Welcome to EBible Fellowship’s Bible study in the Book of Genesis. Tonight is study #13 of Genesis, chapter 18 and we are reading Genesis 18:23-26:
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? And JEHOVAH said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.
I will stop reading there. Again, we notice that God has given a Biblical principal. A Biblical principal is something that will have spiritual application at all times. We have seen this principal in action earlier, with the flood of Noah’s day. God waited to destroy the world until the ark was prepared; that is, he did not destroy the souls inside the ark, but those outside the ark drowned. God made special provision to deliver the righteous.
This is what will happen when we read about the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah in the next chapter. Lot and his daughters were delivered from that destruction and God did not destroy the righteous with the wicked. The key word is “destroy,” and I will read it again because that is what Abraham asked in Genesis 18:23:
And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?
The key word is “destroy.” What if we asked the question a different way and we replaced the word “destroy” with the word “judge”? “Wilt thou also judge the righteous with the wicked?” What is the answer? If you said, “No – God will not judge the righteous with the wicked,” you would be wrong. The Bible is very clear that God does judge the righteous with the wicked. There is a distinction between asking the question whether God will judge the righteous along with the wicked or whether God will destroy the righteous along with the wicked. No – God will not destroy the righteous with the wicked, but that does not mean that God will not judge the righteous with the wicked.
We must keep in our minds the idea that when a judge pronounces a judgment, the judgment may find the one being judged to be guilty or innocent. We understand that within our modern court system. People go to trial and, sometimes, they are found to be “not guilty,” as they stand before the judge. In the past, we have had it in our minds that everyone that stands for judgment before God will be found guilty and only the wicked will be there. But that is incorrect, and we need to correct it.
It says in Deuteronomy 25:1:
If there be a controversy between men, and they come unto judgment, that the judges may judge them; then they shall justify the righteous, and condemn the wicked.
The controversy is between two men and, typically, one is at fault. At times, both may be at fault, but usually one is found guilty and the other is innocent and, therefore, one is found wicked and the other is righteous. The two men come before the judges and the judges “justify the righteous.” They find that the righteous person has not done wrong in the matter. They condemn the wicked. They have discovered his guilt. There is a judgment against the wicked and a judgment in favor of the righteous. That is how God’s system of judgment is set up. It says in 1Kings 8:31-32:
If any man trespass against his neighbour, and an oath be laid upon him to cause him to swear, and the oath come before thine altar in this house: Then hear thou in heaven, and do, and judge thy servants, condemning the wicked, to bring his way upon his head; and justifying the righteous, to give him according to his righteousness.
Again, the judge passes judgment that involves two parties, the righteous and the wicked. One is justified and one is condemned, and that is what we have learned about the Day of Judgment. The elect are still alive and living on the earth after God has shut the door of heaven and He is judging and punishing the unsaved inhabitants of the world. At the same time, the righteous elect that are left on the earth also make an appearance before the judgment seat of Christ, but our appearance is not unto condemnation, because the Bible says in Romans 8:1: “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.” We are making an appearance before the judgment seat that we might be justified in our righteousness, as God illustrates the fact that these individuals were chosen out of the whole of mankind to become saved. The great multitude that were saved out of Great Tribulation appear before the judgment seat, but they will endure to the end. They are not destroyed. They are not condemned. They will remain after the conclusion of the judgment on the last day when God destroys the wicked of the earth and the entire creation. Only the saved elect of God will remain and endure to be “lifted up.”
Before Christ demonstrated and made manifest what He had done at the foundation of the world by going to the cross, He had stood before Pilot. Pilot judged Him and found no fault in Him and washed his hands of the matter because Jesus was innocent – no sin was upon Him. And how could it be? He had already paid for sin at the foundation of the world and there was no need to pay a second time. Likewise, the elect children of God are not paying for sin because there is no sin found upon us and our standing before the judgment seat is to prove that we bear no sin in the eyes of God. Even one sin would destroy a man, but because we are not destroyed, it is proof and a living demonstration to principalities and powers that the Lord Jesus Christ had already paid for our sins. This is what God is doing in our day and this is the principal: God will judge the righteous with the wicked, but He will not destroy the righteous with the wicked.
It says in Ecclesiastes 3:16-17:
And moreover I saw under the sun the place of judgment, that wickedness was there; and the place of righteousness, that iniquity was there. I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.
God will judge the righteous with the wicked. Notice how it says that “there is a time” for this to happen and that means that the final judgment does not take place when the world comes to an end and time is no more and the sun, moon and stars no longer exist as the timekeepers. God is judging in the “Day of Judgment,” a specific period of time. There is a season for God to judge the righteous and the wicked. The time that God began this process was May 21, 2011 and thereafter. I will not say “very likely,” but the Biblical evidence is mounting that points to the year 2033 A.D. as the conclusion of the Day of Judgment and the conclusion of this (second) tribulation period in which God is troubling them that troubled us. He is bringing tribulation to the world, just as they brought tribulation to the camp of the saints. During this time, we are left in the world to go through Judgment Day.
Some people may say, “I see what you are saying about God judging the righteous and the wicked, but I just do not buy it. I think God will rapture His people before the judgment. He will take His people out because we were already judged in Christ at the foundation of the world.” Yes – that was our previous understanding, but it was one of the big reasons we got it wrong prior to May 21, 2011. We thought we would not have to go through the judgment. We had thought the prolonged period of Judgment Day would be five months, but we were wrong about the duration of the judgment.
It will last for years, not just months, even though “five months” would be considered a prolonged “day” of judgment. However, we thought that we would be raptured and taken out of the world and God would not allow the righteous to go through the judgment.
