A fundamental truth presented in the Scriptures is that we must continually progress in our relationship with the Lord. In fact, that is what a “walk with God” really means. If you are walking with Him, you are continuously progressing. It means that you are continuously partaking of His Life, and because of that you are fruitful. If your spiritual advancement in the realm of Spirit comes to an end, so will the fruitfulness. Sterility takes its place. Anytime a Christian ceases to grow in the Lord, a subtle deception takes over his heart and he rarely recognizes his spiritual state. One significant sign of spiritual sterility is that the Christian is always “looking back.” He talks about the days gone by, the times when God was moving in his life. Instead of “forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, pressing toward the mark of the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus,” he is mired in the blessings of yesterday – no longer fruitful and usually not aware of it.
Luke 17:28 Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded.
The previous verses (26-27) said that as it was in the days of Noah, so it was in the days of the Son of man. In this verse Luke tells us that those days are also likened to the days of Lot.
Luke 17:29-30 But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and
brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.
30 Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.
Jesus plainly tells us here that God’s judgment of Sodom and the deliverance of Lot is a prophetic picture of the day when the Son of man is revealed. So, we see that the day of the revealing of the Son of man is a day of great judgment. Paul brings this out quite vividly in the first chapter of II Thessalonians. It will help us a great deal to look at that chapter before we go any further in Luke.
II Thessalonians 1:6-7 Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense
tribulation to them that trouble you;
7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels.
Two things of interest are pointed out here: (1) It is a time of persecution. Those who are really walking with God, making advancement in the Lord, are being troubled by those who are not progressing in the Lord. All through history it has been those Christians who ceased to progress in the Lord that “troubled” those who moved on into a closer walk with God. (2) It is a time when the Lord Jesus Christ is being revealed. When we get to verse 10 we will see that the revealing of the Lord Jesus Christ is taking place in the saints, and that is why they are being troubled and persecuted. Nothing bothers a lukewarm Christian more than the presence of the Lord in a real disciple.
II Thessalonians 1:8-9 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not
God, and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power.
The flaming fire is not natural fire; it is the presence of God. For our God is a consuming fire. Hebrews 12:29. “Them that know not God” involves Christians as well as non-Christians. To know God means to know Him because you are experiencing His Life. There are many Christians who know about God but do not know Him in the sense of experiencing His Life. The divine presence is not coming forth in their lives. Let me give you an example. John 8:30 says, “Many Jews believed on Him.” And in verses 31 and 32 Jesus said to them, If you continue in My Word, then are you My disciples indeed; and you shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall make you free. In contrast Jesus said in John 6:29, This is the work of God, that you believe on Him whom He has sent. The literal Greek translation for “believe on Him” here is “believe into Him.” The Jews in John chapter 8 believed “on” Him; they believed on One separate from them, but the will of God as seen in John chapter 6 is to believe “into” Him. The right kind of believing takes you into His Life, creating a oneness with Him. Many Christians only believe “on” the Lord and, consequently, they are not obeying the Gospel.
II Thessalonians 1:10 When He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe….
The Lord Jesus Christ is revealed in His saints, and He is glorified and admired in them because He is revealed through them. Thus we see the judgments of God and the revealing of the Lord in His saints being accomplished in the same day. Therefore, Luke tells us that the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed (the same as we saw in II Thessalonians chapter 1).
The word “Sodom” is not only the name of a city, but also is used to denote God’s people when they are in a state of withdrawal in their hearts, when they are maintaining the mechanics of worship without a real submission to His Lordship. It does not mean they are committing sodomy in the sense it is usually thought of today. For example, when God charged Israel with adultery and harlotry (Jeremiah 3:8), it was not necessarily meant that they had committed the acts physically. It was a charge against their spiritual state of heart. Israel, spiritually, was married to God through the covenant He made with them, and because they were unfaithful to Him in their hearts they were guilty of adultery and harlotry, and God gave them a bill of divorce. Now, back to Luke.
Luke 17:31-32 In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in
the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field,
let him likewise not return back.
