Remember Lot’s Wife, Part I

Luke 17:32 is one of the shortest texts in the Bible. In most English versions, it is just three words, but they are the words of Jesus, and all the words of Jesus are important. Although the story from which these three words originate is recorded in the Book of Genesis, it is spoken of a number of times throughout the Bible. We will study the three words that Jesus spoke: “Remember Lot’s wife.”


Have you ever noticed that the few things in the Bible about which God says, “Remember,” are the very things that mankind tends to forget?

The longest commandment in the Ten Commandments, the fourth, begins, “Remember.” Of all the Ten Commandments, which one is the most forgotten? The fourth! How interesting! How paradoxical, ironic, and astonishing, that the one commandment that God specifically said, “Remember this,” is what people forget!

Which of the Ten Commandments are mentioned explicitly by name in the first chapters of Genesis? There is only one¾the fourth commandment! It is interesting that the one commandment that is mentioned in the second chapter of Genesis, before sin entered the world, is the one commandment that a large proportion of the Christian world wants to call ceremonial.

If you would like to do an interesting word study some Sabbath afternoon, get a concordance, such as a Strong’s Concordance, look up the word remember, and write down everything in the Bible that God says to remember. The Sabbath is just one of the things.

A Little History

Jesus said, “Remember Lot’s wife.” What are we supposed to remember about Lot’s wife? Let us just review a little history.

Lot’s father, Haran, died before his grandfather, Terah, died. (Genesis 11:28.) Lot’s uncle, Abraham, assumed the role of a father to Lot. When Abraham left Ur of the Chaldees and went to Haran and later on to the Promised Land, Lot accompanied him. (Genesis 11:28-31.)

Evidently, Abraham even got Lot started in the cattle business. (Genesis 13:2-5.) Ellen White distinctly says that “Lot owed his prosperity to his connection with Abraham.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 133.

Lot’s Mistake

Early in life, Lot made a very serious mistake. Actually, this is not uncommon. Many, many people make some of the most serious mistakes of their lives when they are young, and these grave mistakes follow them all the way through their lives. The mistake that Lot made not only followed him all the rest of his life, but it resulted in the change of the whole course of world history.

What mistake did Lot make? He made a poor choice for his marriage partner. Read about it from the writings of inspiration: “The wife of Lot was a selfish, irreligious woman, and her influence was exerted to separate her husband from Abraham. But for her, Lot would not have remained in Sodom, deprived of the counsel of the wise, God-fearing patriarch. The influence of his wife and the associations of that wicked city would have led him to apostatize from God had it not been for the faithful instruction he had early received from Abraham. The marriage of Lot and his choice of Sodom for a home were the first links in a chain of events fraught with evil to the world for many generations.” Ibid., 174.

Three Questions

Let me tell you, that is not the last time some young man has done something like that! One of the things that I have wondered about, as I have grown older, is why young people do not ask certain questions before they marry someone. A lot of questions do not need to be asked, but, amazingly, most young people do not ask the right questions.

I am not going to try to give you all the questions you should ask before you get married, but there are three questions I have especially noticed that many young people never ask. A young person, whether a man or a woman, should never marry someone without asking these three questions. If Lot had asked these three questions, he would never have married the woman he did.


The first question is this: Is this person whom I am planning to marry proud?

If you marry someone who is proud, you are guaranteed to get into trouble in your marriage. Study the Book of Proverbs; Solomon figured this out. He married a number of proud women, and got himself into trouble. In Proverbs, he talks about it and about how dangerous it is: “He that is of a proud heart stirreth up strife.” Proverbs 28:25. We are going to study about strife, because Lot got into a bunch of strife.

If you marry someone who is proud, it is guaranteed that you will have trouble; you are going to have strife and contention. An amazing thing is how few young people, when they are thinking of marriage to someone, ask the question, Is this person proud? This is one of the most important questions to ask.


The second question is this: Is this person whom I am planning to marry selfish?

Ellen White stated that Lot’s wife was a selfish woman. No man or woman should ever consider marrying a person if that person gives evidence that his or her character is selfish. That is one of the most dangerous things someone can do. A life of sadness is guaranteed if you marry someone who is a selfish person.

You see, you cannot make a marriage partner happy unless you are an unselfish person. And yet, this is a question that millions of people, and many thousands of Seventh-day Adventists, never even ask when they are considering marriage. Evidently Lot did not ask this question. Ellen White says that he never would have stayed there in Sodom if it had not been for his wife. He would have returned and been with Abraham. It was a very serious mistake, and he never recovered from that mistake.


The third question is this: Is this person whom I am planning to marry irreligious?

Ellen White says that Lot’s wife was not only proud and selfish, but she was irreligious. This is the question that no young person should ever marry without asking. Is this person, whom I am considering marrying, religious or irreligious?

“Well,” someone may ask, “what do you mean, Pastor John? Do they go to church?” No, whether or not they go to church is not the question. That is important, but that is not the question.

What is a religious person? James 1:26, 27 says, “If anyone seems to be religious among you, and does not bridle his tongue . . . .” A religious person will be able to control his or her tongue. Just marry someone who cannot control his or her tongue, and see what happens to you! “. . . this person’s religion is worthless. He is deceiving his own heart. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this: To visit the orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” If a person is really religious, you will be able to see it in the way that person acts and deals with people who are in trouble.

We are all in contact with people who are in various kinds of trouble. How do we relate to these people? A person who is religious will be helpful to people who are in trouble. If you marry without finding out whether or not your future life partner has that kind of practical religion, you may be headed for trouble. Lot’s wife was irreligious.

Lot’s Marriage

Lot made a terrible mistake when he married his wife, and he never recovered from that mistake. His wife got him into the most horrible trouble of his life. But, as we will see in this study, he got her into more trouble than she got him, because we influence each other.

Writing about the subject of Lot’s marriage, Ellen White stated, “No one who fears God can without danger connect himself with one who fears Him not. ‘Can two walk together, except they be agreed?’ Amos 3:3. The happiness and prosperity of the marriage relation depends upon the unity of the parties; but between the believer and the unbeliever there is a radical difference of tastes, inclinations, and purposes. They are serving two masters, between whom there can be no concord. However pure and correct one’s principles may be, the influence of an unbelieving companion will have a tendency to lead away from God. . . .

“The marriage of Christians with the ungodly is forbidden in the Bible. The Lord’s direction is, ‘Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers.’ 11 Corinthians 6:14.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 174, 175.


Once your choice is made, even if your spouse is proud, selfish, and irreligious, the Bible says that you are not to leave him or her. Read 1 Corinthians 7. Lot married, and he made a poor choice, but he was not to leave her. He was to be faithful to her, but now Lot’s troubles begin.

Remember, if you are proud, the result is strife. The Bible does not go into detail about this, but Lot’s herdsmen and Abraham’s herdsmen got into some strife over the pasture and the watering places for the cattle. (Genesis 13:2-7.) “The pasturage was not sufficient for the flocks and herds of both [Lot and Abraham], and the frequent disputes among the herdsmen were brought for settlement to their masters.” Ibid., 132.

This whole thing about strife is such a big subject. Read the following references from the inspired writings.

“Contention among God’s people is offensive in His sight.” The Signs of the Times, August 19, 1880. “Charity does not rejoice in evil; revenge does. Be careful to manifest zeal for yourselves that you may show out of a good conversation your meekness of wisdom. Avoid every bitter word, every unkind action. Love as brethren; be kind; be courteous. Do not scandalize the truth by bitter envying and contention; for such is the spirit of the world. Let not these unholy traits once be named among you.” Ibid., February 14, 1895.

In 1887, Ellen White wrote: “The Lord has not closed Heaven against his people; but their own course of continual backsliding, of bickering, envying, and strife, has separated them from him.” Ibid., July 14, 1887.

Think through this situation in which Abraham and Lot found themselves the strife that developed among the herdsmen over the situation with the cattle and the pasture and the water. Do you think that the only way this situation could be solved was by Lot going to Sodom? Do you think it was the Lord’s will for Lot to go to Sodom? Well, then, how did it work out that way? One of the reasons it worked out that way was because Sodom was a very prosperous city, and you may remember that Lot’s wife was a selfish woman. She wanted to go to Sodom because there was a lot of money there.

Lot liked the idea, too, because the area was well watered, the Bible says. (Genesis 13:10.) There was a lot of water and plenty of pasture for the cattle, and if there was more water and more pasture, the herds could be increased, and Lot could gain more wealth. It looked like a situation where a lot of money could be made, and that appealed to Lot’s wife.

If there had not been so much pride, then there would not have been so much strife, quarrelling, and contention. The problem could have been resolved without Lot ever having to go to Sodom.


Sometimes, whether or not we can solve a problem the right way depends on how much pride we have, on whether or not we are quarrelsome. About this, Ellen White wrote: “I feel an intense interest regarding every faultfinder; for I know that a quarrelsome disposition will never find entrance into the city of God. Quarrel with yourself, but with no one else; and then be converted.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 7, 271.

“Are you quarrelsome here? Are you finding fault with your household here? If you are, you will find fault with them in heaven. Your character is being tested and proved in this life, whether you will make a peaceable subject of God’s kingdom in heaven.” Sermons and Talks, vol. 1, 203.

“When a child hears an older person constantly talking about the faults of someone else, he in turn is imbued with the same spirit of faultfinding and criticism. The seeds of contention are being sown.” Ibid., 375.

The strife could have been settled without Lot going to Sodom, but because of the characters of the people, because Lot’s wife was a selfish, irreligious woman, and because of Lot himself, he made a selfish choice. Abraham, since he was acting as a father to Lot, could have disallowed him from going down there. He could have said to Lot, “I am going to take my pick, and you can have what is left.” He could have done that rightly. He was the one who set Lot up in business.

Ellen White describes it thus: “Although Lot owed his prosperity to his connection with Abraham, he manifested no gratitude to his benefactor. Courtesy would have dictated that he yield the choice to Abraham, but instead of this he selfishly endeavored to grasp all its advantages. He ‘lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere, . . . even as the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar.’ [Genesis 13:10.] The most fertile region in all Palestine was the Jordan Valley, reminding the beholders of the lost Paradise and equaling the beauty and productiveness of the Nile-enriched plains they had so lately left. There were cities also, wealthy and beautiful, inviting to profitable traffic in their crowded marts. Dazzled with visions of worldly gain, Lot overlooked the moral and spiritual evils that would be encountered there. The inhabitants of the plain were ‘sinners before the Lord exceedingly’ [verse 13]; but of this he was ignorant, or, knowing, gave it but little weight. He ‘chose him all the plain of Jordan’ [verse 11], and ‘pitched his tent toward Sodom’ [verse 12]. How little did he foresee the terrible results of that selfish choice!” Patriarchs and Prophets, 133.

Much to Learn

We have much to learn, of course, from Abraham. Abraham was a very gracious person, and even though by right he could have made the first choice, he said to Lot, “Let us not allow there to be any strife between you and me, because we are brethren.” Genesis 13:8.

Oh, would that we could learn that today! Do you realize, friends, it is a disgrace to the cause of Christ when those who claim to be followers of Christ have strife among themselves? It is an insult to the Lord. “Let us not allow there to be any strife between you and me, because we are brethren.”

So, Abraham said to Lot, “Well, you choose which way you want to go and you go there, and I will take the other.” (Genesis 13:8.)

Lot looked around, and he saw that the plain of Jordan was well watered. He said, “I will go down here.” (Verse 10.) So Abraham stayed at the oaks of Mamre, and Lot “pitched his tent toward Sodom.”

Lot “pitched his tent toward Sodom.” Evidently he was not right inside the city at first. Sodom was a wealthy city, and after a while he moved right into town. It was one of the wealthiest cities of that time. It was easy to make a lot of money there, and, of course, Lot’s wife liked the money, so they moved into Sodom.

To be continued . . .

[Bible texts quoted are literal translation.]

Pastor John Grosboll is Director of Steps to Life and pastors the Prairie Meadows Church in Wichita, Kansas. He may be contacted by e-mail at:, or by telephone at: 316-788-5559.

The Wrath of God, Part II

In the early days of Seventh-day Adventism, some influential writers were quite explicit that the atonement did not refer to Christ’s death on the cross, but only to His work in the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary since October 22, 1844. The atonement involves Christ’s work in the heavenly sanctuary as well as His death on the cross. This is what is known as the Moral Influence Theory. This theory has, in recent years, grown in popularity among Seventh-day Adventists. In fact, this view has become so compelling for many that they have tried to make it the dominant, controlling view in Ellen White’s presentation on the atonement. The moral influence advocate lays great emphasis on Christ’s death as a manifestation of God’s love to a lost world. In its most extreme form, it has been proclaimed that Christ’s death was a requirement of God’s justice. These advocates hold that Christ’s death was only to demonstrate God’s love, which emanates a moral influence to an alienated world.

What are we to make of this theory? It is certainly true that it teaches that Christ’s death was designed to greatly impress mankind with a sense of God’s love, and it certainly shows the cross as the supreme manifestation of God’s love. These elements of moral influence are communicated to both sinners and to the unfallen beings of the universe. Through the cross, man is drawn to God’s love and from the strong hold of sin. The cross speaks to the world of His great love wherewith He has loved us and is the unanswerable argument as to the changeless character of the Law of Jehovah. But it speaks to more than mercy. Among other things, it speaks of a powerful condemnation of sin by the holy love of a holy God.

Ellen White makes it clear that moral influence was always connected with this convicting holiness of God, not just a general expression of forgiving love that excludes the satisfaction of divine justice.

God’s wrath must be understood as different from God’s chastening, for whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth (Hebrews 12:6), and God’s chastening or rebuke is specifically geared toward a correction for character development, but God’s wrath is toward punishment. It is toward death. There is a significant difference between the chastening of God and the wrath of God. God wants to take out of us things that are not wholesome, that are not toward His character, so we can become like Him in character and can be saved eternally.

