"But after that our fathers had provoked the God of heaven unto wrath, he gave them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, the Chaldean, who destroyed this house, and carried the people away into Babylon" (Ezra 5:12).
"Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people" (Proverbs 14:34). When this basic principle is abandoned, either by a nation or an individual, sooner or later, judgment will follow. The children of Israel learned the principle of "after that" (text) the hard way.
Their continual sin was a reproach to God, provoking Him to wrath, resulting in the destruction of Jerusalem and the Babylonian captivity. Yet, God in His marvelous mercy, would bring them back. He said, " after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, . . . in causing you to return to this place" (Jeremiah 29:10).
The inevitability of judgment is not only for every nation to seriously consider but also every individual. "But now once in the end of the world hath He |Christ| appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many" (Hebrews 9:26-28).
Christ took upon Himself the full judgment for sin by His great sacrificial death on the cross. Therefore, those who trust Christ as their own personal Saviour will be "delivered . . . from the wrath to come" (I Thessalonians 1:10). "He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already" (John 3:18). "For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe" (I Corinthians 1:21).
"For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved" (John 3:17). NPS