“And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.”
When we consider what is meant by ‘the second death”, it is important to recognize the context of our passage… the verses immediately preceding this verse speak of the resurrection of the lost, the judgment of the works of the lost, and the destruction of physical death.
When we are told that ‘This is the second death”, the Bible is referring, in a very general way, to the final judgment and disposition of the lost. They are resurrected (never to physically die again), found guilty at the final judgment, removed from God’s presence, and cast into the Lake of Fire for an eternity. This series of events make up what is known as the second death.
Although the term “second death” is used four times in the Book of Revelation, it is used nowhere else throughout the Bible. Let’s look and see what we can learn from the other three Revelation passages of scripture…
“He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.”
Here, we are told that those who are overcomers in Christ will not be harmed by the second death. How very true. If we have turned from our sins and turned to Christ, in faith, we are overcomers in Christ (1 John 4:4; 5:4-5). In doing so, we have overcome the powers of darkness and their effects in our lives (1 John 2:13-13:4).
“Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.”
Christ’s victory over Satan, sin, and death has become ours through faith in His name. Because of this, we have given us escape from the judgment for our sins, an eternity in the very presence of Christ and, then, rewarded with a share of His ruling authority. (Romans 8:17)
“But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Those who will suffer this second death are those whose sins remain upon their account. They are the ones who stand before God and are found guilty of the sins which they have committed. Their only possible hope is found in the shed blood of Christ which can secure redemption and Christ’s righteousness on their behalf (2 Cor 5:21, Eph 1:7, 1 Peter 1:18-19).
As Christians, may we all praise and honor our Lord, who has so graciously made a way of escape from the second death and its eternal effects upon sinful mankind. May we all strive to serve Him in greater ways sharing the good news of Christ and His death with the lost men around us …those who so desperately need it.
For an in depth look at these sections of the Revelation: