sodom

(Edition 2.0 19950212-20000201)

 

This paper covers the activities which built up to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. The movements of Abraham are critically examined, as is the treatment of Sodom and Gomorrah. The lessons for todayís world are evident from the narrative. The activities of Lot and his family are also significant.

 

 

 

Christian Churches of God

PO Box 369,WODENACT 2606,AUSTRALIA

 

Email: secretary@ccg.org

 

 

(Copyright © 1995, 2000 Wade Cox)

 

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Abraham and Sodom

 


This paper covers the build up to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. The story is a precursor to the Passover preparation. The post-flood epoch saw the world as one speech and under one priesthood, centred on Salem under Melchisedek. The identity of Melchisedek has been an enigma often not understood, because the sequence and significance of the story is not understood.

Genesis 11:1-32 And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. 2 And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. 3 And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar. 4 And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. 5 And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. 6 And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. 7 Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. 8 So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. 9 Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.

 

Here we see the scattering of the people because of the system that was being established at Babel under the system established by Nimrod there and at Accad, Erech and Calneh. From there he built Nineveh, Rehoboth and Calah (Gen. 10:10-11). The priest of God, however, was Shem being the son of Noah. Noah lived three hundred and fifty years after the flood (Gen. 9:28), and he died at nine hundred and fifty years of age (Gen. 9:29).

10 These are the generations of Shem: Shem was an hundred years old, and begat Arphaxad two years after the flood: 11 And Shem lived after he begat Arphaxad five hundred years, and begat sons and daughters.12 And Arphaxad lived five and thirty years, and begat Salah: 13 And Arphaxad lived after he begat Salah four hundred and three years, and begat sons and daughters. 14 And Salah lived thirty years, and begat Eber: 15 And Salah lived after he begat Eber four hundred and three years, and begat sons and daughters. 16And Eber lived four and thirty years, and begat Peleg: 17 And Eber lived after he begat Peleg four hundred and thirty years, and begat sons and daughters. 18 And Peleg lived thirty years, and begat Reu: 19 And Peleg lived after he begat Reu two hundred and nine years, and begat sons and daughters. 20 And Reu lived two and thirty years, and begat Serug: 21 And Reu lived after he begat Serug two hundred and seven years, and begat sons and daughters. 22 And Serug lived thirty years, and begat Nahor: 23 And Serug lived after he begat Nahor two hundred years, and begat sons and daughters. 24 And Nahor lived nine and twenty years, and begat Terah: 25 And Nahor lived after he begat Terah an hundred and nineteen years, and begat sons and daughters. 26 And Terah lived seventy years, and begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran. 27 Now these are the generations of Terah: Terah begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran begat Lot. 28 And Haran died before his father Terah in the land of his nativity, in Ur of the Chaldees. 29 And Abram and Nahor took them wives: the name of Abram's wife was Sarai; and the name of Nahor's wife, Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah, and the father of Iscah. 30 But Sarai was barren; she had no child. 31 And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran his son's son, and Sarai his daughter in law, his son Abram's wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there. 32 And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years: and Terah died in Haran. (KJV)

 

There are a number of points of significance that arise from the text in Genesis 11. The first relates to the age of Shem and the others. From the texts we can establish the dates after the flood of their birth and deaths.

 

Shem lived after the flood for 502 years and his life has implications for the rulership of the nations. We can construct a table as follows.

 


 

 

Patriarch

Age at birth of son

Born

Died in post-flood year

Shem

100

 

Flood + 502

Arpachsad

35

F. +††† 2

F. + 440

Shalach

30

F. +†† 37

F. + 470

Eber

34

F. +†† 67

F. + 531

Peleg

30

F. + 101

F. + 340

Reu

32

F. + 131

F. + 370

Serug

30

F. + 163

F. + 393

Nahor

29

F. + 193

F. + 341

Terah

70

F. + 222

F. + 427

Haran

Nahor

Abram

 

F. +?

F. +?

F. + 292

Before F. + 422.


The dispersion of the nations occurred when Abraham was 48 years old, at the death of Peleg 340 years after the flood (Seder Olam Rabbah, Ch. 1).

