“Comfort ye, comfort ye My people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her that her appointed time is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned; for she hath received of the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.” (Isaiah 40:1,2)
Christendom, with united voice, admits that all of the Divine Revelation came to and through the Hebrew people. Listen to the argument of the Apostle Paul, “What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way; chiefly, because that unto them were committed the Oracles of God” ─ the Divine Message respecting the Divine purposes, present and to come. The Apostle again informs us that the entire Gospel Message was briefly comprehended in the Creator’s promise to Abraham, “In thy Seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.” (Gal. 3:8)
“TO THE JEW FIRST”
It was the most natural thing imaginable for the Jewish Nation to suppose that the giving to them of the Law at Mount Sinai, through the mediatorship of Moses, was the fulfillment of the promise to Abraham. Nevertheless, they were mistaken, as the pages of history show.
Israel’s mediator, the sacrificing priests, the sacrifices they offered, their Tabernacle with its Holy and Most Holy, the Temple, and all the features of the Law Covenant were types or foreshadows of the “better sacrifices,” higher Priesthood, better Mediator, and glorious blessings of eternal forgiveness and reconciliation yet to be accomplished. Nevertheless the period of Israel’s types was not wasted. Not only were the types there given, but at the same time a special class of agents were selected: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the Prophets and worthy ones of that Age, holy, consecrated to God, and accepted as agents qualified for the Kingdom conditions. Of these the Scriptures declare, “They fell asleep.” They are still asleep in the dust of the earth, awaiting the glorious Resurrection Morning, and a grand share with Messiah in the work then to be accomplished. In their lifetime, they were styled “the fathers,” because Messiah was foretold to be of the posterity of Abraham, and also “David’s Son.”
“COMFORT YE MY PEOPLE”
But other Scriptures, without contradicting these statements, show us distinctly that “David’s Son” and “Abraham’s Seed” is to be Lord and Father of both David and Abraham. Thus we read, “Instead of Thy fathers shall be Thy children, whom Thou mayest make princes in all the earth.” (Psa. 45:16) David’s son, Messiah, will be David’s Father, or Life-giver, when He will raise David from the dead. Similarly He will be the Father of all those Ancient Worthies; and as David’s Lord, and “Lord of lords,” it will be His pleasure to appoint to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, to all the Ancient Worthies and the Prophets, and other faithful ones a glorious share with Himself in the great Messianic Kingdom, which He is about to set up for the ruling and blessing of Israel and all the nations of the earth. Will not this be a grand honor to Abraham and his Seed! Could we expect that the Almighty would use in such a high position any except the faithful? Surely not! When Messiah shall make these Ancient Worthies “Princes in all the earth,” as representatives of His invisible Kingdom, will not this mean honor to the Jew first?
Our text is one of three declarations in the Old Testament, which assure us that there is a “double” connected with Israel’s history. That is to say, Jewish history naturally divides itself into two exactly equal parts. The first of these parts was a time of favor, intermingled with disciplines, but favor, nevertheless. The second of these parts has been one of disfavor and exclusion from Divine fellowship. As foretold by the Prophet, Israel for many centuries has been without prophet or priest, without ephod and without communion with God; whereas, at one time they were God’s favored people. They now, according to their own admission, are so thoroughly rejected that they have no communication whatever, no light to shine upon their pathway. The Prophet’s words have been fulfilled, “Let their table become a snare before them: and that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap. Let their eyes be darkened, that they see not.” (Psa. 69:22,23) They have stumbled; they are blinded; but thank God! their blindness is not to be perpetual. The period of their blindness is the second part of the “double.” With the fulfillment of that “double” their blindness will begin to vanish, and “all the blind eyes shall be opened.” Of that time the Lord declares that He who scattered Israel will gather them (Deut. 30:3; Ezek. 37:20-28).
We are impressed, not by fancy, but by the Word of God, that Israel’s “double” is now fulfilled, that Israel’s blessing has already begun, that the opening of Israel’s eyes is now in progress. For this reason we have chosen for our text, “Comfort ye, comfort ye My people, saith your God. Cry unto Jerusalem and say unto her that her appointed time is accomplished; for she hath received at the Lord’s hand double [the two parts of her chastisement] for all her sins.” Because the “double” is completed, we may speak the words of comfort.
