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What is the Biblical Meaning of Perish?

Books that will challenge your current Biblical perspective.
The Fire That Consumes
The Parousia
The Biblical Church
Clinging to a Counterfeit Cross

The Wicked Shall Perish: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). A double enunciation of the truth is couched in this short text. It is that eternal life is to be obtained only through Christ, and that all who do not thus obtain it will eventually perish. John testifies further on the same point in his first epistle (1 John 5:11): "And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son." From which it follows, as a most natural consequence, that "he that hath not the Son of God hath not life." Verse 12.

Dr. Weymouth, head master of Mill Hill School, and one of the finest Greek scholars, says, "My mind fails to conceive a grosser misinterpretation of language than when the five or six strongest words which the Greek tongue possesses, signifying 'destroy,' or 'destruction,' are explained to mean maintaining an everlasting but wretched existence. To translate black as white is nothing to this."

Biblical references of the word PERISH

Genesis 41:36
that the land PERISH not through the famine
Exodus 19:21
lest they break through unto the LORD to gaze, and many of them PERISH
Exodus 21:26
if a man smite the eye of his servant…that it PERISH
Leviticus 26:38
ye shall PERISH among the heathen… the land of your enemies shall eat you up
Numbers 16:33
went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they PERISHED
Numbers 17:12
Behold, we die, we PERISH, we all PERISH
Numbers 21:30
Heshbon is PERISHED even unto Dibon, and we have laid them waste
Numbers 24:20
his latter end shall be that he PERISH for ever
Numbers 24:24
he also shall PERISH for ever (Alas, who shall live when God doeth this! v. 23)
Deut. 4:26
ye shall soon utterly PERISH… ye shall not prolong your days… but shall utterly be destroyed
Deut. 8:19
I testify against you this day that ye shall surely PERISH
Deut. 8:20
As the nations which the LORD destroyeth before your face, so shall ye PERISH
Deut. 11:17
the LORD's wrath… no rain… and lest ye PERISH quickly from off the good land
Deut. 26:5
A Syrian ready to PERISH was my father
Deut. 28:20
until thou be destroyed, and until thou PERISH quickly
Deut. 28:22
consumption… a fever… the sword… (etc.) they shall pursue thee until thou PERISH
Deut. 30:18
ye shall surely PERISH… ye shall not prolong your days
Joshua 22:20
that man PERISHED not alone in his iniquity (Achan, who was stoned and burned- 7:25)
Joshua 23:13
they shall be snare and traps… until ye PERISH from off this good land
Joshua 23:16
then shall the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and ye shall PERISH quickly
Judges 5:31
So let all thine enemies PERISH, O LORD
1 Samuel 26:10
his day shall come to die; or he shall descend into battle, and PERISH
1 Samuel 27:1
I shall now PERISH one day by the hand of Saul
2 Samuel 1:27
How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war PERISHED (Cf. v. 25- slain)
2 Kings 9:8
the whole house of Ahab shall PERISH: and I will cut off from Ahab
Esther 3:13
to destroy, to kill, and to cause to PERISH, all Jews
Esther 4:16
and if I PERISH, I PERISH (Cf. v. 11- to put him to death)
Esther 7:4
to be destroyed, to be slain, and to PERISH
Esther 8:11
to destroy, to slay, and to cause to PERISH
Esther 9:28
days of Purim should not fail… nor the memorial of them PERISH
Job 3:3
Let the day PERISH wherein I was born (Cf. v.5- Let darkness and the shadow of death stain it)
Job 4:7
who ever PERISHED, being innocent? or where were the righteous cut off?
Job 4:9
By the blast of God they PERISH, and by the breath of his nostrils are they consumed
Job 4:11
The old lion PERISHETH for lack of prey
Job 4:20
They are destroyed from morning to evening: they PERISH for ever without any regarding it
Job 6:18
They go to nothing, and PERISH (Cf. v. 17- they vanish… they are consumed)
Job 8:13
the hypocrite's hope shall PERISH (Cf. v. 12- withereth; v. 14 – cut off; v. 15 – not endure)
Job 18:17
His remembrance shall PERISH, and he shall have no name in the street
Job 20:7
Yet he shall PERISH for ever like his own dung: they which have seen him shall say, Where is he?
Job 29:13
The blessing of him that was ready to PERISH came upon me
Job 30:2
whereto might the strength of their hands profit me, in whom old age was PERISHED?
Job 31:19
If I have seen any PERISH from want of clothing
Job 33:18
He keepeth back his soul from the pit, and his life from PERISHING by the sword
Job 34:15
All flesh shall PERISH together, and man shall turn again unto dust
Job 36:12
they shall PERISH by the sword, and they shall die without knowledge
Psalm 1:6
the way of the ungodly shall PERISH
Psalm 2:12
Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye PERISH from the way
Psalm 9:3
When my enemies are turned back, they shall fall and PERISH at thy presence
Psalm 9:6
a perpetual end… destroyed… their memorial is PERISHED with them (Cf. v. 5- for ever and ever)
Psalm 9:18
the expectation of the poor shall not PERISH for ever
Psalm 10:16
The LORD is king for ever and ever: the heathen are PERISHED out of his land
Psalm 37:20
the wicked shall PERISH… they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away
Psalm 41:5
Mine enemies speak evil of me, When shall he die, and his name PERISH?
Psalm 49:10
he seeth that wise men die, likewise the fool and brutish person PERISH
Psalm 49:12
man being in honour abideth not: he is like the beasts that PERISH
Psalm 49:20
Man that is in honour, and understandeth not, is like the beasts that PERISH
Psalm 68:2
as wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked PERISH at the presence of God
Psalm 73:27
they that are far from thee shall PERISH: thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring from thee
Psalm 80:16
It is burned with fire, it is cut down: they PERISH at the rebuke of thy countenance
Psalm 83:10
Which PERISHED at Endor: they became as dung for the earth
Psalm 83:17
Let them be confounded and troubled for ever; yea, let them be put to shame, and PERISH
Psalm 92:9
thine enemies shall PERISH; all the workers of iniquity shall be scattered
Psalm 102:26
They shall PERISH, but thou shalt endure (Cf. v. 27- thy years shall have no end)
Psalm 112:10
he shall gnash with his teeth, and melt away: the desire of the wicked shall PERISH
Psalm 119:92
Unless thy law had been my delights, I should then have PERISHED in mine affliction
Psalm 146:4
His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts PERISH
Proverbs 10:28
the expectation of the wicked shall PERISH (Cf. v. 27- the years of the wicked shall be shortened)
Proverbs 11:7
When a wicked man dieth, his expectation shall PERISH: and the hope of unjust men PERISHETH
Proverbs 11:10
when the wicked PERISH, there is shouting
Proverbs 19:9
A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall PERISH
Proverbs 21:28
A false witness shall PERISH: but the man that heareth speaketh constantly
Proverbs 28:28
When the wicked rise, men hide themselves: but when they PERISH, the righteous increase
Proverbs 29:18
Where there is no vision, the people PERISH
Proverbs 31:6
Give strong drink unto him that is ready to PERISH
Ecclesiastes 5:14
those riches PERISH by evil travail: and he begetteth a son, and there is nothing in his hand
Ecclesiastes 7:15
a just man that PERISHETH in his righteousness… a wicked man that prolongeth his life
Ecclesiastes 9:6
their love…hatred… envy, is now PERISHED, neither have they any more portion for ever
Isaiah 26:14
dead, they shall not live… deceased… destroyed them, and made all their memory to PERISH
Isaiah 27:13
they shall come which were ready to PERISH
Isaiah 29:14
the wisdom of their wise men shall PERISH
Isaiah 41:11
ashamed and confounded: they shall be as nothing: and they that strive with thee shall PERISH
Isaiah 57:1
The righteous PERISH, and no man layeth it to heart: and merciful men are taken away
Isaiah 60:12
the nation and kingdom… shall PERISH; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted
Jeremiah 4:9
the heart of the king shall PERISH
Jeremiah 6:21
the fathers and the sons together shall fall upon them; the neighbor and his friend shall PERISH
Jeremiah 7:28
truth is PERISHED, and is cut off from their mouth
Jeremiah 9:12
the land PERISHETH and is burned up like a wilderness
Jeremiah 10:11
even they shall PERISH from the earth
Jeremiah 10:15
in the time of their visitation they shall PERISH
Jeremiah 18:18
the law shall not PERISH from the priest
Jeremiah 27:10
that I should drive you out, and ye should PERISH
Jeremiah 27:15
that I might drive you out, and that ye might PERISH
Jeremiah 40:15
wherefore should he slay thee, that all the Jews… and the remnant in Judah PERISH?
Jeremiah 48:8
the valley also shall PERISH, and the plain shall be destroyed
Jeremiah 48:36
he riches that he hath gotten are PERISHED
Jeremiah 48:46
he people of Chemosh PERISHETH (Cf. v. 45- a fire… a flame… shall devour)
Jeremiah 49:7
