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Sodom and the Rest of the Story

There is more to the story of Sodom and Gomorrah than is commonly known. The prophet Ezekiel and Jesus combine to add some important details to our understanding of these ancient Dead Sea communities.

The Rest of the Story–In the 16th chapter of Ezekiel, the prophet doesn’t emphasize the violence and sexual behaviors for which the twin cities are remembered. Instead, he puts the tears and moral failures of Sodom in perspective. While anticipating the judgment of Jerusalem, and emphasizing that her sins made Sodom look good by comparison, Ezekiel declares,

“The Lord says to the city of Jerusalem, “This was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: She and her daughter had pride, fullness of food, and abundance of idleness; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty and committed abomination before Me; therefore I took them away as I saw fit” (Ezekiel 16:49-50).

What the Bible calls Abominable– When Ezekiel says, “And they were haughty and committed abomination before Me,” he is using the same word that the Scriptures use to describe a whole spectrum of ritual, dietary, sexual, and ethical wrongs that, according to the Scriptures, are detestable to the Lord (Leviticus 18:22; Deuteronomy 14:3; 17:1). “Abomination” is also the term Solomon later uses to describe seven things the Lord hates. In his inspired list of seven “detestable things,” Solomon indicates that a proud look, lying lips, a false witness, and spreading discord among brothers are all an “abomination” to God (Proverbs 6:16-19).

The point of focusing on words that describe Sodom’s moral failures is not to minimize the sins she is remembered for but to remind us that there is more to her story than is usually told.

Jesus and Sodom— Here there is more irony.  The Messiah we honor for helping us to understand the heart and purpose of moral law, said that, in the day of judgment, it will be worse for his own community than for Sodom.

Expressing His lament over the Galilean lakeshore community where He had headquartered for three years, Jesus declares, “And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven (i.e. for witnessing the coming of Messiah), will be brought down to Hades; for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you” (Matthew 11:23-24; see also Luke 4:31-41).

The people of Sodom did much that deserved the judgment of God. But the people of Capernaum rejected the long awaited Messiah and friend of sinners.

I’m so convinced that the words of Ezekiel and Jesus give us important perspective on the stories of both Sodom and Capernaum. In describing Sodom’s root sins of pride, fullness of food, abundance of idleness; and failure to help the poor and needy, Ezekiel humbles me. Then Jesus gives us the most important perspective of all: Nothing is worse than to reject him. What could be more of an “abomination” to the Father than to reject what his Son suffered for all of us?

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29 Responses to “Sodom and the Rest of the Story”

  1. SFDBWV says:

    Sodom and Gomorrah, as well as Capernaum and Jerusalem, are Countries or communities within countries. Which is why all the fuss over the actions of our own country. Judgement comes to the entire community. I have often though about our own country in the light of Samson. Full of strength and power but too self absorbed and immature to know how to use it.

    To me nothing IS as worse as rejecting Jesus. Which brings up the “Unforgiveable sin”.

    Never actualy explained in scripture, what sin could be so bad that it is not able to be covered by the blood of the LAMB?

    If one hardens their heart to the point whereby he will not listen to the voice of the HOLY SPIRIT. Sooner or later he will not be able to hear HIM at all. Without that calling in our heart there is no awareness of our need for forgiveness and no need for a savior.

    Without an awakening to the fact we need a savior, we are lost. An absolute rejection of JESUS and utter disbelief of the need of and action of the crucifixion.

    Unable to know our need foe CHRIST by the hardening of our heart, we never make that choice for HIM and die in our sin. Unforgiven.

    Yes there is much to do in order to please GOD, but only this one act of accepting JESUS has such eternal consequence.

  2. bretnb says:

    So many people preach that it was all about the sexual sin of Sodom. And that God will one day have to apologize to the people of Sodom for not destroying America for accepting homosexuality.

    Thanks for the rest of the story or a better understanding of all that was part of God’s decision to destroy Sodom and Gomaorrah. Sexual sin was part of it but the total rejection of God was the total story.