Thirty-four years ago  we called attention to these facts, but few had ears to hear. When eighteen years ago  we visited Jerusalem, having in mind chiefly the fact that the time for the regathering of Israel was nigh at hand, and that the set time to favor Zion had come, we found no hearing ears amongst the Jewish people; and Zionism had not then been dreamed of. Our communications with the representatives of the Baron Hirsch Immigration Fund, and also with the executors of the Sir Moses Montefiore Jewish Relief Fund met with scant recognition. Nevertheless, we felt sure that Israel’s “double” had been fulfilled, and that her morning of joy would soon break (Psa. 30:5).
Meantime how much has happened during those eighteen years! Zionism has risen and engendered the hope of the “chosen people” in every land, and turned their eyes toward the Land of Promise ─ not that all are thinking of returning thither, but that every Jew who retains faith in the God of his fathers, and in the Abrahamic promise, is now looking and hoping for the time of blessing, long foretold. They know not about their “double”; they have not been studying the Holy Scriptures, but the teachings of their ancients, as presented by the Talmud. They have been making a very similar mistake to that of Christian people, who have been studying the creeds of the Dark Ages instead of God’s Word.
THE THREE “DOUBLES”
Glance with me at three different statements by the Lord through three Prophets of Israel respecting Israel’s “double” of experience: the first, an experience of God’s favor; the second, an experience of equal length without Divine favor. Notice first Jeremiah’s prophecy (Jer. 16:18). After telling of Israel’s disfavor, and then of their regathering, the Lord declares, “And first I will recompense their iniquity and their sin double” ─ some of the recompense with favor, and some without favor. Jeremiah’s prophecy looks down to the “double” from his own day, which was more than six hundred years before the second part of their “double” began.
Turn now to Zechariah’s prophecy, and note that prophetically he takes his standpoint at the very time when the second part of the “double” began. His words are, “Even today do I declare that I will render double unto thee.” (Zech. 9:12)
Come next to our text, and note that the Prophet Isaiah stands with us, and views the matter from the standpoint that the “double” of experience has been fulfilled: “Speak comfortably unto Jerusalem, cry unto her that her appointed time is accomplished, because she hath received at the Lord’s hand double [two equal parts] for her sins.” It is our understanding that this “double” reached fulfillment in the year 1878 A.D.; and since that date we have been declaring to the best of our ability, as the Lord granted opportunity, these comforting words to Israel, assuring God’s people that their period of disfavor has ended, and that they are gradually returning to prosperity; that Divine favor began with them in 1878. Yea, more than this, our sermons which to some extent reflect this feature of the Divine Program relating to Israel’s restoration to Divine favor are being read to a considerable extent by Hebrews as well as by Christians. Their eyes are gradually opening, as the Scriptures foretell they shall do.
But how may we know when the turning point of Israel’s “double” took place? How may we know that the “double” was completed in 1878? We reply that the answer to the question necessitates an acknowledgment of Jesus as the Messiah. Israel’s rejection of Him as their King marks the turning point of God’s favor, as the prophecy of Zechariah, just quoted, distinctly shows. Neither Christians nor Jews have appreciated the full import of the incident mentioned in the Gospel; that five days before His crucifixion, Jesus rode upon an ass, after the manner of Jewish kings, into the city of Jerusalem, a multitude surrounding Him, and going before Him, shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He that cometh in the name of Jehovah!” The Prophet Zechariah called attention to this incident centuries before it occurred, and then gives the Lord’s words, “Even today do I declare I will render double unto thee.” (Matt. 21:1-5)
Israel’s history as a nation began with the death of Jacob, when he gave his blessing to the twelve tribes. The period from that time to the death of Jesus, according to the Scriptures, was 1845 years; and a like period of disfavor, measuring from the day of Jesus’ rejection marks the year 1878, as the end of Israel’s disfavor ─ the time when the message of comfort should go forth. However, Divine favor was only gradually taken from Israel, and altogether a period of thirty-six years intervene between the death of Jesus and the utter destruction of Jerusalem. Similarly we should expect that the return of favor would be gradual, a like period of 36 years; and this would bring us to the year 1914, as the time when God’s favor for His people will be gradually manifested, during the closing hours of Gentile supremacy in the close of the Gospel Age (Luke 21:24).
“THE SEED OF ABRAHAM”
The question now arises, What has God accomplished during the latter half of Israel’s “double”? Did He pass by His chosen people to bless the Gentiles directly, or how shall we understand Divine providence with respect to this matter?
