What is the meaning of the second death in Revelation 20:11?

Question: I just found something about the “Second Death“, Rev 2:11… I checked the concordance and it seems that the meaning is “The Lake of Fire“… but honestly, I still do not understand What’s the meaning of the second death… Could you help me with this?

Answer:  In the context of the passage we are told that those who were martyred during the great tribulation will be resurrected and reign with Christ 1,000 years.  This is the first resurrection.  Following the premillennial scheme, I view this as the resurrection of all who are saved during the tribulation.  Those who are saved during the millennium will be resurrected after the millennium.  Those who are resurrected are not affected, John tells us, by the second death.

This suggests that the first death is the death we experience in this age, the death of the body, which means the soul is separated from the body and goes either to Hades or Heaven (see article).  The second death then would be described in Revelation 20:11, where those already dead by the first death are now called before the great white throne of Jesus for judgment.  They are judged out of the book of life and because their names are not found there (they aren’t followers of Jesus), they perish or die the second death, consignment to Hell or the Lake of Fire forever.  The severity of their judgment is based on the deeds recorded in the “books” in this passage (see article).

This seems to be another way of saying that there is no chance of heaven, once someone dies, if they have never trusted in Jesus for forgiveness and salvation.  We must keep reaching the lost wherever they are.  This is Christ’s great commission for us (Matthew 28:19,20).

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Will God forgive us when we break our promise not to sin?

Question:  Hey! I have a question I have been  wanting to know for awhile now and I was wondering if you could answer it?  Okay, so does God still love you and forgive you even if you have made a promise to stop committing a certain sin but then you break that promise? Will he still love and forgive you after you’ve broken that promise and you still keep making the same mistakes?

Answer:  I suppose we could ask ourselves if we would still love our child after he or she promises over and over to stop doing something wrong.  And even if we would answer yes, we would have to recognize that God’s love for us is even greater than a parent’s love for his child.  I like the passage in Psalm 103:13,14, which says, “As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.”

It is Jesus who taught us that we should love our enemies (Matthew 5:44) in order to have as perfect a love as the Father has (verse 48).  And Paul tells us that when we were still God’s enemies, still sinners, God proved His love for us by letting Jesus die for us (Romans 5:8).  And Jesus taught Peter that if someone sins against him seventy-seven times he must forgive that person.  So it is impossible that God would not do as well or better than what He instructs us to do.  In fact, Romans 8 makes it perfectly clear that for the one who has trusted in Jesus for salvation there is no condemnation (8:1) and that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love (8:37-39).

We are perfectly safe in God’s love.  But because He loves us so much and because we love Him in return, we want to experience obedience to Him as a token of our love.  And we want to trust Him that the commands He has given us are for our own protection and welfare.  So when we recognize that our own promises to do better fail it might be time to try some additional aids to obedience.  For example, it may be that a trusted counselor could help you see a pattern to your disobedience and help you break that pattern.  Or it might be helpful to have someone to whom you are accountable and who will pray for you and encourage you toward obedience.  Or it might be useful to memorize some Scriptures that pertain to the particular disobedience you are struggling with.  Or all of the above. 

God longs for us to have freedom in our conscience before Him.  That is why Jesus came (Hebrews 9:14; 10:22).  That is why we can come to His throne boldly whenever we have need and find grace (Hebrews 4:16).

Are My Husband and Father in Heaven Yet?

Question: I have been challenged on my saying that my husband and my father are in heaven.  I am being told that they will not go to heaven until Jesus comes back to earth.  But in reading some of the posts I see that it is mentioned that the spirits are in heaven and will be rejoined with the body when Jesus comes back.   Is there a biblical basis for my belief.  I know part of my belief comes from my desire and from songs and from things heard at church in my youth.

Answer:  1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 is one of the key passages in this matter.  Here Paul tells us that,

We believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.

If God is going to bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep (that is, those who have died), where is He bringing them from and what is He bringing?  Jesus is coming back to us from heaven.  Our bodies are not in heaven.  Our bodies are in the grave.  Jesus will therefore come back from heaven with that part of us that is in heaven, our spirits, and resurrect our bodies to be rejoined to our spirits.

Further evidence of this is found in 2 Corinthians 5:6,7, where Paul writes,

Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.

And again in Philippians 1:21-24,

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.

For Paul, death meant the departure of his spirit from his body and the entering of his spirit into the presence of Christ in heaven.  This is in agreement with the teaching of Jesus in Luke 16.  In verse 22 Jesus depicts the death of the beggar Lazarus and describes the angels taking him to Abraham’s side.  Did they take his body or his spirit?  His body was in the grave.  So it had to be his spirit that they took.  When we did our spirits are escorted to heaven if we are followers of Jesus.  One day, our resurrected bodies will be rejoined to our perfected spirits and we will forever be the spirit/body persons we were meant to be.