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Hebrews 9:23-28 (ESV):

23 Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. 25 Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, 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 ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 And just as it is appointed for man 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.

Is the passage implying that only those who eagerly await the second coming of Christ will be saved? If so, does this mean that after Christ's second coming it will no longer be possible to wait for something that already happened and, therefore, there will be no more chances of salvation?


Possibly relevant related question: In Hebrews 9:28 what does it mean Christ comes “to save”?

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  • 1
    There are two main groups that think there will be salvation for some after the "second coming" namely, preterists and some types of futurists who believe in second chances. This is not the places to debate such theologies.
    – Dottard
    Jun 21 at 3:00
0

NIV Hebrews 10:

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. 27Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, 28so 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.

Paul contrasted the repetitiveness of the old sacrifice and the unique once-and-for-all sacrifice of Jesus. Jesus will come for a second time, not to die again, but to save. To save whom?

[and] He will appear
ὀφθήσεται (ophthēsetai)
Verb - Future Indicative Passive - 3rd Person Singular

eagerly await
ἀπεκδεχομένοις (apekdechomenois)
Verb - Present Participle Middle or Passive - Dative Masculine Plural
Strong's 553: To expect eagerly, wait for eagerly, look for. From apo and ekdechomai; to expect fully.

HELPS Word-studies

553 apekdéxomai (from 575 /apó, "away from," 1209 /déxomai, "welcome" and 1557 /ekdíkēsis, "out of") – a triple compound (properly) meaning "welcome from and out of"; waiting that decisively "puts away" all that should remain behind.

The prefix (apo) intensifies the root (dexomai) to emphasize the idea of separation. 553 (apekdéxomai) therefore is used of looking completely away from this world – and to the upcoming redemption of our body.

This is serious waiting, of the decisive and complete kind.

The appearance is in the future tense to save those who are practicing the serious waiting for the 2nd coming and not for those who will be practicing the waiting after the 2nd coming. In fact, the latter is an oxymoron. They don't exist.

Berean Literal Bible 1 Peter 3:20

at one time having disobeyed, when the longsuffering of God was waiting [G553] in the days of Noah, of the ark being prepared, in which a few--that is, eight souls--were saved through water,

The only people who were saved were the ones seriously waiting for the rain in the boat.

Does Hebrews 9:28 imply that no one will be saved after the second coming of Christ other than those who have eagerly waited?

Yes, a strong case can be built for this based on the word meaning of "waiting", the verb tenses, and the parallel between Hebrew 10:28 and 1 Peter 3:20.

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The answer to this question depends on your eschatological viewpoint. And whatever ‘your own’ is - will make a significant difference to your interpretation. I will outline one view for consideration... although reflecting on present comments, this may not be the ‘preferred’ view, as it is a view in a different direction- Nevertheless...

HEB 9:28 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.

The “save those who are eagerly waiting for him” is not referring to salvation. The meaning here is literal. Not ‘spiritual’. That is, saving [physical] life. It refers to the Jews who, at the time of the second coming, are in desperate need of ‘saving’ from the [evil motivated] armies set to invade the land - Israel.

The Jews rejected their Messiah. And Jesus told them they would not ‘see’ him again until they repent.

HOSEA 5:15 I will return again to my place, until they acknowledge their guilt and seek my face and in their distress earnestly seek me.

During the ‘end times’, the period some refer to as the Tribulation, Israel’s neighbours will be amassed against her. In their desperation they will cry out to their Messiah. He will ‘hear’ and come down and save them. Then defeat the ‘evil’ behind [motivating] the opposing nations.

So the ‘saving’ is a literal [physical] savings from their enemies.

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  • i don't get why, "depends on your eschatological viewpoint" has anything to do with it. Just express what the bible teaches without the dark clouds of doctrine. This isn't the place to 'earn points' for telling it like it is. I always read your posts hoping for the word to be expressed plainly.
    – steveowen
    Jun 21 at 4:10
  • @user48152 In my experience ‘ones personal view’ of the second coming has a significant impact on the interpretation of many biblical passages. Example, this one. Those who ascribe to ‘replacement theology’ (church has replaced Israel) will in no way accept the view I presented. Nevertheless, it is presented for consideration. And I hope those who might disagree ‘kickback’ by presenting their views/comments for consideration. [not ‘just’ downvoting]. Let the reader decide. (This (IMO) being a worthwhile function for this forum.)
    – Dave
    Jun 21 at 4:38
  • Most of that is called eisegesis. Letting ones view interpret the bible, and using a proof-text on its own, out of context to declare a 'truth'.
    – steveowen
    Jun 21 at 4:52
  • 1
    @user48152, normally I agree that eisegesis doesn't belong on this site. But there are some cases where objective interpretation isn't possible without choosing a specific point of view. This question is certainly one of those cases. Without knowing precisely what the second coming means and when it happens (e.g. some believe it has already happened), or whether Revelation is John's literal vision of the future or a collection of symbolic metaphors, scriptures such as Hebrews 9:28 will remain ambiguous. I've upvoted this answer even though it is quite different from mine. Jun 21 at 18:22
  • @Ray "Without knowing precisely what the second coming means", exactly! Once this is established outside of 'doctrinal/denom. persuasion', then the rest is plainly presented for those who are able to read. ('with eyes to see') God hasn't been that confusing - a bit veiled to be sure, but consistently uncontradictory. When we think we encounter contradiction - 2 things. Is the bible translation accurate? What else is wrong with our understanding?
    – steveowen
    Jun 21 at 22:34
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I'm going to go with "no", but there's some nuance here.

I'll offer a perspective which requires two introductory assumptions:  

  • The second coming hasn't happened yet 
  • There will be a millennial period after the second coming, as described in Isaiah 11 (others will disagree with these premises and therefore what follows from them as well, but I submit that Isaiah 11:6-9 has not happened yet. However, if these premises are discarded in favor of a preterist view, the answer to the question would again be "no", just for different reasons)

Malachi 4 offers a poignant description of the "day of the Lord" (2nd coming), and the destruction associated with it. Clearly many will be unprepared for that day and will be visited with destruction. I understand the passage in the OP to speak of those who are prepared and are anticipating the millennial state that follows.

To be only slightly tongue-in-cheek, the great and dreadful day of the Lord will be great for those described in Hebrews 9:28, and dreadful for those described in Malachi 4:1.

--

What about before the 2nd coming?

This is the easy one - there have been many righteous people who died prior to the Lord's coming in glory. One of Paul's principal messages to the Thessalonians is that those righteous saints who have died will be fine in eternity.

They won't be eagerly waiting in mortality for the second coming, but no dimension of salvation will be denied them because of the chronology of their birth (see 1 Thess. 4:13-16).

--

What about after the 2nd coming?

A comment suggested that a "no" answer to the OP can only be maintained by preterists, and by some futurists who believe in second chances (what is meant by "second chances" could occupy a lengthy post all its own so I won't take a position on it here). In any event, I'd like to offer an option 3. 

Both Isaiah & Malachi speak of those who will grow up in the millennium. Are their chances for salvation shot because they were born after the second coming? (or, if you like, very very young when it happens) Of course not:

ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. (Malachi 4:2)

And in what is widely held to be one of Isaiah's millennial passages:

6 The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.

...

8 And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den.

There will be children in the millennium. 

Isaiah 7:16 acknowledges what psychology took a few thousand years longer to discover - that there is a time in a child's life where they do not yet know how to choose between good and evil - they are not yet morally accountable.

Putting the two together, there will be people in the millennium who arrive at moral accountability after the second coming of Christ. Are they all hopelessly condemned because of the timing of their birth? To quote Paul, "God forbid".

They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11:9)

This describes a positive time, not a time of universal condemnation.

--

What is salvation

Much could be said about what is meant by "salvation" (σωτηρίαν). For a more extended treatment of scriptural usages of "saved" and "salvation", my thoughts are presented in this video.

To be brief, saved can be used to mean: 

  • Saved from death 
  • Saved from danger 
  • Saved from sin 
  • Saved from this fallen world we live in

And more. I propose that the fullest and most complete sense of the word salvation, and the meaning which is presupposed by Hebrews 9:28, describes "the effect of fully participating in God's plan of salvation".