32 Remember Lot’s wife.
The day when the Son of man is revealed in His saints is a new day. Practically everything changes at that time. Most significantly is the fact that ministry changes. It will no longer be a ministry about the Lord, but it will be the ministry of the Lord through His saints. It will no longer be ministry that is futuristic in its teachings, but it will be ministry that opens the door to the “Now-Realm,” the ministry of Jehovah – I Am.
At this time the transition from the old to the new order of His presence must be made quickly. Leave all the “stuff” (ways of ministry) in the “house” of old order. Don’t return back to the dying of an old age; don’t even look back – remember Lot’s wife. Do according to Paul’s admonition. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ. Philippians 3:7-8.
Let’s look again to II Thessalonians chapter one. When He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day. Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness, and the work of faith with power: that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. II Thessalonians 1:10-12. Paul was speaking to the Christians at the church of Thessalonica, and he was praying for them to be counted worthy of this calling, that the Lord would be glorified in them. Do you understand what that means? All Christians will not experience this appearing of the Lord in them. When Paul speaks of “all them that believe,” he is not speaking of all Christians. All Christians do not believe or teach this appearing of the Lord in His saints. John 1:11 says, He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. Many of the Jews didn’t receive Him, but that statement is also prophetic of this day of the revealing of the Son of man. Many Christians are not receiving Him, and Jesus tells us why.
Luke 17:33 Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.
Those who seek to save the life of a past day, those who cannot forsake the “stuff” of the old order “house” will become the “Sodom” that is unworthy to receive the presence of the Lord. On the other hand, those who “count all things as loss for the excellency of Christ Jesus” will experience the new day “when the Lord is revealed in His saints.”
Let’s look again at Luke 17:29-30. But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. The day that Lot went out of Sodom is prophetic of the day when the Son of man is revealed and when judgment comes upon those whom Sodom represents. Had Jesus not said these things, we probably would not have been aware of the prophetic significance of this account in the Book of Genesis. May we ever realize that the purpose of the writings of God that we call the Old Testament is not merely to teach us history. They have a prophetic purpose, and that purpose is to reveal the Lord and His will to us “whom the ends of the ages are come” (I Corinthians 10:11). Now, let’s look at the account of Lot’s deliverance in the Book of Genesis. We just might see things we haven’t seen before.
Genesis 19:1, 12-13 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.
12 And the men said unto Lot, Have you here any besides? Son in law, and your sons, and your daughters, and whatsoever you have in the city, bring them out of this place:
13 For we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the Lord; and the Lord has sent us to destroy it.
The information given about these two angels is very suggestive. First, the Hebrew word for “angel” is mal’ak, which literally means “messenger.” The same word is sometimes used in reference to a prophet, or a priest or a teacher. Then in verse 12 they are called “men.” So, they are probably not angelic beings or spirits at all. Second, there are two of them. The number two is the number of the Body of Christ. Third, verse 13 says they were sent by the Lord. This points us to the word “apostle” in the New Testament, which means “one that is sent.” Therefore, we see these two messengers as pointing prophetically to an apostolic company that is sent by the Lord in a ministry of deliverance. An apostolic company, as you well know, is not made up solely of apostles. The apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers of Ephesians 4:11 are all members of the apostolic company.
It is also interesting that these two messengers were sent to Sodom “at even.” We learn in the first chapter of Genesis that a day begins with the evening: the evening and the morning were the first day (1:5). So, we see again that this ministry is the beginning of a new day. It is the day of the revealing of the Lord and of judgment.
Genesis 19:15 And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take your wife, and your two daughters, which are here; lest you be consumed in the iniquity of the city.
The spirit of Sodom had already had its effect on Lot, and lest he “be consumed in the iniquity of the city” deliverance was necessary. A person can become so one with a satanic spirit that deliverance would be impossible. This ministry of “the two messengers” corresponds to the ministry of the Voice to the captives of Mystical Babylon, which is the false church: And I heard another Voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, My people, that you be not partakers of her sins, and that you receive not of her plagues. Revelation 18:4.
Genesis 19:16 And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the Lord being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city.
