Is the second death a cessation of life? Or is it a death that involves an eternity of suffering? Is the second death the means by which reprobate sinners enter Hell? Or is the second death something entirely different? Could the second death be something that is more consistent with a God who is not just almighty and all-powerful, but all-loving and merciful, as well?
WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS ABOUT THE SECOND DEATH
- Revelation 2:11 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.
- Revelation 20:6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
- Revelation 20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
- Revelation 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, 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.
Of the four passages above, the first two (Rev.2:11 and Rev.20:6) don’t really say much about the nature of the second death. They basically only tell us that the second death is something that can be avoided. The third passage (Rev.20:14) tells us that the second death has something to do with being cast into a lake of fire. The fourth passage (Rev.21:8) also links the second death to a lake of fire, but adds that the lake of fire has brimstone in it.
It seems, therefore, that if we are to find out what the second death is, we need to find out more about the lake of fire and why brimstone is in it. Actually, it seems that the presence of brimstone in the lake of fire is a big clue as to the what the lake of fire is or, more specifically, what the purpose of the lake of fire is. So, let us look, first, at the brimstone and why it might be in the lake of fire.
What is brimstone?
Brimstone is another word for sulphur. This is noteworthy because sulphur was used, back in the day, in the process of refining metals. Precious metals, like gold and silver, in the natural states in which they are found or mined, usually have traces of other less precious metals, like lead, in them. In order to get rid of the contaminating metal, the precious metal would be melted and then, at some point, sulphur would be added to the molten metal. That would cause a chemical reaction which would cause the sulphur to bond with impurities in the molten precious metal and the trapped impurities that bonded with the sulphur would then rise to the surface of the of the liquid as a type of dross, which could then be skimmed off or somehow separated from the rest of the molten precious metal. The result would be a metal that would be more refined and purer than it was originally.