This is a good and important question. Let’s read first about the Lord’s coming in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17, “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” This is what is known as the rapture of the church. Although the word ‘rapture’ is not found in the English bible, it is expressly taught. It is what the Bible calls the “blessed hope” in Titus 2:13. Prophetically, this is the next thing that will occur. The Lord Jesus will come to the clouds to gather His own to Himself. He comes with a shout, the voice of the archangel, and the trump of God. The dead in Christ shall rise from the dead first, then those believers who are still alive at His coming will be ‘caught up’ with those who have been raised from the dead, and at the SAME TIME, all the Lord’s people will meet with Him in the clouds. We will never leave His side, for we shall “EVER BE WITH THE LORD.”

With that in mind, let’s read Hebrews 9:27-28, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” These verses are given to us to show that even as men die physically only one time, so the Lord Jesus would die as the sin bearer just once. How sufficient was His death that we read in 1 John 2:2, “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” His sacrificial death was sufficient for the putting away of all the sins of the world. Of course, only those who come to Him in faith are saved, but His death has the ability to put away the sins of ALL who come to Him. We hear the words of the Lord in John 6:37, “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” The Lord does not turn away any who come to Him for salvation. His death, His shed blood is enough for us all to be saved.

We must see that in its context, Hebrews 9:27 is stating a general rule…all men die. Ezekiel 18:4 states plainly, “…the soul that sinneth, it shall die.” According to Romans 3:23 we have all sinned, therefore we will all die. In fact, because of our sins, we have an appointment with death. Are there any exceptions? Of course there are. Enoch did not die. We read in Genesis 5:24, “And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.” This is clearly explained in Hebrews 11:5, “By faith Enoch was translated that HE SHOULD NOT SEE DEATH; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.” Elijah did not die. 2 Kings 2:11 tells us, “And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.”

We also read in 1 Corinthians 15:51-52, “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.” This concerns what happens to the believers when the Lord Jesus comes to rapture out His church. The word ‘sleep’ here really means to die. We will not all die! Hebrews 9:27 is so important in teaching us about the efficacy of the one death of the Lord Jesus. It also shows the wrongness of the teaching of reincarnation. The rule is that men die once and then face the Lord. For we who know the Lord Jesus Christ as our savior, our sins have already been judged in Christ. We are free and have eternal life because Christ “was once offered to bear the sins of many”. The Lord Jesus said of Himself in Revelation 1:18, “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore…” Never to die again because His death was sufficient for the putting away of all our sins. Do you know Him as your savior, or are you awaiting that time when you will stand before God and receive His righteous judgment? (233.6)