 

Abram (Abraham) left Haran after the death of Terah in F. + 427. He was seventy-five years old (Gen. 12:4). We are certain that the patriarchs alive at the death of Terah and the occupation of Canaan by Abram were Shem, Arpachsad, Shalach and Eber. Shem was the senior. From Genesis 9:26, Yehovah is stated as the God of Shem and Japeth is to live in his tents. Shem is here blessed, although Japeth is the elder (Gen. 10:22). Shem is therefore priest of the Most High God at the time of Abraham. The distribution of the others is unknown, but Shem had Arpachsad and Elam and Asshur, who were to emerge as the Assyrians. The ancient kingdom of Elam when joined with the others formed the base of the Babylonian empire (see the paper The Fall of Egypt (No. 36)).

 

The movement of the tribes indicates that the distribution of the nations in cities and areas, limits the possibilities of the priesthood of the most high God at Salem, being Shem or Arpachsad, given the known settlements of the other sons. Arpachsad died in F. + 440 so it is likely that the patriarch still alive and senior, is the one referred to as Melchisedek or My King is Righteousness, although Shalach or Eber are still possibilities (cf. the paper Melchisedek (No. 128)). Shem is called the father of all the sons of Eber (Gen. 10:21). Thus it is possible that the term Hebrew extends beyond the Israelites to other related peoples. This is a study in its own right.

Genesis 12:1-20 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee: 2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. 4 So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran. 5 And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came. 6 And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land. 7 And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him. 8 And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, having Bethel on the west, and Hai on the east: and there he builded an altar unto the LORD, and called upon the name of the LORD. 9 And Abram journeyed, going on still toward the south. 10 And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land. 11 And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt, that he said unto Sarai his wife, Behold now, I know that thou art a fair woman to look upon: 12 Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see thee, that they shall say, This is his wife: and they will kill me, but they will save thee alive. 13 Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister: that it may be well with me for thy sake; and my soul shall live because of thee. 14 And it came to pass, that, when Abram was come into Egypt, the Egyptians beheld the woman that she was very fair. 15 The princes also of Pharaoh saw her, and commended her before Pharaoh: and the woman was taken into Pharaoh's house. 16 And he entreated Abram well for her sake: and he had sheep, and oxen, and he asses, and menservants, and maidservants, and she asses, and camels. 17 And the LORD plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai Abram's wife. 18 And Pharaoh called Abram, and said, What is this that thou hast done unto me? why didst thou not tell me that she was thy wife? 19 Why saidst thou, She is my sister? so I might have taken her to me to wife: now therefore behold thy wife, take her, and go thy way. 20 And Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him: and they sent him away, and his wife, and all that he had. (KJV)

 

The movement into Egypt was precipitated by a lack of faith. Abram did not have faith that God would fulfil his promise to give him the land and that he would feed him there. He also did not have enough faith that God would protect him, so he resorted to lying to the Egpytians. This is indicative of our position without faith before we are given our conversion. Abram went into Egypt and moreover Abram denied his wife there and let her become a concubine to Pharaoh and his household. God punished Pharaoh for this lie and cowardice on the part of Abram. Thus ignorance of the law was not taken as excuse even though the law had not as yet been given to Moses. This incident preceded the giving of the law to Moses by over four hundred years, yet this man was punished for breaking the commandments. So the Scriptural position is that you are not excused and that the law was in existence before it was given to Moses. The Commandments were placed on tablets of stone because the Israelites were a slave people brought out in ignorance. These people at the time under the high priesthood of Shem were not in ignorance. The laws of God had been established from Noah and the flood, right through from Babylon to Egypt and Pharaoh was quite aware that Shem was the legitimate heir of God. Thus marriage and the laws of God were known from the flood among the nations. The law as given to Moses was thus an extended law to that generally understood.

 

Paul, in the writings of the NT is narrowly interpreted, in dealing with Colossians and Galatians about the reference to the law being on tablets of stone. The law was inscripted on tablets of stone and Paulís analogies do not take into account the existence of a priesthood and a law prior to Moses. Noah understood the law and the flood punished the nations because they were evil and it wiped out a system of beings Ė a group of people who were not to take part in the resurrection. They were evil because they transgressed the law. The law did exist and the law was known.

