The Second Death passage in the book of Revelation is one of those mysterious passages that really gets our mind working hard. It comes from chapter 20 and the picture above is typically what comes to mind when people try to imagine what it could be like.
The purpose of this article is not to define the nature of what the first death or the second death is (or was) but rather to work on the timing. There is one thing I have learned throughout my time in the scriptures and that is that the time statements really do tell the story. Being that it is a spiritual book which speaks the very mind of God, we need to focus sometimes on the things that are clear. Slightly longer article today but I trust it will help us set the record straight on some very important and challenging things.
Time trumps nature- what does this mean?
Lets say that I told you that "I will show up by 7pm". Now ask yourself from that short statement what exactly do you know for a fact? Well, one thing you DO NOT know is how I will show up. Will I show up in a car, truck, on a bike, walking, with a friend, etc. You don't know what by what nature I will show up in. But the one FACT that you DO know is that I will be there by 7pm. That is clear. You do know the timing. Therefore, you allow your understanding of the overall statement to be molded by the fact, not the uncertainty. You can speculate all you want about how I will show up but you'll never know until 7pm. You can however, bet your last dollar that I will be there by 7pm. Time trumps nature. This concept MUST also be applied in the scriptures if we are to ever see the true story break through.
Now let's check out a few passages to try and figure out just WHEN the 2nd death occurred or will occur. First we want to take a look at a couple portions from Revelation chapter 20 to set the scene a little.
Mystery Babylon aka Old Covenant Jerusalem has just been destroyed. John sees this in the vision and then goes into what he sees happening AFTER Jerusalem is destroyed. (I will be paraphrasing and summarizing this first portion) He says...
"Now when the thousand years have expired...satan will gather the nations for battle and they will gather in the land and surround Jerusalem, the beloved city. The devil is then cast in the lake of fire where the beast and false prophet already were." Revelation 20 :7-10
Now, we know that in the book of Revelation we often see the same event from different angles. Nothing different here. This is another angle of looking at the destruction of Jerusalem. The main theme of the letter is Old Covenant Jerusalem and her destruction. Her being "Mystery Babylon" the city where the Lord was slain. This is no different. It's fatal to just pluck something out of the entire theme, flow, and context of a book that was said to contain events that were all soon going to happen. John is basically going right down the line at this point in the order that he sees things happening. He saw the 1000 years ending, Jerusalem falling, the devil thrown into the lake of fire and then he looks and sees the following vision...
"Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire....
This is the second death." Revelation 20:11-14
Now, we have to stop and consider a few things here. First, we know that this is AFTER the destruction of Jerusalem and it's also AFTER the 1000 years have expired.
We also know that we have this vision which undoubtedly LINKS TOGETHER the following three events as happening at the same time in history....
1) The Resurrection
2) The judgement
3) The Second Death
If you can't see that, please go read it again. I underlined and enlarged all the key points so you can see clearly that this is a scene LINKING the resurrection, the judgement, and the SECOND DEATH all together.
Now, some might say "yea, but what about the First death, what is that!?"
Others might say "yea but what about the fire coming down on them, what is that?!"
But here is the point...
The passage above is THE SECOND DEATH. It's THE END. All of those other things CAME BEFORE THE SECOND DEATH. Now, I am not saying that they are irrelevant BUT we are dealing with time here in this article. Time trumps nature. If the Second Death can be shown to be a past event, then ALL of those intricacies that we question are also past events. So let's prove just that....
In Daniel chapter 12 we read about the time of the end. There was going to be ONE final corporate resurrection and ONE final corporate judgement at the end of the Old Covenant Age. I will quote the passage here and insert comments in parenthesis so we can all clearly see this...
"At that time Michael shall stand up,
The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people;
And there shall be a time of trouble, <-------(Great tribulation)
Such as never was since there was a nation,
Even to that time.
And at that time your people shall be delivered,
Every one who is found written in the book.
And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, <----(Resurrection)
Some to everlasting life,
Some to shame and everlasting contempt." <------(Judgement)
Does anyone deny these things? It is impossible and dishonest to do so. Now a couple verses later Daniel sees two angels and one of the angels asks the other how long it would be until these "wonders" were finished. The wonders being the great tribulation, resurrection, and judgement. Here is what is said...
“How long shall the fulfillment of these wonders be?....
Then I heard the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand to heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever, that it shall be for a time, times, and half a time; and when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered, all these things shall be finished." Daniel 12: 6-7
The answer is clear. The time, times, and half time is 42 months. All scholars everywhere agree on that point.
The destruction and siege of Jerusalem lasted 42 months from ad66- ad 70.
He also says that when the power of the holy people was completely shattered, ALL WOULD BE FINISHED. Who were the holy people when Daniel wrote? The Jews. This happened. The end came in ad70. All Jews were either killed or taken captive. Jerusalem and everything that it was, was laid to rubble. The only ones to escape were the Christians who heeded the warning of Christ.
Now, here is where we link it together for the KO.
If the resurrection and judgement was going to be "FINISHED" at the time of the end in ad70
If the resurrection and judgement was linked to THE SECOND DEATH and would happen at the same time (Revelation 20)
Then we know for a fact, that the Second Death occurred at the end of the age.
Furthermore, if Hades was emptied at the Coming of the Lord at the end of the age, doesn't it make sense that it would be cast into the Lake of Fire (destroyed or done away with) at that same time? What's the point of keeping Hades around if nobody is waiting there?
One last point...
We also read about the second death that it would be the time when "they were judged, each one according to his works" Revelation 20:13
Now, if the second death is the time when each one is judged according to works and we position this at the end of the age, does it line up to what Someone else said just a few decades earlier...
"For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. “Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom" Matthew 16:27-28
Jesus said that. Jesus assured that the rewarding of works would occur before those first century men died. Therefore, we have conclusive evidence and multiple connecting scriptures that clearly prove that the Second Death occurred at the end of the age.
To me, the Second Death symbolizes eternal death. In Christ is found eternal life. Which by default means that outside of Christ is what? Eternal Death.
The reason why we see mention of this "Second Death" in Revelation is because we are dealing with the Resurrection out of Hades. This was what they had been waiting for all along.
All who were waiting in Hades had already died. They had already experienced a "first death".
At the resurrection they were raised. Some were raised to eternal life. But the others were sent to the Lake of Fire, which is the "second death". Meaning they were destroyed forever AFTER being raised.
Today, there is no Second Death. Why?
Because there is no Hades. As humans we either experience immediate life, or immediate death.
"He who believes in me, although he die, he shall live."
The Second Death was directly related to those who had died prior to the Coming of the Lord and who would be raised to life again, only to be destroyed once and foreall. That would be the start of the blueprint going forward.
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