Perish the Thought :: By Jerry McDermott

While we do not use the word perish in everyday conversations, the Bible is replete with numerous usages of the word. Perhaps the most familiar is “Whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). He re-emphasizes this incredible promise in one of his epistles: “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13a). Furthermore, Peter repeats the Lord’s will that He doesn’t want any to perish, but all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).

I want to establish this fact to contradict any belief that death is the absolute cessation of life. There are those who believe this in order to justify a wanton life without any judgment or complications. Sorry, but there is an afterlife; in fact, there are two distinct subsequent lifestyles. More about this later.

For now, let us examine the meaning of the word perish. The number one meaning according to Webster’s Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary is “to die unseasonably through violence.” Since this is an Old English phrase, it is understandable when you consider the numerous wars in England becoming a nation. Another definition is “to suffer spiritual death” which is better suited to our purpose.

Just considering the word perish, a hopelessness arises. Am I to be no more? What about my family?  Will my demise erase a legendary life? Rest easy; the entire purpose of Rapture Ready is to generate a wonderful hope, in fact a Blessed Hope. Therefore, perish the thought that you will perish.

God created us with a body, soul and spirit in which only the body can be degraded. The soul and spirit, being immaterial, will endure forever. The question is, where will the eternal sojourn be located? While the answer is twofold, Heaven or Hell, the reality is we, as individuals, make the choice. We have already given a clue above when the Lord expressed His wish for people to confess their sins and choose Him as Lord and Savior, the meaning of repentance.

Geographically, the Lord even gave a picture of the wide road to Hell and the narrow road to heaven. As usual, scripture does not leave us in the dark, but shows us the future: “The Son of man will dispatch His angels to collect from His kingdom all who draw others to apostasy and all evil doers. His angels will hurl them into the fiery furnace where they will wail and grind their teeth” (Matthew 13:41-42).

Paul also explained that, when the Lord is revealed with His mighty angels, He will inflict punishment on those who do not acknowledge God nor heed the good news of our Lord Jesus (2 Thessalonians 1:8).  There will be darkness, gloom and total separation from God and love. By contrast, the redeemed of Christ will bask in the heavenly glow of our Lord’s glory.

We have examined both heavenly joy and the condemnation of rejecting God. Overall, our major concern should be a life with God in this world as well as the heavenly world of His glory. However, this is not possible without accepting God’s plan of salvation. Paul does a masterful job of summarizing the requirement: “For if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). In other words, you are Born Again; you have received salvation, and you will not perish in the depths of Hell.

You know, timing is everything and is especially true of your salvation. This is so true as you do not know when our Lord will return for His Church. Therefore, your decision is definitely time-sensitive. The reason is that your decision to accept Christ is only possible in our earthly lifetime. Afterward is the judgment: up or down!

Something else to consider is called the Tribulation which is the time after the Rapture – the event where Jesus receives His church in the clouds and brings us to heaven. The Tribulation is literally hell on earth for seven years before Jesus returns to earth to rule and reign. Tribulation starts when the anti-christ signs a peace treaty with Israel. You can read the details in Revelation, but a quick summary is war, death, famine, pestilence, beheadings, and every malady possible. In addition, the wrath of God is poured out in this time frame. The time of the start of the Tribulation is unknown. However, the beginnings are indeed known; and in fact, some are happening now.

Our loving Lord does not leave us clueless as He revealed: “I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times what is still to come” (Isaiah 46:10-NIV). Therefore, here are some commentaries about the Tribulation:

“It shall be a time unsurpassed in distress since nations began until that time” (Daniel 12:1).

“Those days will be more filled with anguish than any from the beginning of the world unto now or in all ages to come” (Matthew 24:21).

“Those times will be more distressful than any between God’s work of creation and now and from all time to come” (Mark 13:19).

“Do not forget this: there will be terrible times in the last days” (2 Timothy 3:1).

These warnings from the Word of God could not be clearer. Now is the time to accept God’s plan of salvation.

Obviously, the chance of living through this period is minimal. Therefore, how would you like to be absent before this period?

