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Revelation 20:4-15 – Judgment and Lake of Fire

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Revelation 20:4 – I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus, and for the word of God, and such as didn’t worship the beast nor his image, and didn’t receive the mark on their forehead and on their hand. They lived, and reigned with Christ one thousand years.
Revelation 20:5 – The rest of the dead didn’t live until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
Revelation 20:6 – Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over these, the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and will reign with him one thousand years. — World English

Verses 4 and 6 teach that there are those who come to life and reign with Christ in his 1,000 year Kingdom. Therefore, these must be resurrected at the beginning of the 1,000 years and thus these must actually be the “first resurrection”, as shown in verse 6. Yet verse 5 places the raising of “the rest of the dead” (the “unjust”) after the thousand years are completed, and thus it calls the raising of the unjust “the first resurrection.” This would appear to be a contradiction to verse 6 which identifies the raising of the believers as “the first resurrection.”

It would also appear to contradict some things Jesus said. Jesus tells us that the believers, the just — those justified by faith in him — are to be raised in the “last day”. Nevertheless, he also says the world will be judged in the “last day”, the same “last day” that the believer is raised to rule with Jesus. He also speaks of both the good and the bad as being raised in an “hour.” (John 5:28,29; 6:39,40,44,54; 11:24; 12:47,48) Thus within the same “day” or “hour” that Jesus spoke of, both the righteous and the unrighteous are to be raised. Of course, Jesus is not speaking about a 24-hour day, nor is he speaking about 60-minute “hour”. What he is saying that the there is a period of time designated in which both the righteous and unrighteous will be raised. Most associated with the Bible Students movement believe this “day” in which both the righteous and unrighteous are to be raised is the 1,000 years spoken of in Revelation 20:3, after which Satan is to be released. This corresponds with the thought that a thousand years to us is as a day with God, and a day with him is as a thousand years to us. (1 Peter 3:8) In this thousand years, the righteous have to be raised first since the saints [dedicated ones] will rule with him over the earth during 1,000-year judgment day and assist in judging the world, offering to them “the water of life freely.” — Daniel 7:22,27; 1 Corinthians 6:2; Obadiah 21; Matthew 19:28; Luke 22:29,30; Romans 8:16-21; 2 Timothy 2:11,12; Revelation 3:21; 5:9,10; 20:4,6; 22:17.

What, then, about the words: “the rest of the dead did not come alive until the thousand years were completed”? These words do not appear in the earliest manuscripts that contain these verses. These words are missing in the earliest Greek manuscripts-Codex Sinaitic and Codex Alexandrine. (The Codex Vatican #1209 does not contain the Book of Revelation.) These words are also missing in the earliest Syriac and Aramaic manuscripts.

By eliminating these spurious words, verses 4-6 can be seen to harmonize better and also with John 12:47,48. Verses 4 and 5 agree with verse 6 – the first resurrection applies to the believers.

Nevertheless, many will argue that the phrase is genuine. Therefore, let us assume that the phrase in Revelation 20:5 that the rest of the dead do not come to life until after the 1,000 years is genuine. Then how does this harmonize with the scriptures that indicate that both the saints and the world are raised in the same “last day”? The heathen dead who are raised to judgment to receive “life” must do so by the judgments that take place during the millennial rule. Those who obey Jesus at that time thus do not to come their life in its fullest sense during the millennial reign but they are raised for judgment: “Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in the tombs 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 [literally, by] judgment [krisis].” (John 5:28,29, RSV) Their final resurrection [restanding] to life is completed by judgment (krisis) during the 1,000 years. Those who are obedient to the kingdom during the millennial rule do not fully receive this life until after the 1,000 years. This agrees with Matthew 25:31-45, which shows that the sheep of that age enter into life after the judgment, and the goats enter into eternal punishment after the judgment. Thus in this manner the “rest of the dead” [who receive life] do not come to life in its fullest sense until after the thousand years are completed.

