Sami Wilberforce

Fundamental questions to be addressed


  1. Jesus experienced the second death. Second death has no resurrection;
  2. Second death has no power over a holy person that’s why death could not hold Jesus in the grave
  3. Hell and Fire is the second death
  4. There is no single inspired statement that says Christ died a second death. Can we provide one without supposing or deducting
  5. No one argues Jesus paid the penalty of sin but nowhere in the scripture will you find and SoP that Jesus died the second death. It is only a supposition or deduction which contradicts the scripture to me. The problem is there is an assumption that Wages of sin= Death Jesus Death = Second Death. The Trinitarians argue God=Spirit so Spirit=God. Is this the route that we should take?
  6. The sinners being punished and then the cleansing of the earth. All these comprise of second death. Second death is punishment of sin and a cleansing from the presence of sin
  7. Conclusively then, Jesus tasted the second death, he died the death a hopeless sinner would die for refusing Christ and salvation. When Christ died he did not see beyond the portals of grave but because he had not sinned, his faith rested in the Father resurrecting him. The wicked has no faith of coming from the second death and neither will he really come from it. Second death is eternal loss but Jesus took the risk of eternal loss yet he was not lost. Second death has to do with rejecting the Father and his law, Christ obeyed his Father. The sundering of divinity and his deity lying dormant in the grave makes it infinite atonement but not a second death because it resumed its work after three days. Second death is a loss of immortality, Christ never lost immortality instead he regained it.
  8. Inspiration says that Jesus rested after finishing the work. In his death he rested, doesn’t this bring a challenge for first death is what is called rest? Would it be wrong if someone says his body suffered the first death but his outpouring of soul and sundering of divinity was the experience of second death


The Death of the Son of God

He told them that he had been pleading with his Father, and had offered to give his life a ransom, and take the sentence of death upon himself, that through him man might find pardon; that through the merits of his blood, and obedience to the law of God, they could have the favor of God, and be brought into the beautiful garden, and eat of the fruit of the tree of life.  {1SP 45.1}


Jesus told them that he would stand between the wrath of his Father and guilty man, that he would bear iniquity and scorn, and but few would receive him as the Son of God. SG vol1.45.2


The angels prostrated themselves before him. They offered their lives. Jesus said to them that he should by his death save many; that the life of an angel could not pay the debt. His life alone could be accepted of his Father as a ransom for man. SG Vol1 46.1


This sacrifice was of such infinite value as to make a man who should avail himself of it, more precious than fine gold, even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir. SG Vol1 51.1


This ceremonial offering, ordained of God, was to be a perpetual reminder to Adam of his guilt, and also a penitential acknowledgment of his sin. This act of taking life gave Adam a deeper and more perfect sense of his transgression, which nothing less than the death of God’s dear Son could expiate. As Adam was slaying the innocent victim, it seemed to him that he was shedding the blood of the Son of God by his own hand. . SG Vol1 53.2


The blood of beasts was to be associated in the minds of sinners with the blood of the Son of God. The death of the victim was to evidence to all that the penalty of sin was death. By the act of sacrifice, the sinner acknowledged his guilt, and manifested his faith, looking forward to the great and perfect sacrifice of the Son of God, which the offering of beasts prefigured. Without the atonement of the Son of God there could be no communication of blessing, or salvation from God to man. SG Vol1 53.3



Form the above quotes, you find that the ransom for sin is not only the dying of Christ but the giving of his life to the saved. If then he died the second death, how can he offer that life?


Christ is the Restorer. A pure, spotless Saviour has borne the sins of every human being upon the cross. The dark cloud of human transgression came between the Father and the Son. The interruption of the communion between God and His Son caused a condition of things in the heavenly courts which cannot be described by human language. Nature could not witness such a scene as Christ dying in agony while bearing the penalty of man’s transgression. God and the angels clothed themselves with darkness, and hid the Saviour from the gaze of the curious multitude while He drank the last dregs of the cup of God’s wrath. Lt 139, 1898 VOL13 PARA 43


Note from Andy White

“This act of taking life gave Adam a deeper and more perfect sense of his transgression, which nothing less than the death of God’s dear Son could expiate. {1SP 53.2}”


Bear – 7. To suffer; to undergo; as, to bear punishment. (Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary)


So Christ was bearing (or undergoing) the penalty of man’s transgression (death) while He was dying in agony. In other words when one is dying, they are undergoing death. There is agony in varying degrees that goes with the second death, as some are punished with few stripes and some with many, but death itself is the ultimate penalty. And nothing less than the death of the Christ could expiate (atone for or pay for) our transgressions.


If Deity did not die then what did happen?


Inspiration says Jesus rested [DA 769]. He died the 1st death for He did not remain conscious. He, as a whole Person, slept in the tomb but please remember that He retained His Deity. Thus the power of an eternal life was still within Him. Second death is where no life whether dormant or active.


The spirit of Jesus slept in the tomb with his body, and did not wing its way to Heaven, there to maintain a separate existence, and to look down upon the mourning disciples embalming the body from which it had taken flight. All that comprised the life and intelligence of Jesus remained with his body in the sepulcher; and when he came forth it was as a whole being; he did not have to summon his spirit from Heaven. He had power to lay down his life and to take it up again. {3SP 203.2}


Second Death

The Captain of our salvation was perfected through suffering. His soul was made an offering for sin. It was necessary for the awful darkness to gather about His soul because of the withdrawal of the Father’s love and favor, for He was standing in the sinner’s place, and this darkness every sinner must experience. The righteous One must suffer the condemnation and wrath of God, not in vindictiveness; for the heart of God yearned with greatest sorrow when His Son, <the Guiltless,> was suffering the penalty of sin. THIS SUNDERING OF THE DIVINE POWERS will never again occur throughout the eternal ages. {Ms93-1899.23}


There is an important point to understand here. Jesus had committed Himself into the hands of His Father [And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost (Luke 23:46)] The Son of God placed His entire Being, even His Divinity, into the Father’s hands. Had He sinned in any particular then He would have never lived again but we know He did not sin. Thus the Father never took His Son’s Deity away. And so the Son trusted that the Father would awaken Him according to the prophetic Word and this is what happened. He who died for the sins of the world was to remain in the tomb for the allotted time. He was in that stony prison house as a prisoner of divine justice, and he was responsible to the Judge of the universe. He was bearing the sins of the world, and his Father only could release him. {YI May 2, 1901, par. 8} Here we see that God the Father only could release His Son. Even though the Son “came forth from the grave to life that was in Himself” because His “Deity did not die” (SDABC Vol 5 pg. 1113) it was the Father who had to release Him. God did not give life to His Son at this time but woke Him up. These are great mysteries. So then what of the second death? The wages of sin is an everlasting death. It will be the experience of every unrepentent sinner. Yet those who are in Christ will not experience this for the second death has no power over them. Why not? Because Christ, in His Divine Person, has actually born our punishment. He was separated (aka: sundered) from the Father so that we would never have to be. He took our punishment. [Jason Smith]


The instant man accepted the temptations of Satan, and did the very things God had said he should not do, Christ, the Son of God, stood between the living and the dead, saying, “Let the punishment fall on Me. I will stand in man’s place. He shall have another chance” (Letter 22, February 13, 1900)


Jesus was bearing the sin of the world; he was enduring the curse of the law; he was vindicating the justice of God. Separation from his Father, the punishment for transgression, was to fall upon him, in order to magnify God’s law and testify to its immutability. And this was forever to settle the controversy between Satan and the Prince of heaven in regard to the changeless character of that law. (ST Dec 9, 1897)


He suffered the death which was ours, that we might receive the life which was His. (DA pg. 25)


I believe this great and awful price of second death – an everlasting death- was experienced by Christ in His soul, in His Divine Person. He alone could pay this type of debt. As the begotten Son of God, a Being whose existence cannot be reckoned according to time, He is greater than even everlasting death. By this momentary sundering of Divine powers the everlasting death penalty was swallowed for humanity. This, to me, is the greatest proof the full Deity of the Son of God. The fact that He could pay a penalty like this in an instance by separating from the Father and yet still resurrect shows Him to be the Son of God beyond doubt. [Jason Smith]


And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead (Rom 1:4)


Could Jesus die? Could He have lost His eternal existence? How did He pay the second death?


“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Rom 6:23)


“Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. (Heb 2:17)


According to Hebrews, the prerequisite for Jesus to be our High Priest is that He had to be made like us “in all things.” If we face the risk of eternal non-existence but He did not then was He really made like us in all things? Of course not! The second death has to do with humanity, not deity. It was not a human person that died, if it was human then it becomes second death. But it is a divine being that died. That sundering is the price of the second death actually.


