Sun, Oct 21, 2007
RIGHTEOUS JUDGMENT? GENESIS 19:21-29
Genesis 19:21-29 by Joe Guglielmo
Ministry of Pastor Joe Guglielmo teachings through the Bible, verse by verse for a better understanding of Gods Word.
Series: Sunday Service
RIGHTEOUS JUDGMENT?
GENESIS 19:21-29

            Please turn in your Bibles this morning to Genesis chapter 19 as we look at God’s righteous judgment upon the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah because of their wickedness and what had to take place before God poured out His judgment upon them.  You see, there is another judgment of God that is coming not upon a few cities but upon this world and that judgment is fast approaching. And in saying that, there is something that must take place before God pours out His judgment upon a Christ rejecting world. So this subject is one that is important for us to understand.

            Before we get to our text this morning, let me share with you this true story. We are told:

            When the Apostle Paul was being transported as a missionary prisoner to Rome, his ship docked to the south of Rome in the Italian port city of Puteoli. This was a holiday resort for fashionable Roman society, a spa with nearby hot sulfur springs. Many of the Roman emperors had villas there.

            Puteoli lay in the shadow of a great and rugged mountain – a volcano, though it hadn’t erupted in a thousand years – Vesuvius. Shortly after Paul’s time, Vesuvius exploded like an atomic bomb. It erupted for forty hours, and while Puteoli was spared, another nearby city was flooded by molten lava, buried before the inhabitants could escape. They were killed by the gasses and the ash, then preserved by the molten lava which rolled over them and hermetically sealed them in a gigantic tomb of pumice.

            That city was Pompeii, and for many years it remained buried under twenty feet of hardened lava. Excavations have given us a perfectly preserved Roman city, frozen in time, caught in the act of being itself.

            The twenty thousand people of Pompeii, it seems, worshipped two gods: Venus, the love goddess, and Mercury, the god of commerce. They worshipped, in other words, money and pleasure.  Their worship of Mercury is evidenced by their economic prosperity. Pompeii was a thriving city, a neat grid-pattern of shop-lined streets wrapped in a gated wall. It pulsed with industry, many of its people working in a winery, Pompeii being world-famous for its wine.

            But they also loved pleasure.  They city walls were filled with advertisements by prostitutes. Prices indicate that the average girl cost about the price of a modest dinner at a Pompeiian tavern. On one hotel, a sign said, “If you sit down here, read this first: If you’re looking for a girl, ask for Attica – four bucks, high class.”

            On the walls of the brothels were testimonies by satisfied customers. Everywhere were models and carvings of the phallus – the male sexual organ – which in ancient Pompeii was considered a symbol of success. It was carved on sidewalks and houses, drawn on walls and posts.

            The statues and sculptures of Pompeii, excavated by archaeologists, were hidden for many years in the “off limits” rooms of Italian museums because they were so obscene. On one Pompeiian wall, someone with a knowledge of the Old Testament had written some graffiti – just three words: Sodom and Gomorrah!

            And, like Sodom and Gomorrah, Pompeii perished suddenly by fire. Judgment came swiftly and without warning, and there was no escape.

            And, like Sodom and Gomorrah, our world today is awash in corruption and confusion, awaiting judgment. We don’t know when the volcano of judgment and retribution will erupt, but the Apostle Peter said, The end of all things is near . . . For the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. That day will bring about the destruction of the heaven by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat.

- Robert J. Morgan, Nelson’s Complete Book Of Stories, Illustrations, Quotes, Vesuvius, pp. 504-505

            Yes, the judgment of God is getting close, but will God judge the righteous with the wicked? That is an important question for us to understand, for if we get this wrong, our end time theology will be off, it will be wrong!

            Here in Genesis chapter 19, two angels have now departed from their time with Abraham and the Lord is sending them to Sodom to bring judgment upon them and the surrounding cities for their wickedness. And as these two angels arrive in Sodom Lot invites them to stay at his house because it was too dangerous for them to sleep in the streets, and he insists that they come in. As they get into Lot’s house, the men of the city, the old and young from every quarter of the city come to Lot’s house to have homosexual relations with Lot’s guests. They wanted to rape them!