Revelation 20:10 – And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where are also the beast and the false prophet; and they shall be put to the test day and night for ever and ever. – Revelation 20:10, THE REVISED VERSION (American Edition), Improved and Corrected

All who are cast into the lake of fire will suffer eternal punishment: eternal death. There is no ransom sacrifice given for any who are in the lake of fire. However, the ransom sacrifice of Jesus does cover all in hades, and all in hades are released therefrom so that they might be judged, not in Adam, but of their own works.

The lake of fire is not a literal place, but it represents the “second death”, at least for humans who fail to repent after having been released from the first death in Adam. — 1 Corinthians 15:21,22.

The concern of most people regarding Revelation 20:10 is over the word “tormented” that appears in most Bible translations in this verse. Please note that whatever is meant here, it is not referring to humans, or humans after death, but a symbol called a “wild beast”, another symbol called “the false prophet”, and the Devil (evidently also a symbol representing not the person of Satan himself but his works) joins these symbolisms in the lake of fire. Very few will claim that a literal wild beast with literal seven heads and literal seven horns will be in literal fire for all eternity.

Revelation 20:9 tells of the destruction of those individuals who join with Satan in the last rebellion; and verse 15 tells of that same destruction in other words, using the symbol “lake of fire.” They are devoured or consumed in fire. This being the case, the torment of verse 10 cannot refer to these humans who are consumed, destroyed. Hence the question narrows down to this: “Will Satan and a false prophet and a beast be tortured forever? Does this verse teach this?”

We answer in God’s own words: “All the wicked will he destroy.” (Psalm 145:20) Concerning Satan, the arch enemy of God and man, God expressly tells us that he will be destroyed, and not preserved in any sense or condition. — Hebrews 2:14.

The beast and false prophet systems, which during the Gospel Age have deceived many, will be cast into a great consuming trouble in the close of this Gospel Age. The “torment” of these systems will be aionian, that is, lasting. The systems, as such, will be destroyed at the end of this age. The system of error that will suddenly manifest itself at the end of the Millennial Age and lead the “goats” to destruction, will also be consumed. (Revelation 20:7-10) Thus here Satan is added to the false prophet and the beast and is said to be “tormented day and night forever and ever.” (Revelation 20:10) Recognizing that the beast and the false prophets are symbols for systems, we see that no humans are said to be so “tormented day and night forever and ever.” The lake of fire, we have seen, for humans, simply means the second death, a death from which no ransom, no sacrifice, is provided. The fire of this lake, however, is Yahweh’s everlasting fire of jealousy which exterminates anything that it out of harmony with his righteous principles. Thus, by extension, it becomes a symbol of destruction. Thus what does this “torment” consist of?

Let us examine the Greek word used here, basanizo, Strong’s #928. Its root is Strong’s #931, basanos. Strong gives the meaning of #928 as “torture.” However, he gives its root the following meaning: “a touch-stone, i.e. (by anal.) torture.” Related to this is Strong’s #929, basanismos, which Strong defines as torture. According to Vine #931 means “primarily `a touchstone,’ employed in testing metals”; then he adds to this: “hence, `torment,’ is used (a) of physical diseases, Matt. 4:24: (b) of a condition of retribution in Hades Luke 16:23, 28.” Regarding basanizo (#928), Vine states that it “properly signifies `to test by rubbing on the touchstone’ (basanos, `a touchstone’), then, `to question by applying torture’; hence `to vex, torment’; in the passive voice, `to be harassed, distressed’; it is said of men struggling in a boat against wind and waves, Matt. 14:24, RV, `distressed’ (KJV, `tossed’); Mark 6:48, RV, `distressed’ (KJV, `toiling’)” According to A New Greek and English Lexicon, by George Dunbar, A.M.,F.R.S.E. basanos means: “Literally — to put to the touchstone, to put to the proof. To try, prove, examine carefully, investigate carefully, investigate closely. To torture in order to discover the truth.” The New Testament Greek Lexicon based on Thayer’s and Smith’s Bible Dictionary gives the following meanings: “1. to test (metals) by the touchstone, which is a black siliceous stone used to test the purity of gold or silver by the colour of the streak produced on it by rubbing it with either metal 2. to question by applying torture 3. to torture 4. to vex with grievous pains (of body or mind), to torment 5. to be harassed, distressed a. of those who at sea are struggling with a head wind”
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http://www.studylight.org/lex/grk/view.cgi?number=928