Is wisdom no more in Teman? is counsel PERISHED from the prudent? is their wisdom vanished?
Jeremiah 51:18
in the time of their visitation they shall PERISH
Lamentations 3:18
My strength and my hope is PERISHED from the LORD
Ezekiel 7:26
the law shall PERISH from the priest
Ezekiel 25:7
I will cause thee to PERISH out of the countries: I will destroy thee
Daniel 2:18
that Daniel and his fellows should not PERISH (Cf. v. 13- the wise men should be slain)
Joel 1:11
the harvest of the field is PERISHED
Amos 1:8
I will cut off the inhabitant from Ashdod… the remnant of the Philistines shall PERISH
Amos 2:14
the flight will PERISH from the swift
Amos 3:15
I will smite the winter house… houses of ivory shall PERISH, and the great houses shall have an end
Jonah 1:6
if so be that God will think upon us, that we PERISH not
Jonah 1:14
let us not PERISH for this man's life
Jonah 3:9
Who can tell if God will turn and repent… that we PERISH not?
Jonah 4:10
the gourd… came up in a night, and PERISHED in a night (the worm smote it that it withered- v.7)
Micah 4:9
is there no king in thee? is thy counsellor PERISHED?
Micah 7:2
The good man is PERISHED out of the earth: and there is none upright among men
Zechariah 9:5
the king shall PERISH from Gaza, and Ashkelon shall not be inhabited
Matthew 5:29
that one of thy members should PERISH, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell
Matthew 5:30
that one of thy members should PERISH, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell
Matthew 8:25
his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we PERISH
Matthew 8:32
the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and PERISHED in the waters
Matthew 9:17
else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles PERISH
Matthew 18:14
it is not the will of your Father… that one of these little ones should PERISH
Matthew 26:52
all they that take the sword shall PERISH with the sword
Mark 4:38
Master, carest thou not that we PERISH?
Luke 5:37
else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall PERISH
Luke 8:24
they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we PERISH
Luke 11:51
From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias which PERISHED
Luke 13:3
I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise PERISH
Luke 13:5
I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise PERISH
Luke 13:33
it cannot be that a prophet PERISH out of Jerusalem (Cf. v. 31- for Herod will kill thee)
Luke 15:17
How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough… and I PERISH with hunger!
Luke 21:18
But there shall not an hair of your head PERISH
John 3:15
That whosoever believeth in him should not PERISH, but have eternal life
John 3:16
that whosoever believeth in him should not PERISH, but have everlasting life
John 6:27
Labour not for the meat which PERISHETH, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life
John 10:28
And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never PERISH
John 11:50
that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation PERISH not
Acts 5:37
he also PERISHED (Cf. v. 36- who was slain)
Acts 8:20
But Peter said unto him, Thy money PERISH with thee
Acts 13:41
Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and PERISH
Romans 2:12
For as many as have sinned without law shall also PERISH without law
1 Corinthians 1:18
the preaching of the cross is to them that PERISH foolishness; but unto us… it is the power of God
1 Corinthians 8:11
And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother PERISH, for whom Christ died?
1 Corinthians 15:18
Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are PERISHED
2 Corinthians 2:15
in them that are saved, and in them that PERISH
2 Corinthians 4:16
though our outward man PERISH, yet the inward man is renewed day by day
Colossians 2:22
Which are all to PERISH with the using
2 Thessalonians 2:10
with all deceiveableness of unrighteousness in them that PERISH
Hebrews 1:11
They shall PERISH; but thou remainest
Hebrews 11:31
By faith the harlot Rahab PERISHED not with them that believed not
James 1:11
the grace of the fashion of it PERISHETH: so also shall the rich man fade away
1 Peter 1:7
being much more precious than of gold that PERISHETH
2 Peter 2:12
as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed… shall utterly PERISH in their own corruption
2 Peter 3:6
Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, PERISHED
2 Peter 3:9
not willing that any should PERISH, but that all should come to repentance
Jude 1:11
and PERISHED in the gainsaying of Core