            Lot, in trying to protect his guests, offers these wicked men his virgin daughters, they could rape them instead. What a sad statement on Lot here. And as these men pressed hard against Lot, trying to get into his house, the angels opened the door and pulled Lot in, and then struck these evil men with blindness.  They can’t see and that still does not stop them from trying to find the door and get in to satisfy this burning fleshly lust that is in them. That is sin folk’s and it is not pretty!

            Then these angels tell Lot to gather up his family and take them out of the city because the judgment of God is coming. But, in the morning Lot and his family are still there, the ones that were willing to go with him where only his wife and two virgin daughters.  And as I said on Thursday, Lot LINGERED in Sodom, and he ARGUED and BEGGED these angels not to send him to the mountains but to go to Zoar, which was close to Sodom!  That is where we will pick up our study this morning in Genesis chapter 19 starting in verse 21 and lets see what the Lord has for us this morning.

GENESIS 19:21-29

            Did you notice that God’s judgment could not begin until after Lot and his family were removed from Sodom. You see, God does not judge the righteous with the wicked! That is exactly what these angels were saying to Lot, ‘Hurry, escape there. For I cannot do anything until you arrive there.’  Genesis 19:22a.

            So what does that have to do with us today? Folk’s, you don’t have to be a Christian to know that something big is about to happen in this world. And for us Christians, we know what that is, that God is going to judge this world. The seven-year Tribulation Period is coming as God pours out His wrath upon a Christ rejecting world and we studied this in detail in our Revelation study.

            The problem for me is that there is a growing number of people, of teachers, of Christians who believe that God will judge the righteous with the wicked. They believe we will go through some or all of the Tribulation Period. On You Tube they had this video clip from catholictelevison.org and it was called: The One True Faith:  The Rapture. And they had this room filled with people and the teacher, dressed like any protestant teacher, was teaching on the rapture and he called it a doctrine that was “anti-biblical.” I disagree but before I tell you why, listen to what he was teaching and how dangerous it is. He said:

            “The problem with the supporters of the theology of the rapture is that they only recognize Jesus’ teaching in the Word, in the Scriptures. And I have to say in an extraordinary tortured reading of the Scriptures. You would have to go out of your way and make things up and twist things to such a degree, and ignore, just totally ignore other sections of the Scriptures to come up with the notion of the rapture.”

            I would have to agree, I do recognize the authority of the Word of God over the doctrines of men.  I disagree that to believe in the rapture you have to twist the Scriptures, that is wrong.  The Scriptures are very clear and we will see that shortly because again, it is important for us to understand that God does not judge the righteous with the wicked. He goes on to say:

            “This whole notion of the rapture or getting pulled out, caught up in the earth, snatched away is also extremely dangerous because it is tied to a larger body of theology which is decidably anti-Catholic.”

            So now we understand why Catholics don’t believe in the rapture, because it goes against the teaching of the Catholic Church, but it is spoken of very clearly in the Scriptures. Again, if you believe that Christians will go through the Tribulation Period, then you believe that God does judge the righteous with the wicked, but He doesn’t as we have seen here in Genesis chapter 19.

            Others are teaching the following:

            Has “professed Christianity” falsely set up and misled its followers by the teaching of Satan and his ministry about a “rapture?” They believe the rapture to be a teaching in God’s Word, where Christians are lifted up from the earth to heaven, to escape the great trial coming upon all the earth, but in reality, this is a false teaching that will cause its followers to end up in the tragedy of the Great Tribulation.

            One event that God’s Word plainly says is to take place is the physical flight of Christ’s true church, who are the ones that are led by His Holy Spirit, to her place of safety into the wilderness a few days before the tribulation begins, Dan. 12:1, 12, Zeph. 2:1-3, Isa. 26:20-21, Mat. 24:20-21, 40-42, Rev. 3:10, Rev. 12:14. This is a physical flight and escape, to a physical place on this earth. A second future event will take place at the end of the Great Tribulation, the heavenly signs, and at the blowing of the seventh trumpet. This event is the bodily resurrection from the grave of all past, dead saints to spirit, and the changing to spirit, of all present living saints.

- The Rapture, Escape, or Tragedy, http://www.donina.org/rapture.html

            This theology confuses the church with Israel and folk’s, the church is not Israel. And it is Israel that will flee from the Antichrist at the 3½-year mark of the Tribulation Period. Also, if at the end of the Tribulation Period all the living saints are changed to spirits, who populates the Kingdom Age? And the Tribulation Period, besides God’s wrath being poured out upon a Christ rejecting world, is a time when God will deal with the Jewish people once again and during this time many will turn to Jesus, Israel, as a nation will be saved.

