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? (Mark 15)
Why did Jesus cry out on the cross “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” That is when Jesus experienced for us the second death spoken of in the scriptures.
And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:14,15)
By crying these words aloud, Jesus witnessed to the world two eternal truths: 1) the second death is real, and 2) He did indeed taste the second death for every one of us. With these words, Jesus made it abundantly clear to the world that, as foretold by the prophets, He experienced all of the sorrow and afflictions that would have awaited us had He not experienced this death for us.
He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:3-5)
Jesus’ witness is a firsthand account of the second death and that it is very real and very painful. And we know His witness is true and the most reliable witness we could ever have on this topic – or any topic for that matter – for He is the faithful and true witness.
For behold, he cometh in the clouds with ten thousands of his saints in the kingdom, clothed with the glory of his Father. And every eye shall see him; and they who pierced him, and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. For he saith, I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, the Lord, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty. … I am he that liveth, and was dead; and behold, I am alive forevermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. (Revelation 1:7,8,18)
You see, Jesus did not simply suffer a physical death that day. He tasted spiritual death for each and every one of us.
But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. (Hebrews 2:9)
It is the same death that now awaits everyone whose name is not written in the book of life, which includes all those who continue to rebel against God and die in their sins. In the words of Paul, the Apostle of Jesus Christ, these are they who remain in unrighteousness after Jesus, who is Emmanuel, has been made manifest or known unto them.
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men; who love not the truth, but remain in unrighteousness, after that which may be known of God is manifest to them. (Romans 1:18,19)
For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. (Hebrews 10:26,27)
It is not our Lord’s will, however, that any person should perish, but that everyone should come to repentance and receive eternal life.
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise and coming, as some men count slackness; but long-suffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (II Peter 3:9)
For God so loved the world, that he gave his Only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish; but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. (John 3:16,17)
Because Jesus has tasted the second death for every person who has lived, is living, or will yet live on the earth, He is the Savior of all men, specially of those that believe. Thus, space has been made in the book of life for every person’s name. However, only those who believe on His name unto having their sins blotted out will not have their names blotted out of the book of life. These are they who are given power to overcome the world through their faith in the name of Jesus Christ. And if they endure to the end they will be saved in the day of judgment.
But those things, which God before had showed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. (Acts 3:18,19)
He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. (Revelation 3:5,6)
On the other hand, those who are overcome by the world and the evils thereof will have their names blotted out of the book of life. Consequently, when Jesus Christ judges the nations, those whose names are not found in the book of life will be separated by a great gulf from those who names are recorded in the book of life.
Marvel not at this; for the hour is coming, in the which all who are in their graves shall hear his voice. And shall come forth; they who have done good, in the resurrection of the just; and they who have done evil, in the resurrection of the unjust. (John 5:28,29)
When the Son of Man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then he shall sit upon the throne of his glory; And before him shall be gathered all nations; and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth sheep from the goats; the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left. … Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. … And these shall go away into everlasting punishment; but the righteous into life eternal. (Matthew 25:32,33,42,47)
We should not, therefore, conclude that because Jesus died for the sins of the world that no one other than Him will suffer this second death. For we read that there are those who will die unto God and all that is righteous and, as it is written, the smoke of their torment ascendeth up forever and ever.
For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked; (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptation, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished. (II Peter 2:4-9)
This is particularly true of those who fall away from the Lord once they have known Him and tasted of His goodness.
For he hath made it impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to be renewed again unto repentance; seeing they crucify unto themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. For the day cometh that the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them who dwelleth thereon, by whom it is dressed, who now receiveth blessings from God, shall be cleansed with fire. For that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; therefore they who bring not forth good fruits, shall be cast into the fire; for their end is to be burned. (Hebrews 6:4-8)
Thus we understand that this death, the second death, will pass on certain individuals. They are, namely, the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers and idolaters, and all liars.
He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone; which is the second death. (Revelation 21:7,8)
Why the fearful? They are hypocrites who perish in their sins and thus await the judgements of God. By not having faith they are not made perfect in love.
Why the unbelieving? Having an evil heart of unbelief, they depart or separate themselves from the living God. Unlike Abraham, who did not stagger at the promises of God, they make God a liar by not believing in God’s word. Thus, they cannot enter into the Lord’s rest. Being unrighteous, to them nothing is pure. Thus, the Lord is not able to work among them. Neither can they do the work of the Lord.
Why the abominable? They break the Lord’s covenants out of a love for their abominations. They do that which the Lord hates, therefore their land is made desolate. They defile His name through their detestable ways. They bring abominable things into their houses and become cursed like such things. Thus, everyone who does abominable things shall surely die and his blood shall be upon him.
Why murderers? They are of their father, the devil, who was a murderer from the beginning, and thus the lusts of their father they will do. Therefore, there is reserved for them the same punishment that awaits the devil and his angels. It will be for them even as John has testified, “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer; and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.”
Why whoremongers? For their lewdness (wicked, lustful, vile, wretched, vulgar ways), God has promised to cause His fury to rest upon them. As with the wicked of old, the Lord will expose their sins and punish them accordingly.
Why sorcerers? They use sorcery to bewitch people and to make themselves appear as though they are great. They are of the spirit of antichrist, deceiving and telling lies. Pretending to have authority, they draw people away from the word of the Lord by turning them to unlawful means of communicating mysterious things. Thus, by their sorceries the nations are deceived and, being bewitch, are turned away from the faith of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Why idolaters? They worship and serve the creature more than the Creator. They set a thing which has been created above and in place of the One who has created all things. They exalt the inferior over the infinite and thereby dishonor their God and His image. They do not glorify the Lord nor are they grateful to Him for that which He made and sustains (from which they derive benefit). In doing so, they break the commandments to have no other God’s before them or to make any graven images.
Why liars? Instead of loving the truth, they love lies. Therefore, their reward will be with their father the devil, who is the father of all lies. In the words of Paul, “…they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie; that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” And “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men; who love not the truth, but remain in unrighteousness, after that which may be known of God is manifest to them.” Among those who are referred to as liars in Revelation 21:8 are those of whom it is written, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared as with a hot iron…”
Thus it is written, none of these shall inherit the kingdom of God.
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolators, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. (I Corinthians 6:9,10)
For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. (Ephesians 5:3-5)
Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these, Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like; of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21)
See also II Peter 2:9-22 & 3:3-7, Jude 1:5-19, Romans 1:18-32, I Timothy 1:9-11, etc.
It is, therefore, of the utmost importance to remember that except we repent of our sins by turning from them and turning unto Jesus, we will die in our sins and experience the second death. On the other hand, if we mortify sin in our lives through faith in Jesus Christ, we will live eternally with our Lord in righteousness.
So then they that are after the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not after the flesh, but after the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, though the body shall die because of sin, yet the Spirit is life, because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead, dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, unto sin, ye shall die; but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live unto Christ. (Romans 8:8-13)
For in that moment when Jesus cried out on the cross, He suffered for us the agony and torment that comes of being forsaken and eternally separated from our heavenly Father. He tasted of death for all men so we might not suffer this second death. More particularly, Jesus endured the shame and agony of the cross so we might be reconciled unto God and have eternal life with Him.
For Christ also once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit, that he might bring us to God. (I Peter 3:18)
For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son; much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. (Romans 5:6-11)
Truly our Lord is worthy of all praise and honor, for He has given us the victory over death and the grave.
O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. (I Corinthians 15:55-58)
In Jesus Christ we are given both the way and all means necessary to put off our old nature – and the handwriting or judgments against it – and become new creatures in Him.
For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then are all dead; And he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. Wherefore, henceforth live we no more after the flesh; yea, though we once lived after the flesh, yet since we have known Christ, now henceforth live we no more after the flesh. Therefore if any man live in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new, and receiveth all the things of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God is in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us; we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. (II Corinthians 5:14-21)
Remember, God did not create us to die unto Himself. He is the God of the living. He created us to live eternally with Him. And so He sent His Only Begotten Son into the world to save us from our sins. Even now He calls to us to cast away our sins and follow His Son as the author and finisher of our faith.
