PLAINER WORDS … APPOINTED UNTO MEN ONCE TO DIE
(SOME WILL DIE MORE THAN ONCE)
“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” (Heb. 9:27).
“And as it is …” indicates that it must be connected to a following phrase, such as, “so also is …” The phrase that follows is, “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many …” (Heb. 9:28). Many Christians falsely teach that all men are “appointed to die, once, before the judgment.” This is not the truth. We should “not interpret one passage in a sense that is repugnant to others” (“How To Enjoy The Bible” by E. W Bullinger, Page 327). “It is appointed unto men once to die” is not a universal truth. This passage is contradicted by many instances in the Bible where dead people were brought back to life, only, to die again. They died and lived, again, BEFORE THE JUDGMENT. A number of people died more than ONCE! We will explore this fact in our present study.
Hebrews 9:27 must be understood in the light of its context. Otherwise, the rest of the Bible contradicts the idea that every man, born into this world, will experience death. Not all will. Some noted Bible teachers teach that Enoch and Elijah never died. It is clearly taught in the Scriptures that many will be alive at the time Christ judges all of mankind when He judges the “quick and the dead at His Appearing and His Kingdom” (2 Tim. 4:1).
The “judgment,” in view, in Hebrews 9:27 is the momentous universal judgment, mentioned above, as found in 2 Timothy 4:1; “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall JUDGE the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom.” This “judgment” is generally overlooked by scholars because they can find no place in their theology for a universal judgment in which the dead are judged while they are still dead—Christ judges the living and the DEAD. He doesn’t raise the dead and, then, judge them. No, He does so while they are dead. This is the judgment which ushers in the Kingdom of God, to wit, the Day of Christ..
With all of this said, we will track those who, historically, have died more than once.
As long as Israel stood before God as a nation, either united or divided, or free or captive, divinely wrought signs, wonders, and miracles occurred. We have reference to the Israel during Old Testament times, the time covered by the four Gospels, or the time covered by “The Acts of the Apostles.” According to the principle of “rightly dividing the Word of Truth” (2 Tim. 2:15), today’s Israel, which was formed in 1948, has no connection, whatsoever, with a biblical standing before God (see www.plainerwords.com on “The Grand Hoax”).
One of the outstanding “wonders” that God wrought among the Israelites, during those times, was that of restoring life to dead people. Following are three OT examples of the dead being raised to life, again.
ONE: We read in 1 Kings 17:17-25 where Elijah stretched himself over the widow’s dead son and prayed that the boy’s life would come into him again. The third time Elijah stretched himself over the lad, his life was restored to him. This was a miracle wrought by the LORD (Yahweh), not Elijah.
The Bible doesn’t mention how long the boy was dead before his life was restored to him. Neither, are we told how long the boy lived after he was raised from the dead. He certainly is not still alive. He was not raised to have “eternal life.” Did he live to a ripe old age? Did he have a wife and children? We can only wonder when he died the second time. This certainly indicates that some are required to die more than once. We can say this widow’s son did not conform to the idea that it was appointed unto him to die once, then, the judgment.
TWO: Another instance of raising someone from the dead is recorded in 2 Kings 4:32-37. In these passages, we see where a boy-child died (V. 32), and Elisha, the prophet, went into the boy’s room and “prayed unto the LORD” (V. 33). Then, in Verse 34, Elisha gave the child mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, and the boy’s flesh began to wax warm. The child sneezed seven times and opened his eyes (V. 35), thus, the boy-child was restored to life [a resurrection]. Seven sneezes are significant.
We are not told how long the boy lived, nor, are we told when he died the second time. But, he definitely died the first time—“the child WAS DEAD” (2 Kings 4:32). We can rest assured he died a SECOND TIME. Do you know that this boy could live, again, when the Kingdom comes? Think about it. He died as a child and was raised from the state of death. He lived, again, and, later, died the second time. He very well may qualify to be raised from the dead a second time as one of “every man in his own order” (1 Cor. 15:23).
THREE: We see in 2 Kings 13 a very strange case of resurrection. We learn from 2 Kings 13:20 that Elisha died and was buried. The Moabites invaded Israel in that year. Those who were evading the Moabites happened to be burying a man, and in Verse 21, we read:
“And it came to pass, as they were burying a man, that, behold, they spied a band of men [Moabites]; and they cast the man into the sepulchre of Elisha: and when the man was let down, and touched the bones of Elisha, HE REVIVED, and STOOD UP ON HIS FEET.”