Paul tells us this in Romans 11:25-27, For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: ‘The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins.’ 

            In other words, when that last gentile is saved and the Lord takes His bride home, the rapture, He will then once again focus on the Jewish people!  You see, how else is God going to take away their sins” except by them coming to Jesus?  He won’t!  And let me show you how Jewish this period of time is. In Daniel 9:24-27 we are told, Seventy weeks are determined For your people and for your holy city, To finish the transgression, To make an end of sins, To make reconciliation for iniquity, To bring in everlasting righteousness, To seal up vision and prophecy, And to anoint the Most Holy. Know therefore and understand, That from the going forth of the command To restore and build Jerusalem Until Messiah the Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; The street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times. And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; And the people of the prince who is to come Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, And till the end of the war desolations are determined. Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, Even until the consummation, which is determined, Is poured out on the desolate.

            First of all the seventy weeks, in the Jewish mind can be a week of days or 7 days or a week of years or 7 years. Obviously as you look at this text, it is speaking of years and I will show you why in a minute. So Seventy 7-year periods of times, based upon a 360 day year would equal 176,400 days. What I also want you to notice is that the focus is not upon the church, which was not in existence yet, but upon the nation of Israel, the Jewish people. This is Jewish territory here. And not only the Jewish people but also Jerusalem, the holy city. This is not speaking of the church, as I have said, nor is it speaking of Rome!

            Now there is a break between the 69 seven-year periods and the 70th or that last seven-year period of time.  The period of time between the 69th and 70th week is what we call the Church Age, and it has lasted almost 2,000 years! Now the break starts with the coming of the Messiah as king and it ends with His death.  In fact, in His death it says that He will be executed for a capitol crime!  Thus, if you would take this time frame of 69 seven-year periods or 173,880 days and counted off from the time the command was given to restore and rebuild Jerusalem, including the leap years and-so-on, you would arrive at the date the Messiah would come.  The command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem was given on March 14, 445 B.C. according to Nehemiah chapter 2. Thus, if you counted off 173,880 days from this date, you would come to April 6, 32 A.D. That was the only time in the earthly ministry of Jesus that He came as king, riding down the Mount of Olives into Jerusalem, the exact day the MESHIACH NAGID or the Messiah the King came!  We call it Palm Sunday!

            Now there is one last seven-year period of time where God is going to deal with the nation of Israel and that time period, according to Daniel, will start when the Antichrist makes a covenant with Israel to re-establish their daily sacrifices in the rebuilt temple. That is the start of the seven-year Tribulation Period and the focus is Israel, the Jewish people and a Christ rejecting world!

            That still does not show us that the church is removed, that there is a rapture. First let me show you that the church is not here and then I will show you how the Lord will do this. In Revelation chapter 3 Jesus is writing to the Faithful Church, the Church of Philadelphia and in Revelation 3:10 Jesus said, Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. 

            What I want you to notice is that the Lord did not say he would keep us through this Tribulation Period, but that He will keep you from the Tribulation Period. In the Greek it is TEREO EK, (tay-reh’-o ex) and it speaks of keeping us out of this period of time. Now if you believe the church will go through part or all of the Tribulation Period, you have a huge problem with what the Lord is saying here because He used the wrong Greek word! Obviously He didn’t, He used the one to tell us He will keep us out of this time.

            Now, what is the Lord specifically keeping us out of?  the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. The idea of hour is a period of time, seven years here.  The trial is coming upon the whole earth and specifically those who dwell on the earth or the earth dwellers. Paul tells us in Philippians 3:20 that we are not earth dwellers but our citizenship is in heaven. So this is not speaking of us, the church but of the unsaved! 

Why is this happening? It is happening so that God can test them. That tells me some will pass the test and get saved during this period of time and the book of Revelation tells us that will happen, many will get saved.  But also many will fail the test, they will reject Jesus Christ and they will endure His wrath, they will be eternally separated from God!

Also, in II Peter 2:6-9 we are told, and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly; and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds) — then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment. Do you think God knows how to deliver the righteous and judge the wicked? Of course He does!

            Now let’s look at the rapture and see what the Scriptures say about this event, let’s see if it is clear or if we have to twist the Scriptures to show that there is a rapture. In I Thessalonians 4:13-18 we are told, But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.” 