In Part I, we also learned that the Moral Influence Theory being taught—that the death of Christ on the cross was specifically to reflect God’s love—is not so. It is not only to reflect God’s love; it is also to speak toward God’s justice. It is God’s justice that demanded the death of “a somebody” so that sin can be overcome.

Sin is Self-destructive

There are certain statements to the effect that sin is self-destructive. Some individuals who hold to the teaching that God does not kill will often refer to the following, asking, “What do you say about this?”

“The disobedient and unthankful have great reason for gratitude for God’s mercy and long-suffering in holding in check the cruel, malignant power of the evil one. But when men pass the limits of divine forbearance, that restraint is removed. God does not stand toward the sinner as an executioner of the sentence against transgression; but He leaves the rejectors of His mercy to themselves, to reap that which they have sown.” The Great Controversy, 36.

In this statement, God does not stand toward the sinner as an executioner of the sentence against transgression, but He leads the rejecters of His mercy to themselves to reap that which they have sown. Some people say, regarding this teaching, that God does not really kill. But what God does is pull Himself away and allow the sinner, the rebellious person, to be destroyed by his or her own action.

Consider these questions: Is it not a fact that God is the source of all life? Is it not His restraining power that holds the force of evil, that gives us protection? Furthermore, is it not God who temporarily grants self-destructive sinners life in probationary time? The answer to each of these questions should be very clear to each one of us.

Does it not seem that God would be just as surely responsible for the death of sinners by the withdrawing of His life-giving power as He would by indirectly destroying them by the powers of hell? Since God is the source of all life, it is quite apparent that He is also ultimately the One who allows death.

We need to be very clear on this issue so that we are not sidetracked onto a path that the Bible does not support.

Let us consider some Scriptural references on this point.

Sodom and Gomorrah

Genesis 19 gives the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. “And the men said unto Lot, Hast thou here any besides? son in law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring [them] out of this place: For we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the Lord; and the Lord hath sent us to destroy it.” “Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven; And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.” Verses 12, 13, 24, 25.

Was the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah simply the chance circumstance of atmospheric condition? Is it just that the atmosphere opened up and fire and brimstone rained down? Is that what the Bible says?

Ellen White states: “The Lord rained brimstone and fire out of heaven upon the cities and the fruitful plain; its palaces and temples, costly dwellings, gardens and vineyards, and the gay, pleasure-seeking throngs that only the night before had insulted the messengers of heaven—all were consumed.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 162. So, both the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy make it abundantly clear that it was God who carried out His strange act.

Korah, Dathan, Abiram

You know, I am certain, the story of Korah, Dathan and Abiram, but read quickly through it, so we can be clear what the Bible says on these issues: “And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the congregation, saying, Get you up from about the tabernacle of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. And Moses rose up and went unto Dathan and Abiram; and the elders of Israel followed him. And he spake unto the congregation, saying, Depart, I pray you, from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs, lest ye be consumed in all their sins. So they gat up from the tabernacle of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, on every side: and Dathan and Abiram came out, and stood in the door of their tents, and their wives, and their sons, and their little children. And Moses said, Hereby ye shall know that the Lord hath sent me to do all these works; for [I have] not [done them] of mine own mind. If these men die the common death of all men, or if they be visited after the visitation of all men; [then] the Lord hath not sent me. But if the Lord make a new thing, and the earth open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that [appertain] unto them, and they go down quick into the pit; then ye shall understand that these men have provoked the Lord. And it came to pass, as he had made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground clave asunder that [was] under them: And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that [appertained] unto Korah, and all [their] goods. They, and all that [appertained] to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they perished from among the congregation. And all Israel that [were] round about them fled at the cry of them: for they said, Lest the earth swallow us up [also]. And there came out a fire from the Lord, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men that offered incense.” Numbers 16:23−35.

Was the judgment of God on Korah, Dathan, and Abiram only a tragedy of a long dormant, Semitic, geographical fault line in the Sahara Desert? No, it was not. It was not an event that coincided with their behavior and just happened, whereby the earth opened up and the men fell in.

Commenting about this, Ellen White wrote: “When Moses was entreating Israel to flee from the coming destruction, the divine judgment might even then have been stayed, if Korah and his company had repented and sought forgiveness. But their stubborn persistence sealed their doom. The entire congregation were sharers in their guilt, for all had, to a greater or less degree, sympathized with them. Yet God in His great mercy made a distinction between the leaders in rebellion and those whom they had led.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 401.

This is so serious and so solemn for leaders to understand the part that they must play in the program of God. They must understand their position, because God will deal differently with them than even their followers.

“The people who had permitted themselves to be deceived were still granted space for repentance. Overwhelming evidence had been given that they were wrong, and that Moses was right. The signal manifestation of God’s power had removed all uncertainty.” Ibid.

Ellen White called their death the divine judgment and the signal manifestation of God’s power. It was not a geographical fault line that just opened, and they fell in and died. No, it was the divine wrath. Why? There was persistence in evil; failure to repent when evidence was given of wrong. Is that a message for us?


You perhaps have heard someone exclaim, “Uzzah was doing a good favor, yet God killed him. God is unkind.” Well, let us review the incident.

“Again, David gathered together all [the] chosen [men] of Israel, thirty thousand. And David arose, and went with all the people that [were] with him from Baale of Judah, to bring up from thence the ark of God, whose name is called by the name of the Lord of hosts that dwelleth [between] the cherubims. And they set the ark of God upon a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab that [was] in Gibeah: and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, drave the new cart. And they brought it out of the house of Abinadab which [was] at Gibeah, accompanying the ark of God: and Ahio went before the ark. And David and all the house of Israel played before the Lord on all manner of [instruments made of] fir wood, even on harps, and on psalteries, and on timbrels, and on cornets, and on cymbals. And when they came to Nachon’s threshingfloor, Uzzah put forth [his hand] to the ark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen shook [it]. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for [his] error; and there he died by the ark of God.” 11 Samuel 6:1−7.

Did Uzzah suddenly sustain an untimely cerebral vascular accident, commonly called a stroke, and die? Was that what happened? Was it just unfortunate that he died at that time, that God did not kill him?

God’s servant states: “Uzzah was angry with the oxen, because they stumbled. He showed a manifest distrust of God, as though He who had brought the ark from the land of the Philistines, could not take care of it. Angels who attended the ark struck down Uzzah for presuming impatiently to put his hand upon the ark of God.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, 410. “The fate of Uzzah was a divine judgment upon the violation of a most explicit command.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 705.

Mrs. White tells us also that Uzzah throughout his life had disregarded the Word of God. He never took God’s word seriously. “The fate of Uzzah was a divine judgment upon the violation of a most explicit command. Through Moses the Lord had given special instruction concerning the transportation of the ark. None but the priests, the descendants of Aaron, were to touch it, or even to look upon it uncovered. The divine direction was, ‘The sons of Kohath shall come to bear it: but they shall not touch any holy thing, lest they die.’ Numbers 4:15. . . .

“The Philistines, who had not a knowledge of God’s law, had placed the ark upon a cart when they returned it to Israel, and the Lord accepted the effort which they made. But the Israelites had in their hands a plain statement of the will of God in all these matters, and their neglect of these instructions was dishonoring to God. Upon Uzzah rested the greater guilt of presumption. Transgression of God’s law had lessened his sense of its sacredness, and with unconfessed sins upon him he had, in face of the divine prohibition, presumed to touch the symbol of God’s presence. God can accept no partial obedience, no lax way of treating His commandments. By the judgment upon Uzzah He designed to impress upon all Israel the importance of giving strict heed to His requirements. Thus the death of that one man, by leading the people to repentance, might prevent the necessity of inflicting judgments upon thousands.” Ibid., 705, 706.

Mrs. White tells us that the fate of Uzzah was a divine judgment. What does that say to us who are called the remnant people of God today? David, in Psalm 19:12, prayed, “Cleanse thou me from secret faults.” The question I would ask is, What are those secret faults in our lives that we practice over and over and over again in spite of instruction, in spite of information? What about those things that we rationalize, saying that God understands, that God knows we are struggling? But we have been struggling for years, and we keep on excusing our sinful lifestyle.

Godly Action

What God will do first of all is place us into an environment where we are rebuked and chastened. Sometimes God allows certain things to happen in our lives for which we are tempted to blame other people. When certain things happen to us, which is really the chastisement of God on us for our private sins about which no one else knows, we are tempted to blame other people. But if we stop and reflect honestly, we would conclude that it is out of the love and mercy of God that these circumstances happen to us.

Peradventure this chastisement, this rebuke, this trial, should bring us closer to God. But what do we do? We blame others; we fail to take responsibility; we fail to repent. As a result, God says, “You fail to repent, but in love, I am going to deal with you a little more.” So He turns up the heat, and He allows more affliction to come our way. He does this not because He hates us, not because He wants to hurt us, for the Bible says that the Lord does not willingly afflict the children of men (Lamentations 3:33), but because He sees in us vessels that can be made of honor to be placed in His palace.

So He allows other things to come our way to get our attention concerning those sins with which we are not yet ready to deal. Rather than blaming others, we should stop and honestly take responsibility for our sin problems and then resolve in our hearts that we are going to make a change. Until we do this, we are moving in a direction that may take us out of the environment of the chastening of God to the environment of the wrath of God.

That is what happened to Uzzah. For his lifetime, he kept on disregarding the Word of God. In spite of counsel and instruction, he kept on disregarding the Word of God, and one day, God drew the line. Yes, it was a simple situation. The ark rocked, and he was going to help the Lord. Not only did he die, but he lost eternity. He will not see us in heaven.

This is a counsel and a warning to all of God’s people. Let us be honest with ourselves. Let us search our hearts, and let us see if indeed there are secret sins in us that we have been denying for years, or for which we are blaming others, refusing to take responsibility. God has been going after us in love in order that He might save us.

Ananias and Sapphira

Do you remember the story of Ananias and Sapphira given in Acts 5:1–11? Were their deaths only timely coronaries? God’s messenger wrote:

“Infinite Wisdom saw that this signal manifestation of the wrath of God was necessary to guard the young church from becoming demoralized. Their numbers were rapidly increasing. The church would have been endangered if, in the rapid increase of converts, men and women had been added who, while professing to serve God, were worshiping mammon. This judgment testified that men cannot deceive God, that He detects the hidden sin of the heart, and that He will not be mocked. It was designed as a warning to the church, to lead them to avoid pretence and hypocrisy, and to beware of robbing God.” The Acts of the Apostles, 73, 74.

The deaths of Ananias and Sapphira were the signal manifestation of the wrath of God. Thus, Christians, as well as unbelievers, need to remember that the same God who punishes them today condemns all falsehood.

Hidden sins are destroying our church today—those sins that we have not learned to confess, that we have been hiding and denying, and for which we are not taking responsibility. God has been working on us, but we have become hardened as we continue denying that we have these problems. One of the most surprising things is that church members will blame other people for their behavior, even in the face of evidence. They do not realize that God wants to help them.

Divine Wrath

We need to understand this issue of God killing unjustly, so was the cross a manifestation of God’s holy wrath against sin, or was the cross only to demonstrate God’s love to us as sinners? It was not just a reflection of God’s love; it was also a reflection of God’s wrath.

“Upon Christ as our substitute and surety was laid the iniquity of us all. . . . The guilt of every descendant of Adam was pressing upon His heart. The wrath of God against sin, the terrible manifestation of His displeasure because of iniquity, filled the soul of His Son with consternation. . . . Salvation for the chief of sinners was His theme. But now with the terrible weight of guilt He bears, He cannot see the Father’s reconciling face. . . .

“Christ felt the anguish which the sinner will feel when mercy shall no longer plead for the guilty race.” The Desire of Ages, 753.

When Christ died on the cross, He did it for every human being, so that we can be set free, so we can escape the wrath of God. Whoever turns his or her back against the love and the wonderful service of Christ, however, will experience the full wrath of God. “It was the sense of sin, bringing the Father’s wrath upon Him as man’s substitute, that made the cup He drank so bitter, and broke the heart of the Son of God.” Ibid.

“He, the Sin Bearer, endures the wrath of divine justice, and for thy sake becomes sin itself.” Ibid., 756.

Active or Passive

Another question we need to have answered is, Is God’s wrath active or passive? Some people think God is such a wonderful God that He will not discipline.

“As Christ bore the sins of every transgressor so the sinner who will not believe in Christ as his personal Saviour, who rejects the light that comes to him, and refuses to respect and obey the commandments of God, will bear the penalty of his transgression.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 471. [Emphasis in original.] The choice is ours; we can accept the gift that is offered now and be delivered.

A Way of Escape

I am not talking about a God that does not love; I am talking about a God of love Who has provided a way of escape for all of us. We need to understand that if we despise the grace of God, as Paul says, in Hebrews 2:3, “How shall we escape?”

How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation after we have received all of this information, knowledge, and nurturing? How shall we escape if we fail to take responsibility? Rejection of God’s offer of life through the justifying merits of Christ’s death will mean only eternal death. If we reject Christ, we are accepting death. Without Christ’s substitutional death, sinners will receive just retribution.

Therefore, we may ask, Will the lake of fire be merely a passive act on God’s part? David declares in Psalm 11:6, “Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire, and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: [this shall be] the portion of their cup.” It is not an imagination; it is a reality.

The prophet Malachi prophesied of the future destruction of the despisers of God’s grace in Malachi 4:1, 2, and the apostle Peter confirms the destruction of the earth in 11 Peter 3:10.

John the revelator saw and wrote the following, “And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom [is] as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet [are], and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” Revelation 20:7–10.


