Anthropology of the Dead Who Wait at Judgment in Hebrews 9:27–28
This paper probes the anthropological question behind Jesus appearing to the dead waiting for him in Hebrews 9:27–28. It searches for correspondence with the possibility of immediate resurrection in Matthew 27:52–53; 1 Corinthians 15:12–58; 2 Corinthians 4–5, and Philippians 1:21–24; 3:17–21. Modern readers usually overlook the overarching discourse context of Hebrews 9:27–28 and presume a traditional proof text for only Jesus’s earthly second coming. Neither second coming features nor speculation for future earthly resurrection of the flesh of believers ever emerge in Hebrews, which should be puzzling.
Examination of this functional unit conclusion of text that governs the discourse lines of Hebrews searches for a cohesive message that Jesus, now, promptly at death leads bodily into heaven those who believe in his offering for their sin—just as God both promptly raised him, as a bodily, complete, eternal-place spirit, at the instant of death on the cross, to inaugurate the promised, new covenant benefits as Christ, and confirmed his spirit, eternal-place redemption by the sign of his fleshly resurrection.
The paper compares the anthropological foundation behind the more common traditional views by those educated toward the dead in Hebrews 9:27–28. Most adherents perceive either an inferior bodiless soul or some level of delayed consciousness until resurrection of the flesh. The paper looks for possible cohesion with the common anthropological view before and since the first century for immediate transformation to spiritual bodies into an open heavenly access by Jesus’s present shepherd ministry.