Today on the broadcast you’ll hear Derek explain just what happened during the days of Lot. As you listen, you will discover a startling similarity with those days and today. Fortunately, as Lot and Noah were both rescued, so will the Lord be faithful to His righteous ones.
It’s good to be with you again as we continue with our theme, “Facing the Future.” The source to which we’re looking for our understanding of the future is the Bible. From many different prophetic passages of Scripture, the Bible presents a composite picture of what the world will look like as the present age draws to its close. It picks out and puts together various significant events or trends which, in combination, will make the days immediately preceding the end of the present age a unique and distinctive period of human history.
In my talks this week I’m singling out some of the main elements in the Bible’s picture of the condition of the world in these closing days of the age and presenting them to you. As far as possible, I’m presenting this picture to you in an objective way and I’m leaving it to you to compare the picture I present with the scenes that you yourself actually see in the world around us today.
Our starting point was the statement of Jesus in Luke 17:26:
“Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man.”
“The days of the Son of Man” being the period immediately before the return of Jesus. So, there’s a direct comparison between that period and the days of Noah.
I pointed out four main features of the days of Noah as revealed in Genesis 6. First, there was intense pressure and penetration from the occult realm. Spirit beings from a higher plane had sexual relationships with human women. In fact, there was an intermingling of two worlds. Second, there was universal corruption of the thought-life of the people of that day. Third, the earth was filled with violence. Fourth, sexual corruption and perversion were rampant.
Now, for our next picture of what the world will be like toward the close of this age, we’re going to turn to another parallel statement of Jesus, a few verses further on in Luke 17. That’s Luke 17:28, where Jesus says:
“It was the same as happened in the days of Lot...”
In other words, He not merely compares this closing period with the days of Noah, but also with the days of Lot.
Now, for a picture of the days of Lot, we have to turn primarily to Genesis 19. And I’m going to read the first thirteen verses of that chapter because I believe it’s important to give you an accurate picture of what Jesus was talking about. It will be a slightly longer reading than is usual in these talks of mine but I believe you’ll find it very gripping. Genesis 19, beginning at verse 1:
“The two angels arrived at Sodom [that was where Lot lived] in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. ‘My lords, he said, ‘please turn aside to your servant’s house. You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning.’’”
“No,” they answered, “we will spend the night in the square.”
“But he insisted so strongly that they did go with him and entered his house. He prepared a meal for them, baking bread without yeast, and they ate. Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom, both young and old, surrounded the house. They called to Lot, ‘Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.’ Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him and said, ‘No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing. Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.’ ‘Get out of our way,’ they replied. And they said, ‘This fellow came here as an alien, and now he wants to play the judge! We’ll treat you worse than them.’ They kept bringing pressure on Lot and moved forward to break down the door. But the men inside [that’s the angels] reached out and pulled Lot back into the house and shut the door. Then they struck the men who were at the door of the house, young and old, with blindness so that they could not find the door. The two men said to Lot, ‘Do you have anyone else here, sons-in-law, sons or daughters, or anyone else in the city who belongs to you? Get them out of here, because we are going to destroy this place. The outcry to the Lord against its people is so great that he has sent us to destroy it.’”
Of course, the name of that city, Sodom, in the English language, was applied to a particular form of sexual perversion which was called sodomy. Today that word is a little old-fashioned, probably the most common word today would be homosexuality. Much of the time of Lot was similar to the time of Noah but there was this special emphasis in Lot’s time which is so clearly brought out in the passage that I’ve read, an emphasis on homosexuality, men desiring sexual relationships with other men. And I believe you’ll agree from the account that I read, it was not just something that was practiced in secret but this particular version of it was brazen; it came right out in the open; it made no pretense; it offered no concealment; it was not merely passive, it was aggressive; it went out for victims; it searched for them with determination and with violence and it was prepared actually to resort to physical violence.
Another thing I noticed there is that it embraced both young and old. It says “all the men of the city, both young and old.” This city in its male population was apparently totally given over to this brazen, aggressive, violent form of homosexuality and it ignored accepted standards of behavior. Because, in those days for a man to be asked to bring his guests out and to submit them to shame and degradation was the most terrible thing that could be asked of anybody. So, the picture that we get is a picture of a culture or a civilization given over to this unnatural sex relationship of homosexuality primarily amongst the men. We hear nothing particularly against the women there. It was brazen; it was aggressive; it was violent; it embraced both the young and the old; and it ignored all accepted standards of behavior.
Now, with that in your mind, I invite you to consider what we see in the United States and in the so-called Western World today. I’m going to leave you to draw the comparisons. Let me say only that from my own observation in the past two decades, this particular trend has increased with absolutely unbelievable rapidity.
I’ve been speaking about the evil elements that were conspicuous in the days both of Noah and of Lot. I’ve emphasized various forms of evil that were rampant; however, it would be wrong for me to close this picture of the days of Noah and of Lot without also presenting to you the positive side of the picture, for there was a very real positive side in two main respects.
First of all, let’s look for a moment at what the writer of Hebrews says about Noah in Hebrews 11:7:
“By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family.”
The feature there that I want to point out is that Noah was not left in ignorance of what was coming on the earth. As God’s faithful servant, he received, direct from God, supernatural revelation of what was to come on the earth, of how he could face it, of how he could prepare for it, and of how he could survive. God warned Noah in advance and showed him a way of survival. I believe that also should apply to the present time. I believe tremendous dangers face us, catastrophes and judgments that we cannot fully measure or ascertain. But I believe, in the midst of it all, God will still warn His faithful servants and show them a way of survival.
Jesus promised this to His disciples in the person of the Holy Spirit. In John 16:13, He said this:
“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.”
I believe it’s very, very important that we see this is one of the ministries of the Holy Spirit to God’s believing people, that He will tell us what is yet to come. Not all that is to come, but all we need to know. All that we need to know for survival and for the fulfilling of God’s purpose, the Holy Spirit will supernaturally reveal to us just as He did to Noah.
And then, we’ve seen also that in the case of Lot God sent angels to protect him and to deliver him. And I believe, again, in these days of crisis and pressure, we can expect God, in His faithfulness, to do the same where it’s necessary for us. I believe that we’re entitled to expect the supernatural presence and assistance of angels. The writer of Hebrews says there are ministering spirits sent forth to minister to the heirs of salvation, that’s the believers of this time. So, although there’s much that’s evil and frightening in the picture of the days of Noah and of Lot, much that agrees with the evil and the frightening in our time, we must also look to the positive side. We must see that there was never a situation for which God did not have an answer prepared in advance. And the two, particular positive features of those days were that God gave His servants supernatural warning in advance of what was to come and showed them how to survive. And He also sent angels to help, to protect and to deliver. And I believe that we need and can expect from God just the same in these days.
Our time is up for today. I’ll be back with you again tomorrow at this time. Tomorrow I’ll be dealing with the comprehensive series of signs of the end of the age given us by Jesus Himself.