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to be dying once, yet after this a judging

29-03-2012 - Posted by Andre Piet

27 And, in as much as it is reserved to the men to be dying once, yet after this a judging, 28 thus Christ also, being offered once for the bearing of the sins of many, will be seen a second time, by those awaiting Him, apart from sin, for salvation, through faith. Hebrews 9

Hebrews 9:27 is usually cited to show that, normally, a man dies once and after that awaits him the judgment or the judging. In general, this is true, although there are exceptions. Some people have already died twice. For example, the daughter of Jairus, Lazarus and others who, by Jesus or the apostles, were raised from the dead. Later on, all these people died again. However, there also will be a generation of believers who will not die, at all (1Cor.15:51). But apart from that, a human being dies once and after this awaits him the Great White Throne judgment (Rev.20) or for believers now, the bema, which is the podium (usually wrongly listed as “the judgment seat”; 2Cor.5:10). Yet, it is questionable whether all of this is about Hebrews 9:27. Are “the people” in that verse, the people in general or is it specifically about the high priest(s) under the old covenant (9:25)? And still another question: about which judgment is it speaking in this text? Please take careful note that Heb.9:27 is the first part of a comparison, followed in verse 28 with, “thus Christ also …”. The one-time dying in (:27) is compared with the one-time offer (:28) of Christ. The “after this the judgment” (verse 27) is compared to being seen a second time, by those awaiting Him, apart from sin, for salvation” (: 28). In other words, the judgment here is mentioned in an extremely positive comparison! Do we keep ourselves to the context of Hebrews 9, which deals with high priests, then it brings us automatically to a well-known provision in the law of Moses. High Priests die once … and then?

28 for he (the manslayer) should dwell in his city of asylum until the death of the high priest. Yet AFTER THE DEATH OF THE HIGH PRIEST the manslayer may return to the land of his holding. 29 These will be for you a statute of judgment throughout your generations in all your dwellings. Numbers 35

If someone had, unintentionally, killed another, then there was the possibility for the manslayer to flee to one of the six cities where he had to continue living. Only after the death of the high priest, would follow the judgment of acquittal, which allowed the manslayer to return to the land of his possession. The deeper typological layers, for now, I will leave alone for what they are. I will confine myself now to the conclusion that after the death of the high priest the judgment of acquittal followed. Does this not cause Hebrews 9:27 to stand in a surprisingly new light?   ——————————— translation: Peter Feddema