Bible Evidence

“Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; (Heb 5:7)


Note: It would be a complete farce for the Son of God to be relying upon His Father as the One “able to save Him from death” if He did not actually really face such a possibility. When we add this to our first evidence, about the type of death He faced, then this is even stronger. Something also you notice in this verse is that he was saved from that death meaning he did not die it but paid the price of it i.e. the second death


Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage (Heb 2:14, 16)


“Never can the cost of our redemption be realized until the redeemed shall stand with the Redeemer before the throne of God. Then as the glories of the eternal home burst upon our enraptured senses we shall remember that Jesus left all this for us, that He not only became an exile from the heavenly courts, but for us took the risk of failure and eternal loss.” (Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages. Page 131 ‘The Victory’)


“Could Satan in the least particular have tempted Christ to sin, he would have bruised the Saviour’s head. As it was, he could only touch His heel. Had the head of Christ been touched, the hope of the human race would have perished. Divine wrath would have come upon Christ as it came upon Adam. Christ and the church would have been without hope. {1SM 256.1}


You get that second death has not voluntarily laying down life. The second death is not something that wicked would want if they had a choice like Jesus. Yet Jesus laid his life down, he wasn’t forced.


“How much more shall the blood of Christ, who THROUGH [Gr: dia] THE ETERNAL SPIRIT offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (Heb 9:14)


And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost. (Luke 23:46)


We know of Christ that He was “a divine spirit” in a human temple of flesh.


“He united humanity with divinity: a divine spirit dwelt in a temple of flesh. He united himself with the temple…. {YI December 20, 1900, par. 7}


His statement in Luke 23:46 is a letting go of Himself, a surrendering to the death and trusting God the Father to wake Him back to life.


There is an interesting passage in Zechariah that sheds more light on the price and the paying of the penalty.


The price for redemption paid by them both

Zechariah 6:13 Even he shall build the temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.


Now, as surely as the counsel was between them both, so was the paying of the price:


“As the disciples comprehended it, as their perception took hold of God’s divine compassion, they realized that there is a sense in which the sufferings of the Son were the sufferings of the Father. From eternity there was a complete unity between the Father and the Son. They were two, yet little short of being identical; two in individuality, yet one in spirit, and heart, and character. {YI December 16, 1897, par. 5}


That this redemption might be ours, God withheld not even the sacrifice of Himself. He gave Himself in His Son. The Father suffered with Christ in all His humiliation and agony. He suffered as He saw the Son of His love despised and rejected by those whom He came to elevate, ennoble, and save. He saw Him hanging upon the cross, mocked and jeered by the passers-by, and He hid as it were His face from Him. He saw Christ bearing the sin of the world, and dying in the sinner’s stead. The human heart knows the love of a parent for his child. We know what a mother’s love will do and suffer for her beloved one. But never can the heart of man fathom the depths of God’s self-sacrifice.  {AUCR, June 1, 1900 par. 11}


2 Corinthians 5:19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.


Note above the paying of the debt of sin involved the Father too. It is only through simplistic definition of the penalty and price of sin that we conclude it’s the second death


I wish to say that no human language could be framed to give a just conception of the fullness of the love of God, even the Infinite God, [who] suffered in His Son; and nothing He could express in His words or actions in doing and suffering could possibly exaggerate the conception of the grace of that great love of God wherewith He hath loved us. Now, what is required of every child of God? To search diligently “and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice” [Matthew 9:13]. Will all [respond] individually who claim to believe in Christ as their personal Saviour–all who truly believe Christ has developed the same in His individual members of His body, to multiply the similitude of His character in them?  {16MR 193.1}


The cross! the cross! it is set up that we may understand and know the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom He has sent. It tells us of the depth and breadth of infinite love, the greatness of the Father’s love. It reveals the astonishing truth that God the Father gave Himself in His Son, that He might have the joy of receiving back the sheep that was lost.  {17MR 214.2}


(2 Corinthians 5:19; Philippians 2:6.) Satan Uprooted From Affections of the Universe.–In carrying out his enmity to Christ until He hung upon the cross of Calvary, with wounded, bruised body and broken heart, Satan completely uprooted himself from the affections of the universe. It was then seen that God had in His Son denied Himself, giving Himself for the sins of the world, because He loved mankind. The Creator was revealed in the Son of the infinite God. Here the question, “Can there be self-denial with God?” was forever answered. Christ was God, and condescending to be made flesh, He assumed humanity and became obedient unto death, that He might undergo infinite sacrifice (MS 50, 1900).  {7BC 974.1}


God has measured how much it cost to save man. This salvation was accomplished only by the sacrifice of Himself in His Son. “God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Earthly parents love their children. How then did God feel when the Son of His love was despised by those whom He came to elevate and ennoble and save? He saw Him dying on the cross, mocked at and jeered at by the passers-by, and He hid as it were His face from Him. Christ was bearing the sin of the whole world, and dying in the sinner’s stead. Exalt the God of heaven, you who can realize the depth of His self-sacrifice; for He suffered with His Son.  {ST, January 27, 1898 par. 13}


When man, beguiled by Satan, disobeyed the divine law, God could not, even to save the lost race, change that law. God is love; His law is an expression of His character. To change His law would be to deny Himself; it would overthrow those principles with which are bound up the well-being of the whole universe. But in order to save the sinner, the Creator sacrificed Himself. The Father suffered in His Son. The measure of God’s love is Christ. The Saviour’s sacrifice was not to create in God a love that had not before existed; but it was the expression of a love that had not been appreciated or understood.  {BTS, February 1, 1908 par. 1}


From the quotes above it seems clear to me that the penalty of sin was paid by the Father through the son. Both of them paid it. The question to us then should be, at what point did the Father stop paying it and left the son to pay it only, I believe none. The divine sundering was the climax of that penalty. Something was torn from the Father and the Son. This was the great depth of the payment. Jesus lying lifeless in the tomb then cannot be the paying of the debt. It means more than that.


“The Captain of our salvation was perfected through suffering. HIS SOUL WAS MADE AN OFFERING FOR SIN. It was necessary for THE AWFUL DARKNESS TO GATHER ABOUT HIS SOUL because of the withdrawal of the Father’s love and favor, for He was standing in the sinner’s place, and THIS DARKNESS every sinner must experience. The righteous One must suffer the condemnation and wrath of God, not in vindictiveness; for the heart of God yearned with greatest sorrow when His Son, <the Guiltless,> was suffering the penalty of sin. THIS SUNDERING OF THE DIVINE POWERS will never again occur throughout the eternal ages…. {Ms93-1899.2}


Note, if this darkness every sinner must experience then it is not just the death they die but what they go through before the second death itself.


“It was not a dread of the physical suffering he was soon to endure that brought this agony upon the Son of God. He was enduring the penalty of man’s transgression, and shuddering beneath the Father’s frown. He must not call his divinity to his aid, but, as a man, he must bear the consequences of man’s sin and the Creator’s displeasure toward his disobedient subjects. AS HE FELT HIS UNITY WITH THE FATHER BROKEN UP, he feared that his human nature would be unable to endure the coming conflict with the prince of the power of darkness; and in that case the human race would be irrecoverably lost, Satan would be victor, and the earth would be his kingdom. The sins of the world weighed heavily upon the Saviour and bowed him to the earth; and the Father’s anger in consequence of that sin seemed crushing out his life. {3SP 95.3}


This is the price and in it that is what saves him and us from the second death. If he paid this debt, then why suffer it even for himself. The experience itself was the penalty not the death per se.


“The spotless Son of God took upon Himself the burden of sin. He who had been one with God, felt in His soul, the awful separation that sin makes between God and man. This forced from the lips the anguished cry, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” It was the burden of sin, the sense of its terrible enormity, of its separation of the soul from God,—it was this that broke the heart of the Son of God. {BTS March 1, 1908, par. 3}


It was only by the death of Christ that the human race could be redeemed. Man had broken the law of God, and Christ alone could atone for the transgression. But this great sacrifice was not made in order to create in the Father’s heart a love for man, to make him willing to save. No, no. “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.” God suffered with His Son. In the agony of Gethsemane, the death of Calvary, THE HEART OF INFINITE LOVE PAID THE PRICE OF OUR REDEMPTION. “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself.” {BTS March 1, 1908, par. 4}


It will be interesting to see how we settle this matter. There is a mystery in it as it is in incarnation. The mystery behind it is veiled in divine sundering.


(1 Peter 1:11, 12.) The Incarnation a Painful Process.–The work of redemption is called a mystery, and it is indeed the mystery by which everlasting righteousness is brought to all who believe. The race in consequence of sin was at enmity with God. Christ, at an infinite cost, by a painful process, mysterious to angels as well as to men, assumed humanity. Hiding His divinity, laying aside His glory, He was born a babe in Bethlehem. In human flesh He lived the law of God, that He might condemn sin in the flesh, and bear witness to heavenly intelligences that the law was ordained to life and to ensure the happiness, peace, and eternal good of all who obey. But the same infinite sacrifice that is life to those who believe is a testimony of condemnation to the disobedient, speaking death and not life (MS 29, 1899).