    I feel America is not far behind, very few hold to God’s word.

  3. MarkieMark says:

    bretnb – right on the money! I have often wondered about the, or lack or, difference between America and Sodom and your simple point just made a bell go off for me!

    Mart – thanks for this insight – I can now look at America and the Homosexual passiveness within her and have a greater understanding.

  4. macsisson22 says:

    3 O LORD, do not your eyes look for truth? You struck them, but they felt no pain; you crushed them, but they refused correction. They made their faces harder than stone and refused to repent.
    4 I thought, “These are only the poor; they are foolish, for they do not know the way of the LORD, the requirements of their God.
    5 So I will go to the leaders and speak to them; surely they know the way of the LORD, the requirements of their God.” But with one accord they too had broken off the yoke and torn off the bonds.
    6 Therefore a lion from the forest will attack them, a wolf from the desert will ravage them, a leopard will lie in wait near their towns to tear to pieces any who venture out, for their rebellion is great and their backslidings many.
    7 “Why should I forgive you? Your children have forsaken me and sworn by gods that are not gods. I supplied all their needs, yet they committed adultery and thronged to the houses of prostitutes.
    8 They are well-fed, lusty stallions, each neighing for another man’s wife.
    9 Should I not punish them for this?” declares the LORD. “Should I not avenge myself on such a nation as this?

    Jeremiah 5:29 Should I not punish them for this?” declares the LORD. “Should I not avenge myself on such a nation as this?
    Jeremiah 9:9 Should I not punish them for this?” declares the LORD. “Should I not avenge myself on such a nation as this?”

  5. SFDBWV says:

    Only a few posts ago, people were “labled” as “Evangelical”,”conservatives”,”republicans”. Because they voted their conscience’s and hoped for a Christian leadership over our Government. So that even though we don’t deserve it yet perhaps through repentance and revival, our beloved nation would escape the coming judgement that is inevitable.

    IT is the greatest frustration, and one I would suppose God suffers daily. Why won’t they listen? Why won’t they learn?

    It gives me no pleasure to think that the rapture will rescue me from the “Great and Terrible Day of the Lord”. None whatsoever. Like Jeremiah and many others who wept for Israel, I weep also for my native land. I weep for all she could have been and all the the people so decieved. Only when it is too late will their eyes be open. Yet amazing as it is even then many will curse God for their misfortune.

    Yes Mart, pride is all about self importance. Selfish desires bring sin, sin brings destruction. We can be saved from self destruction through the acceptance of Jesus as our Savior and the rebirth of our nature.

    ” For the wages of sin is death;But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23

  6. lindazaworski says:

    I feel that immorality of this country is trying to be justified by the personal rights of people. No one wants to come out and put down strict moral law, except one… and that is Jesus Christ. Those who follow Him will one day have eternal life. But unfortunately, I can say, it is extremely difficult to live in a country where it’s ok to have atheists and christians sitting elbow to elbow and it’s tolerable. Pornography is rampid and is justifiable by saying it’s ones personal right or freedom of speech.

    This country was originally founded on the decent morals of the Word of God. It’s so sad to see how far we have fallen as a nation.

  7. drkennyg says:

    Well it ain’t over till it’s over, right? There is still hope for America. Our economic “strength” has been a ruse and we have all been misled by “trickle down” greed which kept the sustaining money from the middle and lower classes. There will always be poor people, but it is our job not the Lord’s to see that they are fed and clothed. But we just throw ’em into the streets and walk past without trying to help. The wealth was hidden from most of us and many succumbed to the temptation to steal what was part of our nation’s due. So we have committed a great sin on ourselves and we all share in this. It is shocking sometimes to see commercials on TV that imply it is a good idea to walk away from a store thinking the cashier made a mistake and we “got away with it” from their error. Yahoo more money for me. cool. Or the guy who gets the pizza delivered and thinks he stole a couple of ’em cause the delivery dude made a mistake. Time to celebrate!! Okay the point is that from top to bottom we are rotten to the core. Many of us refuse to listen to the Gospel or think we don’t need that old time Jesus stuff. We need to continue to evangelize right here in the US of A. The new administration has a lot to do for our Christian heritage which I hope can start to turn us around. Many could wake up to our mistakes instead of dreading our losses. $ is only $ but salvation and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is priceless. The Lord may yet allow us to awaken to him. I am encouraged by such organizations like “Jews for Jesus” At least 2 of my Jewish friends have turned to Jesus. More Christian leadership is needed and not the extreme right wing kind but the simple truth of the savior is all that we need. We cannot allow a false Christ to take hold (Mormon, etc.). How dare they change the Bible!! There is only One true God and we know Him as God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I beg for His mercy today and continue to hope in our revival in the next few years. It may be all the time we have left.

  8. pmpope68 says:

    Interesting to note that of the seven abominations, Solomon includes “spreading discord among brothers” and yet we seldom hear people grieving over this. It is one of the most destructive things within the Body of Christ.

  9. RobertC says:

    It is legitimate to note that there were other sins of which Sodom was guilty, but we must not lose sight of the sin which takes its name from them. Sodomy is still with us. And Jude 1:7 makes it clear that this was the identifying sin of Sodom and Gomorrah. Homosexual behaviour is an abomination to God. In Leviticus 18:21-23 its condemnation is sandwiched between child sacrifice and bestiality. Abominable company indeed!

  10. SamDr says:

    Like SFDBWV I am reminded of the unforgivable sin. I have used the following illustration to describe it:
    Suppose you are being rescued from a flood by a helicopter.
    You are dangling at the end of a rope as they haul you up. You are free to praise the helicopter and the people in it and you are free to curse them and apologize later if you choose. In fact you can do a great many things hanging there awaiting the completion of your salvation. One thing you cannot do is reach up with a knife and cut the rope and expect to be saved.
    Blaspheming the Holy Spirit is like cutting the rope.
    The people of Sodom, Gomorrah and Capernaum apparently cut the rope and were not saved. But what hell did they each fall into?

  11. poohpity says:

    A nation is only as strong as it’s parts. We are it’s parts. It is so important to look at the Sodom in our own hearts and take action, love may spread like wild fire if there were only a spark. I believe it goes back to each individual’s responsibility to look to the Lord because only He can change a heart. After the change do we do nothing with it or do we start with the people we come in contact with today. Inch by inch it is a cinch. We can change a nation one person at a time and it is best to start in our own yard. It is so easy to look at all that a country does wrong because we do not have to look within.

    So are my behaviors a reflection of what I have been taught through my salvation or what I have read in the bible? How can I judge Sodom or Capernaum, when my own heart and actions reveal what I believe. We have been given so much and do so little with it. I am also humbled by the thought of the Sodom in my heart. I believe we put fences around us that no one is able to climb, so high that even we can not get over them.

    How do we take those walls down, brick by brick but we need to start at home, in our own backyard.

  12. chick2 says:

    After reading everyone’s comments, I must say that I find something to agree with in each one. However, I will find it difficult for our newly elected administration to turn our Christian heritage around when the leaders, themselves, are pro-choice and for gay rights. Two issues that God does not stand for. And if He is the same yesterday, today and forever, I don’t believe He has changed His mind and is looking the other way. Unfortunately, from television and even to the pulpit, our country’s morals are no longer a number one priority. It is no wonder that our younger generation, our future, is so mixed up. I believe that 2 Chronicles 7:14 should be hearts continually.

  13. poohpity says:

    I also want to say Thank you to all our veterans for your service. Thank you for laying your life down so that I may have the freedom to write on this blog and express whatever I want. Thank you for giving up so much of yourself and your life to serve for me (us). THANK YOU!!!!:)

  14. Follower says:

    I find it interesting to read the post that have been placed in reply to your article and I feel that I disagree with many of the post for what has been written in the Bible for us to follow was not written as an easy route to salvation it is a road that demands many correct choices not a menu that we pick from because we feel we can support a “rule” (for lack of a better choice of words) and I find myself in total agreement with Chick2. Sometimes I travel to the Amish areas of the country and when you watch there way of life in its simple ways you realize we are faced with far to many choices which make it hard to give up the so called “good life”.

