Hebrews 9:26 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Hebrews 9:26, NIV: 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.

Hebrews 9:26, ESV: 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.

Hebrews 9:26, KJV: For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

Hebrews 9:26, NASB: Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been revealed to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.

Hebrews 9:26, NLT: If that had been necessary, Christ would have had to die again and again, ever since the world began. But now, once for all time, he has appeared at the end of the age to remove sin by his own death as a sacrifice.

Hebrews 9:26, CSB: Otherwise, he would have had to suffer many times since the foundation of the world. But now he has appeared one time, at the end of the ages, for the removal of sin by the sacrifice of himself.

What does Hebrews 9:26 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

A major drawback of the old covenant was the need for constant sacrifice. The blood of animals was only enough to give a temporary, imperfect atonement for the sins of the people. In addition, animal sacrifice could not change a person from the inside; it could only provide relief from feelings of guilt and ceremonial purity (Hebrews 9:8–10). This arrangement was part of God's plan, however, in the way it pointed to the new covenant of Jesus Christ. The physical location of those animal sacrifices was a symbol of the "true" holy places where Jesus acts as high priest on our behalf. As the prior verse pointed out, this sacrifice by Christ does not need to be repeated over and over, as the animal sacrifices did.

Here, in verse 26, the writer of Hebrews explains that a limited sacrifice would require Jesus to die over and over. However, since His sacrifice was perfect (Hebrews 7:27–28), and human (Hebrews 2:17–18), it can completely accomplish our salvation. As such, Jesus offered a single, "once for all" sacrifice to totally overcome the power and penalty of sin.

The reference to the "end of the ages" here can be confusing. In the next few words, the writer of Hebrews will make a reference to the Second Coming of Christ, which is often seen as part of the future "end of the age." In this context, however, the "end of the age" seems to be a mention of how Jesus arrived for the purposes of His sacrifice, heralding the end of the age of the old covenant.