Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
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Published On :
May 18, 2018
Last Updated :
May 18, 2018
Definitions Of "Overthrow" And "Overthrew", The Geological Structure Of Israel And The Middle East, Excerpts From The Book "Earthquakes in the Holy Land", Jordan Rift Valley And Dead Sea Rift, Afro-Arabian Rift Zone, Formation Of The Dead Sea, Ancient City Of Lasha Means "Fissure", Destruction By Brimstone And Fire, Brimstone Is Sulfur, Sulfur Is Found By Hot Springs And Volcanic Regions, Heaven Or The Natural Sky, Effects Of Powerful Volcanic Eruptions, Sulfur Dioxide Gas, God Uses Natural Forces To Punish The World, Jesus Was Able To Control The Natural Forces Of The Earth, Urgency At Sodom, Homosexuality: Primary Message Behind Destruction Of Sodom And Gomorrah, Related Reading Resources, Queen James Bible, Serious Compromise In The Modern Church, Severe Judgment And Destruction If We Don't Repent, Judgment Begins At The House Of God, Changing Human Laws To Try To Neutralize God's Word, False Prophets In The Churches, Another Jesus And Doctrines Of Devils, Gender Confusion LGBTQ Agenda And Other Nonsense, Bible Verses Condemning Homosexuality, Homosexuals Do Not Inherit The Kingdom Of God, Repent Now!, Suggested Reading
Continuing our discussion from part two, we have now taken a look at all of the verses in the Bible where the destruction of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim is used as a tool to impress upon the listener or reader the idea of complete and total destruction -- leaving a place lifeless -- and to warn the listener or reader of the severity of God's judgment to come, unless the guilty parties repent of their sins. But have you ever wondered exactly how the destruction of the cities of the plain came about? Well, I have. That is why I conducted both Scriptural and Internet research, in order to try to answer this question for myself. So allow me to share some of my discoveries with you. Perhaps you will find it interesting.
You may have noticed that in many of the verses we discussed in part two where the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is mentioned or described, two words which are rather prominent are "overthrow" and "overthrew". Most of us know what these two words mean in a modern sense, but what about in a more Biblical sense? Or more specifically, given that Hebrew was the language of the Old Testament, is it possible that they may have meanings of which we are not aware, and which may offer us a hint of exactly how those cities were destroyed?
The two Hebrew words which are used in the aforementioned verses are "mahpekah" and "haphak". These two words can mean to overthrow, overturn, reverse, upturn or turn upside down. While in some cases, these words mean to overthrow a city in battle -- which is the popular definition -- please notice that some of the definitions could likewise imply an actual overturning, reversing or turning something -- perhaps even a city? -- upside down. If we consider that Israel -- and that area of the Middle East in general -- has a significant number of earthquake faults, bitumen springs or tar pits -- which Genesis refers to as "slimepits" -- and now-dormant volcanoes -- such as Mount Bental and other volcanoes on the northeastern edge of the Golan Heights -- it seems logical, in my opinion, to speculate that the complete destruction of the cities of the plain may have resulted from strong seismic activity, and/or a volcanic eruption in that general area. In fact, as I have mentioned before, there is an earthquake fault running right through the summit of the Mount of Olives.
To further enhance your understanding of the geological structure of Israel and the surrounding area, following are some excerpts taken from "Earthquakes in the Holy Land" by Bailey Willis. This report was included in the June 1928 edition of the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America:
----- Begin Quotes -----
"Palestine is a plateau, which has well-defined limits except toward the south. East of it lies the Dead Sea and the Jordan Valley. North of it is the Plain of Esdralon. West of it is the Mediterranean, which is not quite full enough to flood the narrow coastal plain. The general altitude of the flat top of the plateau is between 2,000 and 2,600 feet above sea level. Jerusalem stands on a summit, a low hill, similar to many others which have at one time or another been occupied as defensible city sites . . ."
Matching the Palestine plateau, but lying east of the Dead Sea and Jordan Valley is the Transjordan plateau, a bench on the Arabian highland. The Palestine and Transjordan plateaus are completely separated by the profound trough of the Dead Sea, in which the surface of the water lies 1,200 feet below sea level.
In both of these plateaus the geologist notes that the rocks are strata of marine limestone or sandstone, which have been uplifted without appreciable disturbance. In general the beds lie nearly as flat as when they were deposited beneath the sea. Closer inspection shows, it is true, that they have been bent and crushed along certain lines, but the compression is not the obvious thing. One would infer that a great force, a swelling perhaps, had raised the whole mass of either plateau gradually. One would not at once arrive at the conclusion that the deep-seated foundations of the regions were being crushed as in a vise and that the squeezed masses were moving in the direction of least resistance, that is vertically upward. Study of the structures has, however, led me to that conclusion, and I would attribute the earthquakes that shake Palestine to yielding within the body of the plateau or to the slipping of the whole plateau upon the shearing planes that underlie it.
