10 Righteous Men
Copyright © 2011 John E. Wootton, Ph.D.
When God decided to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham intervened and asked Him if he would not destroy the cities if there were found 50 righteous men in them and God acquiesced and said if that many could be found He would not destroy them. (Note: God already knew how many righteous men there were in those cities.)
Then Abraham persisted and asked if there were only 45, then 40, then 30 then 20 and finally 10. Each time God agreed with him that if that many righteous men could be found, then He would spare the cities.
However, as we know all too well, even that small number could not be found, in fact there was only one, Abraham’s nephew, Lot.
But even so, God did not capriciously destroy Lot along with the rest of the populace.
He sent three angels to warn Lot and to have him flee the city, along with his family, before the cities were destroyed. He and his family would be saved.
There is more to that story, but the remainder is not related to this discussion, you can read it in the Book of Genesis Chapter 19.
Previously, the Bible tells us of Noah and his ark, which housed not only 2 of every living species on earth, but also Noah and his family.
God had decided that the population of the earth was so wicked that they could not be permitted to continue to live, and he determined to destroy them.
However, there was one righteous man on all the earth, and that was Noah. Due to his righteousness, he would be spared.
Since God was going to destroy every living creature on the earth with the flood, but save Noah and his family, he knew that the other creatures of the earth would have to be preserved also.
So he had Noah build a boat large enough not only for him and his family, but two of all the animals of the earth also.
That story can be read in detail in the book of Genesis Chapts 6-9.
In the book of Joshua, we find the Hebrew peoples arriving to the promised land, led by Joshua. Unfortunately, their way was blocked by the city of Jericho whose inhabitants were terrified of their approach, for the Hebrews, with God’s help, had destroyed several kingdoms on their way to the promised land. The people of Jericho refused to permit the Hebrews to pass by their city.
Two Hebrew spies who were sent to Jericho to “case” out the town, were discovered and were being pursued by the city’s military. The spies found assistance in the person of a harlot, Rahab, who hid them under a pile of drying flax on the roof of her house. After the soldiers had left, she let them down over the city wall on a rope with the promise that when the Hebrew people captured the city, that she (Rahab) and her family would be saved. They kept their word after the walls of the city fell.
Read more about this story in the Book of Joshua chapt 2: 1-7.
There are two very important messages in the above references, one; God does not destroy the righteous along with the wicked, he preserves them, two; God not only preserves the righteous, he also saves their families. (Acts 16:31)
I believe that “you and your family” does not necessarily mean ‘father, mother, daughters and sons’ however. You and your family I believe means you and all the people who have accepted to live under your authority. As such, they also accept your faith and beliefs. (Lot's wife rejected his authority and leadership to leave the city and not look back, and she turned to look back one more time and was turned into a pillar of salt.).
In our modern society we reject that the father (man of the house) has any authority. However, in God’s realm, the father IS the head of the house and all who live there. Not only does he have authority, along with that authority comes responsibility. The responsibility to assure that everyone under his authority are: one, educated in the law and behavior and two, also obeys the law. The ‘law’ refers to not only secular law, but also to God’s laws.
There is an important aside to this discussion if I may digress. Young (or older) men who wander around impregnating females than disappear never to be seen again are in for a very rude awakening. God holds them personally responsible for the education and upbringing of those children. Just because they refuse to recognize the obligation of fatherhood and parentage does not mean that they are released from the duty.
This includes children that are removed from the man’s care by the law of the land through baseless divorce. (irreconcilable differences!)
Believe me when I quote the Bible, “there is going to be a crying and gnashing of teeth” on judgment day. Luke 13:28
Back to the dissertation.
So what does all this have to do with us today?
“The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart: and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come.”
What a strange quotation! Dropped off in the middle of Isaiah with no preamble or salutation or explanation. The first several times I read that verse, I skipped right over it as it didn't mean anything to me.
Then a couple of years ago I was reading it once again when it struck me like a bolt of lightening, an epiphany if you will, God is going to remove the righteous before he brings destruction upon the earth.
To some extent the Bible has been very explicit about this, however, it says in Isaiah this will occur and no one will take notice!!!!!!!!!!
God will remove his righteous people in such a fashion that the occurrence will not be noticed by those remaining.
In Revelation 3:10 Jesus says the following to the Church at Philadelphia, the “good” church.
“Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.”
I will make a small jump in logic and state that the people of the Church of Philadelphia are the righteous spoken of in Isaiah and that they are the righteous who live on the earth today.
What testing is Jesus speaking of? In each of his addresses to the various “Churches” he states that if you will persevere you will overcome.
When the anti-Christ takes over, he is going to insist that everyone deny Christ and worship him! The test!
All who refuse, will be killed (martyred, those who lie beneath the alter in Revelations).
“And they cried with a loud voice, saying , How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? “ Rev 6:10.
Those that persevere and refuse to bow down to the anti-Christ will overcome, they will be martyred but will overcome.
However the 'righteous' will be taken away before the testing and will not have to go through it. They have already confirmed their faith and trust in Christ.
Luke 21:36 “Watch therefore, and pray always, that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.”
Christians have always known that “Christians” will be raptured. However, there has continuously been a raging debate on whether the rapture will be “pre” trib, “mid” trib, or “post” trib. IE: before the onset of the 7 year tribulation or after the onset of tribulation.
Everyone has Bible verse quotations to “prove” their particular opinion.
According to the scriptures referenced in the beginning of this dissertation, it will be pre-tribulation, as those people will not have to experience the miseries of tribulation and the persecution of the anti-Christ. This rapture will not be noticed by those remaining (Isaiah 57:1)
However, there is strong evidence that there will another rapture, in that two will be working together, two will be sleeping in a bed etc, and one will be taken and the other left behind. Don't tell me that the one left behind is not going to notice that the other one was taken!
Then there will be another rapture, of those martyred souls under the alter.
The fact that there are martyred souls and the evidence of Christ's commentary on the seven churches, admonishing them that if they persevere until the 'end' they shall overcome, strongly indicates that there will be 'believers' who will have to go through tribulation. “Woe, woe, woe!
I have reviewed all of the scriptures concerning the rapture, and recognize that there may be a basis for disagreement and argument. If we get tied up in arguing about it, we just might miss it!
The important part is, we should recognize that there will be a rapture and to be ready for it.
I'm not making a statement that there will be three raptures, but scripturally, the possibility certainly exists.
And certainly there will be one before tribulation begins, that's the one I want to be in! Luke 21:36
Of course the most pressing question at the moment is - - - when will this process occur?
“But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.” Mark 13: 32 (Matt 24: 35)
However, based on history, I suspect it will occur when we drop below the 10 righteous men level, and I cannot imagine that we are not far from that count, based on the disintegration of mankind's mores and the direction we are rapidly headed.
Soon I think, tomorrow? Next week? Next year? Very soon. Even so, come Lord Jesus.