Useful Bible Studies > Revelation Commentary > chapter 2

The second death

Revelation 2:11

At the end of the letter to Smyrna, Christ urges everyone to listen and to obey. Then he gives a promise to those people who overcome. That is, by his death and by trust in him, they remain loyal to him through the troubles in their lives. This promise was especially important for the Christians in Smyrna, many of whom would die because of their belief in Christ. However, the promise is to all Godís people.

The promise is that the Ďsecond deathí will not hurt them. Revelation 20:14 explains what the Ďsecond deathí means. It is the final place of punishment after Godís last judgement. It is the place of punishment for the devil (20:10) and for wicked people (21:8). It is what we usually call Ďhellí.

God does not want people to suffer in this manner (Ezekiel 18:23). He urges even the most wicked people to confess their evil deeds to him, and to invite him into their lives. Because of Christís death, he can forgive and save people. However, they must turn from their evil deeds and they must trust him.

In the Bible, death does not mean the complete end of a person. The Bible teaches that the effect of death is, in fact, to separate a person from this world. So, the first death (the death of the human body) separates a person from everything that is happening in this present world (Ecclesiastes 9:6). On the other hand, the second death affects a personís spirit and not the body. The second death will separate people from everything in the new heaven and earth, which God will create (21:1).

The Christians in Smyrna would of course suffer that first kind of death. However, Christ has saved them, and all Godís people, from the second death. They will live in the New Jerusalem on the new earth, and they will never again know death (21:4).

Next part: Christís letter to Pergamum (Revelation 2:12)


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© 2016, Keith Simons.