 

Genesis 13:1-18 And Abram went up out of Egypt, he, and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the south. 2 And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold. 3 And he went on his journeys from the south even to Bethel, unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Hai; 4 Unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of the LORD.

 

So Abram repented. He was thrown out of Egypt because he had lied to Pharaoh and he went back with his tail between his legs to the place where he had set up an altar, where God had appeared to him and he repented.

5 And Lot also, which went with Abram, had flocks, and herds, and tents. 6 And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together: for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together. 7 And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram's cattle and the herdmen of Lot's cattle: and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land. 8 And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren. 9 Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left. 10 And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar. 11 Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other. 12 Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom. 13 But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly.14 And the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: 15 For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. 16 And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered. 17 Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee. 18 Then Abram removed his tent, and came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and built there an altar unto the LORD. (KJV)

 

God blessed Abram and also Lot whilst he was with Abram as his son. The choice was given to Lot to decide which lands he wanted. Lot chose the best lands even though they were inhabited by an evil people.

Genesis 14:1-24 And it came to pass in the days of Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of nations; 2 That these made war with Bera king of Sodom, and with Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, and Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela, which is Zoar. 3 All these were joined together in the vale of Siddim, which is the salt sea. 4 Twelve years they served Chedorlaomer, and in the thirteenth year they rebelled. 5 And in the fourteenth year came Chedorlaomer, and the kings that were with him, and smote the Rephaims in Ashteroth Karnaim, and the Zuzims in Ham, and the Emims in Shaveh Kiriathaim,

 

The Rephaim were mentioned in Isaiah. This has been dealt with in the papers The Nephilim (No. 154) and The Fall of Egypt (No. 36). The Asteroth system and these systems from verses 5 and 6 also deal with a religious system which related to Jericho (see the paper The Fall of Jericho (No. 142)).

6 And the Horites in their mount Seir, unto Elparan, which is by the wilderness. 7 And they returned, and came to Enmishpat, which is Kadesh, and smote all the country of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites, that dwelt in Hazezontamar. 8 And there went out the king of Sodom, and the king of Gomorrah, and the king of Admah, and the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (the same is Zoar;) and they joined battle with them in the vale of Siddim; 9 With Chedorlaomer the king of Elam, and with Tidal king of nations, and Amraphel king of Shinar, and Arioch king of Ellasar; four kings with five. 10 And the vale of Siddim was full of slimepits; and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, and fell there; and they that remained fled to the mountain. 11 And they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their victuals, and went their way. 12 And they took Lot, Abram's brother's son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed.

 

So these people rebelled against authority and the penalty was that Lot, who was sojourning with them went into captivity with them. So if you serve an evil nation and the Lord sends it into captivity, donít be surprised if you go into captivity with the people you serve or associate with.

13 And there came one that had escaped, and told Abram the Hebrew; for he dwelt in the plain of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol, and brother of Aner: and these were confederate with Abram. 14 And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan. 15 And he divided himself against them, he and his servants, by night, and smote them, and pursued them unto Hobah, which is on the left hand of Damascus. 16 And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people.

 

This story has a parallel with Gideon. The numbers are the same and the sequence is similar (see the paper Gideon's Force and the Last Days (No. 22)).

17 And the king of Sodom went out to meet him after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and of the kings that were with him, at the valley of Shaveh, which is the king's dale. 18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. 19 And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: 20 And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all. 21 And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself. 22 And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth, 23 That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich: 24 Save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men which went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion. (KJV)

 

A couple of other concepts arise out of this. We have the Melchisedek figure here which is the text giving the greatest thought. Abraham went out and it was necessary that he saved an iniquitous people and an iniquitous king to rescue Lot and his family. Also Abram tithed to Melechisedek. That law had not yet been given. It was not even in the ten commandments at Sinai. The tithing legislation was not yet given by four hundred years, yet Abraham tithed by faith, because after he returned from Egypt, Abraham was converted himself. He had to come out of Egypt first, in order to establish a system through Isaac that would itself go into Egypt and be taken out. Abraham was to inherit the promises. So that the promises could be made to him and he could set up a lineage which would succeed the priest of the Most High God, he also had to succeed from the order of Melchisedek, which was at Salem and was extant at Abrahamís time, some four hundred years after the flood.

