The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Does Hebrews 9:27 refute universalism?

Notice it doesn’t say “it is appointed for man to die once and then go to eternal torture”


The judgement is based on your works

no, it does not.
no flavour of UR of which i know teaches that you die several times…just once.
as redhotmagma says, judgement and punishment are not the same. this judgement is only one based on works, where our works are tested by fire.
if our works are good, we’ll be rewarded, but if not, they will be burned to ash and we’ll suffer loss…but we ourselves shall be saved. (1 Cortinthians 3:15)

Amen redhotmagma and corpselight. :slight_smile:

This passage says this in context: **23 It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with human hands that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. 25 Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. 26 Otherwise Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, 28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. **

You need to read this passage in context. It is one of the most mis-quoted passages ever! It has nothing to do with how many chances a man has to repent. It has nothing to do with whether or not he will have a chance to repent after he dies. ** It is talking about how many times Jesus needed to die for our sins - ONCE!! ** My Grandpa died in 1964. At some point in the future he will face judgment. God gives no indication about what takes place between 1964 and judgment. The scripture is quite silent. It shocks me how much this is taken out of context. Read the whole chapter and see what they are talking about. The subject at hand is not man and how many chances he does or does not get to repent.

That scripture is the ONLY “evidence” that infernalists can give that there is no opportunity for repentance after physical death. I always used to think they must have loads more scriptures, and that one or more of the others would prop this one up. Because even then I knew this one wasn’t able to prove on its own what they used it to prove. But this is ALL THEY HAVE! Boy, it sure shows that a person should always check for himself!

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?” … a-judging/

JRP’s Exegetical Compilation: Hebrews 9:27: … =12&t=4396

Heb.9:27 says it is appointed to men once to die. Does that deny men can die twice? No. Does it say “only” once? No. If New England is appointed to play the Buffalo Bills twice, does that deny they won’t meet again in the playoffs? No. How many times did those raised before the general resurrections die?

I think, in light of the Rapture theory, many Christians would disagree with the statement that “100% of mankind will die and face judgment”. Not only that, but Hebrews 9:27 does not say men are “only” going to die once. Lazarus, for one, is a Biblical example of one who died twice & the book of Revelation speaks of the “second death”."

I already provided examples proving Heb.9:27 does not mean death occurs “once & only once”. If it did there would be a Bible contradiction & the Bible would be lying.

Paul says “once was i stoned” (2 Cor.11:25). Does that mean he could never be stoned again or stoned twice? Obviously not.

How sad it is that so many Damnationists err in claiming Hebrews 9:27 proves there is no salvation after death.

Scripture reveals there are those who will not die even once & implies there are those who will die at least a second time.
There are those who will never die, not even once:

1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 says: “For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the
coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the
voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be
caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.”

The reference to Hebrews 9:27 does not speak of “an expiration date” for salvation or God’s love. After death comes judgement for all, sinners & saints. Judgement is a good thing:

“When your judgments come upon the earth, the people of the world learn righteousness.” (Isa.26:9)

The Greek word for “chastening” here can mean correction:

The Lord is acquainted with the rescue of the devout out of trial, yet is keeping the unjust for chastening in the day of judging. (2 Pet.2:9)

Heb.10:28 A man that hath set at nought Moses’ law dieth without compassion on the word of two or three witnesses: 29 of how much sorer punishment, think ye, shall he be judged worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

Stoning to death is not a very sore or longlasting punishment. People suffered far worse deaths via the torture methods of the eternal hell believing Medieval Inquisitionists and the German Nazis under Hitler.

Therefore, if the writer of Hebrews believed the wicked would be punished with something so monstrous as being endlessly annihilated or tormented, he would not have chosen to compare their punishment to something so lame as being stoned to death. Clearly he did not believe Love Omnipotent is an unfeeling terminator machine or sadist who abandons forever the beings He created in His own image & likeness so easily.

Heb.1:2a in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all

Heb.1:3b When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high

Heb.2:2b every transgression and disobedience received a just penalty

Heb.2:6 But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him?
7 Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands:

8 Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put
under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.

9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by
the grace of God should taste death for every man.

14 Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render
powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,

15 And might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.

The following is from my post HERE where I lay out a totally different take on this Hebrews passage, from a pantelist perspective…

I tease this passage out further over HERE.

Did you read my linked article?? The High Priest once a year in entering the Tabernacle went in “not without blood” i.e., the death (a dying) on his and Israel’s behalf… he died in the sacrifice ceremoniously, figuratively speaking; and then by extension the people, etc. This was laid out in the ceremonial garb and practice as established under the Aaronic Priesthood (Ex 28:30b; 30:10), where they bore the judgement and made atonement. Thus were “these/those men” <τοῖς ἀνθρώποις> tois anthrōpois, i.e., the high priests appointed to die once — annually, and as it turned out, repetitively.

The high priests were “appointed” — NOT all men of Israel, but specific ones…

Again… for the high priest to die consider the context:

The old covenant was the first testament… and Moses was its testator. But that testament was in force obviously before Moses died, temporally, i.e., ceremonially/figuratively; thus the type of death meant.

The death of these animals, i.e., “the shedding of bloodwas by way a figure of speechthe death of Moses — the testator of the first testament, and subsequent high priests being duly appointed once, that is, annually, to offer said sacrifices, as Moses did. Hence it can be said… they were appointed to die, as had Moses the testator of the first testament; figuratively speaking. With the high priests’ function fulfilled the atonement then flowed to all Israel.

