The Righteous Paradox
Most of us alive here in America tend to see the world with a western worldview. This worldview works fine for everyday life, but can cause the average western believer consternation when trying to make sense of certain parts of the Scriptures. All Scripture is giving by inspiration of God through the Holy Spirit (2 Tim 3:16), but what we fail to sometimes take into account, was that the men who physically wrote the Bible, were all from the Oriental world.
The Old Testament was written almost entirely in Hebrew and with a small portion in Aramaic. The New Testament was written entirely in Koinonia Greek (the common vernacular of the day). But it was Jewish men, who thought with a Hebraic mindset that wrote both Old and New Testaments. So when we modern westerners get to certain parts of the scriptures that seem to be paradoxical to each other, we often times get perplexed at the seeming contradictions.
However, to the Hebrew mind, opposing ideas could be equally accepted at the same time. Patterns that formed cycles were key to understanding the fullness of the entirety of the message. The Hebrew culture (like other eastern cultures) used what has been deemed, “block logic”, and in Marvin Wilson’s “Our Father Abraham—Jewish Roots of the Christian Faith”, he makes some interesting points about the two:
The use of what may be termed block logic is another important contour of Hebrew thought. Greek logic, which has to a large extent influenced the Western world, was different. The Greeks often used a tightly contained step logic whereby one would argue from premises to a conclusion, each step linked tightly to the next in coherent, rational, logical fashion. The conclusion, however, was usually limited to one point of view—the human being’s perception of reality
The Hebrew knew he did not know all the answers. His position was ‘under the sun’ (Ecc. 8:17), so his words were few (5:2). He refused to over-systematize or forced harmonization on the enigmas of God’s truth or the puzzles of the universe. He realized that no one could straighten what God has made crooked (7:13). All things, therefore, did not need to be fully rational. The Hebrew mind was willing to accept the truths taught on both sides of the paradox; it recognized that mystery and apparent contradictions are often signs of the divine. Stated succinctly, the Hebrews knew the wisdom of learning to trust in matters that they could not fully understand.”
In layman’s terms, those influenced in western thought, i.e.…the Greco-Roman world-view, understood things in a linear, logical manner. We try to apply logic to a problem in order to come up with the most logical solution. Applying this type of mental methodology to Bible prophecy, can often times frustrates the purpose, which then causes confusion. Marvin Wilson provides some excellent examples in which ‘block logic’ is used in Scriptures:
The book of Exodus says that Pharaoh hardened his heart, but it also says that God hardened it (Ex. 8:15; cf. 7:3). The prophets teach that God is both wrathful and merciful (Isa. 45:7; Hab. 3:2). The New Testament refers to [Yeshua] as the ‘Lamb of God’ and the ‘Lion of the tribe of Judah’ (Jn. 1:29, 36; Rev. 5:5). Hell is described as both ‘blackest darkness’ and the fiery lake’ (Jude 13; Rev. 19:20). In terms of salvation, [Yeshua] said, ‘whoever comes to me I will never drive away,’ yet no one can come ‘unless the Father draws him’ (Jn. 6:37, 44). To find life you must lose it (Mt. 10:39). When you are weak, then you are strong (2 Cor. 12:10). The way up (exaltation) is the way down (humility) (Lk. 14:11). ‘Jacob have I loved and Esau have I hated’ (Rom. 9:13; Mal. 1:3).
Block logic is the mindset, that one can accept two opposing ideas as both equally true… it all depends on whose perception one is looking through.
Old Testament Lot
Throughout the entirety of his account beginning in Genesis chapter 11, through chapter 19, Lot was always living in the shadow of his older cousin Abram (Abraham). When they arrived at Canaan, Abram gave him the choice cut of land and they parted ways. A little later on, some wicked kings kidnapped Lot and Abram had to come to the rescue. From there, the Lord and two angels visit Abraham and give him a heads up, that they were going to visit Sodom and Gomorrah, and then destroy it. Abraham, knowing Lot lived there, asked one of the most pivotal questions that sets the tone for the rest of the Scriptures: And Abraham came near and said, “Would You also destroy the righteous with the wicked? Genesis 18:23
Two angels were dispatched to Sodom and Gomorrah, and there Lot met them at the gate. He persuaded them to come back to his house because he knew the kind of evil that would befall these visitors should they remain out in the open. However, this did not stop the men of the city from surrounding Lot’s house and attempting to break down the door to get to them. Lot does what any “red-blooded father” would do…and he offers up his two daughters in exchange for these visitors safety. The outraged mob attempt to rush Lot and the visitors…
And they (the mob) said, “Stand back!” Then they said, “This one (Lot) came in to stay here, and he keeps acting as a judge; now we will deal worse with you than with them.” So they pressed hard against the man Lot, and came near to break down the door. But the men reached out their hands and pulled Lot into the house with them, and shut the door. And they struck the men who were at the doorway of the house with blindness, both small and great, so that they became weary trying to find the door. Genesis 19:9-11
From there, the two visitors and Lot (with family in tow) depart the city early in the morning. Lot’s wife looks back and is turned into a pillar of salt. Lot ends up in the mountains with his two daughters, and they get him drunk and seduce him so they could get impregnated. Impressed yet? Seems like Lot is always getting himself into some kind of precarious situation.
