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Volume 15 - Page 118 of 160 Index | Zoom | |
This overcomer is numbered among those whose part is in the "first resurrection"; for
them the second death holds no terror:--
"Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection; on such the second
death hath no power" (Rev. 20: 6).
Looking back again to Rev. 2: we observe the title of the Lord when He speaks to the
angel of the church in Smyrna:--
"These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive" (Rev. 2: 8).
Most, if not all, the titles of the speaker to the seven churches are found together in the
description given in chapter 1: This can be seen by comparing the opening words to each
church in chapter 2: and 3: with the description given in chapter 1: The title with
which we are immediately concerned is evidently taken from Rev. 1:, 17, 18:--
"Fear not, I am the first and the last: I am He that liveth, and was dead; and behold, I
am alive for the ages of the ages, and have the keys of death and of Hades."
The Nature of Death.
These statements throw light upon the character of the second death. According to our
understanding of the first death will be our understanding of the second. The traditional
view is that while the body turns to dust, the soul, or the person himself, passes on in an
unclothed state, either to the immediate presence of the Lord, to Paradise, or the
Purgatory. For ourselves we believe that the dead are dead. The body has returned to
the dust as it was, the spirit has returned to God who gave it, the man has ceased to be a
living soul, and knows nothing until resurrection.
If we take the view that death is not the cessation of consciousness or of mental and
spiritual activity, we shall probably believe that the same may be true of the second
death, and invest that second death with all the traditional horrors of the orthodox "hell";
if we believe that death is the end of all conscious being, we shall believe that the second
death likewise is the end of all conscious being too. It does not follow that the second
death will be exactly similar to the first, but it cannot be totally dissimilar, for that would
invalidate the idea contained in the word "second". For example, the Lord Jesus Christ is
called "the second Man" (I Cor. 15: 47).
The relation of the First Death to the Second.
In some aspects He is much unlike the first man, as the context elaborates. The one is
natural; the other is spiritual. The one is earthy; the other is heavenly. The one is simply
man; the other, while being the second Man, is the Lord. There is however no violence
done to the conception of a series. There is an advance from earthly to heavenly, from
soul to spirit, but throughout all the change and progression the one word "man" remains
constant, whether spoken of Adam or of Christ. So in Heb. 8: 7 there is the "first