What does all of the above mean? It simply means that basanizo, as used in Revelation 20:10, is the verb form of basanos, literally, “touchstoned” or “used as a touchstone.” A touchstone is defined as: “1. A fine-grained dark stone formerly used to test the fines of gold and silver by the color of the streak made on the stone. 2. A criterion or standard by which the qualities of something are tested.” (Funk & Wagnalls) Thus the beast, false prophet and Satan the Devil, as symbols, will be used as a touchstone for all eternity, a striking tool by which to contrast Yahweh’s righteous kingdom as opposed to the kingdoms of this present evil world. All creation will look upon the works of the beast, false prophet and the serpent as a reminder never to return to such an arrangement again.

Revelation 14:11, speaking of a system described as Babylon the Great, “the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth,” (Revelation 17:5) says, “Her smoke rose up forever and ever.” That is to say, the remembrance (“smoke”) of the destruction of these systems of deception and error will be lasting, the lesson will never be forgotten–as smoke, which continues to ascend after a destructive fire, is testimony that the fire has done its work. — See also Isaiah 34:8-10.

Of Revelation 14:9-11 we remark, incidentally, that all will at once concede that if a literal worshiping of a beast and image were meant in verse 9, then few, if any, in civilized lands are liable to the penalty of verse 11. In other words, who would be deceived by a literal beast with seven heads and ten horns coming out the literal sea? (Revelation 13:1); and if the beast, his image, wine and cup are symbols, so also would be the “torments {verbal form of touchstone), and smoke and fire and brimstone.

The casting of death and hades into the lake of fire symbolizes the eternal destruction of condemnation in Adam and its wages, death in Adam. During the Millennial age, their destruction is a part of the utter destruction which will include every improper, injurious and useless thing. (Isaiah 11:9; Psalm 101:5-8) For the individuals who are released from hades, but who fail to get their names in the Lamb’s Book of Life by obedience to the books that are opened to them at that time, the lake of fire will be their second death, which will be final. The lake of fire, as symbolically holding those in this oblivious condition, is itself never destroyed. It will continue to hold its occupants in the realm of destruction, oblivion, for all eternity. The second death will never be destroyed. And let all the lovers of righteousness say, Amen; for to destroy the lake of fire, to remove the sentence of that just and impartial trial, would be to let loose again not only Satan’s works, but all who love and practice wrong and deception, and who dishonor Yahweh with their evil institutions — to oppose, offend and endeavor to overthrow those who love and desire to serve him and enjoy his favor. We rejoice that there is no danger of this, but that divine justice unites with divine wisdom, love and power, to bring in everlasting righteousness on a permanent basis.

Revelation 20:11 – I saw a great white throne, and him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. There was found no place for them.
Revelation 20:12 – I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne. Books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged out of the things which were written in the books, according to their works.
Revelation 20:13 – The sea gave up the dead who were in it. Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them. They were judged, each one according to his works
Revelation 20:14 – Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.
Revelation 20:15 – If anyone was not found written in the book of life, he was cast into the lake of fire.

This definitely speaks of hell (hades/sheol), and it says death and hell are cast into the lake of fire, but it does not speak of anyone suffering for eternity in hell. Indeed, we find that all those in hell are released from hell, so that they might be judged.

Revelation 20:11 – I saw a great white throne, and him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. There was found no place for them. — World English.

The scene here reverts back to the judgment spoken of in Revelation 20:4. Revelation 20:11-15 depict the judgment of the great “last day” that Jesus spoke of. (John 12:47,48) Remember that it is this same “last day” that the saints are raised and also in which the world is to be judged. (John 6:39,40,44,54; 11:24; 12:47,48) The saints are raised first, since, with Jesus, “the judgment [the authority to judge] is given” to them. (Daniel 7:22; John 5:22; Revelation 20:4) The one who sits on the Great White Throne could be Yahweh, but Yahweh judges by means of Jesus and the saints. (Acts 17:31; 1 Corinthians 6:2,3) Jesus sits on his Father’s throne. (Revelation 3:21) The present evil world, the present heavens and earth, cannot stand before the holy presence of the one on this righteous throne, so they flee away, and no place is found for them.

