The sobering story of Sodom and Gomorrah describes God's fiery destruction of two cities because of their extremely sinful practices (see Genesis 18–19). Bible prophets repeatedly used the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah as the ultimate example of God's judgment on sinful peoples (Isaiah 13:1–22; Jeremiah 50:35–40). The Apostle Peter states that these cities were reduced to smoldering ruins as a warning to any who would follow their lifestyles (2 Peter 2:6).
For thousands of years, these vivid descriptions discouraged certain behaviors. Yet in recent decades, many have rejected these sobering warnings, ignored them, or even ridiculed them as fables and bigotry. Today, "progressive" people are promoting the very lifestyles that brought divine destruction on the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah! The Bible predicted that this would occur—and explained where it will lead—in prophecies that are coming alive today!
Why did God rain fire and brimstone on Sodom and Gomorrah? Many have forgotten or want to ignore the real reason. The Bible states that when several men stopped to visit a man named Lot, "the men of Sodom… surrounded the house. And they called to Lot, and said to him, 'where are the men who came to see you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may know them carnally'" (Genesis 19:4–5). Most Bible commentaries acknowledge that the men of Sodom were intent on gratifying their homosexual desires. Although Lot responded, "Please, my brethren, do not do so wickedly" (Genesis 19:7), the men of Sodom attempted to sexually abuse special messengers from God (Genesis 19:1). Because of this "exceedingly wicked and sinful" behavior (Genesis 13:13) the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were suddenly and totally destroyed by an act of God (Genesis 19:24–25).
This is not the only biblical example of divine punishment for what many today term an "alternate" lifestyle. Men of the tribe of Benjamin forgot the lesson of Sodom and Gomorrah, and made a similarly fatal mistake. When a traveling Levite sought lodging in Gibeah, "certain men of the city, perverted men, surrounded the house and beat on the door… saying, 'bring out the man who came to your house, that we may know him carnally'" (Judges 19:22). When their demand was refused, they abused the Levite's concubine all night until she died (Judges 19:24–27). This wanton act of sexual aggression started a civil war that nearly destroyed the tribe of Benjamin (Judges 20).
The Bible explains why God brought such terrible punishment on Sodom, Gomorrah and Gibeah. The laws God gave to Moses contain very clear prohibitions against homosexuality. Leviticus 18:22 enjoins that "you shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination" (Deuteronomy 23:17). These instructions and severe penalties were designed to prevent and discourage behaviors the Bible labels as evil, perverted, wicked abominations. This is not just the opinion of Moses; it is what God stated. These biblical instructions do not promote hatred against individuals, but were designed to stigmatize certain behaviors that are detrimental to human beings and human societies. These divine revelations have guided many human societies for thousands of years—until recently!
In the last several decades, we have witnessed an amazing social transformation—especially in the "Christian" nations of Northwestern European descent. Today we see the growing toleration and active promotion of homosexual behavior—even by the clergy. Homosexual men and lesbians are applauded for "coming out" of the closet. College students are encouraged to experiment with homosexual relationships. "Gay pride" parades are staged from London to San Francisco to Sydney. What was long regarded as a perversion is now presented as an acceptable, normal "alternate" lifestyle. But even more is on the way!
Homosexual political lobbies want same-sex relationships recognized as the legal equivalent of heterosexual marriage. Laws pending in Sweden and Canada would make any negative reference to homosexuality a crime (WorldNetDaily, Oct. 21, 2002). Under such laws, certain biblical passages would be classified as "hate literature," and quoting the Bible could be a criminal offense. Mainstream Christian churches plan to endorse same-sex "marriages" even though this may cause a major departure of members who view this as a wholesale rejection of biblical instructions (London Daily Telegraph, Nov. 4, 2002). Today, seminaries and parishes have many homosexual clergy, who simply do not believe or follow biblical teachings.
Many hail these recent and shocking developments as a sign of progress and modernization. Yet anyone with a sense of history and knowledge of Scripture should know better. Isaiah referred to the morally degenerate nation of Israel as "you rulers of Sodom… you people of Gomorrah" (Isaiah 1:10). He labeled them a "sinful nation" (1:4) that had "rebelled" against their God (1:2). He said that "they declare their sin as Sodom" (3:9)—they had no shame and saw nothing wrong with their behavior! This is exactly where we are today. Isaiah also warned: "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil" (5:20). Recently, during a debate over homosexual couples adopting children, a member of the British Parliament was "villified for saying that conventional marriage, according to all the evidence, provides the most stable background for bringing up children" (London Daily Telegraph, Nov. 5, 2002. An editorial laments, "what a pretty pass we have come to, when a Tory chairman is condemned as 'nasty' for stating the blindingly obvious" (ibid.). One British journalist, though identifying himself a homosexual, labeled the whole debate about homosexuals adopting children as "political correctness gone mad" and a "misdirected obsession with equality" in which "people are afraid to tell the truth" (ibid.).
Long ago, the Bible predicted that this tragic situation would arise and explained why it would occur. Moses warned our Israelite ancestors: "For I know that after my death you will become utterly corrupt, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days" (Deuteronomy 31:29). The Apostle Paul explains that because human beings "did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting" (Romans 1:28)—including sexual activities such as homosexuality (Romans 1:24–27). These behaviors thrive where the laws of God are rejected. The acceptance of homosexual lifestyles has paralleled the decline of biblical religion that we have seen in recent decades.
Many today have forgotten that Jesus spoke of a coming judgment (Matthew 10:14–15). God plainly states: "I will punish the world for its evil, and the wicked for their iniquity" (Isaiah 13:11). He prophesied that the ancient city of Babylon would be destroyed like Sodom and Gomorrah (Isaiah 13:19–20), and that a future end-time Babylon would suffer the same fate because of rampant sins (Revelation 11:8; 18:1–8). The prophet Amos predicted that sinful Israelite nations will be overthrown like Sodom and Gomorrah. Because we have rejected God's instructions, Amos cries out: "Prepare to meet your God, O Israel" (Amos 4:11–12). The story of Sodom and Gomorrah was intended to convey a powerful lesson: that disobeying the laws of God brings tragic results. Unless we repent of our modern return to the ways of Sodom, the Bible prophecies coming alive today indicate that serious consequences are just ahead!
—Douglas S. Winnail