The Signs of the Times


October 16, 1893

The Doom of Sodom a Warning for the Last Days


How hard it was for Lot to leave Sodom! Part of his family had to be left behind, and all the wealth he had accumulated had to be sacrificed. He must go out from Sodom a poor man. The labor of years has to be counted in vain. He does not feel the terrible necessity for God's judgment to fall upon the wicked city, and he still lingers. The angels urge his immediate departure; but Lot, stupefied with sorrow for the loss of his children and property, still hesitates. The angels lay hold of his hands, and the hands of his wife and children, and with merciful violence hasten them out of the city. When they reach the city limits, a word of command is given with startling vehemence: “Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest ye be consumed.” A few moments’ delay now, a few moments of hesitancy, a few moments’ disregard of the warning, will cost the fugitives their lives. They are not even to turn their eyes back to see if their beautiful home has survived the general ruin, or the storm will burst upon them. God has delayed his retributive judgment only that they may escape. What care, what tenderness, to these four who flee from the doomed city! ST October 16, 1893, par. 1

Lot is confused, terrified, and distracted. He begs to be allowed to rest at a little settlement on this side the mountains. Unbelief sprang up in his heart, and he said: “Oh, not so, my Lord; behold now, thy servant hath found grace in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast showed unto me in saving my life; and I cannot escape to the mountain, lest some evil take me, and I die; behold now, this city is near to flee unto, and it is a little one; oh, let me escape thither (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live. 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 anything till thou be come thither. Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar.” ST October 16, 1893, par. 2

But why should Lot not have trusted the mercy of the angels in directing him to escape to the mountains, since he ascribed to them the saving of his life? Lot's stay in Sodom had not tended to increase his faith in God, nor had his intercourse with those who knew not God tended to convert them from the error of their way. He had pleaded that the angels permit him to take up his abode in the city of Zoar, saying, “Is it not a little one? and my soul shall live,” as though the God who had directed his escape from Sodom did not understand how to preserve the life he had saved. But what mercy and condescension are manifested by the God of heaven! His request is heard, and his plea granted; yet how much better would it have been to heed the angel's voice, and go to the mountains, as far as possible from the wicked city. The angel bids him to hasten, because the fiery storm would be widespread and terrible. ST October 16, 1893, par. 3

One of the four fugitives ventures to cast a lingering look behind, to see the coming storm, and the number is less by one; for she stands as a memento of God's wrath, turned into a pillar of salt. Had Lot earnestly and firmly fled to the mountains, as the angels had directed, without pleading for a new plan, his wife would not have transgressed the commandment of the angels, and would have been at his side. ST October 16, 1893, par. 4

When the first beams of the morning dawn, the inhabitants of Sodom are not aware of the departure of Lot and the angels. They were determined to abuse the strangers, but as they come to the house of Lot, it is found vacant, and the hour of doom comes upon them. And the Lord rains fire and brimstone upon the city, and the beautiful plain that looked like Paradise when the angels passed over it, now looks like a parched and blackened desert. The smoke of the burning goes up like the smoke of a great furnace, and the whole heaven is illuminated with the flames of the great conflagration. Sodom has become a place of desolation and ruin. ST October 16, 1893, par. 5

The sin of the people rose up to heaven, and because of the iniquity of the people, the Lord poured out the vials of his wrath. The fearful doom of Sodom stands forth as a warning for all time, and especially for those who live in the last days. The destruction of Sodom was a symbol of the destruction that will come upon the finally impenitent, when tempests of fire come from above, and fountains of flame break forth from the crust of the earth. The fate of this ancient city should be a warning to all who live for self, and who corrupt their ways before God. The sin of Sodom is the sin of many cities now in existence, that have not been destroyed as was Sodom. Ezekiel says, “Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me; therefore I took them away as I saw good.” ST October 16, 1893, par. 6

The warning that was given to Lot comes down to us who live in this degenerate age,—“Escape for thy life.” The voice of the tempter is crying peace and safety. The evil one would have you feel that you have nothing to fear, and bids you eat, drink, and be merry. Which voice will you heed, the voice of heaven, or the voice that lures you to destruction? The Redeemer of the world, the compassionate Friend of man, discloses to our eyes the fact that there is a sin greater than the sin of Sodom. It is that of sinning against greater light. To those who have heard and have not heeded the gospel invitation to repent and have faith in Christ, the sin is greater than was the sin of Sodom. To those who have professed the name of Jesus, who have professed to know God, and to keep his commandments, and yet who have misrepresented Christ in their daily life and character, who have been warned and entreated, and still dishonor their Redeemer by their unconsecrated lives, the sin is greater than that of Sodom. ST October 16, 1893, par. 7

Jesus said: “Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shall be brought down to hell; for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained unto this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.” ST October 16, 1893, par. 8

The warning of Christ sounds down along the lines to our day. He would arouse the people for whom he gave his life, and attract their attention to himself, the source of all wisdom, righteousness, strength, and hope, and peace. He would have his people let their light shine forth to the world in good works. The sins of Sodom are repeated in our day, and the earth is destroyed and corrupted under the inhabitants thereof; but the worst feature of the iniquity of this day is a form of godliness without the power thereof. Those who profess to have great light are found among the careless and indifferent, and the cause of Christ is wounded in the house of its professed friends. Let those who would be saved, arouse from their lethargy, and give the trumpet a certain sound; for the end of all things is at hand. ST October 16, 1893, par. 9