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Let Us Go On

By Arlen L. Chitwood


Chapter Six


Two Kinds of Growth


For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God;


but if it bears thorns and briars, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned. (Hebrews 6:7, 8)


The subject matter, contextually, must center on that which has preceded it.  The writer uses an illustration, drawn from nature, which corresponds to that which he has been discussing.  It is an illustration concerning two kinds of plant growth, resulting in two types of fruit.


This illustration would reflect back on the immediate context, which deals with maturity in the faith.  It deals with Christian growth or non-growth and a corresponding fruit bearing in relation to each.


The two types of fruit presented though are quite different, with one type being looked upon as barren (fruitless) in other passages of Scripture (cf. Mark 11:13; James 2:20 [ref. ASV]).


Some Greek manuscripts have the word arge, “barren,” rather than nekros, “dead,” in James 2:20.  Regardless though, “barren” or “dead,” in the sense spoken of here, would be the same — the same as that which is seen in Hebrews 6:8, bearing “thorns and briers.” As in the previous verses, the unsaved are not in view in Hebrews 6:7, 8; nor is one’s eternal destiny in view.  The passage deals strictly with those who are already saved, those in a position to bring forth fruit.


Drawing from the type in the context, the passage deals with things beyond Exodus chapter twelve — with man at a point beyond the death of the firstborn.  It deals with man in a position to bring forth fruit relative to the hope of his calling.


Preceding events surrounding the death of the firstborn, there is no such thing as man being placed in a position of this nature.  Prior to the point of salvation, a person is associated only with the earth.  He is associated with Adam, who was made from “the dust of the ground” (Genesis 2:7).  And at the time of the fall, the ground came under a curse:


            . . . Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of                     your life.


            Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you . . . . (Genesis 3:17b, 18a)


Fallen man is “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1).  And insofar as works or fruit bearing are concerned, he can only do two things:


1)      He can only produce works or bring forth fruit in association with the cursed earth, with which he finds himself connected.


2)      He can only be active after this fashion within the sphere of the one life he possesses (“natural,” i.e., “soulical” [cf. 1 Corinthians 2:14ff]).


He could never, in an eternity of time, rise above his connection with the earth; nor, in the same eternity of time, could he remove himself from the “natural.”  Thus, he, in and of himself, could never bring forth anything acceptable to God.  All which he, in his fallen state, might consider as “righteous” would only be looked upon by God after one fashion — “as filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6).


Man has a spiritual problem, which had its origin in the fall.  Man, at that time, found himself separated from God; and, apart from divine intervention, resulting in redemption, that’s where he would not only continue to remain today but for all eternity as well.


Unredeemed man’s association with the “natural” leaves him alienated from God; and his association with the “earth” leaves him destined for destruction.


This is the reason man MUST be born from above, which is a spiritual birth.  There is no alternative.  If he would escape the state in which he presently finds himself, he must escape this state through Gods provided means.


Unredeemed man has no capacity whatsoever to act either relative to or within the “spiritual realm.”  Insofar as spiritual matters are concerned, unredeemed man has no more ability to act than any person in any graveyard has the ability to act physically.  Both are dead — one spiritually, the other physically.  And, apart from divine intervention, neither could ever make even the most minute move conceivable — one in the spiritual realm, the other in the physical realm.


Thus, unredeemed man, to escape his present state, must be made alive spiritually.  He must be brought from his dead, alienated state to a living, non-alienated state.  That is, he must be removed from his present state and be placed in an entirely different state.  He must pass “from death to life” (John 5:24).


A man can make no move toward the Red Sea and the things lying beyond (Exodus 13ff) until he has first settled the matter surrounding the death of the firstborn (Exodus 12).  Otherwise, as Pharaoh and his armed forces, he will be stopped at the Sea; and there will he die, with no removal from Egypt and resurrection to life on the eastern banks of the Sea in view.


He must first believe on the One who died in his stead, with God then viewing the matter exactly as seen in the type in Exodus chapter twelve:


            . . . when I see the blood, I will pass over you . . . . (Exodus 12:13)


Until a person has settled this matter, he can never be associated with anything other than Egypt and the things of that land.  But once he has settled this matter, a new land comes into view.  Once he has settled this matter, he finds himself associated with a land removed from Egypt.


But, there is still a problem.


And that still-existing problem is what Hebrews 6:7, 8 is about.  Though redeemed man finds himself associated with a land removed from Egypt, the land of Egypt is not done away with.  The land of Egypt and all things appertaining thereunto remain in existence.


In this respect, though redeemed man possesses a new nature, the old nature is still present.  Matters are exactly as in the original type in Genesis 1:3-5 when God “commanded the light to shine out of darkness” (John 1:5; 2 Corinthians 4:6).  The darkness remained, though light now shined forth out of that darkness (ref. the author’s book, From Egypt to Canaan, Chapter 7).


Redeemed man thus finds himself in a position where he can go in either of two directions.  He can either fix his attention on the land out ahead, or he can turn and fix his attention on the land from which he was called.


Insofar as his eternal destiny is concerned, it could never make one iota of difference which direction he takes.  But, insofar as the hope of his calling — the purpose for his salvation — is concerned, it would make every difference.


Hebrews 6:7, 8 presents man with a dual capacity in this realm.  That is, he possesses the capacity to go in either direction.  Thus, both textually and contextually, it is evident that the passage is dealing only with those who have passed “from death to life.”  Those remaining “dead in trespasses and sins” do not possess this dual capacity and cannot be in view at all.


            (Man must be made alive “spiritually,” for “God is spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” [John 4:24; NASB, NIV].  Consequently, in order for man to find himself in a non-alienated state once again, he must, through divine  intervention [for he himself is powerless to act], be restored “spiritually”; and this can be accomplished only through the spiritual birth from above.


            John 4:24 has nothing to do with God in a physical sense, as the verse is often understood [stating, on the basis of this verse, that God does not have a physical  existence].  The word “spirit” is anarthrous [no article before the word] in the Greek text, referring to God’s character [His essence, His being] rather than to His identity.  The expression is used in the same sense as another expression by John, “God is love” [1 John 4:16].  And the latter has no more to do with the physical than the former, or vice versa.  Both refer to God’s character.


            The preceding, as well, shows the reason why the natural man finds himself alienated from God.  He, within the framework of his character, acts in the “natural,” for that is the only sphere in which it is possible for him to act.  But God, within the framework of His character, acts in the “spiritual,” never the “natural.”  And one is totally incompatible with the other. Ishmael cannot act within the sphere occupied by Isaac.  It is impossible.


            Thus, the “natural man” cannot worship God “in spirit and in truth”; nor can he exercise “faith,” apart from which it is impossible to please God [Hebrews 11:6].  Only the person having experienced the spiritual birth from above is in a position to do either.


            But, such a person may or may not conduct his affairs in the spiritual realm, though Scripture, time after time, exhorts him to so do.  Those things that characterize his life may or may not be in line with those things that characterize God, though they should be.He still possesses the old nature [the natural (soulical) man, connected with the earth],  though he [unlike unredeemed man] also possesses the new nature [the spiritual man, connected with God, another land, etc.].  And a Christian is fully capable of following either nature, going in either direction.


            Note that saved man functioning in the realm of the natural, the soulical, rather than the spiritual, can only bring forth exactly the same thing in relation to fruit bearing as unsaved man, for he is operating in connection with a cursed earth, the first birth, etc. And God will always reject such works.


            And for this reason Scripture is filled with spiritual lessons, exhortations, and warnings concerning the overall matter surrounding the Christians’ calling.  And herein, as well,  lies the reason for the necessity of proper spiritual growth to maturity, for redeemed man invariably lives within the sphere of which ever nature is cultivated, nurtured, and fed.)


Blessings from God


Several lines of teaching can be drawn from Hebrews 6:7, 8.  One would have to do with redeemed man in relation to two lands — one earthly, the other heavenly.  Another line of teaching would contrast the two lands themselves — one land having to do with our natural birth and the other with our spiritual birth.  However, the latter (referring to the two lands) would still have to be understood in conjunction with the former (referring to redeemed man), for one cannot be separated from the other.


1)  The Land of Canaan


That heavenly land to which Christians under Christ have been called (in a place removed from the earth) is typified by the earthly land to which the Israelites under Moses were called (the land of Canaan).  And the land from which the Israelites were called (Egypt) would typify the land from which Christians have been called (the earth).


Just as the Israelites were to separate themselves from Egypt and fix their attention on the land set before them, Christians are to separate themselves from this world and fix their attention on the land set before them.


Both callings thus concern two lands — one from which the person has been called, and the other to which the person has been called; and God draws spiritual lessons from the former calling (the Israelites under Moses) to teach His people great spiritual truths concerning the latter calling (Christians under Christ).


The land of Canaan was the place wherein the Israelites under Moses could realize both a “rest” and an “inheritance” (Deuteronomy 12:9).  God said of the land of Canaan,


            but the land which you cross over to possess is a land of hills and valleys, which drinks water from the rain of heaven,


            a land for which the LORD your God cares; the eyes of the LORD your God are always on it, from the beginning of the year to the very end of the year.  (Deuteronomy 11:11, 12)


“Rain,” in this respect, is associated with God’s blessings.  In Deuteronomy 32:2, the Lord states,


            Let My teaching drop as the rain, My speech distill as the dew, as raindrops on the tender herb, and as showers on the grass.


Then, during the coming Messianic Era the presence or absence of “rain” is associated with the presence or absence of blessings.  On the one hand, the prophesied “latter rain” is associated with blessings for Israel, which will result in blessings for the Gentile nations (Joel 2:23); and, on the other hand, the absence of “rain” is associated with a withholding of blessings from these nations (Zechariah 14:17-19).


            (Though the land of Canaan is part of the earth, which is under a curse, it is used in an    eschatological sense within the framework of the type [referring to that day when the earth will be removed from the present curse].  In this respect, it is used relative to both the rest set before Christians [to be realized in that coming seventh day, the earth’s coming Sabbath] and a land contrasted with Egypt [always a type of the world in Scripture].  In the latter respect, the land of Canaan would be associated with “the    spiritual” and the land of Egypt with “the natural.”)


Thus, the land of Canaan corresponds to the land of Hebrews 6:7, which “drinks in the rain that often comes upon it,” which “receives blessings from God.”  And the land of Canaan (to which the Israelites under Moses were called) is set forth as a type of that heavenly land (to which Christians under Christ have been called).


Contextually, this verse would have to do with those who have been allowed to go on to maturity within the framework of Hebrews 6:1-6, remaining faithful to their calling.  The blessings in view would have to do with being enlightened concerning the things out ahead — tastingthe heavenly gift . . . the good Word of God and the powers of the age to come” — and with being madepartakers [‘companions’] of the Holy Spirit” in these matters, as He leads individuals “into all truth” (Hebrews 6:4, 5; John 16:13).


And further, contextually, the verse would have to do with that coming day when Christ will be the great King-Priestafter the order of Melchizedek” (Hebrews 5:5-14).  That will be the day when the blessings of God will find their ultimate fulfillment insofar as man on the present earth is concerned.  In that day the blessings of God will flow out through the Seed of Abraham to the Gentile nations from both heavenly and earthly spheres.  And the Seed of Abraham, in that day, will dwell in these lands (heavenly and earthly), corresponding to the land of Hebrews 6:7.


2)  Caleb and Joshua


Caleb and Joshua — two of the Israelites under Moses at Kadesh-Barnea, and two of the twelve spies sent in to obtain a report concerning the land of Canaan — had a proper respect for God’s calling and the land set before them.  All twelve of the spies first presented a uniform report to Israel concerning the land (a land flowing with “milk and honey [they had brought back some of the actual fruits of the land for the people to see],” but strong Gentile nations, infiltrated by the Nephilim, dwelled in the land).


Then Caleb, with the support of Joshua, apart from the other ten, “quieted the people before Moses” and exhorted them after a positive fashion (Numbers 13:26-29; cf. v. 33):


            Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it. (v. 30).


Though the enemy was stronger and more numerous than the Israelites, Caleb and Joshua believed that which God had to say concerning their calling and the land set before them. They had seen God’s previous dealings with the Egyptians the night of the Passover (Exodus 12:29ff), they had seen God’s miraculous parting of the waters of the Red Sea (Exodus 14:21, 22), they had seen God’s destruction of the Egyptian army in the Red Sea (Exodus 14:23-28), they had seen God’s provision of food and water in the wilderness (Exodus 16:4-18; 17:1-7), and they had seen God’s continued provision of victory over anyone who stood in the way of their march toward Sinai and their subsequent march toward the land of Canaan (Exodus 17:8-14).


            (In fact, God’s attitude toward anyone standing in Israel’s way was such that He not only completely destroyed the Egyptian army that moved into the sea after Israel [“Not so much as one of them remained.” (Exodus 14:28)], but He pronounced a terminal, annihilating judgment upon the “first of the nations” [Numbers 24:20] to war against Israel in the wilderness.  God said to Moses:


                        Write this for a memorial in the book and recount it in the hearing of Joshua,                that I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven. [Exodus 17:14].


            The Amalekite nation existed for hundreds of years following the Exodus under Moses        [continuing to exist throughout this time because of the failure of the Israelites to carry out their God-appointed task as executioners of the Amalekites (Deuteronomy 25:17-19; 1 Samuel 15:2-26; 2 Samuel 1:1-16; cf. Revelation 3:11)].  But, during the days of Hezekiah, this nation was ultimately destroyed after the fashion that God had stated centuries earlier, at the time of the Exodus [1 Chronicles 4:39-43].  And, as a           consequence, the only available record today that this nation ever even existed can be found only one            place — in the pages of Scripture.


            Secular history knows nothing of the Amalekites, for God destroyed this nation to the extent that man, in his secular world today [archaeology, etc.], can find no trace whatsoever of the people of this nation.)


Caleb and Joshua had seen and experienced these things; and they knew that it was through the Lord’s strength and power, not their own, that deliverance or provision had been forthcoming at every point.  The Lord had slain the firstborn in Egypt (Exodus 12:12), the Lord had destroyed the Egyptian army, and the Lord was the One who warred with Amalek (eventually blotting him out of existence [Exodus 17:14-16]).  And the Lord was the One who, as well, over the previous one and one-half years, had miraculously provided food and water in the wilderness for the Israelites (Exodus 16:4; 17:5-7).


Thus, for Caleb and Joshua (and it should have been the same for the remainder of the nation), it was really a simple matter to look out ahead to the land set before them and believe, regardless of the strength of the land’s inhabitants or the comparative weakness and seeming inability of the Israelites, that the people of Israel could “go up at once, and possess it.”  The people of Israel would be “well able to overcome it,” but not in their own strength and power.  They, as before, would have to rely upon the Lord, with His strength and power; and by so doing, through faith in the Lord, nothing could stand in their way as they marched into the land and victoriously engaged the enemy.


But there was another side to the matter, and that was the attitude exhibited by the ten remaining spies, with their “evil report.”  They, in a faithless manner, overlooking all God’s works that had preceded, said to the Israelites,


            We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.  (Numbers 13:31)


It is these two reports, with the resulting action of Caleb and Joshua on the one hand and the remainder of the nation on the other, which establish a basis for much of that which is taught in Hebrews 3-6.  And nearing the end of this whole section, in Hebrews 6:7, 8, these two totally incompatible ways in which the Israelites viewed the land set before them (typifying the two totally incompatible ways Christians can view the land set before them) are set forth in a very simple illustration, drawn from nature.


Within one sphere, there is acceptance, followed by blessings; within the other, there is rejection, followed by curses.  And no middle ground lies between the two (cf. Matthew 12:30).  Thus, these two verses outline the only two options open to any Christian:


            1)  That of one day coming into a realization of his calling (v. 7), associated with acceptance and blessings.


            2)  Or, that of one day being overthrown short of the goal of his calling (v. . . 8), associated with rejection and curses.


Rejected . . .


The land of Canaan is set forth, on the one hand, corresponding to the land of Hebrews 6:7, associated with blessings from God; then it is set forth, on the other hand, as being sharply contrasted with the land of Egypt, which corresponds to the earth under a curse.  And though the curse will be lifted for one thousand years (during the coming Messianic Era), at the end of this time “the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up” (cf. 2 Peter 3:10-13).


It is the land of Egypt that corresponds to the land in Hebrews 6:8 — that which bears “thorns and briers . . . whose end is to be burned [set in sharp contrast to the land and its related fruit in v. 7].”  And “the land of Egypt” is a type of the world in which man presently lives — a world under a curse, which brings forth “thorns and thistles” (Genesis 3:17, 18).


Whether it be the earth under a curse or natural man connected with the earth, insofar as God is concerned, there can only be total, complete rejection.  That which bears thorns and briers is rejected.


The reference in Hebrews though is not to unredeemed man on the earth (although he has been rejected).  The reference is to redeemed man who looks to that land that bears “thorns and briers” (v. 8) rather than to that land that brings forth “herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated” (v. 7).  The reference is to the antitype of those Israelites under Moses at Kadesh-Barnea who believed the evil report of the ten spies concerning the land of Canaan, causing them to look back to Egypt rather than out ahead to the land of their calling (Numbers 13:31-14:4).