We answer that Almighty God had one feature of His Plan which He did not make known directly and explicitly to Abraham or any other Prophet. He kept that feature of his purpose a secret. It is this: Messiah could not be a man and yet accomplish the great things which Jehovah purposed, as stated in His Word. The Law called for an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth and a man’s life for a man’s life. In this God set forth His principle governing His course of dealing with men. As by man (Adam) came the death sentence, and through heredity upon all of his offspring, even so the Divine Law purposed that there must be a sacrifice of one human life to offset the one human life condemned to death. The one who would thus meet the demands of Justice on behalf of the race would have the right to give eternal life and human perfection to every member of Adam’s race willing to accept it on the terms of the Divine Law. It was for this reason that Christ should die, “the Just for the unjust.” (1 Peter 3:18)
As a reward for His obedience to the Father even unto death, Christ was raised from the dead to the Divine Nature. In this exalted condition He is capable of being a Mediator and of doing a work for Israel and for the world much higher and broader than Moses could effect. Moses, the typical mediator, made atonement for a year with the blood of beasts; but Messiah with His own blood makes perpetual atonement for the sins of all the people. This is the great Messiah (Jesus) who suffered the death of the cross ─ for the Jews and for the Gentiles ─ “for all the people.” This is the glorified Messiah, who as the Spiritual Seed of Abraham is about to bless Israel’s Ancient Worthies, and to “make them Princes in all the earth” ─ ministers of His Kingdom for the ruling, blessing and uplifting of whosoever will, out of the present sin and death condition, to life eternal, to full human perfection, with the earth as Paradise restored.
MEMBERS OF MESSIAH
But some one may say, Where do Christians come, in connection with this Divine arrangement? And if God’s dealings with the world are to be through Israel, and not through the Church, why has there been so long a delay? Why did not the glorified Messiah at once set up His Kingdom, and bring forth the Ancient Worthies from the tomb to be its earthly representatives? Oh, here is another part of the Mystery of God! Isaac, Abraham’s son, was typical of Messiah, the Spiritual Seed. But before Isaac began the work of dispensing the blessings to his brethren and to his children, he first took a bride; and this act also was allegorical or typical. In the antitype Messiah, the glorified Jesus, partook of the Divine Nature according to the Father’s invitation, and He is to take a Bride who is to be His joint-heir on the spirit plane ─ to share with Him the glory, honor and service of His Messianic Kingdom. The period of Israel’s disfavor, as a nation, has been the time in which a special class has been called of the Father and begotten of the Holy Spirit to joint-heirship with Christ as His Bride.
But did God pass by the natural seed of Israel to give these spiritual privileges to the Gentiles ─ to gather from the Gentiles a people, figuratively to constitute the Bride of Messiah? Nay. The Scriptures assure us that this spiritual privilege went first to the Jews. They show us that during the three and a half years of Jesus’ ministry, and during the thirty-six years following it, the Gospel Message was given almost exclusively to the Jews, and gathered from that people as many as were found to be “Israelites indeed” without guile, as many as were not only of the circumcision of the flesh, but who were also of the circumcision of the heart. God did not continue to deal with His chosen people; but after having gathered from them as many as were worthy of the spiritual blessing and exaltation ─ only then did He send the Message to the Gentiles, to gather from the Gentiles a number sufficient to complete the foreordained and predestined number who will constitute the Bride.
So, then, my brethren, in proving from the Scriptures that Israel’s “double” is completed, that Israel’s blindness is about to be taken away, and that Israel’s exaltation as the earthly representatives of Messiah’s Kingdom is near at hand, we are proving to ourselves another thing; namely, that the full number called from amongst the Gentiles to participate with Christ on the spirit plane, as members of His Bride class, will soon be completed and exalted to Kingdom glory (Rom. 11:25-32).
(Pastor Russell, from Pastor Russell’s Sermons, June 5, 1910, pages 396-403)
THE GREATEST THING IN THE UNIVERSE
The text of this discourse is from Ephesians 2:7: “That in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His loving kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” All Christendom has erred in respect to the lengths and breadths and heights and depths of the love of God, which passeth all understanding (Eph.3:18,19). This is evidenced by our conflicting creeds, not one of which is rational enough to be defended by one in a hundred of its own clergy, who profess that they believe it and are teaching it.