Science is too limited to comprehend the atonement; the mysterious and wonderful plan of redemption is so far-reaching that philosophy cannot explain it; it will ever remain a mystery that the most profound reason cannot fathom. If it could be explained by finite wisdom, it would lose its sacredness and dignity. It is a mystery that One equal with the eternal Father should so abase Himself as to suffer the cruel death of the cross to ransom man; and it is a mystery that God so loved the world as to permit His son to make this great sacrifice.–The Signs of the Times, Oct. 24, 1906.

Desmond Diaz

My work is to present some of the pioneer’s scrutiny on this subject and give at least a brief assessment of their views:


JAMES STEPHENSON (The Atonement) – The penalty of God’s law for original sin is death, (not a first death.) Mark the import of the language in which the first penalty is clothed! “For in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” “As in Adam all die,” etc. The penalty for personal sin is equally explicit. “The wages of sin is death.” (Not a second death, but simply death.) “Sin when finished bringeth forth death.” To illustrate: The penalty in the State of Illinois for murder is death. Now, suppose a man to be executed according to their law, then to be raised from the dead, and executed a second time, for another offense, would the fact of the same man’s being put to death a second time, make the penalty in that State, for murder, a first death? Certainly not. But, in case the same man should die a second time, it would be, in reference to its order, a first death. {1854 JMS, ATO 9.1}


 Christ not having died a previous death, and not being exposed to a subsequent death, could die neither a first nor a second death, but, as the Scriptures plainly teach, “He died the death of the cross.” “For if when we were sinners, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son,” etc. Not a first, or a second death, but “the death.” This brings us to consider the difficulties in the way of man’s salvation: – {1854 JMS, ATO 10.1}


ELLET JOSEPH WAGGONER – (context – The penalty of disobedience in Eden was not removed by the substitution of Christ, it is stayed to be executed upon the wicked generally in the second death)… Says Waggoner,” In Adam all die,” both righteous and wicked, men and little children; and “so Christ shall all be made alive.” 1 Cor.15:22. Christ does this for all, because no one is to blame for being the descendant of Adam, and thus mortal. When all have been made alive, it will be seen who are worthy to have life continued to them, and those who have died in their iniquity shall die the second time. Ezek. 18:26. This is the death to which God had reference when he said to Adam, “In the day that thou eat this thereof, thou shalt surely die.” That penalty has never been executed; through the kindness of God in Christ the execution of the penalty was stayed, in order to give fallen man another chance for his life. Christ tasted death for every man, and those who accept his sacrifice will escape the penalty for sin, but upon those who do not, it will fall grievously. {February 5, 1885 EJW, SITI 86.24}


ELLET JOSEPH WAGGONER (Differentiating first and second death) – “Being on my holidays, I have met with a few friends, who have given me certain numbers of PRESENT TRUTH to read, in which, among other questions, you have answered a question concerning the nature and destiny of man: I am greatly interested in the subject, and as an earnest seeker for truth I humbly ask you to oblige me with answers to the following questions: Is natural death, or what we term the first death, the result of sin? If it is, why could not belief in Christ remove it, since it removes the second death, or what we term eternal death? I shall be obliged for help out of the difficulty. {August 14, 1902 EJW, PTUK 515.4}


You question goes to the root of the matter, and touches the very heart of the Gospel, and I am glad to help you with the testimony of God’s Word. {August 14, 1902 EJW, PTUK 515.5}


Let us start with the apostle’s statement that “by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” Rom. v. 12. This is sufficient to establish the fact that death is indeed the fruit of sin. But for sin, there never would have been any death in the world. {August 14, 1902 EJW, PTUK 515.6}


Just here you may perhaps ask the question that so often is asked, “What kind of death is it that is the result of sin? The answer is simply, death. There are not two kinds of death, any more than there are two kinds of life. True, the Bible speaks of the first death, and the second death; but these are not two kinds of death, but death at two different times. {August 14, 1902 EJW, PTUK 515.7}


ELLET JOSEPH WAGGONER – “Will you be so kind as to explain your statement, ‘When Adam fell he brought the race of mankind under the sentence of eternal death? (SIGNS OF THE TIMES, July 7, 1890), with the fact that he did not die an eternal death? Did he suffer less than the penalty of the law? W.T.D.” {August 4, 1890 EJW, SITI 433.1}


