What is the Second Death?

What is the Second Death?

Scripture speaks of a final place of punishment known as the “lake of fire.” It is where people experience the “second death.” John wrote about this in Revelation 19:20 where he said the beast, the final Antichrist, as well as the false prophet, would be sent to this place of everlasting punishment.

“Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone.”

The Lake of Fire is the Second Death

In chapter 20 of the Book of Revelation, we read further about the place of punishment, the lake of fire which is the second death.

“The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever … Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10, 14-15).

We also read this in Revelation 21:8.

“But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

Second Death & First Death

If there is a second death, then there also is the first death. What is the difference between the two? Death in the Bible always means separation. Physical death is the separation of the soul and spirit from the body while spiritual death is separation from God.

When one dies physically, there will be a separation between his physical body and his soul and spirit. Physical death is what the Bible refers to as the first death and it will be experienced by both the righteous and the wicked.

Man is a tripartite being consisting of material (the physical body) and immaterial parts (soul and spirit). At death, the body which is made of dust will return to dust (Genesis 3:19) while the soul and spirit will go to one of two places: heaven (for the righteous) or hell (for the wicked).

While every human being will experience the first death, the second death has no power over those who confessed Jesus as Lord and Savior.

“Blessed and holy is he who has a part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ and shall reign with Him a thousand years (Revelation 20:6).

Affiliate Link
Strengthen your faith with Christian jewelry, apparel, and wall decors.

Descriptions of the Second Death

The Bible gives us several descriptions of the Second Death.

It is Eternal

The lake of fire, which is the second death, is the final destination for all unbelievers. It is a place from which there is “no hope.” It is equivalent to saying the “last death.”

Those who had been kept in Hades, the temporary place of punishment, will eventually be thrown in this lake of fire, their ultimate destination (Matthew 25:46; Revelation 20:14).

There is Conscious Suffering

Those suffering in the lake of fire are conscious (Revelation 20:10). Furthermore, their conscious suffering is eternal. In other words, the dead are not in a state of extinction as some teach and believe.

The Lake of Fire is a Burning Lake

The lake of fire is referred to as the burning lake. Four times, fire and sulfur are mentioned in the book of Revelation when referring to the lake of fire (Revelation 14:10; 19:20; 20:10 & 21:8).

The Wicked are in Some Type of Bodily Form

If the wicked are to suffer eternally in the lake of fire, they have to assume some type of bodily form. Jesus emphasized this fact when He said the following.

“Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth–those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation” (John 5:28-29).

The apostle Paul also said the following about his hope for the resurrection.

“I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust” (Acts 24:15).

If the unrighteous dead were merely annihilated, there would be no reason for their resurrection. They are raised for the purpose of judgment and then punishment.

Indeed, if they were in their final place of punishment in Hades, there would not be a need for a resurrection. Hades is temporary, while the lake of fire is permanent.


The Bible is clear that God will pour out His wrath upon the wicked. This will include Satan and his angels as well as wicked humanity. They will all go to a place of final punishment which the Bible calls the “lake of fire.”

The lake of fire, the second death, does exist, and it truly is a place everyone should want to avoid. The common question people ask is, “How can a loving God send anyone to hell?”

We need to understand that God does not send people to hell. We are all bound for hell because of sin. But God in His grace and mercy does not want anyone to go to hell and that is why He gave His only begotten Son to suffer and die for us (John 3:16).

Hell is never God’s choice for us. But a countless number of people will send themselves there because they reject the God of the Bible and His free gift of salvation.

Hell is an awful place, but it can be avoided. If a person trusts Jesus Christ as his or her Savior, then heaven awaits them instead of this horrific place.

Have you trusted Jesus to save you from eternal punishment in the lake of fire? If you haven’t yet and you want to receive God’s gift of salvation, pray the  Sinner’s Prayer with your whole heart.

Sinner’s Prayer

“Lord Jesus, I acknowledge I’m a sinner in need of forgiveness and saving. I renounce my sinfulness and accept your gift of eternal life. Please forgive all my sins and cleanse me from my filthiness. I believe that Jesus suffered and died on the cross for my sins and rose again from the grave to secure my place in heaven. I ask You now to come into my life to be my personal Lord and Savior. This I pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.”

If you sincerely prayed this prayer, I welcome you into the family of God.

This article about the Second Death which is the Lake of Fire is an excerpt from Don Stewart’s book, “Hell, The Final Destination of Unbelievers.”

Recommended Resource:

The Christian and Hell: The Biblical Truth about the Everlasting Fire by Charlie Avila

The Christian and Hell: The Biblical Truth about the Everlasting Fire by Charlie AvilaThis book was written over several years to address vital biblical truths regarding hell.

I specifically wrote it to convince people that hell is forever; that universalism is a lie; and that Rob Bell is deceiving thousands of believers and non-believers with his teachings in the disastrous book, Love Wins.

In the first chapter, we wrestle with the startling truth that more than 150,000 people go to hell every day. Over one million go there every week! In this chapter, we examine carefully the words “perish,” “perishing,” and “perdition.”

In the second chapter, we go to the Book of Revelation and study “the lake of fire.” What is it? Who goes there? Why is everyone “cast” or “thrown” into this fearful lake that is burning with fire?

Next, in one of the most important truths to establish about hell, we answer the question of its eternal nature. Is hell forever? Is it just temporary?

When it comes to hell, does “eternal” really mean “everlasting,” or does it mean something else? What exactly does universalism teach? Is it biblical? Who has taught and who is teaching this doctrine?

