Matthew 3:7 - But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?”

What did Jesus say of John the Baptist?

Matthew 11:14 - if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come.

In 1 Kings, we see Elijah set up a competition against evil prophets - servants of Satan.

John the Baptist calls the false teachers of his day a “brood of vipers,” seemingly associating them with Satan - the serpent.

Elijah tells wicked King Ahab:

1 Kings 18:19 - send and gather all Israel to me at Mount Carmel, and the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah

It’s Elijah that gives an invitation.

John the Baptist, the Elijah who was to come, also calls all Israel to be baptized and essentially says to the Pharisees and Sadducees (two other groups leading people astray from God and his ways), “Who invited you here? I didn’t.”

Elijah ends up defeating the false prophets:

1 Kings 18:40 - And Elijah said… “Seize the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape.” And they seized them. And Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon and slaughtered them there.

John the Baptist says to the false religious leaders of his day: “Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” And he warns them of their own potential future destruction:

Matthew 3:10, 12 - Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire… the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.

Nearly everything in life has consequences. Destruction for being wicked isn’t the main point. It’s a point but not the point.

Why did Elijah challenge the prophets of Baal?

1 Kings 18:37 - that this people may know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.

Who turned their hearts back? God did.

And why did John the Baptist come? To prepare the way for Jesus (v3). And what does it say in Isaiah 40 about God (from which v3 is quoted)?

Isaiah 40:11 - He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms

Who gathers the lambs? God.

God is constantly rescuing and turning hearts back to himself. He does it. We all wander - some to farther off places than others.

In our spirits, may we hear as John the Baptist did:

Matthew 3:17 - a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

May all his truths be revealed to us.