For then must he often have suffered since the foundation
of the world
For if it was necessary that he should often offer up himself now, which is the same as to suffer, since the sacrifice of himself, the same was necessary before; seeing sin was in the world from the beginning, and the saints from the foundation of the world had their sins expiated by the sacrifice of Christ; but the truth is, Christ's sufferings were but once, though the virtue of them is always, both before and after; nor can he suffer more, or again, because of his power over death and the grave, and because he has effectually obtained what he suffered for:
but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away
sin by the sacrifice of himself;
this is to be understood, not of his appearance in heaven, of which mention is made in ( Hebrews 9:24 ) but of his incarnation on earth, called an appearance; not as though his human nature was a mere phantom or apparition, for it was a real thing; or as if he was then manifested to be what he really was before; for before his incarnation he was not truly and actually man; but this is said with respect to the manifestation of his invisible deity; or of him as the Son of God in human nature; and in regard to the types of the old law, under which he was hid; and with respect to the prophecies of his coming; and it designs the same thing with his descent from heaven, and coming into this world, in which he appeared in fashion as a man, as a mean man, as an afflicted one; yea, he looked like a sinful man, bearing the infirmities and sins of his people; his appearance was but to a very few, and for a little time; and the time of it was, "in the end of the world"; the same with the last days; the last age of the world; the end of the Jewish economy; at the close of their civil and ecclesiastical state, according to ( Habakkuk 2:3 ) & so the Jews expect their Messiah (Mymyh Uql) , "at the end of days" F14: and this appearance was but "once"; there were many appearances of him in an human form, under the Old Testament dispensation; and there were many after his resurrection; but this is said to be but once, in opposition to the many types and sacrifices under the law, and agrees with his one oblation, and once suffering: the end of his appearance was, to put away sin; the filth of it, by his blood; the guilt of it, by his atoning sacrifice; and the punishment of it, by his sufferings and death, the penalty of the law; and in consequence of all this, the dominion of it by the power of his grace, and the very being of it hereafter: and this putting it away is signified by his bearing, carrying, and taking it away; by removing it as far as the east is from the west; by finishing and making an end of it; by crucifying the old man, destroying the body of sin, and by an utter disannulling and abolishing it, as a debt, and as a law; and all this is done by the sacrifice of himself; by the offering up of his body and soul an offering for sin; as in ( Hebrews 9:14 ) .
F14 Seder Tephillot, Ed. Amstelod. fol. 2. 1.