Whoever this man was, he was restored to life, to wit, raised from the dead. He died sometime after that because he was not raised to “eternal life.” When the Kingdom comes, he may qualify to live under the Kingdom rule of Christ. If he does, it does not, necessarily, mean that he will be raised in immortality. In this scenario, he will live in the grand state of not having death reigning in his resurrected mortal body. If he is not careful, he may die again, the third time, since Jeremiah 31:30 will be in operation.
“But every one shall die for his own iniquity [sin]: every man that eateth the sour grape, his teeth shall be set on edge” (Jer. 31:30).
The universal truth, ever since Adam sinned, is that death is at work in the human race.
After the Kingdom comes, men will die as the result of their own sin (Jer. 31:30).
“But every one shall die for his own iniquity: every man that eateth the sour grape, his teeth shall be set on edge.”
This will be Kingdom truth. People who are not raised to immortality, when the Kingdom comes, will not have death working in them (Rom.5: 12-17). The principle of death reigning in natural man will not be present during “The Day of Christ.” Instead, “LIFE” will be reigning in the life of mankind. But, if they should die, it will be because of their own personal sin. But, it should be re-stated, the Adamic curse will be lifted when the Kingdom of God becomes manifest in the earth.
The truth that death will result from man’s own sin is twice confirmed in Ezekiel Chapter Eighteen.
“For every living soul [person] belongs to me, the father as well as the son-both alike belong to me. The soul [person] who sins is the one who will die” (Ezek.18:4) NIV.
A twice stated biblical truth is certain and sure.
“The soul [person] who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him” (Ezek.18:20) NIV.
NEW TESTAMENT RESURRECTIONS
ONE: We read in the New Testament where the Lord Jesus was entering the town of Nain along with His disciples and a large crowd who were with Him (Luke. 7:11). As He approached the town’s gate, the only son of a widow, who was dead, was being carried out of town ─a large crowd was with the mother (V. 12). When the Lord saw her, He was touched, and said, “Don’t cry” (V.13).
Then, we read in Luke 7:14-15:
14 Then He went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still. He said, "Young man, I say to you, get up!" 15 The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother” NIV.
The dead man responded to the command of Jesus, saying, “Young man, I say unto you, get up.” His life was restored to him. The young man not only sat up but he began to talk. I wonder what were his first words—“Hi, Mom.” I would like to know. But, it is of no importance. Did he realize he had been dead? Or, did he think he had just fallen asleep? Did he have anything to say about his “death experience?” How long did he live before he died the second time?
We cannot help but ponder if he will be raised to newness of life when the Day of Christ is ushered in? If so, he will be resurrected according to 1 Corinthians 15:22-23:
“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: …”
The Lord Jesus Christ will determine if he qualifies to be included with all of those who will live again when the Kingdom of God becomes a reality (2 Timothy 4:1).
Jesus (Yahweh) raised the only son because his mother was crying, and He “was touched.” The incident doesn’t say if the only son had been a believer. This act of restoring life to the dead confirmed that Jesus the Christ was, indeed, the Personification of the RESURRCTION-LIFE.
TWO: In Mark 5:35-43, there is an account of the Lord Jesus raising from the dead the twelve year old daughter of Jairus, the ruler of a synagogue (see, also, Matthew 9:18-26 and Luke 8:41-56).
“While He yet spake, there came from the ruler of the synagogue's house certain which said, Thy daughter is dead: why troublest thou the Master any further? As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe. And He suffered no man to follow him, save Peter, and James, and John the brother of James. And He cometh to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and seeth the tumult, and them that wept and wailed greatly. And when He was come in, He saith unto them, Why make ye this ado, and weep? the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn. But when he had put them all out, he taketh the father and the mother of the damsel, and them that were with him, and entereth in where the damsel was lying. And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise. And straightway the damsel arose, and walked; for she was of the age of twelve years. And they were astonished with a great astonishment. And He charged them straitly that no man should know it; and commanded that something should be given her to eat” (Mark 5:5-43) KJV.
Here, again, the Lord restored life to the dead twelve year old girl. In this instance, the Lord Jesus referred to the dead girl as SLEEPING. After being revived from the state of death, she must have been hungry because the Lord “commanded” that she should be given something to eat. It must have been joy-unspeakable for the parents to see their daughter begin to eat after being dead.
