HE most famous Bible verse of all time is surely John 3:16. What part of that verse speaks the loudest? Is it the love of God, the gift of God, the Son of God, faith in God or eternal life with God? Or, is it the wrath of God? "Whoever believes in Him [that is, in Christ] will not perish..." What does it mean to perish? Is it just missing heaven? Is it purgatory? Is it annihilation in hell or soul sleep or reincarnation or rotting in the grave? Do unbelievers cease to exist? These questions reflect a few of our modern culture's popular ideas as well as some of the devil's more ancient lies. But the Bible is rather plain in its revelation concerning damnation. Luke 13:27-28 repeats Christ's words just as they will be directed at unbelievers in the day of the judgment, "I tell you, I do not know you, nor do I know from where you came; depart from me, all you who are workers of iniquity." Then Jesus continued very descriptively saying to His audience that on that day of judgment, "There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out."
So, perishing is nothing to take lightly. To die is bad enough, but for a man's death to be the beginning of an eternal loss; perpetual destruction; banishment to misery without God and without purpose; dying and dying again over and over throughout forever – that is the view of perishing which is put forth in the Scriptures. And who is relegated to this awful fate? Luke 13:3 & 5 says that those who do not repent will perish.