The Lord spoke to me quite clearly the other morning. It seems sleep “escaped me” and I woke rather early and was stirred to look into the metaphor or “word picture” that Jesus left His disciples in talking about His Second Coming: “Remember Lot’s Wife.”
Here is the passage in its immediate context from Luke 17:
”It was the same as happened in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building; but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed. On that day, the one who is on the housetop and whose goods are in the house must not go down to take them out; and likewise the one who is in the field must not turn back. Remember Lot’s wife. Whoever seeks to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.” Luke 17: 28-33
To give my own context, I was preparing a seminar on Eight End Times Essentials that my daughter and I were doing for two local churches, when the Lord directed me to Luke 17 and these short cryptic words: ”Remember Lot’s Wife”.
If you “Google” this verse you will find thousands of hits and most of them are directed at the unsaved — as though we can “scare folks toward Christ”! After all, the image of a pillar of salt is quite graphic! Here is just one example: ”Do not delay, trust Christ today! Obey the Lord.”
I don’t blame or judge those who would use this passage for a call to conversion but I would ask us all to look closer to find the true meaning of these words. Please notice that Jesus was talking to Peter, James, and John – the 12 apostles: And He said to the disciples, “The days will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it…. And just as it was in the days of Noah..” Luke 17:22, 26
Therefore we need to first of all look at the church in these verses.
— Why is Jesus bringing us the word picture of Lot’s wife?
— What is there in her “looking back” that we need to take to heart?
In these three short words ”Remember Lot’s Wife” I believe Jesus has given us a library to explore concerning the Last Days and His Return!
1. “Head for the Hills”.
To start with we must see that Jesus spoke this to His disciples as pertaining to events surrounding His Second Coming and as a warning of urgency!
“On that day” there is no time to “go back and get your goods”!
Whether you are on the rooftop or out in the fields on “that day”, the message is the same – “Flee! Don’t go back.” In the broader context of Luke 17, we see that Jesus spoke of “that day” as when the “Abomination of Desolation” stands in the holy place. This is seen in the parallel passages from Mtt 24:15 and Mk 13:14.
“Therefore when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains. Whoever is on the housetop must not go down to get the things out that are in his house. Whoever is in the field must not turn back to get his cloak.” Mtt 24: 15-18
It will take the utmost of urgency and resolve for the world-wide Bride of Christ in “that day” to move quickly and without regard to the “things of this world”. Alfred Plummer has written tersely about this verse to “Remember Lot’s wife”:
“The application is to absolute indifference to all worldly interests as the attitude of readiness for the Son of Man”.
The great question I believe for this generation, for this hour, is how do we know that we will not follow Lot’s wife example? The only answer is that we are living NOW the life that will endure to the end THEN!!
We need to be like Daniel and the Hebrew youths!
They came as captives from Jerusalem into a difficult setting — Babylon under the rulership of an anti-christ figure Nebuchadnezzar– but they never wavered. They CAME prepared! They came with an understanding of their time, an awareness of their time! They did not learn in Babylon, “on-the-job”, the lessons of faith and trust that would see them through the fiery furnace and the lion’s den.
They came prepared to face the giant.
We need this same sense of urgency that Jesus left as an example for His disciples. We must be prepared on short notice to “head for the hills”, having made the decision in our hearts years earlier to “absolute indifference to all worldly interests”.
Many believers will be offended by GOD in the last days. “And then shall many be offended…” (Mtt 24: 10) As Mike Bickle from IHOP has shared many times:
”The prepared, prophetic church ALONE will have the answers to keep multitudes from being offended at God in the End Times.”
2. Don’t look Back.
Here we see the real tragedy of this situation. Just before the goal-line (i.e. the small city of Zoar) Mrs. Lot lingered, tarried, hesitated… “remembered” and looked back! Her own husband and daughters were just a FEW meters in front of her in the safety of the city limits
The angel had just told them the night before that they must– “Hurry, escape there, for I cannot do anything until you arrive there.” Well, true to his word, as soon as Lot reached Zoar with his two daughters “the LORD rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven.” (Gen 19) At this point, Lot’s wife revealed her true heart as she turned her head to “look behind” at the burning memories of Sodom.
“And she became a pillar of salt” Gen 19:26 And a memorial that stood most likely for generations! The famous 1st century Jewish historian Josephus reports that he saw this pillar of salt in his time! It must be noted here that Lot’s wife was “touched by an angel”. She was directed by an angel to head for the hills and to not look back. Few of us have had such divine intervention (let the reader understand).
If we study closely the life of Lot, we will see that this “looking back” of his wife’s did not happen with out some gradual decline. I believe we can see a slow, steady turning, like a giant ocean liner at sea making a U-Turn. Lot intended at first, when he separated from Abraham, to live in his tent apart from the people of Sodom (Genesis 13:12). But he was gradually drawn away, moved to the city, and was connected with the citizens there by marriage. Lot moved further and further from the Kingdom of God and settled in closer and closer in the kingdom of this world.
He too “hesitated” and “lingered” when it came his time to “Flee!”
Gen 19: 15-16 “When morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, ‘Up, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away in the punishment of the city.’ But he hesitated. So the men seized his hand and the hand of his wife and the hands of his two daughters, for the compassion of the LORD was upon him; and they brought him out, and put him outside the city.”
What was the big lure of Sodom?? Was it the blatant lust and living for the flesh? Don’t be too quick to judge!
“Now this was the sin of Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.” Ezekiel 16:49-50
Someday, possibly in the not-too-distant future, we will also be told to “head for the hills”! Saints, we need to wake up out of the “fog” of fear of the End Times, the book of Revelation and the proclaim the Return of the King!
I will close with one last quote from CS Lewis’ classic The World’s Last Night:
“He shall come again to judge the quick and the dead“’ says the Apostles’ Creed. “This same Jesus’ said the angels in Acts, “shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” “Hereafter’ said our Lord him self (by those words inviting crucifixion), “shall ye see the Son of Man . . . coming in the clouds of heaven.” If this is not an integral part of the faith once given to the saints, I do not know what is.
Yours for the least in the Kingdom,
by Edwin Hatch
No sooner is any new impulse given either to philosophy or to religion than there arises a class of men who copy the form without the substance… So it has been with Christianity. It came into the educated [Greek] world in the simple dress of a Prophet of Righteousness. It won that world by the stern reality of its life, by the subtle bonds of its brotherhood, by its divine message of consolation and of hope. Around it thronged the race of eloquent talkers who persuaded it to change its dress and to assimilate its language to their own.
It seemed thereby to win a speedier and completer victory. But it purchased conquest at the price of reality. With that its progress stopped!
There has been an element of sophistry in it ever since; and so far as in any age that element has dominated, so far has the progress of Christianity been arrested. Its progress is arrested now, because many of its preachers live in an unreal world. The truths they set forth are truths of utterance rather than truths of their lives.
But if Christianity is to be again the power that it was in its earliest ages, it must renounce its costly purchase… The hope of Christianity is, that the class which was artificially created may ultimately disappear; and that the sophistical element in Christian preaching will melt, as a transient mist before the preaching of the prophets of the ages to come, who, like the prophets of the ages that are long gone by, will speak only “as the Spirit gives them utterance.”