This is driving many noble souls away from the Bible, which has been misinterpreted by us all. Our difficulty has been that we have looked at the unfinished parts of the Divine Program, and have neglected to properly use the telescope of God’s word, which would have enabled us to see the future features of that plan, without which the whole world would be incomplete and unsatisfactory.
WONDERFUL DIVINE PLANS
None of us would judge of a new building merely by the first story of the structure, incomplete and surrounded by scaffolding. On the contrary, we would inquire for the architect’s drawings and consider them prophecies of the building to be.
God proposes the development of the Church first, as a “new creation” on the spirit plane, higher than the angels, and “partakers of the Divine nature;” “Ye are the church of the living God;” “a kind of first fruits unto God of His creatures.”
The fact is that the Bible declares the Church to be the “first borns,” the “first fruits” of God’s creatures. Thus does God positively declare a secondary part of His great plan of salvation ─ in which “free grace” and fullest opportunity for reconciliation to God will be granted to the non-elect.
But their salvation will be, not heavenly, but earthly. Their resurrection will not mean a “change” of nature, but a raising up to the perfection of human nature, to be enjoyed in a world-wide paradise by all the willing and obedient. Nor will the unwilling and disobedient be tortured to all eternity, but, as the Scriptures declare, “All the wicked will He destroy;” they shall “perish like brute beasts,” in the “second death.” (2 Peter 2:12; Psa. 9:17, R.V.)
FOUNDATION OF THE GREAT STRUCTURE
In order to judge of the Divine character we must see the truth, the Divine program, and not merely a primary section of it. The Jewish Age and its people, its law, its mediator, its priesthood and its jubilee were only rough outline sketches of the Divine plan, which had not then even begun. The Redeemer is the foundation for the great structure, as said St. Paul, “Other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid ─ Jesus Christ.”
A God of justice, wisdom and power devoid of love would be as cold and unsympathetic as a marble statue. The greatest thing amongst men is love. Neither palace nor cottage could be a real home and a place of joy and peace and refreshment without love. We cannot even suppose a heart devoid of love without supposing it under the control of selfishness, and selfishness is merely another name for sin.
The greatest men and women who have ever lived, and who have done the most to bless our race, have been men and women of heart, of love. Surely, love is the principal thing in all this world, without which none can be truly happy under any condition, but with which happiness is possible under almost any condition. Whence came to man this quality of love unless from the Creator?
THE DISPLAY OF DIVINE LOVE
God’s love will be most wonderfully displayed in His gracious kindness in the resurrection of the Church to glory, honor and immortality. Then will come a further display of “love divine, all love excelling,” when mankind in general shall be blessed under the Messianic Kingdom.
We are not informed respecting the work of the Church beyond their thousand year reign; the text merely assures us that Divine love is illimitable, and that those who now shall prove themselves loyal, even unto death, shall have blessing upon blessing through future ages.
Astronomy assures us that, aside from the planets which belong to our own system, all the other stars are suns, with whirling worlds about them, invisible to us. Photography shows stars which cannot be seen with the eye. The number of these suns is now reckoned at more than 100,000,000. Although this sum is quite beyond the power of human comprehension, there is a general agreement among astronomers that if we stood upon the farthest world we should probably see just as many suns beyond us as behind us. What a suggestion we have here of Divine power ─ omnipotence! How little we feel ourselves to be, and proportionately how amazing seems the love of God toward us in Christ Jesus!
THE LESSONS TAUGHT BY SIN
Does our text speak of “ages to come for the showing forth of God’s love toward us?” Ah! what a limitless eternity is provided! Nor can we doubt that the lessons taught through the permission of sin among humanity on our earth are designed of the Creator to furnish a great lesson throughout ages to come. The Church, the New Creation, will undoubtedly be associated with the Redeemer as Jehovah’s agents in creating inhabitants in all of these billions of worlds. And who will say that even the witness of God’s justice and love, in the perfected world of mankind, might not be taken to tell in other worlds the story of Adam’s disobedience and fall; the story of the reign of sin and death for 6,000 years; the story of redemption accomplished through the sacrifice of Jesus; the story of the selection of a faithful “little flock” of his footstep followers to be His Bride; the story of human restitution to all that was lost in Adam and redeemed through Jesus’ death; the story of the Second Death visited upon the unwilling and the disobedient, that eventually every creature should bow the knee and confess the joy, and acclaim the Father and the Son!
