Something of a detour into the gospels will sometimes be shown, my having started a year-long study of them back on April 27.
Today, in looking at Lk 3:7-9, there are many questions for a person interested in the gospels and what they say on salvation to possibly consider; at least I think so.
Q1. Are the crowds addressed by John the Baptist as "you brood of vipers" all Pharisees?
The crowds addressed by John the Baptist here are not specifically Pharisees! These crowds were, therefore, broods of vipers, and not necessarily because they were Pharisees! What we know about this collection is that there were many instances of them: many instances of these crowds, since John "came into" many places: he "came into all the district around the Jordan." That refers to many instances of preaching. Secondly, they "were going out to be baptized by him." That refers to the same instances of the crowds, ones that were in all the district around. Not just one. The attribute "brood of vipers," therefore, cannot be restricted to the Pharisees.
Q2. What is the implied answer to John the Baptist's question in this verse?
That God Himself has warned them! John the Baptist uses this as the premise of what he says to them that follows. If God Himself warned them to flee from the wrath to come, then what John the Baptist says next makes sense. Since they fled, they must do what is in keeping with that flight. Otherwise, if they were not fleeing from the wrath to come, or if it was not God impelling them to, then there was no repentance to be in keeping with.
This answer gains support also from the way the topic starts: "You brood of vipers!" They are as he says they are. Do vipers know to avoid God's wrath to come? No. But they are a brood of vipers, so who but God could possibly have caused this unexpected event to have be happening at this present moment? If broods of vipers are fleeing from the wrath to come, by going out to be baptized by John the Baptist, they must have been warned to do so by God. And since they are coming out to a baptism of repentance, their repentance is something from which John also argues the ethical implications of: "therefore bear fruits ...." (cf. 3:7, RV/ASV mg, "worthy of your repentance" ... your repentance: John is arguing from its existence in them.)
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