Ellen White says, “God is to the wicked a consuming fire.” The Great Controversy, 673. The Israelites stand as a reminder of the awesome reality of the certainty of Jehovah’s wrath upon all those who reject the offer of salvation. They reached the borders of Canaan, the promised land, and the record declares, “Their hearts were filled with murmuring, rebellion, and hatred, and He could not fulfill His covenant with them.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 68.

What is the condition of our hearts? There are many private issues in our hearts. It is not the smile that you put on; it is not the nice talk; it is what is inside. It is how we treat each other. It is the issues and the private sins that are there—the murmuring, the complaining, the never satisfied attitude, the ingratitude.

For 40 years, unbelief, murmuring, and rebellion shut out ancient Israel from the land of Canaan. The same sins have delayed the entrance of modern Israel into the heavenly Canaan. As Moses and the children of Israel stood on the promised land, Moses well remembered the words of judgment that Jehovah had pronounced sometime before to the children of Israel because of their rebellious attitude and being stiff necked. (See Numbers 14:29–32.)

For us who are living on the borders of the eternal Canaan, it would do us well to ponder the words of the prophet of Patmos: “And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.” Revelation 7:1–3.

Are you being sealed? In other words, are you preparing yourself through character formation, working with God daily, and getting rid of those private sins in your life, so that the angel can do his job of sealing you so that you can be among the number that stand on the sea of glass? My prayer is that when it is all said and done, you and I will not experience the wrath of God, but that we will accept His chastening. As James says, “Count it all joy when you fall into various trials” (James 1:2), because they are designed for our benefit.

Pastor Ivan Plummer ministers through the Emmanuel Seventh Day Church Ministries in Bronx, New York. He may be contacted by telephone at: 718-882-3900.

Remember Lot’s Wife, Part II

We do not know for sure how many children Lot had. He must have had at least four daughters, maybe more. (Genesis 19:12−15.) We do not have a record that he had any sons. All his daughters were growing up in Sodom. What was it like to grow up in Sodom?

This may be disturbing, because when we study what it was like for a girl to grow up in Sodom, we discover that we have many girls growing up in Sodom today. “Private and public corruptions of every sort, are making the world a second Sodom.” The Signs of the Times, October 17, 1878. Ellen White expressed this sentiment a number of times. Perhaps you have read those statements.

So, there are lots of daughters growing up in Sodom today. What is it like to grow up in Sodom? Well, I will not try to give an exhaustive list, but I am going to list five things, and almost every one of them is shocking.

We are not going to go into the worst of the things in Sodom. When evangelical Christians and conservative, Bible-believing Christians talk about Sodom, they usually talk about the homosexuality that was in Sodom, and that was part of the problem in Sodom, no question about it. We are not ignoring that issue, but we will focus on other problems. As far as we know, no one of Lot’s family was involved in the homosexual practices in Sodom.

Not Just Homosexuality

You do not need to be a homosexual to be a Sodomite; did you know that? What is it like to grow up in Sodom and become a Sodomite?

“Any youth who would submit her body to be handled by a man is in no way fit for the kingdom of heaven. All this vile practice and commonness is what is ruining our youth. . . .

“These are the very sins which corrupted Sodom. Their evil practices did not come all at once. First one man and woman stupefied themselves by unholy, polluted habits. Then as inhabitants settled in Sodom, they did as you are doing.” Testimonies on Sexual Behavior, Adultery, and Divorce, 125. To whom was this directed? To a Seventh-day Adventist minister! Ellen White was writing to an Adventist minister, and saying, “What is it that you are doing that these young women are allowing their bodies to be handled by a man? What is going on here? This is what happened in Sodom. That is sodomy. That is the practice of Sodom; that is wicked.”

People think that unless you are a homosexual, you are not a Sodomite. Oh, no! This is what they are doing in Sodom. We just read it. Oh, my dear friend, this petting, this handling one another when you are not married, is a Sodomite practice. That is what they did in Sodom. We must come out from that sort of thing if we want to go to heaven.

Continuing, Mrs. White wrote to this same minister, “You say you did not commit adultery. God charges adultery against everyone who doeth these things, and all who will communicate these vile practices to another are polluting that soul with vile imaginations.” Ibid., 127.

Indecent Pictures

“Not one particle of Sodomitish impurity will escape the wrath of God at the execution of the judgment. Those who do not repent of and forsake all uncleanness will fall with the wicked.” Ibid., 119.

About what is she talking? Read it in really plain language: “Handbills on which indecent pictures are printed are posted up along our streets to allure the eyes and deprave the morals. These presentations are of such a character as to stir up the basest passions of the human heart through corrupt imaginings. These corrupt imaginings are followed by defiling practices like those in which the Sodomites indulged. But the most terrible part of the evil is that it is practiced under the garb of sanctity. Our youth will be defiled, their thoughts degraded, and their souls polluted unless they are barricaded with the truth.” Ibid., 120.

What was going on in Sodom? Well, they had billboards too. They had indecent pictures too. They had corrupting pictures that they were looking at too. That is what was going on in Sodom. That was what it was like to grow up in Sodom. They were looking at indecent, corrupting pictures.

Stylish Appearance

This point is really startling to most people who have never before studied this. This is what we should do for our young people: “Far greater pains should be taken to instruct them [ministers’ children] so that they shall have beautiful characters and keep the way of the Lord than to have them make a stylish appearance, taking the way of the Sodomites.” Pastoral Ministry, 63.

What is the matter with the stylish appearance? The problem is that the styles and the fashions are designed to awaken sensuality and sensual passions. If you are wearing any kind of garment or adornment that is designed to arouse sexual passions, you are following in the way of the Sodomites. That is the way they dressed.

Teaching Celibacy

The teaching of celibacy is a point that has to do with Sodom which almost no one has ever considered. In the first centuries after Christ, the devil introduced this idea into the Christian church. I have a book on this subject that was written by Henry Charles Lea; it is called the History of Sacerdotal Celibacy. (Philadelphia, 1867.)

The idea came into vogue that if you were celibate, you were more holy than the people who were married. This idea has persisted in the world through the Catholic Church to the present day. We will never know here how much homosexuality, fornication, adultery, and all other kinds of lewd practices have resulted in the world as a result of this teaching.

An attempt was made to introduce this practice into the Seventh-day Adventist Church during Ellen White’s lifetime by a lady named Anna Phillips. If you have access to a CD-ROM of Ellen White’s writings, do a search on “Anna Phillips,” and look at all the testimonies written in regard to her. Anna Phillips claimed to have the gift of prophecy, and she came into the Adventist Church and was teaching celibacy. She proclaimed that the time had come to become celibate, that the Lord was coming soon, and that even if men and women were married, they should be celibate.

“In a ‘Testimony’ written on August 10, 1892, Anna Rice Phillips stated, ‘The time has come of which Paul spoke when he said, “But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none.” . . . Satan will make you feel that you cannot give up this one thing, that it is yours by right my brother, but is it when God has spoken?’—White Estate Document File No. 363.” Testimonies on Sexual Behavior, Adultery, and Divorce, 109.

Mrs. White wrote: “The work of Anna Phillips does not bear the signature of heaven. I know what I am talking about. In our first experience in the infancy of this cause, we had to meet similar manifestations. Many such revelations were given, and we had a most disagreeable work in meeting this element and giving it no place. Some things stated in these revelations were fulfilled, and this led some to accept them as genuine.

“Young unmarried women would have a message for married men, and in no delicate words would tell them to their face of their abuse of the marriage privileges. Purity was the burden of the messages given, and for a while everything appeared to be reaching a high state of purity and holiness. But the inwardness of these matters was opened to me: I was shown what would be the outcome of this teaching.

“Those who were engaged in this work were not a superficial, immoral class, but persons who had been the most devoted workers. Satan saw an opportunity to take advantage of the state of things, and to disgrace the cause of God. Those who thought themselves able to bear any test without exciting their carnal propensities, were overcome, and several unmarried men and women were compelled to be married.

“I am afraid of those who feel so great a burden to labor in this direction. Satan works upon the imagination, so that impurity is the result, instead of purity. . . . Married men and women were following after the sins of the inhabitants of the world before the Flood, and of the Sodomites. I know what I am talking about, for most solemn messages were given me to correct this evil that was growing to large proportions among those who had so great a burden to set people right in regard to purity. The state of things was terrible.—Letter 103, 1894, pp. 6, 7. (To Elder A. T. Jones, March 15, 1894.)” Manuscript Releases, vol. 4, 119, 120.

The History of Sacerdotal Celibacy explains how things proceed from celibacy to Sodom. There is a definite way that it proceeds, and Ellen White said that if it is taught, you are going to wind up with a situation like it was in Sodom. The Seventh-day Adventist Church, by the way, does not teach having a celibate clergy, and it does not require celibacy from any class of men, because Ellen White said that Jesus did not require that.

How amazing that the very thing that people think would be the farthest thing from Sodom winds up in Sodom!

Forwardness of the Youth

What is it like to grow up in Sodom? Ellen White wrote: “I have had a sharp, pointed testimony for the youth, and I am pained to the heart to see the little modesty and real, good, decent behavior in the young. [There are] young girls so forward as to make advances to young men; so destitute of Christlike humility and elevation of character. The young girls [are] flirting with young men, sitting in meeting and exchanging notes with them at the very time I am presenting a message from God to the people.

“The young women make advances to the young men and get up a flirtation with them. Their forwardness, their common, cheap talk and ways, are offensive to God, and I told them last Sabbath that they were fast becoming like the Sodomites. . . .

“It does seem that Satan has lifted his hellish banner in the families of professed Sabbathkeepers. Their young men and women think only of how they can get into each other’s society and break down all the barriers of reserve and true decorum. It is a pitiful condition of things. . . .

“Boys flirting with the girls, and the girls flirting with the boys, seems to be a passion which destroys common sense. . . .

“Unless the moral taste is refined, unless Christ becomes an abiding principle in the soul, but few of the youth will ever see heaven.” Ibid., vol. 19, 218–220.

What was it like in Sodom? It was a place where the young people were flirtatious with each other.

Summary of Identifiers

How is it going to be with you? Do you see what a dangerous thing it is to grow up in Sodom? Not many people got out of Sodom. Are you going to be one of those who gets out of this world and goes to heaven?

Remember these five things which are consistent with life in Sodom. This is not an exhaustive list; it does not include some of the most shocking activities of Sodom, but these things are quite apparent in our world today:

  1. women allowing men to handle their bodies;
  2. indecent pictures;
  3. stylish appearance that attracts and develops sensual, sexual thoughts;
  4. teaching celibacy;
  5. forwardness of the youth.

Escape or Stay

Very few people got out of Sodom, and only a few people from the large cities of the world today will escape. Most will stay in the cities. How about you? Are you going to stay in Sodom, or would you like to get out of Sodom? If you want to get out of Sodom, you are going to have to leave the lifestyle of Sodom, and, of course, it would be helpful to physically get out of Sodom.

Writing about this subject, Ellen White penned: “Lot could have preserved his family from many evils, had he not made his home in this wicked, polluted city. All that Lot and his family did in Sodom could have been done by them, even if they had lived in a place some distance from the city. Enoch walked with God, and yet he did not live in the midst of any city, polluted with every kind of violence and wickedness, as did Lot in Sodom.” Country Living, 30, 31.

“Cities and even country towns are becoming like Sodom and Gomorrah, and like the world in the days of Noah. The training of the youth in those days was after the same order as the children are being educated and trained in this age.

“Those who will take their families into the country, place them where they have fewer temptations.” Pamphlet 140, 42.

So, there is nothing wrong with getting out of Sodom and getting into the country so that the children will not have the temptations, but it is not enough to get your body out of Sodom. You have to get Sodom out of your mind! That is our problem today. We have so much electronic media that it is possible, even in an isolated place in the country, to still access all the pleasures of Sodom with video, television, or the Internet. If you want to get out of Sodom, you have to get Sodom out of your mind.

Principle of Honor

Now, one of the principles in the Ten Commandments is the principle of honor. You see, if you are giving or receiving attentions from someone of the opposite sex who is not your wife or your husband, how do you know but what God has intended that person to be the spouse of someone else at some future time? You are dishonoring your heavenly Father, and you are dishonoring other people in the human race whenever you do something like that.

In Sodom, the concept of the principle of honor was lost. As I have studied this subject, I have come to realize that we as Christians need to study and to ask the Lord to help us get back the principle of honor.

Ellen White wrote to a woman concerning the subject of honor. This woman had decided that she was going to divorce her husband, but the husband did not want to divorce her. He was trying to win her back. A portion of the letter is quoted here: “I have written to Brother Harper [this lady’s husband whom she planned to divorce] that he ought not to take the matter so to heart. He feels like death over the thought that he must give you up, but in this sad case it is the best thing he can do. But do not then receive any money from him or expect him to defray your expenses.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 19, 218.

Did you get that? This is directly contrary to what people do today. Ellen White was writing to a woman who was going to divorce her husband. He did not want to divorce her, and Mrs. White told this woman to not accept any money from him or expect him to defray her expenses. She was going to divorce him; she should not be expecting him to give her money!

“While you consent to receive his money of course it encourages him to be of the opinion that you will again live with him as his wife and be true to your marriage vows. But if you design to cut loose from him, it is in poor taste [in other words, it is not honorable] for you to accept anything financially from him.” Ibid.

Honor! That is what the people of Sodom lost. That is what we have lost in our country today. People will take money from one another whether they deserve to have it or not. They have no sense of honor whatsoever anymore. If we do not regain our sense of honor, we will never go to the kingdom of heaven.

Sodom’s Last Night

The time came when it was the last night for Sodom, and two angels came to town. Lot was a very hospitable man, so he invited them to his home. (See Genesis 19.) They came to his home, and Lot prepared a meal for them to eat. Before they retired for the night, the men of the city gathered around the house, and they said to Lot, “Bring those men out, so that we might have sexual relations with them.” (Verse 5.)

