“The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron,
and with the point of a diamond.
It is engraved on the tablet of their heart,
and on the horns of your altars.
Even their children remember their altars
and their Asherah poles by the green trees on the high hills.
My mountain in the field,
I will give your substance and all your treasures for a plunder,
and your high places, because of sin, throughout all your borders.
You, even of yourself, will discontinue from your heritage that I gave you.
I will cause you to serve your enemies in the land which you don’t know,
for you have kindled a fire in my anger which will burn forever.”
There are those who don’t believe that God would ever send anyone to Hell. Perhaps that’s why God gave us passages in the Bible like this one. In this passage, God talks about Judah’s coming takeover by Babylon again but this time, He emphasizes the condition of the hearts of the people. He says that their sin is etched into their hearts like you would engrave something on stone. He mentions that even their children look back and remember idols instead of remembering God. The picture I get is one of permanence. The hearts of the people and their children have been permanently dedicated to idolatry. They have been ruined.
The thing that caused me to stop and think for a while is the statement that God makes at the end. He says that they have “kindled a fire in my anger which will burn forever.” At first, I thought that it looked like a contradiction. God can’t be angry with Israel forever and still allow them to return to the land, but when I carefully consider what is said here, it doesn’t say that God would be angry with Judah forever. He merely says that His anger will burn forever because of what happened. Let’s consider that a little.
In the book of Revelation, we learn that God has prepared a lake of fire for Satan and his angels. This is a place where fire burns forever but it isn’t a place intended for man at all. Men will go there, but it wasn’t for them. Could it be that Hell is a result of God’s eternal anger against the fact that sin corrupts those He loves? God was expressing His anger over the fact that sin was permanently etched in the hearts of those He wanted for Himself, but I believe His anger is directed against Satan, not His people. His people will be punished temporarily, but only Satan and His followers will be facing eternal fire. Hell is necessary because it demonstrates God’s eternal anger against sin. That’s how bad it really is and how much He hates it.