Central Kentucky Bible Students


















































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































American Standard Version with Notes

This is an ongoing process. Please check back for regular updates.

An * beside a note indicates it was taken from a bible student source.

Most scripture links are connected to Biblehub.com.

The following resources were used for research:

Genesis Chapter Eighteen


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50



1. And Jehovah appeared unto him by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day;

The various Scriptures which are cited about Jesus' appearance in bodies of flesh do not prove that Jesus had a body of flesh; for angels have appeared among mankind in fleshly bodies.  And when Jesus rose from the dead, He appeared, or materialized, in the same way that He had appeared to Abraham in olden times. (Genesis 18:1,215:4,5.) One of His manifestations after His resurrection was when He took a walk with two of His disciples to Emmaus and sat down with them to supper. When He broke bread, He became known to them and vanished out of their sight!—Luke 24:30,31. R5222


WHEN ABRAHAM was ninety-nine years old—about the year 1900 B.C.—his encampment was at Hebron.  There the Lord and two angels appeared to him as men.  He knew them not, but entertained them, and they did eat and talk with Abraham.  St. Paul, noting this, urges that the Lord's people should be hospitable to strangers, and reminds us of how Abraham entertained angels unawares.—Hebrews 13:2.

The one in this case called the Lord was doubtless the [R5179 : page 44] Logos, chief Messenger of Jehovah, who subsequently was made flesh that He might be man's Redeemer and Restorer.  The Lord on this occasion told Abraham that Ishmael would not be the heir of the Promise, but that very shortly Sarah would have a son, notwithstanding her advanced age. Isaac was born the next year. R5178

Angels can and have appeared as men. The Lord and two angels so appeared to Abraham, who had a supper prepared for them, of which they ate. At first, Abraham supposed them to be "three men," and it was not until they were about to go that he discovered one of them to be the Lord, and the other two angels, who afterward went down to Sodom and delivered Lot. R18

t is suggested that when it is recorded that Jehovah appeared to Abraham (Gen. 18:1), and again to Moses (Exod. 3:3-15), it must have been Christ Jesus in his pre-human condition; and hence that the name would be his. We answer that such reasoning is unwarranted: that if the name were applied to another it would merely indicate that such servant was highly esteemed of Jehovah and really treated for the occasion as a steward or representative—commissioned to exercise divine power as well. In Exodus 3:2, we are distinctly informed that the one representing Jehovah and using his most distinguished name, "I am," was "the angel [messenger] of Jehovah." That this honored messenger was "the Word" of  John 1:1, our Lord Jesus in his pre -human estate, we do not for a moment question. But the highest and most honored messenger should not be confounded with the one whom he represents and in whose name he speaks and whose power he exercised and bestowed upon Moses. R43

On special occasions, for special instruction, God has granted similar power to other spirit beings, angels, enabling them to appear as men, in bodies of flesh and bones which ate and talked to those they instructed, just as our Lord did. See Gen. 18Judges 6:11-22; 13:3-20; and the comments on these in Vol. I, pages 178 to 184.

The power manifested by our Lord, and the angels referred to, to create and dissolve the clothing in which they appeared, was just as superhuman as the creating and dissolving of their assumed human bodies; and the bodies were no more their glorious spiritual bodies than were the clothes they wore. It will be remembered that the seamless [B128] robe and other clothing which our Redeemer wore before his crucifixion had been divided among the Roman soldiers, and that the grave clothes were left folded away in the sepulcher (John 19:23,24; 20:5-7), so that the clothing in which he appeared on the occasions mentioned must have been specially created, and probably was the most appropriate for each occasion. For instance, when he appeared as a gardener to Mary, it was probably in such apparel as a gardener would wear.

That the bodies in which our Lord appeared were real human bodies, and not mere delusions, he gave them clearly to understand when he ate before them, and invited them to handle him and see that the body was real flesh and bones, saying, "Why are ye troubled?...Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have." B127

2. and he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood over against him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself to the earth,

Abraham "bowed himself [shaw-kaw] toward the ground

From these evidences it will be apparent to all that the prohibition of the First Commandment—"Thou shalt not bow down thyself [shaw-kaw] to them nor serve them," was not understood, nor meant to be understood, as a prohibition of reverence, homage, etc., to the honorable, or to those in honored positions among men. Nor did the Jews err in doing reverence [shaw-kaw] to angels who came with messages in Jehovah's name and acknowledging him.  And such reverence was approved—never reproved. The Commandment warns against image worship or any worship of any rival gods. This Jehovah cannot tolerate. Hence there was no impropriety for any Jew who recognized Jesus as the "Sent of God" to do him reverence, obeisance; and much more proper is it for all those who recognize our Lord Jesus according to his claims—as the Son of God. E73


3. and said, My lord, if now I have found favor in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant:




4. let now a little water be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree:



5. and I will fetch a morsel of bread, and strengthen ye your heart; after that ye shall pass on: forasmuch as ye are come to your servant. And they said, So do, as thou hast said.


6. And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes.



7. And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetched a calf tender and good, and gave it unto the servant; and he hasted to dress it.



8. And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat.



9. And they said unto him, Where is Sarah thy wife? And he said, Behold, in the tent.

10. And he said, I will certainly return unto thee when the season cometh round; and, lo, thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard in the tent door, which was behind him.


11. Now Abraham and Sarah were old, [and] well stricken in age; it had ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women.


12. And Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?

The name Isaac signifies laughter, yet it would appear to be a misfit so far as the boy and the man were concerned. Retiring, peace-loving, meditative, quiet, he had not the rollicking disposition that might be represented by the name. A probable suggestion is that the laughter connected with his name was the remembrance of the experience of his parents in that matter. (1) We read, for instance, in Genesis 17:17 that Abraham laughed at the idea of a son being born to those so old. (2) In Gen. 18:12 we read that Sarah laughed at the idea of her having a son in old age. (3) In Gen. 21:6we read that Sarah laughed with joy at the birth of her son. Another thought is that as Isaac was a type of Christ (Gal. 4:28), and the joy typified by his name was a prophecy of the blessing that is yet to come through the glorified Christ to all nations, in harmony with the prediction of the angels—"good tidings of great joy which shall be unto all people." (Luke 2:10.) But as Isaac was not peculiarly mirthful or joyous, neither was Jesus, his great antitype, nor yet the Church, the body of Christ. Nevertheless there are joys of the Lord which the world cannot appreciate—the experience of all of those who have the divine peace and blessing. R3952

ISAAC signifies "laughter." Abraham laughed with pleasure when informed that he would have a son that would be born in his old age. (Gen. 17:17.) Sarah laughed with incredulity when she was informed on the subject. (Gen. 18:12.) And again she laughed in joy and appreciation at the time of Isaac's birth: hence he was named Laughter, or Joyous. R2860

13. And Jehovah said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, who am old?

14. Is anything too hard for Jehovah? At the set time I will return unto thee, when the season cometh round, and Sarah shall have a son.

The spirit of God is powerful in whatever way it is applied. As an illustration of its power, the Apostle points us to our Lord Jesus and His literal death, and how God's holy spirit raised Jesus from the dead in His resurrection. The thought is that this power of God thus exercised on behalf of the Lord Jesus, and which He promises so to exercise in the close of this age on behalf of all the faithful members of the body of Christ, indicates a power of God by which, if we avail ourselves of it, the new nature will find strength to conquer, to keep the flesh under, and, more than this, to make it active, energetic in the service of righteousness. R3203,c1,p4


15. Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And he said, Nay; but thou didst laugh.



16. And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way.


Still hospitable, Abraham accompanied his visitors, whom he had now discerned to be celestial beings appearing in human form. As they moved in the direction of Sodom the Lord is represented as holding a colloquy with himself as to the propriety of intimating to Abraham what might be expected as a judgment upon Sodom, of whose wickedness Abraham certainly was aware. We are given to understand that the fact that Abraham thus far had proven faithful, and that to him belonged the ultimate promise of the blessing of all the families of the earth, was one reason why he was informed respecting the fate of Sodom, "For I have known him [become intimate with him, made a covenant with him, revealed myself to him], to the end that he may command his children and his household after him, that they may keep the way of the Lord to do justice and judgment;  [R3947 : page 60] that the Lord may bring upon him that which he has spoken of him."  Thus we see by this indirect teaching that there is method in the Lord's revelation. Matters are made known to his people not merely to satisfy curiosity, but especially because they are in relationship to the Lord and because they are to learn certain lessons in connection with their experiences of life that may be helpful to them in the ultimate work to which they have been called. R3946 

17. And Jehovah said, Shall I hide from Abraham that which I do;



Abraham was called the "friend of God;" because he had the divine confidence, so that God made known to him certain things that he did not make known to others: "The Secret of the Lord" was with Abraham, so far as that Secret could be communicated to any one at that time. For instance, in the matter of the destruction of Sodom, the Lord said, "Shall I hide from Abraham [my friend] that thing which I do?" And it was because Abraham was the friend of God that he also made known to him something of the divine plan for human salvation: as the Apostle declares, God "preached beforehand the gospel to Abraham, saying: 'In thee shall all the nations be blessed.'"—Gal. 3:8. R2208:4,5 

Note also the expression of one of these heavenly visitants—one of the three representatives of Jehovah, possibly his beloved Son, afterward our Savior. Speaking for Jehovah, he said, (verse 17), "Shall I conceal from Abraham what I am about to do, seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation," etc.? "The secret of the Lord is with them that reverence him," says the Psalmist. (Psa. 25:14.) Thus it was in Abraham's day, and thus it is still. The Lord does not honor the world, nor the worldly wise, with a knowledge of his secret purposes.—Dan. 12:101 Cor. 1:19,203:18,19. Z9402

18. seeing that Abraham had surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?

They point out how God revealed to faithful Abraham his purpose, his intention, not at once, but later on, to bring in a blessing to the race, which he declared he had cursed with the sentence of death. Gen. 1:31; 2:17; 3:231 Tim. 2:14Gen. 12:3; 18:18; 3:17

Since the curse or penalty of sin was death, the blessings promised implied life from the dead, life more abundant: and the promise to Abraham was that in some unexplained way the Savior who would accomplish this work of blessing [E23] the world should come through Abraham's posterity. The same promises were, with more or less clearness, reiterated to Isaac, to Jacob and to the children of Israel. The prophets also declared that the Messiah coming should be a Lamb slain, a sin-offering, one who should "pour out his soul unto death," for our sins, and not for his own. And they portrayed also the result of his sacrifice for sins, in the glory and blessing that should follow; telling how ultimately his Kingdom shall prevail, and, as the Sun of Righteousness, he shall bring into the world the new day of blessing and life and joy, which shall dispel the darkness and gloom and the sorrow of the night of weeping, which now prevails as the result of original sin and the fall, and inherited evil tendencies. Isa. 53:10-12; 35; 60; 61 E22



19. For I have known him, to the end that he may command his children and his household after him, that they may keep the way of Jehovah, to do righteousness and justice; to the end that Jehovah may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.

In this case, we remember that Abraham had the promise that in his seed all the families of the earth should be blessed, and this included the Sodomites as well, as we shall see later. Abraham then, believing the Word of the Lord, had a right to expect that in some way or other, either then or in the future, he and his posterity would have to do with righteous judgment upon the Sodomites. Besides, the Lord is pleased to have those who are in harmony with him know the equity, the justice of all his dealings. "Come, let us reason together," shows us this principle. (Isa. 1:18.) But the Lord never reasons with any except those who have faith in him and trust in his promises. These are the truly wise, of whom it is written, "The wise shall understand [matters as they become due], but none of the wicked shall understand" (Dan. 12:10); and again, "The secret of the Lord is with them that reverence him, and he will show them his covenant."—Psa. 25:14. R3946


20. And Jehovah said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous;

Explaining his mission the Lord declared that a great cry had come up to heaven from Sodom and that he was about to investigate, which implied that forbearance had ceased to be of avail and that the time for Sodom's punishment was at hand, and so Abraham understood the matter. We are not to suppose that merely rumors of matters reached the Lord, and then special investigating committees were sent, but rather that this affair was stated in simple language, so that Abraham and all who have read the record since might know that the Lord takes full cognizance of the affairs of earth, that he does not ignore our conditions, and that while he is plenteous in mercy, and long-suffering and patient, he nevertheless "will not always chide, neither hold back his anger forever": a time of retribution shall come.

This is the same thought to which the Apostle Peter draws our attention in connection with the end of this Gospel age and the trouble which will then be precipitated upon the world of mankind. He represents God as having great mercy, long suffering and willingness, that all might turn unto him and live. Nevertheless he shows that a change of dispensation will come, that justice will be laid to the line and righteousness to the plummet, and that all who will not obey that great Prophet shall be ultimately destroyed. (Acts 3:23). In this connection the New Testament refers to Sodom and its sister cities as illustrations of the fact that God will not always chide. We read that the calamity which came upon the cities of the plain were set forth as an example, "suffering the vengeance of eternal fire"—[utter destruction, not eternal torment]. (Jude 7.) Thus eventually God will destroy all evil doers with an "everlasting destruction [not preservation in torment or otherwise] [R3947 : page 61] from the presence of the Lord and the glory of his power."—2 Thess. 1:9. R3946 



21. I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know.



22. And the men turned from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before Jehovah.  
23. And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou consume the righteous with the wicked?

In verses 22-33 we have the account of Abraham's pleading with the Lord for the possible righteous souls that might yet remain in Sodom, and an illustration of the promise that the fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. (Jas. 5:16.) But when not even ten righteous persons were found in Sodom, the four that were found were first gathered out before the visitation of wrath descended on the condemned city; for "the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open to their cry." Z9402 

This one little incident in Abraham's life shows us something of the loving benevolence of his heart, and causes us to love and appreciate him more than ever. The intimation that judgment upon Sodom was near would upon a cruel and loveless heart have suggested a very different course from that pursued by Abraham. Such would have said, "Well, that is an awfully wicked community; they certainly deserve all you could give them; they could not be worse. I told my nephew Lot that he was making a mistake in going to live with such a deplorable set, and having his family intermingle with them; it will serve them all just right whatever kind of punishment you mete out to them."

But Abraham was not at all of this disposition: his heart at once went out in sympathy, and benevolently he surmised that although the plain was notoriously wicked there might at least be fifty righteous persons there—not righteous in the absolute sense of being perfect, but in a relative or accommodated sense of doing right to the best of their ability. (Rom. 8:4.) Abraham had the spirit of a mediator: he said to himself, God has been wonderfully gracious to me everyway, and now that he has opened this subject to me I will make bold to tell him of my heart-sympathy for the people, and to express a hope that he will be generous to them. Then he adds, "Wilt thou consume the righteous with the wicked? Peradventure there be fifty righteous in the city, wilt thou consume and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked, that so the righteous should be as the wicked; that be far from thee. Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?"

If these words surprise us—to think that Abraham would dare to call in question the righteousness of the Lord—we should remember that he did not have the blessed advantage that we possess, namely, of the guidance of the Word of God and the enlightenment of the holy Spirit, whereby the Lord's people since Pentecost have been begotten again and granted insight into the deep things of God. We may indeed esteem that this was Abraham's way of putting a question to the Lord rather than criticising him—"If you would destroy the righteous with the wicked, show no difference, would it be just? Lord, show me how this would be just? surely you would do right. I would like to see how justice would be compatible with the course I understand you to have in mind." R3946 

At the same time that faithful Abraham and Sarah were consoled and refreshed, at the same time Isaac was begotten, the iniquity of the Sodomites had become great,—the cry of its wickedness calling upon Justice for repression.  The Lord and the two angels took their departure from Abraham's tent, going in the direction of Sodom, Abraham accompanying them through courtesy and through a desire to continue in heavenly company. And because he was a faithful servant of the Lord it was revealed to him that the destruction of Sodom and her sister villages was imminent. Thus we see the principles upon which the Lord deals with his creatures—to those who are in heart-harmony with him, full of faith and trust and loving obedience, and yet willing to wait patiently for the various features of his plan,—he reveals his plans not only as respects the coming blessing of all the families of the earth, but also as respects the punishment of the ungodly.

We do not find Abraham rejoicing in the calamities about to come upon his neighbors; on the contrary, we find him generous; and so we should expect to find all who are the Lord's true people, full of generosity, kindness and good wishes toward their neighbors—even toward such as they could in no degree recognize or fellowship. Instead of glorying in the adversities coming upon the Sodomites, Abraham instinctively prayed for them divine compassion. And we are to remember in this connection that he had no thought of their calamity extending beyond the loss of the present life. He knew nothing about an "orthodox hell" with its corps of devils to receive and everlastingly torture them. He merely understood the Lord that the destruction of the people and of their cities impended. If he thought at all of their future, it would doubtless be in connection with God's promise, that by and by all the families of the earth should be blessed through his promised heir.

We notice with pleasure the modesty of Abraham as he petitioned the Lord to have mercy upon his neighbors: "Wilt thou consume the righteous with the wicked? Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city, wilt thou consume and spare not the place for the fifty righteous that are therein?" He was not attempting to charge or condemn the Lord by applying his standards; rather he was wishing to ascertain what would be the divine standard in the matter—how much compassion the Lord could justly exercise in behalf of such as sought at all to walk in his ways. Abraham must have known well the unsavory reputation of the Sodomites;—no doubt being in communication with Lot frequently.  It is to his credit, therefore, that he was unwilling to think of those people as badly as they deserved. Actually there were only three worthy of being delivered; yet Abraham, with generosity of heart, assumed that there might be fifty. Benevolent people generally are pretty sure to err in their judgment on the favorable side, when they think of the weaknesses and villainies of their neighbors.

The Lord assented to Abraham's proposition, and the latter's faith thus encouraged, he ventured to lessen the number in his inquiry to forty-five, forty, thirty, twenty, ten, and with all his earnest desire he could not think of petitioning the Lord to save those cities from destruction if wickedness had gotten such a hold that only ten could be found loving righteousness. We rejoice in Abraham's mercifulness, as well as in his faith. Had mercy not been a part of his character we may doubt if the Lord would have called him to be the starting point of his plan of salvation. "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy." Such the Lord is seeking, to be his agents and the channels of the mercies he has provided for mankind, to be dispensed during the Millennial age. Only the merciful will be acceptable to the Lord as joint-heirs with Jesus in the Kingdom, and only the merciful of the ancient worthies will share with Abraham in dispensing divine favors to mankind as "princes in all the earth;" representatives of the spiritual Kingdom.—Psa. 45:16.

We contrast Abraham's modest and reverent petition with some which we have heard uttered by those who suppose themselves to be members of the Gospel Church, the body of Christ,—and the contrast is immensely in Abraham's favor. "O let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak but this once [more]; peradventure ten be found there [will you have mercy upon the cities for their sake]?" How some can go to the Lord in prayer in rude and dictatorial manner, telling him what they want to have done—how many they wish to have converted, how he shall manage the various features of his work, whom he shall bless and how, etc.,—we cannot tell. Let not such persons think that they shall receive anything of the Lord; let them not think that such praying is either fervent or effectual in any good sense. Let us, on the contrary, [R2857 : page 255] as the Lord's people, reason how great he is, and how insignificant we are; how just and true are his ways, and how imperfect are our best conceptions; and let us approach him with reverence to ascertain what are his purposes, rather than to amend or alter them to alignment with our imperfect judgments. R2856


24. Peradventure there are fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou consume and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein?  
25. That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked, that so the righteous should be as the wicked; that be far from thee: shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?  
26. And Jehovah said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sake.  
27. And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, who am but dust and ashes:  
28. peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous: wilt thou destroy all the city for lack of five? And he said, I will not destroy it, if I find there forty and five.  
29. And he spake unto him yet again, and said, Peradventure there shall be forty found there. And he said, I will not do it for the forty's sake.  
30. And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: peradventure there shall thirty be found there. And he said, I will not do it, if I find thirty there.  
31. And he said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord: peradventure there shall be twenty found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for the twenty's sake.  
32. And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for the ten's sake.

The Lord answered Abraham that if there were fifty righteous, well-intentioned people in Sodom it would not be destroyed, and Abraham perceived that he was not more just nor more generous than the Lord. But as he thought over the matter it occurred to him that there might perhaps be one or two less than fifty, and so he asked if the city might be spared if there were only forty-five. The reply was, Yes: the Lord was still as benevolent or more benevolent than Abraham: he was merely finding out the goodness of the Lord. His own courage increased, the spirit of love and benevolence having begun to operate, and he queried of the Lord whether now forty would secure mercy upon the city. The answer was, Yes. Abraham had not yet touched the bottom in seeking to measure the Lord's goodness. Step by step he increased his request. Would it be spared for thirty? Then would it be spared for twenty? until finally he asked the Lord if he would spare the city for ten. In every case the answer was, Yes. In every case the Lord was proven to be no less just, no less generous, than his servant. He had not yet been blessed as we have [R3948 : page 62] been with the anointing of the eyes of his understanding to an appreciation of the lengths and breadths and heights and depths of the love of God, which passeth all understanding.

There is a lesson for us in all of this—a lesson that we should be more and more like our Father which is in heaven, whose message is, "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy"; and again, "If ye do not from the heart forgive those who trespass against you, neither will your heavenly Father forgive your trespasses."—Matt. 5:7Mark 11:26.


