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From Eternity Past

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    Abraham Entertains Angels Unawares

    God conferred great honor upon Abraham. Angels walked and talked with him. When judgments were about to be visited on Sodom, the fact was not hidden from him, and he became an intercessor with God for sinners.EP 83.4

    In the hot summer noontide the patriarch was sitting in his tent door when he saw in the distance three travelers. Before reaching his tent, the strangers halted. Without waiting for them to solicit favors, Abraham with the utmost courtesy urged them to honor him by tarrying for refreshment. With his own hands he brought water that they might wash the dust of travel from their feet. He selected food, and while they were at rest under the cooling shade, he stood respectfully beside them while they partook of his hospitality. Years later this act of courtesy was referred to by an inspired apostle: “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers; for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Hebrews 13:2.EP 83.5

    Abraham had seen in his guests only three tired wayfarers, little thinking that among them was One whom he might worship without sin. But the true character of the heavenly messengers was now revealed. They were on their way as ministers of wrath, yet to Abraham they spoke first of blessings. God takes no delight in vengeance.EP 84.1

    Abraham had honored God and the Lord honored him, revealing to him His purposes. “Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do?” said the Lord. “The cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous, I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me. And if not, I will know.” God knew Sodom's guilt, but He expressed Himself after the manner of men, that His justice might be understood. He would go Himself to institute an examination of their course. If they had not passed the limits of divine mercy, He would grant them space for repentance.EP 84.2

    Two of the heavenly messengers departed, leaving Abraham alone with Him whom he now knew to be the Son of God. And the man of faith pleaded for the inhabitants of Sodom. Once he had saved them by his sword; now he endeavored to save them by prayer. Lot and his household were still dwellers there, and Abraham sought to save them from the storm of divine judgment.EP 84.3

    With deep humility he urged his plea: “I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes.” He did not claim favor on the ground of his obedience or of the sacrifices he had made in doing God's will. Himself a sinner, he pleaded in the sinner's behalf. Yet Abraham manifested the confidence of a child pleading with a loved father. Though Lot had become a dweller in Sodom, he did not partake in the iniquity of its inhabitants. Abraham thought that in that populous city there must be other worshipers of the true God. He pleaded, “That be far from Thee ... to slay the righteous with the wicked: ... Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” As his requests were granted, he gained the assurance that if even ten righteous persons could be found in it, the city would be spared.EP 85.1

    Abraham's prayer for Sodom shows that we should cherish hatred of sin, but pity and love for the sinner. All around us are souls going down to ruin. Every hour some are passing beyond the reach of mercy. Where are the voices of entreaty to bid the sinner flee from this fearful doom? Where are those who are pleading with God for him?EP 85.2

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