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04.18.10 Appearances Can Be Deceiving, Revelation 2:8-11 Sermon Scraps

by on April 20, 2010

What is the “Second Death”?

The Second Death refers to the scene of the Lake of Fire in Revelation 20-21. I approach this passage from a phenomenological perspective. I consider the Second Death to be an additional vision of redemption.

According to the passage, the enemies of God along with those who are not found in the Book of Life, will be thrown into the eternal Lake of Fire. I take the view that Revelation is written to people who are undergoing some manner of oppression—whether socio-economic marginalization or physical persecution, perhaps even martyrdom. As such, the images and meanings are to be determined from the perspective of the first recipients of the book. What they needed most was encouragement to remain faithful.

Promises of deliverance and defeat of God’s enemies may have been enough to encourage such faithfulness in most cases. But in some, especially in the cases involving martyrdom, a station of hope needed to be anchored in the future and in the realm of the eternal. This is the function of the Second Death.

Even if some faithful should die through the trials experienced in Revelation, they don’t ultimately die, for they are spared the Second Death. And even if the oppressive forces of Revelation appear to remain strong and victorious, they are not ultimately victorious, for they are subject to the Second Death.

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