New Testament Lot
Lot is referenced twice in the New Testament; first in Luke 17, when Jesus referencing what the world will be like when He returns, pointing back to the wickedness of that time. The second mention is by the Apostle Peter. In addition, Peter gives three different examples of the punishment in which God had served in the past to curb the wickedness in the world: the fallen angels who left their first estate and copulated with human women, the wicked people in Noah’s day, and the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah in Lot’s day…
…and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds) — 2 Peter 2:7-8
WHAT?! Did I miss something in the Genesis account? Three times, Peter was moved by the Holy Spirit to call this man Lot righteous. What did we see of this man’s life and actions in the Old Testament that would warrant him being addressed as righteous now?
Remember that thing about ‘block logic’? There is where our perception and God’s see things differently.
Just turn on the news or read the Drudge Report, any given day and you can quickly see the awful wickedness that permeates in the day and age we live in. Lot’s situation was just a tiny microcosm of what we experience today. Both news and travel have greatly increased (Dan 12:4), and we know what is going on in the world as it happens. Since bad news sells better than good news, we are inundated with as much of it as one can take.
Whether it is horrific crimes committed against the innocent, or wars, pestilence, famines, and corruption, you can be sure that no matter where you look, you do not have to look hard. For those of us who watch the signs of the times, it can make you weary and long for the Lord to return. Even now, we are being oppressed by the filthy conduct that is being pressed on us to accept as normal by the “civilized” world. The issues includes: drugs, gay marriage, abortion, anti-Christian propaganda, euthanasia, apostate and false religious movements, genetic engineering, and violence perpetrated against the Church in many parts of the world.
Is your soul tormented? If it is not, then your head is in the proverbial hole in the ground. Remember, we are tri-partite beings: body, soul, and spirit. Even though one is saved (revived spirit), our souls (the conscious) is being tested like never before. The floodgates of evil are being opened and we are getting just a taste of what is going to be turned loose during the Tribulation. Even now, we are weary and long to be home in heaven with our Savior.
For those who do not watch for the Lord’s soon return, it is just business as usual. And that attitude often feeds the frustration many of us feel when sharing the gospel with urgency we know…with the apathetic or spiritually blinded who don’t know how close to the end we really are, nor do they want to know.
The Pattern and the Plan
According to the Strong’s Lexicon, Lot’s name in Hebrew means “Covering” and since he had to be removed prior to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, we too will be removed prior to the Wrath of God being poured out on this world. As the body of Christ on earth, we are inhabited and sealed by the Holy Spirit, overcomers chosen by God before the foundation of the world ever came to be (Eph 1:4).
[The Plan] At the Rapture, the Holy Spirit’s ministry of restraint will be removed, and the wrath of God will be poured out on a Christ rejecting world. Just as when the covering (Lot) was removed from Sodom, God’s wrath was subsequently poured out on the plains cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Again, when the Church is removed (along with the Restrainer), then the wrath will be poured out via the opening of the Seal Judgments by Christ. This pattern of warning and removing the righteous before God acts is repeated throughout Scriptures. God does not destroy the righteous with the wicked [The Pattern].
Although we do not see much righteousness in Lot’s testimony in the Old Testament, God did. In fact, most of the OT patriarchs were not “righteous” by their own standards. Both Abraham failed to trust in God’s provision by moving to Egypt. Moses and David were murderers. David also committed adultery. We see the OT saints in the Old Testament, warts and all. However, when we see them mentioned in the New, they are viewed as righteous (Hebrews 11).
Although we do not have much to brag about ourselves, God sees us as righteous, not because of our own efforts, but solely through the shed blood of His Son on the cross of Calvary. It may not always make sense to us, but it does to God. And I love it when God’s plan comes together!
For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:2
Originally written on May 29, 2012.