The messengers took Lot’s hand and “set him without the city.” This points to Hebrews 13:12-14. Wherefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach. For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come. Pharisaic religion persecuted Christ and crucified Him. It also persecutes the many-membered Body of Christ.
Genesis 19:17 And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said (notice that the plural “they” changes to the singular “He,” which is another indication that this ministry is a ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ through His messengers, the apostolic company), Escape for your life; look not behind you, neither stay in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest you be consumed.
The mountain represents the Kingdom of God (see Isaiah 2:2). The Kingdom of God is the realm under God’s rule. The realm of pharisaic religion is under man’s rule rather than God’s. Pharisaic religion puts up a front that appears to be under God’s rule; it names the name of Christ but is really under the dominion of man. It is characterized in the Book of Revelation by the Nicolaitans (Revelation 2:2,15). The prefix “nico” means “rule” and “laitans” is taken from the root word “laity,” which is the people or man. So, verse 17 is saying prophetically, “Get out from under the rule of man! Escape to the Kingdom of God and don’t look back!”
You may wonder why religion under the dominion of man is typified by Sodom. Sodomy is expressive of homosexual activity – man loving man. Spiritually that would be typified by man preferring man’s wisdom and ways rather than submitting to the ways and wisdom of God. This is the evil expressed in Proverbs 3:5-7. Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil. Leaning solely upon your own understanding, directing your own ways, and being wise in your own eyes not fearing the Lord is the evil of spiritual sodomy. Everyone is guilty of living in Sodom until they become subject only to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, until they “set themselves outside the city of Sodom, escape to the mountain of God, and refuse to look back.”
Genesis 19:18-20 And Lot said unto them, Oh, not so, my Lord:
19 Behold now, your servant has found grace in your sight, and you have magnified your mercy, which you have showed unto me in saving my life; and I cannot escape to the mountain, lest some evil take me, and I die:
20 Behold now, this city is near to flee unto, and it is a little one: Oh, let me escape thither, (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live.
Lot is reluctant to escape to the mountain. In verse 17 after Lot was out of the city he was told to not stay in the plain. The plain referred to was the plain of Jordan. Genesis 13:10 said that the plain of Jordan was well watered everywhere…even as the garden of the Lord. The Jordan plain looked perfect to a herdsman like Lot and that was the overwhelming influence that drew him to Sodom when he separated from Abram. Even now the plain looked far better than the mountain.
The mountain of the Lord does not look attractive to man. You remember how beautiful the Tabernacle in the wilderness looked on the inside, but on the outside it was covered with badger skins that were most unattractive to man. Even with Christ, it was so. He was like a root out of a dry ground: He had no form or comeliness; and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him (Isaiah 53:2). The Kingdom of God does not look desirable to the nature of man. The false church system always looks better and has a greater drawing effect upon man than does the reality of God. The beauty of holiness is seen only after you come into His Kingdom.
Genesis 19:23-26 The sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar.
24 Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven;
25 And He overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.
26 But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.
This last verse is the one I’ve been looking for. Jesus had said, “In that day, he that is on the housetop should not go back in to get his stuff…he that is in the field should not return back” (Luke 17:31). The messengers told Lot to get out of Sodom and don’t look back (Genesis 19:17). And here in this verse Lot’s wife looks back and “became a pillar of salt.” We talked about this problem in the opening paragraph of this message. When we continue to progress in the Lord, we are fruitful – His nature comes forth in us. When we cease to grow spiritually, sterility sets in. A significant sign of spiritual sterility is that the person is always "looking back,” referring to the “good old days” when God was moving in his life.
Lot’s wife looked back and she “became a pillar of salt.” The Hebrew word for “pillar” is netsiyh, which means “something stationary” or “a set position.” In her heart, Lot’s wife was still in Sodom. Her feet were walking away, but her heart was in “a set position.” Some Christians are like that. Their mouths are voicing worship, their hands are lifted as in reverence, but their hearts are “in a set position.” The result is that they are sterile; they have become salt, unable to be fruitful in the Lord.
Copyright © 2002 by Henry DuBose