And what verses do universalists use to support their beliefs? In the chapter on Hell Yes, Bell No, we thoroughly evaluate Rob Bell’s book, Love Wins.

How should a Christian respond to his claims that everyone is going to heaven? Is he right that all who ever lived will be with God forever? Is this true? We will review the teachings of Jesus to see that not everyone gets saved.

8 Replies to “What is the Second Death?”

  1. My name is Alan Finch. JESUS became my Lord and Saviour in April of 1976.

    My 1st 38 years as a Christian, I believed the unscriptural teaching about that there is going to be eternal torment for multitudes and multitudes of people. I then began to seriously question that teaching. I then decided to do an in-depth study of the Bible concerning this issue, and the Scriptures revealed to me that I had believed a horrible lie for all those years.

    The Lake of Fire is not a physical Lake of Fire, but a Spiritual Lake of Fire from God’s Spirit for the purpose of “RESTORATION.” God is a God of “RESTORATION,” not a God of destruction.

    In Acts 3:21 God promises that there shall be a “RESTORATION” of ALL things! What is there not to understand about this wonderful promise that God has made to us?

    The overall theme of the Bible is that God’s ultimate plan for ALL mankind is to restore, not destroy in an eternal Lake of Fire or eternal annihilation!

    In John 12:32 JESUS clearly states that He is going to draw ALL people to Himself! Not a portion of mankind, but ALL of mankind.

    In John 6:44 JESUS clearly states that nobody can come to Him except the Father draws that person to Him. For those who are true Christians, WE MUST NOT KID OURSELVES IN THE FACT THAT WE ONLY CAME TO JESUS BECAUSE GOD’S SPIRIT DREW US TO JESUS!

    In the present, and in the future, God has His own timing when He will draw each individual to Himself.

    Addressing the issue of the belief in eternal annihilation, the Lord clearly tells us in Ecclesiastes 3:11 that He has planted eternity in our hearts. God has made us living Spirits. It is impossible for our Spirit to be destroyed.


    God worked out His plan in past Ages, God is working out His plan in the present Age that we are now living in, and God will work out His plan in future Ages to come.

    I have spent the last several years in Biblically expounding in a 32 page document that I have put together on the truth of there being no eternal suffering in a Lake of Fire for anyone. I have just explained the real LOVE of God that today’s Church just simply does not seem to grasp.

    If anyone would be interested in a copy of my document, email me at: (candy33alan@aol.com), and I will email you a copy.

    1. Hello Alan,

      Thanks for sharing your research and study on the Word. I may not agree with your view but I’m glad you dropped by.

      All I can say is that, if we understand that God is not only love but is also just and holy, we would certainly come to terms as to why there has to be a lake of fire. This lake of fire, which is the Second Death, was created for Satan and his angels.

      It was never intended for man that is why God gave His Son to redeem us. But if we reject His gift then we just made a choice to suffer eternally in hell.


    2. Hi Admin, thanks for posting my comment.

      The reason why my document is 32 pages is that I put forth a great effort in giving Biblical proof for what I present in my article. That is why it took me several years to put together my article.

      From before the foundation of the world, God Pre-determined to have a Bride (the faithful and true Church) which would rule & reign with Him for All Eternity.

      On the Cross, JESUS redeemed ALL mankind. The faithful and true Church will be the wife of Christ. The rest of mankind in due time will be the restored prodigal sons and daughters of God whom the Saints will rule & reign over.

      I have my comments on a number of other websites. I have received a number of replies to my article. Below, I will share with you a reply from a previous Pastor that you may find to be interesting.

      “Thank you so much. I was a pastor for years (I’m 68 now) and l preached and taught ECT. I always struggled with it as it violated my conscience and seemed inconsistent with the attributes and nature of God. As l enter the winter season of life l find this doctrine not giving me any peace–no assurance in the final season of life. It has shrouded what l once preached as “good news.” I began to question if we’ve had 2000 years of bad interpretation concerning Hell and how God intends to use it. I came across your article and it has been very helpful.” – Ron

      That is just one example of a number of wonderful replies to my article that I have received over the past several years.


      1. Again, thanks, Alan for sharing.

        I approved your comment because I believe readers have a right to see it and come to their own conclusion.

        God bless …

    1. Hello there,

      Thanks for dropping by.

      Yes; it is only by placing our faith in Jesus Christ that will save us from eternal punishment and torment in hell, which is the second death.

      Although we are not automatically spared from pain, trials, and suffering, we can rest in God’s promises that these are but temporary. In the presence of God in our eternal home (heaven), there will be no more pain or sorrow.


  2. The bible says Satan and his angels will be tormented for life. Isn’t it possible that man will just cease to exist? What did Jesus mean when he said you won’t get out until every last penny is paid?

    Also, I take pain medicine. Does that make me a sorcerer?

    1. Hi Debbie,

      So sorry for the late reply.

      The doctrine of annihilation is not taught in Scripture. And taking medicine does not make one a sorcerer. The science of medicine is also one of God’s instruments to make us well.

      In regard to Jesus’ statement in Matthew 5:26 and Luke 12:59, He was equating anger with murder which is punishable by law. In the same way that there is a corresponding degree of punishment for the crime of literal murder, one who is guilty of anger is also subject to judgment.

      This is why Jesus said that one needs to settle the matter with his accuser before he gets dragged before the court.

      We are all guilty sinners and are bound to eternal punishment in the Lake of Fire (the Second Death). But we have a chance to make things right with God by receiving God’s gift of eternal life. Jesus paid the punishment for our sins at the cross so we don’t have to suffer.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.