In “an end by fire and sword” Jefferson Vann shows that God’s threat to exterminate the rebellious is real. Hell is God’s ultimate answer to the problem of sin, and will result in permanent destruction.
Isaiah 66:12-17 (JDV)
12 Because this is what Yahveh says: I will extend wholeness to her like a river, and the wealth of the nations like a stream overflowing; and you will nurse and be carried on her side, and rocked back and forth on her knees. 13 Like a mother calms her child, that is how I will calm you; you in Jerusalem will experience this calm. 14 You will see, and your heart will rejoice; your bodies will flourish like the vegetation; and it will be known that the hand of Yahveh is with his servants, and his indignation is against his enemies. 15 Because you will watch Yahveh come in fire, and his chariots like the storm wind, to pay back his anger in fury, and his rebuke in flames of fire. 16 Because Yahveh will execute judgment by fire, and by his sword, on all flesh; and those slain by Yahveh will be numerous. 17 Those enemies who sanctify and purify themselves to go into the gardens, following the one in the centre, eating the meat of pigs, detestable things, and mice, will come to an end together, says Yahveh.
an end by fire and sword
God’s enemies had all kinds of rituals and ceremonies by which they sanctified themselves so they could enter their “holy” places and worship their gods. The righteous remnant in Judah detested those religious practices, and so did Yahveh. He promised a day of calm and protection for his true followers, but an day of judgment and destruction for all who lived falsely. His enemies would be destroyed by fire and sword. They would come to an end together.
Many teach that God cannot do this. They think that God has created all his human creatures with asbestos at our core. None can really come to an end, because God has made us endless. Don’t believe it. Hell is terrifying, not because it is perpetual, but because it is permanent. It should be feared not because it will be an on-going process, but because it will result in everlasting destruction. That is the fate of all God’s enemies.
“For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch (Malachi 4:1 KJV).”
“A little while, and the wicked person will be no more; though you look out for him, he will not be there. But the humble will inherit the land and will enjoy abundant prosperity (Psalm 37:10-11 JDV).”
But our LORD has provided a resurrection unto an eternal life of wholeness and calm for his own. Seek him, or suffer his punishment and come to an eternal end.
LORD, we seek you. We know the fate you have planned for all those who rebel against you. We also know your promise to those who seek you, and we want to be in that number.