The Example of Sodom and Gomorrah
by Fr. Robert D Smith
Our generation prides itself on having discarded all fables, yet there is one
that is accepted almost everywhere: that Christ came to promise all men sal-
vation no matter what they do, and to reveal that there is no punishment for sin in
the next world. The God of the Old Testament was a God of fear; the God of the
New Testament, so goes the fable, is a God of love, with no qualifications what-
soever. God sent punishment for sin in the Old Testament, such as the fire and
brimstone rained down on the pagan cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. According
to fable, these punishments are now abolished altogether. Not only abolished,
but rendered unthinkable.
Christ used the dreadful Old Testament punishment inflicted on Sodom
and Gomorrah to describe something new and effectively unheard of-a judgment
day that will fix the destiny of all men for all eternity. And this general destiny
will not be one of universal rejoicing and forgiveness. He compared this destiny
to the judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah:"But on the day Lot left Sodom,
fire and brimstone rained down from Heaven and destroyed them all. It
will be like that on the day the Son of Man is revealed." (Luke 17:29-30)
The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was not a mere aberration in
God's plan; it was a prophecy of, incredibly, even more severe judgments to
come in the New Testament, eternal ones similar to their destruction. Again,
incredibly, Christ went even further, not once or twice, but three times.
With regard to the sin of those who reject Him personally, He said:
"As for you, Capernaum, 'are you to be exalted to the skies? You shall
go down to the realm of death!' If the miracles worked in you had taken
place in Sodom, it would be standing today. I assure you, it will go
easier for Sodom than for you on the day of judgment."(Matt.11:23-24)
Those who rejected Christ were claiming to be innocent and in good faith
about it all. Christ said that they were not innocent, that they would be punish-
ed more severely than Sodom, which was a symbol, a foretaste of Hell itself.
They would be plunged somehow further down in Hell than the Sodomites,
receive an even more severe torment.
No less astonishing is Christ's penalty for those who reject His Apostles.
"Jesus sent these men on mission as The Twelve, after giving them the
following instructions....'Look for a worthy person in every town or
village you come to and stay with him until you leave....If anyone does
not receive you or listen to what you have to say, leave that house or
town...I assure you, it will go easier for the region of Sodom and Gomorrah
on the day of judgment than it will for that town.' "(Matt.10:5,11,14-15).
He even said the same thing to His seventy-two disciples. "The Lord
appointed a further seventy-two and sent them in pairs before Him to
every town and place He intended to visit. He said to them...'If the people
of any town you enter do not welcome you...I assure you, on that day the
fate of Sodom will be less severe than that of such a town.' "(Luke.10:1-2,
10,12). The pagans who commit sin are revealed to be subject to the fires of
Hell. Pagans who have not heard Christ Himself or His apostles or disciples
still are liable to the fires of Hell for serious sins.
During His life on Earth, the world ignored these elements of Christ's
teaching. After these and other similar stern warnings, Christ said:"They have
eyes to see but do not see, ears to hear but do not hear."(Matt.11:15, 13:9,
13:13-17, 13:43). The world shuts its eyes and blocks its ears to the truth as
revealed by Christ and listens only to the fables concocted and solemnly
affirmed by the smiling legion of false prophets we have in the world today.
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'The Other Side of Christ' copyright © Fr. Robert D Smith. All rights reserved.