Daily Words of God: Knowing God | Excerpt 106
Gen 19:1–11 And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground; And he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant’s house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and you shall rise up early, and go on your ways. And they said, No; but we will abide in the street all night. And he pressed on them greatly; and they turned in to him, and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat. But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter: And they called to Lot, and said to him, Where are the men which came in to you this night? bring them out to us, that we may know them. And Lot went out at the door to them, and shut the door after him, And said, I pray you, brothers, do not so wickedly. Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out to you, and do you to them as is good in your eyes: only to these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof. And they said, Stand back. And they said again, This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge: now will we deal worse with you, than with them. And they pressed sore on the man, even Lot, and came near to break the door. But the men put forth their hand, and pulled Lot into the house to them, and shut to the door. And they smote the men that were at the door of the house with blindness, both small and great: so that they wearied themselves to find the door.
Gen 19:24–25 Then Jehovah rained on Sodom and on Gomorrah brimstone and fire from Jehovah out of heaven; And He overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew on the ground.
After Sodom’s Repeated Hostility and Resistance Toward Him, God Utterly Eradicates It
From a human perspective, Sodom was a city that could fully satisfy man’s desire and man’s evil. Alluring and bewitching, with music and dancing night after night, its prosperity drove men to fascination and madness. Its evil corroded people’s hearts and bewitched them into depravity. This was a city where unclean and evil spirits ran amok; it brimmed with sin and murder and the air was thick with a bloody, putrid stench. It was a city that made people’s blood run cold, a city from which one would shrink away in horror. No one in this city—neither man nor woman, young nor old—sought the true way; no one yearned for the light or longed to walk away from sin. They lived under Satan’s control, beneath Satan’s corruption and deceit. They had lost their humanity, they had lost their senses, and they had lost man’s original goal of existence. They committed countless wicked deeds of resistance against God; they refused His guidance and opposed His will. It was their wicked deeds that carried these people, the city and every living thing inside it, step by step, down the path of destruction.
Although these two passages do not record all of the details regarding the extent of the corruption of the people of Sodom, instead recording their conduct toward God’s two servants following the latter’s arrival in the city, there is a simple fact that reveals the extent to which the people of Sodom were corrupt, evil and resisted God. With this, the true face and essence of the city’s people are also exposed. These people not only refused to accept God’s warnings, but they also did not fear His punishment. On the contrary, they scorned God’s anger. They blindly resisted God. No matter what He did or how He did it, their vicious nature only intensified, and they repeatedly opposed God. The people of Sodom were hostile toward God’s existence, His coming, His punishment, and even more so, His warnings. They were exceedingly arrogant. They devoured and harmed all people that could be devoured and harmed, and they treated God’s servants no differently. In regard to all of the wicked deeds committed by the people of Sodom, harming God’s servants was only the tip of the iceberg, and their wicked nature that was thus revealed actually amounted to no more than a drop in a vast sea. Therefore, God chose to destroy them with fire. God did not use a flood, nor did He use a hurricane, earthquake, tsunami or any other method to destroy the city. What did God’s use of fire to destroy this city signify? It meant the city’s total destruction; it meant that the city vanished entirely from the earth and from existence. Here, “destruction” not only refers to the vanishing of the city’s form and structure or outer appearance; it also means that the souls of the people inside the city ceased to exist, having been utterly eradicated. Simply put, all people, events and things associated with the city were destroyed. There would be no next life or reincarnation for the people of that city; God had eradicated them from the humanity of His creation, for all eternity. The use of fire signified an end to sin in this place, and that sin had been curbed there; this sin would cease to exist and spread. It meant that Satan’s evil had lost its nurturing soil as well as the graveyard that granted it a place to stay and to live. In the war between God and Satan, God’s use of fire is the brand of His victory with which Satan is marked. Sodom’s destruction is a great misstep in Satan’s ambition to oppose God by corrupting and devouring men, and it is likewise a humiliating sign of a time in humanity’s development when man rejected God’s guidance and abandoned himself to vice. Furthermore, it is a record of a true revelation of God’s righteous disposition.
When the fire sent by God from heaven had reduced Sodom to nothing more than ashes, it meant that the city named “Sodom” thereafter ceased to exist, as did everything within the city. It was destroyed by God’s anger, vanishing within God’s wrath and majesty. Because of God’s righteous disposition, Sodom received its just punishment and its rightful end. The end of Sodom’s existence was due to its evil, and it was also due to God’s desire to never again look upon this city or any of the people who had lived in it or any life that had grown within the city. God’s “desire to never again look upon the city” is His wrath, as well as His majesty. God burned the city because its wickedness and sin caused Him to feel anger, disgust and loathing toward it and to wish never to see it or any of the people or living things inside it ever again. Once the city had finished burning, leaving only ashes behind, it had truly ceased to exist in God’s eyes; even His memory of it was gone, erased. This means that the fire sent from heaven not only destroyed the entire city of Sodom, nor did it only destroy the people inside the city who were so filled with sin, nor did it only destroy all things inside the city that had been tainted by sin; beyond just these things, the fire also destroyed the memory of humanity’s evil and resistance against God. This was God’s purpose in burning the city down.
This humanity had become corrupt in the extreme. These people did not know who God was or where they themselves had come from. If you mentioned God to them, they would attack, slander, and blaspheme. Even when God’s servants had come to spread His warning, these corrupt people not only showed no signs of repentance and did not abandon their wicked conduct, but on the contrary, they brazenly harmed God’s servants. What they expressed and revealed was their nature and essence of extreme hostility toward God. We can see that these corrupt people’s resistance against God was more than a revelation of their corrupt disposition, just as it was more than an instance of slandering or mocking which simply stemmed from a lack of understanding of the truth. Neither stupidity nor ignorance caused their wicked conduct; they acted in this way not because they had been deceived, and it was certainly not because they had been misled. Their conduct had reached the level of flagrantly brazen antagonism, opposition and clamoring against God. Without a doubt, this kind of human behavior would enrage God, and it would enrage His disposition—a disposition that must not be offended. Therefore, God directly and openly unleashed His wrath and His majesty; this was a true revelation of His righteous disposition. Faced with a city overflowing with sin, God desired to destroy it in the swiftest manner possible, to eradicate the people within it and the entirety of their sins in the most complete way, to make this city’s people cease to exist and to stop the sin within this place from multiplying. The swiftest and most complete way of doing so was to burn it down with fire. God’s attitude toward the people of Sodom was not one of abandonment or disregard. Rather, He used His wrath, majesty and authority to punish, strike down and utterly destroy these people. His attitude toward them was one not only of physical destruction but also of destruction of the soul, an eternal eradication. This is the true implication of what God means by the words, “cease to exist.”
—The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God Himself, the Unique II