Are We Down to 50?
Genesis 18: "20 And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous;
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 their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD.
23 And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?
24 Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy 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: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?
26 And the LORD said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.
27 And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which 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, If I find there forty and five, I will not destroy it.
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 forty's sake.
30 And he said unto him, 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 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 ten's sake.
33 And the LORD went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place.
Friends and fellow Americans, it is time to realize that we now live in Sodom, right here in the United States of America. Consider what is happening in the world around us, in the nation that has been considered "one nation under God," a Christian nation. Our divorce rate is about fifty percent, a practice which God hates (see Malachi 2: 15, 16). Since Roe v. Wade of 1973, we now legally kill about 1.5 million defenseless unborn children per year in this country, a murder rate twice that of the Third Reich in its worst years of exterminating eventually six million Jewish people. Here in Pope County of the Bible Belt-sometimes referred to as the buckle of the Bible Belt-only 48 percent of our people go to church anywhere with any regularity. Over 80 percent of our young people admit to cheating on their school work including tests. Over fifty percent of females and over 70 percent of males admit to cheating on their spouses in marriage. If one thinks that people really abide by the 70 mile per hour speed limit on our Interstate Highways, he should keep carefully to the right as he drives so that he will not be run down by violaters. There are eight million alcohol addicts in this country. And Christians are trying to live in the middle of this gross idolatry. It is inevitable that some clashing of the values will occur. Paul said in II Timothy 3:12 that "12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." and
"13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived."
This is the trend of the life in which we are living.
We are in a time when the righteous need to be praying that America will last for a few more years so they can live out their lives before being deposed.
Is it presumptuous to say that America will be overthrown? As if the Bible itself did not have enough examples of how God raises up nations and then lets them fall when they no longer serve Him, let us look at a short secular history lesson.
The only reason that I would exhume one of man's theories in a Bible class is that the man found exactly the same thing that the Bible teaches. Arnold Toynbee found in studying the history of the world that civilizations go through four very predictable stages from birth through demise. All 27 civilizations that had existed before 1948 progressed through these same four stages at various rates and for various times:
The civilization was the unit Toynbee analyzed. Countries have sometimes been crushed from without, but a civilization (such as Rome, Syria, Phoenicia) has never been. Civilizations always fall from within, due--Toynbee found--to moral decay from within.
Here is a brief description of each of the four stages:
1. In revolution/birth "great men" are willing to lead. They lead in unselfish ways. Leaders are believable and act in good faith. In the birthing times of most civilizations, leaders are religious, at least in broad terms. All sacrifice to help the new country or civilizations get on its feet. There is strong pressure from the outside which helps to solidify on the inside. In stage A, participants do not dwell on individual rights or immediate gratification.
2. In the stable republic there are still great men. With the revolution behind them, people begin to try to make themselves a little comfortable. They are still willing to sacrifice to keep their civilization, whether it be through taxation or military service. The pressure from without has abated somewhat, lessening the response from within.
3. In stage C, decline, the people become too self-indulgent. They begin to lose the will to fight, like David who stayed behind in Jerusalem (II Samuel 11: 1) or the Romans who hired mercenaries to do their fighting rather than to continue to do it themselves. There is strong talk of civil rights and individual freedoms. As the stage progresses, the freedoms of everyone actually decline while a lawless few capture even more freedom. There is graft in high places. "Great men" become fewer and fewer, and public officials become less and less believable.
Few are drawn to public service purely because of the desire to serve; most are drawn to office for what they can get out of it. Morals decline, then break down, as in the Roman orgies; the civilizations reach a point where evil looks good and good looks evil to many. A few begin to warn of decline and impending doom, but they are written off by a majority who seek instant gratification. Rome was the most classic case.
4. In stage D, disintegration, even the "densist" of persons knows that the country/civilization is not long for this world. There is widespread hopelessness. The people do not believe that they can mount a collective self-discipline to avert disaster. In government, there are no more good men. All government officials are opportunists. Religious persons are persecuted or are at least ignored. The military has become a mockery. In the midst of this chaos, there are still those who call for more individual freedom and less interference from the State.
The pre-exilic books (Obadiah, Joel, Jonah, Hosea, Amos, Micah) were warning God's people that they were getting down toward D and past the point of no return if they didn't change soon. One of the inexorable difficulties of trying to deal with a people in this situation is that they do not take prophets or preachers seriously. Compare to Lot's relatives in Genesis 19:14. While some see what is coming, most refuse to believe it.
How should people live if they realize that are in a time of disintegration? Do they "roll with the tide" and live in sin or do they "come ye out from among them, and be ye separate?"
Now please read the 19th chapter of Genesis to see what happened in the time of Lot and Abraham. Remember that God is not a god of the dead, but of the living. He deals with nations today in much the same fashion as He did then.
One final bit of advice. Let's let it be scripture: II Corinthians 6: 14-7:1.
14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
7:1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
Are you "coming out from among them" of the world and living a life for Jesus? Do you "dare to be different?"
We hope that by reviewing this lesson that you have been brought closer to the Lord.
Sid Womack, webmaster