HOW MANY TIMES does a body have to die?
Isn’t once bad enough?
Yet a mysterious writer who called himself John wrote in the last book of the Bible that good and godly people “will not be hurt by the second death” (Revelation 2:11).
What “second death”? Didn’t he read Hebrews 9:27, “We die only once”?
This is the Bible Question of the Week. It comes from Debbie Hartman, who has won free books from me before. But she gets to pick a free book that I’ll send to any other soul she chooses.
Bible experts pitch theories about what John meant by the second death.
Here’s one theory I reported in The Complete Guide to Bible Prophecy. There, I said that some scholars link the second death to the “lake of fire.” The scholars say that John seemed to either invent both phrases or perhaps borrowed them from Egyptian writings.
The lake of fire is not hell’s molten core—the hottest spot in the hot spot.
It’s not Extreme Hell for extreme sinners, either—not according to most Bible experts.
The lake of fire is just another name for hell.
It’s a unique name, though. No other Bible writer used that phrase. Nor did any Jewish writer in John’s century or before. Nor any Greek or Roman writer of that era, not as far as anyone can tell.
Scholars say John may have borrowed “lake of fire” from the Egyptian Book of the Dead.
The lake of fire shows up there.
So does the “second death,” another afterlife phrase John may have borrowed from the Egyptians. John said, “The lake of fire is the second death” (Revelation 20:14).
In Egypt’s Book of the Dead, the first death is the death of the body. The second death is the death of the soul. Jesus also seemed to speak of double death, some say: “Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28).