The Signs of the Times


October 9, 1893

Sodom's Last Warning


Sodom was situated in a beautiful and fertile plain, and reveled in an abundance of everything that nature and art could bestow. The inhabitants of Sodom seemed to be strangers to want and to work. A poor man was not permitted to become an inhabitant of the city. He was driven out by abuse, or if not driven out, was the victim of an iniquitous plan that compassed his ruin. The people of this wicked city took no thought for the future life. Idleness and wealth and love of excitement carried them into every excess of pleasure and indulgence. The sensual, animal nature was cultivated, and as, like the world before the flood, the imagination of their hearts was evil, and evil continually, they set their minds to work to find out new, unnatural ways whereby they might gratify their abominable, corrupt passions. ST October 9, 1893, par. 1

Inspiration gives a testimony concerning the corrupt condition of the world before the flood. The Bible says: “As the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be.” Before the flood they employed all their powers for the gratification of base passions, and cast contempt upon the law of God, and as it was in the days of the flood, so it was in the time of Sodom. They would not admit for a moment that their devotion to sensual pleasure brought upon them guilt and danger. They knew not that the cloud of divine wrath, which their sin had for years been loading, was about to break forth in vengeance upon them. ST October 9, 1893, par. 2

Before the time of Sodom's overthrow, two angels visited Abraham and were courteously entertained. As they were passing on their way to Sodom, Abraham accompanied them, and they revealed to the patriarch the errand for which they had come,—to destroy Sodom. They told Abraham that because of the grievous wickedness of the inhabitants, the city was to be destroyed. Abraham knew that Lot was in this place, and although he had been taught of God, he could not believe that the inhabitants of Sodom were so utterly corrupt. He began to plead that the righteous should not perish with the wicked, that if a certain number of the godly were there, the city might be spared. Pleading for the city, he decreased the number of righteous that would be likely to be found in the city, until he reached the number of ten. But although God would have spared the city if ten righteous persons could have been found there, that number could not be made up to redeem the city. ST October 9, 1893, par. 3

As the evening draws on, the men of Sodom see the two messengers approaching, but as they have concealed their heavenly character, they appear as common men coming in from the country to visit Sodom. If the veil could be removed from our eyes we should often see in the form of men, the powerful messengers of mercy or of wrath among us. They warn, they caution, they reprove, they protect from a thousand dangers, and yet we know not that the angel's blessing has come to us. ST October 9, 1893, par. 4

As the angels draw nigh unto Sodom, only one man manifests an interest in the strangers. Lot welcomed them in, invited them to his house. He was ignorant in regard to the character of these men, and knew not the terrible errand upon which they had come; but the courtesy which he manifested was in harmony with his character, and he was saved from the general ruin. Had he appeared indifferent to these strangers, he would not have secured to himself such help as only the angels can give. Many a house has been closed to strangers who were God's messengers of hope, and blessing, and peace. In neglecting the commonest duties of life, withholding kindness and courtesy and hospitality, we miss the richest blessings heaven has to bestow. ST October 9, 1893, par. 5

When the men of Sodom saw that Lot opened his doors to these strangers, that he did not treat them with derision and contempt, they were stirred with passion. As Lot in Eastern fashion bows in deference, and invites them to share his home, they taunt and jeer. Lot was a man of great wealth, but in showing respect to these travelers he did not meet the mind of these ease-loving Sodomites. They crowded about the house of Lot, and as the crowd increased, vile speeches were made which revealed the state of corruption that existed among the people, and the worst suggestions were received and acted upon. The crowd became more clamorous in their cries to have Lot bring forth the strangers to them; for they had become so base through the indulgence of evil passions, that every good thought had been uprooted, and reason was so clouded that they would even do violence to the angels of heaven. ST October 9, 1893, par. 6

The angels had come to see if there were any in the city who were not corrupted, and could be persuaded to flee from the impending doom that threatened Sodom. That night the evil doers added the last drop to their cup of iniquity, and the wrath of God could no longer be delayed. The night of the destruction of Sodom the inhabitants of the city were doing that which they had been doing through all their past life. They were no more base and dissolute and corrupt than on other nights when strangers had entered their city; but there is a point beyond which there is no reprieve, and that night the inhabitants of Sodom passed the mystic boundary that decided their destiny. Lot expostulated with them at his door, and refused to permit them to do violence to the strangers who were in his house. But the evil doers had no idea of being restrained from accomplishing their purpose, but thought to beat Lot to the ground, and get access to the strangers. Before this was done, the angels drew Lot into the house, and smote the men with blindness, so that they wearied themselves to find the door. ST October 9, 1893, par. 7

The angels then told Lot what was their errand, and made known to him that God would bring destruction upon the wicked city. Lot believed the word of the angels, but his family was reluctant to receive their message, for they had so long lived in sight and sound of wickedness that their senses were blunted to the grievous character of sin. Lot had afflicted his soul for the debasing sins that the Sodomites were continually committing, and yet even he had not thought their sin was of the debasing character it was, nor deemed that it was so firmly seated as to yield to no remedy. He begs permission of the angels to go forth and warn his daughters and sons-in-law who live in the city. He made his way through the rabble, who were prevented from injuring him by the power of the angels, and gave his message to his children. With grief and terror he begs them to leave the doomed city, and flee with him ere its destruction shall be accomplished, but they look upon him as upon one who is mad, coming to them with such a message at the midnight hour. They laugh at his fears, and think some horrible nightmare has crazed his brain. They will not trouble themselves about the matter, but treat it as a joke, and these who will not receive the message, sleep on, heedless of the last warning of their lives. ST October 9, 1893, par. 8

Anxious and disappointed, Lot returns to his home through the rabble, and finds the angels still waiting, urging that Lot and his family leave the city before the sun is fully risen. As they go out they see no visible token of God's displeasure. Everything seems to say peace and safety. The sun is illuminating the eastern hills with golden beams, and everything in nature seems to say peace. But the words of the angels ring in the ears of Lot, saying, “The Lord will destroy this city.” Unbelief did not prevent the destruction of Sodom. Trifling and gayety did not secure its inhabitants against the doom that overtook the wicked city. They flattered themselves that long days of indulgence in sin were yet to be theirs, but in such an hour as they thought not of, ruin encompassed them. ST October 9, 1893, par. 9