There are some parts of this story that I have difficulty understanding. I do not understand how Lot could ever be called a righteous man in the New Testament (11 Peter 2:7, 8) with what he did on this occasion, because he offered his two daughters, who were virgins, to these men to try to keep them from committing homosexual acts with his guests. I cannot comprehend why he ever did that. He obviously was under a lot of pressure. He was afraid, no doubt, that he would lose his life, and perhaps everyone in the house would be killed. (Homosexuality, since the time of Sodom right to the present day, has always been associated with violence.) It was at that time that Lot, who thought he was entertaining ordinary guests, learned that these were supernatural guests, because they struck the men outside the house with blindness, and they could not locate the door to enter the house.

Then Lot’s guests told him what was going to happen. These two angels said to Lot, “The God of heaven has sent us here to destroy this city, and this city is going to be burned up tomorrow morning.” (Verse 13.) Lot was in a frantic state.

Lot’s Situation

Just think for a moment what must have been going through Lot’s mind at this time. We need to consider this, because there are people who will have to make the same decision that Lot had to make.

Why had Lot chosen to go to Sodom? Why did his wife want to go down there? It was because an individual could make a lot of money there. Lot was a very wealthy man. His daughters who had married men and were living in that city were wealthy too. The whole family was wealthy. Lot’s wealth was not in the plains of Mamre where Abraham dwelled.

Lot’s wealth was in Sodom, but the angels told him, “You must get out of this place, because tomorrow morning we are going to burn up this city.” That meant that he would lose everything he had. The reason he had come to Sodom was to get wealth, and now he was going to lose everything for which he had come.

Do you know that this is going to happen again?

Ellen White states, in The Great Controversy, 404, that when God’s children are delivered, they will have given up all for Christ. Every single one of the 144,000 will be poor in this world’s goods when they go to heaven. But, actually, will it really matter? You see, when Jesus comes, this world is going to be cleansed with fire. Your house, your car, your bank, your stocks and bonds, and your business will all be destroyed. All the wealth that you have in this world is going to burn up.

From a worldly point of view, all the saints are going to be very poor. They will have nothing when Jesus comes, but what is the difference? The world is going to burn up, but if your heart is in Sodom and you love these things, then what? Then it is going to be hard for you to leave Sodom. That was Lot’s problem.

Lot had so much wealth that it was hard for him to give it up, because he realized that when he left Sodom, he was going to be a poor man. If there is anything that rich people do not ever want to happen to them, it is to be poor—especially if they were previously poor. They do not ever want to be that way again. They would rather be sick than be poor. This was Lot’s situation.

Family Ties

Lot’s wealth was not all, however. There was something even worse. His family was all in Sodom. His daughters were married, so he pled with the angels, “Oh, please, let me go out. I must go to my daughters and to my sons-in-law and tell them what is going to happen.”

Lot knew. He had witnessed the angels smite those men with blindness. He knew these were supernatural beings, and he knew they were going to burn up the city. He knew what they told him was the truth, and he pleaded, “Please, let me go and talk to my daughters and to my sons-in-law.” The angels granted his wish.

Lot exited the house. He could walk through all the rabble, because they could not see, and he makes his way downtown to one of his daughter’s homes. It was midnight, but Lot was knocking on the door. He wanted above all things to warn the daughter and son-in-law, and when they came to the door, he warned, “Get up! Get out of this city! The Lord is going to burn up this city.”

The son-in-law turned to Lot’s daughter and declared, “Your father has become insane!” The Bible says that he seemed as one that mocked. (Verse 14.) They would not listen.


What was the problem? Why would they not get out of Sodom? This is what we need to study and understand.

They had lived in Sodom for so long. They had looked at the indecent pictures of Sodom for so long. They had witnessed the sensual practices going on all around them for so long. They had observed homosexuality for so long. They had seen the flirtation for so long. They had seen all these things happen for so long that Sodom did not seem that bad to them anymore.

Do you know that this is one of our greatest dangers today? The same things that were happening in Sodom are happening around us today, and as we look and see and hear all these things, after a while, they do not bother us as much! Lot’s family could not comprehend that Sodom was so bad that God would actually burn up the city and the people. Some people cannot get that figured out today.

The Bible tells us that the Lord is coming again, and when He comes again, the world is going to burn up just as Sodom did, and all the ungodly are going to perish. But many people exclaim, “Oh, no! We have not done anything that bad!”

Linger Not

Well, Lot failed. His family thought he was insane. There was nothing for him to do but to go back home. When he returned home, he was really discouraged, because his loved ones would not listen; they thought he was crazy.

Upon arriving back home, Lot lingered. The angels finally took him by force and started to lead him, his wife, and their two daughters out of town. (Verses 15, 16.) They just could not stand to walk away from all their wealth and away from their remaining family members. The angel encouraged them to, “flee to the mountains.” (Verse 17.) But Lot cried, “Oh, Lord, you have been so merciful and kind to me; please, do not make me go that far. Could I just go to a small town closer by, so I do not have to go clear up to the mountains?” (Verses 8−20.)

Lot had lived in the city for so long that he was afraid of country living. He was afraid of some bear, snake, or other wild creature. About this lingering, Ellen White wrote: “If Lot himself had manifested no hesitancy to obey the angels’ warning, but had earnestly fled toward the mountains, without one word of pleading or remonstrance, his wife also would have made her escape.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 161. But because he lingered and was afraid, pleading that the Lord would give him a little easier exit from Sodom, his wife manifested unbelief, and when the Lord said, “You go right now and do not turn back,” she disobeyed a direct divine command from the Lord Himself, and she was turned into a pillar of salt. (Verse 26.)

And Jesus said, “Remember Lot’s wife.” Luke 17:32.

Second Sodom

We are living in a world that has become a second Sodom. Are you going to get out alive? Is your wife or your husband going to get out alive? Are your children going to get out alive?

The decisions that you are making day by day will determine whether or not you and your family get out alive. Remember, it is not enough to get your body out of Sodom; you have to get Sodom out of your mind.

[Bible texts quoted are literal translation.]

Pastor John Grosboll is Director of Steps to Life and pastors the Prairie Meadows Church in Wichita, Kansas. He may be contacted by e-mail at:, or by telephone at: 316-788-5559.

Bible Study Guides – The Past and The Present

August 26, 2007 – September 1, 2007

Key Text

“When the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:8.

Study Help: Conflict and Courage, 41; Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 74-76.


“These words of Christ should sink into the hearts of all who believe present truth: ‘And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.’ [Luke 21:34.] Our danger is presented before us by Christ Himself. He knew the perils we should meet in these last days, and would have us prepare for them. ‘As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.’ [Luke 17:26.] They were eating and drinking, planting and building, marrying and giving in marriage, and knew not until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the Flood came and swept them all away. The day of God will find men absorbed in like manner in the business and pleasures of the world, in feasting and gluttony, and in indulging perverted appetite in the defiling use of liquor and the narcotic tobacco. This is already the condition of our world, and these indulgences are found even among God’s professed people, some of whom are following the customs and partaking of the sins of the world.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 309.

1 To what time of the past are the days immediately preceding the Second Coming of the Lord compared? Luke 17:26, 28.

note: “The inhabitants of the Noachian world were destroyed because they were corrupted through the indulgence of perverted appetite. Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed through the gratification of unnatural appetite, which so benumbed the intellect that they could not discern the difference between the sacred claims of God and the clamor of appetite. The latter enslaved them, and they became so ferocious and bold in their detestable abominations that God would not tolerate them upon the earth.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 162.

2 What is said of the time of Noah? Luke 17:27.

note: “To the long-lived, antediluvian race, only a step from paradise, God gave rich gifts, and they possessed a strength of body and mind of which men now have but a faint idea; but they used His bounties, and the strength and skill He gave them, for selfish purposes, to minister to unlawful appetites, and to gratify pride. They expelled God from their thoughts; they despised His law; trampled His standard of character in the dust. They reveled in sinful pleasure, corrupting their ways before God, and corrupting one another. Violence and crime filled the earth. Neither the marriage relation nor the rights of property were respected; and the cries of the oppressed entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. By beholding evil, men became changed into its image, until God could bear with their wickedness no longer, and they were swept away by the flood.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 421, 422.

3 What instruction is given in regard to eating and drinking? 1 Corinthians 10:31. What is the real danger in the last days in regard to eating and drinking? Luke 21:34.

note: “Intemperance of any kind is the worst sort of selfishness. Those who truly fear God and keep His commandments look upon these things in the light of reason and religion. How can any man or woman keep the law of God, which requires man to love his neighbor as himself, and indulge intemperate appetite, which benumbs the brain, weakens the intellect, and fills the body with disease? Intemperance inflames the passions and gives loose rein to lust. And reason and conscience are blinded by the lower passions.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 31.

4 To what time did the antediluvians keep up this excessive debauchery? Luke 17:27.

note: “The indulgence of perverted appetite inflamed the passions of men in the days of Noah, and led to widespread corruption. Violence and sin reached to heaven. This moral pollution was finally swept from the earth by means of the Flood.” Counsels on Health, 23.

5 What warning was being given at the time of Noah? 1 Peter 3:18-20; 11 Peter 2:5. How long was the warning given? Genesis 6:3. What effect did the message have on the great mass of the world? Hebrews 11:7.

note: “Remember how soon after the transgression of Adam the apostasy of his posterity became so marked that God repented that He had made man. They followed the imaginations of their evil hearts, and the strivings of the Spirit were not heeded. They refused to be admonished. They had an abundance of blessings for their own enjoyment, and they soon forgot that they had forfeited immortality.

“God granted them one hundred and twenty years of probation, and during that time preached to them through Methuselah, Noah, and many others of His servants. Had they listened to the testimony of these faithful witnesses, had they repented and returned to their loyalty, God would not have destroyed them.” Review and Herald, April 23, 1901.

“Men cannot with impunity reject the warning which God in mercy sends them. A message was sent from heaven to the world in Noah’s day, and their salvation depended upon the manner in which they treated that message. Because they rejected the warning, the Spirit of God was withdrawn from the sinful race, and they perished in the waters of the Flood.” The Great Controversy, 431.

6 What is said of the condition of the world at that time? Genesis 6:5,6. What brought them to this low state? Do we see any of these excesses at the present time?

note: “God bestowed upon these antediluvians many and rich gifts; but they used His bounties to glorify themselves, and turned them into a curse by fixing their affections upon the gifts instead of the Giver. They employed the gold and silver, the precious stones and the choice wood, in the construction of habitations for themselves, and endeavored to excel one another in beautifying their dwellings with the most skillful workmanship. They sought only to gratify the desires of their own proud hearts, and reveled in scenes of pleasure and wickedness. Not desiring to retain God in their knowledge, they soon came to deny His existence. They adored nature in place of the God of nature. They glorified human genius, worshiped the works of their own hands, and taught their children to bow down to graven images.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 90, 91.

“God has given us laws whereby to live, but now, as in the Noachic age, the imagination of men’s hearts is evil and only evil continually; men walk after the desire and devices of their own hearts, and so accomplish their own ruin. God would have men stand in their God-given manhood, free from the slavery of appetite.” Temperance, 281.

“Our large cities are fast reaching the condition represented by the condition of the world before the flood, when [Genesis 6:5 quoted] God-dishonoring sins are practiced by people living in lordly homes . . . .” Evangelism, 567.

7 What did the Saviour say in regard to the days of Lot? Luke 17:28.

note: “The same sins of gluttony and drunkenness [that brought the wrath of God upon the world in the days of Noah] benumbed the moral sensibilities of the inhabitants of Sodom, so that crimes seemed to be the delight of the men and women of that wicked city.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 60, 61.

8 What were the sins of Sodom? Ezekiel 16:49, 50. How did the people of this wicked city employ their time?

note: “In Sodom there was mirth and revelry, feasting and drunkenness. The vilest and most brutal passions were unrestrained. The people openly defied God and His law and delighted in deeds of violence. Though they had before them the example of the antediluvian world, and knew how the wrath of God had been manifested in their destruction, yet they followed the same course of wickedness.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 157.

“Fairest among the cities of the Jordan Valley was Sodom, set in a plain which was ‘as the garden of the Lord’ [Genesis 13:10] in its fertility and beauty. Here the luxuriant vegetation of the tropics flourished. Here was the home of the palm tree, the olive, and the vine; and flowers shed their fragrance throughout the year. Rich harvests clothed the fields, and flocks and herds covered the encircling hills. Art and commerce contributed to enrich the proud city of the plain. The treasures of the East adorned her palaces, and the caravans of the desert brought their stores of precious things to supply her marts of trade. With little thought or labor, every want of life could be supplied, and the whole year seemed one round of festivity.

“The profusion reigning everywhere gave birth to luxury and pride. Idleness and riches make the heart hard that has never been oppressed by want or burdened by sorrow. The love of pleasure was fostered by wealth and leisure, and the people gave themselves up to sensual indulgence.” Ibid., 156.

9 What righteous man was living in this city? Genesis 13:12, 13; 19:1. Had the Sodomites been informed in regard to the true faith?

note: “When iniquity abounds in a nation, there is always to be heard some voice giving warning and instruction, as the voice of Lot was heard in Sodom. Yet Lot could have preserved his family from many evils had he not made his home in this wicked, polluted city. All that Lot and his family did in Sodom could have been done by them, even if they had lived in a place some distance away from the city.” Evangelism, 78.

10 What effect did the lives of this people have on Lot? 11 Peter 2:7, 8.

note: “Lot chose Sodom for his home because he saw that there were advantages to be gained there from a worldly point of view. But after he had established himself, and grown rich in earthly treasure, he was convinced that he had made a mistake in not taking into consideration the moral standing of the community in which he was to make his home.

“The dwellers in Sodom were corrupt; vile conversation greeted his ears daily, and his righteous soul was vexed by the violence and crime he was powerless to prevent. His children were becoming like these wicked people, for association with them had perverted their morals. Taking all these things into consideration, the worldly riches he had gained seemed small and not worth the price he had paid for them.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 110.

