Second coming at the end of Heb 9


Hello Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I’m having some trouble understanding the following few lines with respect to Christ’s second coming and specifically the state of the dead.

Heb 9:26-28 (RSV-CE)
26: for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the age to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
27: And just as it is appointed for men to die once, and after that comes judgment,
28: so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

I interpret verse 26 to mean that he has conquered sin by his sacrifice and the “end of the age” refers to the age of Levitical priesthood (through which perfection was not attainable cf. Heb 7:11-12).

Verses 27 and 28 are more difficult, though. Verse 27 says that judgement comes after death, but does not specify if it is immediate or when this judgement occurs. Now, in verse 28, when Christ appears a second time to “save those who are eagerly waiting for him,” are those who have already passed on “eagerly waiting for him” or, in God’s infinite realm where time does not exist linearily as it does for us, have they already received the fruit of the second coming and entered into heaven? Are we, the people still alive on earth, then, the only ones left who “are eagerly waiting for him”?

If anyone has any ideas or other references where I could get a more detailed analysis of this passage, it would be greatly appreciated. I’m in a Bible study group and we are covering this chapter next week…I’d really like to be prepared:)




Here’s the skinny:

When each of us dies, our souls are immediately taken to the presence of God and judged. This is called the Particular Judgment. At this point we begin our eternal destiny. If we are going to hell, our souls go directly there. If we are deemed worthy of heaven, our souls will go directly to heaven, or if we are going to heaven but are in need of purification, we may go to Purgatory first (everyone in Purgatory will eventually go to heaven). Whatever our fate, our souls will stay there until the end of time.

At the Second Coming at the end of time, those Christians still alive will be taken to heaven (what some Protestants think of as of the rapture). Then will occur the General Judgment. At that time the living and the dead will be reunited with their bodies and brought together in God’s presence and judged before all. Those who have already been judged in the Particular Judgment will be brought from wherever their souls were -heaven, hell or Purgatory-- and have their judgment confirmed before all.

After this, time and Purgatory will be no more and all will enter with their souls and bodies into their eternal destiny, either hell or heaven.

This is an extremely bare-bones sketch, so if you want to get the details, see the five articles I linked below:


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