Everything physical has a beginning and an end, including the sun, the moon and stars, the earth and everything on it, and each of us. Yes, we will all come to the end of our physical lives some day or other.
Most of us have experienced the death of a loved one. Children often experience the death of a pet before that of a family member. The sight of a lifeless body is very sobering.
Since the creation of man in the Garden of Eden, mankind earned the death penalty. As stated in Hebrews 9:27, “It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.”
Mankind has a multitude of philosophical and religious views about what happens after death. Some believe that a soul goes to heaven or hell or purgatory after death. Some believe in the underworld, some in reincarnation into another life, some in waiting until the day of judgment, and some believe that there is no afterlife.
The Bible reveals what the Creator God did in the beginning and also what will happen at the end. God developed plans that are “time-oriented,” with phases and steps that take place in order until they reach His desired outcomes and conclusion. Many ancient prophecies have already been fulfilled, while others were made for the very end of the “end-times,” or “latter days,” which will likely commence soon.
Speaking of life and death, God told Adam and Eve what would happen if they disobeyed His instruction not to eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. They disobeyed, and in time they died—as do we all.
But many do not realize there are two types of death—a first death and a second death, as revealed in the Bible. Many do not know about it because they do not read the book of Revelation, which is where the term “second death” is used four separate times. Note that Revelation is the Revelation (revealing) of Jesus Christ (v. 1), that He is the “Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End” (v. 8).
The first use of the term “second death” is in Revelation 2:8–11, where the second of the seven churches, Smyrna, is addressed, instructing them to be faithful until death to receive the crown of life, and that they would not be hurt by the second death.
The second use is in Revelation 20:6, where it speaks of those who are in the first resurrection. Did you know there is more than one resurrection? Those in the first resurrection will live and reign for one thousand years with Jesus Christ (v. 4). The second death has no power over them (v. 6).
The “rest of the dead” (those who never in this present life had the opportunity to have knowledge of the True God, or the name of Jesus Christ only through Whom we may be saved), do not live again until the thousand years are finished. They will be physically resurrected for their period of judgment, according to their works (v. 5, 12–13).
Later, the second death will occur, which is the lake of fire (v. 14). This death is forever for those who will not live God’s way and, consequently, are not found worthy to be in the Book of Life (v. 14–15).
The fourth use is in Revelation 21:8, which describes those who will not repent of sinful acts, bringing on their end—destruction for eternity in the lake of fire, which is the second death.
God wants all to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4). But, those who refuse to submit and learn God’s way at the very end of the Millennium—the returned Jesus Christ’s reign on this earth—will not be given eternal life. They must cease to exist.
For more on this subject, read the informative study guides What Happens When You Die?, What Is the Meaning of Life?, Revelation: The Mystery Unveiled, and The Holy Days: God’s Master Plan. All are available free of charge, either in print or online, right here at Tomorrow’s World.