Q. I just read ‘Revelation 2 And 3 … Seven Letters To Seven Churches, Part 1, and have a question about the ‘It’s the second death that you have to watch out for. It’s the permanent one.’ statement.
Regarding the second death, what exactly happens to an unsaved soul? I’ve heard three views; the soul is banished to Hell to suffer eternal punishment by torment; the soul is totally destroyed and no longer exists (meaning there is no Hell); and the soul is totally separated from God in some inaccessible place, though not Hell, rather a dark place to spend eternity.
What’s your view?
A. There are four major views concerning the existence and duration of Hell. The Traditionalist view holds to the concept of eternal punishment for the unsaved, first in Hades while awaiting the Great White Throne judgment of Rev. 20:11-15, and then in Hell forever. Traditionalists believe that this eternal punishment is the 2nd death.
The Conditionalist view says that the Bible doesn’t teach immortality for the unsaved, and therefore the notion of eternal punishment is not Scriptural. Like the Traditionalists, Conditionalists also believe that the unsaved go to Hades to be tormented while awaiting the Great White Throne judgment, but then they serve a period of time in Hell to receive the punishment levied against them at the judgment before being destroyed. They call this destruction the 2nd death.
The metaphorical view is just that, it’s not real.
The Purgatorial view is held by the Catholic Church and claims that Purgatory is a place where everyone goes to earn their way into heaven by suffering for their sins first.
Neither the Metaphorical view nor the Purgatorial view can be supported by scripture, so I’ve rejected them. I’ve always considered myself a Traditionalist and see nothing in Scripture to justify changing.