Matthew 12:38 Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from you.”
39 He answered, “A WICKED and adulterous GENERATION asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
…43 “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. 45 Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there.
And the final condition of that person is worse than the first.
That is how it will be with this WICKED GENERATION.”
By this WICKED GENERATION the Lord Jesus was referring to the generation of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law. They had corrupted the genuine faith God had given to the Israelites through Moses and the Prophets. By the time of Jesus, it had become an extremely legalistic religion led by hypocritical leaders whose father was the devil (John 8:44) and who were therefore demonized. Their goal was not to care for God’s people, but to retain their power, prestige and wealth.
When in verse 43 Jesus said, “When an impure spirit comes out of a person…” among others this was likely a reference to the Israelites who over a millennium earlier had been set free from slavery in Egypt. Then in verses 44 and 45 he said that the impure spirit would return to the “house” that it left, and that eventually the final condition of Israel under the Pharisees and the teachers of the law would be worse than at first. This was totally fulfilled. The father of the Jewish religious leaders who clashed with Jesus was the devil, whereas when the Israelites came out of Egypt they were led by God’s holy prophet Moses.
When Jesus came, he publicly challenged the traditions and extreme legalistic rules imposed upon the people by the Pharisees through the wisdom with which He spoke and the astounding miracles he performed. In so doing He put the Pharisees to shame and angered them so greatly that they had Him put to death by crucifixion at the hands of the Romans.
“That is how it will be with this WICKED GENERATION.”
Nevertheless, the death of our Lord Jesus happened in accordance with God’s perfect will to save the those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
What took place in between Israel’s deliverance from Egypt in the 13th Century BC and the ascension of the Pharisees over the Israelites in the time of Jesus over a millennium later is now being repeated. Jesus’ prophetic warning below is being fulfilled again.
Matthew 12:43 “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. 45 Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first.
In Acts the early disciples took the gospel to the ends of the known world within perhaps two generations as the Lord used them to proclaim the kingdom of God boldly and to perform unprecedented miracles. That was the fulfillment of “when an impure spirit comes out of a person”.
But over the millennia since then, organized religion (“Christianity”) crept in and its traditions began eroding the gospel of Jesus Christ in the western nations where it had been planted. Today the Church around the world bears little resemblance to the powerful Church in Acts. “Woke” western culture which is demonized, extreme prosperity and hyper-charismatic teaching in addition to what I call the theology of helplessness has made inroads into the Church of Jesus Christ on earth. This is predominantly a consequence of the teaching of the Nicolaitans which Jesus hates (Revelation 2:6 & 15). Now the final condition of the Church is worse than the first.
But in a sense history will repeat itself when Jesus Christ returns for the second time with the Church now in serious decline. His first coming during the time of the Pharisees marked a totally New Dispensation for the kingdom of God—the earth-shaking appearance of the promised Messiah who brought grace and truth. After He ascended to heaven, His early disciples turned the world upside-down for the gospel. But today the Church is in distress. The final condition of the Church is worse than the first.
And when the Messiah comes for the second time to realize His thousand-year reign,
THE KINGDOM OF GOD WILL HAVE COME ON EARTH.
The impure spirit will not be allowed to return to afflict God’s people again — as it has done twice in history.