"But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death."Revelation 21:8(NASB)
In his Gospel, John tells us that those who believe in Christ are not condemned, but those who do not believe are condemned already "because they have not believed in the only begotten Son of God."
'The Second Death' which is mentioned in this verse, is reserved for EVERYONE who has not trusted in Christ for their salvation. We discover that 'The Lake of Fire' which God originally prepared for Satan and the angels that rebelled against Him, is called 'The Second Death'.
ALL those who reject God's offer of salvation, will have to face 'The Second Death' and take their part in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone. In the Bible, death equates to separation. Physical death is spiritual separation from God, for man is born dead in their sin. Eternal death means eternal separation from God, spirit, soul, and body. But praise God that man can be redeemed by faith. Man can be born again of the Spirit, and not take part in 'The Second Death'.
The Amplified Bible labels the unbelievers in this verse as "cowards and the ignoble; the contemptible and those that cravenly lack courage. They are the unbelieving, the faithless, the depraved, and those defiled with abominations. They include murderers and the lewd, adulterers and those that practise magic arts and all idolaters." They include those who give supreme devotion to anyone or anything other than God. It also tells us that liars and those who knowingly convey untruths by word or deed, will participate in 'The Second Death'.
In short, everyone who has not believed God's Word and trusted in His Messiah for their salvation, will participate in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which Revelation calls 'The Second Death'.
The fact of a 'Second Death' implies that there is a 'First Death', but these conditions more correctly are linked with the 'Resurrection' of the dead. We read: "An hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs (both the saved and the unsaved) will hear His voice. They will be resurrected from their tombs and come forth from the grave."
It goes on to say: "Those who did good deeds (by believing on the Word of God) will come out of their graves to a Resurrection of LIFE, while those who committed evil deeds (by not believing on the only begotten Son of God) will come out of their graves to a Resurrection of JUDGMENT or DAMNATION." THIS is what the Bible disturbingly calls 'The Second Death'.
Being part of 'The First Resurrection' is the privilege of everyone who has been saved by grace through faith in God's trustworthy Word. Every believer, from both Old and New Testaments and up to the present day, who have died in faith by believing God's Word, are reckoned as righteous and will participate in 'The First Resurrection'. They will not be hurt by 'The Second Death'.
Believers will be resurrected at several different times e.g. The Church at the Rapture, before the Tribulation Period; Old Testament and Tribulation saints at the Second Coming, at the end of the Tribulation Period; Millennial saints at the end of the Millenium. Although the timing of the resurrections will differ, all these believers will take part in 'The First Resurrection'.
The 'Second Resurrection' is reserved for those who have wilfully rejected God's Word and refused His offer of salvation. They will be resurrected from the dead and judged at the Great White Throne Judgement of God, at the end of the Millenium Period – and they will be found wanting.
This sorry group of unsaved men and women will consist of "the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars – and their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is The Second Death."
This is not a subject that should be swept under the Church carpet, as so often happens in Christendom today – but is a serious subject that should be faced, and unbelievers should be challenged so that they may hear the glorious gospel of grace and believe the message of redemption by grace through faith in Christ – and be SAVED.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the many warnings we receive of the importance of believing on the Lord Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sin and life everlasting. Thank You that by grace through faith in Christ, I will not be hurt by 'The Second Death'. Thank You that You will judge the world in righteousness. In Your wrath and judgement, I pray that You would be merciful, and during these days when salvation is still available to anyone who trusts in Jesus, I ask that many unbelievers would hear the good news of the gospel, be saved and escape from the wrath to come. In Jesus' name, AMEN.