Firpo Files 12-06-12
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Raining Fire

Proof of Jesus Series: Article11

(Part 3 of 3)

The Firpo Files Newsmagazine

(December 6, 2012)

In my previous installment of the Proof of Jesus Series: Article 10 (Part 2 of 3), November 29, 2012, we discussed fire and brimstone--heaven-borne versus ground-based. We also identified the difference between "death" and "hell": death is a "what"; hell is a "wherever."

According to Biblical Archaeology Review, "Industrial exploitation and damming projects" are the two factors that afforded archeologist the opportunity to search for Sodom and Gomorrah.  

In contradistinction to what was stated in Article 9 ("Signature in the Sand," November 15, 2012), namely, that "the sulfuric surf apparently gurgled up the ruins of Sodom and Gomorrah," BAR reports "there is no evidence that the cities had been submerged beneath the salt sea"), thus dulling the theory of mega-scholar William F. Albright.

However, "the same archaeological expedition discovered the ruins of four towns that had been inhabited" around the time of Abraham and Lot, who dealt with the Sodomites.  

Whatever the case; wherever the city's location, a question yet to be asked is: Does historical documentation speak to fire raining down on Sodom?    

Making the Case: The overwhelming archeological evidence presented in the previous two "Proof of Jesus Series" is further augmented by rich documentation known the world over.

By today's standards, the men supplying this documentation are best-selling non-fiction authors who are identified in the Bible as being inspired of God.

From Genesis to Revelation, 12 different Bible writers mention ancient "Sodom" approximately 40 times in Hebrew manuscripts, and 10 times in ancient Christian Greek documents, for a total of about 50 times in the entire Bible.

"Sodom" burns its way through the pages of some of the largest and smallest books of the Hebrew Scriptures (Isaiah, Zephaniah), as well as the Christian Greek Scriptures (Matthew, Jude).

With Sodom being inescapably linked to the Dead Sea, I call the 12 men who mention her "The Dead Sea Dozen." They are: (1) Moses, (2) Isaiah, (3) Jeremiah, (4) Ezekiel, (5) Amos, (6) Zephaniah, (7) Matthew, (8) Luke, (9) Paul, (10) Peter, (11) Jude, and (12) John. Below are text samplings of "Sodom," preceded by approximate dates, listed in chronological order:

1513 BCE: Moses (Genesis 19:24)

803 BCE: Amos (over 700 years later: Amos 4:11)

732 BCE: Isaiah (about 70 years later:  Isaiah 13:19)

648 BCE: Zephaniah (less than 100 years later, Zephaniah 2:9)

591 BCE: Ezekiel (about 50 years later, Ezekiel 16:46)

580 BCE: Jeremiah (11 years later: Jeremiah 23:14)

41 CE: Matthew (over 500 years later: Matthew 10:15)

56 CE: Paul (15 years later: Romans 9:29)

58 CE: Luke (about two years later: Luke 10:12)

64 CE: Peter (about six years later: 2 Peter 2:6)

65 CE: Jude (approximately one year later: Jude 7)

96 CE: John (around 30 years later: Revelation 11:8)

Spanning some 1,600 years, what these men say about Sodom--like truth itself--is wholly consistent. The two Bible writers who penned more words than anyone else in their respective sections (Moses, Hebrew Scripture; Paul, Christian Greek Scriptures) both mention Sodom.

They're also arguably the most formally-educated men of Bible writers. Intriguingly, first-century C.E. historian Josephus wrote: "The traces or shadows of the five cities are still to be seen." 

(On another archaeological note: One scholar proposes that "the Biblical story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah originated from ancient traditions surrounding the near-simultaneous demise of these once-prosperous twin cities." Interestingly, at Lamentations 4:6, in the New World Translation, Jeremiah documents that Sodom "was overthrown as in a moment.")   

Moreover, since a real Sodom that a real Jesus of Nazareth and Josephus referenced is currently memorialized on the law books (sodomy), and is well documented in dictionaries around the world, why couldn't there be real fire that rained from heaven on that sinful city? 

The Fire the Next Time: A sampling of Biblical examples of raining fire post-Sodom are: The "thunders and hail, and fire" God caused through Moses (Exodus 9:23); God's intent to "rain down ..., fire and sulphur" (Psalm 11:6); the falling of "fire and hail, snow" (Psalm 148:8); and the "flooding downpour and hailstones, fire and sulphur" (Ezekiel 38:22).   

"There is plenty of reason to suspect that the Biblical tradition surrounding the doomed cities of the plain [where Sodom and Gomorrah were located] was more than just fanciful legend," says BAR.

"The Sodom story told in the Bible likely represents an ancient memory of a single catastrophic event that affected the cities and peoples of the Dead Sea region nearly 4,000 years ago." Indeed. Fire rained from heaven. 

Peace and blessings to all. Amen.