The end-times scent is in the very ambience that surrounds us. Something profound is about to bring change in ways that we can’t fully anticipate. I believe what’s about to change things in this world forever is the great Rapture event.
The Rapture will be the sudden disappearance of people from the earth. Only those who are righteous will vanish. All who are left behind will, at that moment, be unrighteous in God’s holy eyes.
Again, I believe the key prophecy involving the timing of the Rapture is given in the words of Jesus:
Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. (Luke 17:28–30)
So it is essential that we understand the righteous and the unrighteous. Who exactly are these? To get to the heart of what’s involved, I repeat here what I wrote in a previous article.
To begin, we must first consider God’s words to Lot’s uncle, Abraham.
The Lord said He would tell Abraham about things to come, because He knew Abraham would do righteously. God wanted him to know His plan to deal with Sodom’s wickedness, once He determined that action was necessary. The Lord, Himself, stood with Lot, then, and discussed Sodom’s fate, while the Lord’s angel-representatives headed down toward Sodom and Gomorrah.
And the LORD said, because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; 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. And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD. And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? (Genesis 18:20–23)
There was then a profound back-and-forth between the Lord God and a lowly human being—Abraham. God answered each of the old man’s questions. Abraham was appealing to God to have those in the wicked cities spared from destruction. He asked if God would relent if 50 were found to be righteous—then 40, then 30, then 20.
Finally, after Abraham asked if God would spare the cities if the Lord could find even 10 righteous and 10 couldn’t be found, Sodom and Gomorrah’s fate was sealed.
God had said to Abraham before the countdown began—following Abraham’s initial question about the possibility of the cities being spared:
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? (Genesis 18:25)
It was almost as if the Lord was mildly indignant to be thought of as being so unjust that He would condemn the righteous with the unrighteous.
Alas, there were not 10 righteous left in the city of Sodom. There were only Lot and his small family. God’s Word calls Lot “righteous,” even though Lot dwelt among perhaps the worst culture and society biblically recorded in such detail. The detail was so graphic it made the level of unrighteousness unmistakable.
It was business as usual during daylight hours, with the cities being apparently prosperous—buying, selling, building, planting, etc. But when the sun went down, they became a habitation of every sort of evil—particularly of debauchery, with homosexual rapaciousness leading the wickedness. The lustful males came even against the angels who visited Lot.
The raging men of the city threatened Lot with the worst possible attack if he didn’t go along with them and send out his visitors. They were on the verge of tearing down the door to get at their would-be victims. The only ones God considered righteous in the city at that moment were hated and threatened by the rest, who were the unrighteous.
And this is the angle I would like us to consider for now.
Jesus said in Luke 17:28–30 that it will be for those alive at His next revealing like it was at that time for Lot when he was hated and threatened by the wickedness of that society.
Lot and his two daughters were the only people who escaped the total destruction that descended upon Sodom and its sister city Gomorrah following their removal from those doomed cities. Thus they were the only people God considered righteous.
Now this is a point of considerable questioning of God’s Judgment, in thinking about Lot and those two daughters.
How can a man who offers his daughters up for rape to a town full of sexual deviants be considered “righteous”?
As a matter of fact, how can those two daughters be considered “righteous” when they got their father drunk then had sexual relations with him once they were safely away from Sodom?
Yet Lot and those daughters were considered “righteous,” they were, therefore, the only ones who escaped God’s devastating judgment.
Here is how Peter confirmed Lot’s righteousness:
And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds.) (2 Peter 2:6–8)
So Lot and his daughters and their comportment are presented as proof that salvation—and the saving out of Sodom—was not because of their good works. They were obviously, in some ways, as corrupt in behavior as the culture in which they were immersed. What, then, made them “righteous”?
We go again to the story of Abraham to discover the answer. Here it is, the answer to what makes anyone righteous—thus able to escape God’s wrath against the unrighteous.
Moses said of Abraham, under Divine Inspiration: And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness. (Genesis 15:6)
When a fear-filled jailer asked the Apostle Paul, “What must I do to be saved?” Paul said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” (Acts 16: 31).
In other words, Paul was saying that the jailer, those of his household, or anyone else can be saved only through belief in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus is the way, truth and life (John 14:6). He is the only way to reconciliation with God the Father.
This was true looking forward to the cross during Abraham and Lot’s days. It is true today, looking back to the cross on which God’s Only Begotten Son died for the sins of humankind.
Belief in Christ is the only way to escape from this doomed planet when Jesus calls believers to Himself in the Rapture. Belief in Jesus as God’s designated route to salvation is the only way to be considered righteous.
The story of Lot and his daughters answers the question: Will only Christians walking perfectly with God and looking for the Rapture go to Christ when He calls?
Good works will not get anyone to Heaven. Only Christ, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world–the only righteousness God recognizes—will put the believer in the presence of Christ when He says: “Come up here!” (Revelation 4:1).
Again, here is how to make sure you hear that call and are taken out of the Tribulation that will devastate the rebels of earth, just like God’s judgment and wrath destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (Romans 10: 9-10)
Just a note here to say again how pleased we are that Jonathan Brentner has joined us in writing for Nearing Midnight. He’s not only a colleague, but a Christian brother and friend I value very highly.