This is possible by turning to the Lord now before the Rapture happens. The new you will escape as a church member. I don’t mean to take this giant step lightly as a “Ho Hum, I guess I’ll think about it.” I mean a realistic loving acceptance of what Jesus has done for us. Think about the glory of heaven versus the wretchedness of Hell.

Have you ever wondered why Heaven is gloriously lit while Hell is the total aspect of gloom? The answer is very simple as Jesus Christ is the Light of the world, not the deceiver of the world. The latter title belongs to Satan.

We have examined the twofold nature of eternity, concentrating somewhat on the Hellish aspect. The positive aspect has many myths such as sitting on a cloud with a harp. Another one is a gigantic stadium with Jesus in the middle saying something. Some say, “Well, forever is a really long time,” but that is not correct as there is no time in eternity. With these in mind, I asked Jesus what is eternity? The answer Jesus gave is so loving and complete. He replied,

“What is forever? It is a moment with me that never ceases. You already know how to praise me, how to love me and accept my love. But forever began when you accepted me; and it never stops, yet it seems like a minute, for we share such oneness. I long for you as you long for me, and yet we are one in spite of such longing and desire. Now I will tell you something: there is so much more of my infinite love that you cannot imagine. You think you know love now. I tell you, it has just begun, for I have so many things planned for my people. You will be amazed at the depth of my love for those who, up to now, are not even aware of my love. Help me build the kingdom to join you as friends and fellow believers. I will help you. Fear not” (November 30, 2008).

 I believe everyone should take comfort from these words as Jesus proclaims that our individual eternity begins when we accept Him and that His love is a personal love. For those people afraid of dying, this should provide hope and consolation. Only our Lord, living in a timeless heaven, could answer my question in a way that we who are bound by time could understand.

Regardless of the timing for the forthcoming Rapture, the time for decision is now. Choose Jesus Christ as Lord to become Born Again.

Many naysayers portray the Born-Again event as escapism. Absolutely; nothing could be truer. If we deny Jesus here, He will deny us before His Father. Our faith in Christ has helped us endure the 24-hour modern portrayal of sin in a rancid culture.

The godless, socialistic, left Democratic Party is not the same political party we witnessed years ago. Have you forgotten the abortion statistics we have endured? How about the incessant portrayal of the radiant happiness of same-sex couples or the LBGT bathroom epics? The harangue of women’s rights versus the non-rights of future human beings is another fairly popular news item. And how can we explain the number of stars or elites who pose naked for some cause or other?

Perhaps the most annoying daily jab is the Fake News. That sounds too nice. Why not call it the ongoing lies repeated across the airways? As we await the Rapture of the church, we are fortunate that some pastors are revealing the Rupture of the church as biblical truths are being side-stepped or forgotten for political reasons.

The point not to miss is that Christians are now being martyred across the world. Also, the people of the forthcoming Rapture are indeed saints for having withstood an evil counter-culture in a godless society and still kept the faith. If you haven’t absorbed this, consider the aspects of a recently U.S. House-passed Equality Act. According to Natural News for May 22, 2019, this bill if passed by Congress will be the first stage to criminalize Christianity (Rapture Ready May 25, 2019). For all these reasons, Born-Again Christians are indeed the Heroes of the Rapture.

Paul reveals the Rapture in a straightforward manner with the dead preceding the living to meet Jesus in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). Perhaps the reality could be so much more. No doubt the trumpet blast by an archangel will get our attention to look skyward. Suddenly, there is Jesus seen in all His glory with His eyes ablaze with love, His arms extended, calling believers to Him. Can you imagine the explosion of joy and love in us in the millisecond before we join our Lord?

Our Rapture to glory is also the final loving gesture of Jesus for His church. This is due to the end of the Church Age which is absent from heaven as the glory of Jesus is omnipresent. When we join our Lord for His second coming, we will be part of the Heavenly Host.

sacranet@aol.com

Author of:  A Gilded Walk; Gifted-How God Is Glorified; Choices for Our Eternal Home, Together-Never Alone.