These Israelites looked back to a land that bore “thorns and briers” rather than out ahead to a land that brought forth “herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated.”  And their subsequent overthrow in the wilderness was completely in line with that which God had to say about Egypt, the land to which they had sought to return.  Relative to their calling and the land set before them (called out of Egypt to dwell in the land of Canaan as Gods firstborn son, within a theocracy), they were “rejected.”  They were overthrown in the wilderness, short of this goal.


And the warning to Christians is that they can, by following the same example, only suffer the same fate.  Eternally saved?  Yes!  But, just as the Israelites under Moses were overthrown on the right side of the blood at a place short of the goal of their calling, so can Christians under Christ be overthrown at the same place, for the same reason, after the identical fashion (cf. 1 Corinthians 9:24-10:11).


1)  Righteous Lot


The experiences of “righteous” Lot (2 Peter 2:7, 8) form another Old Testament type — from a different perspective — concerning redeemed man’s calling from the world to a land removed from the world.  And, within this account, the type is quite instructive concerning the inability of a carnal, worldly person (though redeemed) to act in any depth at all within the “spiritual.”


Lot was among those whom Abraham rescued in the battle of the kings in Genesis chapter fourteen.  And, from the record, it seems apparent that Lot was with Abraham when Melchizedek came forth with bread and wine following this battle.


However, it was Abraham alone who was blessed by Melchizedek and was allowed to understand enough about that which was happening to make him lose all interest in the things that the world had to offer (Genesis 14:18-24).


            (One aspect of the preceding type would prevent Lot from entering into these experiences, for he was not of Abraham’s seed.  But the aspect of the type being viewed is that of two saved individuals in Melchizedek’s presence, not God’s covenant dealings and promises to Abraham and his seed. 


            Note one facet of teaching from this aspect of the type relative to Christians in the coming kingdom.  All will be present when Christ exercises the Melchizedek priesthood, but not all will be blessed.)


Abraham and Lot, in this respect, would fit within the framework of Hebrews 6:1-6.  One was allowed to go on into an understanding of the things surrounding Melchizedek, but not so with the other.  Viewing their individual backgrounds, the reason becomes evident; and viewing that which occurred in the lives of these two men in subsequent years, the end result is quite instructive.


Abraham lived in “the plains of Mamre,” near Hebron, located in the mountainous terrain of the high country (Genesis 13:18; 14:13; 18:1; 23:17-19; 35:27).  Lot, on the other hand, lived in Sodom, in “the plain of Jordan,” in the low-lying country (Genesis 13:10-12; 14:12; 19:1).


The difference in these two places would be similar to the difference between Jerusalem and Jericho.  Jerusalem was located in the mountainous terrain of the high country, but Jericho was located near the lowest point in the land (actually, on earth), near the Dead Sea at the southern end of the Jordan plain (where Sodom and the other cities of the plain are believed to have once existed).


Jerusalem and Jericho are set in sharp contrast to one another in Scripture.  One is “the city of the great King,” from which blessings for the nations of the earth will flow during the coming age (Psalm 48:2; Zechariah 14:1-21); but “a curse” rests upon the other (Joshua 6:18, 26).  And the two places where Abraham and Lot lived are set in similar sharp contrast.


Lot’s downward path can be seen in different places from Genesis 13:10 to Genesis 19:1, and the results of his downward path can be seen in Genesis 14:12-24; 19:1-38.


Lot “lifted up his eyes, and saw all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere . . . .”  He then “chose for himself all the plain of Jordan . . . dwelt in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent even as far as Sodom.”  And in the process of doing this, he separated himself from Abraham (Genesis 13:10-12).  That is, the carnal believer separated himself from the spiritual believer.


The day came when Lot got into trouble and had to be rescued by Abraham (Genesis 14:12-16).  But his long association with the cities of the plain could only have prevented him from seeing beyond the “letter” when Melchizedek subsequently appeared, following the battle of the kings (14:18-24); and his failure to see beyond the “letter,” coupled with his long prior association with the cities of the plain, eventually resulted in his not only again living in Sodom but also in his being actively involved within the affairs of the city (19:1 [affairs of a city were carried on by men seated at the gate, as was Lot]).