Revelation 20:12 – I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne. Books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged out of the things which were written in the books, according to their works.
Revelation 20:13 – The sea gave up the dead who were in it. Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them. They were judged, each one according to his works
Revelation 20:14 – Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. — World English

All the dead in death and hades will be released. Hell will be totally emptied. (Hosea 13:14) It is destroyed by being symbolically thrown into the symbolic lake of fire. Notice here that hades (hell) *is not* the lake of fire. Nor or we to think that death and hades are thrown into this lake so that death and hades will be suffering in flames and being eternally roasted. People need to think on what is said. If the lake of fire is a place of eternal suffering in flames of fire, or eternal suffering, then logically it would follow that death and hades would be consciously suffering (?) in this place and continually burning forever without ever being destroyed. Of course, such is nonsense. Death and hades are destroyed in the lake of fire; death and hades do not spend an eternity of conscious (?) suffering in this lake.

The expression “death and hades” is in contradistinction from the “lake of fire” which is the “second death”. “Death and hades” signifies the death that all mankind has received through Adam, and is thus often referred to as the “Adamic” death (1 Corinthians 15:21,22; Romans 5:12-19), while “hades” (sheol) is the condition of death as described in Ecclesiastes 9:5,10. Jesus died for all in Adamic death; however, there is no more any ransom to be provided for those in the second death. — Hebrews 10:26.

During this last day, after the first resurrection of the saints, all the world who have died in Adam will be brought back to life for a final judgment. This judgment is not the same as the judgment that rested upon them in this world, which judgment came through Adam’s sin. (Romans 5:12-19; 1 Corinthians 15:21,22) This new judgment will be by “their own works”, not of judgment placed upon through Adam.

The word judge as used in the Scriptures does not mean merely to sentence, but includes -1- instruction (Psalm 19:7-11; 25:8,9: 106:3; 119:108; Isaiah 33:5; 56:1; 59:4,8-15; Ezekiel 22:2; Matthew 12:18-20; 23:23; Colossians 2:16), -2- testing (Psalm 26:1-3, compare 139:23,24; Jeremiah 11:20, compare 20:12; 2 Thessalonians 1:4,5), -3- chastisement for correction (Isaiah 26:9; 1 Corinthians 11:31,32 — compare Luke 12:47,48; Hebrews 12:5-11; Revelation 3:19), and -4- passing a sentence. — Matthew 7:1,2; John 7:24; Deuteronomy 1:16; Psalm 17:2.

Jesus “will judge (by these four processes) the living and the dead at (during) his appearing and his kingdom.” “He must reign [in his thousand-year reign] until he has put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.” — 2 Timothy 4:1; 1 Corinthians 15:24-26; Psalm 72:1-4; Isaiah 11:1-6; 32:1; Jeremiah 23:5,6; Hosea 13:14; Revelation 20:11-15.

This is the judgment of in which the sheep and goats are separated. It is not until after the destruction of this present evil world that Yahweh `turns to the peoples a pure language.’ (Zephaniah 3:9) One has to admit that the peoples of the world are still being blinded by Satan. (2 Corinthians 4:4) It is not until after Satan is bound and the veil of blindness is removed that it can truly be said that the nations have received a pure language. (Isaiah 25:6-7; Revelation 20:3) And the method of gathering the nations at that time will be through the awakening of the dead, in the day when many will be turned to righteousness. — Revelation 20:11-13; Daniel 12:2,3.

It is during the “last day” judgment that the world will learn righteousness. (Isaiah 26:9) Satan will then be bound, and no one will be deceived. It will be in this judgment day that the all the heathen will be blessed by the seed of Abraham. (Genesis 12:3; 18:18; 22:18; 26:4; 28:14; Acts 3:25; Galatians 3:8) Then peoples of all nations — all the heathen — will be enabled to learn and walk in the ways of Yahweh. (Isaiah 2:2-4) What a glorious prospect!