(Pastor Russell, What Pastor Russell Wrote for the Overland Monthly, pages 174,175)
“CHOOSE YE THIS DAY WHOM YE WILL SERVE”
“No man can serve two masters… Ye cannot serve God and Mammon.” (Matthew 6:24)
The thought which our Lord apparently wished to impress upon his disciples was that there is a principle involved in service ─ that no one can possibly render full service to two opposing interests, two opposing masters; for the one would surely be neglected in the interest of the other. There would be more or less of a preference shown. After making a general observation regarding the impossibility of serving two masters, the Lord applied this principle, saying, “ye cannot serve God and Mammon” ─ God and selfishness, righteousness and unrighteousness. Man was originally God’s servant. It was natural for him to appreciate the Divine character and arrangements and to render willing service. But mankind was deceived as they got under the control of the great adversary, being influenced by the powers of evil, the chief effects of which have been ignorance, superstition and selfishness.
One of the deplorable conditions of the present time is that from birth selfishness is almost forced upon one. Man learns to give his time, his influence, for selfish purposes and projects. He fails to see that God is the one who should be served at any cost. But men were born and shapen in iniquity. They are servants of sin, slaves of sin. But our Lord Jesus pointed out that through the knowledge of himself and compliance with his terms of discipleship, there came a release from this slavery, an opportunity to pass over to the side of righteousness.
However, an opportunity to take a stand for right came before our Lord’s Day. As a knowledge of God was granted to any people, they had an opportunity to assert themselves on the side of right. At the time when the Law Covenant was given, God set forth the principles of righteousness in that law. The whole nation of Israel accepted God as their Savior, and entered into a covenant with him that they would be his loyal people. Yet after they had done this, the influences of evil in their flesh became manifest. They sought to be the servants of God and at the same time of self, dividing their interest between God’s affairs and the affairs of self.
A WORTHY EXAMPLE SET
Jesus pointed out this particular fact, and told the people of His day that it was impossible to perform this half-hearted service ─ they could not serve two masters, for nobody would be pleased. If they were to serve Mammon, serve the present order of things, then they could not be pleasing God. If they wished to serve God, serve righteousness, to whatever extent they did this they would be displeasing to the world; they must be servants of either the one or the other; the two services combined would be impossible.
The example of our Lord Jesus when he came to earth, was in harmony with this position; for he fully renounced the world and made absolute consecration of his life to God and his service. Thus he set us an example. All who have the same spirit should walk in his steps. This was in accordance with the Jewish law: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy mind, with all thy being, with all thy strength.” Any one who kept this law would not be serving self; for his service would be all for God.
Those who are following in the Master’s footsteps are all for God, or, as we sometimes sing, “All for Jesus.” As we follow the example of Jesus, and walk as he walked, we are rendering whole-hearted service to God. The result of serving this Master will be a great reward. “Him hath God highly exalted, and given him a name above every name.” And the Church has been invited to follow him. So we should serve God in everything with all our heart, mind, soul, strength. This is our commission. This we are to do to the point of sacrificing all earthly interests and of laying down our lives for the brethren. This course, followed faithfully to the end, will bring us to the same reward that Jesus received ─ glory, honor, immortality.
RENDERING UNTO CAESAR HIS OWN
It may be asked how this text comports with the Apostle’s suggestion that one who was bound when he received the truth should not seek to be free (1 Cor. 7:20-22). These words of St. Paul express the thought that when the truth finds us it does not necessarily change our earthly relationships; that if a man were a slave, for instance, and the truth of God reached him, he should not rebel against his earthly master. He is not to think of this new relationship to God as changing the color of his skin or his earthly relationship. The Apostle is speaking of the body and not the heart when he says, “Seek not to be loosed.” Our bodies may be enslaved for one reason or another. It might be a bondage like that of olden times ─ captured service. Or it might be that we had become the servants of those who were willing to pay for our services. While we are not to do anything contrary to the Divine Law or to our consciences, yet we are to serve our earthly masters faithfully. They have purchased our time, or a large measure of it; and we must render to them conscientiously all that is theirs by contract. If one is a servant in a military way, or in any other way, he should be faithful.
