“…and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly…”
Peter gives three illustrations of divine judgment, all taken from the book of Genesis. The first illustration was the angels who fell. The second was the flood generation. The third illustration of God’s judgment is the judgment against Sodom and Gomorrah, covering verses six through eight. Peter gives more space to this judgment than the other two.
and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes
The word “turning” means to subvert or overthrow one’s existence. These cities enter a state of total ruin, complete destruction. “Into ashes” means that God reduced Sodom and Gomorrah into complete ruin.
We get the term “sodomites” from the city “Sodom.” Sodomites are people who pervert God’s standard for sex.
Lot pitched his tent toward Sodom and eventually moved into Sodom (Ge 13:12,13). Lot was Abram’s nephew. He knew this city was wicked. Nevertheless, he took his wife and two daughters into this atmosphere. Eventually, he became a politician there.
Ge 19:1, “Now the two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom.”
Sitting in the “gate” during this time meant that a person was a politician. Lot was an official in the town council of the City Hall. Imagine a man of God being an official in a city of homosexuals! He advanced his career in Sodom, but he lost his family there. He made it materially but lost his family. Money was more important than his family. That is the only thing that counts for some men.
While Lot entertained two messengers, homosexuals came demanding that Lot bring the men out to them.
Ge 19:4-5, “Now before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both old and young, all the people from every quarter, surrounded the house. 5 And they called to Lot and said to him, ‘Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may know them carnally.’
The men of the city beat on Lot’s door. He went out and tried to placate them (he had power as an official of the city). They would not be appeased but turned on Lot. The messengers reached out and rescued Lot. God’s messengers smote these men with blindness. Then God rained judgment on the city.
Ge 19:24-25, “Then the Lord rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the Lord out of the heavens. 25 So He overthrew those cities, all the plain, all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground.”
Mrs. Lot lived in Sodom for a long time. She had become prominent in social circles and women’s clubs. God warned Lot and his wife, “Escape for your life! Do not look behind you nor stay anywhere in the plain. Escape to the mountains, lest you be destroyed (Ge 19:17).” Lot’s wife disobeyed God by looking behind herself to the city. She lost her life. She never made it to the city limits. Lot’s daughters lost their morals, and by the end of the chapter, they are both pregnant by their own father. Although Lot was a carnal believer, God preserved him from the catastrophe at Sodom and Gomorrah.
Some of us are more interested in our careers than in our family.
Many of us advance our careers by compromising with society about us. We put a priority on business over our families and lose our families in the process. We make it materially but lose our families. That means money is more important to us than our families. That is the only thing that counts for some of us.
If Sodom and Gomorrah are the example, and they were reduced to ashes, doesn’t that mean that all of the unsaved will be reduced to ashes on judgment day?
Susannah, the situation with Sodom and Gomorrah is not the same as the final judgment where people are cast into hell forever.
and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly…”
I don’t see an explanation. Can you please explain?
If this is an EXAMPLE, then it would be like a teacher giving an example of a test math problem such as 2 +7 = 9. But if the teacher gave this on the test: y + dy/dx = 5x + df/dx – (5-3x)/ N, … then the students would think that the teacher was crazy or something.
Can you explain the — turning ‘them’ into ashes — part? Why is this: the example?
Susannah, There are times when societies reach a point of saturated evil. In the case of Sodom and Gomorrah the entire region was given over to abnormal sex, homosexuality. This is the principle found in the OT of חרם (charim), that is, destruction of something devoted to some evil aberration. Ex 22:30 is an example. Since S and G reached the point of saturated evil, God destroyed that region of the Dead Sea because they were irretrievable. This was a point in history dealing with a given situation.
Susannah, I forgot to give you a lexical definition of the word “turning:” καταστροφήb, ῆς f: a state of total ruin or destruction—‘complete ruin, destruction.’ καὶ πόλεις Σοδόμων καὶ Γομόρρας τεφρώσας καταστροφῇ κατέκρινεν ‘and he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to complete destruction by reducing them to ashes.
As you can see, this word indicates that God brought S and G to a state of “total ruin” because they had reached a point of no return (found in the context of the OT).
I was looking at Susannah’s question. And it doesn’t appear that you have answered it. As she said, Sodom and Gomorrah are the example of what is going to happen to the ungodly. And the example that this verse states is that they are going to be “burned to ashes.” So I don’t really see how you can say that it just means ruined. The explanation that you gave doesn’t make sense. How can people being burned to ashes possibly mean being “ruined” and burning in hell for all eternity if they are going to be ashes?
James, it is the “cities” that were destroyed and turned to ashes. Did you read all three studies on 2 Peter 2:6? just hit the hyperlink for 2:6b. Also, the context from verse 1 is dealing with false teachers.
I was looking at the answer that you gave to James Preston, and I have to say that it doesn’t make any sense. It wasn’t just the “cities” that were destroyed and turned to ashes, it was the PEOPLE.
And that is why they are the EXAMPLE to all who would live ungodly lives afterward.
This is what is GOING TO HAPPEN TO THEM. That is what this verse states very directly and clearly.
Mark, did you read all three studies on 2 Peter 2:6a, b, and c?