Did Jesus die the second death as some have said?
Posted on 10 May 2012 03:49 PM
Did Jesus die the second death as some have said?

Jesus died not only the physical death, which is temporary until resurrection, but He also "tasted death" for everyone (Hebrews 2:9). Jesus paid the "penalty death," which is total separation from God.

The first, physical death is not separation. It is a sleep; it is the second one that Jesus dreaded. It was during the second death that He felt "forsaken" by God the Father, but He endured for our sakes.

There is no text in the Bible that directly says, "Jesus died the second death." God requires a thoughtful study of what the first and second deaths spoken of in the Bible mean, and which death the breaking of the law required, and whether Jesus, as the sacrifice for sin, died the first or the second death to satisfy the legal demands of the broken law of God's Kingdom. There is only one conclusion.

Most of us will die the first death. That is not the one to fear, if we die in Christ. The one we do not want to die is the second death, which is eternal destruction without hope of ever seeing our Saviour or the things which "eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him" (1 Corinthians 2:9).

We do not doubt that Jesus' death accomplished for fallen humanity just what He and the Father intended.

Since from Adam onward, all but Enoch have died, we may expect that this first death, from which all will be resurrected, is not a failure on Jesus' part. Believers die in the hope of living again, and the second time, forever. So the death our holy Substitute died on the cross simply is not the first death. That means the death He died for us must be the second death, eternal separation from the Father.

When we die the first death, we may die fully connected to the Father, trusting in the merits of Jesus, but when Jesus died, He took the eternal death that we deserved, so that we might have a second probation and ultimately, never be separated from the Father.

The Bible and Spirit of Prophecy reveal even more. Romans 6:23 speaks of eternal consequences for sin: “The wages of sin is [eternal] death, but the gift of God is eternal life.” And Ellen White specifically wrote this:

The death referred to in these scriptures [Romans 6:23, Deut 30:15] is not that pronounced upon Adam, for all mankind suffer the penalty of his transgression. It is ‘the second death’ that is placed in contrast with everlasting life (GC 544).

Why was not the death penalty at once enforced in [Adam’s] case?—Because a ransom was found (RH 4/23/01).

As soon as Adam sinned, the Son of God presented Himself as surety for the human race (1BC 1084).

A two-stage plan to save the human race had been initiated. The ransom had been quickly offered, to prevent the immediate death of the guilty pair. “Christ gave His life that man should have another trial . . . to secure for man a second probation” (TM 134). That second probation being secured, the Godhead would then work to reconcile humanity to God, to restore the moral image of God in people, so that we could be trusted with eternal life:

But Christ, after having redeemed man from the condemnation of the law, could impart divine power to unite with human effort. Thus by repentance toward God and faith in Christ, the fallen children of Adam might once more become "sons of God" (PP 64).

A belief that atonement was completed at the cross falls far short of this understanding; justification without sanctification avails us nothing, being only part one of the plan of redemption.

Two successive stages are again made plain in another excerpt: “How wonderful is the plan of redemption in its simplicity and fullness. It not only provides for the full pardon of the sinner [justification], but also for the restoration of the transgressor [sanctification] (RH 3/10/91).

Adam and the rest of humanity received a “delayed” sentence—a “partial” death penalty, so to speak. There is loss of precious life, yes: “In consequence of Adam’s sin, death passed upon the whole human race. All alike go down into the grave” (GC 544). We are not without painful but necessary reminders of our fallen human condition and our need of redemption.

But from the grave one may rise to eternal life. The full penalty of eternal death was mercifully withheld—postponed and redirected—so that, through acceptance of the redemptive plan during a second trial, it might never have to be experienced. The “full penalty” of eternal separation from God, of hopelessness and eternal night, was endured by our Substitute in the divine hope that mankind would accept heaven’s gift of grace and avoid that needless horror:

[Christ] did not die on the cross to abolish the law of God, but to secure for man a second probation...He suffered the full penalty of a broken law for the whole world. This He did, not that men might continue in transgression, but that they might return to their loyalty and keep God's commandments and His law as the apple of their eye (TM 134).

The full penalty of the law will be executed upon the transgressor if he does not receive Christ as his atoning sacrifice and personal Saviour (BEcho 8/4/1902).

God has a right to enforce the penalty of the law upon transgressors, for law without a penalty would be without force...When the curse fell upon the beloved Son of God, who became sin for us, the Father made it manifest that the unrepenting transgressor of his law would have to suffer its full penalty. The word of God declares, "The soul that sinneth, it shall die" (ST 7/14/1890).

Jesus satisfied the demand of the law. There were two choices: Sin not, and receive eternal life. Sin, and receive eternal death. Adam, the representative of the race, sinned, and for himself and all humanity, warranted eternal death. But we see that this is not our lot. The Bible says we may have eternal life. So while we may die the first death, Jesus died the second death for us, agonizing in that horror of separation and hopelessness and despair, so that Adam and onward need not.

When the cup was presented to Him, He drank it. "O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt."

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 us. So great was this agony that His physical pain was hardly felt {CTr 277.3}.

Satan 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 that 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 the sinner’s substitute, that made the cup He drank so bitter, and broke the heart of the Son of God. —Ibid., p. 753 (Christ Triumphant, 277.4.).

And that is just a glimpse of the love of God.

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Comments (3)
30 October 2012 01:27 AM
Today I am thankful for/that:1) I am eyojning my cup of Baby's Coffee and I am able to READ again! Glory Hallalujah I have missed my Bible and my devotion books!!2) I am a daughter of the Most High and God is my refuge and my fortress.3) I believe that No evil will befall me, neither shall any plague come night my dwelling. For the Lord has given His angels charge over me and they keep me in all my ways, and in my pathway is life and there is no death. (Psalms 91:10-11, Proverbs 12:28). So whether I am totally healed here on earth or with Him in Heaven, I am healed!!4) No man (nor the evil one) will take me out of His Mighty Hand, because I have eternal life. (John 10:29)5 Today I choose to be happy I choose to be free . I choose to reach out to others with compassion I choose to be an encourager!! Thank you, God, that you made me an overcomer .
16 December 2012 08:12 AM
after receiving Christ, what must do? must i go evry saturday to the church, to be baptising, take the bread and the wine, pay of my money the tithe? behold! days ones coming, averment Ieue, and cut I with house of ishral and with house of ieude covenant new. Jeremiah 31: 31
25 April 2013 09:12 PM
I think we should never use the statement "Jesus died the second death"!
We as SDA have very distinct doctrine, Biblical doctrine about the second death. I understand what people think, Jesus thought He was dying the second death, which is total separation from God and it broke His heart. He tasted what all the lost people will experience before dying the second death, which will be forever. Even much worse because He was carrying the sins of us all and He was without sin. But He died victorious, without sin, committing Himself to His heavenly Father. If Jesus had died second death we wouldn't have Jesus any more or if He resurrected from second death, then all sinners will be also able to resurrect from the second death. E.G.White and Bible don't use this wording, not even ones. We have to be very careful! Adventist didn't teach this before but now this is coming around and is a very controversial topic.
Amazing love that saved us, we will continue to learn about it when Jesus comes! But let us now watch and pray and work so we meet there!
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