            Now here in verse 14 the word if does not indicate doubt or being unsure but because of the fact that the Lord rose from the dead He will bring with Him on that day those who have fallen asleep in Christ, it is our hope!  In John 14:19 Jesus said,

“ . . . Because I live, you will live also.  But for the unbeliever there is no hope, he will have an eternity to think about the wrong decision he made and regret every moment as he is in the Lake of Fire while we rejoice with our Lord!

            And please understand this was not Paul’s idea but it came from the Lord and Paul establishes that fact up front, which is important, for many even today deny the teaching of the Rapture of the church.  Also notice that Paul speaks of two groups of people who are involved in this event; those who are alive and those who have fallen asleep or have died in the Lord.  There might have been some concern with the Thessalonian believers that those who have gone to be with the Lord were going to miss out on something, but that is not the case. All Christians will participate in the Rapture. Also, there is an order that Paul tells us about.

            Paul tells us that with a shout of authority and as He speaks forth, as the trumpet sounds the dead in Christ will rise first, they will get their resurrected bodies.  You see, Paul told us in I Corinthians chapter 15 that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, and thus, we must be changed.  In John 14:1-4 Jesus said this regarding these new bodies,Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.  In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.  And where I go you know, and the way you know.  You see, these bodies of flesh are like tents; they are temporary dwelling places for our spirit and soul to dwell in.  But the Lord has a permanent abode for our spirit and soul to dwell in made by Him.  In fact, He calls it a mansion that will never fade away as compared with these tents that are fading away.  That is what they will receive and we who are alive when the Lord returns, will receive!

            Now this event happens in the twinkling of an eye, according to I Corinthians chapter 15, and that speaks of the time it takes for light to go from the surface of the eye to the retina. If light travels at 186,000 miles per second it would take light 1.5 seconds to travel from the surface of the earth to the moon and the moon is some 239,000 miles away from the earth.  So then, in the twinkling of an eye light would only reach one foot off the surface of the earth! Thus, no one will see it happen, it will be instantaneous, but they will feel the effects!

            Paul tells us that we will be caught up which comes from the Greek word HARPAZO, and that word means to take by force, to seize.  Granted the word “rapture” is not in the Bible, it was take from the Latin Vulgate, the Latin word RAPTURUS is used forcaught up and from that word we get our English word RAPTURE from.  If you don’t want to use the word “rapture” then call it the “great snatch away!”  That is what the Greek word means but I like rapture better!  And where do we meet the Lord?  We meet Him in the air, and in His second coming we come with Him and He comes back to the earth to set up His kingdom and every eye will see Him.  There is a big difference between the rapture of the church and the second coming of Jesus Christ; they are not the same event! And we will talk about that more in a few minutes.

            Now if we were to go through the seven-year Tribulation Period, these words would not be comforting to us.  But the hope of the return of Jesus for His bride, our eternal union with Him is a source of great comfort.  I know, some say it is escapism and Jesus did say that in this world we will have tribulation.  Here’s the thing, right now Satan and his forces are persecuting Christians all over the world. But in the Tribulation Period it is God’s wrath being poured out upon a Christ rejecting world.  We are told in

I Thessalonians 5:9 this powerful point by Paul, For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.  The Amplified Bible puts this verse like this; For God has not appointed us to [incur His] wrath [He did not select us to condemn us], but [that we might] obtain [His] salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah).  I think that is very clear!

            Some still argue that this idea of a Rapture of the church, this pre-tribulation Rapture of the church is a new idea.  It is of recent origin.  In fact, many like to say that the Rapture of the church was completely unknown until the early 1800’s, until a man named John Nelson Darby put this idea forward.  In regards to these verses here in

I Thessalonians 4:16-17 one person wrote: “The Catholic Church always has understood this verse to be describing the Second Coming of Christ and the ‘General Resurrection’ at the end of the world.  But approximately 170 years ago – ‘recent’ by theological standards – an Irish Protestant named John Nelson Darby came up with the idea that this event would happen long before the end of the world. He claimed – on his own authority, of course – that this ‘Rapture’ (as he called it) will take all true Christians out of the world to be with Jesus in heaven right before a huge ‘tribulation’ befalls the rest of the inhabitants of the earth (those who are ‘left behind’).”

