Taking a Closer Look - Archive  
  By: Tuan N' Gai of Tuan N'Gai Enterprises  

Subject: The TRUTH About Sodom and Gomorrah - Part I
Reference Scripture: Genesis 18:20 - 19:29

What can be said about Sodom and Gomorrah that hasn't already been said? We know that God destroyed the two large cities. And we know that if a loving God destroyed them, they must have been in such a horrible spiritual state, that He could no longer withhold justice, and He had to take judgmental action. God HAD to destroy them. But why?

Certainly you've heard that it was because of "inhospitality to strangers" or because of their "blatantly homosexuality". And who knows what else is floating out there as justification for these two cities' destruction? The purpose of TAKING A CLOSER LOOK is to discover the truth. Why should we delve deeper to find out something other than what we've been taught? Because believe it or not, the knowledge of the truth about Sodom and Gomorrah has very important spiritual applications to ALL people. There are so many questions that are left unanswered with the "old school" teaching of this story.

Was there ONE definitive reason, or were there many reasons?
Were they destroyed for homosexuality or inhospitality?
Was idol worship a factor?
Did the "men" of the city really want to have sex with the visiting angels?
And more relevant to today, if God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah for homosexuality, will He also destroy our society?

These questions and many more plague the minds of so many people. And since we are seeking answers about a Biblical account, why not consult the very place where we've been taught in error? The Bible. We must be mindful that the truth is not in just the letter of the Word, but in the spirit of the word. The truth about Sodom and Gomorrah can only be revealed by careful study and the proper life application of it's spiritual truths.

Traditionally, we have been taught that the Biblical cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed for "homosexuality" and other "perverted sexual behavior". That just may have had a part to play in the destruction of the two cities. But I submit to you that this is not the only or premier reason for it, if it had a part to play in it at all. Let's just deal with the text shall we? As the story goes in Genesis 19:1-11, two angels arrived at Sodom at night, and Lot was the one sitting at the gate of the city. He bowed before them and asked them to stay at his house to wash their feet and spend the night (which was common custom in those days when dealing with strangers. It was a show of good hospitality). When they refused, he insisted that they go to his house and he prepared a meal for them.

Before they all tore it down for the night, all the "men" from every part of the city came and bum rushed the house, asking about the two. The crowd insisted that they be brought out so that they could "know" or have sex with them. Lot goes out and pleads with these "men" not to do this wicked thing, and asks them to take his daughters and have their way with them. The "men" of the city pressed their way and accused Lot of trying to be "all that" when he was just a stranger in their city himself. They threatened to do worse to him than they would do to the angels if they weren't brought out to them. It got so bad, the "men" tried to break down the door. But luckily, the angels had Lot's back and pulled him back inside the house and struck all SODOM AND GOMORRAH the "men" outside with blindness so they couldn't find the door (paraphrasing mine).

Now this is tha deal...if you are gonna study scripture, you need to study it in its proper context and with the right spirit. You can't be trying to prove a point or be "theologically correct" in a debate. You have to be searching the heart and mind of God for the truth that He placed in His Word so you can properly use it to help yourself, and to help others. The Bible says, "All scripture is God breathed, and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correction, and training in righteousness" (II Timothy 3.16). Nowhere is "abuse" and "used for debate and political gain" mentioned. The Word, even when used in rebuke or discipline, is meant to edify or build people up and not tear them down. With that being said, it is important to realize that the Old Testament was originally written in Aramaic or Hebrew. And the New Testament was written in Greek. And to properly ascertain the true meaning and spirit of the text you must go back to the original language. In doing so, I believe God will guide you into the truth of His Word. Let me break it down to you on tha real.

The angels came into the city and Lot was sitting at the gate (that's what the scripture says). And when they approached him, he bowed before them and invited them into his home thus offering them proper hospitality (which was common in that time period). After they all ate dinner and were about to go to bed, the "men" from every corner of the city surrounded Lot's house insisting that he bring the two angels out.

Now, the Hebrew word for "men" in this particular text is "enowsh", defined "mortals (as in Adam); humanity; people; congregation; male and female" not just "males" as with the Hebrew word "iysh," as some would like you to believe. The people wanted to "know" the men (or angels). Now, this is the tricky part. The Hebrew word for "know" is "yada", meaning to properly ascertain by seeing; observing or reflecting; or to know by experiencing. And in this text, there is no differentiation. The Bible, in this particular text, does not say either/or. So one cannot logically, or correctly say that the male population of Sodom wanted to "have sex" with the angels as traditionally thought. We might also add that in the Bible, the Hebrew word "yada", meaning "to know" is used 943 times. Of those times, only 10 have a sexual connotation. Therefore, the likelihood of it having a sexual meaning in this text is very slim.

This is where the debate comes in. One school of thought uses the fact that Lot offered his daughters to the crowd and pleads with them to have their way, but not to do "this wicked thing" to the men as proof that their intent was to have sex. Another school says that the daughters or women were "property" (like women were in that time), and he was offering them as slaves to the crowd. When in all actuality, Lot could have become wealthy by receiving "dowries (or money)" for his daughters when their hand was asked in marriage. One school of thought says the "men (meaning males)" of the city were sex perverts and sought after the men with lustful intent. Another says that the men were trying to figure out if these "men" were spies who knew Lot, and wanted to make sure they weren't in the city to try to take over. There are other issues that can be introduced and addressed here. Like the fact that when the men of the city were victorious in war or in a conquest, they would often beat and rape the men they defeated as to exercise ultimate dominion over them. Thus making them no more important or valuable to society than women or "property". This was a humiliating and emasculating experience for any man to endure.

Let me also throw in that in that time, common practice was to question visitors about their journey and their intent as to determine if they were spies and if they were trying to take the city by force. The "men" of the city were keepers of the cities in which they lived and were responsible for it's protection. And the arguments go on, and on, and on, and on, and on. Nobody really cares that the Bible explicitly SAYS why Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed. Check this out...

Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good. (Ezekiel 16.49-50)

Now, as I said before, sexual perversion and other behavior may have been part of the reason Sodom and Gomorrah was destroyed. If it was, it wasn't the ONLY thing that brought on the destruction. And if you really STUDY the Word, you will remember that God was already gonna destroy the cities BEFORE the angels even got there. The truth about Sodom and Gomorrah is, GOD JUDGES SIN (anything causing spiritual separation from God)!!! God allowed that story to be printed in the Bible to teach us that inhospitality to our fellow man, idolatry, and violence are sins that make Him sick, and they bring about the destruction of ANY people. The story of Sodom and Gomorrah is a warning to all of us that how we treat others is important to God in that He made us all, and wants us to live in harmony.

  Read The TRUTH About Sodom and Gomorrah - Part II  

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