What Does Rev. 20:14 Mean?


In Rev. 20:14, it states that “Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire”. Am I correct in interpreting this verse as meaning that death and Hades will simply no longer exist? Wouldn’t that make this verse figurative? Death is not a “thing”, per se, but rather the cessation of life. Hades is a spiritual realm, so I’m having trouble seeing it being tossed into the lake of fire which, I assume, is a physical place.


In the Bible death is the state of existence for unsaved mortals, and Hades is the location where the dead exist. Revelation 20:11-15 describes the final judgment of the dead following the Millennium, called the Great White Throne judgment. At that judgment the unsaved from all ages who currently exist in Hades will be brought to life, judged, and transferred to the lake of fire.

I believe the unsaved from the Millennium will be judged at that time and thrown in the Lake of Fire as well, while Millennial believers whose names are written in the book of life will be changed from mortal to immortal. Otherwise why would John have said, “If anyone’s name was not found written in the Book of Life …?” (Rev. 20:15) Unbelievers are by definition not in the Book of Life.

In 1 Cor. 15:22-28 Paul said Jesus must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet, and the last enemy to be destroyed will be death. All believers from the Old Testament and the Church Age will already be in their immortal resurrection bodies, so after the Great White Throne judgment there will no longer be any mortal beings. Therefore death will cease to exist. Without death there will no longer be a need for Hades so it will be destroyed. At that point we’ll enter into eternity.