North of the Palestine plateau is the lowland which stretches from west to east, from the Mediterranean to the Jordan, and comprises the Plain of Esdralon and the Valley of Jezreel. It would extend eastward beyond the Jordan, as it once did, if it had not been covered and heaped up by thick lava flows. They form the upland of Bashan, ranging northeastward along the southern slopes of Mount Sermon toward Damascus. Earthquakes impinge on the margins of the low country, Esdralon and Jezreel, but they do not originate within it. It is a non seismic zone between Palestine and northern Syria.
----- End Quotes -----
It is due to a major fault system which runs between the two aforementioned plateaus, that the Jordan River Valley, or Jordan Rift Valley, exists. This major fault system -- which is known as the Dead Sea Rift -- is believed by geologists to be the result of a convergence between two tectonic plates; the African Plate, and the Arabian plate. Thus, this region is referred to as the Afro-Arabian rift zone. The Dead Sea Rift is believed to be a continuation of the East African Rift, which passes through the Red Sea, then through the Gulf of Aqaba -- which is also known as the Gulf of Elat -- and then northward to the Dead Sea. From that point, geologists believe that rift faulting joins the Dead Sea to the Jordan River Valley and Lake Kinneret -- which is also known as the Sea of Galilee -- further north. Beyond that point -- that is, in Lebanon -- the Dead Sea Rift splays out into a series of north-northeast directional faults.
While Mount Everest continues to contend for being the highest point on the Earth, and the Marianas Trench in the western Pacific Ocean holds the claim for being the deepest point in our oceans, the Dead Sea Rift is believed to be one of the deepest, if not the deepest, continental depression on the entire Earth's surface. It is not surprising then that the surface of the Dead Sea is 1,292 feet, or 394 meters, below sea level. As its name implies, it is the separation of the Dead Sea Rift which is believed to have resulted in the formation of the Dead Sea, as well as the other major basin in the area, that is, the Gulf of Elat. The Dead Sea Rift is easily visible from the air.
While the Dead Sea Rift is the major geological fault in the area, just as a bolt of lightning possesses a series of what we might refer to as minor tendrils, so too, the limestone and sandstone plateau upon which the nation of Israel sits, is permeated with many fractures and fissures; some of which are undoubtedly the result of shifts in the Dead Sea Rift itself. Some of these secondary cracks are visible on the surface, while others are not.
Earlier in this series, I mentioned the city of Lasha. Given the information I have just shared with you, you will find it interesting to know that in Hebrew, this word actually means "fissure". Furthermore, we are told that the destruction upon these four cities came by "brimstone and fire". Exactly what is brimstone? Derived from the Hebrew word "gophriyth", it is sulfur, plain and simple. Furthermore, the Wikipedia website notes that sulfur "is the fifth most common element by mass in the Earth. Elemental sulfur can be found near hot springs and volcanic regions in many parts of the world." So our next question is this: When Moses writes that it "rained upon" the cities "out of heaven" so that everything was destroyed, even what grew upon the ground, what does he mean? Does he really mean that "brimstone and fire" fell from God's actual abode -- in other words, Heaven -- or does he mean that "brimstone and fire" somehow fell from the sky? Are you starting to get the picture of where I am leading with this thought?
It might interest you to know that except for two verses in the entire Old Testament, in all other places -- meaning 398 times -- the Hebrew words "shamayim" and "shameh" are used to refer to both the natural sky above us, as well as the abode of God. In other words, they are interchangeable.
Having said that, as I stated a moment ago, it makes perfect sense to me, that given the general geological structure of that area of the world, either very powerful seismic activity and/or a major volcanic eruption, could have rained down fire and brimstone upon those four cities, thus obliterating them and killing everyone within. Please don't forget that some volcanic eruptions are so powerful, that they can shoot lava as much as two thousand feet up into the air. Furthermore, a powerful enough eruption can send large boulders flying miles away from the actual cone. Last, but not least, volcanoes are accompanied by strong seismic activity, dangerous lava flows, and the release of huge amounts of sulfur dioxide, which is a very toxic gas which can kill a person rather quickly if they are exposed to enough of it.
Just to give you an idea of how strong such gas can be -- it smells like rotten eggs, by the way -- where I live, there is a chain of active volcanoes located a few hundred miles to the north of us. While it doesn't happen all that often, on some occasions, when the ocean air currents shift so that the wind is coming down from the north, we can actually smell the sulfur dioxide in the air, the sky becomes somewhat hazy, and people are warned to remain in their homes, particularly if they suffer from respiratory problems. As I write this series in May of 2018, that is precisely why people are currently being evacuated from some areas of the island of Hawaii as the Kilauea volcano continues to erupt. It isn't just because of the lava flows. It's because of the sulfur dioxide clouds.