This will not interfere with one’s service to God; for our Lord has instructed us to “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.” Whoever is faithful in this is doing the will of his Heavenly Master. There would be no conflict, but full harmony. The only conflict would be if the master on earth should wish us to do something contrary to the commands of our Master in heaven. We are to suffer anything rather than do what our Heavenly Lord would not approve, and thus defile our consciences.
Looking into the future, we see that the present master, ruler, of this old order is soon to be bound, that he may deceive the nations no more for a thousand years, and that the new ruler, the new master of the world, is to be The Christ ─ Jesus and His Church. We ask ourselves how this principle will apply then. The answer is that there will be only the one Master to obey. There will be no rendering unto Caesar then. All will be made fully aware that this Master is the only one who has the power, the right to command. The knowledge of God’s glory shall fill the whole earth ─ the knowledge of God’s righteousness, the knowledge of God’s power, the knowledge of God’s wisdom, the knowledge of God’s love. Whatever he commands is the right thing, as every one will then learn and fully understand.
THE SCRIPTURALLY “WICKED”
In the Scriptures Satan is represented as the deceiver of mankind. He puts light for darkness and darkness for light. God’s proposition through Christ is that during the thousand years of the Millennial reign, the whole world will be brought to the true knowledge of God, an accurate knowledge. Deception will be no longer permitted. The world will see what righteousness really is, what its rewards really are, and how desirable it is. As a consequence, the majority will then, we think, be glad to give heed to the one Master. The exceptions are represented as having the same disposition as Satan; and whoever will have that disposition will be destroyed. When a person comes to know the right and when the right is made reasonable, and possible for him, and he then prefers to do wrong rather than right, let him die the death. This will be the sentence. Such will be counted “the wicked,” the incorrigible.
The word “wicked” from the Scriptural standpoint means those who do wrong intentionally. So all the wicked, knowing the wrong to be wrong, and doing it willfully and purposely, shall die the Second Death. In due time none shall be left alive except those who serve the one true Master. The difficulty with mankind at present is ignorance, which God has not yet lifted from the world. He has permitted the ignorance and darkness of the present time that the world may learn its lesson of the exceeding sinfulness of sin, and be the better prepared for the lessons that are to follow. “The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them that believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ should shine unto them.” But these blinded minds shall soon have the obstructions removed that they may see.
Those who have become children of the light, who have accepted the Lord Jesus and become his disciples, and who now see clearly the Divine will and plan, have much more responsibility than those who have never seen. We also have greater prospects of blessing ─ not only the present joy, comfort, peace and knowledge, but additionally the hopes of making our “calling and election sure,” of attaining to joint-heirship with the Master. God will leave the scattering of the darkness for Christ to do. God has let the world go on its way, meantime providing the Savior, the Deliverer ─ The Christ ─ who will soon take control of the whole world. He will cause the light, the truth, to shine out, to flood the earth with knowledge and blessing. Then with the true light shining everywhere, there will be no excuse for anybody who will not walk in it; each one must then choose finally whether or not he will serve the true Master.
(Pastor Russell, Reprint 5666,5667, April 1, 1914)
In the January-February 2006, issue of The Bible Standard there is an explanation given on The Lake of Fire. By and large it is correct, but we were disappointed that a more complete explanation was not given for Revelation 20:14. At the bottom of page 10 it is stated that “the statement, death and hades were cast into the lake of fire, is merely another way of explaining to us that Adamic death (the curse of death that comes to us as the result of original sin) and the grave connected therewith, will be no more.”
This is not altogether wrong, but it is not the full explanation. Geneses 2:17 (marginal reading) says “dying thou shalt die.” The process of dying began immediately, but Adam experienced 930 years of dying before he actually reached the death condition (hades). If the death sentence had been carried out immediately, Adam would have died there and then, and would have had no posterity to experience dying and death. So the word “death” in Rev. 20:14 refers to the dying condition, and “hades” to the death state, the grave. Some of his posterity experience very little of the dying condition, while others experience a lot and all reach the death state. The Lake of Fire is correctly stated as the Second Death.
Let me take heart! the present scene shall soon be o’er;
The clustering clouds shall hide the sun at noon no more.
The tears now dropping from mine eyes shall be forgot;
And joys, undimmed by sin and misery, my lot.
The storm now sweeping through the troubled sky be past;
The longed-for morning without clouds arise at last.
The hindmost shadow soon shall utterly depart;
Then let me watch and wait, and hopefully take heart.