  15. SULLIVANCLAN says:

    Micah 6:8 – He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

    James 1:27 – Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

    Well said, poohpity. Mart, this post is so convicting to me. I so often get caught up in what our church, our community, our people should be doing and forget to examine what I am doing. I need to always remember to let God be God and leave the right and wrong and sin stuff up to Him, and instead all I must do is to simply show and DO His love to others as He commands. I cannot control what others do, only how I choose to react to it. May my choice always be to earnestly pray for the awakening of each person to our need for God, to pray that God will use me to show Jesus to each person I meet, to pray that I am not a stumbling block to God’s purpose.

  16. Martinus says:

    I have decided to become a collective Humanist and concentrate on my fellow Man, with our problems and opportunities.

    The supernatural is no longer credible to my family, whereas the Human species and the planet need to be integrated.

    I urge you to reconsider your calling.

  17. Peredhil says:

    I appreciate your candor Martinus. Takes a great deal of courage to stand as a dissenting voice. In 28 years of studying the bible for myself, I’ve come to a new appreciate of it. It’s not a history book, or physics text, or archeology course. It is about God’s relationship with mankind, and how that has developed and changed in each administration, from the garden, with no laws, to the current administration of grace in which we live so freely.
    In my experience, having been born body and soul, spiritually dead (Ephesians), the bible being a spiritual primer just didn’t make sense until I started trying to view it with spiritual eyes. It was as if the natural man after the flesh couldn’t understand spiritual matters, being blind to them. But my sincere desire to know, and putting aside all that I’d preconceived for a moment to learn, the spirit helped me to understand – and now I’ve a book of truth and life that I’ve been able to apply to all areas of my life, here in this lifetime. Doesn’t mean life doesn’t have challenges, only that God has a better view and directs them infallibly through them.
    Oh – and, excellent “been thinking about”! Sorry to hijack, but my heart goes out to Martinus, having been there.

  18. poohpity says:


    Excuse my ignorance but what is a collective humanist? I know that anything that is based on a human being alone, I have totally lost my faith and trust because they always seem to hurt one another. How can a human being solve the pain they have caused?

  19. daisymarygoldr says:

    It is a treat to read a spiritually stimulating post especially on my day off…thank you! First, a cheerful word to all those who are bemoaning the sinful state of their nation…Do not feel discouraged about everything that is happening here. Throughout history there has been the spirit of the world (1 Cor 2:12) and this is evident all over the globe with a certain mob-mentality dominated with the thinking of “bad is good and good is bad”. Personally, living in this country did vex my soul at times but I was greatly encouraged in knowing that God has reserved a faithful remnant (Rom 11: 5) that have not bowed down to “the ways of this world”. Do get to fellowship with them at church and it is a joy to meet them right here in this blog. These are like sweet oases that really refresh my weary journey in this desert of life!

    Speaking of the “abomination” of rejecting Jesus Christ, it is better to examine ourselves as the body of Christ before looking at others. We reject Jesus by our unwillingness to submit to His Lordship and refusing to obey His word. If we have a desire to obey God, we will not desire to live in a constant state of sinfulness. Following Christ requires going the opposite way that everybody else is going. It is not easy because the gate is narrow and the path is strait. His rules are hard to follow…inevitably we break them and sin, and it is then that we recognize our self-inability, realize our hopelessness without Him, and readily confess our wrongs. In doing all of this, we remain meek and humble with a broken heart and contrite spirit i.e. ‘poor’ in the spirit…

    Jesus came to preach good news to the ‘poor’ (Luke 4:18) and we do follow His example to serve the poor and needy by giving our alms in secret. However, in spite of feeding the hungry and clothing the naked and caring for the sick in His name Jesus will reject us with a big “I know you not”. Obviously, in referring to the ‘poor’ He was speaking about the kingdom of God belonging to the ‘poor’ in the spirit.