11 Did God find faith on the earth in those days? Hebrews 11:7; 11 Peter 2:8.

note: “More than one hundred years before the Flood the Lord sent an angel to faithful Noah to make known to him that He would no longer have mercy upon the corrupt race. But He would not have them ignorant of His design. He would instruct Noah and make him a faithful preacher to warn the world of its coming destruction, that the inhabitants of the earth might be left without excuse. . . .

“Noah and his family were not alone in fearing and obeying God. But Noah was the most pious and holy of any upon the earth, and was the one whose life God preserved to carry out His will in building the ark and warning the world of its coming doom.” The Story of Redemption, 62, 63.

“Lot, not desiring to flee to the mountains, had pleaded with the Lord to spare a smaller city a few miles from Sodom to which he could flee. What unbelief he manifested! His faith was very weak. But God in his mercy spared Zoar, in answer to Lot’s petitions.” Southern Union Worker, October 16, 1913.

12 Will the Lord find faith when He comes the second time? Luke 18:8.

note: “We must cherish a living, active faith. The permanence of our faith is the condition of our union.

“A union with Christ by living faith is enduring; every other union must perish. Christ first chose us, paying an infinite price for our redemption; and the true believer chooses Christ as first and last and best in everything. But this union costs us something. It is a union of utter dependence, to be entered into by a proud being. All who form this union must feel their need of the atoning blood of Christ. They must have a change of heart. They must submit their own will to the will of God. There will be a struggle with outward and internal obstacles. There must be a painful work of detachment as well as a work of attachment. Pride, selfishness, vanity, worldliness–sin in all its forms–must be overcome if we would enter into a union with Christ. The reason why many find the Christian life so deplorably hard, why they are so fickle, so variable, is that they try to attach themselves to Christ without first detaching themselves from these cherished idols.

“After the union with Christ has been formed, it can be preserved only by earnest prayer and untiring effort. We must resist, we must deny, we must conquer self. Through the grace of Christ, by courage, by faith, by watchfulness, we may gain the victory.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 231.

Bible Study Guides – Doom or Redemption: A Choice

August 9, 2009 – August 15, 2009

Key Text

“And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee [when thou wast] in thy blood, Live; yea, I said unto thee [when thou wast] in thy blood, Live.” Ezekiel 16:6.

Study Help: Prophets and Kings, 450, 451; Steps to Christ, 23–36.


“God’s mercy to those who sincerely repent and come to Him through Christ, knows no limit. He will pardon the most guilty, and purify the most polluted.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 7, 341.

1 Through what allegory did God depict the birth of the Jewish nation and His compassion on their pitiful state? Ezekiel 16:1–7.

2 What description portrays God’s covenant with His people? Ezekiel 16:8 (cf. Ruth 3:9); II Corinthians 11:2.

Note: “Christ left His heavenly home, and came to this world, to show that only by being connected with divinity can man keep the law of God. In itself humanity is tainted and corrupted; but Christ brought moral power to man, and those who live in communion with him overcome as he overcame. We are not left in this world as orphans; Christ has united fallen man to the infinite God. He has opened a way for our prayers to ascend to God, and the fragrance of his righteousness ascends with the prayer of every repentant sinner.” The Signs of the Times, December 10, 1896.

“In the Bible the sacred and enduring character of the relation that exists between Christ and His church is represented by the union of marriage. The Lord has joined His people to Himself by a solemn covenant, He promising to be their God, and they pledging themselves to be His and His alone.” The Great Controversy, 381.

3 Why did God become disappointed at the behavior of His people on many occasions? Ezekiel 16:13–15, 30, 32.

Note: “The unfaithfulness of the church to Christ in permitting her confidence and affection to be turned from Him, and allowing the love of worldly things to occupy the soul, is likened to the violation of the marriage vow.” The Great Controversy, 381.

4 How does Inspiration denounce the moral fall of the popular churches today? Revelation 17:1–5; 18:1–4.

Note: “It was by departure from the Lord, and alliance with the heathen, that the Jewish church became a harlot; and Rome, corrupting herself in like manner by seeking the support of worldly powers, receives a like condemnation. …

“The people of God are called upon to come out of Babylon. According to this scripture, many of God’s people must still be in Babylon. And in what religious bodies are the greater part of the followers of Christ now to be found? Without doubt, in the various churches professing the Protestant faith. At the time of their rise these churches took a noble stand for God and the truth, and His blessing was with them. Even the unbelieving world was constrained to acknowledge the beneficent results that followed an acceptance of the principles of the gospel. … But they fell by the same desire which was the curse and ruin of Israel—the desire of imitating the practices and courting the friendship of the ungodly.” The Great Controversy, 382, 383.

5 What practice had crept into Israel, provoking God’s wrath? Ezekiel 16:20, 21. How had He warned against this evil? Leviticus 18:21; 20:2, 3.

Note: “While the Israelites were in Egyptian bondage, they were surrounded by idolatry. The Egyptians had received traditions in regard to sacrificing. They did not acknowledge the existence of the God of heaven. They sacrificed to their idol gods. With great pomp and ceremony they performed their idol worship. They erected altars to the honor of their gods, and they required even their own children to pass through the fire. After they had erected their altars, they required their children to leap over the altars through the fire. If they could do this without their being burned, the idol priests and people received it as an evidence that their god accepted their offerings, and favored especially the person who passed through the fiery ordeal. He was loaded with benefits, and was ever afterward greatly esteemed by all the people. He was never allowed to be punished, however aggravating might be his crimes. If another person who leaped through the fire was so unfortunate as to be burned, then his fate was fixed; for they thought that their gods were angry, and would be appeased with nothing short of the unhappy victim’s life, and he was offered up as a sacrifice upon their idol altars.

“Even some of the children of Israel had so far degraded themselves as to practice these abominations, and God caused the fire to kindle upon their children, whom they made to pass through the fire. They did not go to all the lengths of the heathen nations; but God deprived them of their children by causing the fire to consume them in the act of passing through it.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 1, 1119.

6 In what ways may we be in danger of practicing similar abominations today? James 4:4; I John 2:15–17.

Note: “Fathers and mothers who should understand the responsibility which rests upon them relax their discipline to meet the inclinations of their growing sons and daughters. The will of the child is the law recognized. Mothers who have been firm, consistent, and unbending in their adherence to principle, maintaining simplicity and fidelity, become indulgent as their children merge into manhood and womanhood. In their love of display they give their children to Satan with their own hands, like the apostate Jews making them pass through the fire to Molech.” Child Guidance, 277.

“Children are not to be trained to be the devotees of society. They are not to be sacrificed to Molech, but they are to become members of the Lord’s family. Parents are to be filled with the compassion of Christ, that they may work for the salvation of the souls that are placed under their influence. They are not to have their minds all engrossed in the fashions and practices of the world. They are not to educate their children to attend parties and concerts and dances, to have and attend feasts, because after this manner the Gentiles walk.” Ibid., 181.

7 How can we protect our children from the evils of Sodom? Ezekiel 16:49, 50. Why should we remember God’s destruction of Sodom and Gomorrha? Jude 5–7.

Note: “Active hands and minds do not find time to heed every temptation which the enemy suggests, but idle hands and brains are all ready for Satan to control. The mind, when not properly occupied, dwells upon improper things. Parents should teach their children that idleness is sin.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 395.

“The reason the youth have so little strength of brain and muscle is because they do so little in the line of useful labor.” Ibid., vol. 4, 96.

“The misuse or nonuse of the physical powers is largely responsible for the tide of corruption that is overspreading the world. ‘Pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness,’ [Ezekiel 16:49] are as deadly foes to human progress in this generation as when they led to the destruction of Sodom.” Education, 209.

8 What was God constrained to declare about the rebellious nation that had betrayed His every sacred trust? Ezekiel 17:11–20.

Note: “The day of doom for the kingdom of Judah was fast approaching. No longer could the Lord set before them the hope of averting the severest of His judgments.” Prophets and Kings, 450.

9 How did God reveal His mercy toward those who would humble their souls in true contrition? Ezekiel 17:22–24.

Note: “It was still the Lord’s purpose, as it had been from the beginning, that His people should be a praise in the earth, to the glory of His name. During the long years of their exile He had given them many opportunities to return to their allegiance to Him. Some had chosen to listen and to learn; some had found salvation in the midst of affliction. Many of these were to be numbered among the remnant that should return. They were likened by Inspiration to ‘the highest branch of the high cedar,’ which was to be planted ‘upon an high mountain and eminent: in the mountain of the height of Israel.’ Ezekiel 17:22, 23.” Prophets and Kings, 599.

10 What future plan did God have for the faithful remnant? Ezekiel 16:60–63; Jeremiah 31:33; Galatians 3:29.

Note: “All who became the subjects of Christ’s kingdom, he said, would give evidence of faith and repentance. Kindness, honesty, and fidelity would be seen in their lives. They would minister to the needy, and bring their offerings to God. They would shield the defenseless, and give an example of virtue and compassion. So the followers of Christ will give evidence of the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. In the daily life, justice, mercy, and the love of God will be seen.” The Desire of Ages, 107.

Additional Reading

“Every soul has a heaven to win, and a hell to shun. And the angelic agencies are all ready to come to the help of the tried and tempted soul. He, the Son of the infinite God, endured the test and trial in our behalf. The cross of Calvary stands vividly before every soul. When the cases of all are judged, and they [the lost] are delivered to suffer for their contempt for God and their disregard of His honor in their disobedience, not one will have an excuse, not one will need to have perished. It was left to their own choice who should be their prince, Christ or Satan. All the help Christ received, every man may receive in the great trial. The cross stands as a pledge that not one need be lost, that abundant help is provided for every soul. We can conquer the satanic agencies, or we can join ourselves with the powers that seek to counterwork the work of God in our world. …

“We have an Advocate pleading in our behalf. The Holy Ghost is continually engaged in beholding our course of action. We need now keen perception, that by our own practical godliness the truth may be made to appear truth as it is in Jesus. The angelic agencies are messengers from heaven, actually ascending and descending, keeping earth in constant connection with the heaven above. These angel messengers are observing all our course of action. They are ready to help all in their weakness, guarding all from moral and physical danger according to the providence of God. And whenever souls yield to the softening, subduing influence of the Spirit of God under these angel ministrations, there is joy in heaven; the Lord Himself rejoices with singing.

“Men take altogether too much glory to themselves. It is the work of heavenly agencies cooperating with human agencies according to God’s plan that brings the result in the conversion and sanctification of the human character. We cannot see and could not endure the glory of angelic ministrations if their glory was not veiled in condescension to the weakness of our human nature. The blaze of the heavenly glory, as seen in the angels of light, would extinguish earthly mortals. Angels are working upon human minds just as these minds are given to their charge; they bring precious remembrances fresh before the mind as they did to the women about the sepulcher.

“A created instrumentality is used in heaven’s organized plan for the renewing of our nature, working in the children of disobedience obedience unto God. The guardianship of the heavenly host is granted to all who will work in God’s ways and follow His plans. We may in earnest, contrite prayer call the heavenly helpers to our side. Invisible armies of light and power will work with the humble, meek, and lowly one.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 96, 97.

©2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Bible Study Guides – Early Messengers of God

April 5, 2015 – April 11, 2015

Key Text

“Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?” Genesis 18:23.

Study Help: Patriarchs and Prophets, 139, 140, 158–165.


“While Abraham had a true sense of humility that every child of God should possess, yet he had an intense interest in the souls of sinners. …

“Abraham’s interest and anxiety for Sodom is a lesson to us that we should have an intense interest for those around us.” Christ Triumphant, 75.


  • After Shem, whom did God call as His special messenger, and how did he respond? Genesis 12:1–4; Hebrews 11:8, 9.

Note: “God has ever preserved a remnant to serve Him. Adam, Seth, Enoch, Methuselah, Noah, Shem, in unbroken line, had preserved from age to age the precious revealings of His will. … He [the Lord] communicated His will to Abraham, and gave him a distinct knowledge of the requirements of His law and of the salvation that would be accomplished through Christ.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 125.

  • Why did Abraham have to leave his relatives and friends? Matthew 10:37, 38; Acts 7:2–4; Amos 3:3.

Note: “Abraham must be separated from the associations of his early life. The influence of kindred and friends would interfere with the training which the Lord purposed to give His servant. …

“Many are still tested as was Abraham.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 126.


  • What worthy example did Abraham leave for us? Genesis 12:7, 8; 13:4, 18.

Note: “Wherever he [Abraham] pitched his tent, close beside it was set up his altar, calling all within his encampment to the morning and evening sacrifice. When his tent was removed, the altar remained. In following years, there were those among the roving Canaanites who received instruction from Abraham; and whenever one of these came to that altar, he knew who had been there before him; and when he had pitched his tent, he repaired the altar, and there worshiped the living God.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 128.

  • What does God desire His people to be? Matthew 5:14–16. Give examples of Abraham’s life as an effective Christian witness. Genesis 14:21–24; 18:19.

Note: “While Christ is dwelling in the heart it is impossible to conceal the light of His presence, or for that light to grow dim. On the contrary, it will grow brighter and brighter as day by day the mists of selfishness and sin that envelop the soul are dispelled by the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness.

“The people of God are His representatives upon the earth, and He intends that they shall be lights in the moral darkness of this world.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 134.

  • Why was Abraham called the friend of God? James 2:21–23; Genesis 26:5. How may we be regarded as friends of Christ? John 15:14; Philippians 2:15.

Note: “The character and course of the Christian is in marked contrast to that of worldlings. The Christian cannot find pleasure in the amusements and in the varied scenes of gaiety of the world. Higher and holier attractions engage the affections. Christians will show that they are the friends of God by their obedience.” Our High Calling, 149.


