Genesis 18 Series, Part 16, Verses 26-33

We are living in the days after that dreaded action when the door of heaven was shut.
  • | Chris McCann
  • Audio: Length: 25:12
  • Passages covered: Genesis 18:26-33, Genesis 18:28, Genesis 18:32, 2Peter 3:15,
    Genesis 19:21-25, Genesis 19:29, Genesis 18:32-33.

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Welcome to EBible Fellowship’s Bible study in the Book of Genesis. Tonight is study #16 of Genesis, chapter 18 and we are continuing to read Genesis 18:26-33:

And JEHOVAH said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes. And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes: 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. And JEHOVAH went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place.

Once again, we are going to take a close look at this passage. As we have discussed in previous studies, God made a point of emphasizing His righteousness: “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” Then Abraham proceeded to intercede for the righteous in the city of Sodom. We also see that the petition concerns the city itself and not just for the righteous. For example, it says in Genesis 18:26: “And JEHOVAH said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.” If there were fifty righteous people within Sodom when God went to visit it and discover if that were the case, He would have spared the entire city for their sakes.

Then the countdown began, as it went from “fifty.” Then it said in Genesis 18:28:

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.

Again, He would not destroy the city if there were forty-five righteous people. Then the petition was made for forty righteous. Then the petitions began to come in multiples of “ten,” including thirty, twenty and ten. His last petition to the Lord was for ten people, in Genesis 18:32:

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.

This means that if ten righteous were found, God would not have destroyed the city of Sodom or the other cities because they were all together in the plain. God would not destroy them if He found ten righteous souls. When God went to the city, he found Lot and we know the Bible speaks of Lot’s righteous soul being vexed, day by day, with the unlawful deeds of the people of Sodom. God found one righteous man…and, of course, there were Lot, his two daughters and his wife and, at the very least, that represented righteous people, but let us just say that God found four righteous people. Therefore, He destroyed the city of Sodom and the other cities of the plain because there were not ten righteous; there were less than ten and this permitted Him to take action. Historically, we can see why God left after Abraham’s petitions reached the number “ten” because God did not want Abraham to count any lower than that because it was His plan to destroy those cities at that specific time in history. And He did destroy them.

We know from 2Peter, chapter 3 (and from other Scriptures) that God is very careful not to bring destruction until He saved His people. It says in 2Peter 3:15:

And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;

God was longsuffering for the purpose of salvation. That is what we can account or reckon and understand. That is the reason God did not bring judgment on the world prior to the date of the flood because the “ark was a preparing,” and it was through the building of the ark that God would save the house of Noah. Therefore, God was longsuffering with the whole world and He did not destroy the world for the sake of the eight souls that pictured the elect in the world. Likewise, with Sodom and Gomorrah, God waited and waited, but He had a specific timetable in which He would destroy the city. And, yet, He was very careful that the righteous within the city not be destroyed with the wicked. Far be it from God to destroy the righteous with the wicked, for He must do right. If we go to Genesis 19 when Lot finally flees the city, we read in Genesis 19:21-25:

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. Haste thee, escape thither; for I cannot do any thing till thou be come thither. Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar. The sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar. Then JEHOVAH rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from JEHOVAH out of heaven; And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.

God very carefully watched the progress of Lot as he made his way to Zoar and God would not destroy Sodom and Gomorrah and the other cities until Lot had entered Zoar. Of course, this is a spiritual picture of salvation and entering into the safe haven of the kingdom of heaven.

Notice that the sun had risen upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar and then JEHOVAH rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from JEHOVAH out of heaven. Then the destruction commenced, demonstrating the Biblical principal stated in 2Peter 3:15: “And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation.” God patiently waited, putting up with the horrible sins of rebellious men for the purpose of salvation for the elect. So, God waited in historical examples like the flood and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.

We also read in Genesis 19:29:

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.

