• | Chris McCann
  • Audio: Length: 27:24
  • Passages covered: Genesis 19:1-3, Genesis 19:1, Genesis 18:1-3, Genesis 18:16-17, Genesis 18:22, Genesis 18:32-33, 2Corinthians 13:1, Revelation 11:3-4, Revelation 11:7-8, Revelation 11:11, Deuteronomy 19:15, Genesis 19:7-9.

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Genesis 19 Series, Part 1, Verses 1-3

Welcome to EBible Fellowship’s Bible study in the Book of Genesis. Tonight is study #1 of Genesis, chapter 19. We are going to read Genesis 19:1-3:

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; 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. 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.

We have been going along, verse by verse, in the book of Genesis. It has really been a wonderful blessing to see how God began to write the Bible and the information that God chose to give us in these early chapters. As we are reading these things, we realize that much of the later Scriptures that will be given by God of His divine revelation is built upon these early historical accounts of Abraham, Lot, Jacob, Joseph, and so forth. Therefore, it is very valuable for us to go, verse by verse, to see what God has to say to us.

Again, it says in Genesis 19:1:

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;

The first curious thing we recognize as we read this verse is that two angels came to visit Lot in the city of Sodom. This is curious because in the previous chapter, we read of three men that appeared unto Abraham, in Genesis 18:1-3:

And JEHOVAH appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; 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, And said, My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant:

We carefully looked at these verses and we saw that these “three men” were God, making an appearance and showing Himself to His servant Abraham. Later, it said in Genesis 18:16-17:

And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way. And JEHOVAH said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do;

Again, and again, we see references to the three men, but God is speaking because these “three men” represent the Triune God: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. As these men are about to leave, it says in Genesis 18:22:

And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before JEHOVAH.

Then Abraham made intercession for the righteous within the city to God, who was in the form of these three men that were going toward Sodom. After interceding in a very interesting way through a countdown of numbers from 50 down to 10, it said 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.

Where was JEHOVAH going? We read it earlier in verse 22 and verse 16. He was going toward Sodom. In the form of three men, God departed from Abraham and headed for Sodom, so it is not surprise that chapter 19 begins with these “two angels.” Remember that in both the Greek and Hebrew, the word “angel” can also be translated as “messenger.” The Lord Jesus is called the Messenger of the Covenant. God has given Himself many names and He is the “angel” or “messenger” of JEHOVAH. We find that word used repeatedly in the Old Testament. It says, “angel of JEHOVAH.” So, we must not think that two angels came to Sodom and it cannot be God Himself. Yes – it can be God. God is not an angelic being, but He does identify Himself as the Messenger of JEHOVAH. As I said, it is not surprising that we read of these two messengers coming to Sodom because that was the direction JEHOVAH was headed in the previous chapter and now He has arrived. The surprising thing is that in the previous chapter He was identified as three men and now He comes as two messengers.

The obvious question is to ask what happened to the third man or the third messenger. What happened to the third Person of the Trinity? On one level, we can understand it very well. The Father sent the Son. He did not go into the world Himself, but He sent His Son as His Messenger, the Lord Jesus Christ. Then the Son sent the Spirit, so the Spirit of God is also a messenger of God. It is as though the Father stayed behind and the Son and the Spirit went to the city of Sodom. That is one way we can understand it.

The Bible makes some interesting statements regarding “two” and “three.” We find one of these interesting statements in 2Corinthians 13:1:

This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.

It mentions the numbers “two” and “three.” We have three witnesses in Genesis, chapter 18 and we have two witnesses that go to the city of Sodom. It does not disqualify that it is the Person of God and He is coming to Sodom to reveal divine revelation to righteous Lot to warn him of the coming judgment, just as God warned Abraham: “Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do?” No – God did not hide it. And now God is going to Sodom. It is a picture of the Son and the Spirit of God going into the world to warn the righteous in the churches and the world of approaching judgment.

Therefore, it is not surprising that God uses this picture of three witnesses and two witnesses. Remember, we read in Revelation, chapter 11 of the “two witnesses” that prophesied. It says in Revelation 11:3-4:

And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.

Then it says in Revelation 11:7-8:

And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.

It goes on to say in Revelation 11:11:

And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.

The two witnesses were active within the churches and congregations. They represented the law and the prophets (Moses and Elijah), which typify the Word of God, the Bible. They witnessed the truth of the Word of God in the churches and congregations. Then they were “killed” at the point of Satan’s loosing (in 1988) when God the Holy Spirit departed out of the midst of the churches, leaving the Bible behind. The Bibles remained behind, did it not? They still possessed Bibles – even good translations like the King James Bible – but because the Spirit of Life had left the churches, the “two witnesses” or the witness of the Bible in the congregations was now “lifeless.” As it says in Revelation 11:8, the two witnesses were lying dead in the streets, figuratively, for three and one half days. This happened in 1988 during the first part of the Great Tribulation during that grievous 2,300 evening mornings. Following this, the Spirit of life from God entered into the two witnesses or the Word of God, the Bible. They stood upon their feet.

However, what we can glean from other parts of the Bible, they did not return to life within the corporate churches, but they stood upon their feet outside the churches during the Latter Rain period to recover the remnant of God’s people to save the great multitude that were located among the nations of the world. So, again, the principal is that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word is established. It says in Deuteronomy 19:15:

One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.

For example, false witnesses rose up against Jesus. The problem that the rulers of Israel had when they desperately wanted to put Him to death was that their witness did not agree together. One would say one horrible thing, and another would say another horrible thing, but the witnesses could not agree together.

This also teaches us concerning the study of the Bible. The Bible or “the law and the prophets” are two witnesses. The Bible must harmonize. If one part of the Bible says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ,” but another part of the Bible says that it is impossible for the natural man in his spiritually dead condition to believe, then these “two witnesses” do not agree. And that is the problem with every false gospel, especially the free-will gospel; their witnesses do not agree. That is why the Bible directs us to compare spiritual things with spiritual. Every time we read a Bible verse, it is a witness, is it not? Remember how the book of Hebrews speaks of the “great cloud of witnesses,” after discussing a great number of people of faith. Where is their witness found, but in the Bible? So, all the Bible is a witness. Yes – it is possible to go to a Bible verse and read it superficially for the plain and literal statement. It can misdirect people. God does that all the time in the Bible. He will lead the casual reader of the Word of God astray and this person will fall into a snare or trap.

But God’s people are careful students of the Word of God. God causes His people to be careful with His Word. He will not put up with carelessness by His people. He will correct and chasten them. The Spirit of God directs us in to careful study of the Word: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” We look up the words in a verse and find out where they are used elsewhere and then we start seeing (agreement of) “witness” with “witness” in the Word. Two witnesses agree, and three witnesses agree and there is harmony in the Bible. This is truth.

It is just like the law God established that is used in a courtroom. If someone has done a misdeed and a neighbor has seen it, it is not sufficient because there is only one witness. But two or three neighbors can come forth and they all agree: “Yes, we saw him take a pitchfork and run it through a fellow.” They all have the same story and it is accepted as truth. On that testimony, someone could be put to death. That is how serious the matter is when two or three witnesses agree, but based on a single witness, you cannot put someone to death. No matter how desperate the leaders of Israel were to put Christ to death, it still required at least two witnesses that agreed. And that is how it is with the Bible and that is the problem with free-will doctrine and other false doctrines: the witnesses do not agree.

But in Genesis 19, we have God coming to Sodom in the form of two messengers. Again, it is sufficient. It is more than adequate. God could have come with three witnesses, but two witnesses are adequate. What is God telling us? We are seeing that God is pointing to the fact that He is coming as a witness through His Word, the Bible. Yes, historically, He came in the form of two messengers to visit Lot, but it is teaching us about the end of time. You can read Luke, chapter 17 where God speaks of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and He says, “Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.” We have been learning that the Son of man has come in judgment. First, He came in judgment on the churches as a thief in the night, spiritually. Then on May 21, 2011 the judgment transitioned to the world, also in a spiritual manner. God has come in judgment and we are learning about that judgment through the testimony or witness of the Word of God, the Bible. It is being confirmed as Scripture agrees with Scripture that this is what God is doing.

We also have an interesting confirmation here that God is focused on the Word of God coming to the city of Sodom. Spiritually, that is the picture. Again, it says in Genesis 19:1:

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;

We see another curious and strange thing. Why is Lot sitting in the gate of Sodom? If you read the book of Ruth, you see that the elders would sit in the gate. Also, King David would sit in the gate. Here, we find that Lot is sitting in the gate of this city Sodom at “even.” Apparently, he is alone there. There is nobody else around. We do not read of others sitting with Lot. He is not sitting with the elders or the city of the people. The people of the city did notice that the two messengers came and went to Lot’s house, so someone was paying attention. But, for the most part, Lot was an isolated figure as he sat in the gate of the city of Sodom. Yet, he was not a respected man in Sodom, from everything we can read in the Bible. He had no position of authority. In Genesis 19, we will read that when the men of the city came to Lot’s house and demanded he bring out his two guests, Lot said in Genesis 19:7-9:

And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly. 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. 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.

Certainly, it does not sound like they were afraid of Lot. God has given us no indication that Lot possessed any kind of power and authority. As a matter of fact, they showed disdain for Lot. He was reviled by them: “This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge.” Do you see their problem with Lot? Why was one of such low esteem in their city sitting at the gate of their city, alone? This is an interesting way in which God is indicating that the “gate of the city” has to do with the entrance to the kingdom of heaven. Where is the entrance to the kingdom of heaven? In the day of salvation, the Word of God, the Bible, ministered entrance into the kingdom of God.

We will take a closer look at this, Lord willing, when we get together for our next Bible study. We will look at the gate of an evil city. It is not the gate of Jerusalem. It is not the gate of a city in Israel. It is the gate of Sodom, a city that had the reputation for gross wickedness. And, yet, Lot sat in the gate of this city. It is a very interesting thing that God has written here, and He would have us to spend some time considering it. In our next study, we will pick up this topic.