Second Death

Second Death [N]

This phrase is found only in Revelation 2:11, 20:6, 20:14, and 21:8. The Targums use it ( Deut 33:6 ; Psalm 49:11 ). Philo uses the term to refer to all miseries arising from sin causing physical death followed by hopelessness in the afterlife (Rewards and Punishments 2.419). Revelation 2:10-11 contrasts it with the life given to the faithful. Death is the loss of the only kind of life worthy of the name.

The word used for "eternal punishment" in Matthew 25:46 is kolasis [kovlasi"]. According to Bauer writers during the New Testament period used it only of temporal torture and conscious torment in the afterlife. No other idea for koine Greek is recognized. Moulton and Milligan can find only examples in papyrus where kolasis [kovlasi"] involves the person actually feeling the punishment. It is used elsewhere in the New Testament only in 1 John 4:18, which says fear has torment.

The second death is to be cast into the lake of fire ( Rev 20:14 ). This is a permanent state ( Rev 14:11 ), where in anything that would qualify as "life" is forever absent.

Paul Ferguson

See also Eternal Punishment; Judgment; Lake of Fire

Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology. Edited by Walter A. Elwell
Copyright © 1996 by Walter A. Elwell. Published by Baker Books, a division of
Baker Book House Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan USA.
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

For usage information, please read the Baker Book House Copyright Statement.

[N] indicates this entry was also found in Nave's Topical Bible
[J] indicates this entry was also found in Jack Van Impe's Prophecy Dictionary

Bibliography Information

Elwell, Walter A. "Entry for 'Second Death'". "Evangelical Dictionary of Theology". . 1997.