Did Christ Die the Second Death?
The question is asked, "Did Christ die the second death?"
No, He did not. Nowhere in Scripture
or the writings of Ellen G. White is there found any explicit
statement that "Christ died the second death."
we do have is a vast body of evidence that He did indeed die the equivalent
of the second death.
there a difference? Absolutely! To say that Christ died the second
death, a death from which there is no resurrection, would be to say
that Christ remains dead, our faith is vain and we remain yet in our
Corinthians 15:17-19).* That is certainly Bad
the Gospel is filled with Good
News. Christ is risen! In
order to answer the question of the nature of Christ’s death, we
must first be satisfied that what the Bible teaches about His life is
2:6-18 describes the nature in which Christ came to this earth as
being "like unto his brethren." In coming like His brethren,
He took upon His sinless nature our sinful fallen nature. He
experienced everything to the full that the unrepentant sinner must
experience. Otherwise we have no Savior. When we read that Christ was
"tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin," (Hebrews
4:15) we must also understand that He was made to be sin for us (2
taking upon Himself our humanity, Christ became the representative for
the human race. In reality, the Bible speaks of only two men, the
first and second Adams. The first Adam was tempted and fell to
temptation. The second Adam was tempted on the very same points and
was victorious. Thereby, a robe of righteousness was woven on the loom
of heaven, the flesh of Christ.
is true that Christ and the prophets spoke of His resurrection on the
third day but somehow, in the end, in taking sin upon Him, He began to
understand the depth of sin and depth to which He must go to save a
lost race. Somehow, everything He had learned about His resurrection
changed. His admonition to the disciples that the flesh is weak was
something that He felt deep within Himself.
Gethsemane, He questioned His mission, wondering if there were any
possibility of finding a different way, a different answer to the sin
problem. But no answer came. What He received instead was encouragement
that His course was correct and that it was the only way to satisfy
the just demands of a broken Law.
Gethsemane, the "place of the press," His sweat came in
great drops as blood. Sin was pressing the life from the Savior. It
was not His own personal sin, but the sin of the world that broke the
heart of the Son of God. We read in Isaiah
53 that He was "stricken, smitten of God, and
rights, Christ should never have been crucified, but stoned. He had
been accused of blasphemy—of claiming to be God (Matthew
8:58). The punishment for blasphemy was stoning (Leviticus
24:16) but that would not have satisfied the Jewish leaders. They
demanded confirmation that Christ was a liar, and in fact not God.
They demanded crucifixion, a symbol of rejection by God, suspended
between God and man, rejected by all (Deuteronomy
Christ cried out in the garden, "O my Father, let this cup pass
from me," (Matthew
26:39) this was no idle prayer. He understood the path which He
must take and His soul was "exceeding sorrowful" (v.
the cross, when He cried out, "My God, My God, why hast thou
forsaken me?"– these were not empty words. He felt eternally
separated from God. He experienced the torment that the unrepentant
sinner will experience. (Mark
22:1). The wages of sin is eternal death. Christ died the
equivalent of that death. He drank the cup to it’s bitter dregs (Isaiah
51:22) so that we will not have to drink it.
died the equivalent of the second death for every man. That’s Good
News! We do not need to die that terrible death of separation from the
Father, though we can choose that end. The second death is for
21:8). It was never designed that way, for the Lord would
not have any perish. Christ died for every
man— even the unrepentant
sinner. Unfortunately there will be many who choose death rather than
life. It’s a choice we each must make. (Deuteronomy
30:19). Therefore, choose life.
anyone dies the second death it will be because they have chosen it.
They will have spurned the death of Christ. What they experience will
be no different than what Christ experienced on the Cross. The fire
that snuffs out their lives will come as sweet relief from the
knowledge of what they have done in their rejection of the Son of God.
In all the history of the universe there has only been one real death—
the death of Christ.
have appreciated this passage from The
Desire of Ages, p. 753,
Christ as our substitute and surety was laid the iniquity of us all.
He was counted a transgressor, that He might redeem us from the
condemnation of the law. The guilt of every descendant of Adam was
pressing upon His heart. The wrath of God against sin, the terrible
manifestation of His displeasure because of iniquity, filled the
soul of His Son with consternation. All His life Christ had been
publishing to a fallen world the good news of the Father's mercy and
pardoning love. Salvation for the chief of sinners was His theme.
But now with the terrible weight of guilt He bears, He cannot see
the Father's reconciling face. The withdrawal of the divine
countenance from the Saviour in this hour of supreme anguish pierced
His heart with a sorrow that can never be fully understood by man.
So great was this agony that His physical pain was hardly felt.
with his fierce temptations wrung the heart of Jesus. The Saviour
could not see through the portals of the tomb. Hope did not present
to Him His coming forth from the grave a conqueror, or tell Him of
the Father's acceptance of the sacrifice. He feared that sin was so
offensive to God that Their separation was to be eternal. Christ
felt the anguish which the sinner will feel when mercy shall no
longer plead for the guilty race. It was the sense of sin, bringing
the Father's wrath upon Him as man's substitute, that made the cup
He drank so bitter, and broke the heart of the Son of God.
* In a technical sense, it would have
been impossible for Christ to die the second death for that death will
not literally occur until after the close of the millennium. (Revelation