Genesis 14:1-16 Sodom and Gomorrah Attacked CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
In this chapter, four kings ruling in the region of Shinar, where Nimrod had set up the tower of Babel, attacked the kings below the Dead Sea, because they rebelled against their rule. They captured many people, including Lot and his family. Abram counter-attacked and recovered all the people and possessions that had been stolen from Sodom and Gomorrah, and the surrounding cities that were attacked. On the way back from the victory, Abram met the high priest, Melchizedek, who blessed him and received a tithe from him. This chapter contains several historical and spiritual truths.
Origin of Easter
Scholars say that “Easter” in Acts 12:4 is a mistake. However, this passage shows one of the historical reasons why it is not. The worship of the goddess Ishtar (pronounced “Easter”) originated in Babylon, in the region of Shinar. The rulers in Shinar evidently brought their religion with them to the area below the Dead Sea. We deduce this because the area where the Rephaims lived was called Ashteroth in verse 5. Ashteroth is another name for the goddess, Ishtar (Jud. 2:13). Later, this region became the inheritance of Edom (Deut. 11-12). As it turns out, the Herod of Acts 12 was an Edomite whose ancestors had worshipped this female goddess and kept her feast, “Easter.”
Giants in the Land
There were giants even after Noah’s flood. The Emims in verse 5 were giants (Deut. 2:10-11). Other groups of giants lived in the area below and to the east of the Dead Sea (Deut. 2:19-20) even when Joshua and Israel were preparing to invade Canaan.
Location of Dan
In verse 14, Moses recorded that Abram pursued the kings into Dan. He certainly knew about the tribe of Dan when he wrote this. But he would not have known that Dan was going to inherit this land. The Holy Spirit had to tell him. As a matter of fact, the tribe of Dan didn’t receive this land in the dividing of the inheritance. They defeated Laish in Jud 17-18 and took it.
Type of Mystery Babylon
Mystery Babylon will rule over the kings of the earth (Rev. 17:18) just like the kings in Shinar reigned over the kings below the Dead Sea. The kings under Mystery Babylon will rebel against her (Rev. 17:12-17), just like the kings in Gen. 14 did. The four kings are a type of the United Nations. In their military effort to control the kings to their southwest, they lost miserably. Their defeat should give you a prophetic understanding of what’s going to happen to the UN in the future (Zeph. 3:8).
Hell on Earth
The vale of Siddim was full of slime pits (v. 10). These would have contained flammable deposits from oil, things like bitumen or tar. So, when the fire hit Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim, four of the five cities that were in the vale of Siddim (Deut. 29:23), they really burned. During the millennium, hell will be on earth in this same region (Is. 30:33, Is. 34:5-10, Rev. 14:10-11, Is. 66:24).
Moses called the vale of Siddim the “salt sea” in v. 3. However, a vale is a valley, which would have a river or a lake in the lowest part of it. Then the vale originally contained Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim and Zoar. This would have been the fertile plain of Jordan that attracted Lot to the area in the first place (13:10). After the destruction of the cities, however, the vale became the salt sea (Deut 29:23), which is what we also call the Dead Sea.
Notice the prophetic truths connected with this sea and its location:
- Dead – Hell is a place where lost dead people go (Rev. 20:13);
- Sea – Hell is a lake of fire (Jon. 2:2-6, but not the lake of fire);
- Salt – Hell fire is connected with salt (Mk. 9:47-50);
- Location – As we have seen, Hell will be on the earth right here.
Next week we will study Melchizedek.