Well yeah, it was once a year but perpetually… whereas in finality Jesus’ sacrifice was once for all, permanently.

Davo, I’m not sure what you are saying, but the way I understand it is that Moses gave the SAME testimony of God that Jesus gave, which was the “bread of life”.
Deut. 32:1-4 says this: “Give ear, O heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth. Let my teaching drop as rain, my speech distill as the dew, as raindrops on the tender herb, and as showers on the grass. For I proclaim the name of the Lord; ascribe greatness to our God. He is the Rock, his work is perfect; for all his ways are justice, a God of truth and without injustice; righteous and upright is He.”

However, after Moses died, some went their own way and put a new priest in office, one that was more convenient and agreeable to their ways. Thus the Law was changed by the hands of men as it says in Deut. 31:29 “For I know that after my death you will become utterly corrupt and turn aside from the way which I commanded you, and evil will befall you in the latter days, because you will do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke Him to anger through the work of YOUR hands.”

That is to be expected and I’m ok with that, I don’t have a need for you to agree.

These so called shepherds or “high priests” were perpetually offering worthless sacrifices to God, leading people astray into thinking that such were the ways of the one true living God. On the contrary, we are to perpetually offer sacrifices that are pleasing to God as it says in Hebrews 13:16, “Therefore let us CONTINUALLY offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to his name. But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” Again in Romans 21:1 "I beseech you brethren by the mercies of God that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy acceptable to God which is your reasonable service.

This was a convenient sacrifice. Instead of actually putting away their sin and going out to do the REAL work of God, they’d just sin, cut up a few birds, bulls, lambs or whatever else, burn some incense, say their ten hail Mary’s and be good to go. However, this is not the way things work.

That’s a given. :open_mouth:

I’m ok if you want to study this further for yourself… my thoughts on this passage are mine although not unique, but in relation to the question raised by the thread and while not defending ‘universalism’ my response would be — hardly.

Like I said, my pantelist position is not unique… check out this Universalist from the 1800’s, Erasmus ManfordHERE pg. 85-86, and HERE pg. 111-112, who in-kind notes the “these men” of Heb 9:27 was applicable to the then Judaic priesthood, and is NOT broadly nor universally applicable to postmortem ‘judgement’ realities.

It was this same “these men” <τοῖς ἀνθρώποις> tois anthrōpois that first gained my attention to draw the same conclusion as Manford that I subsequently found, thus solidifying for me this reading. It surprises me somewhat that ‘universalists’ can’t grasp these clear prêteristic overtones of scripture given the strong prêteristic theology of 18-19th century Universalists.


I can’t say that I do, but I’ve given you more than a few resource links for you to do some of your own legwork in finding these things… happy hunting. :slight_smile:

That verse does not deny either:

1] the lost being saved after death & before judgement, or

2] the lost becoming saved after death & judgement

No, I think just the opposite… It’s given unto men once to die (because of sin/“missing the mark”) - If ECT thinks of the lake of fire as the second death and also as hell… well if men die once and not twice, then it’s obvious they will not be in the lake of fire. I know many CU believers believe those not yet saved will be resurrected and then go to the lake of fire, but I think judgment ‘day’ must surely be a very long ‘day’, and I figure it’s only at the end of that day that all those (still) not recorded in the book of life, will go to the second death - but normally, it’s given unto men once to die… I think it’s possible a very few totally hard cases may hold out (possibly) and will find their selves in the lake of fire with the devil and his angels being purified of all their dross… But the lake of fire was created for the devil and his angels. Anything beyond that, I would assume is not actually God’s will… so why would it happen so terribly much? I do believe there is a spiritual lake of fire operational during this life (and during judgment ‘day’) and is the baptism of fire and repentance we all experience.
God bless. (Newbie here.) :slight_smile:

koine_lingua posted:

Anyone who knows anything about the Greek of the New Testament (and elsewhere) knows that extraneous articles are used all the time, and that very frequently it’s not at all meaningful. (The converse holds true, too; and it’s the reason why you don’t see John 1:1c translated as “The Word was a god.”)

You say “most translators” do this… but who is this “most”? Looking at the most popular English translations, only KJV has “the judgment,” whereas NRSV, NIV, ESV, NASB, NET et al. don’t.

The presence of an article does nothing to suggest that a particular group is being referred to. This is especially clear in the fact that, if the author had wanted to make it clear that a particular group (“those” men) was being referred to, there was an unambiguous way (in Greek) to do this: by using a demonstrative pronoun like ἐκεῖνος or οὗτος… and yet the author did not utilize this.

Beyond this, though, your scenario about the priests on Yom Kippur experiencing a symbolic death and “judgment” strains all credulity. By far the most parsimonious and critically well-supported interpretation here is that Heb 9:27 refers to the death of (all) humans and the judgment that was thought to take place after death.

Also, FWIW: we have parallels to the saying here that humans are appointed to die only once: e.g. Odyssey 12.22, ἄλλοι] ἅπαξ θνῄσκουσ᾽ ἄνθρωποι, and perhaps also the parenthetical note ὥσπερ ἀνάγκη ἁπλῶς θνῃσκέτω in Plato, Laws 946e. Further, the idea of (immediate) postmortem judgment was commonplace in contemporary Greek and Jewish thought; though for a diversity of opinion about what exactly judgment refers to here (or rather when it’s enacted), cf. this comment of David deSilva:

(Though for the idea of immediate postmortem judgment, cf. Plato, Gorgia 523b, with judges ἐκείνῃ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ δικάζοντες ᾗ μέλλοιεν τελευτᾶν.)