Q. Thank you for your very insightful website, it is truly a blessing to me. I have a question about Hebrews 9:27, which states that it is “appointed unto man once to die….”, and 1 Corinthians 15:51, which states “we shall not all sleep…..” Is there a conflict here, or is my understanding of what is meant not correct?
A. Hebrews 9:27 is a general principle and the Bible’s argument against reincarnation. There are 8 accounts in the Bible of people who were raised from the dead. They are the widow of Zarapeth’s son, raised by Elijah in 1 Kings 17, Jairus’s daughter in Matthew 9, the widow of Nain’s son in Luke 7, Lazarus in John 11, all by Jesus, Tabitha in Acts 9 by Peter, and Eutychus by Paul in Acts 20. In addition, although the Bible doesn’t specifically confirm this, I believe both Jonah and and Paul were brought back from death by God. Each one was resuscitated as a demonstration of His power, and all of them subsequently died again.
There are also two people in the Bible who were taken directly into God’s presence without dying first. They were Enoch (Genesis 5:24) and Elijah (2 Kings 2:11). These events demonstrate that God can make an exception when it suits His purpose. When it comes to the Church it suits God’s purpose to take us off the planet to protect us from the coming judgments (Rev. 3:10). Without any advance notice, He’ll send His son to rescue us from the coming wrath (1 Thes. 1:10) and bring us to be with Him (John 14:2-3) while He visits His judgment upon the Earth.
Through all of this the truth still remains. There is no reincarnation, no eternal progression. We have one life to live and after that comes judgment.