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THE ‘SECOND’ DEATH

 

Scripture references are to the King James (Authorised) Version, unless noted otherwise.

 

Question: Revelation 20: 14: ‘And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.’ Why is it called the second death?

 

Answer: Within the context of this verse, it means permanent death, from which there is no resurrection.

 

When Adam was originally condemned to death by God, a sentence carried out through the process of dying, he passed this fate on to all his offspring, the entire human family. Ever since, all mankind has been regarded by God as technically dead, whether they are ‘alive’ or not. See Matthew 8: 22: ‘Let the dead bury their dead.’

 

The Gospel of reconciliation through Christ, preached during the Gospel Age, was especially intended to attract those who had the requisite quality of faith and obedience, the Elect Church, who will live and reign with Christ in heaven.

 

The Millennial Age, which follows the Gospel Age, is yet future, and is designed especially for the salvation of mankind, the non-Elect. It is synonymous with the Kingdom of Christ on earth. This is when Revelation 20: 14 will come into focus.

 

During this period, mankind will be resurrected from the Adamic death state and offered everlasting life, on the reasonable conditions that they reform their sinful ways and consecrate to Christ as Saviour and King. Those who over many years stubbornly refuse to conform, preferring sin to righteousness, will be destroyed in the figurative ‘lake of fire’ – not tortured, but obliterated into non-existence. So, having once died under Adam, brought back to life in the resurrection, and being put to death for unrighteousness, their death would be the second one. Unlike the Adamic death sentence, from which there is a resurrection, the ‘second’ death is permanent.

 

The ‘death and hell’ mentioned in v. 14 as being thrown into the ‘lake of fire’ are the Adamic dying process and the Adamic death condition. This is another way of saying that these, too, will cease to exist.

 

The Scriptures seem to suggest that the number of those consigned to the ‘second death’ will be comparatively small, as we would expect from a God who saves ‘to the uttermost’ (Hebrews 7: 25).

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