Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
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by John David Clark, Sr.
“Blessed and holy is he who has a part in the first resurrection; over these, the Second Death has no power.”
It is well-known that the wicked, after death, are cast into the tormenting flames of Hell. However, the final destination of the wicked is far more fearful than that. Their eternal judgment is so horrible, so full of unimaginable terror and torment, that clear description of it eludes all human expression. In Revelation, John called it, “the Second Death”. This Second Death is not Hell; it is a place of such pain and terror that Hell itself will be cast into it (Rev. 20:11–15). Hell is now used by God as a holding place for the unrighteous dead until the Final Judgment. After that, all who are in Hell – and Hell itself – are cast into the “Lake of Fire”. This Lake of Fire is the Second Death.
Of those condemned to suffer the Second Death, the Psalmist wrote, “They shall never see light” (Ps. 49:19). What a terrifying thought, to be bound forever in a sepulcher of pitch blackness! The Lake of Fire burns with a flame that gives no light! Jesus referred to this as “outer darkness” (Mt. 8:12; 22:13; 25:30), adding, “There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth in that place!” King Solomon called this miserable place “obscure darkness” (Prov. 20:20). Jude and Peter both used the phrase, “blackness of eternal darkness” (Jude 13; 2Pet. 2:17). All these men were attempting to describe an indescribable, chilling fact of eternity with the inadequate tool of earthly language.
Another element of the Second Death was suggested by Jesus when he said that on Judgment Day, his command for each one he condemns will be that the angels “bind his feet and hands, and cast him into outer darkness!” (Mt. 22:13). From that, we are warned that in the Lake of Fire, there will be no liberty of choice, not so much as the liberty to lift up a hand. The damned will be tightly bound in utter blackness forever.
The most impressive testimony I have heard concerning this came from a sister who was taken in a night vision to this final abode of the damned. With deep emotion, she labored to describe the darkness. “The blackest darkness in this world,” she said, “has a grey tint in comparison to that darkness. It is an oppressive darkness in which the individual is overwhelmed with a sense of absolute hopelessness, the utter absence of choice.” Oh, the awesome wrath of God – an eternity of being bound in thick darkness and unrelenting pain, with no choice about anything. Oh, my dear Friend, let us obey God, that we may be counted worthy to escape these things! The sister who tasted of the Second Death told of returning to consciousness with an awareness of someone in that horrid place screaming in terror, only to find, when she awoke, that the screams were her own.
But the Second Death is more than the thick, terrifying blackness, more than the eternal absence of all choice, and more than utter hopelessness. For in the Second Death, there is torment likened in the Scriptures to being burned alive. It is a place of “everlasting punishment” where “the fire is not quenched” (Mt. 25: 41–46). Jesus told his followers that the torment of the damned would be so horrible that it would be worth cutting off parts of our bodies to avoid it (Mt. 18:8–9; Mk. 9:43–48).
After Christ’s millennial reign on the earth, the Devil will be cast into “the Lake of Fire and Sulfur, and will be tormented night and day forever and ever” (Rev. 20:10). And then, following the Final Judgment, Hell itself and “anyone not found written in the Book of Life” will also be cast into the Lake of Fire, the Second Death. We can scarcely imagine what it will be like. There is nothing like it in this universe.
Paul knew “the terror of the Lord” (2Cor. 5:11), and Jesus himself feared God (Heb. 5:7), but the wicked do not fear Him (Ps. 36:1; Rom. 3:18). It is true, as John said, that the love of God casts out all fear (1Jn. 4:17–18), but the fear it casts out is fear of everything except God. Jesus sternly warned his disciples to fear Him (Lk. 12:4–5).
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Ps. 111:10; Prov. 9:10). The fear of God is clean (Ps. 19:9), for it causes those who feel it to hate evil (Prov. 8:13). The fear of God keeps us humble (Rom. 11:17–22), and it places us in a position to receive the blessings of God (Ps. 103:11–17). It motivates us to speak out against sin (Ps. 139:19–20) and to praise and worship Him who inhabits eternity (Rev. 14:7; 19:5). Noah was moved by the fear of God to build the ark (Heb. 11:7), and those of like faith today are moved by that same fear to prepare for the end of this age, for “the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the elements, consumed with burning heat, will be destroyed, and the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up” (2Pet. 3:10).
“Heaven and earth shall pass away,” said Jesus, “but my words shall never pass away.” Yes, God will do away with the heavens and the earth which now exist and will create new heavens and a new earth for us who believe in His Son Jesus. How thankful we are for Jesus! God has made him our refuge from the approaching storm! Jesus is the only hope for man, and he is the only hope man needs. Let us quickly and humbly go to him! He will take us in and hide us from the coming wrath of God.
How thankful we are that the only one who can save us from the Second Death loves us with all his heart! God’s offer of forgiveness through Christ Jesus is still being made. The Spirit’s call, voiced by the prophet Isaiah, has not yet been withdrawn: “Seek the LORD while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near. Let the evil man forsake his way, and the wicked man his thoughts, and return to the LORD, and He will have mercy on him, even to our God, for He will abundantly pardon” (Isa. 55:6–7). Christ Jesus offers us hope of eternal life, hope of escaping the terrors of the damned. May God grant us grace to take advantage of this precious offer!
by George C. Clark, Sr. and John D. Clark, Sr.
When you see the clouds approaching
With our Lord, who’s coming down,
Will you be among the number
who receive a starry crown?
It takes more than merely seeking
To arise and go with him.
You must strive if you would enter,
With a life set free from sin.
- Chorus -
I am ready for the coming of my blessed Lord divine.
As the bride said in the Bible, “I am his and he is mine.”
Wearing garments Jesus gave me,
Made of linen clean and fine,
I am ready for the coming of the Bridegroom any time.
Just a few are standing ready
For this call to rise and go.
Don’t be fooled and left here stranded;
This can happen, don’t you know?
Now’s the day to buy salvation,
But your money you can keep.
You don’t have to have a penny,
Just bow low at Jesus’ feet.
Can’t you hear the Spirit calling,
“Come and join my waiting bride”?
She’ll be decked with precious jewels,
As she stands there by his side.
Are you dressing for the wedding?
Can’t you see he’s coming soon?
Then be ready, faithful pilgrim,
For this royal honeymoon.
Can’t you see the clouds arising?
Can’t you hear the thunders roar?
Are you ready for the banquet
When he calls from shore to shore?
I can see the table waiting
For his chosen bride so fair.
Tell me, loved-one, will you meet me?
Shall I look for you up there?