If sleeping in Jesus, as members of the Ecclesia over which Christ Jesus is the Head, will we be hungry when we participate in the “out-resurrection” [i.e., the exanastasis] as mentioned in Philippians 3:11? If so, what will we eat? Will we be thirsty? Upon being raised out from among the dead-ones, will we talk upon “awakening?” What language will we speak? What will be the resurrection-language of our “high calling?” Or, during the “Day of Jesus Christ,” will those to whom we speak hear us in their “mother-tongue?” Will the Acts 2:8 experience be the norm for those who make up God’s special callings?
THREE: This is the third NT occurrence of someone being raised from the dead. This is found in John Chapter Eleven. This is a most instructive chapter which you are probably very familiar with. Mary and Martha, of Bethany, sent word to the Lord Jesus that their brother and His beloved friend, Lazarus, was very sick (John 11:3). Having heard this, the Lord tarried two whole days. He then said, “Then after that saith he to his disciples, Let us go into Judaea again” (Verse 7). After some discussion about His return to Judaea to see Lazarus, He said, at last, to His disciples, “…Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep (V. 11).
This prompted the disciples to reply, saying, “…Lord if he sleep, he shall do well” (V. 12).
Verse 13 points out; “Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep.”
The Lord Jesus referred, here, to the death of Lazarus as though he were asleep. The disciples were puzzled. “Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead” (V.14).
The Lord and the disciples traveled the short distance to Bethany where Martha, Mary, and their brother, Lazarus, lived. The two sisters learned that Jesus was on the way to see them. Martha, the impetuous one, rushed to meet Jesus before He arrived at their home.
When she met the group, she complained to the Lord that if He had come sooner, her brother would not have died because if He had asked God, He would have spared the life of Lazarus.
Jesus answered her by proclaiming, “…Thy brother shall rise again” (V. 23).
Martha’s statement is very profound if you consider she knew something most Bible students don’t know. Notice her reply to the statement, “Thy brother shall rise again.” In a matter-of-fact way, “Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the LAST DAY” (V. 24).
“The Last Day” is a descriptive title used six times in John. (See John 6:39, 40, 44, 54; 11:24, and 12:48).
“And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at THE LAST DAY. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at THE LAST DAY” (John 6:39-40).
“The Last Day” speaks of the fact that the Kingdom of God will be Israel’s final “day;” there being no night following it once this “day” comes. Martha understood that her brother would be raised from the dead when the Kingdom came. The “Last Day” which Martha spoke of, the Apostle Paul referred to as “The Day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6), or the “Day of Christ” (Phil. 1:10, 2:16), or “the Day of the Lord Jesus” (1 Cor. 1:8). She did not anticipate a pre-Kingdom resurrection of her brother, Lazarus.
When the Lord Jesus arrived at the burial cave in which His friend, Lazarus, was buried, we read in John 11:38; “Jesus therefore again groaning in Himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it.”
Graves were usually caves with large stones sealing the openings. Also, it should be stated that the Jews did not embalm their dead.
“Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days” (V. 39).
She knew her brother was in the cave—not in heaven. She said that her brother “stinketh.” After 72 hours, the dead begin to enter into the state of corruption; hence “he,” not “his body,” stinks (Lazarus was beginning to putrify).
“Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?” (V. 40).
Jesus, after praying, “Cried with a loud voice, LAZARUS, COME FORTH” (V.43).
Lazarus did come forth, bound hand and foot in graveclothes and his face bound with a napkin (V. 44). This indicates Lazarus did not walk-out of the burial cave. The Lord’s command to “come forth” did not indicate that Lazarus left heaven and re-entered the tomb in order for him to “COME FORTH.” No, Lazarus lay dead, wrapped in his graveclothes, inside the sealed tomb. Corruption had set-in and Lazarus had begun to stink as his flesh rotted. Then, when Jesus shouted his name, Lazarus awoke and came forth. Evidently, the putrefaction was reversed.
Six days later, in Bethany, a supper was set for Jesus and the friends of Lazarus. Martha served—“Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with Him [Jesus]” (Luke 12:2). Many Jews came to see, not only Jesus, but Lazarus, also (V.9). But, the chief priests were very agitated with the fact that Lazarus was alive. So, they consulted how they might “put Lazarus to death” (V.10). The Establishment believed his resurrection jeopardized their control over the masses.
The conspiracy by the Religious Establishment to kill Lazarus didn’t come to fruition. We are not told how long after his resurrection that Lazarus lived. He, eventually, died the second time. I feel confident he will live-again during “the Day of Christ” when he will be made-alive when his own “order,” or troop, is called forth as “Christ’s firstfruits” (1 Cor. 15:23).