There will be those, however, who will at heart not be in harmony with the kingdom. These are those who prove themselves to be incorrigible; their names are not written in the Lamb’s book of life. These are those who are figuratively thrown into the lake of fire where they, like death and hades, will be destroyed for all eternity.

See: Mankind’s Course to the Day of Judgment
The Day of Judgment

Revelation 20:14,15 – Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. If anyone was not found written in the book of life, he was cast into the lake of fire.

The “lake of fire” is several times mentioned in the book of Revelation, which all Christians admit to be a book of symbols. However, most often think and speak of this particular symbol as a literal statement giving strong support to the eternal torment doctrine, notwithstanding the fact that the symbol is clearly defined as meaning the second death: “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death”, etc. (Revelation 20:14) It is sometimes spoken of as “a lake of fire burning with brimstone” (Revelation 19:20), the element brimstone being mentioned to intensify the symbol of destruction, the second death. Burning brimstone is one of the most deadly elements known. It is destructive to all forms of life.

We are also told that the Bible hell (hades/sheol), as well as death (Adamic death — 1 Corinthians 15:21,22), will be cast into the lake of fire. Does this mean that hell (hades/sheol) is to be tormented forever? No, but rather it means that “death will be no more.” (Revelation 21:4) Hades and Adamic death will be destroyed by being cast into the lake of fire.

The expression “lake of fire”, is a forceful figure of complete destruction — a death from which there will not be a resurrection: for “the Messiah dies no more,” there will not be a second ransom for those who willfully practice sin after receiving the benefits of the ransom. (Romans 6:9) In the Greek text of the Bible, from which our translations are made, the second death is sometimes referred to symbolically as “Gehenna”, one of the three Greek words translated “hell” in the King James Version of the Bible. “Gehenna” is the Greek form of the name “Valley of Hinnom”, the valley situated immediately outside Jerusalem below Mount Zion. It was the garbage dump of the city. Fires were kept constantly burning in it and brimstone was added for the purpose of aiding the work of destruction. All the garbage of the city was cast into it; also the bodies of criminals, so as to signify that these were not worthy of a resurrection.

Jesus used the fires of Gehenna as a symbol — not of torture, but of destruction. (Matthew 10:28)* Some, however, regard the literal fires spoken of in the valley that were continually kept burning as being a literal description of a supposed life in hell. Yet if Jesus were speaking literally, then we should expect that the wicked would literally be thrown into the Valley of Hinnom. Actually, the “fire that is not put out,” the “worms,” and all the language used in connection with Gehenna is figurative. God’s jealousy for his name and righteousness is never quenched. Yahweh’s zeal or jealousy for righteousness will never be extinguished. Thus we read that “all the earth will be consumed by the fire of his [Yahweh’s] jealousy.” (Zephaniah 1:18) “For you must not bow yourself to another god; for Yahweh, whose name is Jealous, he is a jealous God.” (Exodus 34:14) “With foreign gods they moved him [Yahweh] to jealousy; and with idols they provoked him to anger; they sacrificed to demons, not God.” (Deuteronomy 32:16,17) “And Judah did evil in the sight of Yahweh, and they provoked him to jealousy with their sins that they committed, more than all that their fathers had done.” (1 Kings 14:22) “And my anger will be spent, and I will make my fury rest on them, and I will be eased. And they will know that I, Yahweh, have spoken in my zeal, in my fulfilling my fury on them.” (Ezekiel 5:13) “Surely I have spoken in the fire of my jealousy against the rest of the nations.” Ezekiel 35:5. Worms (or maggots) that consumed the body of the criminals thrown into the Valley of Hinnom represents the utter destruction, not torture, of those thrown therein. These maggots were ever present in the valley. Thus they never died out. Likewise, those who are symbolically thrown into the fires of Gehenna find that there are always consuming worms [elements of destruction] ever present to destroy those who prove themselves unwilling to produce the fruits of the kingdom.