God certainly received the message from Abraham and understood the prayer and request made by His servant Abraham. The Lord did not hide from him the thing He was about to do in destroying the city of Sodom. The revealing of this information regarding the coming judgment of Sodom and the other cities permitted Abraham to the time to intercede on behalf of his loved ones in the city of Sodom. You see, we do not often think of that specific reason for why God would open the Scriptures at the time of the end to reveal the Biblical calendar of history and His timeline. Once He revealed the timeline, we were then able to know the beginning point and the concluding point of the Great Tribulation leading to Judgment Day which began on May 21, 2011. We understood that there would be (about) a seventeen-year period of the Latter Rain in which the Gospel would be poured out to save a great multitude of people across the earth. You see, this information is key. The people that do not understand the Bible, especially God’s end-time judgment program, think: “What does it matter? What difference does it make if God opens up the Bible to reveal the end? He is going to save His elect any way, so it really makes no difference.” We could say the same thing about the situation with Lot and his family in Sodom. Why did God bother to reveal to Abraham the thing He was about to do? Why not just leave Abraham in the dark? It would have been more comfortable for Abraham. He would not have known what was coming and, therefore, he would not have had this deep concern for Lot, which would have made Abraham uncomfortable. He could have remained blissfully ignorant of the whole thing, but God determined to reveal it to His servant Abraham in order to give Abraham the opportunity to beseech the Lord on Lot’s behalf. And beseech the Lord he did. He started with the number “50,” then “45,” then “40,” then “30,” then “20” and then “10.” He besought Him very respectfully. He very prayerfully made petition to the God of all the earth, the same God who had revealed the approaching judgment to him. Six times he made intercession.

The number “six” has to do with work. The Lord made the heavens and the earth in six days. He worked and on the seventh day He rested. Abraham was given the opportunity to do the good work of interceding on behalf of his loved ones. And what a blessing that was for him.

We are living in the days after that dreaded action when the door of heaven was shut.

And what a wonderful blessing it was for God’s elect people in the days, months and years that led up to May 21, 2011! We possessed that knowledge and we were granted understanding of “time and judgment,” and God revealed to us the very day of judgment and the very day He would end His salvation program. He would shut the door of heaven and no one else would ever become saved. We are living in the days after that dreaded action when the door of heaven was shut. We know God is no longer saving people and the Bible has reinforced this fact in these days after that tribulation. There is no more salvation. We no longer can beseech the Lord for this soul or that soul. We can no longer beseech the Lord that He might mercifully and graciously save a loved one of ours. That time is over. We can still pray, “Lord, having had mercy, have mercy.” We can find a little relief in making that prayer to God at this time and we can say, “O, Lord, could it be that you have already saved my son or my daughter or my nephew or my neighbor?” But we are referring to a past action.

In the time of the Latter Rain that led up to May 21, 2011, we were able to pour out our hearts and we said, “O, Lord, I beseech thee. Could it be that you might save my son or my daughter?” We could do that good work. What a wonderful blessing, from a wonderful and kind God, to allow us to participate and be involved to that degree in approaching boldly to His throne of grace to pour out our hearts for the salvation of our loved ones and others. God did not keep us blissfully in the dark, which those in the corporate church preferred, as they prefer darkness over light and ignorance over understanding and knowledge. We do not want to get in to that, but they are like a watch dog that cannot bark. They could not warn anyone because they were in ignorance.

But God opened this information to His people so we would sound the trumpet to warn the people and we did bring the Gospel warning to the people of the world. But we also brought the warning with strong prayer and petition to the God of all the earth for His mercy. I am sure many of God’s elect can say that those we poured out prayers and tears for did not become saved as we had hoped, and we may not have seen evidence of their salvation yet, but, at least, we can have the comfort of knowing that we had the opportunity to pray for them and we did pray. We cried out to God for their sakes. As a watchman, all we can do is sound the trumpet. All we can do as a mother or father is to pour out our hearts in prayer and, by God’s grace, we can say that God gave us the wonderful opportunity to do so.

After Abraham made his petitions, he added in Genesis 18:32-33:

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. And JEHOVAH went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place.

What more could Abraham do? He had done everything possible on behalf of righteous Lot. He had dared to approach the living God to make petition. Again, it says in Genesis 19:29:

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.

God remembered Abraham. Of course, there is another level here that has to do with Abraham as a figure of the Lord Jesus interceding on behalf of His elect and God hearing that intercession for the sake of the elect, but we should not overlook the fact that Abraham was a servant like we are, and God heard his prayer for his loved one. May each of us continue to pray for those that we prayed so deeply for in the time before May 21, 2011. Let us not cease now. Read Luke, chapter 18 where the widow was “continually coming” to the king with her fervent request. We read in the Bible that God encourages us to keep praying. Latch on and do not let go. Of course, we must pray with understanding of the time and season we are in, so we pray, “Having had mercy, have mercy,” and we can pray that very strongly.

In our next study, we will move on to Genesis, chapter 19.