Matthew 3:7 NASB
But when he saw
many of the Pharisees
and Sadducees coming for baptism,
he said to them,
You brood of vipers,
who warned you to flee
from the wrath to come?
Pharisees and Sadducees were two religious parties.
- The Pharisees were the strictest group (Acts 26:5). They were characterized by their zeal to obey the law. They also attributed a great authority to the precepts they themselves added to the Old Testament commandments and to the Scriptures.
- The Sadducees were the group of the priestly class, the spiritual nobility. It was more of a political than a religious party. They only accepted the authority of the five books of Moses and therefore did not believe in the resurrection of the dead and the existence of angels and spirits (Acts 23:8).
“Brood of vipers” or “serpents’ children” (cf. Matthew 12:34; 23:33) is related to Satan’s children (John 8:44).
As vipers flee from an approaching forest fire, so do the Jews from the coming judgment.
“The wrath to come” is the future final judgment of God (Romans 2:5; 1 Thessalonians 1:10), the condemnation to gehenna, the lake of fire (Revelation 20:11-15).
John’s question is a rhetorical question with the emphasis on ‘who’.
The answer is: I didn’t.
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