In his Pentecostal sermon, among other things, the apostle Peter urged, “Be saved from this twisted generation” (Acts 2:40). What did he mean? Wasn’t he preaching that they should be saved from hell? What’s this about the present generation?
Of course he was concerned about their eternal welfare.
Then what did he mean by these words?
Peter knew and believed the words of the Lord Jesus Christ in the Olivet Discourse, when He spoke about the terrible destruction that was to come upon the Jews in Judea and Jerusalem. He knew that the terrible curses of Deuteronomy were about to descend upon that generation, as Jesus predicted. And, to be sure, forty years after he warned them, this dire event occurred.
And, indeed, it was only the Christians who obeyed Jesus’ words to flee when they would see the city surrounded by the Roman armies, who escaped. According to Eusebius, they made it safely to Pella across the Jordan to safety. Recent archeological finds indicate that they must have set up their dwellings there at least for some time after the horrific devastation of 70AD. To save one’s self from the twisted generation (that during the siege fought each other in the city, burned down the food supply, and boiled and ate their children) was a very real warning.
All through the Gospels we read of “this generation.” It was the one, after the cup of God’s wrath had filled up, upon whom it fell with a vengeance. It was a “twisted,” (warped or crooked) generation. And it was a genuine warning on the temporal level every bit as genuine as the warning about eternal punishment.
In our zeal to win men to Christ for their eternal benefit, we must never forget the temporal benefits that accrue to those who, because they obey Him, escape much misery and heartache that comes from identifying with a “twisted” populace.
Preach both, as Peter did!