  • The wicked shall perish.
  • The saved shall never perish.
  • The sincere reader will understand that the primary meaning of perish is to die, to lose life, to come to an end, or to be destroyed.
  • PERISH is paralleled with die, kill, destroyed, consumed, slain, being eat up, laid waste, go to nothing, be as nothing, vanish, withereth, cut off, turn again unto dust, deceased, fade away and utterly wasted.
  • PERISH is illustrated by dung, turning again to dust, consuming into smoke, melting like wax before a fire, melting away, a vine being burned by fire, breath leaving a body, years being shortened, a city being uninhabited, and bottles breaking.
  • PERISH is contrasted to prolonging days, days not failing, enduring, abiding, having no end, living, eternal life, everlasting life, being renewed, and remaining.
  • Things that perish are land, an eye, people, weapons of war, dung, beasts, names, expectations, riches, wisdom of wise men, nations, kingdoms, houses, body members, bottles, hair, meat, and money.
  • That which causes things to perish are famine, God's wrath, smiting, warring nations, sickness, the sword, battle, fire, want of clothing, evil travail, and hunger.
  • As to any secondary meanings of perish, NONE express a continual process without an understood end.
  • As to any secondary meanings of perish, NONE even remotely express the theory of endless torment.

N. T. Use of the Word Apollumi (Perish, Destroy)

(excerpts from the book "The Wages of Sin" by Charles Walsh)

A consideration of the words used in the Greek New Testament.

In the preceding papers of this series we have submitted to a careful examination some of the words most frequently used in the Hebrew Scriptures to denote or to describe the end of the unsaved. We now would direct the reader to the New Testament, and the examination of the words used therein in the teaching, warning, or demonstration of the wages of sin.

Apollumi.- This word is translated in the A.V. as follows: "Destroy," 23 times; "lose," 21 times; "be destroyed," 3 times; "be lost," 10 times; "be marred," once; "die," once; and "perish," 33 times.

In examining "the words which the Holy Ghost teacheth" we must ever remember that the literal sense of the words is prima facie their true sense. It is this literal sense which is the common, ordinary, fundamental basis of all language, and accurate communication of thought. "Labour not for the meat which perisheth but for that meat which endureth to age-abiding life" (John 6:27). "They shall perish, but Thou remainest" (Heb. 1:11). None can fail to see that the word perish in these passages is the opposite of enduring or remaining. By what system of contrarieties do men seek to explain the Bible when the object of perishing is the sinner? Why should perishing in this special case mean remaining or enduring in conscious suffering? Dean Alford is responsible for the following statement:

"A canon of interpretation which should be constantly borne in mind is that a figurative sense of words is never admissible except when required by the context."

To this all will heartily agree who believe that God's Word is His revelation, and to this we seek to adhere. When we read in Heb. 11:31, "By faith, the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not," we do not understand the word "perish" to signify living in agony or remorse, but that Rahab was saved from the fate which awaited the inhabitants of the city of Jericho. Let God be true, though it makes every man a liar. Let Scripture tell us what "perishing" in Heb. 11:31 means:

"And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, ox and sheep and ass, with the edge of the sword .... and they burnt the city with fire, and all that was therein .... and Joshua saved Rahab the harlot alive" (Josh. 6:21D25).

Here inspired comment is absolutely opposite to the orthodox teaching concerning this word "perish."

