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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2 thoughts on “What is the meaning of the second death in Revelation 20:11?

    • Real! Now whether the fire is literal or not is in question. Fire needs matter and oxygen to burn. If we have combustible bodies they would eventually burn up entirely. Before the unsaved have bodies they are in Hades (Luke 16) and it is described as burning, but there is nothing to burn. So I am inclined to see the “fire” as metaphorical, that is, it is not literal fire, but there is nevertheless an experience that can only be communicated as a burning. This may be psychological, but nonetheless real.

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