In short, if we stop to consider that the Lord often used the natural forces of the Earth to punish people in the Bible -- such as the Genesis Flood, earthquakes, plagues, droughts, fires, insects, snakes, etc. -- this possibility should not seem so far-fetched to us. Let me also remind you that Jesus was able to control the natural forces of the Earth in the Gospels, such as when He stilled the wind and waves on the Sea of Galilee. Now, if Jesus could do that while in a human body, just think of what those two Angels may have been able to do when it came time to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah and the other cities of the plain. One other point worth noting, is that it apparently happened rather quickly, and possibly without any warning to the people of those wicked cities. We can detect a certain atmosphere of haste when the two Angels lead Lot and his family out of Sodom. There seemed to be an urgency to the matter.
Having now discussed the "how" factor, let us return to our main message regarding the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. As I have already made clear, there should be no doubt that the primary reason why the cities of the plain were utterly destroyed, was because they were deeply engaged in all manner of sexual perversions, beginning with homosexuality. This, in my view, is the primary message behind the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and the other two cities of Zeboiim and Admah.
If you are one who still holds doubts regarding this issue, and if you think that God simply turns a blind eye to such sexual deviations which are contrary to the natural laws He established regarding human sexuality, then I encourage you to read some of the other articles which are listed at the end of this series. I suggest that you begin with "Queen James Bible: Blasphemous Abomination Exposed!".
The reason why I suggest you read the aforementioned article first, is because, to my knowledge, in it I discuss every verse in the Bible where homosexuality is described as a sin against God. In fact, there are a few verses discussed which some of you may not even realize are even talking about the homosexual lifestyle, because of the way in which they have been translated. This is particularly true in the case of the New Testament. In addition, I believe that it is in that article where I explain how the supporters of the gay and lesbian agenda try to distort the meaning of some of those verses, in order to justify their own sinful lifestyle. In fact, as you will learn -- if you do not already know it -- said individuals have already published a Bible in which they publish their distortions which seek to neutralize the truth of God's Word regarding this issue.
As we discussed in part two, serious compromise can already be found in the Lord's modern Church, insofar as the gay and lesbian lifestyle is concerned. As an older, longtime Christian who has preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ for many years now, I am astounded by the degree to which the Church has fallen into sin, materialism and worldliness. As many of my fellow brethren have likewise stated, the modern Church has little, if any, resemblance to the Lord's Church of the First Century. But surely, the notion that gays and lesbians can not only lead congregations, but also give a blessing to such ungodly, unnatural unions, defies belief. I can't even begin to imagine the level of deception which must be in play in order for people to become so deceived.
As we have seen, the primary theme of Sodom and Gomorrah is severe judgment and severe destruction, in the absence of true repentance. It is God's warning to us all that we place ourselves in extreme danger, and in serious trouble, when we blatantly defy His holy Laws, including His laws regarding acceptable sexual conduct. This, of course, includes God's own Church; for as the Apostle Peter wrote in his first Epistle:
"For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?"
1 Peter 4:17, KJV
Tragically, some of these modern churches and denominations have already become so deceived, that they cannot even see the handwriting on the wall. They are so deceived that they can't even see that what they view as compassion, acceptance and inclusivity for the gay and lesbian community, is in reality a sickening compromise with the world. They have in fact trampled God's Word underfoot. As I point out in "When Sin is No Longer a Sin", it was bad enough when politicians and judges began to change human laws so that what God deems a sin is no longer considered a sin or something abnormal by human standards. But for some of the churches to now be doing basically the same thing, by embracing the gay and lesbian lifestyle, is just something which many of us never expected to happen. In fact, I have mentioned before how a few years ago, I would have never believed that same-sex "marriage" would be legalized nationwide. But oh how fast the enemy has moved! Liberal, renegade judges had their way, and here we are!
Some, but not all, modern churches have lost their way. They are no longer beacons of the truth of God's Word. By openly defying what is plainly written in the Scriptures regarding this sinful lifestyle, and by perverting the meaning of the Scriptures in order to justify it, those denominations and churches have in effect become false prophets who preach another gospel, another Jesus, and doctrines of devils which have no foundation in Biblical truth. How can they expect to escape God's judgments? And it must come sooner or later, or else God's Word is no longer true. I am reminded of verses such as the following, and there are many more:
"Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!"
Isaiah 5:20, KJV
"Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try [test] the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world."
1 John 4:1, KJV
"For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him . . . For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works."
2 Corinthians 11:4, 13-15, KJV
"If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:"
1 John 1:6, KJV
"Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them."
Romans 16:17, KJV
"That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:"
Ephesians 4:14-15, KJV
"I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed."
Galatians 1:6-9, KJV
"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;"
1 Timothy 4:1-2, KJV
"If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself."
