Chariots of Fire : A Voluntary Voyage to Heaven? Part 1

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Authored By  :
Bill Kochman

Published On :
June 27, 2001

Last Updated :
December 1, 2012

NOTE: This article or series has not been updated recently. As such, it may possibly contain some outdated information, and/or ideas and beliefs which I no longer embrace, or which have changed to some degree.

God's Golden Nuggets, Remember Lot's Wife, Vacillation And Backsliding, God's Mercy Love And Patience, Narrow Path Of Faith, Doubts Murmuring Sin And Rebellion, Receiving Things From God, Satan's Rebellion, Run The Race, Don't Look Back, Lost Horizon, One Way Into The Kingdom, World In Our Hearts Demas And Lot's Wife, The Genesis Flood And Sodom Warnings, As A Thief In The Night, Abraham And Lot, Two Angelic Messengers, A High Price To Pay?, Lot Dragged Out Of Sodom, Destruction!

The other day while I was updating my original series on the topic of homosexuality and lesbianism, I believe that the Lord revealed another profound truth to me from the Golden Treasures of His wonderful Word. If there is one thing which never ceases to amaze me regarding the Scriptures, it is the fact that no matter how many times I study them, there are always precious, new jewels just waiting to be discovered within their pages. It isn't that they are really new; they have actually been there all along; but sometimes we tend to read certain passages over and over again, yet without truly realizing the spiritual value of what we are reading; until one day, the Lord just suddenly opens our spiritual eyes a bit further, and we are finally able to comprehend, and be amazed by that sparkling Golden Nugget. I don't doubt that this has happened to some of you as well. I am reminded of a verse I have shared with you on previous occasions. In the Gospel of Matthew, the Lord tells us:

". . . Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old."
Matthew 13:52, KJV

At any rate, in order for you to fully understand this new truth which I believe the Lord has revealed to me, it is first necessary for me to share some information with you which I also include in the aforementioned series. I was discussing the fact that, in the Gospel of Luke, while describing the conditions which would exist on the Earth just prior to His Return, Jesus used the example of Sodom and Gomorrah. More specifically, the Lord said in part:

"Remember Lot's wife."
Luke 17:32, KJV

At first, it struck me as being rather odd that Jesus would say this; that is, until I suddenly realized that there is apparently more at issue in the Lord's words, than what may appear on the surface. As I continued to explain in that series, the sin of Lot's wife, is that possibly in a brief moment of doubt and personal weakness, she hesitated; she vacillated; she wondered if she was truly making the right decision to leave wicked Sodom behind; and we are told that the Lord judged her harshly for it by immediately transform- ing her into a pillar of salt, as we read here:

"But his wife looked back from behind him and she became a pillar of salt."
Genesis 19:26, KJV

I then go on to explain that despite their shortness, those three words from the Gospel of Luke, i.e., "Remember Lot's wife", carry an extremely powerful message for Christians. Not only do they remind us of God's utter disgust towards homosexuality, but they also let us know in very clear terms that when God says "Go! now!" He means exactly that! There is simply no time for turning around and looking back; there is no time for vacillation and wondering if we are making the right decision; there is no longer time to desire the things from our past life, no matter what they were; there is no time to be a foolish backslider in heart.

As I continued to point out in that series, the Bible makes it equally clear that God absolutely abhors the backslider; He looks at the backslider with disgust; as we see by the following verses:

"And if ye walk contrary unto me, and will not hearken unto me; I will bring seven times more plagues upon you according to your sins. I will also send wild beasts among you, which shall rob you of your children, and destroy your cattle, and make you few in number; and your high ways shall be desolate. And if ye will not be reformed by me by these things, but will walk contrary unto me; Then will I also walk contrary unto you, and will punish you yet seven times for your sins. And I will bring a sword upon you, that shall avenge the quarrel of my covenant: and when ye are gathered together within your cities, I will send the pestilence among you; and ye shall be delivered into the hand of the enemy. And when I have broken the staff of your bread, ten women shall bake your bread in one oven, and they shall deliver you your bread again by weight: and ye shall eat, and not be satisfied. And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me, but walk contrary unto me; Then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins."
Leviticus 26:21-28, KJV

"The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways: and a good man shall be satisfied from himself."
Proverbs 14:14, KJV

"Why then is this people of Jerusalem slidden back by a perpetual backsliding? they hold fast deceit, they refuse to return."
Jeremiah 8:5, KJV

"For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire."
2 Peter 2:20-22, KJV

That is how the Lord views the way of the backslider; as a dog which returns to its vomit; or as a pig which returns to its stinking, fly-infested, disease-laden mud pit! Yet at the same time, in His Love and Mercy, the Lord also tells us that He longs for the backslider to repent, and to return to Him. This was most certainly true for the people of ancient Israel, and it still holds true for us today as well. Again, consider the following verses in which the Lord beckons us to return, and reveals His everlasting Love for us:

"Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion:"
Jeremiah 3:14, KJV

". . . for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."
Hebrews 13:5b, KJV

"If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself."
2 Timothy 2:13, KJV

Such is God's Love, Mercy and Patience; even when we act as an unfaithful, and ungrateful, Bride-to-Be. He still waits; hoping that we will wake up, come to our senses, and return to Him, in order that we might partake of His wonderful Love and blessings once again.

Returning to the sad story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Jesus' warning concerning Lot's wife demonstrates that God simply will not tolerate, or allow, any half-hearts in His Kingdom. It seems that He requires of each one of us, all, or nothing at all. It is either total obedience to His Word and Will, or else no obedience whatsoever. It is either total faith in His Word, or else no faith at all. Perhaps it is for this reason that the Apostle Paul wrote the following in the eleventh chapter of his Epistle to the Hebrews:

"But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."
Hebrews 11:6, KJV

As you may recall, in discussing faithfulness, obedience and choosing the narrow path which leads to Eternal Life and the coming Kingdom, Jesus likewise taught such things as the following in the four Gospels:

"Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."
Matthew 7:13-14, KJV

"Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels."
Mark 8:38, KJV

". . . Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?"
Luke 18:8, KJV

Why must it be this way? Why is God so stringent regarding those who desire to enter His Kingdom? Why has He set the standard so high? Why is He so selective concerning those whom He has predestinated to be His children? Why is there no room for looking back? If you think about it, and if you consider some of the examples found in the Bible, the answer becomes rather obvious. Quite simply, lack of faith results in doubts; and doubts lead to compromise; and compromise ultimately leads to sin and rebellion. The sad examples of the children of Israel found in the Old Testament, such as their making the Golden Calf, and their murmurings in the wilderness, verify this point beyond a shadow of a doubt. It is for this very reason, that just as Jesus pointed to Lot's wife, as a stern reminder to us to remain firm in our faith until the very end, the Apostle Paul offers us a similar warning concerning faith, doubts and murmuring when he says:

"Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come."
1 Corinthians 10:10-11, KJV

So Paul is basically saying "Look what happened to them due to their murmuring and rebellion. Learn from their example, and don't let the same thing happen to you!" In discussing the importance of faith, as a requirement for obtaining things from the Lord, Jesus, and the Apostles James and John also said the following:

"And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive."
Matthew 21:22, KJV

"But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways."
James 1:6-8, KJV

"And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him."
1 John 5:14-15, KJV

So what we can learn from the previous verses, is that faith and obedience are not only requirements for being a part of God's Kingdom, but they are also necessary if we truly expect to receive things from the Lord as well.

As I also explain in the aforementioned series, it is when Satan lost faith in God's Word; it is when he began to doubt God's Leadership; it is when he became spiritually unstable; it is when in his foolish pride, he thought that he could do a better job than God at ruling the universe; that he sinned and rebelled; and ultimately fell from grace; and his fall has taken him all the way to Earth! Sadly, as is often the case, when people backslide from the Lord, they sometimes drag others along with them; sometimes intentionally, and sometimes without even realizing it. In Satan's case, we know that a third of the Angels rebelled right along with him, as these verses indicate:

"And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: . . . And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him."
Revelation 12:3-4a, 7-9, KJV

So, we must never look back to our old life of sin as Lot's wife and the ancient Israelites did. We must lay aside our sins of the past, and keep looking forward to the glories of the coming Kingdom. We must maintain our eyes on Jesus, the Author and the Finisher of our faith, and keep running with patience, the race that is set before us. We must fight the good fight of faith to the very end, until the day in which we finally hear "Well done thou good and faithful servant; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord!". Please consider the following verses:

"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."
2 Corinthians 5:17, KJV

"Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 3:13,14, KJV

"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."
Hebrews 12:1-2, KJV

"Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses."
1 Timothy 6:12, KJV

"His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord."
Matthew 25:23, KJV

So there should be no doubt then, that looking back, and compromising our faith, and desiring things from our former life of sin, is a very serious issue with the Lord, and can have very serious consequences if we are not careful. The Lord simply cannot allow such half-hearted people into His Kingdom, because if He were to do so, there would always be the possibility that rebellion could arise in the ranks; just as it occurred with Satan and his band of demons.

On a related note, I recall a movie I saw three decades ago entitled "Lost Horizon", which was actually a remake of an original movie made in 1937. This movie was based on a book written several years earlier by British novelist James Hill. Without getting into all of the details of the movie, being as I already do so in the article "Admiral Richard E. Byrd and the Hollow Earth Theory", allow me to just point out that one of the important lessons which is conveyed in the movie, is that even when some people are placed in an idyllic world such as the legendary Shangri-La, they still don't know how to be happy; they still desire to return to the old way of life; because they simply just don't fit in; and the reason why they don't fit in, is because the world, and sin, is still in their hearts. I am reminded of a man Jesus described in one of His many Parables when He said:

"And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen."
Matthew 22:11-14, KJV

As I point out in other articles, perhaps this man truly did want to be in the Kingdom, but he was dressed improperly for the occasion; he was dressed in his own righteousness, and not in the Righteousness of Christ. He tried to sneak into the Kingdom another way; when we all know that there is only one way; for as Jesus plainly stated:

". . . I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
John 14:6b, KJV

As I stated a moment ago, one reason why some people will simply not fit in the Kingdom of God, in fact many people according to Jesus' own words, is because the world, and sin, are still in their hearts. They haven't truly forsaken all. They have a divided heart. They want to have one foot in Heaven, and one foot in Hell. Such apparently was the case with a poor fellow by the name of Demas, who was one of the Apostle Paul's helpers. This person is mentioned by name three times in the Epistles; and on one of these occasions, we read the following:

"For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia."
2 Timothy 4:10, KJV

According to a footnote included in the Greek lexicon, this person abandoned Paul while he was a prisoner at Rome. Now isn't that truly sad? Paul says "having loved this present world". That was apparently Lot's wife's mistake as well. The woman was still enticed by the sinful city of Sodom; so she turned around to look at it one more time; and God said in so many words, "Well, if you have doubts about leaving Sodom, if you want to go back to living with those sinful people, then you might as well die right along with them"; and she did.

At this point, perhaps some of you may be wondering what all of this talk about Lot's wife, backsliders and compromisers, faith and obedience, the Devil's rebellion, etc., have to do with the title of this article. As some of my readers know, I will often lay a strong foundation for my case, before I present my final conclusions, backed by a sudden flurry of Scriptures. In other words, it is important that you fully understand where I am coming from, so that you can likewise better understand where I am going, or leading you, as well.

As I stated earlier, it struck me as being rather strange, that Jesus would be discussing the Endtime, and conclude His remarks concerning Sodom and Gomorrah with "Remember Lot's wife". For me personally, this fact seems to shift the main emphasis of the Lord's Words. It reveals a deeper meaning. Allow me to explain. First of all, allow me to share with you the full text of what Jesus had to say concerning Sodom and Gomorrah in His Endtime discussion found in the Gospel of Luke:

"For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day . . . And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. 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. 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. Remember Lot's wife. Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it. I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together."
Luke 17:24, 26-37, KJV

What is obvious here, is that Jesus is using the examples of the Great Flood that occurred in the days of the Patriarch Noah, as well as the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, to emphasize not only the sinful condition which would exist in the world just prior to His Second Coming, but also to highlight the sudden destruction of the wicked when they least expect it. The Lord is also using the example of lightning to impress upon us the swiftness of His own Arrival as well. For the sinful, unbelieving people of the world, it will be business as usual, until it is simply too late! As I point out in other articles, such as in "As a Thief in the Night? Not for Me!", as well as in "The Great Tribulation and the Rapture" series, this thought is in full agreement with what Jesus, Peter and Paul tell us in other verses as well, as we see here:

"For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape."
1 Thessalonians 5:2-3, KJV

"But 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, KJV

"Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh."
Matthew 24:42-44, KJV

It is right after making the previous comments, that Jesus seems to suddenly shift gears; as if He wants to emphasize another point. Part of His emphasis is on the urgency of the situation. Just as it was urgent for Lot and his family to leave Sodom immediately, lest they be destroyed along with the wicked of that generation, Jesus says that if a man is on the rooftop, he shouldn't even consider going to get his belongings in the house. If a man is working in the field, he shouldn't even consider going back to his house. It is then that the Lord makes the famous pronouncement: "Remember Lot's wife". For whatever her reasons, she turned back; she looked back; and she was destroyed; because she made the wrong decision.

And that, my friends, is the beginning of the profound truth which I believe the Lord began to reveal to me through these verses. Just as Lot's wife had to make a decision, we will also have to make a final decision of faith; a very great decision of faith; as you will see in a moment.

What is the very next thing that the Lord says after telling us about Lot's wife? He states "Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it". Now remember; Jesus' words are a direct reflection back to what He just said regarding Lot's wife. To fully understand this, we need to remember what kind of a situation Lot and his family were living in. I am not just referring to the sinful condition of Sodom here; I am speak- ing of something else. Allow me to give you a hint:

"And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram's cattle and the herdmen of Lot's cattle: and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land. And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren. 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. And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar. Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other. Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom. But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly."
Genesis 13:7-13, KJV

Now do you see it? In his selfishness, Lot chose the best of the land. We are told that prior to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, the Jordan River Valley was a virtual paradise very much like the Garden of Eden; and this is where Lot and his family chose to live; in the best of the land; but very close to a very wicked place! As you can see, Abraham and his relatives were herdsmen, and they were wealthy herdsmen at that. Perhaps we can compare them to some of the affluent cattle ranchers of the American Midwest. So Lot's family must have lived a very prosperous life next to the sinful Sodomites.

Then what happened? Those two Angels arrived! Oh my! Why in the world did they have to show up at a time like that when everything was going so well? Or was it? Their basic message to Lot and his family was "We are sorry, folks, but the Lord says that it is time for you to leave this place. You need to drop everything and leave this very night. You can't even wait until the sun comes up. Just pack a few belongings which you can carry, and let us be on our way out of here". Now, in spite of the fact that the Angels had just blinded the men and boys of Sodom, because they were trying to get into Lot's house in order to have forced sex with the Angels, as I also explain in such articles as "The Gay and Lesbian Agenda: To The Point!" and "Pornography: Flee Youthful Lusts!", Lot and his family still didn't want to leave; they resisted the Angels' message. It was simply too much to ask of them; at least so Lot's family must have thought.

How could they possibly just forsake a lifelong, prosperous business, and go only God-knows-where? Oh yes; where in the world were they going anyway? Lot and his family must have really resisted when the two Angels informed them of their destination; the mountains! "What? Oh no! Not there! That is asking too much of us! We have all of this livestock; and these servants of ours; and all of these children; and all of this luggage! My God! It is too rugged! It is too high of a price to pay! We will all die there!".

Well, as we know from the Biblical story, in spite of the foolishness of Lot and his family, the Angels finally got their way; but they had to literally drag Lot and his family out of that wicked place in order to do it; as we see here:

"And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the LORD being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city. And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed."
Genesis 19:16-17, KJV

Surprisingly, in spite of God's mercy, Lot still argued and pleaded with the Angels to allow them to go to some easier place, and not to those rugged mountains, where they feared that they would die. I can only wonder if those Angels were amazed by Lot's lack of appreciation, his obviously deeply rooted selfishness, and his lack of fear of the Lord. At any rate, we are told that Zoar became their new destination: "Ah yes! Zoar! That is it! How about Zoar Mr. Angels? It is just a little place! Surely you can spare that place for us, can't you? At least we won't die in those dangerous mountains!":

"And Lot said unto them, Oh, not so, my Lord: Behold now, thy servant hath found grace in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast shewed unto me in saving my life; and I cannot escape to the mountain, lest some evil take me, and I die: Behold now, this city is near to flee unto, and it is a little one: Oh, let me escape thither, (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live. And he said unto him, See, I have accepted thee concerning this thing also, that I will not overthrow this city, for the which thou hast spoken. Haste thee, escape thither; for I cannot do any thing till thou be come thither. Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar. The sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar. Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven; And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground."
Genesis 19:18-25, KJV

Please go to part two for the continuation of this series.

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