In Luke 6:9 the Lord Jesus, speaking with reference to healing on the Sabbath Day, says, "Is it lawful .... to save life or to destroy it?" Here the word "destroy" (apollumi) is used in its simple primary meaning, and is contrasted with "save." A reference to Matt. 12:will show, further, that the Lord used as an illustration the case of saving the life of an animal. In Luke 17:27 the same word is used of the flood which "destroyed them all," and in verse 29 of the effect of the fire and brimstone which fell upon Sodom and "destroyed them all." When we read Luke 9:56, "For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them," why should we distort the meaning of the word? Why not believe that the Lord used a fit and proper word, indeed the most suitable word which the language provided?

It is the same word translated "perish" that occurs in that oft-quoted passage John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Here the subject is lifted to the highest level. Here is no ambiguous phraseology, neither figure, nor parable, but plain gospel spoken in solemn earnestness by the Lord Jesus Himself. He says that there are two alternatives before men, the one - life everlasting, the other - perishing, utter destruction (Heb. 11:, Josh. vi.), and from this doom He came to save those who believed in Him. Hence we read in Luke 19:10, "The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost (apollumi). Man by nature was on the road which leadeth to destruction.

The primary meaning "perish," or "destroy," becomes changed in the transition of language to the derived and secondary meaning "lost." Thus we read of the "lost" sheep, and the "lost" son in the parables of Luke 15, and in the "lost" sheep of the house of Israel in Matt. 10. The fragments left over after the miraculous feeding of the five thousand were gathered so that nothing should be "lost" (John 6:12). It is pitiable to hear those who should know better arguing that because we read of a "lost" sheep, which could not mean a "destroyed" sheep, that therefore the plain, primary meaning of the word must be ignored and the secondary derived meaning be understood in such clear, solemn passages as John 3:16, etc..

Notice the way in which the Lord uses the word in Matt. 10:28. "Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul, but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both body and soul in hell (gehenna)." Here we have an argument which proceeds from the lesser to the greater. Man can only kill the body. God can destroy body and soul. Man may kill, but he cannot prevent resurrection: The murdered man will as surely rise in the resurrection as the one who dies of natural causes. It is different, however, with God. He can cast men into the lake of fire, which is the second death, from which there is no resurrection. Those who are thus cast in are destroyed body and soul, as being no more fit to live.

The parallel passage to this, Luke 12:4, 5, shows that to "cast into gehenna" is to be taken as synonymous with "to destroy," or "to perish." This is further evidenced by Matt. 5:29, "It is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into gehenna." Here the plain meaning is that it is better that a limb should perish than that the whole body should perish. There is no thought of agony and torment, for the Lord would have used the word in Matt. 10:28, "Fear Him who is able to torment both body and soul in hell," had He meant to convey such teaching.

The fact that men are "perishing" and need salvation is emphasized again and again. We have noticed the word in John 3:16. In 1 Cor. 1:18 we read, "For the preaching of the cross is to them who are perishing - foolishness, but unto them who are being saved - unto us it is the power of God." It is the same word (translated "lost" in A.V.) in 2 Cor. 4:3, "If our gospel is veiled, to them who are perishing it is veiled."

Yet again in 1 Cor. 15:18 we read, "If Christ hath not been raised, to no purpose is your faith, ye are yet in your sins, hence also they who are fallen asleep in Christ have perished." What does this mean? Does it mean that believers, apart from the resurrection of Christ, are at this moment suffering the agonies of hell fire? Certainly not. It means exactly what it says. Without resurrection the believer, like the unbeliever, will have perished, will have passed out of being, will have been destroyed. The idea of a conscious intermediate state, with departments in some mythological hades, is foreign to the Scriptures and antagonistic to this passage. Death ends life, and apart from resurrection death means utter destruction. Praise be to God for this blessed hope. Resurrection, which is everywhere the one theme of hope in the Scriptures, is set aside by orthodoxy, and death instead is eulogized as the gate to life.

