1. Revelation 21:8 (ESV)
  2. Exposition

Why does the passage end with a reference to “the second death”?

Revelation 21:8 (ESV)

8 But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

Logically, the passage could end with its reference to where the cowardly, etc., would go, that is, the “lake of fire.” But the point of the entire paragraph was the wonderful work of God in “making all things new,” a newness that involved his nearness. God being “with” people amounts to “life” in the fullest sense of the word. Conversely, the lake of fire amounts to “death” in the fullest sense of the word, specifically eternal alienation from God (Revelation 2:11; Revelation 20:6, Revelation 20:14). Hence the reference to “second death.” See further on Revelation 2:11; Revelation 20:6, Revelation 20:14.