WHAT IS THE "SECOND DEATH"
Lorraine Day, M.D.
Only four times in the Bible is the term "Second Death" mentioned: Rev 2:11, Rev 20:6 & 14, and Rev. 21:8. We have been taught that this "Second Death" means permanent separation from God either by burning or some other form of annihilation, depending on your particular theology.
Since this Death is designated by number as the "Second" Death, that demands that there must be a "First" Death.
So what is the "First" Death?
From the moment a baby is born, he begins to die. Cells are dying throughout a human being's lifetime, a process that ultimately leads to the death of the individual. Since this "Death" is inherent in EVERY individual when he is born, it is logical to assume that this death is the "First" death!
The "First" death then, is the physical death that each person dies on this earth - a physical, but TEMPORARY death from which everyone will be resurrected. Those who are righteous will be resurrected to everlasting life and those who are wicked will be resurrected for the judgment and the "Second Death", believed by nearly ALL to be a physical death also, but this time the death is presumed to be PERMANENT!
So, both "Deaths", the First and the Second, are physical deaths - according to present day theology. The ONLY difference, most Christians believe, is that the "First" is temporary and the "Second" is permanent (and its method of accomplishment more hideous).
But --- there is ANOTHER Death that is spoken of repeatedly in the Bible. Could this be a THIRD type of Death?
"How shall we, that are DEAD to sin live any longer therein?" Rom 6:2
"Likewise consider yourselves to be DEAD indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord." Rom 6:11
"And you He has made alive, who were DEAD in trespasses and sins." Eph 2:1
"He loved us even when we were DEAD in sins...".. Eph 2:5
"And you, being DEAD in your sins...He has made alive together with Him." Col 2:13
"...that we being DEAD to sins, should live unto righteousness..." 1 Peter 2:24
"They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh..." Gal 5:24
"The body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness." Rom 8:10
"There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body...Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterwards that which is spiritual."
1 Cor 15:44,46 (the "natural" body is first - and the "spiritual" body is second.)
"That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." John 3:3,6
vs 2 How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
vs 3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
vs 4 Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
vs 5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection.
vs 6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed (rendered inoperative) , that henceforth we should not serve (be slaves of) sin.
vs 7 For he that is dead is freed (or justified) from sin.
vs 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him.
vs 9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over Him. (Note: Death has no more dominion over someone who has died and been resurrected a new creature).
vs 10 For in that He died, He died unto sin once for all, but in that He liveth, He liveth unto God.
vs 11 Likewise consider ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
This death spoken of in ALL these texts is clearly a Spiritual Death, NOT a literal physical death.
Since this is the ONLY other type of Death (other than a physical death) that is spoken of in the Bible, at least up until the book of Revelation, wouldn't this logically--and chronologically, be termed --The "Second" Death --- a Second type of Death?
If so, is this synonymous with THE "Second Death" spoken of in Revelation? If not, then since the different types of Deaths appear to be numbered in the Bible, what number is this Death? And where does it fit in the scheme of things?
If the Bible has discussed the literal death of the body of flesh -- AND the spiritual death of the sinful flesh, then is the "Second" Death spoken of in Revelation a TOTALLY different type of death from these two previously discussed?
Let's let the words of Jesus clear up this problem!
In John 3:1-12, Jesus gives us the answer.
"There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:
The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God; for no man can do these miracles that you do, except God be with him.
Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a man be born again, (second birth) he cannot see the kingdom of God.
Nicodemus said unto Him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the SECOND time into his mother's womb, and be born?
Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. ("Second" birth is Spiritual)
That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
Marvel not that I said unto you, You must be born again...(Second birth)
Nicodemus answered and said unto Him, How can these things be?
Jesus answered and said unto him, Are you a MASTER of Israel, and you don't know these things?..." (You mean even the most respected religious leaders of the day didn't understand this truth?)
Jesus is pointing out to Nicodemus that the FIRST BIRTH is PHYSICAL, but the SECOND BIRTH (being "born again") is SPIRITUAL!
FIRST BIRTH = PHYSICAL
It's the SAME with the TWO DEATHS spoken of in the Bible!
Now, go back and re-read the texts on the previous pages and you will clearly see that the "Second Death" is the process of "DYING TO SIN" - "BURYING THE OLD MAN OF SIN", a Spiritual Death and NOT a physical death! A "DEATH" that results in the formation of a "NEW CREATURE in CHRIST!"
Now let's analyze the "Second" Death spoken of in Revelation.
Rev 2:11 He that overcometh shall not be hurt by the Second Death. (He that overcomes has already 'DIED" the Second Death - death to sin! Therefore, it cannot hurt him.)
Rev 20:5,6 The righteous "live and reign with Christ a thousand years. (The rest of the dead do not live until the thousand years should be finished.) This is the first (former) resurrection.
Happy and holy is he who has a part in the first (former) resurrection! Over these the Second Death has no power (jurisdiction). See Rom 6:7 "For he that is DEAD is FREED from sin." That's why the Second Death has no power - because he already died to sin.
Rev 20:13-15 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell (hades = the unseen), delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. (Hades = the unseen, where the "soul" goes when a person dies. It just ceases to be - it is in the "unseen.")
And (after the judgment) death and hell (hades = the unseen) were cast into the lake of fire. This is the Second Death. (Note: It is impossible to throw "death" and the "unseen" into a literal lake of fire!)
And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
Rev 21:8 But the cowardly and unbelieving and the abominable and murders, and sexually immoral 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.
(Note that DEATH has already been "thrown into the lake of fire", and presumably abolished, BEFORE the wicked are thrown in. So how can the wicked now die - if death has been "destroyed"?)
(For more information on "Fire," see upcoming study: "Fire" in the Bible: When is it literal and when is it figurative?)
There is a First Birth (physical) and a Second Birth (spiritual - being BORN AGAIN!).
There is a First Death (physical) and a Second Death (spiritual) - which results in a "New creature in Christ."
The "flesh" cannot be "converted;" it must be "destroyed," disassembled, made new. The "Old man of Sin" must be buried. The carnal (fleshly) mind "is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are flesh can not please God."
0 8: 7,8
The "flesh" is "destroyed," but the person is not. After all, Jesus said He came "to DESTROY the WORKS of the DEVIL." (1 John 3:8)
We are the Works of Christ. He created us. We are NOT the works of the devil. Only the SIN in our lives is the work of the devil. It is the SIN ONLY that is permanently destroyed. Then we become "A NEW creature in Christ."