Deathisdefeated

O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

Heard Greg Laurie on the radio today, and he was answering bible questions. One question asked if this is the only day of salvation. He said yes, and if a sinner doesn't accept Christ now, in this life, then there are no future opportunities. His proof text was Hebrews 9:27

"27And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, 

28so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him."

I have many reasons to reject his interpretation of these verses, but I would like to ask you, the audience of this board, what you believe on this topic. But keep in mind that preterism believes the judgment has already occurred. So if you believe that those who die in sin today are still waiting for THEIR judgment, when exactly is that judgment going to occur for them? Just saying....let's be consistent...:)

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Comment by davo on July 21, 2015 at 2:08am

Hi Doug… I’d likewise be interested in your thoughts; but as a pantelist this is how I understand Heb 9:27-28.

 

This is one of those passages that’s unfortunately been butchered by theology to say what it doesn’t say. Contrary to how it is treated this is not a universalised verse speaking to the postmortem judgement to all and sundry that pass though death’s veil.

 

In context this priestly passage speaks of the ministration of “those men” i.e., the High Priests and their annual and perpetual presenting of themselves sacrificially to die (metaphorically by bearing the judgment Ex 28:30b) ON BEHALF OF, as representatives of, the people, so that the people didn’t die… which in symbolic practice was in turn transferred to the animal. Hebrews is all about “the better…” in this case, High Priest; as opposed to “those men” i.e., the High Priests year by year.

 

This understanding (from the broader context) of “those men” as referencing the High Priests comes out in the Greek text, which English translations gloss right over…

 

καὶ καθ' ὅσον ἀπόκειται τος νθρποις ἅπαξ ἀποθανεῖ, μετὰ δὲ τοῦτο κρίσις, οὕτως καὶ ὁ Χριστός, ἅπαξ προσενεχθεὶς εἰς τὸ πολλῶν ἀνενεγκεῖν ἁμαρτίας, ἐκ δευτέρου χωρὶς ἁμαρτίας ὀφθήσεται τος αὐτὸν ἀπεκδεχομένοις εἰς σωτηρίαν. 

 

The Greek word τος (tois) means “those” or “these” and thus the text should read…

 

Heb 9:27-28 And as it is appointed [yearly] for those men [the high priests] to die once [ceremonially], but after this the judgment [acceptance-acquittal], so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.

 

Those two little highlighted words “as” and “so” i.e., “likewise”, show that Christ’s offering of himself was in the same high priestly vein as “those men” previously referred to in Heb 9:25; His sacrifice of course being “better” in that it was “once for all".

Comment by Doug on July 21, 2015 at 9:13am

Davo,

You might be on to something, but I can't find many translations that agree with yours. Here is what the Mounce Interlinear Greek says:

 And kai just kata as hosos it is appointed apokeimai for ho mortals anthrōpos to die apothnēskō once hapax, and de after meta that houtos to experience judgment krisis,

And here in Youngs Literal Translation it says:

"27 and as it is laid up to men once to die, and after this -- judgment,

Apparently your Greek comes from the Interlinear, where the definite article (tois) is supplied. I am surmising that in order to translate from Greek to English, the definite article was left out for clarity. This is common in Greek, and most latin languages. For example, the literal translation for the word "brothers" in Spanish is "hermanos", but when you are referring to brothers, like if you said "the brothers", you have to prefix it with the definite article "los", which means, in English, "the", so that when you speak Spanish, you would say "los hermanos". If you left it out, your audience would be confused. Greek is the same way.

If the English translators had included tois in their translation of Hebrews 9:27, it would have sounded strange. It would have been rendered "the mortals" or "those mortals" or "the many men", so they mostly translated it as "men".

My question then becomes why? Why would the translators leave out at least some equivalent word to render it more intelligible and clear? After all, the definite article, in this case, is important.

Furthermore, what version of the Greek were they working from? As you see above, the Mounce and Young's literal leave it out. What was their source material? I looked at four Greek sources, and they all agree with yours. Apparently the Interlinear is backed by the Strongs Concordance, whereas the Mounce parallels with Young's concordance.

I am puzzled by this, but your explanation makes sense, if it is correct from the source, especially knowing the Hebrew audience. 

The question now is how and why practically all English translations leave out the article, unless they were working from a different source than we have today. Furthermore, I can see how even good translators would gloss over an original error perpetuated in English. 

Now, allow me to throw out for discussion my own take on this passage.

My emphasis would not be on the "tois" issue, but instead I focus on the "judgment" part of the text.

As you rightly point out, once a year, if atonement wasn't offered, the nation would be under condemnation and judgment would fall on them. You also rightly pointed out that this "judgment" could just as well be acceptance or acquittal. 

Why do we automatically think, even in the erroneous way this verse is translated, that if men physically die "once", that they have to automatically be condemned? After all, judgment, even in courts today, can include aquittal as much as it can be condemnation! But there is this negative view of God by people today (and that includes non-believers) that God is waiting to pounce on them.

Isn't the message of the gospel that we have been accepted in Jesus? If therefore we are no longer under condemnation (as those who would have been if the high priest had not entered the holy place once a year), why do we assume that after death, those who died without Christ are automatically condemned?

It is my belief that those who die without Christ, at the judgment seat (for we all must appear), will indeed be shown clearly their sins. Think about this process for just a moment...Isn't that what ALL of us who are redeemed have to go through also? Do we not all, who believe in Christ, have to first be condemned and know we are guilty before God? Why therefore is it beyond our belief that physical death has to stop the judgment process? As it is written, those who fall on Christ shall be broken in pieces, but those on whom the Son falls shall be ground to powder!

Current orthodox christianity tells us that judgment happens immediately after death for the sinner, and he is judged to go to hell. For some reason, he has to languish in hell until "judgment day" when Christ returns, and THEN he will be thrown right back in to hell. Conversely (and perversely), the believer goes immediately to heaven without judgment. How can that be? Logically there is no logic if you wish to make Heb 9:27 say what it says in English, because judgment comes AFTER death for some, but PRIOR to death for others.

I do not dispute that we who are in Christ have already been judged. Furthermore I say that we were found guilty, but we found mercy and grace, we repented, and we were accepted. Non believers have yet to face the same judgment that applies to us. Why are we given that opportunity now? Because we are the "firstfruits". Of necessity FIRST fruits implies LAST fruits. Logically If not fruits in the future, then there can be no fruits NOW and we would not be, and Christ would not be, the "first" fruits!

Am I proposing universalism? Not at all. As I have often said here, for God to be just, and for Him to give all people freedom of choice, there must BE A CHOICE TO MAKE! Our current world's system does not give most people any choice at all. But why then must there be this artificial wall between physical life and death in which time you must make a choice about that which you never knew?

I know that I am criticized for calling this post-mortem salvation. But I am not saying that. I am saying that there is nothing I can find in the bible that forces acceptance of Christ in this life. I brought up this scripture (Heb 9:27-28) because it is so often used as a proof text to say that we must accept Christ in this life. 

Thanks Davo for adding your comment. I had not considered the definite article part of the verse, but it agrees with what I believe and just adds more credence to it. But I am still curious as to why "tois" has been left out of most English translations.

What do you think?

Comment by davo on July 21, 2015 at 10:17am

Doug: But I am still curious as to why "tois" has been left out of most English translations.

 

It is left out IMO for no other reason than translational bias, i.e., theological “meaning” is broadly assumed therefore clarity of Greek text is less a priority to theological position. As for Mounce and Young’s versions… again they are translations, not Greek texts themselves.

 

On hand I have Nestle’s Greek Text, The Majority Greek Text and The Received Greek Text and they all supply τος (tois) = those. It’s interesting that the English rendition “those” IS given in verse 28 but conveniently glossed over in verse 27… it’s the EXACT same Greek word!

 

Doug: After all, judgment, even in courts today, can include aquittal as much as it can be condemnation!

