In “burn the city” Jefferson Vann shows that God’s plan for dealing with rebellion is to destroy those who rebel.
Deuteronomy 13:16-18 (JDV)
Deuteronomy 13:16 You are to gather all its spoil in the middle of the city square and completely burn the city and all its spoil for Yahveh your God. The city is to remain a mound of ruins permanently; it is not to be rebuilt.
Deuteronomy 13:17 Nothing set apart for destruction is to remain in your hand, so that Yahveh will turn from his burning anger and grant you mercy, show you compassion, and multiply you as he swore to your fathers.
Deuteronomy 13:18 This will occur if you obey Yahveh your God, watching all his commands I am giving you today, doing what is right in the sight of Yahveh your God.
burn the city
Under the Mosaic covenant, entire cities who defected to idolatry were to be devoted to destruction. Even the spoils from city were to be gathered and burned up. This is one of the Old Testament precursors to hell. It describes what God has planned for those who rebel against him and his word. But these cities did not experience “eternal conscious torment.” That phrase does not appear in the Bible.
But there is a phrase used by the apostle Paul which matches the picture we see here exactly. That phrase is “the penalty of permanent destruction” (2 Thessalonians 1:9). That was the penalty the Israelite cities faced for defection.
Lord, we know that you cannot tolerate idolatry in your universe forever. We declare our loyalty to you alone.
For more on the biblical concept of permanent destruction, see: