689. The reason why John's baptising prepared the way was that by this means, as shown above, people were introduced into the coming church of the Lord, and brought into the company of those in heaven who were awaiting and longing for the Messiah. They were thus protected by angels to prevent devils breaking out of hell and destroying them. This is why it says in Malachi, 'Who will endure the day of his coming' and 'so that Jehovah may not come and strike the land with a curse' (Mal. 3:2; 4:6). Likewise in Isaiah:
Look, the cruel day of Jehovah is coming, a day of wrath and an explosion of anger. I shall make the heaven tremble, and the earth will be shaken from its place on the day of the explosion of His anger. Isa. 13:6, 9, 13, 22; 22:5, 12.
Also in Jeremiah that day is called a day of laying waste, of revenge and ruin (Jer. 4:9; 7:32; 46:10, 21; 47:4; 49:8, 26). In Ezekiel it is called a day of wrath, of cloud and thick darkness (Ezek. 13:5; 30:2, 3, 9; 34:11, 12; 38:14, 16, 18, 19). Equally in Amos (5:13, 18, 20; 8:3, 9, 13); in Joel, the great and terrible day of Jehovah, and who will endure it? (Joel 2:1, 2, 11; 3:2, 4). In Zephaniah:
On that day there will be a shout. The great day of Jehovah is at hand, the day of the explosion of His anger is that day, the day of anguish and affliction, the day of laying waste and devastation. On the day of the explosion of Jehovah's anger the whole earth will be consumed, and He will bring about an ending with all the inhabitants of the earth. Zeph. 1:7-18.
There are other passages too.
 From these it is plain that if the way had not been prepared by baptism for Jehovah to come down into the world, the effect of which in the heavens was to shut off the hells and to protect the Jews from total extinction, [all there would have been struck with a curse and would have perished]*. Jehovah also says to Moses:
In a single moment, if I were to go up in your midst, I should consume the people. Exod. 33:5.
The truth of this is clearly to be seen from John's words to the crowds who came out to be baptised by him:
You brood of vipers, who has warned you to run away from the wrath to come? Matt. 3:7; Luke 3:7.
For John also teaching about Christ and His coming when he baptised, see Luke 3:16; John 1:25, 26, 31-33; 3:26. These passages make it plain how John prepared the way.
* The sentence is incomplete; the words in brackets are restored from 688.