 

Well that’s just it, if I wasn’t going to make the case as I have (according to the text) and run more with your thoughts (which in the past I have likewise considered) …then the Judge gives his verdict (judgment) “NOT guilty!” – that’s what Christ secured. <-- I’m all for this.

 

Doug: Because we are the "firstfruits". Of necessity FIRST fruits implies LAST fruits.

 

Now in your OP you pushed for being prêteristically “consistent”… that being the case I have to differ with you on this. 1) “We” are NOT the “firstfruits” – the disciples and first believers were, not us. 2) Nowhere in Scripture is there any skerrick of this idea of LAST or second fruits. No, the firstfruits sanctify the whole harvest, period. Jesus was the FIRST of the firstfruits, and those “called” joined his firstfruits mission ON BEHALF OF Israel and consequently humanity. THEY not us were the “church of the firstborn ones” of Heb 12:23… I supply “ones” to indicate that “firstborn” in this verse is in the plural, speaking of believers NOT Jesus himself as is again typically assumed.

 

Doug: Am I proposing universalism? Not at all. As I have often said here, for God to be just, and for Him to give all people freedom of choice, there must BE A CHOICE TO MAKE!

 

Universalism per se applied to historic Israel as in Paul’s “all Israel”… the CHOICE however had/has nothing to do with postmortem destinies but everything to do with antemortem service to God – big difference that moves the landscape somewhat once grasped, IMO.

Comment by Doug on July 21, 2015 at 12:20pm

Davo,

Good comments again. I suppose where we most disagree is in the firstfruits issue. You maintain that only the first century christians were the "first". I understand where you are coming from on this, but OTOH, seeing it from my paradigm, if one assumes that there MAY be a post-mortem judgment for non-believers, then I am coming at it from that idea. You are seeing it as a temporal issue based on time here on earth and being limited to things happening before 70AD. The problem with that is that 70AD was all about judgment on the Jews, not on Gentiles. So what then of converted gentiles prior to 70AD? Why would they also be firstfruits? If so, then their firstfruit status has nothing to do with judgment on Jerusalem, and it should not logically have 70AD as the cutoff date for them to no longer be firstfruits.

I see firstfruits as pertaining to everyone who accepts Christ in this life, for we are all the same in Christ. If Christ was the firstfruit, then we are too. Why should we be limited to a different status than the first century saints? But those who do not accept Christ in this life would not be firstfruits.

A firstfruit, as understood in the ANE mind was the fruit that flowered first. It was picked first and savored first. In most cases it was also sweeter and more valuable. Fruit that came later was more abundant. But it all came from the same plant, it was nothing more than the timing of its fruition that made the distinction. Firstfruit offerings were also consecrated to God, as were the firstborn humans and cattle. 

All I am saying is that you limit firstfruits to things prior to 70AD, and I see no reason to do that. And as far as "lastfruits" are concerned, my point was not about scripture mentioning anyone being last, it was about the logic of the necessity of there being something that comes later, since "first" is being singled out specifically. You can't have a first unless you have something coming afterwards.

Comment by davo on July 23, 2015 at 9:12am

Doug: The problem with that is that 70AD was all about judgment on the Jews, not on Gentiles. 

 

That’s a wrong assumption… Paul makes it clear the any Gentile believer toying with the idea of falling away to Judaism that they would come under the self-same dire end as his countrymen of the flesh. Consider also for one Acts 17:31 in light of Paul’s address to the “men of Athens” i.e., gentiles.

 

Doug: Why would they also be firstfruits?

 

Because due to Israel’s hardness of heart such were called to provoke Israel to jealousy; consider…

 

Acts 13:48; 15:14, 17 Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed. … Simon has declared how God at the first visited the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His name. … So that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord, even all the Gentiles who are called by My name, says the Lord who does all these things.’

 

These Gentiles were indeed part of that firstfruits ministry.

 

Doug: I see firstfruits as pertaining to everyone who accepts Christ in this life, for we are all the same in Christ.