This salvation will be offered to those who are unborn or extremely young at the time of the second coming--no dimension of salvation will be denied them because of the chronology of their birth.

--

Conclusion

Will salvation cease to be offered after the second coming? No.

Does this suggest not worrying about repentance until the second coming? Absolutely not. 

  • The second coming will be a terrible day for those who are accountable and unprepared (think 10 virgins, parable of the talents, Malachi 4:1) 
  • All of us are potentially one heartbeat away from ending our mortal probation. Humans have a pretty terrible track record as gamblers (would casinos exist if this were not true?). Why gamble with eternity? 
  • The Gospel of Jesus Christ is about becoming (my thoughts on this site here). If we treat it as a checklist to completed at our leisure, we'll find eternally too late that there is no cramming for this exam--because the exam is who we have become.
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It is possible that his second coming is the coming of the Holy Spirit in us.

”Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” (John 14:16; KJV)

But there will probably be another second coming also. One when he puts his feet on the Mount of Olives (Zec 14:4,5); when he comes back with his saints (people who he throughout history has had his secret inner coming in) as an answer to pleas from God fearing people on earth; to restore peace and order in a world in total chaos.

”the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones to judge everyone, and to convict all of them of all the ungodly acts they have committed in their ungodliness, and of all the defiant words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” (Jude v.14,15; NIV)

The Bible mentions in Rev 20:6 that “the second death will not have power over” the millennium reigning priests. This is clear enough, and does not warrant extra interpretation. However, where does this leave the rest of the world’s population? Will they end up succumbing to the second death?

According to 1 Cor 3:10-15, there seems to be a special kind of salvation available to people who missed out on Jesus secret inner coming. Namely to be saved through fire despite suffering loss for having built wrong on the foundation.

This place of salvation will probably be located outside New Jerusalem. Be it on the same heavenly planet; or on another planet located somewhere half-ways between the lake of fire and the third heavenly stratosphere.

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  • "Lake of fire" and "outer darkness" would then be two separate places. Destinations from judgements of the "great white throne" judgement, on the one hand, and the "judgement seat of Christ", on the other. Jul 9 at 14:29
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No. "Appear a SECOND time...."

The book of Hebrews (those who cross over)(1) was written approx. AD 60-65, before the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. The use of the word "second" should help the context here.

Who saw Jesus' first appearance?

1 Pet. 1:20 -

"20 He was destined before the foundation of the world but was made manifest at the end of the times for your sake." (RSV)

"foreknown, indeed, before the foundation of the world, and manifested in the last times because of you," (YLT)

"Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you," (KJV)

Peter said that Christ became flesh and was manifested on earth during the "last times." As, Christ was manifested, or appeared the first time during the days of ancient Roman empire of the 1st century AD, and as Peter said that Christ was manifested in "these last times" then His first appearance was in the last times during the 1st century AD.

The last times were defined by scripture as the end of the Jewish temple system. It was the end of the earthly sacrificial system, which Christ's sacrifice made obsolete.

The promise in Heb. 9:28 was to those who saw His first appearance. The only ones who saw His first appearance were those living during those last days of the Judean kings appointed by the Roman Caesars, who were going to witness the destruction of the temple, the end of the "heaven and earth" temple and the Mosaic covenant.

Therefore, the only people who could have a second appearance of Him were those who saw His first appearance, those who were living during the 1st century AD. No other generation could have a second appearance of Him, as no other generation saw His 1st appearance.

The verse states that His second coming was "apart from sin", or the YLT has "apart from a sin-offering". Christ had taken care of, completed the sin offering when He was crucified. So, His second coming did not have anything to do with repentance of sins, but for deliverance from the tribulation of those days.

Strong's Gr. 4991: "soteria", meaning deliverance / salvation; used as welfare, prosperity, deliverance, preservation, salvation, safety. (2)

So, as His 2nd appearance could only have been seen by those who saw His 1st appearance in that same generation in which He was crucified, and as His 2nd appearance was not for the issue of repentance of sins, then His 2nd appearance for those eagerly waiting was to rescue them from the torture and torment and persecution they were experiencing. He was going to DELIVER them from physical danger so that His saints could prosper and live.