In answer to the second question we answer, Yes; and that really answers the whole. If Adam had suffered the penalty of the law, he would have died an eternal death; for “the wages of sin is death.” This means death simple and absolute, with no hope of a resurrection. The penalty of the law has fallen upon only one being, and that was Christ. “But he did not die an eternal death.” No; he died for us, that we might be partakers of his life…{August 4, 1890 EJW, SITI 433.2}


URIAH SMITH (Here and Hereafter) – But immediately upon Adam’s failure under that first arrangement, supervened the plan of salvation through Jesus Christ. Before the first penalty was fully carried out, there was time for Adam to have another trial; and through the intervention of Christ, this opportunity was given him. There was promised a “seed of the woman” who should bruise the serpent’s head. Adam was placed upon a new probation. In the promised seed, the Redeemer, a new hope was set before him; and he was taught how to manifest faith in that Redeemer by typical services, sacrifices, and offerings. {1897 UrS, HHMLD 246.2}


This arrangement also looked forward into the future, and included all Adam’s posterity; else we had had no hope. A pertinent inquiry now arises; namely, How could the sentence of death already rendered, be inflicted upon the whole human family so that there should be no sacrifice of authority, principle, or prestige on the part of God, and yet the new blessing of a hope of life through Christ be placed within their reach? – It could be done in this way: Let men live, and, without any reference to their own personal actions, let them die in Adam, as the apostle assures us that they do. This fulfils the Adamic penalty for the Adamic sin, under the Adamic covenant. Then let all men, irrespective of character, be brought by Christ out from this condition of Adamic death, into which they fell through no fault of their own, once more to the plane of life; and being then alive beyond the extreme limits of the effects of the Adamic covenant, and fall, and death penalty, nothing remains but that they answer for their own course of conduct; and receive such destiny as shall be determined thereby, – if guilty, through their own sins, to suffer the same penalty for their sin that Adam suffered for his, which is death, and which to them is the “second” death, and will be eternal, because no further plan of redemption relieves them from it, as Adam’s would have been had it not been for the plan of salvation introduced by Christ; and if righteous, through faith in Christ, to enter then upon a life which will be eternal. {1897 UrS, HHMLD 246.3}


MY ASSESSMENT – There are more quotes yet from here, what we see is that, according to the pioneers, “death” simply is inflicted to the sinner; not a first death nor a second death but death as it is, the ceasing to live. When Christ became the Substitute, it is not in the plan to take away the penalty (for Adam & Eve still died) but, as EJ Waggoner said, to postpone the implementation of the penalty by granting a second probation and granting a general resurrection from the dead, whether good or evil. The general resurrection make the actual death today as temporary since all, good and evil, will rise back to life. When all rise back to life that is the end of the former death. If this is the end, according to the pioneers, there is no such thing as first and second death… but then, in the general resurrection, the problem of sin is still not solved, so in the wisdom of God, after this resurrection God through Christ will reward everyone according to their works… the righteous shall never taste death again but shall be rewarded with eternal life, that is why it is said the second death have no power over them: the wicked shall rise to suffer the penalty threatened in Eden but was stayed because of the Substitution of Christ. They shall rise to die the second time which is the second death in relation to the first one as to their occurrence. Here in this death there is no resurrection. Thus, if we follow the scrutiny of the pioneers, only the wicked shall suffer the second death or only the wicked will suffer two deaths: 1. Because they inherited a mortal nature 2. They choose to reject Christ as their substitute.


This is from JH Waggoner on his book Atonement, he explicitly pointed the problem of “classifying the types or classes of death proposed” as penalty. It is assumed that death, the penalty of transgression, is THREE-FOLD IN ITS NATURE, consisting of temporal, spiritual, and eternal death. If this assumption were true, we should at once give up the Atonement as a thing impossible. Yet it has been advanced by men of eminence, and incorporated into works recognized as standard. Let us examine it. {1884 JHW, AERS 93.1}


  1. The death of man is TEMPORAL only by reason of a resurrection. But the resurrection belongs to the work of Christ, and as his work was not necessary or a subject of promise till after the transgression, it cannot have any place in the announcement of the penalty. When death was threatened to Adam, it was not said that he should die temporally, spiritually, and eternally; nor that he should die a first or second death; nor the death that never dies; but that he should surely die. It was death–simply death. Had not a promise been given afterward, of “the seed” to bruise the serpent’s head, it would necessarily have been eternal death. But Christ, introducing a resurrection for Adam and his race, causes it to be temporal. But since this time, this death, temporal, has not been the penalty for personal transgression. This is evident for two reasons: (1) Infants die who never have transgressed; and (2) In the Judgment we stand to answer for our deeds, and the second death is inflicted for personal sin. But on those who are holy, “the second death hath no power;” the penalty does not reach them. So it appears the death we now die is occasioned by Adam’s transgression, and is rendered temporal by the second Adam, and comes indiscriminately upon all classes and ages, thus precluding the idea that it is now a penalty, except as connected with that first transgression, in which we are involved only by representation. {1884 JHW, AERS 93.2}


  1. SPIRITUAL DEATH cannot be a penalty at all. A penalty is an infliction to meet the ends of justice. But spiritual death is a state of sin, or absence of holiness; and to say that God inflicts unholiness upon man is not only absurd, but monstrous. That is confounding the crime with it punishment. God does not make man wicked or sinful as an infliction; but man makes himself wicked by his own actions, and God punishes him with death for his wickedness. {1884 JHW, AERS 94.1}


Again, there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust; for as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. Now if the penalty upon Adam included spiritual death, the resurrection through the second Adam would be to spiritual life, or holiness; and if all were restored to spiritual life through Christ, there would be none to fall under the second death, for it falls not on the “blessed and holy.” {1884 JHW, AERS 94.2}


The text above quoted, 1 Cor. 15:22, “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive,” has been “spiritualized” so much that it has been fairly conceded to the Universalists by many who call themselves orthodox. {1884 JHW, AERS 94.3}


But it does not at all favor Universalism unless it is perverted, and made to conflict with other scriptures. Jesus says, all that are in the graves shall hear the voice of the Son of man, and come forth; they that have done good to the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil to the resurrection of damnation. The text in question (1 Cor. 15:22) says no more than this, that all that have died shall have a resurrection; but if some are unjust, and have a resurrection to damnation, that affords no help to Universalism. But if death here means spiritual death (as we say it does not), then the Universalists must have the truth; for to be made alive from spiritual death is to be made spiritually alive, which is none other than a state of holiness. This conflicts with the words of Christ just quoted, of a resurrection to damnation. Death is simply the absence of life; all die and go into the grave, and all are raised again from the grave, without respect to their character or condition. There will be a resurrection of the just and of the unjust; one class to eternal life, the other to the second death. The death of Adam became temporal by reason of a resurrection, so we may say that the infliction for personal sins, the second death, is eternal, because no resurrection will succeed it. Thus, it appears plain that from the beginning death was the penalty of the law of God, circumstances determining the duration of it. This view, which is in strict harmony with the Bible, really removes all difficulty in regard to Christ having suffered the penalty due to sin. {1884 JHW, AERS 95.1}


But still another difficulty is presented to us by giving an extraordinary definition to death; it is said to mean eternal misery. But on examination of this, the difficulty will be entirely on the side of those who present it. If, however, the definition is correct, there is an insurmountable difficulty, involving the whole doctrine of the atonement, and making it utterly impossible for God to be just, and also the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus. {1884 JHW, AERS 96.1}


First, then, if the signification of death is “eternal misery,” Christ never died at all; and then all the scriptures that say he died are untrue; and thus the atonement would be proved impossible, and further consideration of it would be useless. But admitting the Scripture testimony, that the wages of sin is death, and that Christ died for sin, and we have the scriptural view of the term death, utterly forbidding such an unnatural and forced construction of a plain declaration. {1884 JHW, AERS 96.2}


Secondly, if the correct definition of death is eternal misery, the relative terms, first and second, as applied to death before and after the resurrection, are used absurdly. For how can there be a first and second eternal misery? Sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and death passed upon all men. But the very fact that man may be resurrected, released from death, as the Scriptures teach, clearly proves that the Scripture use of the term death is entirely different from the “theological use,” as given above. {1884 JHW, AERS 96.3}


And, thirdly, If death means eternal misery, then that is the penalty of the law; but Christ did not suffer it, and the redeemed will not suffer it, so it follows that justice is never vindicated by the infliction of the penalty, either upon them or a substitute; and thus justice is suspended, not satisfied; and Christ’s death (if it could with any reason be called so) is not truly vicarious. As before considered, justice demands the infliction of the penalty of a just law; and as God is unchangeable and infinitely just, the penalty will surely be inflicted upon the transgressor or his substitute. But the above view makes it impossible. According to that, mercy does not harmonize with justice, but supersedes it, and God’s justice is not manifest in justifying the believer. The sum of the matter is this: that if the penalty be eternal misery, then all that have sinned must suffer it, and be eternally miserable, or else the demands of the law are never honored. But the first would result in universal damnation, and the other would degrade the Government of God, and contradict both reason and the Scriptures. {1884 JHW, AERS 96.4}


JAMES STEPHENSON – Having the second line of interpretation states then: The difficulties in the way of man’s salvation, which renders an atonement necessary. They are:- {1854 JMS, ATO 8.2} 1.