    Poverty of the spirit refers to our lack of ‘His righteousness’ that exceeds the righteousness of the Pharisees and Sadducees (Matt 5:20). When we remove God’s moral Laws how can we compare ourselves to its righteous standard and see how short we come? How then can we mourn, and beg for His righteousness? How then do we remain poor in the spirit? Agree, it is by grace we are saved but after that what? should we remain smugly satisfied with His gift of salvation? No! We then “work out our salvation” by walking in obedience to His word.

    Therefore, not everyone who calls out Lord, Lord will enter the Kingdom of Heaven but only those who actually do the will of God. By not doing His will, we could simply remain around the fringes without ever having that intimacy with Christ…and then it should not be surprising to have the door slammed shut on our faces with a shell-shocking rejection “I never knew you”… Dear people, if we say we “love” Him, we obey His commandments!

  20. aslkim says:

    Thank you, Mart, for an interesting look at Sodom. This is my first post, and I wanted to address one point that you made about judgment being worse on the city who had actually witnessed the coming of the Messiah, and yet rejected Him. As a younger person, I used to ponder about the meaning of the unpardonable sin. I would read and re-read that part of the Bible where Jesus talks about it. One day, God made it VERY clear to me, that the sin which can’t be forgiven is when a person KNOWS who Jesus is, KNOWS that he is the Messiah, and still rejects Him (a choice). That is what the Pharisees did, and Jesus called judgment upon them. Anyone who rejects Jesus out of ignorance or complacency, or any number of other reasons, can still come to Him, but once you know who He is and reject Him, your heart will not – cannot – change.

  21. Harold G says:

    The words of Jesus ring for me. If the people of Israel and Capernaum were God’s chosen people, Sodom and Gomorrah were not. The people of Israel were held more responsible not soley because they had the witness of Jesus, but because they had God’s law (i.e. they had more truth revealed to them.)
    Here in American, being founded on Christian principles, and having so much access to the gospel and Christian material will, I believe, be held even more responsible. And we, as Christians, even though we will not face the judgment of God, we are held more responsible for the truth to which we have been exposed. And the more I study the Bible the more responsible I become to obey what I know. Which reminds me, How much do we really want to hear the Lord say, “Well done good and faithful servant.”

  22. KMK says:

    I appreciate everyone’s comments. It is good to dive deep to understand the Scriptures. God’s Word.

    I lived in a place called Haiti, a sinful place that has been in the news quite often lately, especially with the tropical storms, hurricanes, and now the schools…not to mention the failing state of the so-called ‘government’ and it’s demise for over 200 years…

    I can’t help to recall reading about this place Haiti to understand it better before I went to live there. it was predominantly Catholic, so the “stats” say…yet about 95% of the population practices voodoo.

    Then, I see my own country, the USA, a true “city on a hill” founded upon Judeo-Christian principals…and the current demise of this wonderful, rich land. I cannot help but see somewhat of a parallel: Haiti (the former “Pearl of the Caribbean” and the richest country in this hemisphere at one point…and the USA, the only true remaining “Superpower”, that is playing with fire.

    I rack my brain as to WHY God allows such suffering in Haiti. The poor orphans do not deserve such misery…the elderly that have struggled all their lives are trampled on…natural disaster after natural disaster stikes this once “mecca” for tourists…Why?
    then I recall the voodoo. the false ‘gods’ they sacrifice to…they perform rituals in ‘honor’ of…
    True Catholics would NOT do such things. True Christians would not break the first Commandment. But we are all sinners and often guilty of breaking that first commandment.

    Yet I see things going on in our country and I fear the same allowance from God to “sift” us…
    As He allowed Job to be sifted…

    Then I think of the beautiful passage of hope:
    If my people, who are called by My Name, shall humble themselves and pray, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven and will heal their land.

