Welcome to EBible Fellowship’s Bible study in the Book of Genesis. Tonight is study #11 of Genesis, chapter 18 and we are reading Genesis 18:20-22:
And JEHOVAH said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; 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. And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before JEHOVAH.
As we have looked at this chapter, we have seen that God appeared to Abraham in the form of three men. Abraham fed them, and we discussed the spiritual meaning of that.
Then, without explanation, the men looked toward Sodom. God did not go into detail and say that He was going to go to Sodom and destroy it for its wickedness, but Abraham went with them to bring them on their way and as he did so, then God began to give him more information, saying, “Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; 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.” The Lord is letting Abraham know of His intention to go to the city of Sodom to visit the city because of the things that have reached the ears of God or come to God’s attention.
We need to keep in mind, as we study these things in Genesis 17 and 18, that it is tied to the time of the end, as the Lord Jesus did use Sodom as a type and figure to illustrate His own coming at the time of the end of the world. So it is not surprising that God paints this historical parable; He is using true history to teach us a deeper spiritual truth that has to do with the time of the end of the world. It is not surprising that the Lord is emphasizing the wickedness of Sodom as He said, “because their sin is very grievous.”
The word translated as “very grievous” was used in Genesis 13:12-13:
Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom. But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before JEHOVAH exceedingly.
The word “exceedingly” is the same word translated as “very grievous.” It is Strong’s #3966. We can substitute the word “exceedingly” in Genesis 18:20 and it would read: “And JEHOVAH said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is exceedingly (sinful).” So that characteristic would be true of the unsaved people in the world at the time of the end of the world. It would be true within the corporate churches with the people found there and it would be true of the unsaved people out in the world. All men are born with hearts that are desperately wicked and all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, but the “mystery of iniquity” would abound at the time of the end. Why was sin not worse in the world all through history? Why was it not utter chaos from generation to generation as people populated the earth? Yes – there was evidence of sin and there was crime, murders and wars and man’s hatred of his fellow man, but we would have thought it would have been much worse all through history. The reason why it was not worse is because the Bible reveals to us that God restrained sin in the hearts of men. His Spirit worked among the unsaved people of the world to hold back their natural tendency and desire to do evil. Now that we are at the time of the end, the Holy Spirit has lifted His hand of restraint from the unsaved people of the earth and what are we seeing all over the earth? We are seeing incredible degrees of wickedness. That is not an overstatement. There are incredible amounts of wickedness everywhere we look.
Sometimes people say, “Oh, the world has always been like this.” They try to diminish the idea that things are really bad today. However, not too many people do that because even the unsaved people of the world have to admit that things are super bad, but occasionally we see someone that does not want to admit the truth for whatever reason and he will say, “Oh, it has always been bad. The Roman Empire was just as bad and look how bad things were in Sodom.” First, he would be wrong about the Roman Empire, because when we read the Bible we see an empire that was extremely concerned about the law and its citizens. Yes – there may have been debauchery going on for a while in the Roman Empire, but it is nothing compared to today. And the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah are nothing compared to an entire world that has become “Sodom and Gomorrah.”
And it is not just in the big cities. Years ago, there was typically more crime and evil committed in the larger cities than in the smaller towns and villages, but now it is not just limited to Los Angeles or New York City or Paris or London. It pertains to small cities, medium-sized cities, little villages and remote areas. Rampant sin is everywhere we look, and it is not just America and Europe or Africa or Asia, but it is all over the world. Iniquity abounds and as we read the Bible, we learn that this is a characteristic of the end. God wrote the Bible thousands of years ago and since He knows the end from the beginning He knew that at the time of the end there would be out-of-control sin. Sin would run rampant across the face of the earth. How would God know that? He was the one that controlled sin to varying degrees all throughout history and He was the one that lifted His hand of restraint at the time of the end. So, a big indicator of the end of the world was foretold by Christ when His disciples asked what would be the sign of His coming and the end of the world, in Matthew 24:12-13:
And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
Iniquity would abound. We can tie this in with 2Timothy 3:1-5:
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
This refers to the last days. We could also read Romans, chapter 1 where God speaks of giving men up to a list of gross sins. We will get in to these sins more in the next chapter in Genesis, chapter 19 when the men of Sodom come to Lot’s house and they demand he send out his visitors that they might “know them.” It is the sin of homosexuality that is especially in view when God speaks of Sodom. We have seen twice that the men of Sodom were sinning exceedingly and their sins were “very grievous” and the sin of homosexuality is the sin that would show itself, especially at the time of the end. We are living in a world where this sin is exalted. Throughout all previous history (if we are honest), the sin of homosexuality was “hidden” more than other sins because of the shame attached to it, but we are now living in a time when there is “gay pride.” There are parades and marches and men are legally marrying men and women are legally marrying women and many governments are supporting and legalizing it. Society has gone way beyond that with the changing of gender, where men are becoming women and women are becoming men and there is mass confusion regarding who can use public bathrooms. There is madness and insanity beyond anything in the history of the world. Yes – there had been the sin of homosexuality, just like there have been all sorts of crimes, but that is not what I am saying. What I am saying is that there has never been a time like now.
We have to ask the question that is begging to be asked: Why are these things happening now? Why is there so much iniquity abounding in the world? Why are the transgressions against God so numerous and prevalent everywhere we look? It is because it is after 13,000 years of earth’s history and the time the Bible identifies as the time of the end of the world. It cannot be denied. If people would go to the Bible honestly and look at the language of the Bible regarding the character of the world at the time of the end, they would see we are at a time that qualifies as the end time in every way.
This time period qualifies as a time of abounding iniquity and as a perilous time when God has given up mankind to gross sins. All these descriptions relate to a certain time period that comes at the end of the world.
So, this is an enormous Biblical proof. Yes – Israel becoming a nation again is a proof we are in the end time. Yes – the falling away or apostacy of the entire corporate church is a proof we are in the time of the end, but the abounding iniquity is also a proof and it is very strong evidence that we have reached the time of the end. When we put these things together with the Biblical calendar of history and the timeline, we see that the timeline points to dates like 1988, 1994, 2011 and 2033. We see these dates falling into place at this time in history and it strengthens the timeline and the Biblical calendar of history as very, very accurate because all these things are happening now.
Lord willing, when we get together in our next Bible study, I would like to pick up in Genesis 18 with Abraham’s intercession to God. I want to read this passage, so you can see the direction we will be going. It says in Genesis 18:23-25:
And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? 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?
A Biblical principal is coming to the surface in this passage. The principal is that God will not slay the righteous with the wicked and this principal is carried throughout the Bible. We have already seen it in action with the flood of Noah’s day, as God waited until the ark was completed. Why? It was because there were some righteous. There were eight souls that would go into the ark and they had to be delivered because He would not slay the righteous with the wicked. We will look at that principal in our next study and we will discuss how it ties in with God’s plan to bring the righteous and the wicked before the judgment seat of Christ in this present time in the Day of Judgment. You see, this principal is our security. We know God will not destroy the righteous with the wicked, even though we have been left on the earth to go through the judgment period. There will not be a destruction of the righteous with the wicked – that cannot be. We will pick this up in our next Bible study.