Please explain this Scripture: “Death and hell were cast into the lake of fire, this is the second death?”
<ANSWER>–The first death came upon Adam because of sin, and death has been reigning in the earth since, and men have died because of inherited sin. Death is spoken of in the Scriptures as a great enemy. Under the reign of Christ the dead shall return from the land of the enemy, the tomb, the death condition. (`Jer. 31:15-17`; `John 5:28,29`). All those who have become Christ’s in this life receive their trial now. Those who have had no opportunity to accept the Lord will be given a trial then, and if obedient will be rewarded with eternal life on the earth. The reign of Christ is for the purpose of restoring all that was lost in Adam (`Acts 3:19-22`) and as the Scriptures declare: “He must reign till He hath put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death” (`1 Cor. 15:25,26`). In the Scripture quoted in your question, “hell” is from the Greek word <“Hades,”> meaning the tomb. Death means the result of the curse that came upon Adam. The words used by our Lord were figurative. The “lake of fire” is a symbol of complete destruction, here called the “second death,” therefore the second death refers to that death from which there will be no resurrection.
What is meant by the “Second Death” mentioned in the book of Revelation?
<ANSWER>–The first death, the death which came upon the human family through the disobedience of Father Adam, extended to every member of the human race. But according to God’s providence, foreknown and fully declared, Christ died for the sins of the whole world; and in due time every member of Adam’s race is to be recovered from that sin and from its death penalty, which for six thousand years has been upon the race. In other words, as Adam brought mankind under the first death penalty, so Christ will release all mankind from that death penalty and give every member of the race a full and fair opportunity to attain perfection and eternal life. Whoever refuses that favor and opportunity–whoever sins willfully and deliberately against that light, will come under the sentence of death again; and this time it will not be Adamic death, but Second Death. And the difference between the two deaths is that the latter will know no revocation–there will be no redemption from it and no resurrection.
Please explain `Rev. 20:10`, particularly the last clause of the verse which reads: “and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” (E.W.D.)
<ANSWER>–All Bible students recognize that the expressions of this chapter and verse are highly figurative. Where it is stated that a “beast and false prophet” are to be cast into the “lake of fire and brimstone,” no reasoning mind would say that literal beast, or a literal false prophet were meant; but that these were symbols, and represent false and beastly systems. And if not an actual beast is meant, so also with the “lake of fire and brimstone.” This lake would fittingly symbolize absolute destruction, for whatever is cast into fire and brimstone, the two most destructive agencies known to mankind, is immediately destroyed and not preserved in any sense. As stated in the `14th verse`, it is the “second death”–annihilation. To our understanding, the “devil” here mentioned is not Satan himself, but is an evil system–a devilish power. These evil systems–false civil and ecclesiastical powers–in the end of the Age are to be “tormented day and night,” as long as they last, with financial, social, and religious difficulties and pains. “Forever and ever” is from the Greek <aionion> which signifies lasting. The “torment” will last until these Satanic systems are consumed.