Some believe that Hades and the Lake of Fire are one and the same, as far as the place is concerned. But when that place is called Hades, they believe it refers is to the abode of the souls of the wicked before the judgment day; when it is called Lake of Fire they believe the reference is generally to the abode of the wicked, body and soul, after the judgment day. According to this theory, the physical bodies of the dead are raised and made into spiritual bodies, which are then thrown into a literal burning flame of fire. Evidently the thought added to the scriptures above is that hades becomes the Lake of Fire by being thrown into the Lake of Fire. The truth is that the “Second Death” already exists before Hades is thrown into the Second Death.

Actually Hades/Sheol is used in reference to the oblivious realm of death as mankind has inherited it from Adam. (Ecclesiastes 9:5,10) The Lake of Fire represents the “second death,” from which there is no return. Jesus died and went to Hades to redeem all in Hades/Sheol.

In the present age, once we have reckonedly partaken of the deliverance, we are counted, imputed, as dead to Adam’s sin and alive toward God. (Romans 4:1-25; 6:11) Such who obtain this justification, in effect, partake of the powers of the age to come. (Hebrews 6:5) If, having received of this grace, such a person then turns back so as to willfully practice sin, he will have “trodden under foot the Son of God”, and have “counted the blood of the covenant with which he was sanctified an unholy [common, worthless] thing, and has insulted the Spirit of grace.” (Hebrews 10:29) For such, there is no more sacrifice for sins (Hebrews 10:18,26), thus such a willful sinner would could be symbolically thrown into Gehenna, the Lake of Fire, the second death. He would be “twice dead,” entered into the second death.

Likewise, the world of mankind will be made alive during the “last day,” the resurrection day, and if they do not obey that which is revealed to them out of the books that are opened to them, they also will be symbolically thrown into Lake of Fire, the second death. However, while there will be those who will be thrown into the lake of fire, the parable of the sheep and goats shows that many, we trust by then, most, will become the Lamb’s “other sheep” (John 10:16) in the age to come, so that they will depart into everlasting life, not the eternal punishment of the second death.

The symbolism of this lake of fire is further shown by the fact that the symbolic “beast” and the symbolic “false prophet,” and death and hell [hades], as well as the devil and his followers, are destroyed in it. — Revelation 19:20; 20:10,14,15; 21:8.

This destruction or death is called the “second death” in contradistinction to the first or Adamic death. It does not signify that everything that goes into it dies a second time. For instance, death (the first or Adamic death), and hades, the realm of death inherited from Adam, are to be cast into it. In no sense will they ever have been destroyed before. So also “the devil,” the symbolic “wild beast,” and the symbolic “false prophet,” will never have been destroyed before.

From the first, or Adamic death, a resurrection has been provided. All that are in their graves will therefore come forth. The Revelator prophetically declares: “The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and hades gave up the dead that were in them. . . . And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God, and the books were opened.” (Revelation 20:13,12) It was in view of God’s plan for redeeming the race from Adamic death that in both the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures it is called a “sleep.” In Israel’s history of the good and the wicked it is repeatedly stated that they “slept with their fathers.” The apostles used the same symbol, and our Lord also. But no such symbol is used in reference to the second death. On the contrary, the strongest figures of total and utter destruction are used to symbolize it, that is, “fire and brimstone.” That will be a destruction from which there will be no recovery.

The Adamic death, which claimed the whole race for the sin of their progenitor, will be forever swallowed up, and will cease in this second death into which it is to be cast by the great Redeemer who bought the whole world with the sacrifice of himself. Thus God tells us through the prophet: “I will ransom them from the power of Sheol. I will redeem them from death. . . . O Sheol, I will be your destruction.” (Hosea 13:14) The first or Adamic death will no longer have liberty or power over men, as it has had for the past six thousand years; no longer will any die for Adam’s sin. (Romans 5:12; Jeremiah 31:29,30; Ezekiel 18:2) From that time onward the new covenant, sealed with the precious blood, will be in force, and only willful transgressions will be counted as sin and punished with the wages of sin — death — the second death. Thus will the Adamic death be cast into and swallowed up by the second death.