We have yet further evidence as to the meaning of this word apollumi by considering the inspired interpretation of the word Apollyon (Rev. 9:11), which is a derivative of apollumi. The passage gives us the Hebrew equivalent of apollumi, it is the word Abaddon, from abad, which we considered on page 8 of this Volume. The unmistakable meaning of abad is to destroy, and thus we are given, to confirm our faith, the divine warrant that the word under consideration means to "destroy." In the context of Rev. 9:11 the locusts, whose king is Apollyon, are definitely withheld from destroying or killing (their normal work), and are only permitted to torment men for five months, after which other horsemen receive power to kill those who had not the seal of God in their foreheads. Before passing on to the consideration of the next word, we would like to quote the primary meaning of apollumi as given by Liddell and Scott:

"Apollumi. To destroy utterly, to kill, slay: of things, to demolish, to lay waste, to lose utterly."

Apoleia. - This word is a noun derived from the word apollumi, and means destruction. It is rendered by the A.V. as follows: "damnation," once; "damnable," once; "destruction," 5 times; "to die," once; "perdition," 8 times; "pernicious ways," once; and with eimi eis and accusative, "perish," once; "waste," twice. The words "damnation " and "damnable" both occur in 2 Peter 2:1, 3, "damnable heresies," and "their damnation." The same word is rendered "pernicious ways" in verse 2, and "destruction" in verse 1: Here the one word apoleia is rendered by four words in those verses. The R.V. renders the word "destruction," and destruction consistently (the word "pernicious" in verse 2 is not apoleia in the best Greek MSS. and is rendered "lascivious doings" in R.V.). In Pet. 3:7 the word occurs again, translated "perdition," and finally in verse 16 it is translated "destruction," which passage the R.V. renders as in the second chapter - "destruction."

Once again we shall find that this word, like apollumi, is contrasted with life, "Broad is the way that leadeth to destruction .... narrow is the way that leadeth unto life" (Matt. 7:13, 14). The context immediately continues, "Beware of false prophets," which connects this passage with its inspired exposition in 2 Pet. 2:3. In John 17:12 we have a solemn passage wherein the Lord uses both apollumi and apoleia. "None of them is lost, but the son of perdition." This is also the title of antichrist in 2 Thess. 2:3. Again the word occurs in Acts 8:20, "Thy money go with thee to destruction." In Rom. 9:22 we read of "vessels of wrath fitted to destruction." The apostle uses the word twice in Philippians, "token of perdition" (i. 28), and "whose end is destruction" (3. 19). In I Tim. 6:9 we have a collection of words, of which the Greek language does not possess any stronger, to express literal death and extinction of being. Hurtful lusts which drown men in destruction (olethros) and perdition (apoleia). Does it not appear unreasonable to say continually that men will perish or be destroyed if they are, in fact, to be kept alive in suffering, and that they are to be miraculously preserved from perishing or from being destroyed?

There is one more point which we must bring forward before closing this article. The subject of the soul, its nature and immortality, is discussed at great length by Plato in the Phaedon, a dialogue on Immortality, and therein is discussed the question of the literal destruction and extinction of the soul. Plato wrote in Greek, his native tongue, and the Phaedon became the great classic treatise on the subject of Immortality, read, studied and debated throughout the Greek-speaking world during the four hundred years between its writing and the ministry of Christ. Plato's words practically stereotyped the philosophical phraseology of the time. The purpose of the dialogue is to show that in death the soul does not become extinct, that it cannot die, perish, or be destroyed. Modern orthodoxy, therefore, is found ranged with Plato against the Word of God. These words of Plato were known and of fixed meaning in the days of Christ and the apostles. Christ came to reveal the truth. Shall we say that, knowing as He did the meaning of the words used on the subject of the soul, He willfully, and without explanation, took those very words concerning the very same subject, and used them in an altogether contradictory sense! The idea is impossible. With reference to the philosophic usage of apollumi, we give the following extract from the Phaedon:-

"Socrates, having said these things, Cebes answered: I agree Socrates, in the greater part of what you say. But in what relates to the soul men are apt to be incredulous, they fear .... that on the very day of death she may be destroyed and perish .... blown away and perishes immediately on quitting the body, as the many say? That can never be . . . the soul may utterly perish ..... the soul might perish .... if the immortal be also perishable. The soul when attacked by death cannot perish."