 

Here’s a logical question that has significant implications for your position given what you’re saying here. IF “everyone who accepts Christ in this life” are the firstfruit saints then, who are they sanctifying? Biblically speaking both those who do the sanctifying and those who by their actions are duly sanctified are of the one stock, as you put it “it all came from the same plant”.

 

Doug: But those who do not accept Christ in this life would not be firstfruits.

 

Ergo… “those who do not accept Christ in this life” being fully sanctified by your firstfruit saints in this life must needs be part of the family postmortem – ok, so HOW (apart from just denying it, but that is unsatisfactory) is this not a form of the universalism you deny? Remembering of course your stated criterion “let's be consistent”.

 

Doug: A firstfruit, as understood in the ANE mind was the fruit that flowered first.

 

That’s nice for the ANE but the OT is even more specific in its purpose of such… again, the firstfruits were dedicated to sanctify the ENTIRE harvest. This was Israel’s ultimate purpose as Yahweh’s priestly plot… to sanctify the world, i.e., to make humanity “acceptable” to God…

 

Jer 2:3a Israel was holy to the Lord, the firstfruits of his harvest.

 

THAT cannot be ANY clearer IMO; if Israel was the firstfruits and Israel was drawn out of the nations then WHO was the harvest they were dedicated to sanctify… the logic is not rocket science. Thus come to the NT and HOW this played out through Jesus and His firstfruit saints ON BEHALF OF “all Israel” and thus in consequence for the world beyond in fulfilment of the aforementioned Jeremiah text…

 

Rom 11:12, 15 Now if their [Israel's] fall is riches for the world [humanity], and their [Israel's] failure riches for the Gentiles [firstfruit saints Acts 13:48; 15:14, 17], how much more their [Israel's] fullness! … For if their [Israel] being cast away [by God] is the reconciling of the world [humanity], what will their [Israel's] acceptance [by God] be but life [redemptive resurrection] from the dead?

Comment by Eohn Rhodes on July 23, 2015 at 1:03pm

Hi davo,

I can't help but chime in here. That is great insight. It helps to explain why the priests were afraid they would not come out of God's presence alive. But, adding words like "time" is just as bad as ignoring words like "those" or "out".  

καὶ καθ' ὅσον ἀπόκειται τος νθρποις ἅπαξ ἀποθανεῖ, μετὰ δὲ τοῦτο κρίσις, οὕτως καὶ ὁ Χριστός, ἅπαξ προσενεχθεὶς εἰς τὸ πολλῶν ἀνενεγκεῖν ἁμαρτίας, ἐκ δευτέρου χωρὶς ἁμαρτίας ὀφθήσεται τος αὐτὸν ἀπεκδεχομένοις εἰς σωτηρίαν. 

ἐκ δευτέρου χωρὶς ἁμαρτίας = out of second apart from missing

Those eagerly waiting for him were those who were in the new covenant. The sacrifice was made in the old but raised to life into the new holy place. Everyone in the new covenant lived in the holy place now. The priesthood was inside the 'first curtain' and watching the 'second curtain'.

Since you are looking at the Greek and emphasizing the priesthood, isn't it obvious that the high priest is coming out of the second room not coming back a second time. He hasn't been seen as completing their salvation for another season (eternity) until he comes out of the Most Holy Place the first time. The resurrection was Him coming out of death and Hades and into the new Holy Place as first born priest  of the new, thus able to enter God's presence (ascension) and come out alive without an animal sacrifice; for the first time.

The sacrifice was not made in the Most Holy place. It had to be taken into the inner room. This is the first time it would be taken already slain yet alive. He is the first high priest who did not need a substitute for himself. He took His raised and perfected human in on behalf of us. God accepted His faultless humanity as head of the covenant that needs no more blood sacrifice. The sacrifice was an old covenant rescue and reestablishment.

Just as you said, Greek words are randomly ignored of mistranslated to fit preconceptions and with today's technology it should become obvious to everyone.  

Comment by davo on July 25, 2015 at 11:34pm

Eohn: …isn't it obvious that the high priest is coming out of the second room not coming back a second time.

 

Actually I think in this case both are probably view. Your “coming back” is a bit like your previously noted “time” comment, i.e., it’s inserted to give a sense of meaning ‘in English’. The question then is, is this an accurate handling of the text? Thus your “coming back” in the Gk text is simply “appear” – either ‘again’ or ‘second time’ i.e., his “reappearance” – evidencing the acceptance of the offering etc.

 

Now the reason it would make sense to consider “a second time” is that ὀφθήσεται ofthēstai which = “appear” is in the future tense i.e., “will appear”… hence the eager expectation of those waiting for said “reappearance” – given that it wasn’t quite yet a completed and present reality. I have some further thoughts on this HERE.

Comment by Eohn Rhodes on July 26, 2015 at 9:50am

davo,

Okay i read the very good article. I also checked the definition for 'tois' and it can mean 'those'. It does seem to be a corporate judgement in view here. Individual judgement would depend on which covenant they took shelter under: the old or the new.

You did not address the Greek word 'ek' , which means, out, or what the words first and second refer to in context; as they are used at the beginning of Hebrews chapter 9. Okay it is future tense but in context he is coming out of the second room for His reappearance. If he is coming out a second time then, in context, this is not his first sacrifice as high priest.

Comment by davo on July 27, 2015 at 3:56am

Eohn: I also checked the definition for 'tois' and it can mean 'those'.

 

:) not so much can… it predominately does, cf 11:6, 31 etc.

 

Eohn: It does seem to be a corporate judgement in view here.

 

Yes indeed as that’s the flavour of the whole chapter.

 

Eohn: Individual judgement would depend on which covenant they took shelter under: the old or the new.

 

As I understand it… the only place where “individual” plays any role in this Hebrews scenario is that of “the high priest” himself and that in terms of covenant representative ON BEHALF OF the collective or corporate whole; the firstfruits always makes acceptable the whole.

 

Eohn: You did not address the Greek word 'ek' , which means, out, or what the words first and second refer to in context; as they are used at the beginning of Hebrews chapter 9.

 

The reason I haven’t so much touched your “first” type argument is that it doesn’t appear as such in the text along the lines you are suggesting and thus to the end you are trying to make (I’m not discounting it either – read my original “both” comment). But having said that... you have introduced a thought around “He hasn't been seen as completing their salvation for another season (eternity) until he comes out of the Most Holy Place the first time” that raise questions:

 

1) This “another season (eternity)” seems more a theological construct as opposed to what the text is actually saying.

 

2) Your “until he comes out of the Most Holy Place the first time” forms the basis then for your ensuing argument. It wasn’t a case of the high priest coming out (ἐκ) of Holy of Hollies a first, second or third times etc… the whole national sacrifice occurred but “once” and that annually. His coming out (ἐκ) to those eagerly waiting, to being seen or appearing “a second time” had the do with him exiting the entire precinct itself for the people (to where THEY were) as proof positive that national renewal was theirs.

 

Remember, and this is a key point which is the basis for the HP being seen again… these priests (of which the high priest was the key part) were entering in and out (Heb 9:6) of the sanctuary as part of their Temple duties – the HP however stayed in their UNTIL reappearing, or a second time etc, again to the those eagerly waiting.

Comment by Eohn Rhodes on July 27, 2015 at 11:05am

davo,

So if I understand you rightly, this is your translation from the Greek text that you displayed for Hebrews 9:27 : And as it is appointed [yearly] for those men [the high priests] to die once[ceremonially], but after this the judgment [acceptance-acquittal],

,which I am perfectly okay with.

And then you got this from the Greek text for Hebrews 9:28: so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.

You do agree that He came out from the most Holy Place. Don't you?

If you were fair and unbiased wouldn't you put 'time' in brackets and put 'out from' somewhere in the translation of 9:28?

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