Abraham, during this same time though, dwelled in the high country, removed from the cities of the plain.  And, apart from instances such as his rescue of Lot and his intercession on behalf of the righteous in Sodom (Genesis 14:14-16; 18:23-33), the affairs of the people in the Jordan plain were of no moment to him.


Thus, when the day arrived for the destruction of the cities of the plain — as the day will arrive for the destruction of the present world system — two completely contrasting saved individuals can be seen.  And that’s what is in view in Hebrews 6:7, 8, along with fruit bearing in each sphere — one of value, the other worthless (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:12).


Some Christians have been allowed to go on and see that which is taught concerning Melchizedek.  Consequently, their interest doesn’t lie in the things of the Jordan plain but in the things of the high country.  And they dwell where their interest lies.


Other Christians though, as Lot, have not been allowed to go on and see that which is taught concerning Melchizedek (and, invariably, for the same reason set forth in Lot’s life).  Consequently, their interest doesn’t lie in the things of the high country but in those things of the valley instead.  And they too dwell where their interest lies.


2)  Escape from Sodom


The Jordan plain with its cities was destroyed during Abraham and Lot’s day by “brimstone and fire” from heaven (Genesis 19:24, 25; cf. Deuteronomy 29:23).  And though Lot was delivered from Sodom prior to this destruction, his deliverance was, as in the words of 1 Corinthians 3:15, “so as through fire.”


Prior to this destruction, Lot was placed outside Sodom and commanded,


            Escape for your life! Do not look behind you nor stay anywhere in the plain. Escape to the mountain, lest you be destroyed. (Genesis 19:17)


Note what’s involved in this four-part command.  First, “Escape for you life [‘soul’].”

This is the saving of the soul/life.  Physical life in this instance?  Yes!  But far more than just the physical is involved, as becomes evident from the remainder of the command.


The next three parts relate how the soul/life can be saved:


1)       “Do not look behind you” (cf. Luke 9:62; Hebrews 12:1, 2).


2)       “nor stay anywhere in the plain” (don’t remain in the low-lying country [equivalent to Egypt]).


3)       “Escape to the mountain” (a “mountain” is used in Scripture symbolizing a kingdom, particularly Christs coming Kingdom [cf. Isaiah 2:1-5; Daniel 2:35, 44, 45; Matthew 17:1-5]).


            (Note:  Contrary to some English translations, the word “mountain” in the Hebrew text is singular, as in the KJV.  The reference is to a “mountain” symbolizing a kingdom, not to “mountains” symbolizing kingdoms.  A distinction between “mountain” and “mountains”  in this respect can be seen in Isaiah 2:2, 3:


                        . . . the mountain of the LORD'S house [the kingdom of Christ] shall established on the top of the mountains [all the individual earthly kingdoms] . . . .”)


The escape from the plain to the mountain is an escape from Egypt to Canaan — to that land associated with the coming kingdom.  This is where one’s attention is to be centered.  This is where he is to dwell.


Then the last part of the verse relates that which will happen to a person should he not follow the Lord’s command in this respect:  “lest you be destroyed.”  That is, he will be destroyed by that which will itself be destroyed; and, as a consequence, he will lose his soul/life.


Lot though had no concept of that which was being stated; and, in reality, even though the Lord had given him this four-part command, he couldn’t follow it.


His spiritual senses had not been sufficiently developed or exercised.  He could do no more than act after a carnal fashion, which he did (19:19, 20).  And this is the apparent reason why the Lord, apart from remonstrance, honored his request to be allowed to go to Zoar instead of the mountain (19:21-23).


However, Zoar — a city in the plain, spared for Lot — wasn’t the last stop.  After the destruction of the other cities of the plain, Lot became afraid to dwell in Zoar and moved out into the mountain to which he had previously been commanded to escape.


But, unlike Abraham, Lot dwelled on the mountain in “a cave” (19:30) rather than standing in a place “before the Lord” (19:27; cf. 18:22).  He, in effect, dwelled in a place of shame rather than in a place of honor.


And therein is the account of two pilgrims who governed their lives after two entirely different fashions, one day arriving at the same destination and finding themselves occupying diametrically opposed positions, completely commensurate with the fashion in which they had governed their lives during their previous pilgrim journey.


Thus will it be with Christians on the Mountain in that coming day.