Who really destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah?


In Genesis 18 three men, thought by most commentators to have been angels appearing as men, came to Abram (Abraham) in the plains of Mamre. After the angels received the hospitality of Abraham and Sarah, his wife, the LORD revealed to Abraham that he would destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, because their cry was great, “and because their sin is very grievous.”(Gen 18:20).

In response, Abraham inquired of the LORD if he would spare the city if 50 righteous people were found in it, to which the LORD agreed he would not destroy it for the sake of the righteous yet dwelling therein. Abraham then inquired of God for mercy at lower numbers (first 45, then 40, then 30, then 20, and finally at 10), with the LORD agreeing each time. (Gen 18:22-33).

Two of the angels proceeded to Sodom and were met by Abraham’s nephew Lot, who convinced the angels to lodge with him, and they ate with Lot. Then (not having found even 10 righteous people in the city), they commanded Lot to gather his family and leave.

As they made their escape, one angel commanded Lot to “look not behind thee. (Genesis 19:17). However, as Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed with brimstone and fire from the LORD, Lot’s wife looked back at the city, and she became a pillar of salt. (Genesis 19:23-26).

What is going on here? Well, much like the flood, there was a continual increase in the wicked and a continual decrease in the righteous. The Lord here assured Abraham that a mere ten righteous men in the city would allow the Lord’s protective presence to keep Satanic destruction from descending.

But, there were NOT ten righteous men left. Satan had access to steal, kill and destroy because of the deflating lack of faith in the city. But Lot was righteous, even if only marginally so. For this reason, God sent angels to deliver him out of the coming destruction.

Do you see? God was, like a heroic fireman, rescuing Lot from a soon-to-be burning building. Satan, on the other hand, was calling in the airstrike of his wrath to destroy those he had increasingly corrupted and those who had increasingly quenched and grieved away God’s protective presence. The Lord’s protective presence had constricted down to just Lot and his family. Satan filled in the vacuum of God’s quenched presence with his massive missiles of destruction.

Remember, the Lord’s protective presence waxes and wanes depending on the various levels of individual and corporate faith present in those involved. This doesn’t happen overnight. Only repeated and rampant quenching of the Holy Spirit can so enable Satan to kill on such a wide scale as this.

And how do we know it was Satan who killed here with fire from the sky? Hebrews 2:14 is always the key in this type of question.

“Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might DESTROY him that had the POWER of DEATH, that is, the devil; And DELIVER them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage .” Hebrews 2:14-15.

Simply put, God does not kill. He quickens, heals, protects, purifies and purges, BUT He never kills—- NEVER! It is NOT in His nature, just like lying is not in His character, just like coercion is not in His character, just like cruelty is not in His character.

We know from earlier writings that the Old Testament Saints did not have a full or proper understanding of Satan. They thought the devil was an obedient angel of God lawfully executing God’s wrath. They thought Satan was the death angel dutifully carrying out the Lord’s instructions, RATHER than rightly seeing Satan as a cosmic villain, the father of sin and lies, a rebel murderer opposed to God on every level.

Satan was indeed the death angel, but not in service to God, but rather in open rebellion to him. Jesus repeatedly revealed Satan as an enemy of God, NOT His servant.

The resultant problem was that the writer of Genesis wrongly attributed the works of Satan to God. This was BECAUSE the author had an UNDIFFERENTIATED view of God. He thought Satan was God’s left hand. He was wrong.

So, we are commissioned as “able ministers of the New Covenant, not of THE LETTER but OF the SPIRIT” (2 Corinthians 3:6), to go back in this Old Testament story and redivide it according to the New Testament truth of John 10:10, which states Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy, while Jesus comes only to give abundant life.

We are called to DIFFERENTIATE the works of Satan from the works of God. The Old Testament couldn’t do this without the indwelling Pentecost of the Holy Spirit. But we can.