What is the Second Death?

What is the Second Death?

The curious phrase the “second death” only occurs in John’s prophetic vision as recorded in the book of Revelation, with just four verses that mention it. But what is the second death?

  • Regarding the church in Smyrna, John writes that those who persevere in persecution, who are victorious, will avoid harm by the second death.
  • Later, John notes that martyrs will be resurrected and reign with Jesus for a thousand years. They, too, will escape the power of the second death.
  • A few verses later, John says that the lake of fire is the second death. Anyone whose name isn’t recorded in the “book of life” will be tossed into the lake of fire, that is, they will encounter the second death.
  • Last, John lists some people who will experience the second death: cowards, unbelievers, vile people, murderers, sexually immoral persons, practitioners of magic arts, idol worshipers, and all liars. That’s a sweeping list and a cause for trepidation, if not for the prior section that says those listed in the book of life will escape the second death. Perhaps this implies that when we follow Jesus and have our names recorded, that the power of these other traits is diminished.

None of these, however, explains what the second death is. What we can learn is that it’s something that can occur after physical death (the first death), and it may be a synonym of hell or a reference to eternal suffering or punishment. What’s important to realize is that martyrs and those who withstand persecution will sidestep the second death, as well as all those who follow Jesus. And if we know how to avoid the second death, understanding what it means isn’t important.

Does this discussion about the second death give you comfort or cause concern? What are your views about the second death?

[Revelation 2:8-11, Revelation 20:4-6, Revelation 20:14-15, Revelation 21:8]

Free Bible Reading Tip Sheet!

Bogged down reading the Bible?

Good news: there's hope! Reading the Bible can be a meaningful experience. Check out 10 Tips to Turn Bible Reading from Drudgery to Delight

Let me know your email address. Then I'll email you my free Bible reading guide and add you to my mailing list. (Unsubscribe at any time.)

Get 10 Tips to Turn Bible Reading from Drudgery to Delight today!
(No worries. I won't spam you. Unsubscribe at any time.) Powered by ConvertKit

Add Comment

What do you think? Please leave a comment!

%d bloggers like this: