Lesson 24

The Destruction of Sodom

"This was the guilt of . . . Sodom . . . arrogance, abundant food, and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and needy."
Ezekiel 16:49 (New American Standard Bible)

The people of Sodom lived in a very rich valley. They did not have to work as hard as others to have good crops and become prosperous. They had many luxuries; they became idle and full of pride and selfishness and extremely wicked.

Jehovah God saw that it would be better for the Sodomites in the resurrection if he destroyed them now before they became even more wicked. There were only four people in Sodom who were righteous: Lot, his wife, and their two daughters. Two angels were sent to warn Lot’s family of the coming disaster. Lot then warned others to escape, but they merely laughed at him.

Apparently an earthquake took place in the valley causing shifting and pressing down of the earth onto the oil, sulfur, salt, and gases under the earth’s surface. A tremendous explosion occurred which destroyed the entire city, as well as the city of Gomorrah and other cities nearby.

Tons of fiery oil, sulfur (brimstone), and gases were expelled into the atmosphere. The two angels helped Lot, his wife, and daughters to flee the city. But Lot’s wife, evidently not wanting to give up her home and all her treasures, lingered and looked back. She was caught in the "rain" of salt and was completely covered, so as to form a pillar. This is one of the strange stories from the Bible that many have thought to be a myth, but scientific research workers have proven it to be an statement of fact (Genesis 19:24-26).

The destruction of the Sodomites is an example of what happens to sinners (all of mankind) at death. Death—the absence of life—and not eternal torment is the penalty for sin (Romans 6:23).

The Bible teaches that the Sodomite people are not hopelessly lost. Rather, in the Millennial Age, they will have an opportunity to hear of God’s great plan of salvation for all. They will have a chance to accept God’s laws and rejoice in his truth, just as will all those who have not had an opportunity beforehand to do so. The Sodomites will actually be judged less severely in the kingdom than those who were able to see Jesus’ miracles and hear his words, and yet rejected his message (Matthew 10:15).

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