Was Zoar Destroyed?

By Brother Anderson

In the Biblical account of the destruction of Sodom, Lot begs for the city of Zoar to be spared. The Bible says the Lord accepted Lot's plea to save the city:

"And he said unto him, See, I have accepted thee concerning this thing also, that I will not overthrow this city, for the which thou hast spoken. Haste thee, escape thither; for I cannot do any thing till thou be come thither. Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar." (Genesis 19:21,22)

The promise is given that the city of Zoar would not be overthrown. However, Ellen White says that the city was later destroyed by God:

"Lot dwelt but a short time in Zoar. Iniquity prevailed there as in Sodom, and he feared to remain, lest the city should be destroyed. Not long after, Zoar was consumed, as God had purposed. Lot made his way to the mountains, and abode in a cave."1

Was Zoar destroyed by God after Lot received the promise that it would not be destroyed? Did God renig on His word? Not according to the Bible. The city was still in existence hundreds of years later when the Lord was showing Moses the border of the promised land of Israel.

"And the south, and the plain of the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, unto Zoar." (Deuteronomy 34:3)

If the city had been "consumed" as Ellen White said, then how could it be used as a landmark? Hundreds of years later the city was still in existence during the days of the prophets:

"My heart shall cry out for Moab; his fugitives [shall flee] unto Zoar, an heifer of three years old: for by the mounting up of Luhith with weeping shall they go it up; for in the way of Horonaim they shall raise up a cry of destruction." (Isaiah 15:5)

"From the cry of Heshbon [even] unto Elealeh, [and even] unto Jahaz, have they uttered their voice, from Zoar [even] unto Horonaim, [as] an heifer of three years old: for the waters also of Nimrim shall be desolate." (Jeremiah 48:34)

Not only is there Biblical evidence that the city of Zoar was not destroyed, but there is also historical evidence. According to Wikipedia, "It is mentioned by Josephus; Ptolemy (V, xvi, 4); and by Eusebius and Saint Jerome in the Onomasticon."2 Although no longer in existence, ancient writers mentioned its existence as late as late as 1100 A.D.

The Biblical and historical evidence proves that Ellen White contradicted the Bible when she said God later destroyed Zoar. Zoar was not destroyed by God "not long after" Sodom was destroyed. Since Sodom was destroyed in 1712 B.C., and since Zoar was in existence in 1100 A.D., that means it existed for at least another 2,900 years. The promise God made to Lot to preserve the city was fulfilled.

Ellen White stated it best: "Whatever contradicts God's word, we may be sure proceeds from Satan."3


1. Ellen White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 167.

2. Wikipedia, "Zoara", extracted Oct. 6, 2007.

3. Ellen White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 55.

Category: Bible vs. Mrs. White
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