To those who knew these words, who taught them, and argued about them, was sent a "teacher from God," and standing in their midst He reiterated the fact that Plato was wrong, that the soul could be destroyed, that it would perish. What would any of that day have thought of the suggestion to make such words convey the sense of endless misery, so diametrically opposed to their meaning? Would he not have been justified in replying in the language of a well-known public school head master:

"My mind fails to conceive a grosser misinterpretation of language than when the five or six strongest words which the Greek tongue possesses, signifying 'destroy,' or 'destruction,' are explained to mean maintaining an everlasting but wretched existence. To translate black as white is nothing to this." —Dr. Weymouth

We believe sufficient has been shown to establish the fact that, in the usage and meaning of apollumi and apoleia, destruction, utter and real, is the true meaning, and that this is the wages of sin.


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Comments (10)

Topic: What is the Biblical Meaning of Perish?
0/5 (0)
Bobby Cain says...
There has been a lot of talk about this in recent months. The idea of people perishing is not a comfortable topic. Yet, Christians have to lean into the Bible's teaching on this. Thanks for the insight you have provided. You see people with the Jesus fish on their car every day. It is cool to see that there are others out there.
2nd February 2015 2:15pm
Delores says...
This article was very, very helpful to me. It is the best discussion on the subject that I have ever come across. Thank you!
2nd February 2015 2:17pm
Ray Chester says...
Is God truly Just?
The thought that the evil perish (annihilated according to this article) at death might seem to be the loving thing for a God of love to do. But one attribute of God cannot be emphasized to the detriment or denial of another - His justice. After death there will be a general resurrection Acts 24:15 and a judgement e.g Matthew 24 and 25 where the righteous (those who have been living by faith in the atoning work of Jesus Christ, the Son of God) are taken away to be in the blessed presence of God and His holy angels. Those who have denied or refused God's free offer of life through total trust in His Son's sacrifice for sinners go to eternal fire (Matt 25:41) eternal punishment (Matt 25:46). Is it right that Hitler or Stalin get away with their crimes against humanity by being "snuffed out" along with lesser criminals and unbelievers.
2nd February 2015 2:18pm
patty green says...
Yes, it is just. I have ten children and all of them are promised a gift of ice cream if they behave today. One child did not behave and therefore was punished by receiving no gift, No ice cream. A just punishment. The other 9 got the gift. God gives us a gift, too. It's eternal life. But we must do something to get it. Believe in Jesus. Those who don't believe are 'punished' by not receiving the gift of life. They get death.
30th June 2015 4:53am
Ron says...
It is written that they shall receive stripes for their (evil) deeds. Look it up. In other words, some of the lost will suffer in fire for a longer time than other unrepentant sinners before becoming completely consumed. That which is everlasting about the fire (or hell) is death. Can we understand that only God has immortality, and that it is only up to Him to grant it to whom He will? At this present time, all of us living in this world are mortals. Amen?
31st July 2016 5:35am
Jill Krahling says...
Perish is righteously used too, Amen?
6th September 2015 7:47am
Obbie Beal says...
Great article / very helpful
23rd December 2015 5:21am
Willie says...
We were all dust! Who are we to complain about Grace. We have a choice, believe it or Not!
8th April 2016 12:30pm
Steve jones says...
Great truths revealed here. It's Satan's purpose to portray God as a cruel tyrant. The wicked will suffer eternal fire. What's eternal are the CONSEQUENCES. The fire itself won't be quenched until everything is burned up. This is the second death. Even Satan will be ashes, although he and his host will suffer a lot longer, and so will Hitler. Don't sell this short. All that go to the lake of fire, will regret the day they were born. Awful it will be, but not everlasting.
13th July 2016 7:26am
Elle says...
Great and very clear and convincing article. As a mother I could never even imagine allowing my child to be tormented forever because they made the wrong choice. There is no mercy in that. God is just and also merciful. It would be painful enough to never see someone you loved because they had perished. (Died) But to think that they would be tortured forever would be unbearable.
5th December 2016 6:41am
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