 

So there was a continuing priesthood that God had on this planet, up to and inclusive of Abraham. There was not any time when this planet was without law, or without a priesthood. From Adam to Abraham are the first two thousand years. God did not leave or forsake the people that he set on this planet at all. On the death of Shem the priesthood passed to the sons of Isaac from Abraham. There was no gap. There was a priest of the Most High God without genealogy, unlike the Aaronic priesthood, which had to be set up. That priesthood was through the sons of Noah and Abraham qualified to take over from that priesthood. You can read the exchange through Abraham and Melchisedek to get that concept (see also the paper Tithing (No. 161)).

 

The people of Sodom were thus enriched by Abram and his servants because of Lot his kinsman that dwelt among them. There is a moral to this story. The people of Sodom and Gomorrah were given great leniency and blessing because the people of Abram were among them.

Genesis 15:1-21 After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. 2 And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? 3 And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir. 4 And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. 5 And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. 6 And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness. 7 And he said unto him, I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it. 8 And he said, Lord GOD, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it? 9 And he said unto him, Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon. 10 And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not. 11 And when the fowls came down upon the carcases, Abram drove them away. 12 And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him. 13 And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; 14 And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. 15 And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age. 16 But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full. 17 And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces. 18 In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates: 19 The Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites, 20 And the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims, 21 And the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites. (KJV)

 

Here the promise is given to Abram of children and of a multitude of descendants. Moreover the captivity in Egypt is also prophesied. The birds of prey attacked the sacrifices and attempted to carry them away. The attack on Abramís people was to be the standard of judgment of the nations. This is the basis of the parable of the sheep and the goats in the New Testament. It is after the captivity that the chosen people will come out with great substance.

 

That captivity itself is symbolic of the captivity of the nations under Satan, when Messiah will liberate them in the last days.

 

The Amorites were not yet to be done away because their iniquity was not yet full. In other words they would not repent but it was not expedient to deal with them at the time. Israel would thus be sent into captivity in Egypt to strengthen them and then they would inherit the substance of the Amorites. At the same time they would do away with the Rephaim and the other offspring of the giants.

 

There is a whole sequence of activities here. Israel would not get strong enough if they were left to their own devices in Canaan. They would be too fat and sleek, so they had to be sent into captivity. This is where they would increase in numbers.

 

Ten years after the return to Canaan, Abram was given Hagar and she conceived Ishmael (Gen. 16:1-7), and she ran away because Sarai dealt with her harshly.

 

The Angel of Yahovah (Jehovah) called the God Who Sees went after Hagar and made her return to Sarai. He promised he would establish her and Ishmael who was born when Abram was eighty-six years old (Gen. 16:16). This was 430 years post-flood. Shem, Arpachsad, Shalach and Eber were still alive.

 

At ninety-nine years of age Abram was re-named Abraham and the Lord established His covenant with Abraham (Gen. 17:1-23). This was 443 years post-flood and Arpachsad was dead some three years.

Genesis 17:1-27 And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. 2 And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. 3 And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, 4 As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. 5 Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. 6 And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. 7 And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. 8 And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God. 9 And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations. 10 This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised. 11 And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you. 12 And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed. 13 He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. 14 And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant. 15 And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be. 16 And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her. 17 Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear? 18 And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee! 19 And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him. 20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation. 21 But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year. 22 And he left off talking with him, and God went up from Abraham. 23 And Abraham took Ishmael his son, and all that were born in his house, and all that were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham's house; and circumcised the flesh of their foreskin in the selfsame day, as God had said unto him. 24 And Abraham was ninety years old and nine, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. 25 And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. 26 In the selfsame day was Abraham circumcised, and Ishmael his son. 27 And all the men of his house, born in the house, and bought with money of the stranger, were circumcised with him. (KJV)

 

We understand now what it means. It was a precursor to a cleansing of the heart with the Holy Spirit. It was of itself a symbolism, a covenant that merely pointed towards the new covenant which was Jesus Christ. That was not and is not understood. It is a physical symbolism with a spiritual counterpart.

 

Here the covenant was established specifically through Sarah also. Hence the kingship was not only of Abraham but also from Sarah. Here the son was named by God as Isaac and the twelve tribes were noted as the ruling entities. The rulership was to extend to the Gentiles through these tribes. The kings of the twelve houses were to extend from the judges or twelve apostles as the council of twenty-four but also the Gentiles were to participate in those tribes through the New Covenant. This circumcision was to be of the heart and the rite of circumcision pointed towards that more perfect covenant.

 

The three representatives of God appeared to Abraham and blessed him prior to dealing with Sodom and Gomorrah. They were called Jehovah not Adonai (see Companion Bible note to vv. 2-3, and appendix 32: The substitutions of Adonai for Jehovah were in Gen. 18:3, 27, 30, 32; 19:18, 20:4 from the Massorah ss 107-15 (Ginsbergís edition)).

 

They changed Yahovah to read Adonai because they did not like the concept of having angels being referred to as Yahovah. There were three Elohim and no man has ever seen God, so there were three other Yahovah other than God the Father. That is why they changed the Hebrew text. The Companion Bible deals with it in detail. 134 alterations for Jehovah (Yahovah) to Adonai are listed in Appendix 32. It also has the reference where Elohim was treated in the same way as Jehovah (Yahovah).

Genesis 18:1-21 And the LORD appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; 2 And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground, 3 And said, My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant: 4 Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree: 5 And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts; after that ye shall pass on: for therefore are ye come to your servant. And they said, So do, as thou hast said. 6 And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth. 7 And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetch a calf tender and good, and gave it unto a young man; and he hasted to dress it. 8 And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat. 9 And they said unto him, Where is Sarah thy wife? [As to Sarah thy wife (altered by the Sopherim)] And he [interrupting (Comp. Bib. App. 31)] said, Behold, in the tent. 10 And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him. 11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. 12 Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also? 13 And the LORD said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old? 14 Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son. 15 Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And he said, Nay; but thou didst laugh. 16 And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way. 17 And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; 18 Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? 19 For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him. 20 And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; 21 I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know. (KJV)

 

The promise had not yet been given to Abraham but it was at this point that God decided to deal with the nations of Canaan who were evil altogether.

 

Abraham at this point interceded for the righteous in those nations and also for his kinsmen. This is a sign for the attitudes of the elect. We should be praying for all of the people within the nation with whom we reside. It may be that at the back of Abramís mind was the fact that Lot and his family were there, so he was concerned about what was going to happen to his own people.

Genesis 18:22-33 And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD. 23 And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? 24 Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? 25 That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? 26 And the LORD said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes. 27 And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes: 28 Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous: wilt thou destroy all the city for lack of five? And he said, If I find there forty and five, I will not destroy it. 29 And he spake unto him yet again, and said, Peradventure there shall be forty found there. And he said, I will not do it for forty's sake. 30 And he said unto him, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: Peradventure there shall thirty be found there. And he said, I will not do it, if I find thirty there. 31 And he said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord: Peradventure there shall be twenty found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for twenty's sake. 32 And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for ten's sake. 33 And the LORD went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place. (KJV)

 

Jehovah here was the Angel of Yahovah (Jehovah), the Elohim of Israel we understand to be the pre-incarnate Christ. God (the Most High and also the subordinate Elohim) was loathe to destroy a people and would not do so even if there were ten righteous people left. Thus the responsibility on the elect for the salvation of the nations is heavy.