But what happened is that we are still here and we are going through this period of judgment, so it validates the Biblical proofs that God will judge the righteous with the wicked. It is also stated in Ecclesiastes 9:1-2:
For all this I considered in my heart even to declare all this, that the righteous, and the wise, and their works, are in the hand of God: no man knoweth either love or hatred by all that is before them. All things come alike to all: there is one event to the righteous, and to the wicked; to the good and to the clean, and to the unclean; to him that sacrificeth, and to him that sacrificeth not: as is the good, so is the sinner; and he that sweareth, as he that feareth an oath.
There is “one event” to all. There is one event to the righteous and to the wicked. There was not a separate event that took place for the righteous and for the wicked when we went through the Great Tribulation. Many elect were still in the churches when judgment began at the house of God. We were there and, yet, God was actively judging the churches. Of course, God commanded His people to come out of the midst and, eventually, all the elect did come out, but were not raptured and delivered from the Great Tribulation. No – there was one event to all, for the righteous and the wicked.
It is the same during Judgment Day. There is one event to all, so we are going through the judgment. We can look at the historical example that illustrates what God is saying here about “one event to all” and the fact that He will not destroy the righteous. That is far from Him to do because He is the righteous Judge. That is the point Abraham made. But it is a separate matter from judging both the righteous and wicked. In the Book of Exodus God came against Pharaoh and the Egyptians because Pharaoh refused to let His people go. It says in Exodus 8:20-22:
And JEHOVAH said unto Moses, Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh; lo, he cometh forth to the water; and say unto him, Thus saith JEHOVAH, Let my people go, that they may serve me. Else, if thou wilt not let my people go, behold, I will send swarms of flies upon thee, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people, and into thy houses: and the houses of the Egyptians shall be full of swarms of flies, and also the ground whereon they are. And I will sever in that day the land of Goshen, in which my people dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be there; to the end thou mayest know that I am JEHOVAH in the midst of the earth.
The judgment was a swarm of flies that came upon Egypt, but God severed or divided the land of Goshen from the judgment and they did not experience that wrath of God. And, yet, both peoples lived in Egypt and both were present during the judgment, but the Israelites were not destroyed with that destruction.
It also says in Exodus 9:1-6:
Then JEHOVAH said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh, and tell him, Thus saith JEHOVAH God of the Hebrews, Let my people go, that they may serve me. For if thou refuse to let them go, and wilt hold them still, Behold, the hand of JEHOVAH is upon thy cattle which is in the field, upon the horses, upon the asses, upon the camels, upon the oxen, and upon the sheep: there shall be a very grievous murrain. And JEHOVAH shall sever between the cattle of Israel and the cattle of Egypt: and there shall nothing die of all that is the children’s of Israel. And JEHOVAH appointed a set time, saying, To morrow JEHOVAH shall do this thing in the land. And JEHOVAH did that thing on the morrow, and all the cattle of Egypt died: but of the cattle of the children of Israel died not one.
God targeted the wicked because He is a righteous Judge. He condemned the wicked, but by not allowing the evil to fall on the cattle of the Israelites, He was justifying the righteous. Of course, this was a type and figure because we know that most of the Israelites were not saved, but through this deliverance God is setting them up as a type of His true elect that are not harmed by His judgment.
In this same chapter, there is another plague and it says in Exodus 9:25-26:
And the hail smote throughout all the land of Egypt all that was in the field, both man and beast; and the hail smote every herb of the field, and brake every tree of the field. Only in the land of Goshen, where the children of Israel were, was there no hail.
The Israelites were there in Egypt, but the hail did not harm them. God’s plagues were not harming the Israelites.
It also says in Exodus 10:21-23:
And JEHOVAH said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt. And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven; and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days: They saw not one another, neither rose any from his place for three days: but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.
There was light in their dwellings and I do not know how God worked that out, but the spiritual picture is that they had the indwelling Spirit of God and God is Light, so they pictured those that were saved and the darkness did not impact them like it impacted the Egyptians.
So, if someone says, “God cannot be punishing the unsaved people of the world while the elect are still in the world because the elect must be raptured first,” they are not reading the Bible carefully. God brings judgment upon both, but His people are not harmed even though they are in the same location. We can read the parable given by the Lord Jesus Christ about the man who built his house upon the rock and the man who built upon the sand. There were two kinds of people. The one whose house was built upon a rock was the righteous one because that “rock” is Christ and the one whose house was built upon the sand was the wicked one. Let us conclude this study with this Scripture in Matthew 7:24-27:
Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
For the individual who built his house upon a rock, was it a different kind of storm than the storm that came against the individual who built his house upon the sand? No – it was an identical storm that came upon the person that was righteous and the person that was wicked. And, yet, the wise man’s house endured the storm and remained at the end of the storm.
This is what God did when He shut the door of heaven. He brought a spiritual “storm” of wrath upon all the inhabitants of the earth, but everyone’s spiritual condition had already been fixed. He that is righteous would be righteous still and he that is filthy would be filthy still. There is no more salvation to translate anyone from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light or from filthiness to righteousness. It is all fixed and established and the “storm” is beating down upon all. Every wicked individual’s house will fall. It is guaranteed. But the house of the righteous will not fall because it is built upon a rock. It does not mean that we are strong in ourselves, but it glorifies that which our house is built upon, the Lord Jesus Christ. He is our strength. He will cause us to endure to the end. But we can see in Matthew 7 that there is one event to all, to the righteous and to the wicked. The same storm is brought to bear upon both houses.
So, here we are, going through the “storm” of the Day of Judgment. But far be it from God to destroy the righteous with the wicked. This is our comfort. God will not destroy His people, but He will be a righteous Judge and He will pass a righteous judgment. At the end, He will lift up His people into heaven where we will dwell with Him for evermore.