Abraham's solicitude was not for the wicked but for the righteous, and so our sympathies should be with all who in every place love righteousness and hate iniquity—to do them good, to serve their interests, to render them assistance, doing good to all men, especially to the household of faith. Abraham's prayers were not for the wicked but for the righteous. "Shall the righteous suffer as the wicked?" was his plea. It is to be remembered, however, that some who now pray for the wicked do so under the misconceptions handed down from the "dark ages," that the wicked are not destroyed, but preserved either in a purgatory of suffering or an eternity of torture. This ungodly, unscriptural, unreasonable thought had not yet been introduced to the world; the plain word death still meant death, and the hope for a future was that of a resurrection of the dead in God's due time, and under more favorable conditions than in the present—when God's Kingdom would be in power, in control.

When Abraham subsequently heard the result of the disaster—that only his nephew Lot was found a righteous man, and that the Lord delivered the one from destruction, and delivered on his account some who were not as worthy of his favor, members of his family, it must have brought a blush to his cheek—to think that he had questioned the justice of God in supposing that he was about to destroy, with the wicked in the city, as many as fifty righteous when here he beheld God's loving mercy even to the extent of delivering the one righteous person and some of his dear ones. Thus it is with us all: we are finding continually that the "heart of the Eternal is most wonderfully kind";—that in our poor, imperfect, fallen condition we have no measures that will reach to those lengths and breadths and heights and depths of the love of God, which passeth all understanding. Truly, as the Word declares, "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my plans loftier than your plans."


While our minds are contemplating the glories of God in connection with this incident of the destruction of Sodom, let us remember that now he has shown us a still deeper degree of sympathy and love in his provision for the whole world of mankind through the great Redeemer, Abraham's son, our Lord. What more do we see? Ask the Lord himself and hearken to his answer, "It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for you"—of Bethsaida and Chorazin and Capernaum. What is this? A day of judgment? Is not the judgment of Sodom past? Yes, truly they were declared of the Lord unworthy of life and were cut short. To quote the words of inspiration, They were haughty, they neglected the poor and the needy and committed abomination, and the Lord took them away from life in the great catastrophe which came upon their city "as he saw good." (Ezek. 16:49,50.) That our Lord had these very people of Sodom in his mind is evidenced by his own words, "fire came down from God out of heaven and destroyed them all." They had a day of judgment and now met their doom and were made an example of, illustrating God's indignation against all unrighteousness, and his will that all evil-doers shall be destroyed. What then did our Lord mean by referring to a day of judgment future? Will they be judged again?

We answer, Yes. They will be judged again, not in the sense of punishing them a second time for their evil deeds—they have already suffered for those. The promised day of judgment means a fresh time of trial pending. But how can this be? Is God not satisfied with his previous judgment respecting this people? Is he not satisfied respecting his decision concerning Adam and the entire race—that none are fit for eternal life because of the impairment of sin, because under the sentence of death?


Ah! the key to this promise of a judgment day in the future for the world of mankind, including the Sodomites, lies in the fact that by divine arrangement "Jesus Christ by the grace of God tasted death for every man"—"gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time." Thus we see that he paid the penalty for the Sodomites and for all the rest of us—the death penalty. Hence God's original sentence or judgment, which would have meant the everlasting destruction of us all, has been met, has been satisfied. It was from this standpoint that God spoke to Abraham in advance about the coming day of judgment, and predicted that then Abraham's seed, Christ, would bless all the families of the earth. It was not explained to Abraham how divine justice would be met and the sinner released through a ransom. This we see because it is in the past, and, more clearly than he, we may understand, guided by the Apostle's words, that "God hath appointed a day [the Millennial age] in the which he will judge the world in righteousness [grant the world a fair trial that will take cognizance of these weaknesses and frailties through the fall] by that man whom God hath ordained"—Jesus and his Church, his Bride.—Acts 17:31.

From this standpoint of present truth, unfolding of the divine plan, how we perceive the riches of God's grace and loving kindness, not only toward us who have accepted of his favor through Christ and received of his holy Spirit as his servants and handmaidens, but his proposed blessing in due time upon the world of mankind in general, the majority of whom are in the great prison-house of death, of which Jesus has the key (Rev. 1:18), that in due time the holy Spirit shall be poured out upon all flesh—that all the blind eyes may be opened and all the deaf ears unstopped, to the glory of God and for the assistance of all mankind, who, under those favorable conditions, will turn wholly and completely to the Lord to serve him with full purpose of heart—and as for the remainder who will not so do, after all this opportunity, they shall be utterly destroyed from amongst the people.—Acts 3:23. R3946

33. And Jehovah went his way, as soon as he had left off communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place.