“For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.”
King James Version (KJV)
9:17 After he is dead - Neither this, nor after men are dead is a literal translation of the words. It is a very perplexed passage.
Heb 9:17 For a testament [is] of force after men are dead. As soon as a man dies, his last will and testament comes into force, but has no force whatever while he lives. The application of this is that Christ's testament, the new covenant, came into force when he died. The old covenant was in force to the cross; it was then "nailed to the cross" (Col 2:14), and Christ having died, the New Testament came into force. It has been urged against this view that the making of wills was not a custom of Israel. It was, however the custom of the whole Roman Empire, and Judea was now a Roman province. The Roman customs had made provinces of the empire familiar with the use of wills.