And hades and sheol — the dark, secret realm of death, which in the present time speaks to us of a hope of future life by God’s resurrection power in Christ — will be no more. The second death will devour no being fit for life — none for whom there remains a shadow of hope, but such only as, by the unerring Judge, have been fully, impartially and individually found worthy of destruction. And Satan, that lying tempter who deceived and ruined the race, and who with persistent energy and cunning has sought to continually thwart the purpose of Yahweh for our salvation through Christ, and with him all who are of his spirit, “his angels,” will be destroyed, and will never awake from death to trouble the world again. Here he is said to be cast into the “lake of fire,” the second death. The apostle Paul in Hebrews 2:14, referring to the same thing, calls it destruction: “that he might destroy death, and him that has the power of death, that is, the devil.” And “the beast and the false prophet” the great false systems that have long oppressed and misled nominal Christendom and the world, will never escape from it. These systems are said to be cast “alive,” that is, while they are still organized and operative, into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. — Revelation 19:20.

The great tribulation will undoubtedly cause great social, financial and religious difficulty and pain to all those identified with these deceived and deceiving systems, before they are utterly destroyed. These systems will be cast in, destroyed, at the beginning of the Millennium, while Satan’s destruction is reserved until its close, when all the “goats” will have been separated from the “sheep,” and the “goats” will perish with Satan in the second death as “his angels,” messengers or servants. None of those abominable individuals among men, who, knowing the truth, yet love unrighteousness — none of the “the fearful and unbelieving” — those who will trust Yahweh after all the manifestations of His grace afforded during the Millennial reign of Christ — nor the abominable, who, at heart are fornicators, murderers, idolaters, sorcerers and liars; none of these will escape the second death, to defile the earth again. All such after a full and abundant opportunity for reformation will be judged unworthy of life, and will be forever cut off in the second death, symbolized by the lake of fire and brimstone.

Several prophetic pen pictures of the Millennial age and its work, in chapters 20 and 21 of Revelation, clearly show the object and result of the age of trial, in harmony with the remainder of the scriptures we have already noted.

Chapter 20, verses 2,4,11 with verses 1,2,10,11 of chapter 21, show the beginning of that age of judgment, and the restraining of blinding errors and misleading systems. The “beast” and the “false prophet” are the chief symbols, and represent the political elements of Satan’s empire. This judgment against the “thrones” of the present time, and against “the beast and the false prophet” systems follows speedily upon the introduction of this Millennial judgment reign. The thrones of the present dominion of earth will be “cast down,” and dominion transferred to the great prophet, priest, King and Judge, “whose right it is.” (Compare Daniel 7:14,22; Ezekiel 21:27) Then the systems of error will be speedily judged worthy of destruction, “the lake of fire,” “the second death.” — Revelation 19:20.

Thus the second destruction or death begins quite early in the new Judgment: it begins with the false systems symbolized by the Beast, False Prophet, etc., but will not reach the world of mankind, as individuals, until they have first had a full trial, with full opportunity to choose life and live forever. Chapters 20:12,13, and 21:3-7 indicate the blessed, favorable trial in which all, both dead and living (except Church, who, with Jesus Christ, are kings, priests, joint-heirs, princes and judges), will be brought to a full knowledge of the truth, relieved from sorrow and pain, and freed from every blinding error and prejudice, and tried “according to their works.”

The grand outcome of that trial will be a clean universe. As it is expressed in Revelation 5:13: “Every creature which is heaven and on earth . . . I heard saying: `Blessing and honor and glory and power be unto him that sits on the throne, and to the Lamb forever.” But this result will be accomplished in harmony with all God’s dealings past and present, which have always recognized man’s freedom of will to choose good or evil, life or death.


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  6. I recently listened to a talk by Robert Carnegie of the LA ecclesia “Is there a second death in this age”? He brought out an interesting point I had never seen before.
    Heb 6:4-6 and connected these Hebrew Christians who went off course to those who were spoken of at Heb 10:26-29 but the interesting thing is verse 27 is a quote from the Greek Septuigent Isaiah 26:11, indicating the judgment of these Christians is yet future during the 1,000 years.
    The point is that no one is thrown into that lake of fire until the end of the 1,000 years. These ones demonstrate a characteristic that indicates they may be facing that judgment in the future

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