“And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple.
2 And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” (Matt. 24:1-3)
As the public ministry of Christ was drawing to a close, His disciples came to Him with a question. They wanted to know what would be the sign of His coming again. Jesus had told His disciples He was going away. Soon, they would see Him no more, for a little while. But then, He would return.
The disciples discussed the teaching of Jesus among themselves, and then came together to ask Him two questions. First, they wanted to know the sign of His coming, and second, they wanted to know the end of the age. They did not ask about the end of the world, but they did ask about the end of the age.
This was a concept the Jews were familiar with. Jewish thought divided time into two ages. There was this age, and there was the age to come. The age to come was the age of the Messiah.
The disciples of Jesus looked forward to the age to come. They were excited about that new beginning. They asked for a sign.
While the disciples asked for one sign, in matchless grace Jesus gave them several signs to indicate that the cosmos, the present world order they knew so well, was coming to an end. There was to be the dawning of a new day. It would begin with the resurrection and ascension of Christ into glory where He would be seated on the right hand of the Father.
Then, at the appointed time, the ascended Christ would once more descend, and return to earth in clouds of glory.
But when would all that happen? What was the sign of the Messiah’s return, and the end of the aion, the age?
As a part of His answer. Jesus referred to a person in the Old Testament era named Lot. Jesus said, “As it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; 29 But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. 30 Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. 31 In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back. 32 Remember Lot’s wife” (Luke 17:28-32).
Why did Jesus say, “Remember Lots wife?” That seems a strange thing to say.
In 2 Peter 3 the apostle said that “the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up” (2 Peter. 3:10).
Will these things really happen? The short answer is, “Yes.” These events will happen just as surely as what happened to Lot’s wife.
Her story took place during the days of Abraham. Abraham was a Friend of God. He was a great man of God. He was a man of faith. When God told Abraham one day to leave Ur of Chaldea (in southern Iraq) and go to a new land, Abraham believed God and he make his journey by faith.
In his journey of faith, Abraham did not travel alone. He had many possessions, and an extended family, which included his nephew, Lot. And Lot had a wife who would become infamous throughout the world.
When Abraham reached the Land of Promise, he had to deal with a practical problem which involved his nephew. A controversy arose over all the great possessions Abraham had.
“And there was a strife between the herdsmen of Abram’s cattle and the herdsmen of Lot’s cattle…
8 And Abram said unto Lot, let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdsmen and thy herdsmen; for we be brethren.
9 Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left.
10 And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere…
11 Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other (Gen. 13:7-12).
Lot separated himself from Abraham. An important, but tragic truth is learned. Great wealth often brings spiritual poverty.
Jesus said, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God” (Matt. 19:24).
Paul said, “they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition” (1 Tim. 6:9).
Lot desired to be rich, and was, because he was blessed by being associated with his uncle, Abraham.
But then Lot did something very foolish. Lot left Abraham, and fell into temptation, and the snare of the Devil, for he went to live in Sodom.
The prophet Ezekiel described Sodom as a place of pride. The people of Sodom gloried in the culture and sophisticated ways. They were liberal in their points of view, and progressive in their ideas about life.
According to Ezekiel, the people of Sodom were wealthy. They had an abundance of resources to enjoy. They had food, and clothing, jewelry, and the latest means of transportation. Because of their great wealth, many citizens of Sodom had an “abundance of idleness.” Some had so much time on their hands they did not know what to do each day. When people are bored they often turn to sensual activities for pleasure and excitement. But then, the people of Sodom had another characteristic. They had a fundamental contempt for those less fortunate. They refused to help the poor and needy (Ezekiel 16:49). Riches have a way of hardening the heart so that the person who has much, wants even more. Wealth can make us selfish and stingy.
Lot chose to live in Sodom where he “vexed” his righteous soul from day to day with unlawful deeds (2 Peter 2:8).
First Lot observed everything that was going on around him, and then began to live in such a way that his conscience was in torment.
Lot became an emotionally tortured man because his heart was divided.
He knew he should not covet. He knew he should be helping the poor and needy. He knew he should be redeeming the time. But the mind of Lot was conflicted. His righteous soul became soiled by the world, the flesh, and the Devil.
A normal person might think that when someone is tormented, they would take steps to stop the madness, but sin does not allow that to happen.
Sin muddles the mind, and inflames the emotions so that people do not think rationally, or act in a responsible manner.
Sin enslaves the soul, and takes a person captive so that those who initially freely willed to sin, find they have no will, they have no strength not to sin.
They are not happy.
They are tormented in life.
But they do nothing about their situation. They are helpless and hopeless in their given state. Sin binds people with invisible, but very real spiritual chains, and throws them into a prison of moral darkness.
Lot, like so many others, vexed, or tormented his righteous soul daily with self-induced misery.
Are you like Lot? Do you torment yourself every day by living in such a way that violates your own knowledge of what is good, decent, and holy?
One day, in matchless grace, God sent two angels to rescue Lot, and deliver him from the sinful city of Sodom.
At first, Lot was reluctant to leave. He wanted to rescues others, if possible. However, when Lot began to tell the people of the judgment to come, the people laughed at him. Lot had lost his testimony. He had the right message, but he was the wrong messenger, and so no one listened to him.
The angels insisted that Lot leave immediately, no matter what others said, or thought, or did. Lot needed to be saved “for the Lord will destroy this city” (Gen. 19:14).
Lot took his wife by the hand and fled the city of Sodom. He and his wife had been instructed not to look back, once they left Sodom, or judgment would fall on them. Why was a backward look forbidden? Because it indicated a love for what was being left.
The command of God comes, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15).
While Lot kept his eyes forward looking, according to the known will of the Lord, the Bible says that “his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt” (Gen. 19:16).
Now learn a spiritual truth by way of application. “As it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; 29 But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. 30 Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed” (Luke 17:28-30).
The main point is this. Those who are looking for signs of the times have all they need. As it was in the days of Noah, as it was in the days of Sodom, as it was in the days of Lot, so shall it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.
Yes, Jesus Christ is coming again. That is the hope that beats in the heart of every true believer.
Jesus Christ is coming the Second Time for all who believe (Heb. 9:28).
Christ was raised from the dead, He is at the right hand of the Father, and He is coming back.
We do not know when, and should not try to guess.
What we do know is that the days just prior to the Lord’s return will reflect the days of Noah, and Sodom, and Lot. Those days are now upon the world, which means that the Lord could appear at any time.
But here, care must be taken to add, that just because the Lord could come at any given time, He will come soon. We are commanded not to think such thoughts.
“Beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come…” (2 Peter 3:8-10a). But no one knows when, and no one should engage in speculation.
Rather, the Christian should live as if the day of judgment is today. Every person should flee from the wrath to come, today. Time should be redeemed, today. And there should be no looking back. Every Christian should sing with sincerity of their commitment to follow Christ, without searching for signs.
“I have decided, to follow Jesus.
I have decided, to follow Jesus.
I have decided, to follow Jesus.
No looking back, no looking back.”
Remember Lot’s wife.