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Holman Bible Dictionary


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Describes the eternal state of death, destruction, annihilation, or ruin.

Old Testament Words of the family from which perdition is derived usually relate to a state of physical rather than moral or religious destruction. Perdition is held in contrast to the blessing of God. It is the penalty for disobedience (Deuteronomy 22:24 ; Deuteronomy 28:20 ). The Old Testament sometimes links this term to the concept of Sheol (2 Samuel 22:5 ; Psalm 18:4 ).

New Testament Perdition is the fate of all who do not come to repentance. The way that leads to this destruction is broad in contrast to the narrow road which leads to life (Matthew 7:13 ). Perdition, as used in the New Testament, does not convey the idea of simple extinction or annihilation. Set into the context of eternity, the Gospel writers used it to mean an everlasting state of death and judgment. Just as surely as salvation expresses the idea of eternal life, so perdition designates a hopeless eternity of destruction. The phrase “son of perdition” describes the person who has fallen victim to this destruction (compare Judas in John 17:12 ). The “man of sin” is doomed to perdition (2 Thessalonians 2:3 ). A form of this word is used in Revelation 9:11 to describe the ultimate enemy of God—the Destroyer. See Death ; Devil ; Eternal Life ; Everlasting Punishment ; Hell ; Sheol .

Ken Massey

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Perdition'. Holman Bible Dictionary. 1991.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, October 22nd, 2020
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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