John, the baptizer, was not merely an evangelist who went around preaching the gospel and then baptizing his converts. Sure, he did that. But Christ’s fan was in His hand and His axe was laid at the root of the tree. These two meant that judgment was at hand.
The fan was used to separate the wheat from the chaff. Waved back and forth, it would create a wind that blew the lighter chaff right out of the air while the heavier wheat dropped to the floor. The axe was readied to chop down the tree as soon as the signal was given. And the judgment that he announced was the same as the one that Jesus foretold—the destruction of the city and the second (also called “Herod’s”) temple.
If you want to read about the distant prophecies of this event, turn to the last chapter of the Old Testament. The people didn’t believe and repent, so the judgment fell—Josephus, a Jewish historian who live through it, tells the awful story of the siege and famine: women cooking and eating their babies! Over a million died in this event.
It will be a still greater tragedy when the final judgment comes. Why will you not investigate what Scriptures say? You may be involved. If not, you will die first, and after that comes judgment. Either way—you will face judgment before God. Can you stand in the judgment (Psalm 1: 5)? That is the question.