The penalty of God’s law for Adamic, or original transgression. {1854 JMS, ATO 8.3} 2.


The penalty for individual, or personal transgression. {1854 JMS, ATO 8.4}


To have clear views of the relation these penalties sustain to the atonement, it is of great importance that we understand, first, the relation they sustain to each other. They are denominated by some writers, a first and second death. But the terms first and second, are relative terms, pointing out the order in which the events specified occur. They are in all cases dependent on the supposed or actual existence of each other. A second supposes a first, and a first supposes a second. Death, being the negative of life, must be preceded by life, hence a first and second death must be preceded by a first and second life. It would, therefore, be just as proper to call the rewards of the gospel a first and second life, as to call the penalties of the law a first and second death. The same that would make these a first and second would those also. There must be two lives and two deaths, to make either a first or a second. But had not the scheme of redemption been devised, man would never have lived a second life, consequently, could never have died a second death. What, in such case, would the penalty have been for the sin of our first parents? Would it have been a first death? Nay, verily; because no second would ever succeed it; hence it could not be a first. But, from the fact that man is actually exposed to two deaths, we call the one that occurs first, a first death, and the one that occurs second, a second death, just as we speak of a first and second life, a first and second birth, and a first and second Adam, simply to denote their order, and not their nature. {1854 JMS, ATO 8.5}


Andy White

I believe that the experience that Christ went through was similar to what those who experience the second death will experience. He felt the displeasure of God and felt forsaken.


Mark 15:34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?


“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.” { DA 753.2 }


Being that He bore the weight of the sin of the whole world, His anguish may have been even worse than what will be felt by those who experience the second death.


“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.” { DA 753.1 }


If I understand that quote correctly, then men dying the second death won’t even be able to FULLY understand the anguish that Christ felt.


Many people will die today, some may be sincere Christians who will have eternal life and others not so. Those Christians can die in peace and even those who will be lost won’t necessarily know it, and won’t feel the displeasure of God during their first death. So that is one way in which the first and second death differs.


But there is a more eternal consequence of the second death: it is permanent. However we know that Jesus was resurrected. Those who experience the second death will not be resurrected. So in that respect Christ’s death upon the cross, which wasn’t permanent, is markedly different than that of the second death.


I will add that although Christ felt forsaken, that feeling was removed before his death. It brings joy to my heart to read the last two sentences of the next quote.


“Amid the awful darkness, apparently forsaken of God, Christ had drained the last dregs in the cup of human woe. In those dreadful hours He had relied upon the evidence of His Father’s acceptance heretofore given Him. He was acquainted with the character of His Father; He understood His justice, His mercy, and His great love. By faith He rested in Him whom it had ever been His joy to obey. And as in submission He committed Himself to God, the sense of the loss of His Father’s favor was withdrawn. By faith, Christ was victor.” { DA 756.3 }


For those who experience the second death, the sense of the loss of God’s favor will never be withdrawn. So being that His death was similar in one respect to the second death, but vitally different in other ways from the second death, I would have to say that Christ didn’t experience the second death. This is because He didn’t die with the sense of the loss of His Father’s favor and the grave could not hold Him.


It may be argued that He did experience the second death, but that He was resurrected afterwards. And maybe I could agree with that, if it weren’t for the other difference that the sense of the loss of His Father’s favor was withdrawn.


I think this is the main take away: The wages of sin is death. Christ paid those wages for us by his death. I think that the second death is called the second death because it comes after the first. That may seem obvious of course, but I think it is worth stating. The feelings during the dying are different between the first and second death (third death for some who come up at the special resurrection), as I have mentioned, but death is death. We understand the state of the dead and the nature of Christ. We don’t believe that part of Christ remained alive between His death on the cross and His resurrection, but that He truly died. He truly died for our sins. He truly died for my sins. “Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends. – John 15:13”



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