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Mat 23:35-37 NIV - 35 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 Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 Truly I tell you, all this will come on this generation. 37 "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.

I read "earth" above as "land", referring to the land of Israel. And I take "all the righteous blood" to refer to innocent blood shed by Jews over the millennia. And "upon you will come all the righteous blood" to mean that they would suffer the punishment for it all (IE: in 70ad).

The prediction of Jesus in Matthew is evidently that of the fulfillment of Moses' words:

Deuteronomy 32: NLT - 34 "The LORD says, 'Am I not storing up these things, sealing them away in my treasury? 35 I will take revenge; I will pay them back. In due time their feet will slip. Their day of disaster will arrive, and their destiny will overtake them.' 36 "Indeed, the LORD will give justice to his people, and he will change his mind about his servants, when he sees their strength is gone and no one is left, slave or free.

Paul also refers to 70ad here by referring to "storing up terrible punishment":

Rom 2:5 NLT - 5 But because you [IE: unbelieving Jews] are stubborn and refuse to turn from your sin, you are storing up terrible punishment for yourself. For a day of anger is coming, when God's righteous judgment will be revealed.

So I know what's going on but not why. Why would God see fit to punish the final generation with all of it rather than "spreading the love" a bit more evenly across the board?

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    Extremely good question!! I fully agree with your interpretations of the texts. – user25930 Mar 8 '19 at 19:46
  • I disagree with you because you are inferring based on your worldview of preterism that this has all happened and it hasn’t. The destruction of the temple and/or Jerusalem is hardly what I consider hell. These Pharisee and scribes are alive and well today, their progeny persisted to perpetuate. They even today are killing the prophets, scribes and wise men of God. “You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell?” ‭‭MATTHEW‬ ‭23:33‬ if your definition of hell is razing a city to the ground, it’s not mine and it’s not proper judgment either. That day hasn’t come!! – Nihil Sine Deo Apr 5 '19 at 21:45
  • "Hell is the place of the future punishment called "Gehenna" or "Gehenna of fire". This was originally the valley of Hinnom, south of Jerusalem, where the filth and dead animals of the city were cast out and burned; a fit symbol of the wicked and their future destruction...." blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/… – Ruminator Apr 5 '19 at 21:50
  • [Jde 1:7 KJV] (7) Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. – Ruminator Apr 5 '19 at 21:51
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There are two matters here.

Blessings and Curses

The first is the prophecies made by Moses in the Torah. They occur in several places but the main two are found in Deut 28 and Lev 26. In both places God promises to prosper Israel for obedience and bring punishments and disaster in the form of the great four judgements of "Sword, famine, wild beasts and plague" (Eze 14:21, see also Jer 21:9, 24:10 etc.)

Fulfilment

The judgement metered out on the Jews that culminated in 70 AD destruction was not the first time it occurred. Such judgements had been occurring for 1500 years before such as:

  • the numerous invasions recorded all the way through the book of Judges - each time the people were wicked they were oppressed and had to be recued by another judge.
  • There were similar events in the life of Samuel as recorded in 1 Samuel
  • There were similar punishments and judgements during the time of Rehoboam, Asa, and many more of the kings of both Judah and Israel.
  • Eventually, the northern kingdom of Israel was taken captive in about 722 BC and ceased to exist because of its continued wickedness
  • The unremitting wickedness of Judah also resulted in its complete capture after the third campaign of Nebuchadnezzar in about 586 BC
  • The problem was not solved even in Malachi's time as the people struggled to live because of their unfaithfulness.

Finally, after Jesus the Messiah arrived and the Jew rejected even THIS call to faithfulness, the prophecies of Daniel 9 came to fruition.

Therefore, I do not believe that all the judgements came on the last generation - it was just that after more than a 1000 years of unfaithfulness in representing the name of the LORD, the degradation of the nation had reached a point where they were willing and eager to kill their (supposedly eagerly awaited) Messiah!! God decided that continued punishments were obviously not effective and the Christian church was commissioned.

There is no salvation left when someone (a nation in this case) finally, consciously and deliberately rejects Jesus the only source of salvation. (This says nothing about individuals but only the Jewish nation as a whole.) John 19:15 records this: But they shouted, "Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!" "Shall I crucify your king?" Pilate asked. "We have no king but Caesar," the chief priests answered.

That was the moment that official nation of Israel was doomed. God, in His longsuffering gave them almost 40 years more, but the outcome was never in doubt.

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  • Very insightful, thanks. There were prior punishments but the permanent destruction of the temple (and the covenants) was because of the accumulated sin of the People since day one. – Ruminator Mar 9 '19 at 11:05
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The Jews pre-Jesus were saved by obedience, believing, and faith in God and in Jesus’s coming. Those who died at that time will be saved for eternity regardless of their death.
Those who didn’t, will be as the lost today who don’t believe He came, died and went back to the Father. Same outcome for all.

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Updated Answer due to new insights

(See original answer below this one)

In addition to my other cross-references and probably eclipsing them all is this one in Numbers. God tells Moses he's decided to disinherit the Jews and make from Moses a "new creation":

[Num 14:11-12 KJV] (11) And the LORD said unto Moses, How long will this people provoke me? and how long will it be ere they believe me, for all the signs which I have shewed among them? (12) I will smite them with the pestilence, and disinherit them, and will make of thee a greater nation and mightier than they.

However, Moses dissuades him because of his oath:

[Num 14:13-16 KJV] (13) And Moses said unto the LORD, Then the Egyptians shall hear it, (for thou broughtest up this people in thy might from among them;) (14) And they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land: for they have heard that thou LORD art among this people, that thou LORD art seen face to face, and that thy cloud standeth over them, and that thou goest before them, by day time in a pillar of a cloud, and in a pillar of fire by night. (15) Now if thou shalt kill all this people as one man, then the nations which have heard the fame of thee will speak, saying, (16) Because the LORD was not able to bring this people into the land which he sware unto them, therefore he hath slain them in the wilderness.

To renege on an oath was perjury and a very, very serious matter in the ancient world and a perjurer loses all credibility:

...No oath can be administered by a court to one who has once perjured himself in any of the cases mentioned above, even though the litigant against whom he had been called is willing to believe him on his oath; nor is his testimony admitted in evidence (Shebu. vii. 4; "Yad," To'en, ii. 12; Shulḥan 'Aruk, Ḥoshen Mishpaṭ, 34, 5; 92, 1, 2). If, however, he undergoes the punishment of scourging, or manifests such signs of contrition that the court is satisfied that he sincerely regrets his transgression, he is restored to his former position in the community ("Yad," 'Edut, xii. 9; ib. To'en, ii. 9, 10; see "Kesef Mishneh" and "Leḥem Mishneh" ad loc.; Ḥoshen Mishpaṭ, 34, 33; 92, 14).

So instead, he kills everyone of that generation except for two men and brings in the next generation instead. This seems to be the case for Israel. They had many judgments but all the promises to them were fulfilled in the time of the Messiah, then he destroyed their temple and thus their special relationship to himself as a nation.

Original Answer

Below are several suggestions from scripture why the final generation of the Jewish covenants received the stiff punishment that it did. The last one stands out as the most relevant to the question:

  • Proverbs may be saying they were destined to be exceptional:

Pro 30:11-14 KJV - 11 There is a generation that curseth their father, and doth not bless their mother. 12 There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness. 13 There is a generation, O how lofty are their eyes! and their eyelids are lifted up. 14 There is a generation, whose teeth are as swords, and their jaw teeth as knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, and the needy from among men.

  • to follow the examples of Sodom and Gomorrha and to act as an example:

Jde 1:7 KJV - 7 Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

  • to give them space to repent

Rom 2:4 ESV - 4 Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?

Rev 2:21 KJV - 21 And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.

Mat 23:37 KJV - 37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!

  • God's judgment day had not yet been set:

Act 17:30-31 KJV - 30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: 31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.

  • Out of God's concern for his own reputation:

Deu 9:28 KJV - 28 Lest the land whence thou broughtest us out say, Because the LORD was not able to bring them into the land which he promised them, and because he hated them, he hath brought them out to slay them in the wilderness.

  • they rejected the messiah, the spirit and the gospel and persecuted the apostles:

Jhn 19:15 KJV - 15 But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar.

Act 7:57-58 KJV - 57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, 58 And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul.

Update (after reading Mac's insightful answer)

There were prior punishments but the permanent destruction of the temple (and the covenants) was because of the accumulated sin of the People since day one.

Another update!

It occurs to me that this is an example of "substitutionary punishment"!

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    there is a little more than this - accumulated sin and rebellion is one thing BUT the real issue that tipped the Jews over the edge was their official and quite public rejection of Messiah, officially as distinct from individually by their declaration that "we have no king but Caesar" and their determination to crucify the Son of God and prince of life. – user25930 Mar 9 '19 at 20:54
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    I will update my answer as well to try to reflect this – user25930 Mar 9 '19 at 21:01
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The correct way of proceeding, I think, is not to be so to say "slaves" of words of the Scriptures, but to interpret them in Spirit of Truth, which Spirit does not want any sinner to be destroyed, but to be saved (Luke 9:55).

Now, God wants all to be saved (1 Tim. 2:4), also sinners (1 Tim. 1:15), and not only sinners, but even sadistic murderers (for what can be more sadistic than to hang somebody on a cross?), and not only sadistic murderers, but such that murder their own benefactor, who healed them, gave them food etc., and far more than that, who showed them His divinity by authoritatively forgiving sins (prerogative of God only) and rising the dead, which means that He was the Creator of life. But God wants this all-mankind-inclusive salvation always, without flinching, without faltering, for He is eternal and His desire for salvation of all is also eternal. Therefore, also the punishment is eternal, for the sinners who do not repent are eternally punished by God's changeless love that they are unable to receive due to their arrogant refusal or pusillanimous lack of daring and faith to come to the embrace of the All-Forgiver, and are thus tormented due to those faults, for they loved darkness more than light (John 3:19).

In short, God does not nay cannot punish and inflict suffering on anybody, but we ourselves punish ourselves by our own stubbornness and unrepentedness. Thus, God's love is evenly and eternally distributed upon all mankind since the Creation, and therefore also the punishment is distributed likewise, for in all epochs there are those who by abusing their freedom refuse to follow divine bliss-generating commandments and expel themselves from this heavenly bliss, which expulsion is called the "punishment of God", but in fact at a closer contemplative look is a self-inflicted punishment before all-merciful God who cannot but pity them and wait for their repentance.

The question is thus, why should a person living in Jesus' time (or in the time of His second coming at the end of human history), answer for the sin of somebody living thousand years ago? The answer is that if I emotionally conform and approve of this thousand-years' ago sin, then I participate in this sin no less than the thousand-year' ago perpetrator himself. If I approve of Hitler's murders now, the sins of Hitler will start belonging also to me, for I participate in them by my very act of the approval.

Therefore, studying history is very important, even salvational-ly important, for we can, through our intellectual estimation and emotional approval or disapproval participate in goodness or in vice of the historical persons.

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  • I find myself agreeing with your comments (rather stridently) but it does not answer the question - why did the nation of Judah get (or was allowed to be) destroyed when it was? – user25930 Mar 9 '19 at 11:47
  • @Mac'sMusings Thanks for taking time and reading my post and commenting on it. Can you just a little bit specify/clarify your question for me? Thanks! – Levan Gigineishvili Mar 9 '19 at 12:29
  • "Why did the nation of Judah get (or was allowed to be) destroyed when it was?" - I do not understand, when it was destroyed? Israel was not destroyed: for the one thing, some part of the old Israel believed in Jesus and were thus saved; another part rejected Him and fell out of divine will for them, however, as Paul promises, even this fall is temporary and that they will also eventually acknowledge Jesus as their Messiah and Saviour (Romans 11:31-32). So, who has been destroyed? But that judgment upon ancient sinners will pass to present ones does not imply only Jews, but all humanity. – Levan Gigineishvili Mar 9 '19 at 17:52
  • The ancient nation of Judah was destroyed both religiously, economically and politically. Whether you believe it has or will be revived is another question but it was certainly demolished in AD70 and finished off in 73. The modern state of Israel is nothing like the old one in any respect except name. – user25930 Mar 9 '19 at 20:51
  • The Jewish marionette state was destroyed by Romans, especially after Bar Kokhba's revolt (132-36) failed and Jerusalem was razed. Yet, Jewish religion was not exterminated and it enjoyed special status of religio licita in Rome. Why did it happen? Because they saw the mission of the Messiah as predominantly political, without a clear notion of the Kingdom of Heavens, which was Jesus' main concern. That made them necessarily enemies of Rome with all the consequences. Also Christians will participate in their mistake/sin if they will reduce Jesus to a role of provider of earthly happiness only. – Levan Gigineishvili Mar 9 '19 at 21:26

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