God destroyed the biblical cities of Sodom and Gomorrah owing to their wickedness. Their story echoes the flood narrative in Genesis in its theme of God’s wrath caused by man’s transgression.
Jesus said that end-time events would mimic those in the days before Sodom and Gomorrah’s destruction.
Jesus Christ predicted that civilizations at the end of the era will resemble those of Noah and Lot (Luke 17:26-30). (Luke 17:26-30). Jesus said of Lot’s time (verses 28-29). (See verses 28-29). The wise person will go further into God’s Word to learn what Jesus meant.
The Bible is the Christian faith’s holy scripture, purporting to describe the story of the earth from its inception through the introduction of Christianity in the first century A.D. Many of its texts are considered divine by Jews and Christians, but how can we know if God penned them? One method is to consider how well they accord with science, which may support the idea that God inspired (or perhaps wrote) them. Here is a biblical narrative of Sodom and Gomorrah, as well as what Jesus said about it.
God tells Abraham in the book of Genesis that Sodom and Gomorrah will be destroyed because of their terrible sins (Genesis 18:20). As part of Abraham’s plea, he wants to ensure that the lives of any righteous people, especially his nephew, Lot, and his family, who may be at risk of death, are spared. A negotiation between Abraham and God appears to take place on behalf of the righteous people of both cities. There is a beginning where God is willing to spare the cities if a sufficient number of just people can be found, and then he agrees to spare the cities if only a good number of just people can be found (Gen 18:23-32). Two angels are dispatched to Lot in Sodom, disguised as men, but when they arrive, they are accosted by a hostile mob who demands that they leave. Lot’s offer of his daughters rather than his sons only infuriates the crowd, which are then struck blind by the angelic visitors (19:1–11). The lot and his family are the only remaining virtuous individuals in the city, so the angels urge them to leave immediately. As Lot and his family are leaving the city, they can see that it is being destroyed from afar. This makes the Lord turn Lot’s wife into a pillar of salt.
As mentioned in the Qur’an, there is a similar account in the Qur’an (11:74–83 and 29:28–35), but the Qur’an does not identify the cities by name, so the performance in the Qur’an must be the same. Despite Abraham’s pleas for his ancestors, he is informed that no matter how much he pleads on behalf of Lot’s people, he will not be able to prevent the chastisement, regardless of how much he maintains on behalf of his ancestors. In the biblical narrative, Lot was grieved when the messengers informed him that his people would perish. In the same manner, he mourned when the messengers reported to him that his people would pass; Lot offered his daughters to the mob in vain when the messengers informed him that his people would perish, too. Lot is told to flee with his followers in the middle of the night and is warned that his wife will suffer the same fate as the rest of his followers in the morning. There is a heavy downpour of stones that destroys the cities.
Did Jesus say anything about Sodom and Gomorrah? Matthew 10:15 says, “Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that city.” This verse is a reference to the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. You may be wondering why this verse would include Sodom and Gomorrah. After all, we know that both of these cities were destroyed by God because they were wicked (Genesis 18:20-19:29). We also know that their wickedness was so great that no human could even begin to understand how evil it was (Genesis 19:12). So why does Matthew refer to them? Matthew is pointing out two things about the destruction of these cities:
- The destruction wasn’t because God hated them or wanted them gone—it was because their wickedness had reached an extreme point where nothing could be done but destroy them
- Even after this destruction, there are many lessons we can learn from what happened in those two cities
- Matthew 10:14-15
Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet. Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on Judgment Day than for that town.” (NIV)
The reason Jesus used Sodom and Gomorrah as examples of judgment is that they were both destroyed in a fire by God. The story of Sodom and Gomorrah is found in Genesis 18-19, which tells the tale of two angels who visit Abraham and warn him that if he doesn’t save Lot from destruction at the hands of sinful men living in the cities, God will wipe them out with fire. Later on, in Genesis 19:24-28, we see how God did just that when he sent down burning sulfur onto these cities—and then turned Lot’s wife into a pillar of salt as she looked back longingly over her shoulder while leaving behind friends who had just been killed by a flood caused by their God Almighty himself!
“And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works had been done in Sodom which was done in thee, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for thee.”
Jesus is referring to Chorazin and Bethsaida as well as Sodom and Gomorrah here. These cities rejected him and his message (Matthew 11:20-24), just as Sodom and Gomorrah did (Genesis 19). Jesus is saying that these cities will be more tolerable on the day of judgment than those who rejected him.
Jesus’ words are recorded in Luke 17:28-30. He was speaking about the judgment that had been pronounced on Sodom and Gomorrah, but His words were also meant for His listeners. He said: “It will be more bearable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for you.” What does this mean? When Jesus used the word “bearable,” it means that there would be less punishment because the people of those cities were wicked, but there is another reason why God had mercy upon them.
These days when we live in sin, God still mercies us because He loves us so much. It is incredible how much our Father loves each one of us! Even though we deserve nothing but hellfire forever and ever, He gives us grace instead so that we may live with Him again after death (2 Corinthians 5:8).
Luke 17:29, 30
If you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive you. But if you do forgive others their sins, your Father will give you eternal life. Jesus also said that God knows the hearts of all people; so we have to watch our motives and strive to be as pure in heart as possible. If we are sinning against God or other people when we refuse forgiveness, then there is no hope for us in this life or the next one because it shows that we are not following God’s example of love and forgiveness (Luke 6:36).
God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because of the sin that was committed.
The Bible is clear that God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because of the sin that was committed. However, the account in Genesis 19 also reveals that there was no righteous person in the city. Every single person was “greatly wicked.”
The Bible describes Sodom as being filled with violence and sexual immorality (Genesis 13:13). The men of Sodom wanted to rape Lot’s visitors; he offered his virgin daughters to them instead but they rejected this offer (Genesis 19:8-9). It seems unlikely that such wicked people would have been destroyed if one or two individuals had been righteous.
This story is a story about loving your neighbor, plain and simple.