Also, John Bray, who also vehemently opposes a pre-tribulation Rapture of the church said, “this teaching is not a RECOVERY of truth once taught and then neglected. No, it never was taught – for 1800 years nearly no one knew anything about such a scheme.”

            And Robert Van Kampen said, “The pretribulational rapture position with its dual parousias was unheard of in church history prior to 1830.”  Folks, that is totally untrue! First of all, Paul spoke of this being a fact, and he was inspired by the Holy Spirit to write this down for us!

Secondly, in the writings of Pseudo – Ephraem from around 565 AD to 627 AD and he claims that he got his sermon from Ephraem of Nisbis, who is considered to be one of the greatest figures in the history of the Syrian church, who would have written this in around 373 AD.  Listen to what is said, “All the saints and elect of God are gathered together before the tribulation, which is to come, and are taken to the Lord, in order that they may not see at any time the confusion which overwhelms the world because of our sins.”  Thus, this is not a new idea!  I think that is very clear, not only did Paul teach on the pre-tribulation Rapture of the church, but so did the early church and thus, I believe it because I think the Bible is very clear on this issue, the Scriptures support it!

            Now, when you compare what we have read here in I Thessalonians 4:16-17, which says, For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. with what we are told in Revelation 4:1-2, they sound very similar. Listen carefully to what John tells us, After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, ‘Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.’ Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne.  In this I see John as a picture of the church and thus, what John is portraying for us is the rapture that takes place as the church age comes to an end. Let me explain.

            The book of Revelation is the only book of the Bible that gives to us a divine outline and that is found in Revelation 1:19. Here is the outline of the book:

            A.  THE THINGS WHICH YOU HAVE SEEN: These are the things that are spoken of here in Revelation chapter 1, what John is seeing now, the glorious vision of Jesus, the things that John has seen!

            B.  THE THINGS WHICH AREThese are the things that are spoken of in Revelation chapters 2 and 3, the seven letters to the seven churches located in Asia Minor or the western part of modern day Turkey.  It speaks of the Church Age.

            C.  THE THINGS WHICH WILL TAKE PLACE AFTER THISThese are the things that will take place after the church age closes and it covers Revelation chapters 4 through 22. 

            Remember that the last division of the book of Revelation was spoken of like this,after these things and John uses the same Greek words to open chapter 4. In fact, in this one verse he uses this phrase twice so you don’t miss what he is saying.  This is the last division of the book of Revelation!  Those two words, after this comes from two Greek words, META TAUTA and as I have said, I believe it is speaking of the end of the Church Age and the preparation for the Tribulation Period!

            Picture in your mind what is going on here. John is standing on the earth and as he gazes up into Heaven he saw a door open.  And as he continued looking he heard a voice that sounded like a trumpet and this voice was calling him to Heaven.  When does this take place? Again, at the end of verse 1 of Revelation chapter 4 John tells us after the Church Age comes to an end or after the events of Revelation chapters 2 and 3 are completed, which again are the things of the church or the Church Age!

            Now the Greek word that John uses for Come up there in Revelation 4:1 is ANABAINO, (an-ab-ah’-ee’no) and it means to arise or ascend, to go up.  What do you think will happen when the Lord says, Come up?

            John is immediately taken up into Heaven!  And Folks, I truly believe that John is a picture or type of the church who will be removed before the Tribulation Period begins, before that first seal is loosed there in Revelation chapter 6 just as John was.  Now I do realize that some Christians believe the church will go through part or even all of the Tribulation Period and we are wrong to teach otherwise because we are not preparing our people for what is ahead.

            First of all I am preparing you because I believe that the Scriptures are clearly teaching us that we will not go through the Tribulation Period, any part of it.  Secondly, I am not saying that the church is going to be free of persecution because it has always faced that. What I am saying is that we will not endure the wrath of God that is going to be poured out upon a Christ rejecting world that occurs during the Tribulation Period.  We need to be ready for the persecution that is coming and what our brothers and sisters in the Lord are already facing throughout the world, but that is not from God, but the Devil.  During the Tribulation Period we won’t be here because God will not judge the righteous with the wicked!

            Now some have argued that we are confusing the second coming with the rapture, that there is no rapture, only the second coming of Jesus Christ. Let me share with you the differences between the two, because when you look at this you will clearly see they are not the same event!

THE RAPTURE AND THE SECOND COMING CONTRASTED