  • What practice was an essential trait of Abraham’s character? Genesis 18:1–8.

Note: “In the hot summer noontide the patriarch was sitting in his tent door, looking out over the quiet landscape, when he saw in the distance three travelers approaching. Before reaching his tent, the strangers halted, as if consulting as to their course. Without waiting for them to solicit favors, Abraham rose quickly, and as they were apparently turning in another direction, he hastened after them, and with the utmost courtesy urged them to honor him by tarrying for refreshment. With his own hands he brought water that they might wash the dust of travel from their feet. He himself selected their food, and while they were at rest under the cooling shade, an entertainment was made ready, and he stood respectfully beside them while they partook of his hospitality.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 138.

  • What lesson did the apostle Paul draw from Abraham’s experience? Hebrews 13:2.
  • In what ways can we follow Abraham’s example today? Isaiah 58:7; Matthew 25:35; Luke 14:12–14.

Note: “Our social entertainments should not be governed by the dictates of worldly custom, but by the Spirit of Christ and the teaching of His word. The Israelites, in all their festivities, included the poor, the stranger, and the Levite, who was both the assistant of the priest in the sanctuary, and a religious teacher and missionary. These were regarded as the guests of the people, to share their hospitality on all occasions of social and religious rejoicing, and to be tenderly cared for in sickness or in need. It is such as these whom we should make welcome to our homes. How much such a welcome might do to cheer and encourage the missionary nurse or the teacher, the care-burdened, hard-working mother, or the feeble and aged, so often without a home, and struggling with poverty and many discouragements.” The Ministry of Healing, 352, 353.


  • Who revealed personally to Abraham the wickedness of Sodom and its planned destruction? Genesis 18:16, 17, 20–22.

Note: “Two of the heavenly messengers departed, leaving Abraham alone with Him whom he now knew to be the Son of God. And the man of faith pleaded for the inhabitants of Sodom. Once he had saved them by his sword, now he endeavored to save them by prayer.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 139.

  • How did Abraham plead for God’s mercy? Genesis 18:23–33. What spirit inspired his prayer? John 15:12, 13, 17.

Note: “With deep reverence and humility he urged his plea: ‘I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes’ (Genesis 18:27). There was no self-confidence, no boasting of his own righteousness. He did not claim favor on the ground of his obedience, or of the sacrifices he had made in doing God’s will. Himself a sinner, he pleaded in the sinner’s behalf. Such a spirit all who approach God should possess.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 139.

“Love for perishing souls inspired Abraham’s prayer. While he loathed the sins of that corrupt city, he desired that the sinners might be saved. His deep interest for Sodom shows the anxiety that we should feel for the impenitent. We should cherish hatred of sin, but pity and love for the sinner.” Ibid., 140.

  • What aim should be paramount in the life of every Christian today as we seek to reach out to the world around us? I Corinthians 9:19–23; II Corinthians 5:14, 15.

Note: “We need far less controversy, and far more presentation of Christ. Our Redeemer is the center of all our faith and hope. Those who can present His matchless love, and inspire hearts to give Him their best and holiest affections, are doing work that is great and holy.” Colporteur Ministry, 42.


  • Through what practice did Lot seek to fulfill his missionary responsibilities? Genesis 19:1–3.

Note: “Seeing the abuse to which strangers were exposed in Sodom, Lot made it one of his duties to guard them at their entrance, by offering them entertainment at his own house. He was sitting at the gate as the travelers approached, and upon observing them, he rose from his place to meet them.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 158.

  • What condition robbed Lot of his peace of mind while he was living in Sodom? II Peter 2:7, 8. How did the people of Sodom treat the religion of Abraham and Lot? Luke 17:28–30; Jude 17, 18.

Note: “Abraham was not a stranger to the people of Sodom, and his worship of the unseen God had been a matter of ridicule among them.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 157.

  • Despite Lot’s best intentions to be a faithful missionary in Sodom, what stands as an example of the dangers of city living for Christians today? Genesis 19:14–17, 26.


1 How was Abraham able to preach the gospel to his contemporaries even in his absence?

2 How do we know that Abraham was a determined intercessor?

3 How important was hospitality in Abraham’s life?

4 What should be our first aim as Christians?

5 How could Lot’s witness have been more effective as a missionary to the inhabitants of Sodom?

© 2014 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Question & Answer – Is it worse now than when Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed?


“The flames that consumed the cities of the plain shed their warning light down even to our time. We are taught the fearful and solemn lesson that while God’s mercy bears long with the transgressor, there is a limit beyond which men may not go on in sin. When that limit is reached, then the offers of mercy are withdrawn, and the ministration of judgment begins.

“The Redeemer of the world declares that there are greater sins than that for which Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed. Those who hear the gospel invitation calling sinners to repentance, and heed it not, are more guilty before God than were the dwellers in the vale of Siddim. And still greater sin is theirs who profess to know God and to keep His commandments, yet who deny Christ in their character and their daily life. In the light of the Saviour’s warning, the fate of Sodom is a solemn admonition, not merely to those who are guilty of outbreaking sin, but to all who are trifling with Heaven-sent light and privileges. …” Patriarchs and Prophets, 162, 165.

“There was a coming out, a decided separation from the wicked, an escape for life. So it was in the days of Noah; so with Lot; so with the disciples prior to the destruction of Jerusalem; and so it will be in the last days. Again the voice of God is heard in a message of warning, bidding His people separate themselves from the prevailing iniquity.

“The state of corruption and apostasy that in the last days would exist in the religious world, was presented to the prophet John in the vision of Babylon, ‘that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth’ (Revelation 17:18). Before its destruction the call is to be given from heaven, ‘Come out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues’ (Revelation 18:4). As in the days of Noah and Lot, there must be a marked separation from sin and sinners. There can be no compromise between God and the world, no turning back to secure earthly treasures.” Ibid., 166, 167.

Your Last Night on Earth

by Cody Francis

Your Last Night on EarthHave you ever stopped to consider that at some point in time you will have reached your last night on planet earth? This time will come for each and every person alive today. One day you will wake up for the last time. You might eat breakfast and walk out your front door, never more to do so again. You will work your last day. Drive your car for the last time. You will say the last words to your family. To everyone this will not happen at the same time, but to everyone it will happen. For absolutely everyone who is alive, as with everyone who has ever been alive, there will be a last night on earth. None know when that will be, but like it or not, your last night on earth is coming. For the last generation living on planet earth, the last night will come all at once, as a sudden, overwhelming surprise to the inhabitants of earth. Your last night on earth is coming sooner than many think? Are you prepared for your last night? Do you know what your last night will be like? Several illustrations that deserve our careful study of what that last night will be like, are found in the Bible.

Belshazzar’s Last Night

There are many examples of different individual’s last nights on planet earth, but perhaps the most graphic of the many last nights, is Belshazzar’s. Belshazzar grew up on Nebuchadnezzar’s knee. Nebuchadnezzar was Belshazzar’s grandfather, and like any doting grandfather he probably loved to tell his grandson the many unique experiences that he had gone through. There were the many war stories, the brave and courageous deeds that Nebuchadnezzar had accomplished along with his valiant army. There were the many great works that he had done for the building of the great city of Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar had definitely built the city of Babylon to a height that it had never known before, and that it has never attained since. Not only were the stories of courage and magnificence told, but also the many strange occurrences that had taken place during Nebuchadnezzar’s long and prosperous reign. There was nothing more unusual than the events that surrounded some of the Hebrew captives that he had brought back from his raid on Jerusalem. They were different from all of the other captives. He had taken hundreds and thousands of the pride of the Hebrew nation back to the mighty fortress of Babylon, but there was something different about these few. He knew something was totally different as soon as they arrived. They refused to eat the food that he had graciously provided for them. He had given them everything that they could want. He brought them back to the capital city of the greatest empire of that time, and then put them through an intensive training program. He planned on making them, along with the other captives, the counselors and ministers of his government. He was paying all of the expenses of the greatest teachers in the world just so he could have the best cabinet possible. The captives should be forever grateful to him for the high honor that he had bestowed upon them, but not so with these strange Hebrew captives. When they came to the dinner table, they refused to eat the repast that he had so graciously provided. The king had the best nutritionists in the world, yet these four young men seemed to think that they knew more than the most learned men in the field of nutrition. Amazingly enough, they were right! It was more than could be accounted for by the learned men of the day, but it was still true. The dean of the school had given them permission to eat only vegetables and water. Imagine! How could anyone develop mentally and physically by only eating vegetables! But they did, and at the end of that short trial period, “their countenance appeared better and fatter in flesh that all the young men who ate the portion of the king’s delicacies.” Daniel 1:15. Here were a few young men who would rather die than eat of the delicious delicacies with which the king had spread his table. There were the finest and rarest meats from around the world on that table. There were the rich cakes and sweets that the best chefs in Babylon had baked. There were the exotic and intoxicating wines that all of Babylon lusted after. And here were a few men who refused to join in the feast! It was surprising that anyone would not want to gorge themselves with the fancy foods and drinks that tempted the palette, but here were men who were willing to die rather than eat the delicious food. Odd indeed; but since they had proved themselves in just a few days to be more healthy than the others, they were allowed to continue with their singular diet. Then, wonder of all wonders, at the end of the training they were far superior to all of their other colleagues. “Then the king interviewed them, and among them all none was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; therefore they served before the king. And in all matters of wisdom and understanding about which the king examined them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers who were in all his realm.” Daniel 1:19, 20.

The odd and unexplainable circumstances did not stop with the unusual diet of these Hebrews, but each event became stranger and stranger. There was the remarkable dream that Nebuchadnezzar had. No doubt each time he heard the story of the dream, it puzzled little Belshazzar’s mind. The impression that had been left upon Grandfather Nebuchadnezzar was never afterward erased. It is not an everyday experience when the God of heaven sends you a dream and then blocks the remembrance of it from your mind. The importance and significance of the dream still weighed heavily upon the mind of Nebuchadnezzar, but in the morning, for some strange reason, he could not recall the dream. He knew that it had great importance, but he could not recall the details. He called his trusty counselors together and demanded that they divine for him both the dream and the interpretation. He was certain that if they could interpret dreams and omens, surely they would be able to tell the dream as well. He was wrong. Their response revealed their complete incapability. “The Chaldeans answered the king, and said, ‘There is not a man on earth who can tell the king’s matter; therefore no king, lord, or ruler has ever asked such things of any magicians, astrologer, or Chaldean. It is a difficult thing that the king requires, and there is no other who can tell it to the king except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.” Daniel 2:10, 11. This answer was not acceptable to the king and his hasty decree went forward that all of his wise men should be killed. “For this reason the king was angry and very furious, and gave a command to destroy all the wise men of Babylon.” Daniel 2:12. Then those unusual Hebrews came to the forefront again. This time in an even more marked way than previously. “So Daniel went in and asked the king to give him time, that he might tell the king the interpretation.” Daniel 2:16. Daniel went directly to the king and asked for a night that he might fast and pray to the God of heaven to reveal the dream. Sure enough, in the morning Daniel confidently stepped up to the king with an answer, “The secret which the king has demanded, the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, and the soothsayers cannot declare to the king. But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days.” Daniel 2:27, 28. Then Daniel proceeded to relate the exact dream that Nebuchadnezzar had been given the previous night. As Daniel was explaining, the entire dream came back to Nebuchadnezzar and he knew that truly this God of heaven, whom Daniel talked about, had both given the dream and revealed it to his servant, Daniel. Not only did Daniel reveal the details of the dream that no one but the God of heaven could reveal, but he also gave the interpretation of this remarkable dream. How Nebuchadnezzar must have delighted in telling this unusual story to his wondering grandson, Belshazzar.

Then there was the great statue that Nebuchadnezzar had erected and commanded all peoples to bow down and worship. Perhaps one of the most dazzling and beautiful idols that had ever been made, stood there on the plain of Dura. No doubt, Nebuchadnezzar was proud of the dazzling, ninety-foot tall image that stood sparkling in the sunlight. Then he gave the command that all were to worship this great image. Once again the Hebrews stood in the limelight. When the masses of people on that large field prostrated themselves to the ground in worship of this beautiful image, there was three left standing. Who were they? None other than those stubborn Hebrews. The king was in a generous mood so he gave them a second chance, but they did not even take it. “If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.” Daniel 3:17, 18. Firm as a rock they stood to principle, just as they had done with their diet, but this was too much for the king. He could not allow them to get away with this. His entire kingdom would be in jeopardy if he allowed this insubordination. He would make a public example of them, little knowing that they would be a public example to him. Into the furnace they were thrown. No more would he have to worry about those pesky Hebrews; they were gone now. But wait! They were not gone. They were walking around in the fire as if it were a stroll in the park! This was truly stranger than was anything anyone on that plain had seen before. Never had men been cast into a kiln, which had been heated to a white-hot heat, with no affect. Even if Nebuchadnezzar did not believe in the God that they followed, there was no denying it now–they served a powerful God! Nebuchadnezzar was sure to relate how it affected his heart, and how he almost chose to follow the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego, but alas, he turned away again. But God was not done with Nebuchadnezzar.

The most unusual thing of all was the judgment that rested upon Nebuchadnezzar himself. His grandfather might not only have told Belshazzar about this, but Belshazzar may even have witnessed it himself. God sent Nebuchadnezzar yet another dream in an attempt to wake him up to his spiritual condition, but Nebuchadnezzar still had not learned his lesson. Once again he called in his wise men, but they, of course, were completely unable to give an accurate interpretation of the dream. Finally Daniel came in. When the king related the dream to Daniel, he “was astonished for a time, and his thoughts troubled him.” Daniel 4:19. This dream did not present the empires of the world through history. This dream did not flatter the king’s ambition and pride. This dream was a stern rebuke, and threatened judgment if the king did not repent. But Nebuchadnezzar did not repent. “All this came upon King Nebuchadnezzar. At the end of twelve months he was walking about the royal palace of Babylon, and he spoke, saying, ‘Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?'” Daniel 4:28-30. Nebuchadnezzar prided himself in what he had done and gave none of the credit to God. As a result God took away his reason. “While the word was still in the king’s mouth, a voice fell from heaven: ‘King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: the kingdom has departed from you! And they shall drive you from men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. They shall make you eat grass like oxen; and seven times shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses.’ That very hour the word was fulfilled concerning Nebuchadnezzar; he was driven from men and ate grass like the oxen; his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair had grown like eagles’ feathers and his nails like birds’ claws.” Daniel 4:31-33. Nebuchadnezzar refused to repent despite the merciful warning that God had given to him, and the awful calamity threatened, fell upon him. He went insane and was driven from beautiful Babylon that he had built. He was given grass to eat and he wandered through the wilderness as a mad man. What a fate for the most powerful monarch in the world. But God had a plan. Nebuchadnezzar, instead of being angry or embarrassed over the humiliating state of affairs, praised God for His goodness. Nebuchadnezzar could truly say, “all things work together for good.” Romans 8:28. It was through this most humbling experience that God was able to reach down to him and save him. Nebuchadnezzar had a true conversion experience. No longer did he throw his subjects into the furnace for obeying the God of heaven, but he praised and extolled the God of heaven. “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice.” Daniel 4:37. Through this most humbling experience, Nebuchadnezzar learned to love and obey the God of heaven. As he told his grandson, Belshazzar, the terrible experience that he had gone through, we can be sure that he added warnings and cautions so that young Belshazzar would not follow the same dreadful path. Nebuchadnezzar had a true conversion experience, and as with everyone, who has had a true experience with the Lord, he longed for his friends and family to have this same experience so that they also might “taste and see that the Lord is good.” Psalms 34:8. It is certain that Nebuchadnezzar told of this experience with tears and pleadings that his precious family would listen and take heed, but Belshazzar did not.

Belshazzar had heard the stories of God’s miraculous workings over and over again, until it had seemed like an idle tale, but he went his own way. He determined that he would have fun and enjoy life for a while. Perhaps he intended to get right with God later, but the world seemed to offer so much. His heart had no doubt been convicted as his grandfather pled for him to follow the God of heaven before it was too late. Belshazzar might even have said that he would. Belshazzar had the knowledge. Belshazzar had the personal acquaintance with God’s miracle working power. Belshazzar knew what he needed to do, but he did it not, and unbeknownst to him, his last night on earth was soon to overtake him unprepared. The Bible gives a full description of Belshazzar’s last night on earth, not as an amusing story to tickle our fancy, but as a lesson, a solemn warning that all should heed lest their last night on earth end the same way.

It began as one of the gayest rounds of merriment with which Belshazzar had ever dazzled himself. Belshazzar was fond of feasts and licentiousness and frequently gave himself over to such debasing merriment, but this was a special night. This was a special festival, and nothing was to be held back. As the Bible records, “Belshazzar the king made a great feast for a thousand of his lords, and drank wine in the presence of the thousand.” Daniel 5:1. The Persian army had surrounded the city of Babylon and were planning to attack, but what did that matter to Belshazzar. Let the Persians die under the hot sun while he feasted inside. He cared neither for the Persians nor for the God of heaven. He would throw contempt upon both by recklessly disregarding their presence. He had food for years, walls higher than the Persians could mount, and the great river Euphrates supplying the city with water. What need he to fear? He would throw a great feast in defiance of the God of heaven whom his grandfather Nebuchadnezzar had served. He knew about the dream that an inferior kingdom would conquer Babylon, but he cast the convicting voice of conscience from his heart and gave himself fully over to feasting and revelry. He went even further in his blasphemy by bringing in the sacred vessels from the temple of Jerusalem. “While he tasted the wine, Belshazzar gave the command to bring the gold and silver vessels which his ancestor Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple which had been in Jerusalem, that the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines might drink from them. Then they brought the gold vessels that had been taken from the temple of the house of God which had been in Jerusalem; and the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines drank from them. The drank wine, and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze and iron, wood and stone.” Daniel 5:2-4. Belshazzar showed the ultimate contempt for the God of heaven by profaning his sacred things. He recklessly brought the sacred vessels and polluted them with wine and gaiety, and did not know that this was to be his last night. How many today are following the same course as Belshazzar. They profane God’s holy things–His holy Sabbath day, His holy time, His holy money. What a fearful fate will meet all who, like Belshazzar, despise what God has set apart as holy. But Belshazzar did not care! The more wine the better. The more dainties the better. The more entrancing music, the better. The more wives and concubines, the better. He had made his decision to live for the world, and the world he would live for. Moses chose the opposite. “Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin.” Hebrews 11:25. Moses chose to leave the court life of excitement and vain pleasures. He chose to take his stand with God’s people even if he had to endure trials and obstacles, but not so with Belshazzar. Belshazzar went the opposite way. He threw his lot in with the passing pleasure of sin. How many today follow the same pernicious course. The things of this world have such a hold upon them that not even Samson can shake them loose; and unknowingly they are headed at breakneck speed for their last night on earth.

Belshazzar’s last night did not end as he had thought, though. His laughing was turned into mourning in a matter of seconds. “In the same hour the fingers of a man’s hand appeared and wrote opposite the lamp stand on the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace; and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote. Then the king’s countenance changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his hips loosened and his knees knocked against each other.” Daniel 5:5, 6. In the midst of the mirth, a bloodless hand appeared next to the wall. It began to write in letters that all could trace, but none could read. Although, the words were unknown to all in the room, an awful silence fell upon that once boisterous crowd. None knew what was written, but all sensed that it spelled their doom. They knew what they had done. They knew the events that were common knowledge to all in the realm of Daniel’s God. They remembered the insanity that struck Nebuchadnezzar, and all were sure that the mysterious words on the wall were not a message of peace and safety.

As Belshazzar thought back upon his life and the thousands of times that the Lord had convicted his heart of which way to go, and he refused, his knees began to knock with fright. The expression of empty excitement vanished from his face and one of guilty terror took its place. He knew that he was guilty of the most heinous crimes against his Maker and he was without a shield. He feared that the fate of his grandfather, who he knew so well, would likewise be his; but a worse fate than Nebuchadnezzar’s hung over his head. The wise men were called, but as they had failed two times before, again they were unable to produce. Then Daniel, now a very old man, was called in. Sure enough, Daniel could read the fateful words clear as day, but he began by reminding Belshazzar of the wicked, forgetful course that he had followed. Then Daniel zeroed in and pointed out the crux of the matter. “But you his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, although you knew all this.” Daniel 5:22. Belshazzar knew what he needed to do, but he did it not. He had heard of Daniel, knew his life and words, but he did not follow them. As a result of this awful neglect, he came to his last night on earth unprepared. The mournful denunciation and message was faithfully given. Belshazzar knew it to be true, and “that very night Belshazzar, king of the Chaldeans, was slain.” Daniel 5:30. It was Belshazzar’s last night on planet earth. So ended, in frivolous mirth, the life that might have been a mighty power for good in the world.

How is it with you, friend? Are you on the same course that Belshazzar took? There are thousands, even millions, who know what they need to do, but do it not. Like Belshazzar, they rush on through life, unsuccessfully trying to drown the voice of conviction and duty in the vain and empty pleasures of this world. It is still there! Conviction still seizes the soul now and then, but it is brushed aside. There are so many excuses in our world, but you can be lost with a good excuse. The Word of God warns us about making excuses, “so that they are without excuse.” Romans 1:20. Every person is going to be without excuse. Every tongue will be stopped and every head hung low. There are more excuses now than a man can number. Every time that I think I have heard every excuse imaginable, then it is that I hear another one. It is not that people do not know what they need to do; it is that they, for one reason or another, do not want to do it. There is a cross involved in following our Lord all the way, but the cross only makes the crown more enjoyable. “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” Mark 8:36. Millions today are making the worst investment decision of all time. They are purchasing stock in this old, warn out world, instead of placing their hearts and means in the Bank of Heaven. Are you making that mistake? The Lord will not judge you for what you honestly do not know, but for what you knew, and did not do. Are you doing as Belshazzar did? Is the handwriting on the wall staring you straight in the face? Are you rushing to your last night on earth unprepared?

There is only one thing to do in order to be ready for that great day–do what you know you need to do. The Lord is not asking you do to that which you do not know, but that which you do know. “For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have.” II Corinthians 8:12. You are judged for the light that God has been pleased to give you and the use that you have made of that light. Are there new things that you have learned from God’s Word? Are you doing them? Perhaps you see the need to keep all of God’s Law. Maybe there are habits and practices that you desire to overcome. It could be that you know you need to be baptized, but have not made the decision yet. Whatever it is that the Lord is convicting you to do–do it! The Lord is looking for those who are willing to obey Him no matter what the cost or sacrifice. Are you willing to do what the Lord asks of you? God leads and guides us, as we are able to follow. He never asks us to do that which we cannot do. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13. If the Lord asks you to give up your job in order to follow Him, then He will give you the grace to endure. If it becomes necessary to leave friends and family behind, the Lord will amply supply the lack. Whatever the Lord asks of us, He also says, “My grace is sufficient for you.” II Corinthians 12:9. Friend, your last night on earth is coming, too. None know when it will be. It could be tomorrow. It could be tonight. Which path are you on? Will you join the lot of Belshazzar? Or will you do what you know you need to do?

Sodom’s Last Night

“Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed. In that day, he who is on the housetop, let him not come down to take them away. And likewise the one who is in the field, let him not turn back. Remember Lot’s wife. Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.” Luke 17:28-33. The last generation will all come to their last night on earth together. As a sudden, overwhelming surprise, it will break upon this world. Men and women will be engaged in their common ordinary pursuits. They will be buying and selling, building and tearing down. Planning for many more years to live out their dreams, but suddenly all their hopes, dreams and plans came to and end. It is their last night on earth.

So when Jesus comes the second time, it will be a sudden surprise to the inhabitants of the world. “For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, ‘Peace and safety!’ then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.” I Thessalonians 5:2, 3. When Jesus comes back it is going to be an overwhelming surprise for the billions of inhabitants of our little world. It, of course, is not to be a surprise to the faithful, for in verse 4 we are told, “But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief.” Our last night on earth is not to be a surprise to the faithful, but tragically, many who think that they are prepared for their last night on earth are going to be surprised as was Sodom and Gomorrah, and find out, too late, that they have been duped. “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me you who practice lawlessness!'” Matthew 7:22, 23. Just like Sodom, many are going to come right up to their last night on earth and find out, too late, that they are lost. Then the mournful words will be uttered, “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved!” Jeremiah 8:20. There will be no second chances then, for “now is the day of salvation.” II Corinthians 6:2. Probation’s door will close suddenly, unexpectedly, and those who have not made the choice to follow the Lord all the way, will have sealed their doom by completely rejecting Him.

Sodom’s last night does not just show us that our last night on earth will be sudden and unexpected, but it shows the perilous danger of getting caught up in the things of this world. Millions are so busy with the things of the world that they have no thoughts for the things of eternity. They do not do the “wicked” things of the world, as Belshazzar did, but they are consumed by the cares of this life. They ate. They drank. They bought. They sold. They planted. They built. There is nothing wrong with any of these things. Obviously, if a person does not eat, he will die of starvation. If a person does not drink he will dehydrate. The Lord is not saying that it is wrong to do all of these things, but we can become so absorbed with these things that we forget about doing what the Lord asks us to do. “But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.” Luke 21:34-36.

One of the many faults of the dwellers in Sodom and Gomorrah was that they were weighed down by the cares of this life. Are you weighed down by the cares of this life? How long has it been since you spent some quality time with just you and the Lord? Have you been praying and reading your Bible every day? Or are there so many tasks to do in a day that you rush from here to there, and by the end of the day you are so exhausted all that you can do is fall into bed? Remember that your last night is coming. Do you want to meet your Maker without having spent time with Him that day? Do you want the shadows of your last night to fall without praying to Him? The times in which we live tell that your last night is coming sooner that you think. It is almost here. Are you ready? Have you made your decision to follow Jesus no matter what the cost? Have you decided to follow and obey all that you know to be true? Brother, Sister, time is fleeting away. The longer you wait, the less time you have. Will you make the decision right now, before it is forever too late? Before your last night comes and goes without you being ready?

“Remember Lot’s wife.” Luke 17:32. It is a power packed three-word verse. Remember Lot’s wife. Lot’s wife came to her last night. She was warned that it was coming. She started to move out by faith, but then turned back and there she stood. She could go no more. With that one fatal longing look back, she sealed her destiny. Her last night came, and she stood still as a pillar of salt. Remember this. Remember her. Why? It will be the experience of millions. There are millions, and even billions, of people who profess Christianity. They claim to be Christians. They come out of the world to a certain extent, but they only come halfway. This was the tragic mistake of Lot’s wife. She heard the message to come out, and she hurried out, but that was not enough. She did not come all of the way out. Her heart was still back in Sodom, and her last night found her halfway between destruction and safety, and there she stayed. Do you remember Lot’s wife? Have you taken notice of what happened to her? Have you applied the lesson to your life? The Lord will accept no divided service. We are either completely for Him or totally against Him. “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.” Matthew 12:30. There is no neutrality. You are either totally on one side or the other. All who attempt to go halfway between, will end up as Lot’s wife–lost in the middle. There are many people whom I have met who seem to think that God is not that particular, and that it is all right if we mix a little of the world with the church. There could be nothing further from the truth. If one foot is in the world and one foot is in the church, you will be divided in two. “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:62. If you think that you can go to church, study your Bible, and pray, but not keep all of God’s Law and His Word, you are sadly mistaken, just as Lot’s wife was sadly mistaken. She thought because she had come most of the way out of Sodom that everything was fine, but she is lost because she did not come all of the way out of Sodom.