1 Timothy 6:3-5, KJV
"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;"
2 Timothy 4:3, KJV
"Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein."
Hebrews 13:9, KJV
"But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of."
2 Peter 2:1-2, KJV
The previous verses perfectly describe what has happened in so many of the churches today, and it isn't limited to just embracing the gay and lesbian lifestyle. But what about the secular, unbelieving world? Or as the Apostle Peter wrote "what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?"
Quite frankly, I think we may already have our answer, and the warning of Sodom and Gomorrah is it. How can it not be utter and total destruction at some point, given the level of defiance that exists in the world today? The more I see and read each day regarding gender identity issues, gender confusion, non-binary labels, parents confusing their own children, gay parades in which perverts openly flaunt their sins, misguided doctors who are more than willing to change a person's outward sexual appearance if the price is right, school officials and teachers who promote this liberal crap and force it on our young children, and other such nonsense, the more I become fully convinced that this world has gone utterly mad. It is purposely poking God in the eye, and just begging Him to judge it.
This LGBTQ garbage is on top of all of the other forms of defiance against God which are now on display, and which I so often talk about in my articles, such as abortion on demand, widespread satanism in the entertainment industry, kicking God out of government, homes, schools, churches and the public square, etc. This world seems to be hellbent on destruction, and that is what it may eventually get. It is slowly becoming a global Sodom and Gomorrah in which every sexual perversion may eventually become the norm.
But what about you? Have you foolishly or ignorantly fallen into this dangerous and sinful lifestyle? If you have, do you even know what God's Word has to say about it? If not, let me share the following verses with you, because they are both for you, and about you, and you need to take them very seriously:
"Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it is confusion. Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you: And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants. Ye shall therefore keep my statutes and my judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations; neither any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you: (For all these abominations have the men of the land done, which were before you, and the land is defiled;) That the land spue not you out also, when ye defile it, as it spued out the nations that were before you. For whosoever shall commit any of these abominations, even the souls that commit them shall be cut off from among their people. Therefore shall ye keep mine ordinance, that ye commit not any one of these abominable customs, which were committed before you, and that ye defile not yourselves therein: I am the LORD your God."
Leviticus 18:22-30, KJV
"If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them."
Leviticus 20:13, KJV
"The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God."
Deuteronomy 22:5, KJV
"He that is wounded in the stones [testicles], or hath his privy member [penis] cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD."
Deuteronomy 23:1, KJV
"There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel."
Deuteronomy 23:17, KJV
"Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;"
Romans 1:24-28, KJV
"Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind [homosexuals],"
1 Corinthians 6:9, KJV
"Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, [homosexuals] for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;"
1 Timothy 1:9-10, KJV
Please notice that 1 Corinthians 6:9 specifically says that homosexuals -- abusers of themselves with mankind, from the Koine Greek word "arsenokoites" -- "shall not inherit the kingdom of God". Thus, if you are a committed gay or lesbian who has no intentions of ever changing your sinful lifestyle, that verse plainly states that you won't inherit the Kingdom of God. In short, you cannot be truly saved, and engage in homosexuality at the same time. If you believe otherwise, and if your church teaches otherwise, then you are both terribly deceived. That verse is God's Word, and not just my words. I am merely telling you what the Bible says. So you really need to repent of your sin, and you need to do it now; because you just never know when you may depart out of this current life. The people of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim certainly were not expecting it, and look what happened to them. Gone in a flash! Do you really want to take that chance? Do you really want to leave this life without being saved? Consider these verses, and repent:
"And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead."
Acts 17:30-31, KJV
"And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed."
Romans 13:11, KJV
"(For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)"
2 Corinthians 6:2, KJV
"Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts."
Hebrews 4:7, KJV
"And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:"
Hebrews 9:27, KJV
"Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away."
James 4:14, KJV
With these verses, I will bring another article to a close. I trust that it has been an inspiration, and a blessing in your life. If you have enjoyed reading this article, please consider sharing its URL with your online friends. If you have an account with Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr or with any other social network, I would also appreciate if you would take the time to click on the corresponding link that is found on this page. Thanks so much, and may God bless you abundantly!
For additional information, I encourage you to study the list of reading resources below which were also mentioned in this article, or which contain topics which are related to this article, and which are likewise located on the Bill's Bible Basics web server:
Beholding the Evil and the Good
Do You Want Love and Light, or Rod and Wrath?
Free Will and Personal Choice
God's Mercy, Judgment and Fallen Angels
Love, Mercy, Forgiveness and Chastisement
Queen James Bible: Blasphemous Abomination Exposed!
Remember Lot's Wife: What Was Her Fate?
The Fruits of Disobedience
The Gay and Lesbian Agenda: To the Point!
The Judgment of Angels, Demons and Men
When Sin is No Longer a Sin