FOUR: In this instance, the resurrection is not confined to one individual but is made up of many. Matthew is the only Gospel which records this event.
“And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many” (Matt. 27:51-53).
What a sight this must have been. Were any of the saints, who were raised and walked through the streets of Jerusalem, recognized as being resurrected? Evidently, they were because they appeared to the many residents of the City. I’ve often wondered, “What was their attire as they walked from their tombs into the City? Graveclothes? White robes? The attire of that day?
These were people of God who were made-alive. These were not zombies walking through the streets. Perhaps, many of them walked home and were re-united with their families, or off-springs. They did not parade through Jerusalem and, then, return to their tombs and, again, lay down in the sleep of death. Yes, they lived, again, and died, again, the second time.
The Church which is His Body will be changed, or resurrected at the beginning of the New Age. The “high calling”of the Church which is His Body will have our bodies fashioned like unto the Glorious Immortal Body of the Lord Jesus Christ (Phil. 3:21).
A close study of the coming dispensation, to wit, “the Day of Christ,” will yield the fact that it will not be unheard of for some folks to die a second time. We must not overlook when immortality will “be put on.” Most Christians believe that immortality is automatically associated with being made-alive from the dead. It was not so with those mentioned in this study. Nor, will it be so with those who are resurrected to live during the hundreds of years of the Kingdom of God. They will live free from sin and death reigning in their mortal bodies. But, they will not possess “immortal life.”
Immortality is not “put on” until the consummation of the Kingdom. The Apostle Paul tells us this secret concerning immortality—even though most Christians choose not to believe the Apostle. Immortality is “put on” at the LAST TRUMP when the dead [those martyred during the Tribulation] shall be raised INCORRUPTIBLE, to wit, immortal, and we [those living at the time] shall “put on” immortality.
“Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, AT THE LAST TRUMP: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory” (1 Cor. 15:51-54).
TWO RESURRECTIONS DURING THE “ACTS OF THE APOSTLES”
In Acts 9:36-42 we read where Peter was used by the Lord to raise a widow from the dead. Her resurrection became known throughout all of Joppa, which resulted in many Jews becoming Christians. We can be confident that she, Tabitha, died again. She is one of those who died twice. It is very likely that she will live again when the Kingdom resurrections commence.
In Acts the Twentieth Chapter, while Paul was “long preaching” a young man fell asleep and fell from the third loft. He was pronounced dead but the Apostle Paul pronounced that he was alive-again:
“And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead. And Paul went down, and fell on him, and embracing him said, Trouble not yourselves; for his life is in him. When he therefore was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten, and talked a long while, even till break of day, so he departed” (Acts 20:9-11).
Clearly Eutychus was declared dead. He was brought back to life through the ministry of the Apostle Paul. It was not the work of Paul—but of the Lord Jesus Christ. Here we see another who would suffer dying again.
There is a very intriguing episode at Lysta was recorded in Acts 14:19-20; “And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead. Howbeit, as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up, and came into the city: and the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe.”
Was Paul really DEAD? The Scripture doesn’t say that he was. He may have been supernaturally protected from death according to Mark 16:16-17. But, Mark 16 talks about “signs following.” Not about being protected from capital punishment as meted out by Jews. The Jews who descended upon Lystra from Antioch and Iconium were not rock throwers—they were heavers of stones. They were not hesitant in heaving stones upon those guilty of “capital crimes.”
The Jews believed Paul to be guilty of a crime worthy of death. They “supposed” Paul to be dead. Like having his skull crushed, as well as his bones being broken from head-to-toe. They dragged him out of the city and left him for dead. We would think they were pretty well qualified to judge a man dead or alive.
The curious expression about Paul is “… as the disciples stood round about him, HE ROSE UP, …” (Acts 14:20). The wording sounds “resurrectionish.”
If Paul had died or not he rose up and walked into Lystra and the next day he departed with Barnabas for Derbe. I wonder was he bandaged-up? Did he walk with a limp? Or a cane? Was his a arm in a sling? Did he have a headache? I doubt it. The disciples are not even said to have helped him to his feet—HE ROSE UP.
Some teach that it is appointed unto man, once to die, after that the judgment. We have seen that is not true in experience nor is it true Scripturally, re-read Hebrews 9:27.
Tom L. Ballinger
Appointed Unto Men Once To Die
Posted in: 2008
By Tom L. Ballinger
Aug 16, 2008 - 6:26:41 PM
By Tom L. Ballinger
Aug 16, 2008 - 6:26:41 PM
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