The Berean Expositor
Volume 54 - Page 111 of 210
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23: 33 - 24: 14.
pp. 145 - 150
In the terrible words that follow, the wrath of the Lamb is manifested, and we have no
right to apologize for them or to tone them down. Christ, as the perfect Man, was capable
of righteous anger, which is impossible to the human race involved in sin and death. The
book of The Revelation reveals the wrath of God, but it is not the wrath of the Father or
the Holy Spirit, but the wrath of the Lamb (Christ) (Rev. 6: 15-17). There are those who
hold human and sentimental conceptions of Christ and do not believe that He can indulge
in anger. This may be true of human anger which is tainted with injustice and spite. But
He is utterly holy and righteous and His anger is but the reverse side of the coin. We
have to choose whether we believe the inspired Word of God or human opinion.
He said:
"You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?
Therefore I am sending you prophets and wise men and teachers. Some of them you will
kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues, and pursue from town to town.
And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the
blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berakiah, whom you murdered
between the Temple and the Altar. I tell you the truth, all this will come upon this
generation" (23: 33-36, N.I.V.).
Both the Lord and John the Baptist had likened many of the people to dangerous
snakes (Matt. 3: 7). The Lord foretells their murderous activities (23: 34, 35) and their
vicious persecution of the people of God.
Verse 35 presents a problem. Each generation that condemns the wickedness of its
predecessors, yet repeats the wickedness, is more guilty than its predecessors and has
more responsibility for which it must answer to the Lord. Christ declares that all the
righteous blood shed on earth from righteous Abel to Zechariah whom they murdered
between the Temple and Altar would rest on this wicked generation. This seems to be a
reference to II Chron. 24: 20-22, but there he is called the son of Jehoiada, not
Berakiah (as Matthew states). Jehoiada possibly had Berakiah as a second name and it is
significant that in Luke, "the son of Berakiah" is omitted (Luke 11: 51). If it refers to the
prophet (Zech. 1: 1) then we have no record of him being murdered in this way.
We must remember that in the Jewish Bible, Chronicles comes last in the O.T. canon,
and therefore "the blood of Abel" is the first murder of the O.T. and "the blood of
Zechariah" is the last recorded, though in point of time that of Uriah by Jehoiakim
(Jeremiah 26: 23) took place later. It should be noted too that in both cases a reckoning
for them would be made. "The voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto Me from the
ground" (Gen. 4: 10); "The Lord look upon it and required it" (II Chron. 24: 22).
Three times blood is mentioned in Matt. 23: 35, and if the student studies this chapter
carefully he will find other triplets which are in line with Matthew's style.