Rev. 14:13 -

"...Write: Happy are the dead who in the Lord are **dying from this time**!' Yes, (saith the Spirit,) That they may rest from their labours -- and their works do follow them!'" (YLT) or -

"...Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth:..." (KJV) or

"...from now on.." (Interlinear)

Henceforth - or thereafter - from that time forward. From the time the words were spoken in the first century AD, spoken before the temple was destroyed.

Time marched on after that battle of the destruction of Jerusalem. The world was still here. People continued to be born and to live and to die. But, those who died in the Lord, who were faithful unto death were greatly blessed because the method changed.

Instead of having to wait in the prison of Hades all the saved would be gathered into heaven as they died. The method and the process changed when the temple was torn down. Christ had said that not one tittle or jot would pass from the law until the temple and the Mosaic covenant (heaven and earth) passed away (Matt. 5:18) (3). He told them that when He came in His glory He would separate out all those who were in Hades (Matt. 25: 31-34).

His coming in judgement against Jerusalem and that temple was His second appearance, was His coming in glory, and was the 2nd coming for which THEY were eagerly waiting.

Before Christ's crucifixion and ascension no one had entered into heaven (John 1:18; 6:46). (4) But, after His ascension those who died in the Lord were taken into heaven to be where He was (John 17:24).

As Christ was in heaven ruling at the right hand of our Father after His ascension, then all those who were His disciples whom He prayed for were taken into heaven as they died. Salvation was already available to those who died in the Lord after His ascension.

But those souls who were already in Hades (the grave) were still in that prison, and were waiting for the final "end" of that old temple system. All of Revelation is included in the events which Christ told John were shortly to come to pass.

"... to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass;..." (Rev. 1:1, KJV)

"...to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done." (Rev. 22:6, KJV) or

"to shew to His servants the things that it behoveth to come quickly:" (Rev. 22:6, YLT)

The word translated in the KJV as "shortly" is more correctly translated in the YLT as "quickly". It Strong's Gr. 5034 "tachos", and it means speed, used as quickness, speed; hastily, immediately. (5)

"Tachos" does not speak to a method of coming but the timing of His coming. Christ told John and the 7 churches that His 2nd coming was very near to them.

Everything contained in the book of Revelation was about to happen to them of that generation which saw Christ's first appearance, from the 1st chapter to the last chapter. They bookmark ALL of the events portrayed by the figurative images of that prophesy, and that includes the destruction of Hades, the realm of the dead portrayed in chap. 20.

"and the death and the hades were cast to the lake of the fire -- this [is] the second death;" (Rev. 20:14, YLT)

"The death and the hades"... the condition of being dead in the grave, the realm of the dead was destroyed when the temple was destroyed. It does not exist any more.

Thus, "henceforth" after the temple was destroyed all those who die in the Lord, who are faithful unto death are gathered into heaven to be with all the others who have gone before (1 Cor. 15:51ff). Those who do not die in the Lord face judgment and are cast out (Matt. 22:12-14; 2 Pet. 2:17)

Stay with the time frame. Stay with the context. Revelation is not about the end of the world, but about the end of the earthly, physical animal sacrificial system under the old Mosaic covenant. When we are reading it today we have to remember that it was written a long time ago, and the future tense verbs and adverbs were heard by those who lived in the generation in which Christ appeared to save mankind.

They were future to them. They are not future to us.

Salvation continues on as the process was established at the temple in 1st century AD on the day Christ's church began, on Pentecost (Acts 2). Life and death continue on, and each person has a choice to live for Christ, or for themselves. The process is on-going, and His harvest is continually increasing (John 4:35).