Genesis 19:1-14 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; 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. 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. 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: 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. 6 And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him, 7 And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly. 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. 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. 10 But the men put forth their hand, and pulled Lot into the house to them, and shut to the door. 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. 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: 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. 14 And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married 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. (KJV)

 

The symbolism of Lot offering the daughters to the men was that they were betrothed to the two men termed here sons- in-law because betrothal was a quasi marriage. The judgment would then be upon them for the conduct of the people because the girls were in effect of their own people through betrothal. They knew this and became angry with Lot because he was judging them by this action. The spiritual significance perhaps also relates to the Church where the nations are judged by their conduct in relation to the elect. Two churches of the last days are effectively destroyed by the depravity of the last days. The Sardis Church is dead and the Laodicean is spewed out. Both of these churches are removed from grace. Only remnants of them survive. Here these two survive through their sons (Moab and Ammon) by their natural father. Also there is another possibility with these two women. They may relate to the concept of the covenants and how the nations deal with them. They literally cannot enter the door of safety because they are stricken with blindness since they will not come to repentance. The significance of these men of Sodom being stricken is that they were totally unrepentant, therefore they could not enter into judgment. They could not be saved. They would have done damage by coming in so they were blinded and the door was shut. They were offered salvation but could not take part of it because they did not repent. The survival of these people is offered to the two sons.

 

Also here Lotís sons-in-law thought he was talking nonsense when the place was condemned to destruction. So will it be in the last days.

Genesis 19:15-22 And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city. 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. 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. 18 And Lot said unto them, Oh, not so, my Lord: 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: 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. 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. 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. (KJV)

 

Tsoar (SHD 6820) means to be little. It is derived from SHD 6819 Tsaíar meaning to be small or figuratively ignoble or to be brought low. The city itself was of no consequence and had been brought low. So it was spared because it served the purpose of saving Lot in offering some protection while the main cities and the nations were destroyed. That is the concept of the place of safety where you will flee from one place to another and be given respite, while the destruction occurs around you. There is a concept where God will put his hand on you and provide for you, so that if it is too far for you to go you will be given sanctuary (cf. the paper The Place of Safety (No. 194)).

Genesis 19:23-38 The sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar. 24 Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven; 25 And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground. 26 But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt. 27 And Abraham gat up early in the morning to the place where he stood before the LORD: 28 And he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain, and beheld, and, lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace.

 

The problem with Lotís wife was that she was not truly repentant over her association with the sins of the world. She was destroyed because of her attitude. The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is a prelude or vision of what is to happen to the earth in the last days.

 

We have seen how the nations are being destroyed by their own actions in the last days. The pollution is everywhere evident as we see. It is not only Russia that has created the problem. America is a major contaminator of the environment as is every industrialised nation. In Russia we have spoken of the damaged sunken nuclear submarines. Polluted lakes carrying some 400 million litres of radioactive water from nuclear production is seeping out into the Russian river systems. Russia is selling nuclear weapons. Iraq is rearmed to some 85% of previous capacity. The devastation is virtually imminent and unavoidable. The four angels are developing the devastation now at amazing speed (see the paper Global Warming and Bible Prophecy (No. 218)).

29 And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in the which Lot dwelt. 30 And Lot went up out of Zoar, and dwelt in the mountain, and his two daughters with him; for he feared to dwell in Zoar: and he dwelt in a cave, he and his two daughters. 31 And the firstborn said unto the younger, Our father is old, and there is not a man in the earth to come in unto us after the manner of all the earth: 32 Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father. 33 And they made their father drink wine that night: and the firstborn went in, and lay with her father; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose. 34 And it came to pass on the morrow, that the firstborn said unto the younger, Behold, I lay yesternight with my father: let us make him drink wine this night also; and go thou in, and lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father. 35 And they made their father drink wine that night also: and the younger arose, and lay with him; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose. 36 Thus were both the daughters of Lot with child by their father. 37 And the firstborn bare a son, and called his name Moab: the same is the father of the Moabites unto this day. 38 And the younger, she also bare a son, and called his name Benammi: the same is the father of the children of Ammon unto this day. (KJV)

 

The daughters of Lot understood that the earth would be destroyed again by fire in the last days. They knew of the flood because Shem was still alive in their days. Abraham died 519 years after the flood at one hundred and seventy-five outliving Shem by only seventeen years. Eber was still alive and outlived Abraham by fourteen years. The sons of Eber were truly numerous and deservedly called a people.

 

The Ammonites and the Moabites became a people with Israel and later enemies of Israel. They have a destiny as we will see later. These people did what they did because they understood that the prophecy would deal with the last days and they thought they were actually in the last days.