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NOT HURT OF THE SECOND DEATH
From the foregoing it will be seen that the death of the saints as a sacrifice with Christ, as members of his body sharing his death, is their second death. It was reckoned that our death as sinners in Adam was accomplished in the crucifixion of Jesus, and our resurrection as justified men, as accomplished in Jesus’ resurrection, as shown above. One death was therefore in the past, hence when we, as justified persons, presented ourselves as living sacrifices, to be baptized with Jesus’ baptism of death and to fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ, we then and there were covenanting a second death, and day by day, if obedient to our covenant, we are dying, and soon the second death shall have swallowed up this justified human nature.
But will it be a great loss? It would be a sad and irreparable loss of our existence forever, were it not that the Father, who highly exalted Jesus, our Head, to the divine nature, has covenanted similarly to exalt all the members of his body—”So many of us as were baptised into Christ,” “baptised into his death.”
These, who during this age follow in the footsteps of the Forerunner, are the overcomers of the world mentioned in our Lord’s promise—”He that conquers, in no wise shall be injured IN CONSEQUENCE of the second death.” (Rev. 2:11—Rotherham’s translation.)
Shall we conclude then that the second death would injure no one? Nay; death is everywhere presented as the destruction of whatever it is applied to. It is the wages of sin always; the first or Adamic death which passed upon all men was the penalty of one man’s disobedience entailed upon all whom he represented in trial, and it is because Adamic death is to be removed through Christ, that any could die again. But
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the second death shall not be a continuance of the first, a dying on account of Adam’s sin, but it will be the result of an individual and deliberate act of each one who suffers it. It shall no more be a proverb, “The fathers ate a sour grape [sin] and the children’s teeth are set on edge”; but then, every man that dieth the second death will die only for his own wilful sin, against full light and power to do otherwise. “The soul that sinneth, IT shall die.” (Ezek. 18:2-4; Jer. 31:29,30.) And not a single reference of Scripture, in which the second death is mentioned, ever refers it to any but a class of wilful sinners, who, in spite of knowledge and ability, love sin and hate righteousness, except this one, which hastens to assure us that though this class will suffer death aside from the Adamic, and, therefore, the second, they will not be injured in consequence. The unavoidable inference is, that all others than this class—the overcomers of the Gospel church—will be greatly injured by the second death.
Since each one who dies the second death will have had a full individual trial, it follows, that to recover them from death would require the death of a Redeemer for each. And not only are we told that Jesus dies only once for sin, and will die “no more,” but we can see that a ransom from the second death would be useless, since there could be no more favorable opportunity presented than that which they shall have experienced under the Millennial reign, before being condemned to the second death.
As the first death, or wages of Adam’s sin, was not torture, but a destruction of being, (Psa. 90:3,) so also the second death, the wages of wilful, individual sin, is a destruction or blotting out of being forever, but is not torture. As Adamic death would have been everlasting in duration without a ransom and resurrection, so the second death will be everlasting because of no ransom and no resurrection from it. “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is ETERNAL LIFE through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
— August, 1884 —