Notes:

  1. Crossing Over ShreddingTheVeil

  2. Soteria Biblehub

  3. Heaven and Earth Have Passed Away ShreddingTheVeil

  4. Frequent Mistakes Part VII: The Translation of Enoch & ELijah ShreddingTheVeil

  5. Tachos - Biblehub

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  • "His coming in judgement against Jerusalem and that temple was His second appearance, was His coming in glory, and was the 2nd coming for which THEY were eagerly waiting." - if Jesus' 2nd coming happened in AD 70, then how do you explain Revelation 22:20 He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!, which most scholars agree was written around AD 95? Jun 23 at 14:32
  • "“It was written in Patmos about A.D. 68, whither John had been banished by Domitius Nero, as stated in the title of the Syria version of the book; and with this concurs the express statement of Irenaeus in A.D. 175, who says it happened in the reign of Domitianou – i.e., Domitius (Nero). Sulpicius, Orosius, etc., stupidly mistaking Domitianou for Domitianikos, supposed Irenaeus to refer to Domitian, A.D. 95, and most succeeding writers have fallen into the same blunder." Syriac vs. has it correctly. Young's Analytical concordance explains they confused the Gr form of Nero's name.
    – Gina
    Jun 23 at 14:55
  • See The Time of His Coming for more details - shreddingtheveil.org/2017/02/23/…
    – Gina
    Jun 23 at 14:56
  • Would you kindly post an answer to this question: Did the early Church become full preterist after AD 70?. Jun 23 at 14:59
  • Yes, but it will be later tonight.
    – Gina
    Jun 23 at 15:37
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Does Hebrews 9:28 imply …

Yes and No.

Yes, if one foolishly thinks they get good understanding from one verse by ignoring context and the rest of scripture. This verse could be read that way.

No, if a wiser reader seeks other verses to inform this one on the broad matter of salvation. And in the passage quoted, we read,

And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment

So we have two different purposes mentioned. One purpose is to gather the saved and complete their salvation. The other is to judge. Judge who- the saved? Hardly.

It doesn’t say condemn or similar fatalistic words often chosen to give a bias to the text - it says judge. Therefore, there is some kind of opportunity to be granted something after being judged.

We must look to other verses for the deeper understanding. But this question doesn’t seek anymore than whether something is implied or not.

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  • I reworded the question for better clarity. Just letting you know in case you might want to make changes to your answer as well. Also, you said "No, if a wiser reader seeks other verses to inform this one on the broad matter of salvation." - what are those other verses? Jun 23 at 14:16
  • That's outside the scope of the Q - as I have noted already.
    – steveowen
    Jun 24 at 3:13
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Assuming a literal interpretation of the Bible, with Christ's return corresponding with the first general resurrection at the beginning of the thousand year Kingdom of God here on Earth, we can consider this scripture quite literally:

Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, … for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly … he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

This refers to the Crucifixion, a one time event, where Jesus's death paid the death penalty for mankind. Almost all Christian denominations share this doctrine.

will appear a second time, not to deal with sin

Despite what many seem to think, the purpose of his first appearance was not to save people at that time, nor during the two thousand years since. (If it were, it obviously hasn't succeeded very well.) As Paul says, the period of his incarnation was to "deal with sin", by paying the penalty for it.

It was also to recruit a relatively small number of people (the elect) who will work with him during the Millennium, and to create a Church that will spread the word throughout the world as the end time approaches.

a second time … to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

This refers to his rule in the Kingdom of God, here on Earth. During this thousand year period the survivors of the Tribulation will have their opportunity for salvation. At the end of the thousand years, the vast majority of mankind, who died without ever having had a chance to be saved, will arise in the second general resurrection and will then be given their first opportunity for salvation.

So, it's quite the opposite of what is asked in the question. It isn't that "there will no be no more chances for salvation", but that "almost everyone that has ever lived will have their first and only chance for salvation".

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  • 1) His first appearance was to make his sacrifice, and to recruit a relatively small number of people (the elect) who will work with him during the Millennium. - where is the word Millennium in the passage? 2) So, quite the opposite of what is asked in the question, it is only after the second coming that most of the work of salvation will happen. - what do you mean by "work of salvation"? Is this idea based on other passages? Jun 21 at 16:37
  • I reworded the question for better clarity. Just letting you know in case you might want to make changes to your answer as well. Jun 23 at 14:14

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