    Haitians, Americans, humble yourselves, pray, turn from your wicked ways…and ask God to heal our lands!

    May God stir and stoke the cooling embers in the hearts of those who are in the silent majority! The conservative Christians who should properly act and speak up…lovingly, timely, now…

  23. djdodge says:

    I sit late at night reading all your comments one point that I never noticed was one of our Lord and Saviors last statements ” Love your niegbor as yourself” in all of the SIN and discord of our world and country we need to follow this command some of you have head knowledge but do you have heart knowledge Get on your knees before our God and Savior Jesus Christ and beg for our country and most of all “LOVE LOVE LOVE the sinner and hate the sin God Bless you all

  24. djmemb says:

    When asked:
    “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” -John 6:28,29 NIV
    As we look at the great sins of Sodom and Mart De Haan’s observation that nothing is worse than to reject Jesus, it points out that this is the choice before us, and possibly the only thing we control in life: To choose God, and redemption through Jesus’ sacrifice or reject him.
    Surely the United States is sinful as many who live here live for themselves, their wallets, their bellies and their desires, as Sodom did. But the thing that makes this country great is the freedom to choose. As citizens of the U.S. we are guaranteed ‘freedom of religion.’ But our founding fathers went further than that in desiring ‘one nation under God.’ The truth is there are many choices but only one true God. I beleive as Christians we must spread the good news, pray that God touches the hearts of non beleivers, and realize that it is the choice of each individual. That only the Spirit can draw them, and only Jesus can judge.

  25. Donald says:

    Rejecting Christ is the true ‘unpardonable sin’ but as though in the Church it is our responsibility to take the Word to those who do not know it. Christ came “to seek and to save that which was lost” and commanded us (not ask) commanded us to take His message of salvation to a lost world (Acts 1:8). The pharisees and religious groups could not understand that Jesus tolerated sinners, not the sin, but sinners. He let them know about their sin and about redemption. The Church today condemns homosexuality (as it should) and we should not give in to allow them marriage as this is contrary to God’s Word. But the Church has to love the sinner, to take to Word of God to them about salvation (we can hate the sin, but love the person), or else God would have taken us out of the world at our salvation. He didn’t because it is imperative that we take the Word to a lost and dying world. The homosexual crowd will never be saved if we do not take the message of salvation to them in love. Christ saw past the sinner, to the cost of life without God’s forgiveness, He even said “for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” Mt.9:13 (of course this is reiterated in scripture more than once). Why do we have to sit elbow to elbow with the lost, because that is what our Lord did. Without us loving them, they will not come to Christ. Love the sinner, hate the sin!!

  26. daisymarygoldr says:

    Thank you for reminding us about the importance of “Love your neighbor as yourself” and you are so right! Yes, without heart knowledge, head knowledge causes our heads to puff up, swell and eventually burst to our own destruction.

    Heart knowledge is “LOVE LOVE LOVE the sinner and hate the sin.” However, because we hate the sin the sinner will not appreciate rather reject our love….then we become disheartened and give up.

    Now, if we have Head knowledge that “All have sinned”, that “God so loved the world…none should perish but all should have eternal life”, that “He first loved us and gave Himself for us even while we were dead in our sins” and that “He never leaves us nor forsake us”…then regardless of the response from the sinner we will persevere to LOVE and never give up on our neighbor. Are you getting the point?

    Worldly love is merely founded on the emotions of the heart but the love of God as seen in the compassion of Christ employs both the emotions of the heart and the understanding of the mind. Please, do not frown on head knowledge that is pathetically lacking in the body of Christ today…

  27. janeppl says:

    God bless all of you! This sight makes my day.I say Amen to SULLIVANCLAN, KMK, djdodge, Donald, and daisymarygoldr.
    God bless you Martinus- been there done that- came back- I found God’s way is the only way that works!
    Thank you Mart for making this possible.

  28. indanthrone says:

    Unfortunately, the rest of the story for some of us is one of judgement, condemnation, rejection and oppression. I’m so thankful that God will judge me just the way He made me!

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