The Destruction of Sodom
The Sodomites possessed a very
rich valley and comparatively avoided that feature of the curse
declaring that bread must be won by sweat of face. These conditions were
conducive to the selfishness and sin which the Bible charges--"pride,
fulness of bread and abundance of idleness; neither did she strengthen the
hand of the poor and the needy; and they committed abominations; therefore
I took them away as I saw good."--Ezekiel 16:49,50.
God saw good to make the destruction
of the Sodomites an example of the fate of sinners--death, not
everlasting torture, St. Jude says. Jesus declares, "Fire came down
from God out of heaven and destroyed them all."--Luke 17:29.
But the Bible teaches that the Sodomites are not hopelessly
destroyed--that God's mercy through Christ includes the Sodomites, sinners
though they were. Jesus Himself, as well as the Prophet Ezekiel, declares
that at His Second Coming in His Messianic Kingdom He will give a trial,
or judgment, to the world in general, to all who do not have an
opportunity in the present life. The Sodomites will then have opportunity
to hear of God's grace, to accept and rejoice in it.
Jesus declared that in that glorious Epoch the condition of the
Sodomites will be more tolerable than that of the people to whom He
preached at His First Advent. The reason for this He explains, saying that
if the Sodomites had been granted the same opportunity afforded the people
of Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum, they would have repented in
sackcloth and ashes; wherefore, in the future testing time, "it will
be more tolerable for them" than for people who heard and rejected
the Message.--Matthew 10:15; 11:21-24.
Ezekiel's prophecy (16:49-61) is most explicit. It declares Restitution
and blessing for Israel, and incidentally mentions that the Sodomites will
receive favor from God at the same time--under the New Covenant, under
Messiah's Kingdom. "There's a wideness in God's mercy, like the
wideness of the sea."