So what does an 80’s rock band have to do with biblical prophecy? Nothing but the title. Because while Jesus is telling His disciples about the end times, they are likely wondering if they will be dead or alive? “You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and some of you they will put to death. You will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But not a hair of your head will perish.” (Luke 21:16-18) He literally tells them that some will be ‘put to death’ for His name sake but then says ‘not a hair on your head will perish’. So will they be dead or alive?
The first statement is referring to their physical bodies. Jesus is warning them that the world will hate them and persecute them. Even their own loved ones, who have not given their hearts to the Lord, will be among those who persecute them. And for some, that persecution will lead to their death. In fact, we know that for most of His disciples, that is exactly what happened. As a result of their proclamation of Christ, most of them were put to death, in very brutal ways. In fact, one of the forensic discoveries that may apologists point to the authenticity of the disciples statements is the fact that despite their persecution, they never recanted their claim that Christ was Lord.
Christ’s second statement however does not intend to say that because of their belief and faith in Christ, they will not be harmed. He does not say they will be spared from death, but instead states they will not ‘perish’. Death is a physical death but ‘perish’ is an eternal state of separate from God. Just look at the most quoted verse in the Bible, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) John is not claiming that Jesus said His followers would not die, merely that they would not perish.
There’s a well known saying that the only two absolutes in life are death and taxes. While there’s some truth and some humor in this statement, I would alter it. There are only two things I know with absolute certainty. The first is that one day I will die. My body will see death at some point, hopefully not for another 40 years, but it will happen. The other thing is that I will never perish, I have been saved from that. “Because, [since I] confess with [my] mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in [my] heart that God raised him from the dead, [I] will be saved.” (Rom 10:9)
You can’t avoid death, but you can prevent yourself from perishing. Accept the truth that Jesus is Lord, acknowledge that your are a sinner and that His death on the cross paid the price for all of your sins, past, present and future. If you do these things, you will never perish.
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