Wherefore, seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. (Hebrews 12:1-3)
For truly, if Jesus had not taken our place upon the cross – so we might repent of our sins and be forgiven based on His merits – this death would have claimed each and every one of us and we would have been shut out from the presence of God forever.
For were it not for the redemption which he hath made for his people, which was prepared from the foundation of the world; I say unto you, were it not for this, all mankind must have perished. (Mosiah 8:53)
For as death has passed upon all men, to fulfill the merciful plan of the great Creator, there must needs be a power of resurrection, And the resurrection must needs come unto man by reason of the fall; And the fall came by reason of transgression; And because man became fallen, they were cut off from the presence of the Lord; Wherefore, it must needs be an infinite atonement; Save it should be an infinite atonement, this corruption could not put on incorruption. Wherefore, the first judgment which came upon man, must needs have remained to an endless duration. And if so, this flesh must have lain down to rot and to crumble to its mother earth, to rise no more. O the wisdom of God! his mercy and grace! For behold, if the flesh should rise no more, our spirits must become subject to that angel who fell from before the presence of the eternal God, and became the devil, to rise no more. And our spirits must have become like unto him, and we become devils, angels to a devil, to be shut out from the presence of our God, and to remain with the father of lies, in misery, like unto himself. (II Nephi 6:11-21)
O the greatness of the mercy of our God, the Holy One of Israel! For he delivereth his saints from that awful monster the devil, and death, and hell, and that lake of fire and brimstone, which is endless torment. Oh how great the holiness of our God! For he knoweth all things, and there is not anything save he knows it. And he cometh into the world that he may save all men, if they will hearken unto his voice; For behold, he suffereth the pains of all men: yea, the pains of every living creature, both men, women and children, who belong to the family of Adam. And he suffereth this, that the resurrection might pass upon all men, that all might stand before him at the great and judgment day. And he commandeth all men that they must repent, and be baptized in his name, having perfect faith in the Holy One of Israel, or they can not be saved in the kingdom of God. And if they will not repent and believe in his name, and be baptized in his name, and endure to the end, they must be damned; For the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, hath spoken it. (II Nephi 6:43-50)
“O the wisdom of God! his mercy and grace!” For, as it was prophesied, had our Lord not died for our sins, we would have been shut out from the presence of the Lord forever. But praise be to God, in Christ Jesus He has provided a way of escape for us to come unto Him and be saved from the second death.
O how great the goodness of our God, who prepareth a way for our escape from the grasp of this awful monster; Yea, that monster, death and hell, which I call the death of the body, and also the death of the spirit. (II Nephi 6:24,25)
Let not your heart be troubled; ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And when I go, I will prepare a place for you, and come again and receive you unto myself; that where I am, ye may be also. And whither I go ye know; and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:1-6)
Therefore, as foretold by the prophet Samuel five years before the birth of Jesus Christ, if we truly believe in the name of our Lord, we will repent of our sins and receive a remission of our sins through His merits – for His name, Jesus, means He shall save us from our sins.
And if ye believe on his name, ye will repent of all your sins, that thereby ye may have a remission of them through his merits. … for behold, he surely must die, that salvation may come; Yea, it behooveth him, and becometh expedient that he dieth, to bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, that thereby men may be brought into the presence of the Lord; Yea, behold this death bringeth to pass the resurrection, and redeemeth all mankind from the first death; that spiritual death for all mankind, by the fall of Adam, being cut off from the presence of the Lord, or considered as dead, both as to things temporal and to things spiritual. But behold, the resurrection of Christ redeemeth mankind, yea, even all mankind, and bringeth them back into the presence of the Lord; Yea, and it bringeth to pass the conditions of repentance, that whosoever repenteth, the same is not hewn down and cast into the fire; But whosoever repenteth not, is hewn down and cast into the fire, and there cometh upon them again a spiritual death, yea, a second death, for they are cut off again as to things pertaining to righteousness; Therefore repent ye, repent ye, lest by knowing these things and not doing them, ye shall suffer yourselves to come under condemnation, and ye are brought down unto this second death. (Helaman 5:67-74)