So today, God is calling His people to come ALL of the way out of Babylon. If a person remains in Babylon, or does not come all of the way out of Babylon, he will be lost just as Lot’s wife was. “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues.” Revelation 18:4. Have you come all the way out of the Babylon? (Churches that continue to break one or more of the commandments of God’s Law.) God’s people in the last days are those who keep all of God’s Law no matter what the rest of the world does. They are described as, “those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.” Revelation 14:12. They are the ones who have right to the tree of life. “Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city.” Revelation 22:14. They are the ones with whom the devil is enraged. “And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Revelation 12:17. Are you willing to keep all of God’s Law no matter what the consequences may be? If not, Remember Lot’s wife. She went halfway, but not all the way, and as a result she is lost. Her last night found her halfway between the Lord and the world, with all its disobedience. Where will your last night find you? It will find billions at this halfway mark. Reader where are you? Please make the decision now to be fully on the Lord’s side, no matter what He asks of you.

The Last Night

There is, perhaps, no better illustration of the last night on earth than Noah’s day. “But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.” Matthew 24:37-39. Jesus tells us that as it was in Noah’s day, so it will be when the He returns the second time. Well, what was it like in Noah’s day?

The wickedness had grown to such a level that God’s pure eyes could no longer look upon the evil rampant in the world. “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.” Genesis 6:5, 6. The thoughts of mankind were continually evil. They had no room for God; their minds were bent to wickedness. Today, man lives for around eighty years, but in those days man lived for eight hundred years! Imagine the wickedness that man could dream up with ten times the amount of time on his hands. Habits were formed and the characters were set, and then there were hundreds of years to reveal what was inside the heart, and unfortunately for most, it was evil continually. Does this sound anything like today? Is man’s heart mesmerized with wickedness through television, movies, novels, etc.? If you turn on the television today, there is hardly a show that does not show violence, adultery or some other sin. Indeed man’s heart is evil continually today, as it was then.

As the Lord looked down upon the earth, he saw man, the crowning act of His creative power, so debased that in His mercy He knew that He had to check the rapid growth of wickedness. He knew that the only way that He could save some of mankind was to put a limit on His forbearance and destroy those who refused to repent. “And the Lord said, ‘My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.'” Genesis 6:3. The Lord gave mankind a probation of one hundred and twenty years to turn from their wicked ways. The Scripture records that His Spirit was to strive with man. How the Holy Spirit must have strove. If man did not turn around, he was headed for doom. His last night on earth was coming, and millions were unprepared. How many times men and women heard the voice of duty convicting them of the way they needed to walk, but they refused. The Lord pled and pled, but to no avail. Man was bent on evil, and he would not turn around. Do you hear the Spirit striving on your heart? Do you hear the voice of conscience convicting you of what you need to do? Today, the Lord is pleading with all flesh just as He did in Noah’s day, because once again the last night on earth is coming, and coming soon. Do you hear the still small voice saying, “This is the way, walk ye in it?” Isaiah 30:21. It is the voice of God’s Spirit striving with you. Will you listen? Will you heed that voice? Soon it will be too late. A myriad of people on this earth are refusing to follow today, just as in Noah’s day, and just like Noah’s day, the vast multitudes of planet earth will be lost.

God did not leave the world without a witness then, and He has not left the world without a witness now. “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” Genesis 6:8. There was a least one man in that wicked world whose ways were perfect before the God of heaven. To Noah was given one of the most difficult tasks ever given to a man. He was to stand unmoved for one hundred and twenty long years. God had given him the commission to build a boat for all who desired to be saved, and also to proclaim the message given him by God. “And did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of the eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly,” II Peter 2:5. Noah was not just to be a shipbuilder; his more difficult task was that of being a preacher of righteousness. Noah was to build a boat where all could see, and call all men to come into the boat to be saved. He had a present truth message, “Come into the ark of safety?” All who refused this present truth message would be swept away with the torrents so soon to engulf the world. Noah built and Noah preached. Year after year he swung the hammer and sounded the warning. God would have all who would come to repentance, be saved. “As I live, says the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live.” Ezekiel 33:11. The Lord did not want any to perish in the coming judgment, but in His mercy, He knew it was the only way to save mankind. So He sent a strong message to go to every inhabitant of the world, warning them of what was coming and the way to escape. So today the Lord loves His children and does not desire that any perish, but He knows that the last night is coming and so He sends a message of warning to all. A message that, if accepted, will be a savor of life unto life, but if rejected a savor of death unto death. This stern and startling message that is to be given to all the world today is found in Revelation 14:6-12. “Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth–to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people–saying with a loud voice, ‘Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.’ And another angel followed, saying, ‘Babylon is fallen, is fallen that great city, because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.’ Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, ‘If anyone worship the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. And he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.’ Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.”

This last message of mercy is present truth for today, just as the message to come into the ark was present truth for Noah’s day. If we reject this message, we have rejected the only message that will bring salvation in the last days. Our last night on earth will be one of gloom. The Lord longs for all to be saved, but the choice is yours. That is why He has waited this long. “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” II Peter 3:9. Is he waiting for you? Have you heeded this most important message? Are you in God’s ark of safety for the last days, or are you outside hoping to make it in someday? This last message is one that covers all the bases. It begins with the message that we are living in the very last days of this earth’s history, for God’s judgment has come. Since His judgment is here, it is paramount that we are living in obedience to all of the commandments and worshipping the Creator according to His will. If any will be saved they must come out of Babylon, the churches that continue to break God’s holy Law. Those who worship the beast power in any way will be lost. All who heed these messages will be saved, but those who refuse, as did the majority in Noah’s day, will find their last night filled with terror and darkness. God, in His love and mercy, gave the antediluvians a message of warning and so, today, the Lord has given us a message that our eternal destiny hinges upon. Which choice will you make? If you make no decision, you are already counted with the unbelievers, for to not make a decision at all, is to decide against. Will you heed this life and death message?

As I have thought of what Noah’s messages must have been like, I am certain that they were not like the popular sermons you hear in the churches of our land. His was a message distinct from all the other preachers. He had a message from heaven, and an intensity of desire that brought conviction to the hearers. A singular sight that certainly attracted a great deal of attention. With a hammer in one hand and the scrolls of the prophets in the other, he could give a message like thunder that brought his listeners to tears. No doubt he became the laughing stock of the world. Here was an old man spending all his wealth to build a mammoth boat on a hill. What good would a boat up there do? This poor man appeared to have gone insane, but he had a message from the Most High and he knew what he was doing. The scoffing and ridicule that he met must have been almost more than the old man could bear, but he faithfully went about his task whether his friends and colleagues would listen or not. He had a message from heaven, and nothing was going to hinder him from fulfilling his task. This message had to go to the entire world, to warn them of impending doom, and no doubt some accepted the message, but the vast majority would have no such thing. Surely, there were those in the crowds who were convicted that Noah’s message was heaven sent and decided to follow and obey. They had good intentions. They knew what they needed to do, but they thought that they would do it a little later. They had so much going on just then, they couldn’t give up their jobs and their families. When the time got a little closer, then they would heed the call. On they went, planning on heeding the message, desiring to heed the message, but never quite coming to the point of decision. “Later,” they thought, “when it gets more convenient, then I will follow.” But day followed day, and the days turned into weeks which gave way to months, and then year after year rolled on. Still with good intentions, they did not know that their last night was coming. Noah’s urgency began to increase, for he knew the time period was almost over. On they went, thousands, millions, planning on making their decision–later. Then the final signs began to take place. The dumb animals knew that there was no time to delay, but the poor deceived souls went on thinking they still had plenty of time. Finally the time came for Noah to give his last message, and oh, what a message that must have been. With every ounce of energy he had left, he gave that final warning, calling for all to make their decision before it was forever too late. He gave his final appeal. He called and called. He knew that this was the last chance. He knew that their last night on earth had nearly arrived and if they did not make their decision now, it would be forever too late, but none came forward. They had heard that call so many times that it just didn’t have the solemnity that it used to have. They had ignored the voice of conscience so long that there was no response. It barely affected them. “Later,” they still said, but it was too late. When Noah saw that there were none who would heed, he gathered together his family and entered the ark. Probably tears were in his eyes as he thought of his friends, his neighbors, his relatives who had refused the call, but Noah had done his part and he could do no more. The message had been given. He could not force them to be saved. “So those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him; and the Lord shut him in.” Genesis 7:16. As Noah and his sons and their wives were in the ark, that massive door swung shut and probation had closed. Those who were inside the ark were safe, but the millions around the door were lost. They probably beat on the door with all their might, but it would not open to them. They had their chance. They made their decision. They procrastinated until it was too late. Their destiny was set. Their fate was sealed.

Probation’s door is soon to close for you and for me. Are we ready? Have we made our decision? Are we living up to all that the Lord has commanded us to do? Soon the words will rumble through the courts above, “He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still.” Revelation 22:11. As in Noah’s day, soon the door will be shut. Those who are standing fully on the Lord’s side will be pronounced righteous and holy still. All of the attacks of the enemy will no longer have any power over them, for they will be eternally secure, but it will not be so for those who procrastinated. Those who delayed making the decision to follow Jesus all the way will have an entirely different fate. They are unjust and filthy still. No more can they choose to follow the Lord, for they have delayed until it was too late. Which side will you be on? Your last night is coming. Probation’s door is soon to close. Is your title clear? Is your decision made? Have you decided to follow Jesus no matter what the cost? Have you decided to keep all of His commandments, regardless of what the world does? Brother, Sister, your decision will determine your destiny. There were hundreds of thousands in Noah’s day who were good people, who wanted to be saved, but who never left the valley of decision and thus were drowned in the deluge.

Your Last Night

With one gushing swipe, the last night on earth came to millions in Noah’s day, and so it will be again. As it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the coming of the Son of Man. Millions again will experience their last night on earth together, when Jesus returns to execute judgment on the disobedient. Your last night on earth is coming. Believe it or not, like it or not, it is still coming, and coming fast. It is the most solemn time in the history of our planet, for the world is soon to end, and the inhabitants know it not. You know it, what are you going to do about it? You must make a decision. It is the only logical thing to do. If you do it not, your last night might steal upon you as a mammoth surprise.

I was visiting a couple of ladies who had gone all the way through a prophecy seminar that we had held. They had heard the last message, but they hadn’t quite made a decision. They saw that it was true. They knew what the Bible said, but they had not taken the step of faith to fully follow the Lord no matter what. I longed for them to be saved and visited them again. That afternoon we visited and had a pleasant time. There were questions for which they wanted answers, and many other things were discussed. As it came time to go, I appealed to them again to give their hearts to the Lord and to follow Him no matter what. I appealed for them to be ready for their last night on earth. I knew that there were still problems that needed to be worked out, and so we set up Bible studies for the following week; but I still longed for them to make a decision that very afternoon to allow nothing to stand between them and eternity. When I returned the following week, one of the ladies had passed away. She had spent her last night on earth. When I made that appeal for them to be ready for Jesus’ Second Coming, neither I, nor they, knew that her last night was almost here. It was, perhaps, the final appeal that she heard. The last call to follow Jesus no matter what. What about you, friend? If your last night were to be tonight, would you be ready? Do not delay, for delay is from the devil. None of us know how long we have, but we do know that time is running out. Will you make your decision to follow Jesus all the way no matter what? Will you make the decision to follow His Word regardless of what He asks?

Two thousand years ago there was a man who delayed making his decision, and that delay cost him his eternal life. “Now he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and answered, ‘Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you.'” Acts 24:25. Felix was convicted of what he needed to do, but he procrastinated. He put it off. He thought that he still had many years to turn around. When it became a little easier, then he would follow Jesus. He had so much going on. He couldn’t give up his kingdom, his honor, his wealth, and his prestige right now. Maybe later. Maybe at a more convenient time, but that more convenient time never came. Felix is a lost man. Not because he never heard, but because he heard and waited. Because he knew what he needed to do, and did it not. He made the tragic mistake of delay. Friend, you cannot delay. Please do not put it off. The time is coming in which it will be too late, and all who want to make a decision will not be able to do so then. It will be forever too late. Their last night on earth will close, and the book of destiny will be shut, nevermore to be opened again. Where will you be? Will you make your decision now?

“Thus says the Lord God: ‘A disaster, a singular disaster; Behold, it has come! An end has come, the end has come!” Ezekiel 7:5, 6. Very soon these words will be said. They are still future right now, for probation’s seconds still linger, but that will not be forever. Imagine the terror of the millions who exclaim, “The end has come!” They knew it was coming. They knew that they needed to make a decision, but they put it off. Now they know that they are lost without an excuse. They know that they waited too long, and now there is no more time left. They are outside the ark awaiting fearful judgment and condemnation. The end is come, the end is come! The last night is here! Oh, where will you be? Will you be among those who cry in abject terror that the end is come and it is too late? Or will you be among those who have made the decision to follow their Lord no matter what the cost and now they are rewarded according to their works? (See Matthew 16:27.) There are two sides and no more. Those who praise the Lord that their last night has come and that eternity has begun, and those who slink in fear and self-condemnation for they know that “the harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved!” Jeremiah 8:20. Which side will you be on? It all depends upon the decision that you make now. If you wait until later, later may never come. What will your decision be? “And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day who you will serve…, But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15.

All emphasis the authors unless otherwise stated.
All texts from the King James Version unless otherwise noted.


  • The Great Controversy, Ellen G. White, 1911.
  • His Mighty Love, Dr. Ralph Larson, Teach Services, 1995.
  • Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Review & Herald Publishing Association, 1979.
  • Your Last Night on Earth, Joe Crews, published by Amazing Facts.
  • World-Wide Bible Lectures, Fordyce W. Detamore.

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Copyright ©1999 by Steps to Life

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